Thursday, 29 May 2014

Giving And Receiving

This week has been a very meaningful week, packed with really impactful training modules at our iMentor training academy, Alhamdhulilah. So much so that I felt I was overloaded with information.

With that, there have also been many things on my mind that I have been actually falling asleep feeling exhausted on how I was going to accomplish them. And the top of this list of things all are my very lagging preparations – physical, spiritual and domestic – for our very blessed and my most-looked forward to month – Ramadan. SubhanAllah.

I realised I have not started with any of the things that I had planned for (as mentioned in my earlier posts) and am feeling terrible about it.

Shopping for family – both here and abroad, getting the house in order (the way I always want it before Ramadan starts!), baking some sweets to be sent home, speeding up with my spiritual learnings. So many things to be done and I haven't even started.

I have been telling AZ about them and he has been doing his best to calm me, and reminded me that the priority should be preparing for Ramadan, and that everything else will fall into place after that.

Today, while at work, I was so overwhelmed with the same emotions that I couldn’t write, almost till it was time for Zuhur. I gave up battling with my emotions and surrendered myself in prayers, to our Rabb. I had already made a mental note to take a walk outside, get myself something sweet, like a muffin or a chocolate, and very importantly, to give sadaqah.

And I did all of these. The giving really mattered. It always does. I came back to my desk, feeling refreshed, and recharged. I could get to work with so much clarity and got almost everything I had to do, done.

I have experienced this many times before. The beauty of sadaqah. Many a times, I have made the niyah (intention) to have the opportunity to meet someone who will REALLY benefit with my deed. And SubhanAllah, out of nowhere, HE sends them right in front of me. Just recollecting those moments are so moving.

The power of niyah. The power of asking Allah (S.W.T). The power of talking to HIM. The power of giving. Anywhere. Anytime. SubhanAllah.
Source: Internet

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My Reflections On Asma-Al-Husna (8)

 52. Al-Wakeel - The Trustee
If we fear any calamity caused by an act of Allah, if we recite this name of Allah repeatedly, we will be protected from all calamities. In-Shaa-Allah. 

 53. Al-Qawiyy - The Most Strong
Source: Internet
 54. Al-Mateen - The Firm
51:58 " Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong;Surely Allah is the Bestower of sustenance, the Lord of Power, the most Strong ;Lo! Allah! He it is that gives livelihood, the Lord of unbreakable might. ;It is Allah Who is the Sustainer and the Lord of invincible strength. "

55. Al-Waliyy - The Patron
4:45 " Allah has full knowledge of your enemies, and Allah is Sufficient as a Wali , and Allah is Sufficient as a Helper. "

56. Al-Hameed - The Praiseworthy
31:26 To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. Surely Allah is the Self-Sufficient, the Praised.

57. Al-Muhsee - The Reckoner
Source: Internet
58. Al-Mubdi' - The Originator
Source: Internet
59. Al-Mu'eed - The Restorer
85:13 " Surely He it is Who creates first and reproduces; Say: "The truth has now come to light, and falsehood is bound to wither away: for, falsehood cannot bring forth anything new, nor can it bring back what has passed away!"

60. Al-Muhyee - The Giver of Life
57:2 " His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, It is He Who gives life and causes death; and He is Able to do all things. "

61. Al-Mumeet - The Giver of Death
23:8 And it is He Who gives life and causes death, and His is the alternation of night and day. Will you not then understand? "

62. Al-Hayy - The Ever-Living
3:2 " Allah! none has the right to be worshipedbut He , the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Allah, (there is) no god but He, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting, by Whom all subsist.

Friday, 16 May 2014

A Dream That Came True – Al-Barakah Abayas

It has been just a year or so since I started wearing the abayas, as I had written in my previous post. Alhamdhulilah.

Needless to say, AZ and I have done a lot of abaya shopping.

Many times, we have come to realise that there are very limited places that we can go to buy them. At most other times, the abayas can also be very pricey. AZ and I always wonder… how many sisters would actually rather shop for other clothes rather than spending on abayas… which can at times hit prices as high as $200?

Reaching towards the end of last Ramadan, we both made a niyah – that we should start an online business selling abayas at very affordable prices.

We prayed a lot towards this, and started groundwork on making our dream possible. Allah (S.W.T) made many aspects of our challenging journey easier on many instances. We found reliable suppliers, who were supportive of our small orders. They did their best to meet our miminum order quantity needs and other requests.

What AZ and I enjoyed more on this process was coming up with the online platform for our new business – our website. For a long time, AZ and I would always talk about starting our business in the future which can bring both our skills – his creative design and IT skills and my writing ability – together.

Alhamdhulilah, Allah (S.W.T) made that dream come true too with this business.

