Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

How do you “plan” your Faith?

Do you plan your life around your faith? Or do you plan faith around your life?

Is your salat (daily meditation) done in a last minute frenzy of rak’a (prostration) after rak’a? Or is it a time of khushoo (sincerity & focus) to meditate and recite the words of Allah (swt)?

In the university I attend, we have a Continue reading

Advertisements
Standard
Blog Post

Islam Simplified | A Guide to Better Understanding Islam

So you’ve heard these terms so many times, whether on CNN, the latest bill being passed or on the train station- Mozlems this, Muslims that, Islam this, Radical Islamists that. 

Some Muslims don’t drink, others own the bar down the street, some muslim women wear a hijab, some are covered from face, to head to toe, others are tanning in a bikini at the beach. So what’s the deal with these Muslims you might wonder? Who are they and what do they believe? 

This will be the first post of a series of “Islam 101″ blogposts to better explain what Islam is to those who think all we do is set off bombs and yell “Allah Akbar” *eye roll*

In this post specifically I’ll be covering some main ideas that will (hopefully) make the foreign map of Muslim beliefs be more navigable. 

The One Thing–  There are 1.7 billion Muslims in the world and counting. Across the board, from east to west the one absolute thing that all Muslims have in common is their belief in the oneness of God. Continue reading

Standard
Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

5 Things To Remember When You Are Losing Faith

There comes a time in every persons life, regardless of what faith they are following, where they stop for a minute and think, what if what I believe is wrong? 

Though this is normal, sometimes too much of this kind of thinking creates gaps in our faith that can grow overtime and create dissatisfaction in our lives. It creates a fog of doubt in our beliefs that clouds our iman, and without iman, religion is nothing but dry worship. Here are some things I like to keep in mind when I’m in doubt. 

quran wordpress

1. Listen to Quran (or the specific scripture you follow)

It’s a shame how much of the beauty of Quran is stripped when it is translated and it’s verses become the output of a humans limited understanding and vocabulary. There is nothing more beautiful than the calming recitations of Quran in arabic, and sometimes that’s all you need to hear to remember why you get up at 5 in the morning to pray and recite the very verses on that very first page on the Quran. 

park wordpress

2. Sit At A Public Bench

Take 5 to 15 minutes and find a bench to sit somewhere in a busy place. Take a look around and look at how everyone is scurrying, so “busy” running errands and going to work: all things that don’t really have an end and no true everlasting purpose. Everyone running around in circles in their tiny little bubbles, struggling with the same insecurities, harboring similar thoughts, all made up of the same stuff.

Don’t think this is true? Try and make a chart, think it through. Where is everyone going? Work, a friends house? Visiting a loved one at the hospital? Walking their dog? 

Inevitably, we are all headed towards the same final destination regardless of what stop we make on the way. It may seem grim to some, but it’s the truth, we will all end up it deaths arms. It really is a mad world!

 

creation wordpress

3. Realize That you are a Creation

There is this idea that people often forget about creation and the creator. And it’s this: the creator is the one who makes the details of the creation, and then, releases the creation, independent of any physical connection to it.  

For example, iPhone. Apple designs the iPhone, makes the software and hardware and every little aspect of the iPhone. Yet the iPhone, without the visible logo of Apple, would not know who made it. It can function, but it does not know how it functions, or what its insides entail. Yet when you swipe the lock screen, you get the homepage, when you press call, you get to call. It can function without its maker, the creation is separate from the creator, yet it doesn’t change that relationship. It doesn’t change the fact that its creator knows everything about it, while it, the creation doesn’t.

Just because we can function without our creator controlling us, and we don’t have a logo stamped on us “made by God” doesn’t mean that that relationship doesn’t exist. It exists and you need faith to feel that connection. The Quran is quite literally like a manifesto for how to best take care of yourself from your Creator. 

namaz wordpress

 4. Pray! (Salat/Namaz)

I know your feeling of disconnection makes it hard to do this. It might even seem pointless. I’m not asking you to feel spiritual or motivated to pray; I’m asking you to pray so that you can feel spiritual and motivated again. And, I’m also asking you to know ahead of time, that not every prayer you will do will make you feel connected or spiritual. After all, not every grain of rice can tip the scale, it will take a combination of prayer, a consciousness of your Creator and many moments of contemplation before you can rekindle that feeling of connection, peace and purpose again. 

nature wordpress

5. Nature Walks

You don’t have to go to some fancy park for this, but you do need to step outside every once in a while and surround yourself with the lush life of this planet that we’re on. There’s something tranquil and energizing about being outdoors and surrounded by nature, and we definitely don’t get enough of that nowadays. 

