What portion of the land are we?

As Salamu’ Alaykum WaRahmatullahi WaBarakatuhu ūüôā

I hope you all are doing well InShaAllah!

Abu Musa (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The parable of the guidance and knowledge, that Allah has sent me with is like that of rain which falls on a land. A fertile part of it absorbs the water and brings forth profuse herbage and pasture and the solid ground patches retain the water by which Allah benefits the mankind, who drink from it, irrigate their crops and sow their seeds. The infertile part of it neither retains the water nor does it produce herbage. Such is the parable of the person who develops the understanding in the Deen (religion) of Allah and benefits from what Allah has sent me with. Then he learns it and teaches it and such is the parable of the one who does not pay attention, and rejects the guidance of Allah, with which he has sent me.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

SubhanAllah this is such a profound hadith;

When it rains in a certain area, does all of that land benefit equally? Does all of that land absorb the rain and produce vegetation and herbs? The answer is no. But why? I mean, the same rain that is falling on soil is the same rain falling on the road and mountains, so shouldn’t it have the same effect on the whole land? The same question goes for us humans; when we are in a class with say, 70 people, does every single one of those students benefit equally? All of the students are receiving the same knowledge from the same teacher at the same time, so then why doesn’t everyone benefit equally?

How we benefit from the knowledge and guidance that we are given is completely up to us. Some people attain knowledge and benefit from it so much so that it shows in their actions and words. These type of people do not keep the knowledge to themselves. They become a source of benefit for others as well, taking the best out of what they learned. But how can one benefit like this? By completely absorbing what is taught to them, at the time that it is being taught. By being present as a student, physically and mentally. This student is just like the soft soil on which it rains; the land absorbs all of the rain, uses that rain to grow plants and vegetation, and therefore becomes a source of benefit for many others.

In that same area, there is also land that is hard, concrete. The same rain still falls on the concrete, but the beneficial outcome is different. Likewise, in that class of 70 people, there are those who benefit in the same way as the concrete. They receive the same knowledge as the other students, and they retain it, but it does not absorb. With this knowledge, they are able to benefit others by teaching it, but do not benefit from it personally. Rain that falls on concrete is retained, puddles are formed, but the concrete itself does not absorb this rain water. Rather, it becomes drinking water, like a river or lake from which animals drink from. These kind of students are partially successful in that whoever learns from them and whoever benefits from what they teach, they will still obtain some of the reward, If Allah wills.

And finally, the last category that the Prophet (SAW) mentioned in this hadith; the completely infertile, hard land. This is rocky, uneven, and hard land. Yes, the same rain is falling on this land as well but there is no benefit whatsoever. Not even a little bit. When rain falls on uneven, rocky terrain, such as mountains, what happens? The rain water slides right down. None of it gets absorbed, even puddles do not form. This is like the student who comes to class, but doesn’t retain any knowledge. No benefit is derived. Just information passing over the head, going through one ear and out the other.

So, we must analyze ourselves. Which category do we fall in? What portion of the land are we? How much effort are we putting in to our education? Remember, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) isn’t just referring to any education in this hadith, He (SAW) is specifically referring to knowledge of the deen (religion) and the guidance that He (SAW) was sent with. When we learn about Islam, what land do we resemble? Do we leave the beneficial knowledge at the door when leaving? Or do we absorb it and benefit from it in the best way? Or are we that middle ground?

But before asking ourselves all these questions, we should ask, what are we doing to actually¬†attain knowledge of the deen? Are we even striving towards that? Benefiting from it is a far fetched goal if we haven’t even begun to strive towards¬†receiving¬†that knowledge in some way or another. May Allah give us all the tawfiq and desire to learn about the deen and fulfill our duty of implementing and teaching all that we learn, Ameen!

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Death

Assalamu’alaykum!!

Hope everyone is doing well and is in the best state of Imaan and health, InShaAllah.

Death; It’s not an easy reality to face. It’s not something we usually want to think about. It’s hard to talk about it and it’s not easy to accept that it will happen to every. single. person.

“Every soul will taste death” (Quran; Surah Al-e-Imran V. 185)

So how can we take death so lightly throughout our lives when really, it’s the only thing that we are 100% guaranteed in life? Every day, hour, minute, and second of our life that passes, we get closer to death yet we act like we’re here on this Earth to stay. We ignore death most of the time, don’t we?

