Goodbye Ramadan

The month of Ramadan has flown by. Today, Muslims will bid farewell to this beautiful time and yet set our sights on another meeting next year, inshaAllah. In the meantime, we hope we have reaped plenty of rewards during the month; we also hope the lessons learned will carry us through to the rest of the year.

I liken the passing of Ramadan to the change in season from summer to autumn. Whilst I endeavour to keep my heart in deep connection to my Creator, where my efforts are in full bloom, when the month leaves, those good habits begin to come undone somewhat and the bloom begins to wither. Just as the leaves wilt and eventually fall off the trees.

Cautiously watching..

Of course, the challenge is to keep the momentum going and even though I know I will falter and fail on many occasions, I hope the unravelling process is an extremely slow one.

Aside from the reward I hope to have gained from Ramadan itself through worship of Allah, I have found that the month has brought with it countless precious moments of peace. Even to have had a few minutes to sit with my sons and reflect on our day, or to sit in silence on many nights and track the course of the waxing and waning moon, all these simple things have brought immense serenity and joy within. I understand that, at times, wonderful moments are to be found in the most routine things. I don’t necessarily have to be jetsetting across the world looking for them. Perhaps that’s also a sign of mellowing out in my latter life. Who knows?

I pray the lessons learnt in Ramadan will not be lost on me in time to come. I have seen how this year, for some reason, the last thing I have concerned myself with during fasting is food and any elaborate preparation of it. I’d like to think that’s a good sign. A sign of maturity; a realisation that Ramadan is not about hunger per se but something so much deeper. The month has shown me the excesses of life and how little we in fact need to get by. Decluttering in the material, physical and emotional senses, has inevitably made more room for the things that really matter – my connection to Allah and the understanding of my ultimate purpose in this life.

The truth is, the lifestyle we adopt as Muslims in Ramadan is something we should be aspiring to throughout the year. But being the arrogant mere mortals that we are, we often fall far short of that lofty ideal. My hope is that even having had the chance to experience it for a short time, should at least leave me yearning to return to it again and aspiring to hold onto whatever good I have managed to establish in this time.

So, I bid farewell to this annual visitor but believe the friendship is one that will sustain me for the rest of the year and till we meet again, inshaAllah.

Till Next Year, inshaAllah

Walks and Worship

The Creation leads to Worship of the Creator

This Ramadan, as I try to learn more about my relationship with Allah, so I find that I am learning more about myself. I have tried to make this not a month of rituals only and of no substance, that is, I want to internalise and reflect on words I hear or read about Allah and all that He encompasses. It’s not an easy goal but I take comfort knowing that sincere efforts towards understanding life and its purpose is all that I am asked to do.

In my mission to try to figure out what Allah is asking of me in my own unique situation, I have pondered over His book, the Glorious Quran. There have been some verses in it which have made me stop in my tracks. Not because I have never seen them before. It’s quite often the case that I have read these verses many times previously. However, one of the indescribable miracles of the Quran is that you can read the same verse many times and yet extrapolate different things from it each time. It’s like peeling away at a layer at a time of a delicious fruit until you are finally presented with the innermost and most perfect core at the centre. It’s quite surreal.

Perfection Visualised

The verses that often leave me in awe are those relating to nature and all the parts that make it whole. So, whether we are reminded of the living creatures, the seas, the skies, the plants, the fruits or the land, it all comes together to leave me mesmerised and humbled. With that sense of wonder reverberating in my mind, I have then gone for long walks in my neighbourhood only to be presented with actual physical manifestations and proof of Allah’s words in His own book. Flowers, trees, water, the sky…. the list goes on. None of them I could have produced on my own and yet they work together seamlessly in smooth calibration. For me, worshipping Allah also takes the form of admiring His creation. Whilst out on my walks, I have had ample opportunities to marvel at the world around me. It then begs the question, “How can anyone deny Allah exists?” I actually pity those who are in plain denial of this simple truth.

In essence, Ramadan has made me understand my insignificant position in the grand scheme of things. That being said, I do exist and so my part in this world is very real. Whilst I go about my daily routine, I also pray I can continue to hold onto the informal teachings that the natural world has presented to me so far and use it to stay connected to the Creator of all things, inshAllah.

