To Love Intensely

“We are all crazy in our love, every single one of us and its because we learned from the craziest lover of them all: Mom.”

I sat in the car with my sister talking about love and in the way my siblings love people. My family comes off crazily loving sometimes. We all developed different aspects of our parent’s love. I realized I’m my mom in many ways; stubbornly loyal to people she loves regardless if they wrong her. I’ve observed my whole life how people would hurt her and yet she never gave up, even to the disapproval of her children. She was usually right too, people come around. The door of forgiveness is open, love is waiting for you to walk through. I love like her because its the love that I know.

9 siblings, 2 parents is a big household. People will make mistakes, hurt each other and life’s trials will come. Life is a battle sometimes and our family is composed of veterans of war, who love each other deeply because we’ve enjoyed the good times, but more importantly endured the most difficult times. What our parents armed us with is an undying and persistent forgiveness of people. We were forced to grow into gratitude because life is impossible without it. Sometimes I look at other people and I see things they are blessed to be raised with, but then I remember that I too was blessed with things that are unique to my upbringing.

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49:13) “That you may know one another.” Such a powerful reality. Each peoples, nations, tribes and even families equipped with their own strengths and weaknesses. Imagine all the beautiful things we could teach each other. Perhaps this is part of the wisdom that God made good deeds so varied, from visiting and caring of the sick, to building places of worship, praying for the oppressed in the night, smiling, feeding the poor, etc, because the people who will go out and be the most righteous will also vary in their strengths and their way of contributing to the human fabric. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

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How Can I Tell You

How can I tell you?

That love is all aspiring

That if you were to stare into my heart

It would be awe inspiring

 

How can I tell you that I love you

To where what I feel isn’t reduced to mere words

The love within me is bursting forth

My body cannot contain its presence

And my tears are remnants of it leaking

 

You see,

This love is much greater than me

Its cumbersome, but at the same time

Beauty

Our hearts they beat

A piece of flesh so small

That fits in the palms of my hands

But it somehow can hold a love so large

That it could swallow the world whole

That in this endless void of space

With spiraling stars and stones

Is this heart

On this little rock

Circling the sun

And on this rock, it lives

It loves

It  grows

A microcosm of its own

 

This beating connection between my body and soul

Lives, thrives, invokes and persists

With one resounding message that it repeats

God exists, God exists, God exists

Don’t resist, don’t resist, don’t resist

Because in me is a spiraling microcosm

A universe of its own

Manifested into the physical world

As a small organ no larger than my fists

The eyes looks out to the sparkling sky

And my thoughts, look within

And sees this living, breathing universe

Spirit, Mind and Heart

Spiraling more elegantly

 

Than this rocky globe it is apart

And even if we could travel into the stars

My love could probably reach out and touch you

Because its reach, its light

Is much greater and encompassing

Than the darkness in the night

So I send my love across a horizon

Let me know if it’s ever received

And I will show you a greater beauty,

Than eyes could ever believe

Jesus the Son of Mary

Jesus was one of the reasons I got more into Islam. When I first was exploring my reality as a person in this universe, and I was learning about faith and God, I became obsessed with learning about Jesus, peace be upon him. I learned a lot about Christian Theology and the evolution of it so that I could correctly understand the symbolism of Christian Art and it was through this, that I sought out who Jesus was in Islam.

The image of him in the Islamic texts astounded me and mesmerized me. He is known in Islam as Ruhullah, The Spirit of God, like how Abraham is known as Khalilullah, the Friend of God and the Prophet Muhammad is Habib Allah, the Beloved of God. The most striking aspect of Jesus’s life and example was his renunciation from this material worldly life, his care for the needy and his stress on nurturing the human spirit and connection with God.

I found it so intriguing that the one Prophet that God sends back to this Earth is Jesus. Each Messenger in Islam carries an additional and unique lesson to be learned for humankind for those who pay attention. Moses stood up to the oppressor. Abraham was the patriarch about building families of faith. Jesus is the reviver of the spirit. He is the Messenger sent to his people, preaching to them that religion simply isn’t just rules, but its loving God, worshiping God because he deserves to be worshiped and enlivening the human heart and keeping it from becoming hard. Remember that Jesus was opposed by the Pharisees, the scholars of his people who had made religion rigid, outward only and self righteous.

We need Jesus because he is Ruhullah, the Spirit of God. When you look at the direction of the world and even of religion, especially Islam, the one disease that we are beginning to suffer from is the death of the spirit and this obsession with the material world. We need Jesus to come back, because he’s the exact opposite of where we are heading. We are in a century where the greatest problem we will face is the growing gap from the rich and the poor, but not just in money. Jesus taught people to feed the poor who needed food, but also he taught us to feed our souls from impoverishment.

I don’t know when Jesus will return to this earth, but in the meantime I pray that I can revive my life and enliven my heart and character with his traits and his light. Alhamdulillah, All Praise and Thanks is due to God. In Islam Muslims have the honor of calling Jesus, Isa, peace be upon him, our brother in faith, our Prophet, our Messenger and Ruhullah, the Spirit of Allah. I pray that we don’t become like the Pharisee’s who received a Messenger of God in their midst and turn him away out of arrogance and ignorance.

The Weight of a Name

I say that a name is linked to an intention. It reveals the hopes and dreams of parents for their children. We often name children after those that we already love, perhaps hoping that they too will carry a trait of that person that was the fuel to that love. Sometimes we name them after good meanings hoping they will grow into those meanings.