The thing is, that’s not practical. As normal as it seems, it is not a practical idea to ignore the fact that we have to face death sometime and at that point, there will be nothing¬†you can do about it. (If you do not believe in the hereafter, then I guess death for you just means, well, death). It sounds depressing and it’s not exactly an exciting conversation to have but, it is what it is and we¬†have¬†to deal with it. So why not prepare for it the right way?

Say you’re in high school, grade 12 to be exact. It’s finally time to start applying to university and plan what you want to do with the rest of your life. Before applying, you decide what program you want to apply to and then you start researching the requirements to get in to the programs which you have applied to. You do this so you can make sure that you’re eligible; ¬†to ensure you have all the prerequisites. To fulfill your eligibility, you take all the courses you need, even if you don’t want to take them. You’ll take physics, calculus, psychology, whatever it may be that you need, even if it’s a hard subject or one that you don’t really like; you’ll take it and you’ll even do your best because well, your future depends on it. Whether you get accepted or not depends on it.

Then why don’t we do the same for our life? We know that there are certain requirements that we¬†need to¬†fulfill to enter Jannah (Heaven). Why don’t we educate ourselves on those requirements? Why aren’t we as concerned about them? Why don’t we spend sleepless nights worrying about that outcome and do something about it? We do that for school, right? Then¬†why? Death could come at anytime, it’s not going to see if we’re ready or not. It won’t come a second earlier or a second later than what Allah has already appointed for us.¬†¬†Maybe we need to remind ourselves every now and then that this life is¬†not¬†permanent. This life is¬†so so¬†incredibly short compared to the hereafter, which will last forever. So why do we stress, lose our hair, break out, and pretty much neglect the rest of our lives and Allah for something that won’t even matter in the end? Now, I’m not saying don’t study, obviously, education is so important as I mentioned in an earlier blog, but neglecting Islam while we’re trying, but mildly succeeding to attain this world is¬†not¬†the way to go.

We should educate ourselves on what we need to enter Jannah; how our character should be, what our daily activities should consist of, how our relationships with others should be, how our hearts should be. Essentially, it takes a lifetime, however long that will be for each of us, to really meet these requirements and even then it won’t be enough. There is always so much more that we can do. So if we only spend a few days, or weeks maybe, out of our lives to prepare, then how will that even come close to being enough? Islam is a complete¬†lifestyle so do what you want, make plans, achieve your goals, but¬†never¬†forget Allah. Never forget your ultimate purpose. Never become so absorbed with this world that you forget your hereafter. You could be collecting so many deeds to build a mansion or something beyond imagination in Jannah but you choose to wreck yourself for a life that will only tire you? You choose to trade a beautiful forever for a petty blink of an eye? Just reflect on this, think about it. It isn’t easy reminding yourself that you have to die at some point, but it sure will help you make the best of every day of your life. Time is so precious, so don’t waste even a second of it.

“By time, indeed mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran; Surah Al Asr)

Thanks for taking the time to read this, InShaAllah, may Allah help us use the short time in this world in the best way we can, in a way that pleases Him and only Him. Ameen.

Oh and one more thing, if you don’t want to make Islam your lifestyle because you’re afraid of losing this world then just know that if you put your trust in Allah, Allah will set right all your affairs. This dunya will be chasing you and you’ll be busy attaining success for your hereafter, InShaAllah.

Yours truly, Misha Chaudhry

A letter from me to Pakistan

Assalamu’alaykum!

So I have not written in a while, but InShaAllah, I’m going to try and be more regular on here now. ūüôā

Lately, for a long time actually, I have been thinking a lot about issues related to my home country, Pakistan. If improvement is a goal in life, then accepting mistakes and faults is a part of the process, inevitably.

I love Pakistan. Love isn’t even a good enough word. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the faults in Pakistan. It’s a beautiful country with so much potential if only the right kind of attention and effort was given to it.

I’m going to write this as if it’s a letter from me to Pakistan, that way it’s easier to get my feelings and words across directly.

