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Wake up calls from unlikely places..

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It's probably the most oft-quoted story ever, but today I revisited the classic (real life) tale of a sneering highway robber being the man who sent Imam Al Ghazali (rahimuhullah) into a spiritual meltdown.

 

When he stopped to rob him, Imam Ghazali clutched to his books and his notes and told him to take everything else, but to leave him with the knowledge he had acquired. The highway robber's ears pricked up at this statement and so sarcastically he asked 'what kind of knowledge is this that it can be lifted from you by a robber like me?' which unravelled in Imam Ghazali a series of internal questions and debates- leading him to the conclusion that his intentions were so diseased that he had just been taking 'knowledge' for the sake of dunya.

 

This got me thinking about how Allah places people, comments, places, situations which- if you attuned to it spiritually- can shake you to your core...and these 'lessons' can come from the strangest of places.

 

Has anybody else experienced this?

 

My only comparible moment like this was years ago (in another life) when I was working as a personal shopper at Selfridges. Part of the job was to have appointments with clients booked where you spent 3/4+ hours with them basically kitting them out with a brand new wardrobe all in one afternoon or morning. One of the men I was choosing clothes with spotted my name tag and asked me where my 'exotic' name was from. When the conversation developed a little more, he said to me 'Oh! So you're Muslim? We need more Muslims like you!' to which I just kinda went mute.

 

This would-be compliment really burned me hard because next time I caught a look of myself in the mirror I thought there was NOTHING identifiably Muslim about me, nothing 'Muslim' about my behaviour and nothing overly 'Muslim' about anything to do with me. It was that kind of Muslim this guy thought we needed more of- the 'we can't tell she's Muslim Muslim'.

 

That comment and reaction of his really was the domino in a long line of events- but the 'trigger' came from a painfully honest opinon of a random client at work.

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Mashallah Zimarina. Great thread!

 

I think we have plenty of these moments but pass them by. Shah Waliullah, the great Sufi and reviver of Islam in the Indian subcontinent explained that these moments are the work of angels that are trying to give us subtle pieces of advices and guidance, remind us of God in unlikely places, to steer us to good and keep us from sins.

 

I have some 'wake-up calls' I will share inshallah after Jumma. No point in sharing a wake-up call from God and missing the prayer now right? :)

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Great thread Zimarina mA. I remember a non-muslim asked me 'How do you be a muslim? Is there anything that differentiates me and you?' and I was like 'well yeah, I believe that there's one God and that Prophet Muhammad was the Messenger of Allah', and I was pretty pleased with that. And when I told my sister what happened she said 'Well, to be honest, nothing makes us stand out from non-muslims other than the colour of our skin'.

That was pretty heart breaking.

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I guess one that really hit hard last week was when I was listening to a radio program about the Book of Exodus. Hearing the Jewish story of Musa alayhi salam and Firawn and how they interpreted it about change and stubbornness (Musa is curious about the fire in the distance, Firawn is too stubborn to change) and taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone, if only for the fact of what you do not understand, hit me. That, plus how SINCERELY they talked about God, made me appreciate so much what I have. I mean, here these people are talking about a moment in history, their encounter with God, their liberation, their beginnings-- that they have relived over and over again for 2000+ years with such fervor--and I never hear Muslims talk about Islam in that same way, nor with that intensity, and yet what we have is soooooo much more.

 

If that is how they are with Musa alayhi salam, how much more should I be with Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam--the Imam of all the Prophets? I just realized how much of Islam's "spiritual wealth" I take for granted. Bani Israel would probably have killed to be given Surah Fatiha. Eesa alayhi salam is the one Prophet who Allah granted the honour of joining the Ummah of Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam at the End of Time and to me its like nothing special. We have to just cry a little and are given forgiveness, and are forgiven but others had to sacrifice themselves to be given Allah's forgiveness. They would crawl on their hands and knees just to given the blessings that we stroll right into like its Dubai or like we are on vacation or in some spa.

 

A Jew puts in the same effort as a Muslim but look a the yield that the Muslim has from Allah. It has nothing to do with our efforts, but has everything to do with the Beloved of Allah salallahu alayhi wasalam and Allah's blessings. And imagine if a person of Bani Israel became a Muslim--they would be so incredibly grateful they'd be going nuts doing tahajjud all the time, masjid everyday, fasting as much as possible, Qur'an 24/7 and just going all out-- because they were going 100% at running the Torah, now they got the Qur'an so now they gotta go like, 1000% overtime.

 

I don't know if that makes any sense, but its like yeah, theres so much more I should be doing. I should be going ballistic over Islam. Forget moderation--if you wanna be a slow poke, fine, but I am already behind so moderation ain't for me!!! I've been alive for 20 some years, the Muslim Ummah has been kicking around for 1400 years and we will be standing on the Plain waiting for the Day of Qiyamah for 50,000 years. That period of time dwarfs any and every moment. To me, it only makes sense, I work for the akhira like a madman.

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There was a blind man who was obviously lost at the train station, but I was too oblivious and preoccupied to notice. Out of nowhere two young men appeared and helped guide the man to the escalator. That could have been me helping out. In our zest to do great things in life, we forget the small deeds.

