Friday, October 12, 2012


Driving down Mississauga Road the other day, the sun was setting and without any houses in the way, it shone bright. Warm and blinding against the only row of houses, there were no buildings to cast any shadows except one lone fire station.

The car was warm and the visor provide little protection against the striking rays. It felt nice masha Allah.

They say that in the Haram, the floor is so hot, despite all the cooling technology, that you need to wear socks to protect your feet. The intense sun reminds me of the intensity of the heat and sun that wait for us in Saudi. A friend's family member said the temperature is close to 50 deg right now. Almost unimaginable. Sounds virtually unbearable.

But if the heat from the floor of the house of Allah is unbearable, why do we think we will be able to bear the heat of the hellfire? The uncle of the Prophet (saws), Abu Talib, will face the least of the hellfire as mentioned in the hadith:
“The least severely punished of the people of Hell will be a man who has two live coals  placed on the soles of his feet – because of which his brains will boil as a pot boils. He will not think that anyone is being punished more severely than him, but he will be the one who is punished most lightly.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
And this is from Allah's mercy, due to Abu Talib's actions in protecting Islam and the Prophet (saws). What have we done to deserve Allah's mercy? Our Iman? Our Salah? Siyam? Zakaah? Hajj? None of it will be enough to thank Allah for all He has done for us, but Allah is the Most Merciful. May Allah protect all us from even the lightest of His punishments. Ameen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Tonight, we dropped off Shaheen and Br Eshan at the airport. They're leaving for Makkah and insha Allah, we hope to catch up with them in Madinah. They're treating us to McDonalds! :-)

Earlier, my husband and I had rushed home from work, drove over to their place and rang the doorbell. The wind was cold, but my cheeks were flushed from the excitement of going to the airport. The door opened, my husband walked in first and I followed close behind, shutting the door quickly from the below average temperatures outside.

Suitcases in the front hall, carry on ready to go, a travel pillow hanging gingerly off to one side. Masha Allah, they were ready! Shaheen looked so calm and relaxed. Not a sign of stress or worry on her face masha Allah. I wondered if I could be the same when it came time for me to leave. Not sure yet.

A few last minute tasks, some departure pictures from the house and we were off!

Arriving at the airport, they quickly checked in their luggage and we walked quickly to pray Maghrib in the prayer hall of Terminal 1. If you haven't been there, it's a beautiful place to make your salah masha Allah. Quiet and serene, you can always see the many Muslim airport employees always coming and going.

Moments later, with their last Timmies in their hands for awhile, we walked back with Shaheen and Br Eshan to the area where their family was waiting. Subhan Allah, what a group! To see off 4 people for Hajj, masha Allah, more than 40 showed up!  Hugs and kisses, warmth and love, we left before the potential tears. But really, when else would all these people come to see you off like this? Is there any other religion/faith/time/place that would have such an outpouring of love at the airport of all places?

It reminded me of the last time I was seeing someone off at the airport for Hajj. My Khala and Khalu (aunt and uncle), over 9 years ago. My Khalu, no more than 60, had been suffering from cancer for sometime and the chemotherapy had almost broken him. But subhan Allah, he made the niyyah to make Hajj on behalf of his mother, and Allah bestowed him with enough of a burst of energy and health that he was able to get on a plane. As he stood in the line for security, with so many of our family and friends at the airport, we waved goodbye as his head disappeared into the crowds.

He went to Makkah! He made it! He began his Hajj! He even completed it subhan Allah!

And then, this man who's last act was Hajj, died. My khalu died. In Madinah. Buried in Janatul Baki. My khala came back to her 3 sons a widow. My cousins lost their father. Everyone told them how lucky and blessed they were.

My khalu was a scrupulously honest man. And not one person ever had a complaint against him. He lived life simply, with few expectations from others, but many from himself. He treated children like they were his friends. He treated us like we were his own kids. He had a love and compassion for people that was incomparable.

I'm not sure which of these acts led to his blessed end, but I wish that I could live up to even one of them.

