Peace Be With You

السلام عليكم

Be Like A Tree
At the break of Fajr bil Jumu’ah, a Hijabi friend received devastating news at work just as she ended her shift. The news was dropped like a bomb in a form of a Discontinuance Letter. With her teary eyes staring at oblivion, she found herself lost and dumbfounded. She consulted several people in the company with the hope of being enlightened. All the more, the buck passing left more questions than brought answers.

She cried on her way home clueless of what else she’s supposed to do. Pieces of advice encouraging her to pursue filing for appeal almost convinced her that it may give her the answers she needs. Until reaching the comforts of her home where her Muslim husband awaits, she heard an advice that was completely on the contrary to what everybody else had said.

After a couple of ours of contemplating, she found the best advice that calmed her: take it as it is. Since no one from the departments involved claimed accountability for the decision and no one influential enough stepped forward to stand as her advocate, maybe it was the best advice. But more than that, I saw the Islamic rationale behind it.

When I was reading through Islamic books and leaflets before I embraced Islam, I was touched by the gentleness of Islamic teachings. This story of a friend drove a throwback. In the name of Ar Rahman Ar Raheem I may not be able to remember and relate exact words that had touched me. But In Shaa Allah, this enlightens us all.

I remember passages that described the Islamic way of responding to aggression. I learned that instead of simply retaliating even in the midst of humiliation and insult, the best way through it is to remember Allah taala and that everything in this world and beyond it already has his fate written out for him. We are just living our destiny. Everything that may happen along our journey must humble us to remember Allah (SWT). Another friend who heard this from me raised a concern citing the unjust decision over my Hijabi friend’s plight needs to be resolved by appealing to be granted due process. I got her point. But I cited passages from the Qur’an to show another way to look at the situation.

Since it was a Friday, the closest that I related the situation to is teachings that I learned from Surat Al Kahf (The Cave).  When Moses came across a Servant of Allah taala, he asked him to teach him the “sound judgement” that he was Granted with. And the servant  said that:

And how can you have patience for what you do not encompass in knowledge?” (Surah Al Kahf 18:68)

I learned that clearly from my friend’s incident. At this point, we would all think that perhaps it is for this reason that we gather more information about something by researching about it. However, clearly on the issue, passing the buck was the name of the game. What answers do you think you could gather from the higher ups? My other friend says that at least, a strong appeal would leave an impact that will drive popular clamor to advocate due process. I continued by citing another passage still about Moses and Al Khidr that on their journey:

[Moses] said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order.” He said, “Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything until I make to you about it mention.” So they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, al-Khidhr tore it open. [Moses] said, “Have you torn it open to drown its people? You have certainly done a grave thing.” [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not say that with me you would never be able to have patience?” [Moses] said, “Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not cover me in my matter with difficulty.” So they set out, until when they met a boy, al-Khidh r killed him. [Moses] said, “Have you killed a pure soul for other than [having killed] a soul? You have certainly done a deplorable thing.” [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not tell you that with me you would never be able to have patience?” [Moses] said, “If I should ask you about anything after this, then do not keep me as a companion. You have obtained from me an excuse.” So they set out, until when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. And they found therein a wall about to collapse, so al-Khidh r restored it. [Moses] said, “If you wished, you could have taken for it a payment.” [Al-Khidh r] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience. A for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized every [good] ship by force. And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy.And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.” [Surah Al Kahf 18:69-82]

Having mentioned this, I further explained that for whatever things that may happen that I do not have control of and for other things that have greatly affected me, I have a Bigger God than all the things that I could not completely understand and that I could not seem to bear.  So why should I dwell in despair? There is a nobler reason for things that Only Allah Knows. Allah Knows Best.

This time, my friend who was firm on avenging for my other friend asked why it was so easy for me to just say this and look at things this way when I myself have gone through more difficult times. I simply replied that when you have found The Truth, it brings this unexplainable peace in your heart. Being a Muslim means submission to Allah taala. So if you do submit to Allah, then what else should you worry about? As humans, we could only do so much to avenge ourselves against what oppresses us. But Allah [Subhanallah Wa Taala] can do unimaginable things more than what we can actually do for ourselves.  Besides, He is the reason why and how things happen.

That was one of the most beautiful Fridays that has passed. In shaa Allah, my friends will be enlightened and guided to the Straight Path. This is the essence of the greetings of Peace – As Salamu Alaikum. Peace be with you in your hearts In Shaa Allah.

bow for prayer

The one who can bow down in prayer can stand up to anything.