..and which of His Favours Will You Deny? (The Quran: 55:13)

Ramadan Resolutions

Capturing the Beauty of Ramadan

Alhamdulillah, we are halfway through Ramadan. It has gone by quickly. Even more surprisingly, it has gone by almost effortlessly, Alhamdulillah.

This year, like many others, I have not felt the physical toll of fasting. My own theory is that it’s because I have learnt to be distracted with other things such as the daily chores at home or being occupied with work, albeit a reduced schedule. Most importantly though, I know that at my age, I have a healthier relationship with food and understand that fasting is not about the concerns of the stomach per se.

Healthy Reflections lead to Healthy Actions

To be honest, for many years, whenever Ramadan has come along, I have consciously endeavoured to move to the next/higher level of fasting and check myself in terms of where my temporal desires may want to take me. In other words, I want to curb the bad thoughts which sometimes threaten to translate into bad actions and words. The best way to do that is to disconnect with unnecessary conversations with others, either in person or virtually, and immerse myself in the remembrance of Allah through his noble book, the Quran. I find myself wishing that this kind of hermetically-sealed life is something I could sustain beyond Ramadan. However, Allah knows we are social beings and trying to isolate oneself from the wider community for a long period of time, is not realistic or even acceptable. The real challenge is to take the reflections and lessons of Ramadan and apply them to my life once this month passes – if I am fortunate enough to see it through.

Being in this month right now also reminds me that I am truly blessed and grateful (simultaneously) for having my faith to guide me in my moments of despair and darkness. I can’t imagine what desperate state I’d have been in in recent years had I not had the quiet assurance given to me by Allah that everything is going to be OK. Ramadan serves to heighten that awareness, Alhamdulillah.

Perhaps most importantly, I am also reminded of all the nefarious things I need to weed out from within. I recognise that I have much to correct about myself. Just the other day, I was listening to a lecture where the speaker related that one of the best types of people is he/she who gives themselves in the service of others. It gave me hope. That’s because I know that although I may not have scholarly knowledge about Islam, or have memorised the Quran from cover to cover, or have the ability to save a life through medical skills, at least I can find a niche in life and apply my skills and talent there. Islam recognises that we are all of different abilities and strengths and it draws upon those so beautifully. For myself, helping others, whether it’s with my time, knowledge or money, is the realm where I see I might redeem myself.

If it were honourable kings, political leaders or religious scholars who were the only calibre of people guaranteed success in the hereafter, life would be pretty hopeless for many of us. Alhamdulillah, that is far from the truth. The likes of those who stand a chance of success in the next life are people who have the sincere intention to do and be good. We are all on our own journey, each travelling with our own baggage and at different speeds. What I need to make sure is that I am in the driving seat in my vehicle and not simply riding as a passenger in someone else’s. In a way, being divorced gives me that privilege. I am responsible for finding answers to any questions and that forces me to be an active learner and not a passive student. I have the rationale and tools to make informed choices and best of all, I still have my faith. Alhamdulillah. I already know the road I want to travel and hope it will lead to the ultimate and best destination inshaAllah.

Using my Past to Keep my Eye on the Road Ahead

Ramadan Mubarak

A Month of Pure Wonder

Today is the second day in this blessed month of fasting. I am conscious that I don’t want to spend my time in being distracted from the true purpose of this month which is to reconnect with my Creator. So, with that in mind, I will simply write what comes to my mind as I type…

To be honest, I was feeling anxious in the days leading to the start of Ramadan. Always wondering if I am ready to take on the challenge and purge myself of so many unsavoury habits or thoughts before I even enter the month. I have learnt that the fast is spiritually weakened if, as a Muslim, I can’t declutter my head and arrive with less unwanted baggage. Alhamdulillah, there is something indescribable about this month. No matter how nervous I feel, the ambience takes over and I become wrapped in the spiritual warmth and comfort this time affords. There are simply no words.