We also wanted to choose a name with lots of barakah, and honestly, Al-Barakah Abayas was the first name we both thought of together. Nevertheless, we brainstormed and came up with several other names. Of these, we shortlisted seven. From there, we decided to ask our mothers to choose a name from these (without telling them what we had in mind.)

And Masha-Allah, they both chose the same name too.

With this, AZ worked on the design of our logo, which incorporated ‘Bismillahirrahmanirahim’ into it, and I came up with tagline. Elegance… With Modesty…

Green is our colour theme. We chose green because green is a colour that we think of when relating a hue to Islam.
"Greenness" is mentioned several times in the Quran, describing the state of the inhabitants of paradise.

Reclining on green Cushions and rich Carpets of beauty
— Sura 55, verse 76

Upon them will be green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade, and they will be adorned with bracelets of silver; and their Lord will give to them to drink of a Water Pure and Holy.
— Sura 76, verse 21

And with these, Al-Barakah Abayas was born. Alhamdhulilah.

When our abayas arrived, each beautiful in its own way, we named them too. In pretty Muslimah names that depict what they look like.  A gold-beaded abaya is named Mazneen (which means shining of gold) and so on. Most of our abayas have names that mean beautiful, elegant, etc.

We eventually decided we also had to tap on Facebook too for our business.

Alhamdhulilah, business has been good. Sisters in our friends’ and relatives’ circles have been giving us some good support. Some sisters have also become our customers through Facebook.

AZ and I are now looking to bring in new abayas in time for Ramadan and Eid. We hope you would give us your support too.

Abayas, AZ And I

I now love wearing the abaya so much that all other wear that I fancied so much before don’t look as beautiful as they did to me before.

Yet this love didn’t just come at first sight. It was a love that came through much understanding and appreciation of what the abaya means to me as a Muslim woman.

"O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, to cover themselves with a loose garment; this will be more proper, that they may be recognised, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
The Holy Quran, Surah 33 Al-Ahzab, Verse 59

Of course, like in most aspects of my life after marriage, AZ showed me the way to accepting the abaya as part of my life.

I had many reservations at first and used to have to have many questions. I asked myself and I asked AZ too. “I am already wearing the hijab.” I thought. So, I am covered well enough, am I not? Thinking about it now, I do feel a little ashamed that I had some of these thoughts. One of the very silly arguments I had with AZ was that I loved salwar khameezs too much that I just couldn’t imagine wearing plain black abayas all the times.

But, at the back of my mind, I knew that I was never completely at ease when I wore these other traditional dresses too. I was always conscious of whether my tops were loose enough, or whether my pants were tight. Work clothes were seriously another challenge. Was I really covered enough? How many times have I decided to wear something on a morning and stood in the mirror wondering if I should change into another looser top?

And so I was staging a ‘I-am-not-so-ready’ front with AZ, which my dear husband patiently waited to wear off, while having faith in my imaan that I would willingly wear it very soon. He never once forced me on this, and yet spoke to me so very regularly on why I should change my wardrobe (needless to say, his first gift to me was an abaya, Alhamdhulilah).

Even in all these moments, I was already doing a lot of online research on the different types of abayas that I could wear to work, and the prices and places  we could buy them at. I didn’t tell AZ yet of course.

I am sure AZ made lots of duas that Allah (S.W.T) brings me closer to the abaya too. And I did too. And Allah (S.W.T) made me realise this soon too.

Alhamdhulilah. Today, these black beauties are the order and treasure of my wardrobe.

Source: Internet
This is a long overdue post, and as I write this and post this beautiful picture of this couple which to me is a reflection of our life – AZ and I – this is also a reflection of the love of both our parents’ love for their better halves.

And… so significantly, today is also my lovely parents’ wedding anniversary. Alhamdhulilah. May Allah (S.W.T) bless them with the same love and imaan till Jannah and in Jannah. Ameen.

If you are reading this, this is my humble request that you say a dua for my parents too. May Allah (S.W.T) reward you abundantly. Ameen.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Gifts From Home

AZ chanced upon a friend from India a few weeks ago here. This brother makes occasional trips here and brings gifts and other items for families abroad from the people here.

Both AZ and I felt we would rather give the service charge, that we give to the cargo companies when we send gifts home, to this brother who was making a living with this trade. At least, we know that this money will benefit his family - his wife, a very young daughter and another child on the way, Alhamdhulilah.

By the time AZ had met him, he was already flying to India on the same evening. So, AZ made some quick purchases that Mum-in-Law would make good use of. Mum-in-Law, who is now in India, also then send us some gifts and sweets through this brother.

Some lovely sweet and savoury snacks she had sent us. The heart-shaped cookies were almost half gone by the time I took this picture. As the time frame she had was also pretty short, she also did some brief shopping and sent these two sets for AZ and me. Alhamdhulilah.