Dear Pakistan,

You’re not a western country! In fact, you’re located almost completely opposite from the West; on the¬†other side of the world. You aren’t India [anymore, lol], you aren’t Canada, you aren’t America, and you definitely are not Europe. You are PAKISTAN. What’s wrong with that? Why are you so restless? You fought for your independance and Alhamdulilliah, you got it! So be independent!¬†You are a beautiful country with a beautiful culture. When I visit you, I don’t want to experience what I am already used to over here in Canada. I want to experience PAKISTAN. The beautiful and modest dress, the comfort of living in an Islamic atmosphere, nationally, the love and peace between everyone, this list could go on and on. What I’ve noticed is, as time is passing, you are losing your identity, Pakistan. The dresses are becoming shorter and shameless (apparently you guys call it “modern”), Islam is taken so for granted that it’s barely practiced among the population, and violence and chaos is taking place between the citizens. You thought you were becoming modern? NO. The only thing you’re getting closer to is DESTRUCTION. There is no sweet way to say this. I don’t want to hurt your feelings but you need to REALIZE this. There is nothing wrong with¬†improving¬†yourself, that’s a good thing!! But when you lose your roots and values and try to embody a completely lost way of life, things aren’t going to get better.

Pakistan, Oh ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan!! Where is this Islam you speak of? Why do I feel more in terms with my religion here in Canada than I do over there in the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan? Why aren’t you living up to your name? Why have you become so sidetracked? How come non-Muslims seem to know more about Islam than Muslims? Fact #1: The one thing that separates a believer from a non-believer is PRAYER. So, from that, you can evaluate yourself, not just you but every Muslim, including myself, especially myself. The azaan isn’t called out loud 5 times a day over there for no reason. Prayer is a blessing so why do you deprive yourselves? Nothing comes close to the relaxation and peace of mind that prayer provides.¬†How can Islam stand strong when it lacks one of it’s strongest pillars? Like any other building, it would collapse. And ladies, you are beautiful and precious. Have you ever seen a diamond treated like a rock? Then why do you treat yourselves like ordinary rocks when Islam has held you on such a high rank? If only you knew, diamonds hold NO STATUS compared to the value and importance you hold. IF ONLY YOU KNEW. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. But not for every other stranger to stare at. Be beautiful for those who deserve to see your beauty, for those who will treat you with respect and know how important you truly are (your husband, your kids, your parents, your siblings, NOT THAT RANDOM GUY IN THE MALL). That is how you should carry yourselves. Educate yourselves on why we wear the Hijab in Islam and you will be amazed by how much your Creator truly cares about you.

And Pakistan, YOUR YOUTH. Where is your youth going?? The strongest out of every population is the youth. Educate the youth, not only with worldly education but with the education of Islam (deen ki ta’leem)! Don’t throw them into this cold world without teaching them how to live their lives. Money isn’t everything. Mind blowing, I know! The major problem that I have observed is; the reason for the downfall in Pakistan’s educational status is because when someone gets an amazing job or becomes really successful, they migrate and start serving other countries rather than you, oh Pakistan! Then how will you improve? How long will you let your youth support all BUT you??? Youngsters (I’m also a youngster so this is really heart to heart), it’s YOUR job to improve your country! It’s a big responsibility but you are capable!! Take the authority out of the elders hand and take control of where your country is headed. You are able to get education, be active, and HELP IMPROVE YOUR COUNTRY. Seriously, you guys over in Pakistan are the strongest group of youth I have ever met, you guys go through such hardships in life but still manage to keep going without complaining about the little things. Don’t lose your hope guys and girls, use your ability to make a change. May Allah give all of you, myself included, the ability to come together in unity and bring about a positive change. AMEEN!

There is SO much more that I could write but I’ll leave it at that for now, since that is the basic foundation for further improvement. InShaAllah, I’ll expand further next time I write to you, Pakistan. But first, I want to see you improve at least this much.

Yours truly, Misham Chaudhry

What does it mean to truly learn something?

Assalamu’alaykum!!

Hope all of you are doing well, InShaAllah.

So lately I have really been reflecting on my words and my actions. What I mean by this is that I have been trying to see if my words match my actions.