Not sure where I read this, but I came across a statistic that stated that the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors. That means only 10% of our day is spent outside. If I’m not mistaken- we lock up suckers indoors as punishment for heinous crimes. And yet somehow, we’ve managed to willingly hold ourselves captive in our own homes tied to our computers and phones and TV’s- and expect to be spiritually connected and happy? Do yourself a favor, take a cup of tea and step outside for a minute- fresh air doesn’t bite. 

I know that for some people our impending mortality as humans may seem like a very dreadful thing to mention, but it’s true, who makes it out of this world alive? No one. 

I know it sounds dreadful, but it really shouldn’t be like that. For millions of years this is the only thing we’ve been promised on this earth- and yet we still don’t know how to deal with it. 

Embrace the fact that you’re not promised tomorrow. You have this moment and that’s all you need, connect with your Lord, let this moment and every moment be one of peace. And know with conviction, that there’s nothing for you to worry about. On earth you’ll have a peaceful existence, and in the after you’ll be amongst your Creator in shaa Allah. 


Hey there! I worked pretty hard on this post and hope that it has benefitted you in some way. If you liked it, please send it to your brother or sister, or anyone else you know. It helps me out tremendously when my work is shared 🙂 -JZK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Blog Post

About Your Faith

About Faith

-from an excerpt in Nahjol Balagha

(1) It is a road that is crystal-clear, inundated with light.

(2) Faith leads you to good deeds, and good deeds lead to faith. [rest of excerpt continues at end of post]

Notes on faith. Don’t let it wither, don’t let it dry out. I know how busy everyday life can get, I truly do, but you need to stop for a minute and take a breather. Continue reading

Standard
Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

How could God exist and let such terrible things happen?

“Worship none other than God, for I fear for you the punishment of a momentous day.” – Quran 46:21

I wonder how people can deny the existence of God when there is less evidence to prove that, than the latter.

The physical absence of something does not mean it does not exist. The most meaningful themes in our lives are not physical- in fact- they are the most physically absent. Such as love and happiness and joy and growth. Their physical absence doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Furthermore, it irks me when people claim that “how could a god exist and let such terrible things happen on this earth?”

Which I understand where that argument stems from. There is a lot of pain and suffering on this earth, and there are a lot of unfair things. There are plenty of really messed up twisted unfair things that make you want to scream yourself to death, because it’s just not fair and it’s infuriating that you can’t do anything to change it. I get that, I really do. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s a logical argument to then believe that:

1. God doesn’t exist because terrible things on earth are happening

2. Terrible things continue to happen on earth even though “God” doesn’t exist

If God is out of the picture, and terrible things are still happening— who is to blame then? Who is making these problems? God doesn’t exist. You can’t put the blame on God. You don’t believe he exists. So why are there still problems?

Could it be that maybe there is enough abundance of food and goods for everyone- but that maybe people aren’t distributing it right because of our greed? Could it be that the bloodshed and genocides are fueled and caused and fought by people. Who created the concept of money? Wasn’t it people- who worships money? Isn’t it people? Who kills and steals and lies and belittles and humiliates for money? Isn’t people? People like you and me?

What about hurricanes, natural disasters? As if we don’t have the knowledge and the tools to know what’s coming at us and why. Look at the way we’re dealing with things like global warming. Have you seen those pictures of animals whose throats are wrapped with plastic bags and plastic bottle holders? Who made these? And who ignorantly tossed them into the sea to cause this? Wasn’t it humans? People like you and me. Who do certain behaviors without giving them another thought, without thinking what consequence our actions inch us towards on a personal and global level? Isn’t it people like you and me. Tell me. Am I wrong? Is it something else? Is the world just wrong because this “creator being” designed it to be painful and wrong and messed up? Do you not have a choice? Do you not have power over your actions? Or do you want to blame everyone but yourself?

And let’s go back to that. Let’s go back to the blaming part.