The saree colour is my favourite - maroon and cream. Mum suggested that I should sew it into a long dress for Eid (since I am not into wearing sarees at home). Sounded like a pretty good idea. In-Shaa-Allah.

Mum-in-Law is likely to be in India till the end of May. AZ suggested that we should send our Eid gifts for home through the brother this year. I agreed, as every time, we end up buying gifts on the first week of Ramadan, and by the time we send them over to Saudi, they have closed for  Eid. And they usually resume services after two weeks into Eid, which means our gifts reach home after Eid (which so defeats the purpose, right?).

So, Alhamdhulilah, this whole arrangement brings us a step closer towards our preparations for Ramadan. Getting shopping for gifts done, In-Shaa-Allah. 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Thankful Moments

May 5 brought a lot of happy moments for AZ and me, Alhamdhulilah. We thank Allah for his blessings and are really grateful that our duas have been answered.

AZ always tell me this - that be it in the most happiest moment, the first thing that we should do is to pray two rakats of naafil prayer. And that's the only way we can thank our Rabb, isn't it?

“Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying), I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 152]

Source: Internet

My Reflections on Asma-Al-Husna (7)

41. Al-Jaleel - The Exalted
55:78 " Blessed be the Name of your Lord (Allah), the Owner of Majesty and Honour. "

42. Al-Kareem - The Generous
57:11 " Who is he that will offer to Allah a goodly gift ( by spending in his cause ) , so He will double it for him and he will have a generous reward."

43. Ar-Raqeeb - The Watchful
5:16 " And certainly We created man, and We know what his mind suggests to him and We are nearer to him than his life-vein .
5:17 When the two receivers receive (recording angels) , sitting on the right and on the left, (to note his or her actions)
5:18 Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it). "

44. Al-Mujeeb - The Responsive

Source: Internet
45. Al-Waasi' - The All-Encompassing
If we recite this name of Allah repeatedly, Allah will grant us spiritual and material self-sufficiency and independence. In-Shaa-Allah. 

46. Al-Hakeem - The Wise
If we recite this name of Allah constantly, Allah will open the doors of knowledge and wisdom for us. In-Shaa-Allah. 

 47. Al-Wadood - The Most Loving

Source: Internet
48. Al-Majeed - The Most Glorious
11:73 " They said: Wonder you at Allah’s commandment? The mercy of Allah and His blessings on you, O people of the house! Surely He is Praised, Glorious."

49. Al-Baa'ith - The Resurrector
22:7 And surely, the Hour is coming, there is no doubt about it, and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves."

50. Ash-Shaheed - The Witness
4:166 " But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down (the Quran) unto you (O Muhammad SAW), He has sent it down with His Knowledge, and the angels bear witness. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Witness.

51. Al-Haqq - The Truth

Source: Internet

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Another Peaceful Moment...

Last-minute changes that are characterised by last-minute interviews, photoshoots and similar assignments are very common in my job. So much so that my friends and the Cousin Sister whom I always plan lunches with have become so used to my last-minute cancellations of our meetings as well. But all of them have been ever so understanding and never once took offence with this. Alhamdhulilah.

I never had an issue with this too though, as I came in with such expectations, knowing the nature of this job. But what gets me turned off sometimes is when these things fall in between prayer times. Like starting just before prayer times or stretching over two prayer times.

Then again, Alhamdhulilah, there are always ways to turn towards my duty to our Rabb in between these work commitments, and there is also always a sense of joy when I get this done. 

There was one such moment last week. Good thing that I was already told to be at the event place the evening before, and I did my homework after Fajr that morning to find a Musollah (prayer room) in that area. Although I have been to cover events at the place several times before, I always had to head back to office where I could do my prayers in our gym.

But this day last week was different; I had to spend the whole day there. And I was really glad to know that a new Musollah was in place in the shopping mall near the place of my event. I had long wanted to give away a prayer mat from our house and was looking for an appropriate place and time to do so. This was the time. I brought it with me to work that morning.

I had lunch in the mall and headed to the Musollah. It was very well-maintained, Alhamdhulilah. Two prayer rooms - for the Muslimah and Muslimin - and a spacious ablution area. Masha-Allah.

This Musollah is at Level 4 of the IMM Building at Jurong East. 

Take the lift closest to Mcdonald's at Level 1. Once alighting at Level 4, turn left twice. There will be clear signs too. The key to the ablution area can also be found hung on the left side of the wall when you step in.

I made duas for the people who made the Musollah possible and who were maintaining it too. I pray that Allah (S.W.T) blesses them with HIS mercy always. Ameen.

If you are reading this and benefit from this someday when you are in the mall, In-Shaa-Allah, please keep my family and me in your duas too. Jazak Allahu Khair.