Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Most things in life are overrated

 Life has the ability to disappoint you. Sometimes you look forward to things, believing that it will be wonderful, just to be reminded that it wasn't such a big deal in the first place. This can apply to big things and small.

For a while I wanted to buy the new Magnum Black Espresso ice-cream. The adverts of it made it seem divine. The mouth-watering, rich ice-cream, with perfect coffee flavoured swirls covered in intense dark chocolate almost made me drool. Who wouldn't be attracted to such a pleasure?  So yesterday my sister decided to buy it for me (May Allah reward her), and I finally got to taste it. I’d be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it, but after a short while I came to this realization- MOST THINGS IN LIFE ARE HIGHLY OVERRATED!

The ice-cream was obviously not as enjoyable as it was made to look, and of course that should be expected since advertising is a huge industry and those people really do their jobs well. But this is a reminder to us all, the things of this world are all like that. It provides the promise of something wonderful, just for you to come to learn that in fact, it’s not that great after all.

Let’s look at bigger things, because deriving life lessons from a simple ice-cream may seem silly to some people.

What about something like marriage? We look forward to getting married with a firm belief that it will be perfect. We dream of having the best spouse and a life that will make others long to be us. Only to find that it’s more work than fun and the dream does not match the reality at all. Same thing with having children. It’s a pleasure and a blessing, but it’s no walk in the park and parents will tell you that their concerns, worries and work never end.

The same can apply to almost anything in life, anything material that is. The promises of joy when it comes to things in this world will always be overrated, but I think it has to be that way. How can we enjoy everlasting Paradise if we get satisfaction in this temporary world? How can we understand truth without first having lived through the illusion? This world is merely a preparation, and this means that everything in it is flawed, and so of course when we expect perfection from things in this imperfect world then we will end up feeling disappointed and perhaps even cheated.

But while most things in life are overrated, we can expect there to be the opposite of this and so Inshaa-Allah we will find that things of the hereafter will not be overrated at all. Yes, I know that I have not actually experienced the hereafter, but I have the promise of my Creator and that means that the descriptions of Paradise is not some truth laced with a whole load of illusion (as is the case in this world). When Allah Almighty tells us something, then we can be assured that it is pure and absolute truth, and so things will be exactly how they have been described to be. No misleading advertising, no glamorous ploys, no emotional manipulation, just the plain down truth, and we are told something to the effect that our expectations of Jannah (Paradise) will never be accurate, it will always be surpassed because we do not have the ability to comprehend things of the Hereafter. So Inshaa-Allah what we expect from Jannah will be much, much better than our expectations, and obviously then “overrated” will not even feature.

The lesson in short:
Things of this world will always continue to disappoint us but things of the Hereafter will be the opposite.


Image from here 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A New Year Dawns- All The Best for 1435

Image from here

New Year Duaa (Prayer)

Oh Allah you are the EVER-LASTING, the ETERNAL, the FIRST, and your Magnificent great bounties and the nobility of your independent generosity. This new year has approached and I ask thee protection during the year from shaytaan and his friends and I ask thee assistance of this evil nafs (of mine) and assist me to do such actions that will bring me closer to thee, O the POSSESSOR OF GREATNESS AND HONOUR!

Whoever recites the above duaa at the beginning of the year, the shaytaan says:

“This person has safeguarded himself from me.”

Extracted from page 56 from the kitaab “Youm Aashoroli Or Uskaa Hookam” By Hazrat Moulana Ahmed Saeed Sahib Dahliwi (Rahmatullah Alay)

How do things become “Fashion?”

My most recent musings led me to ask myself this question as I wondered about the origin of Red Velvet Cakes (out of all things). See most recently the trend in baking has been red velvet, suddenly it’s all everybody talks about, and making the most perfect red velvet cakes is testimony to your excellent baking skills. Now I have never tried making these myself, mainly because I’ve tasted it and really can’t understand the obsession. I will always remain a chocolate cake loyalist.

It got me thinking though- Does everybody really prefer eating red velvet cakes above all else. I mean do they actually love the way it tastes, or has this just become the latest fashion? Now I get that people need diversity in life, that’s all well and good, even I would get sick of eating chocolate cake all the time. But when something suddenly takes the world by storm and becomes the latest craze, I usually look at it with a good dose of scepticism, being the anti-fashion person that I am.

Red velvets aside, I can name many other things that have taken people by storm and this is as diverse as a particular hairstyle to the type of water bottle that people use. Yes, you’ve heard me correctly, even water bottles can come into fashion. A while back I saw this glass water bottle being sold and wanted to buy it for my mother, unbeknownst to me, this very bottle was the latest craze. Soon I saw it all over the place and everyone was suddenly using them. I had to wonder how come so many people suddenly understood that drinking water is healthier than any other drink, but anyway, at least people were drinking water right?

It would be interesting to know where things originated from. Who first decided to try out red velvet cupcakes and how did it manage to become a craze? Which person thought of the idea of selling funky glass water bottles? Who decided that beaded bookmarks would be cool?...
Where exactly do all these “fashions” or perhaps they are more aptly referred to as “fads” come about? And how does a simple idea suddenly become so popular?

I’d like to hear different thoughts on this and at the same time, the next time you’re about to eat a red velvet cupcake, I would like you to consider whether you really like it for what it tastes like or do you like it because it somehow makes you feel like you are part of the “in thing”? And of course this applies to every other “fashion trend” which so often surfaces.

Let’s start thinking about whether our choices are our own or if they are simply choices made under the influence of others, as bizarre as that may sound. 

Image 1 from here
Image 2 from here