What I also realise is that the way we are expected to be in Ramadan, is actually how we should be all the time. Yet, humankind is forgetful, arrogant and ungrateful and so we fall back into that false sense of security that all is good, after the month has passed. I would love to keep this heightened state of self-awareness but naturally, it slips a little with each week and month. But how blessed are we who get to witness Ramadan again as it comes around the following year! What an opportunity to recharge and reset.

Whilst on this spiritual high, I remind myself that nothing else matters in this duniya. The daily grind will remain but what I know is that I can’t look at life from a temporal dimension only. If I do succumb to that narrow perspective, I will drown in despair. Ramadan quite literally is the prescription for anxiety which I need right now. It has already renewed my conviction that as long as I have Allah, I have everything. No harm can touch me unless He wills. My worries have not gone away. They have simply been cushioned in a blanket of faith and hope.

For every day I survive and get through without harming anyone, perhaps instead, even helping someone, then I believe that day has been a success. Alhamdulillah for being a Muslim. Alhamdulillah, my faith is the panacea to all the ills in the world. The trials and tribulations may not cease but I can override them with a firm belief that everything has a purpose – to direct me back to Allah.

The Key to Success

Celebrating My Children on Mother’s Day

Celebrations All Ways

So today marks Mother’s Day. I’ve spoken about this topic before so don’t want to repeat myself. Suffice to say, I still believe every day is Mother’s Day simply because the status of mother is such that she is always well-deserving of any good favours that come her way. Truth is, a mother’s sacrifices and toil can never be fully reciprocated. Does that make me feel entitled? Yes. And I say that unashamedly.

But here’s the thing. I couldn’t be a mother without having had children and today I want to pay tribute to my sons. Alhamdulillah, I have been blessed with them in my life and I feel that the past few years, having gone through the rough and smooth together, they have made my experience of motherhood a truly unique and very special one. I have learnt from them perhaps as much as they have learnt from me – even more in some situations. They have allowed me the privilege of calling myself ‘mother’, Alhamdulillah.

I often reflect on events of the past few years and now understand that an unforeseen gain was that there are now no more extraneous factors to come between my sons and I. That’s not to say that we don’t have our disagreements. Of course we do. However, without the unnecessary influence or interference of other people or things, we are free to resolve those issues amongst ourselves, by ourselves and for ourselves.

A Connection Never Lost

Motherhood has exciting phases throughout: from the time our children are born and are totally helpless and innocent, to the time they go through all the physical growth and academic stages and then, (where I am at now), where I look forward to them maturing into young men who are ready to take on the world in their own capacity. I am not waiting to see them line their pockets with burgeoning sums of money, or to become career-obsessed to the oblivion of all else that matters in life. I am in constant hope that they will simply continue to be decent human beings and embody modesty and humility all along the way.

The tables are slowly turning now. It’s my time to take a back seat and gradually let them take charge of me, inshaAllah. Not that I want life handed to me on a plate. I have never accepted that of anyone and doubt I ever will. However, the balance of responsibility for everyday life should shift from me to them and I pray I live to see that day.

Whilst I do miss the days when my sons were very young, I am equally content that I have been able to witness what I see emerging in front of my eyes, Alhamdulillah. I am grateful that Allah has given me this experience. I am grateful to my sons for giving me this experience.

So, Mother’s Day, whether it is that single day celebrated in March, or every day of the year that mothers exist, is incomplete if it does not acknowledge those people who have given women the privilege of motherhood itself. To my sons, my children – may Allah reward you all immensely. Ameen.

Table for One

Taking My Place at the Table

It is quite often that I am reminded of the fact that my youth was some time ago. It’s not anyone else who reminds me of this fact. I know it myself. There are the usual physical manifestations of the ageing process which we all know too well. Like many people, I have also succumbed to them.

But here is the paradox… I don’t measure my existence according to what my age or physical changes tell me. In my mind, I have become timeless. That’s not the same as being delusional about my longevity. I am not immortal. I know my time to depart this life will come. If there’s anything I can be sure of, it’s that. Yet, that knowledge in itself has bolstered my determination to get the most out of what life remains. These days, I find my mental state is actually the healthiest it has been in my entire life, Alhamdulillah. That is no exaggeration!