As our turn for departure comes insha Allah, the preparation for Hajj turns into high gear! Fifth Walmart trip, final packing, clean the house, few more phone calls, but can't forget the purpose. My Khalu's life and death remind me of that purpose. The purpose is it to make it. Make it to Jannah. As Naila (my sister in law) always says, there's only 2 places to go from here - let's make it the right one.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I was thinking about this right before Being Me Sister Conference (which was on Saturday):

11 days.
11 days before the flight.  
1 Major sisters conference.
1 Major work deadline.
1 Weekend AlKauthar Course.
20 things left to buy.
4 suitcases to pack.
5 duas to memorize (at least).
1 dua list to finalize.
Tons of people to call.
The opportunity of a lifetime: Priceless.

It is a true blessing from Allah, that He has filled my life up with so much good, that perhaps my nafs will not have time to do anything bad. Alhamdulillah!

When Hajj was first prescribed, and before the conveniences of modern transport, sometimes people spent an entire year just travelling from their home country to the Kaaba! On foot, by camel, maybe by horse if they were well off. And now, we can get there in a day! Yet, we feel overwhelmed by the idea of a 14 hour flight.

A book we've done many times in halaqa (I should have it memorized by now!) is Patience and Gratitude By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah ( He highlight the following ayah:

“ ...If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you...” (Ibrâhîm 14:7)

In his explanation of the ayah, the author indicates that the action of gratefulness will automatically lead to response from Allah. Unlike other actions, such as forgiveness, rizq, mercy, these are conditional of Allah's will. Subhan Allah, this is quite profound.

It is in this journey, that perhaps our patience and gratefulness to Allah will be significantly tested. Sh Muhammad AlShareef in one of his Hajj coach videos (check them out, even if you are not doing Hajj, they are awesome masha Allah!), showed us the following picture:

My question to everyone is: What do you see? What do you see in the box?

The first answer that comes to mind is "a black dot...duh!", right?

But what about all the white dots around it? Why do always only notice the "black dots" in a situation and not all the white pearls that surround it? Subhan Allah, Allah has filled our lives with so many white pearls, and yet we lose sight of them the first chance we get!

This scenario can be applied to almost any situation and it kept crossing my mind throughout the Being Me conference, every time someone had a complaint. I kept making dua that He protects me from complaining during or after Hajj. We always want to improve, yes, but let's enjoy the white pearls that surround us. Before we start only seeing the black dots in everything. Those black dots will mean nothing in the grave, on the Day of Judgement or in our Final Abode.

It's our appreciation of the white pearls that will mean everything and save us from the hellfire. So let's focus on that.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

So it begins...


Today, we had our last Hajj prep seminar before our departure. Literally, like 2 little school girls, Sahar and I were giddy with excitement as we rushed into IMO to grab some seats as close to the front as possible.

Taking off our shoes, we see the towering figure and huge smile of Shaykh Alaa Elsayed welcoming the pre-Hajjis! My husband and Br Ahmer (Sahar's husband) run back to greet him and are enveloped by huge hugs and words of encouragement.

As we take our seats, I look around the room for any familiar faces. Aha! Farah's mom! Masha Allah, now that is one cool lady. We scoot over to the end of our row and sit beside her, hugs, kisses and congratulations on getting our visas shared amongst us. A cursory glance at the other faces in the room, returns back with smiles, apprehension, yearning and anticipation. I can share their sentiments.

The reminders begin. Starting with the brothers from Falcon Travel. Pack a lot of patience and follow the rules, follow the group leaders, follow the shuyookh and no fatwa shopping! The last 4 reminders seem easy, it's the patience one that worries me. 

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. - Surah Al-Asr

Few short lines from Allah's words, that reminds me not to waste this opportunity and His invitation. Only Allah knows if I will pass or fail this test. But with the words and guidance from Sh Alaa Elsayed and Dr Muneer El Kasem, the motivation to pass these tests is overwhelming.

I'll end this post with a reminder given by Sh Alaa. He told us to imagine that as we depart our homes for Hajj, to think of our final journey. What would we say to our family members and friends if this was the last time we spoke to them? He told us to imagine that our car ride is like our coffin. That our plane ride is like our souls departing. That what we see outside our little windows is like the dunya we are leaving behind. Would the haram we did, be worth it?
Shaykh Alaa showing how to wear the ihram garment for men.

But Alhamdulillah, the Lord of the Worlds is giving us an opportunity. An opportunity to rectify ourselves in this journey of a lifetime. The question of whether or not we seize this opportunity should haunt our dreams and motivate us in our waking hours. Time is running out, and only Allah knows if it will be enough.