Loving The Muslim Way

I was watching this prime time soap opera the other night that starred this young actress and budding actor vis a vis singer.  What struck me on that particular episode was how they relished their brief kissing scene.  Since I don’t know when, I do not enjoy watching kissing scenes, torrid or otherwise, or those segments that drive your senses crazy.  I just felt that they are all too mushy.  Pretentiously mushy.

Until a few minutes after, I had a moment with  an old Muslim friend.  I noticed how she has bloomed since a week ago when kohl was applied to make her eyes look lovelier.   I asked her what her husband’s reaction was when he saw her.  And yes, those shutters looked so beautiful to her husband too.  He loved her new look.  And because of that she was all the more excited to run home to him after work.  There’s this expression in the native Tagalog language of how suggestive these simple caprices are to ignite an “action-packed” night.  No malice intended but it was a natural girl thingy.. No.  Woman thingy.  It was a natural woman thingy how wives would love to please their husbands.  This particular moment with her became an eye (and a heart) opener.

Since my separation for almost a decade ago, my interest in attracting men have declined.  Not that I have to make so much effort in attracting the opposite sex, but that I never intentionally sought a boyfriend who would spend days and nights chatting over the phone or the net with me.  Or someone I would be going on romantic dates with.  No-uh!  I felt that men have no place in my life since I drive my wheels.  I fix my plumbing.  I troubleshoot my engine.  Name it.  I was raised doing a man’s job.  My Dad and my two brothers were enough men in my life for me.  And since I already have two darling teeners, I would not need someone else.

And then, the last meeting I had with my Da’i (a person who does Daw’ah or who talks about Islam) friend came to mind.  She told me about my options on marriage inshallah.  She described rather vividly the role that a Muslim wife plays in a marriage.  And what captured me most was that she mentioned that the taking care of each other’s needs as partners In The Name of Allah is significantly reciprocated.  She said that while the husband takes care of the aesthetic, nutritional, health, and childbearing needs of the wife, it is the responsibility of the wife to satisfy her husband bismillah in every single way you can and cannot imagine.  And then, my creative senses started doodling in my mental drawing board everything that I have avoided about a relationship after a very traumatizing marriage.

Subhanallah, after I saw the twinkling eyes of my excited friend plus that mushy kissing scene that I saw on TV, I felt this creeping excitement of being in love again.  It struck me how the look in the eyes of this woman and how loving a  couple is married for and in Allah’s love, I begin to realize something.  I realized that there is so much security and happiness in a relationship that Allah SWT has ordained.

With all this said, I still don’t like advertising myself.  I am not the usual female who would dress to impress.  Instead, I beautify myself from the inside.  I don’t care if no dashing hunk notices that.  But what matters more is that Allah SWT  knows what’s in my heart.  And Allah SWT sees how I have bloomed inside because of Allah SWT.

Qadarullahi wa maa shaa’a fa’al.  (It is the destiny of Allah and He does whatever He wishes.)

Inspired all the more by this photo I viewed from an Islamic site on Facebook, inshallah if it pleases Allah may I be the right woman for my man.  

The Right Muslim Woman

Shared from the photos of STUNNING HIJABS on Facebook.

A Jihad With My Hijab

I was trying on tarhas or the head cover that I bought lately. I don’t usually buy things for myself but specifically for these items that I found cheap and really nice, I decided to get a bundle.

I am not the “feminine” type who would enjoy looking at herself in the mirror sporting all those aesthetics, but just a few minutes ago I found myself in front of the mirror on my crumpled metallic gray hijab. And then I imagined going home to Manila in that…. and meeting my friends in that…. and meeting my family with that too…. and imagining what all their reaction would be.

Everyone who knows me must know that I am not the fancy type of the female species. I don’t care much how I look. What is most important to me is that I can carry myself comfortably with what I wear, with how I look. I don’t mind being in heels, or in my favorite open Skechers, or in the native brown flip flops that I miss. I don’t dress to impress. But this time, it would really feel different to be in a hijab in Manila…. in my place where there are no fellow Muslims around that I know of.

And then the smiling reflection that I see in the mirror turned out teary-eyed. I have never been this emotional my whole entire life!  But these were tears of joy should they have rolled on my cheeks.  I am happy to be a Muslimah. I would have settled for nothing less. But the emotions came from the feeling, which I may be preempting, of being alone in my place.