Never quite there…

Living independently now, for the first time in my life, I am no longer subject to other people’s whims, demands or remarks be it siblings, parents, spouse or in-laws. As a child growing up in my parents’ house, I was living under their rules. From there, I moved onto marriage where, again, I was living under the terms and conditions set by the other. Whilst that setup was not necessarily one fraught with tension, it was still a contract that, though never clearly defined, I knew existed to outline the “I can do-s” and ” I can’t do-s” inside of marriage. To be perfectly honest, I did enjoy a kind of freedom within my marriage which many of my peers never experienced. For example, I travelled alone several times for long periods and this was facilitated by my then-husband. So credit where credit is due. However, towards the end of my marriage, it seemed I couldn’t do anything right any more. The goalposts were forever being shifted unreasonably and it was inevitable I would never be able to consistently keep up.

Today, I am finally my own person. The choices I make in life are now my own and I don’t need to explain to anyone or take permission from them. And it is this freedom that has served to create a wonderful mental space in my head and in my reality. Unfortunately, there are some pockets of traditional society that still believe Divorce + Freedom = Hedonism. It’s as if a woman can’t be trusted to be responsible and dignified in the absence of a male chaperone. Well, inshaAllah, they will watch and learn from my example. The sad irony is that in many divorce cases, it is the male chaperone who abandoned their duties in the first place! What is a woman to do? Sit on her hands and wait to be ‘rescued’?

Right now, it’s just me and Allah. I know He has put things in my life to test me with them. Even freedom is a test. I ask myself: Will I squander time? Will I become delirious with the independence? Will I use the opportunities to do good? Alhamdulillah, I know I have not shunned my responsibilities. If anything, I have become more engrossed in delivering justice for my sons and myself. Nor have I become consumed with grief. That’s because I have my faith which helps me transcend the situation from its wordly concerns only. I see life through a convex lens rather than a concave one. The frame which contains the bigger picture is far more exciting than the small blemish that tries – but fails – to tarnish the entire image. I live a normal life but I get to plan my day which includes my work, leisure activities and social interactions. It is a busy life but one that brings me great contentment, Alhamdulillah.

Although I don’t like to talk prematurely about plans, I have at least started to make headway in terms of unfulfilled goals which need to be met. I don’t like to call them a ‘bucket list’ since I have trouble with that phrase. It has greedy and selfish connotations (although I know it isn’t). But the goals I have, for the most part, have a higher purpose than just to feed my worldly being. I very much desire to do things which elevate me spiritually. If Allah grants me relatively good health and life, I just might be able to fulfil them after all, inshaAllah. That seems so surreal. I guess I didn’t understand that a divorce would be the harbinger for necessary change – an invigorated confidence and such a zest for life. A zest like I have never had before. I have seen how many women seem to ‘find themselves’ after divorce. I didn’t think I would be one of them. It’s not that I am mad or that I want to get even. In fact, I am genuinely excited for the future that I don’t have time to be bitter. I simply recognise that an opportunity has been created and I have opened my eyes to the invitation.

Thinking back to the little girl who I used to be, I know that the zeal to do things I am passionate about was always there. It’s just that it has taken this long to bring those ideas and goals into fruition.

Life after divorce seems like borrowed time on this Earth. I need to get moving. I won’t let society dictate what they expect of someone my age and my status. My sons are no longer in need of me in the way they were just a few years ago so now is my time to take action. Remember: “Goodbye to Procrastination.” In celebration of my new awakening, I will book a table for one at the banquet of Life and enjoy the view at the same time, inshaAllah.

I’ve waited and watched everyone else long enough.

Now it’s their turn to do the same.

From Spectator to Director and Producer

Don’t Diss my Ability

It’s interesting how there are times when I come to write this blog, I am in need of inspiration. That doesn’t happen often, thankfully. It’s usually the case that an event or a passing conversation with someone will set my thoughts into motion which, in turn, transpire into sentences on the screen.