No matter what role we play in life (student, parent, worker, etc.), we are all constantly learning and attaining knowledge. In many cases, we are also teaching and sharing the knowledge that we learn. But what is missing? What is that important step that comes in between learning and teaching? What determines whether we actually learned something or not? Not tests, not exams, not assignments. There is one stage that comes in between gaining knowledge and passing it on. That is: IMPLEMENTATION of knowledge; how well we apply what we learned in our everyday lives. This is definitely a lot easier said than done. It requires effort to keep up with what you learn everyday by making it a part of your natural routine.

I’ll give an example that is common for a lot of people, including myself. When we learn that we should not talk behind others’ backs, do we really stop backbiting? Do we put in the effort to control our nafs (desire)¬†to converse about others? I’ll answer these questions: Not really. So then what was the point of learning? How can we tell others not to talk bad about people when we can’t even stop ourselves? This is a little jist of something I caught myself in recently. Our words lose impact when we say something or know something but still don’t act upon it. If we tell someone to stay under the speed limit but drive fast ourselves, they won’t feel the need to listen to us since we can’t even listen to ourselves. By doing this, we acquire a trait of hypocrisy. So this is basically what I have been evaluating myself for real closely these days. Being a student, I am constantly learning and if I want to pass on the knowledge that I have attained, it is so¬†so important that I first implement it into my own life before telling others. If we don’t act upon what we learn, that knowledge just becomes a useless burden in our minds. May Allah give us all the ability to gain more righteous knowledge and apply it into our lives. “Sami’na wa ata’na” {“We hear and we obey”} (2:285). Ameen.

“The Qur’an says that, if we hear something beneficial and there is no change in our behaviour, the experience of giving us advice is the same as the experience of giving an animal advice. [Surah Al-Jumu’ah:5]” -Nouman Ali Khan

“The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” -Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) {Al-Tirmidhi}

This applies not only to Muslims but non-Muslims as well. Seeking knowledge is one of the greatest building blocks to success. When we do not bother to educate ourselves, that’s when misunderstanding and arrogance begins. We need to use knowledge, not to take pride in ourselves, but to humble ourselves, to live in a civilized manner, to know how to make the best of our short time in this world, and to make a difference. InShaAllah.

Think about it; don’t the greatest downfalls of our time happen because of the lack of knowledge we have? And of course if we don’t have knowledge, our actions will reflect that.

I hope I was able to get my point across effectively as it is a tough concept to explain. Everyone comprehends at a different depth and volume than others, so InShaAllah, at least one thing or another was understood from this to result in a positive impact to our lives.

Yours truly, Misha Chaudhry

But really, what is Islam?

Assalamu’alaykum!

So, I’ve come across quite a few people in my life who have asked me the following types of questions: “Are you like,¬†really religious?“, “Some Muslims are extreme but, you’re not like them right?”, or “So are you not allowed to do such and such?”. I also get remarks like, “You’re missing out, I would hate to have to do this and this”.

I understand why people ask these questions and say these things; they don’t know any better. They are simply convinced by the negative and manipulative words of media. They haven’t bothered to look further and do their own research. When they see someone wearing a hijab, they don’t fully comprehend¬†why¬†that person is dressed in that way.

First of all, I wanted to clear up some common misconceptions regarding Islam and “extremism”. I’m no scholar nor do I claim to be highly knowledgeable but I would like you to hear me out. Islam is Islam. It is not only a religion, but a guide to life; a guide with utmost balance. For example, in a world where winter is too cold and summer is too hot, Islam (metaphorically) would be described as the spring or the fall. What I’m trying to explain here is, there is no such thing as “extreme Islam”; if it’s extreme, it’s not Islam. There must be something that isn’t being followed correctly if it becomes “extreme”. Extremism outweighs the scale of Islam. This isn’t just the extreme that is “too much”, it’s also the extreme of “not enough”. Both extremes are not concepts that are taught in Islam. We are essentially taught everything with balance; not too much and not too little. Hopefully this results in some clearer insight.

