Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reflections on life and opposites

Recently I’ve been thinking about how life seems to be made up of “opposites or polarities”.

Last week my friend’s mother passed away, two days after that my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. My friend is naturally extremely devastated and saddened, she looks like she never wants to smile again. My sister is naturally elated and so happy that she can’t stop smiling every time she sees her new-born child.

Life and death, two opposites, yet two things that are an essential part of our lives on this earth. It seems that life is filled with these polarities, Life-Death; Happiness-Sadness; Light-Darkness… perhaps everything in life has an opposite.

Interestingly it seems that these opposites are interlinked, thus confirming that its necessity in life. Think about it- if we never experience joy then we can’t understand sorrow, if we never experience sorrow then we can’t appreciate joy. If we have never had happiness then sadness becomes obsolete and if we’ve never seen light then darkness is something we see as natural. Without opposites, things don’t seem to make much sense, do they?

Eternal life may seem like an ideal to some people, but ask a really old person about that and they’ll probably tell you they’d prefer death because life has just become tiring. Birth in itself cannot be extricated from death.  

What I also found interesting when thinking about this is that with some of these opposites, we actually have a choice as to which one we will hold on to. For instance, we can choose whether we want to let light into our lives, or if we want to continue to dwell in darkness. We can choose happiness over sadness, (by focusing on all the favours of Allah for instance). We can choose to make wise decisions instead of stupid ones. Okay, so when it’s our time to die we don’t really have a choice in the matter, but we can choose how we wish to live, and these choices will ultimately determine our final outcomes, not only in this world but in the hereafter as well.

So basically while it saddens me immensely to see my friend in mourning, I know that one day she will be rejoicing life again- and I have to admit that while I’m thrilled to see my sister so elated and rejoicing new life- I cannot forget that one day she will have to face sadness of losing a loved one.

Life just has to be this way, like I said, if we don’t experience both sides of these polarities then we will never appreciate and understand life, and this means that we will never grow. After all, doesn’t Allah Almighty remind us of this in the Glorious Quraan when Allah Most Merciful, Most Gracious tells us that: ‘Indeed after hardship will come ease’. Without the hardship we will never be able to appreciate the ease. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) Allah truly knows everything. May Allah Almighty help us to deal with whatever we have to deal with and may Allah give us the gift of appreciation and contentment with whatever situation we are in!

All Praise is due to Allah Almighty!
Image from here

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Could we ever be like this amazing woman?

I came across this article and was so inspired that I just had to share it here. Alhamdulillah this woman had such conviction and strength in faith, and I couldn't help asking myself if I would be able to resist the temptation of fame the way she did... Allah Knows best, but truly there are amazing woman, even in today's time. Anyway, read for yourself and you'll know what I mean:-)

The article below was taken from here:

Oldest Woman in the World Refused Entry in Guinness Because of Headscarf
Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-02-18
A 124 year old Palestinian woman, Maryam Hamdan Ammash was refused entry into the Guinness book of world records because she refused to take off her head scarf and appear on TV.

Maryam's family members said that their grandmother who has performed the Hajj (Pilgrimage) five times in her life and performed Umrah ten times refused to commit a sinful act even for getting eternal with entering the Guinness World Records.

In an interview with Gulf News, Mahdi Helmi Ammash, a grandson of Maryam said "There have been serious discussions about Maryam entering the Guinness World Records breaking the record of the French Jeanne Louise Calment who lived 122 and a half years. A team of the Guinness team visited Maryam and her family last March to this end"

"Armed with official documents including her birth certificate, identity card and other documents, we will not give up our grandmother's right to enter the Guinness World Records for the longest human lifespan even after her death," he said.

Sadly Maryam passed away on the 26th January 2013, after she lived for 124 years. Scores of people from around the world attended her condolence session held in her home village of Jisr Al Zarqa'a, near Haifa of the 1948 areas.

Maryam who held a Turkish birth certificate and an identity card clearly stated that she was born in 1888 and became undoubtedly the oldest woman in the world.

"This fact is beyond doubt and that all officials who paid visits to my grandmother have confirmed it and this is documented with the family", added Mahdi.

Maryam was also a very outspoken. When a representative of the Guinness told her that they can make her a well-known personality, she answered with a question: "And will that make me happy?" To which the representative, with a little hesitation, replied that it would probably make her and her family happy.

She asked the representative how old he was to which he replied,”43”. She smiled and said, “And most of all, you are not a Muslim ...?"Surprised by her answer the man asked why these issues may be of any importance and what she wanted to say?

She said, “You are old enough to distinguish between what is right and what is not. But you are not a Muslim. That means either you are too small to distinguish truth from delusion, or you are an imbecile. Because only a child or imbecile would believe that it will make him/her happy to be glorified among the same mortals like himself. When he risks being thrown into shame in the eyes of the Creator."

"So what should I choose?” asked the Guinness representative. Maryam said, “to be glorious amongst those themselves are inglorious or to be glorious amongst the lucky owners of the Contentment of the Creator, me, you, him and all those whom you represent"?

The Guinness representative was stumped when Maryam had the final word and said, “Go away and grow up to start thinking if you do not have the answer. And I promise not to die until you get back - she joked at the end".

The most surprising fact was that the man embraced Islam in 7 months afterwards. And after another 4 months Maryam Hamdan Ammash died.