I try not to let current affairs take precedence in my blog as this is a personal space for personal reflections; global news is just an extraneous interference. But I am not one who is immune to what is going on around me at home or abroad. With all the media focus recently locked onto Ukraine, on the opposite stage, there is equally animated talk about the unfair bias towards our Caucasian brethren when so many other groups of people in the world continue to suffer immeasurably. This is the insidiuous side of the human reality. It is people who get to choose the worth of one life over another. I take no pleasure in seeing anyone suffer which is why I also do not understand the factors which determine the value of an individual’s life. Yet, I am not naive to believe that iniquity doesn’t prevail in all societies. I have had first hand experience of it and still do.

When Silence Doesn’t Pay

Just this week, I experienced (yet again), what racial profiling feels like. Whilst I was waiting to pay for my groceries and had prepared my empty bags in my trolley, the cashier, herself of Eastern European origin, gestured to ask if she could take a quick look in my bags. I obliged as I had nothing to hide. However, it dawned on me later and irked me no end that I was subjected to a degrading request. The first rude assumption was that I couldn’t speak English (hence the hand gestures); the second rude assumption was that I was a petty thief. I hadn’t reacted immediately as I was still in silent shock. However, I went home playing the incident out in my mind and realised what I had just experienced was a flagrant but subtle display of racism. I did end up later making a complaint to the company in question.

What this incident made me realise is that someone such as myself – a woman, a person of colour, a Muslim – can be and do all I want in this world, but there are times when others’ perception of me will dictate how far I can go. Of course, I know Allah is the one has the final say. However, biases, preconceptions and misconceptions belong to people and not to the Creator. So, the battles, known or unknown, that I have to fight in my life to earn my rights are very real.

It is very disappointing that humans can be so crass and insular. All it takes is a little time to get to know one another and understand that deep down, we are all the same. We are all vying for our space in this world but with a little cooperation and understanding, everyone can claim that space. Yes, there are layers to our identities and monotony would be boring. However, I know as a Muslim, that preconceptions about another are inherently opposed to my beliefs. I have myself lived in different societies and cultures to know the wonder of being amongst them and having the privilege to have an insight into their world. I have learnt to unlearn arrogance, as if my way of doing or seeing things is the only correct way. I can disagree with decorum. I can disagree without derision. The value systems I cherish may be alien to others and vice versa. Yet, that does not give anyone the right to denigrate simply because we do not see eye to eye.

My own unsavoury encounter earlier this week makes me pity the narrowmindedness and arrogance of those who cannot see past their own insecurities. Because that is exactly what it is: too often people refuse to recognise their own personal shortcomings and like to find a scapegoat.

Alhamdulillah, I have learnt to hold many unwanted characters at a healthy arm’s length. I continue to have hope in humanity as hopelessness is not in keeping with my beliefs. InshaAllah, one day, those who have wronged me without justification will find out for themselves the sickness they carry within. The diss-ability is something they themselves have and ultimately will hurt them more than it does others.

Keeping Safe

Goodbye to Procrastination

No Time to Wait

Everyone in their lives is on their own journey of discovery – of things, people, places and ideas.  In trying to make sense of things, some people take longer than others. Nobody should be chastised for not ‘keeping up’ with their peers or for not seeing something that may appear glaringly obvious to another person. After all, we all come with our own innate abilities.  We also have our own subjective biases, wrongly or rightly.  Our environment also shapes us and there are so many factors which either skew or clarify our judgement on things.  Against that complicated backdrop, we muddle our way through life till we figure out what really matters and what doesn’t.

Like all humans, I have had days when I don’t feel hopeful or positive about a situation and the will to change is not forthcoming. Procrastination hits me hard. However, Alhamdulillah, I can honestly say that those days have gradually become the minority in my life. For the most part, I have ensured that I keep moving and don’t grind to a halt. My renewed zest for life refuses to let me be motionless for long. I see the phase I am in now, as a woman going it alone, as a wonderful gift – an opportunity to seize. I am free to determine my own path. I want to prove to myself that I can and will do some of the things I thought I never could or would when younger.   