So you’re telling me, you don’t believe that God exists- but you’re going to go ahead and blame everything wrong in the world on God anyway. That’s like blaming your problems on an imaginary friend who you don’t even think exists. How in the world does that even make any logical sense.

You don’t want to believe in God, fine. That’s your call.

But please support it with a better argument than blame.

  • Authors note: This is my personal opinion. Please don’t go off assuming all sorts of things from this one post. I’m simply stating my problem with the logic of this one argument. I don’t believe that blame is a legitimate claim for the disbelief in God that some people have. I don’t have any issues or problems with peoples differing opinions and views on the matter. I wrote it simply for the purposes of having a dialogue on the topic, and not to point any fingers, or judge anyone.

    Standard
    Blog Post

    Intimacy in Movies? Do you watch it or skip?

    Salam!
    This topic has been on my mind lately, since I’ve been obsessed with this show called You on Netflix (which btw I just finished binge watching, thanks a lot self control!)

    The problem is, just like many other adult shows now a days, there are some themes we can’t get away from, and a lot of intimacy on all levels throughout the show.

    So I wonder, what’s okay and what’s not okay when watching these shows from a religious perspective? A purely religious perspective.

    I surely don’t have any answers, and I haven’t done any research on the matter either. But I did want to have a dialogue about it, and just sort of ask and see what your personal opinion is.

    Personally, I don’t feel comfortable with it, like it’s fine if there are a lot of make out/sex scenes, for the most part it won’t stop me from watching a show as long as there’s a captivating plot.

    I do however, generally skip or turn a blind eye to these scenes because on some level I feel like it’s not okay to watch. Which I know some people might find a little extra considering that I’m a grown woman, but it’s the truth, I just don’t feel comfortable with it.

    The first reason being that it’s almost like watching people’s PDA, but like on an extra level. Like it’s TMI most of the time, it’s unrealistic, it’s a show- it’s not even real. And beyond the screen, at the end of the day, it’s just two people in front of the camera on a set, where there is an entire crew crowded around them and focused on them for that moment while they make out or have pretend sex or maybe even real sex. Like that just makes it kind of painful for me to watch to be honest. Knowing that it’s so manufactured and like, awkward.

    And then, the expectations it sets you up for, again, it’s not real. Kisses don’t look like that in real life, the same way relationships don’t work the same way that they do on screen than they do offscreen. Not just the actors relationships, I’m talking about real life. I don’t want to create false expectations for myself, and I really do believe that the content we feed our mind, makes us, the same way we are what we eat; we are also the content we consume.

    And my final reason, is that I find this whole thing unnatural. If you rewind time back to before Netflix existed and cellphones and video cameras- the only time you would see these extremely dramatized forms of affection in every way on every level, was never. It simply didn’t exist.

    If you wanted to see people making out, or even kissing, it would generally be on the street, or maybe your parents, or friends or some or other form of that. You did not have access to a zoomed in, nicely formatted display of the experience. There were no front seats to watch this stuff from, you couldn’t replay and gape at what’s going on like you can at your phone or laptop screen. It was like, either you’re experiencing it, or you don’t really get to see it in that much detail. How many of you stop to stare with full intensity at people who are making out?

    And then the sex scenes? You would really have to go out of your way to see people doing it before all this digital stuff came to be. I mean, can you imagine just sitting there staring with full intensity in someones room? Like why. For the purposes of watching my shows, all I need to know is that something happened between the characters, I don’t need that much detail. I really don’t.

    I understand that maybe a group of younger teenagers who are curious, might be interested in seeing every detail of any and all intimate scenes in a movie or show. But to me, it gets to a point where- there’s no point in watching these scenes in every other show I come across. If I know what’s going down, I really don’t need to explicitly see every detail. Or at least, that’s how I feel about it and that’s my personal take on this.

    What do you personally think?

    Standard
    Blog Post, Questions, Spiritual Matters

    Your Cultural Practices aren’t Islam

    Somewhere in my spiritual journey a few years ago, I began questioning so many of the things I, and the other muslims around me did. Mistreatment of gays/lesbians, calling certain races superior or inferior to others, not mixing with people of different muslim sects, etc.

    Why, I wondered, did we do all this? Continue reading

    Standard