I am the FIRST MUSLIM in my family. And by my ancestors, I trace my roots from Spanish origins. Meaning not one drop of blood from among my genealogy was ever raised Muslim. In fact historically, they are the Muslims’ worst enemies. Inshallaah, that I described myself as the first, there will come a second, third, fourth. Now how I wish I had a brood of a football team so that instantly, I would have a lot on my side.

Fortunately still, I got two. Two beautiful, intelligent and strong young Muslimah’s. Remembering that I got them on my side no less, I must be confident enough that I will not be alone.  Allah SWT bless me too.  And Allah SWT bless my Amatullah and Jannah. So that we three can stand proud, respectable, honorable, and admirable in the midst of the community wherein we will surely spell a difference.

I have to cut short this narration and get back to that mirror to return to my Hijab Rehearsals. I was never good at this I know. I won’t just give it a try, but for Allaah, everything is worth doing.  Bismillah Ar Rahmanir Raheem.

Ya Rabb, make me worthy.

The Muslim Was A Communist

I believed in three principles:

1. Everything has a basis.
2. Everything is connected.
3. Everything changes.

This was my Marxist-Leninist following. I have practically lived with those tenets believing that these were all the be-all end-all of things. This is the Communist line of thinking.

I was not with the armed group. I belonged to the “negotiating arm” struggling around parliamentary rules of reasoning. Educating the masses. Empowering the workforce. Serving the people. I was not one of those in the mountains. I was in the urban system entwined with the regular peeps. But I can take arms if I had to.  I was trained to hold guns before I was a teenager. Guns were not a threat to me. It was a normal accessory of living. Being a granddaughter of Don Fabian and Donya Conchita, I lived a life of guns, goons, and gold. My family was part of the landowners’ class.

Before I was identified as one, I was thought to be a sophisticated socialite. I come from a Spanish school since preschool up to high school. Hence, I struggled to belong to the movement that defended the middle class. Simply, my nuclear family belongs to the Middle Class. That’s how my Dad chose to lead his life. That’s my upbringing.  But unlike the common notion on communists, I had a God-centered life. I feared less though knowing that I can hold arms and I was not afraid to shoot if I had to. Lives are cheap. Always priced at what they were worth. Very mundane.

Until I found my answers to questions I had and never had.

Now I understand my life’s purpose. Now I understand why we are living. Now I understand who I must serve. And now I understand that there is only ONE. The Alpha and The Omega. The All-Knowing. The One Who Knows. The Architect of our destiny.

I thought being a communist humbled me enough.  I was wrong.  Being a Muslim, I was not only taken down to my feet. I do not only kneel. But I prostrate to submit myself to glorify The Great One.  Allahu Akbar.

Ya Allaah! Ya Rabb!

Alhamdulillah!

My Name Is Najmah.

My name is Najmah.  On my Shahada, choosing a Muslim name became less difficult for me against when I was simply browsing through websites of Islamic names.  Friends who were with me suggested nice names too.  But to some of those suggested I really felt so ambitious to even sport them.  And to some of the other names, like Kadeeja or Aisha being the first and the favorite wives respectively, of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him),  I felt I couldn’t relate to them as I have been nobody’s wife for the longest time.

So they said that I should choose a name that would be most comfortable for me.  So I asked what was the Arabic for “star”.  Hence, NAJMAH.  As to why I chose the Arabic for star for my name is pretty effortless for me.  My blog title “LIGHT IN THE DARK” spells it out for me.  I want to shine amidst the darkness not exactly to be followed (but of course Inshaallaah) but to lead those who are still astray back home to the true Faith.

From my family who are devotees to the Catholic Church, I stand to be the first Muslim, Subhanallaah.  And the next ones, of which when revealed to me made me extremely emotional, are my daughters.  Inshallaah, I aim to take them with me on my journey to 7th heaven.  It’s never easy.  At least not with what I had to go through to prepare for this for the first half of my life.  But I do not regret my experiences since now I understand, as Allah SWT has provided for me to understand Subhanallaah, that it all just made me stronger and even more courageous to seek my way back home.

Coming across this Ayat in the Qur’an, let me share with you what Allah SWT has enlightened me with:

“About the Stars.  Abu Qatadah mentioned Allaah’s statement: ‘And We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps. (V. 67:5) and said, ‘The creations of these stars is for three purposes, i.e. as decoration of the (nearest) heaven, as missiles to hit the devils, and signs to guide travelers.  So if anybody tries to find a different interpretation, he is mistaken and just wastes his efforts, and troubles himself with what is beyond his limited knowledge. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4. Chap. 3, P.282)” [Footnote to (V.6:97)].