A weekly catharsis

Death is something I think of frequently even if it is for a fleeting moment during the day.  Whilst that may seem a depressing thought or morbid, ironically, it is the very stimulus to motivate me to stop procrastinating and get on with the things I have always challenged myself to do. Alhamdulillah, I do believe there has been progress. I have already started some of my goals. Writing this blog was one of them.  On this score, I have surpassed my own expectations. I was not sure if I could remain dedicated to writing a post once a week. Apparently, 70+ weeks later I still have many things that I want to say.  I guess Life is the best writing prompt anyone could be given. 

I have other goals which are long-term and for which the results are not immediately palpable. Living healthily, in terms of physical exercise and a balanced diet, is one example. I feel blessed that these such ambitions have finally translated into action. Sometimes, it takes a negative experience to put us on track for something bigger and better.  For me, it was my divorce. It gave me the impetus to do some soul-searching and draw me out of my comfort zone and to stop making excuses for procrastination. Allah had cleared the whiteboard and was now asking me to write up a new narrative. I could not ignore the opportunity handed to me.

Along the way, I have learnt more about myself in these last five years alone than I have in all the years put together. Emerging from a divorce did not leave me with a choice between ‘sink or swim’.  I had to swim. It was not a choice. I had to find my fighting spirit within and I didn’t realise the hidden potential I had lying dormant within.  Today, I say I am grateful for the opportunities that my divorce brought my way. That is not to suggest that I was previously living an oppressed life.  Alhamdulillah, far from it. However, now as a single person, I have to take sole responsibility for the consequences of my actions. But I am also allowed to take sole credit for when a decision has paid off. Of course, none of this is achievable without Allah. But it is He who gives people the intellect to discern between a wrong and right choice. He has now given me the right to exercise my discretion especially in matters relating to my family and for that I am eternally grateful, Alhamdulillah.

Once upon a time, I would have said, “Procrastination will end tomorrow,” but I now see the irony in that statement. Every day that I am alive I am determined to make it a meaningful day. Whether I memorise a du’a (invocation) or an ayah (verse) from the Quran, meet a friend for a chat or whether I simply go on a long walk and enjoy nature, I resolve to be fully present in the present. 

I know the seeds of tomorrow are planted today.

From strength to strength

My Child, My Teacher

In the last few years, I have found that being surrounded by young people, namely my sons, has been a blessing that even I can’t begin to appreciate fully.

Although right now they are away from home (minus my youngest), Alhamdulillah, we keep in touch through video and phone calls.  The support that this regular communication offers does not simply flow in one direction – from mother to sons.  They have often been my source of strength and support and given me advice when rationality eludes me.  So, I’d like to think we have a healthy interdependency. 

One stark example of that is when I climbed Snowdon with them last summer.  All along they gently coaxed me to continue the ascent till we reached the top.  I capitulated to their advice as I trusted their judgement. I knew they knew my limits as well as my own self-doubts.  Climbing Snowdon was one of many occasions where my sons have taken responsibility for me.  I know that would perhaps make me seem irresponsible or even immature.  However, I know it’s neither of those things. The reality is that when a person suffers trauma of some kind, be it a relationship breakdown, a degenerative health condition or an irreversible financial loss, self-confidence is dealt a huge blow. I was no exception.  So it is that over the last few years, I am still figuring out the difference between my actual physical and mental limits and my refusal to believe in myself.  

More often than not, I am discovering that I can sometimes be my own worst enemy.  I have told myself that some goals will never be attainable and therefore should not bother try. The truth is a lot of those goals do not require supernatural abilities or superhuman strength.  I acknowledge that I have sometimes quit an idea before even giving it any serious consideration. That mindset needs to be knocked on the head.  I have often admonished my own sons for focussing on obstacles before they even have a shot at something.  Yet, I am guilty of that same peccadillo.  In my defence, I tell myself that I am older and the best part of my life has passed; the opportunities have come too late.  But I know this is often a ridiculous excuse and not truly defensible. I have read too many inspiring stories of people who have had personal comebacks to know that where there is life, there is hope.