Secondly, I wanted to address stereotypes. I’ll keep this simple because it’s not a difficult concept to explain. If you see someone wearing a hijab or doing something differently in general, don’t assume that they are “oppressed” or “not¬†allowed to do certain things” (I really dislike that word “allowed” but that’s a different story that I would explain over a cup of tea). Anyway, if someone seems to be doing something differently than you (in religious context, any¬†religion), then instead of assuming things, just try to do some research on the religion and get some authentic information. Trust me, it’ll clear up A LOT and you won’t be one of those unfortunately unaware individuals. The next time you talk to someone on a religious note, you’ll have a far more educated conversation.

I’m not going to tell you in this blog why we dress modestly, why we pray 5 times a day, or who Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was. I want¬†you to go and find the authentic answers to the many questions that you may have yourself, voluntarily.

Again, I hope this helped you gain some insight, even if it was a little.

Yours truly, Misha Chaudhry

Wait, are you perfect or something?

Assalamu’alaykum!!

Have you ever had a judgmental thought about someone? Consciously or unconsciously, you probably have. I have too, obviously. It’s almost part of human nature to “judge” people. But no one walks out of their house everyday, awaiting society to approve of the way they are dressed or the way they act.

I have just come to understand this in depth. When we judge someone and talk to others about them, it actually shows the type of person WE are rather than the one whom we’re apparently trying to belittle.

Everyone goes through a point in their life where they ultimately decide what kind of person they want to be, what they want to achieve, and where they want to be in life. We all set these goals for ourselves at some point or another. These are goals that we personally are happy with; we’re content with what we plan for ourselves.

So why don’t we consider that about others? If someone is doing something or is dressed in a certain way, THEY MADE THAT DECISION. If they are happy with it, then excuse me but, who are we to approve or disapprove? Wait, do we think we’re perfect or something? We all have our weaknesses that we don’t want others talking about and we usually are not looking for their “okay” as to what we choose to do in life. I believe that’s a job reserved for the parents. (Sorry if that sounded a bit harsh, I’m not actually a mean person but…) Just stop judging. Honestly, no one cares about the negative thoughts we may have about others. Seriously. They could be a better person than us but we’ve decided to be shallow by judging what they appear to be. We should not speak of what we have no knowledge of. SILENCE IS BETTER.

Plus, when we judge someone, we are ultimately limiting our own actions. If we happen to do what we have just judged someone else for doing, we become a hypocrite. Lose lose situation, eh?

Let people live their lives, let people be happy, don’t give mean looks to ANYONE. We don’t know the impact we can have on someone’s life so just SMILE because no matter how insignificant it may seem, it actually makes people’s day.

“Your smile for your brother is charity” -Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

SubhanAllah, Allah (God) rewards you just for smiling. So don’t be a grumpy little potato with a negative mindset; smiling is free and worth it. I promise.

Yours truly, Misha Chaudhry

Passion

Assalamu’alaykum! (Peace be upon you)

My name is Misha Chaudhry, an 18 year old with a drive to inspire and constantly be inspired.

Everyone has a passion in life; something they’re good at or just something they love doing regardless of whether they are good at it or not. Lately, I’ve been getting so inspired by meeting people who are doing what they love; they are genuinely the happiest people out there.

Figuring out what you’re passionate about is definitely not easy, you have to step out of your comfort zone to really find out what you truly love. You can’t expect to sit at home and have life experiences be served to you on a plate. Get out there and do something new, OFTEN. Keep yourself fresh. Personally, it took me 101 mistakes and major life experiences (major to me, anyway) to finally figure out my passion, which I have decided not to tell anyone about until I get through the many struggles that come in the way of achieving my goals; that’ll determine how bad I actually want to reach my goals and what I am willing to do to get there.

Basically, when you start to work towards something you love and really want to achieve with a passion, you will be put through many hardships that ultimately determine what your willing to do to achieve your goals. If you’re the type to get lazy easily and give up when things get tough, then just know that even the smallest tests will seem like mountains to you but trust me, just strive and focus on your goal. In the end, InShaAllah, you will find that everything was worth it.

I think everyone should just put 100% effort into anything and everything that they do in life. I’m learning to do this myself. Don’t do things halfheartedly, EVER! This is one of the many lessons that my mom has taught me in life, May Allah reward her the best of rewards. Well, I hope these few thoughts helped spark inspiration and motivation within you to get out there, do what you love, and most importantly, be happy!

Yours truly, Misha Chaudhry