I was named, Asnavy. In my native tongue, it means the light of the sun. Although almost no native names exist anymore in my culture, my name remains used. All my brothers are named after Prophets for example.  My mother says that naming your son that will mean that he will be knowledgeable and intelligent. Its considered a good name.

Today I learned that my dad says he actually chose it, even though my uncle, my mom’s brother is also named that. She loved the name also. My dad said he chose my name because of the attribute it carries with someone being intelligent and that he knew someone growing up that he looked up to. The man was knowledgeable in Islam and went to Malaysia and won this large Quran recitation competition.

After learning this, reading the Quran and learning Islamic knowledge has become different for me. I truly was the prayer of my parents in more ways than one and I hope I can fulfill that intention of theirs.

اللهم إني أسألك علماً نافعاً، ورزقاً طيباً، وعملاً متقبلاً

‘Allaahumma innee assaluka ilman nafia, wa rizzqan tayyeebun, wa amalan mutaqabilan,.’

‘O Allaah indeed I ask You for beneficial knowledge, and a good provision, and actions which are accepted.’
(Prophetic Dua)
Ameen.

 

Auspicious Winters

Winter is when the storm of my spirit rages inside. My spirit comes alive in these long nights. Winter four years, I went through my hardest difficulties and honestly became a new person on a completely trajectory.

Winter one year ago, I was sitting at a childhood friend’s wedding and a love song came on. I Love You So by Maher Zain. I started to reflect on how the song was actually a love song about God. Then suddenly my heart was speaking with God, Allah.

Whatever You think is best, I am happy about, alhamdulillah, all praise and thanks is due to God. You are the best of planners. I’ll keep doing the work, but even if your plan includes things I wouldn’t prefer for myself, You are sufficient for me. What more could I ask more than having You in my life? Nothing. I am the most blessed man on the Earth because I know You! Because I can feel your presence with me, and Your plan is greater than any plans I can make.

Its been a year now, and I feel invigorated and I feel like a much better man than I was before, alhamdulillah, all praise and thanks is due to God.  These winters have a secret in them, I pray that I will transform even further this winter.  One of my favorite things I’ve learned that sums up the sentiment of that conversation I had is with a Prophetic saying that we are recommended to repeat every morning seven times:

Hasbi-allahu la ilaha illa Huwa ‘alaihi tawakkaltu wa Huwa Rab-bal ‘arshil ‘atheem

حَسْبِ اللهُ لا إله إلا هو، عليه توكلت
و هو ربَ العرش العظيم.

Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He.
I have placed my trust in Him, He is Lord of the Majestic Throne.

Would You Believe Me if I said I was in Love?

“Got me up all night. Got me singing these love songs.” – J. Cole

A popular song that got me thinking of this verse in the Quran: “O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?” (61:2) We say, we love Islam, we love Allah and we love his Messenger sallallahu alayhi wasalam, but what evidence do any of us have?

The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam was Habib Allah, the most beloved of God and the greatest lover of God. When people went to be with their lovers at night, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam went to go be with Allah. He was up all night being a grateful servant to his Rabb, Lord. He would sleep a portion of the night, but his love kept him out of bed.

Our beloved mother Aisha (may God be pleased with her) narrates: The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?” He said, “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?’  (Muslim)

Whens the last time your love for Allah subhana wata alaa kept you up all night? Got you out of bed? What about your love for a person? The proof is in our actions where our love truly lies.

I end with the poem of Rabia al Basri (may God have mercy on her), a great lover of Allah, who was up all night, singing her love songs:

Eyes are at rest, the stars are setting.

Hushed are the stirrings of birds in their nests,

Of monsters in the ocean.

You are the Just who knows no change,

The Balance that can never swerve,

The Eternal which never passes away.

The doors of Kings are bolted now and guarded by soldiers.

Your Door is open to all who call upon You.

My Lord,

Each love is now alone with his beloved.

And I am alone with You.

Sit With The Earth

Sit with the Earth and let it teach you humility.

Watch it stand firm as your feet hit its face

Never ashamed to serve

Or call the bottom its place

Because it knows the reality is that his Lord is the most High

Never ashamed to be covered by Allah’s creatures and skies

Watch water and let it teach you flexibility

Watch it flow and grow as temperature falls

Taking the form of its container

Tracing its way through the Earth, supplying life

To anyone or anything looking

Just accept the invite!

Never selfish, always compromising

Just come and it’ll bring you life

Listen to the birds, sing praises of their Lord

Not caring if anyone or anything is around

Or if they are heard.

They just have a beautiful gratitude to praise

And raise

their voices, Oh how Perfect is our Lord

Feel the breeze blowing in the sky

Delivering coolness in the heat

Painting clouds in the skies

Making rain clouds, pouring life to the ground

Natures delivery system in the sky

Learn from them hard work, and not seeing the results

Looking to give, not for their faults

And sit with your mother and let her teach you mercy

Watch her love pour forward with each word

Watch her alertness, when she senses an ounce of hurt

You were once a part of her, and she’ll treat you like you never left

Each hug as if you have returned

Feel her love you, absorb her warmth and learn.

Be with your heart, and learn from it how to yearn

The part that often changes and turns

But it pumps and pumps from the moment Allah says be

And won’t quit, will persist until your soul must leave

Repeating with each thump “Allah, Allah, Allah”

Hoping that just once you will hear

Raise your hands and call

“Allah, Allah, Allah”