Look Beneath the Surface

Whatever time I have left, I hope to use it wisely inshaAllah.  I know it all starts with niyyah, the intention.  That is one of the most uplifting and motivating principles that governs the life of a Muslim.  I was discussing this with one of my sons recently, where he was reminding me about it in the hope it would inspire me to push on with my personal goals.  He pointed out that in this life, we do a job and upon its completion, are rewarded with money or payment of some kind. What was our motivation or goal? Money? Status? Praise? To please Allah or to please someone else? The job is usually a means to an end. Yet, in our parallel spiritual existence, Allah does not ask about the result or completion of a task but about the mindset with which we started it.  In other words, irrespective of whether we completed the task or not, the niyyah (intention) is what matters most.  More importantly, Allah being Al-Kareen (The Generous), He is ready to compensate us without the task necessarily having been completed. That is such a profound concept. It is actually very reasonable since some people will always be at an unfair disadvantage no matter how hard they try; they have great intentions but may simply be unable to produce the results because of insurmountable problems.  

In the material world, we are simply focused on perceivable outcomes and yet not everything is as it seems. For example, an individual may donate millions of pounds to charity and benefit others in many ways.  But the hidden intention may have always been to win favour from a vested interest or to be adorned with public praise.  So, whilst the end result is honourable, the niyyah (intention) tarnishes it all.  In the spiritual dimension, traditional thinking is sometimes turned on its head. A completed task per se does not necessarily bring about rewards from Allah.  If all our motives are wrong, then the task alone is fruitless.  This concept is a serious game changer.

So it is with this reminder from my son that I am trying consciously to seek out the best of what life has to offer and stop making excuses for not grabbing opportunities.  The dusting off of the old and bringing in of the new is quite timely.  Spring is in the air and I have cleaning to do within my own mind.  I feel a renewed vigour and determination that despite all the drudgery in the world right now, I must remember that my affairs are in the hands of Allah.  It is He who put me here.  It is He who causes the sun to rise again after it has set.  It is He who brings summer after a long winter.

My thoughts frozen in fear are also thawing…

Anticipating the springtime thaw: How it's different this year and what to  expect | wgrz.com
It All Starts with a Trickle…

Marriage Wows

…at least it does for some.

The World is a Stage

A friend of mine recently asked if I was cynical about marriage given my own didn’t last its course.  I had to think for a moment.  Was I?  Do I look upon the idea of marriage as something not worth pursuing?  Do all marriages come apart at the seams in the end?  Are all married couples secretly unhappy? 

When I reflected for a while longer, I realised that I am not cynical about marriage completely.  After all, I hold a lot of hope for my own sons.  I pray I live to see them embark upon this new phase of their lives and embrace their own rights and responsibilities and help their spouses acknowledge those that belong to them.  I know there are still many successful examples of marriages out there. It would be extremely unfair to paint every marriage with the same brush.

What I do have strong reservations about is a second attempt at marriage for myself.  There are many reasons for that but a lot of them have to do with not having the will or energy to go through the palaver all over again.  Right now, at this time in my life, I am just beginning to enjoy a new freedom. I have found a niche which allows me to make choices for me and me only.  Perhaps I have become a little selfish but isn’t it about time?  Having given the best years of my life to my former spouse and my children, I now exert my right to put myself first for a change.  And even then, I wonder how often I do put myself first!

Refusing to Step Down

So, to think of a second shot at marriage doesn’t carry any excitement for me.  There is a time and place for everything.  The ‘everything’ which I am now in search of does not involve a partner’s input.  They would just get in the way.  I have just learnt how to take control back of my life and I refuse to let anyone try to steal that control away again. Also, for the things I couldn’t do when I was younger due to other commitments etc., I seek to conquer some of them with whatever time I have left.  They are very modest things but important nevertheless. 

So it is with these jumbled thoughts that I attended a wedding this weekend.  I am extremely happy for the new couple and wish them the very best for their future.  As first timers in the realm of marriage, I know they must be excited about starting a new life together and inshaAllah eventually welcoming children in years to come.  I can’t deny that is a wonderful phase of life to be in. Some of us have been there.  I was there once upon a time myself.

Now I want to be somewhere else.

Marking Out the Next Stops
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