Thus is another quest.

My name is Najmah.  And this is my purpose:  To be worthy to serve Allaah by shining forth so that more people will see especially those who know me and love me, that Allaah SWT is indeed Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful.  Because He is The One.

Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim. Say O Mohammad SAWS: ‘He is Allah, The One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto him [112:1-4]. ”  

I AM HOME!

Bismillah Ar Rahmanir Rahim.

August 20th 2011 Manila Time. August 19th 2011 Riyadh Time. 19 Ramadhan 1432 Higri Calendar. Finally, I have arrived.

I had a bad dream the night before. I dreamt I was with my whole family and my cousins (mom-side). And I heard the Adhan or the call to prayer. Then I left my companions and searched for a place to pray. I saw people from my local community praying in their own plain clothes on individual sujadas (prayer mats) on two rows. I placed mine somewhere close to them but in a peculiar corner to be discreet. And then while I was prostrating in prayer, these men touched me, my body, my face, and mocked me. I ran in fear. But suddenly I realized that I had to fight back. So I ran back to the men and hit them back. Alhamdulillaah I woke up right after. But I was panting. Scary. Freaky.

Although I was on day-off for this particular Friday, I wasn’t really planning to go anywhere except to Batha with my friend to find this particular copy of the Qur’an. So we went to the “headquarters” of the mottawa (which I call Bulwagan ng Mottawa in Tagalog) to ask about it. The people outside said that particular copy was not available and that Qur’an was never sold. And then my friend resolved to enter into the dreaded headquarters, in my mind, just to ask. And then she finally surrendered me to perform my Shahadah.  Finally.

Coming into this tent was usually scary for many because this was the place where the erring Muslims or non-Muslims would be brought to be apprehended for violation of Muslim rules.  But I was kinda flat affect.  Adee.  Arabic for “usual” or “normal”.  And then this woman started to approach my friend and I.  And then she started to talk about Islam, Muslims, Allaah, Prophet Mohammed.  I listened to her very intently as I imagined I was hearing what I have already read.  I felt so good to hear about what I had already read.  It affirmed my understanding.  After over an hour or two, I spoke to this Arab man right behind the wall.  One of his questions was “Are you 100% sure?”  I said “No. 101% sure.” And I heard him laugh.  And then he asked me another time.  And I said “102% sure.”  And I heard him smile and he said “Fi zayada ithneen huh? (Increased by two!)”  And I said “if you ask me another time I will tell you 103% sure.”  And then he said, “You are now a Muslim and your children are automatic Muslims too.” Alhamdulillaahi Rabbi Al Ameen!

This is a most wonderful surprise for me!  Indeed a prayer is answered.  And I am so forever grateful!  What made it so emotional was that the Mottawa mentioned that my children are automatically Muslims too!  And I have prayed all this time for a way to make them be brought here for them to become one Inshallaah.  Subhanallaah!  I find them so lucky because my daughters need not struggle so hard to start their quest for the truth.  Mumay is here, my dear ones.  I will be like the star that will shine your way in the beautiful darkness of the sky.

I have hit two birds with one stone.  Within my prayers before wherein I do not know what else to ask for but that to open the hearts of the people I love, all the more right now, what is there that I need when Allaah has already sent this blessing to me and my children – this blessing that I feel have taken me a lifetime to long for.  There is nothing I shall want.  But I continue to pray that I be kept stronger and more steadfast in faith to deserve such wonderful blessings that is indeed a privilege for the chosen.  And that in being so, I shine brighter to show others the truth in Islam as there is no ‘real’ other.

My name is Najma.  And I’m so glad, I am home!

No Fear Now Fear

It’s not like someone just made me realize that I had been living in hell.   But this person rubbed it in too much that indeed I am far from being perfect.  Not also that I though that I had been living a righteous life.  Oh no!  Didn’t I say before that I do not normally conform with the culure wherein I was raised?  But it just sucks to know how far from the Right Path I had been traversing.

Since I had been feeling strongly this extraordinary beat of my heart that’s been jumping with happiness when I realized I have finally found the answers to my endless questions, deep inside, suddenly there’s this certain fear.  And it’s one fear that I have never felt before.  I can’t actually explain what this is. Because I would usually be not really daredevil but someone who would go the distance fearlessly.   But now it gives you this creepy feeling that

hey! you’re being watched!

This journey admittedly is something I am so excited about.  This is a fulfillment for me should I succeed in this.  I have longed to be in Allaah’s ‘arms’.  Inshallaah.