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I guess one that really hit hard last week was when I was listening to a radio program about the Book of Exodus. Hearing the Jewish story of Musa alayhi salam and Firawn and how they interpreted it about change and stubbornness (Musa is curious about the fire in the distance, Firawn is too stubborn to change) and taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone, if only for the fact of what you do not understand, hit me. That, plus how SINCERELY they talked about God, made me appreciate so much what I have. I mean, here these people are talking about a moment in history, their encounter with God, their liberation, their beginnings-- that they have relived over and over again for 2000+ years with such fervor--and I never hear Muslims talk about Islam in that same way, nor with that intensity, and yet what we have is soooooo much more.

 

If that is how they are with Musa alayhi salam, how much more should I be with Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam--the Imam of all the Prophets? I just realized how much of Islam's "spiritual wealth" I take for granted. Bani Israel would probably have killed to be given Surah Fatiha. Eesa alayhi salam is the one Prophet who Allah granted the honour of joining the Ummah of Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam at the End of Time and to me its like nothing special. We have to just cry a little and are given forgiveness, and are forgiven but others had to sacrifice themselves to be given Allah's forgiveness. They would crawl on their hands and knees just to given the blessings that we stroll right into like its Dubai or like we are on vacation or in some spa.

 

A Jew puts in the same effort as a Muslim but look a the yield that the Muslim has from Allah. It has nothing to do with our efforts, but has everything to do with the Beloved of Allah salallahu alayhi wasalam and Allah's blessings. And imagine if a person of Bani Israel became a Muslim--they would be so incredibly grateful they'd be going nuts doing tahajjud all the time, masjid everyday, fasting as much as possible, Qur'an 24/7 and just going all out-- because they were going 100% at running the Torah, now they got the Qur'an so now they gotta go like, 1000% overtime.

 

I don't know if that makes any sense, but its like yeah, theres so much more I should be doing. I should be going ballistic over Islam. Forget moderation--if you wanna be a slow poke, fine, but I am already behind so moderation ain't for me!!! I've been alive for 20 some years, the Muslim Ummah has been kicking around for 1400 years and we will be standing on the Plain waiting for the Day of Qiyamah for 50,000 years. That period of time dwarfs any and every moment. To me, it only makes sense, I work for the akhira like a madman.

 

that is such a beautiful observation, mashaAllah.

Allahu Akbar.

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Standing in the middle of an interfaith meeting. The Christian priest comes up and sings a hymn. The Rabbi does a reading from the Torah. The imam recites Surah Fatiha.

 

Everybody mingles around canapes and pineapple-and-cheese-toothpicks discussion how we are all 'children of Abraham' and united under our common patriarch. We are all the same really and part of the human family, this is what God loves. That whole afternoon was one of the most petrifying wake up calls ever. Unless we sort ourselves out SHARPISH as Muslims, all of that shallow rhetoric will unfortunately become a reality.

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My Wake-up call was the best of wake-up calls alhamdullilah. I think I am going to cry just thinking about it.

 

I know I told one MM'er on here about it,

 

I had a dream of Muhammad SAW nabiyuna wa habibuna, I remember relating the dream to people as soon as I woke up. Now I only remember bits and pieces, maybe I will share my 'wake-up' call on here after I am done house chores. To understand the dream you need a little background story about me and I am a bit reluctant to share my 'passé'. We will see inshaAllah. :)

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Standing in the middle of an interfaith meeting. The Christian priest comes up and sings a hymn. The Rabbi does a reading from the Torah. The imam recites Surah Fatiha.

 

Everybody mingles around canapes and pineapple-and-cheese-toothpicks discussion how we are all 'children of Abraham' and united under our common patriarch. We are all the same really and part of the human family, this is what God loves. That whole afternoon was one of the most petrifying wake up calls ever. Unless we sort ourselves out SHARPISH as Muslims, all of that shallow rhetoric will unfortunately become a reality.

 

Why was it a petrifying experience?

 

I've been to interfaith events before, and it has (most of the time) made me feel welcome and part of the human family. I come to appreciate the similarities we have, and that we can live with each other without being in conflict. It's a good thing I think. It encourages peace and tolerance amongst the different religions.

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My Wake-up call was the best of wake-up calls alhamdullilah. I think I am going to cry just thinking about it.

 

I know I told one MM'er on here about it,

 

I had a dream of Muhammad SAW nabiyuna wa habibuna, I remember relating the dream to people as soon as I woke up. Now I only remember bits and pieces, maybe I will share my 'wake-up' call on here after I am done house chores. To understand the dream you need a little background story about me and I am a bit reluctant to share my 'passé'. We will see inshaAllah. :)

 

Sometimes its better not to share dreams. Even if you trust the person, you begin to be get worried and question your sanity.

 

I always remember the hadith where one Sahabi said to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) and how his dreams troubled him and that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam comforted him saying to not make much of it.

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^ :yes: Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam said we should narrate good dreams to those we like. If someone has a dream that they like, it's from God. I believe it's considered a good deed to share stuff about blessings. It's bad dreams that we are discouraged from disclosing.

 

MJ: MashaAllah about the dream. And inshallah. :)

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