Monday, 20 May 2013
The Voice of a Poet.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Poets are the best of people; their eyes and souls are open to the beauty of the world. They see without really looking, they find without seeking and they have the ability to encapsulate the splendour of a moment within a few words.
Most people expect poetry to be about flowers and nature; but the beauty of poetry is graceful and eternal. It is about life and the art of living. Each syllable, each word, each space, each line, each stanza has been carefully constructed; everything within poetry is meaningful and this in itself demonstrates how small quantities have the ability to be majestic and evocative. The words will always bring new meaning into your life because the emotions that you are reading with will never be the same. You, yourself, bring your own ideology to the words and upon reading, the world appears different. The words and emotions resonate deeply within you; they make a subconscious change. The poetry is always filled to the brim with connotation and value; it can never be drained.
A poet provides nature with a voice; it makes subtle beauty known and it opens our own souls to the revered qualities of living. Poetry helps us gain insight into the world around us and the world within our souls. Poetry is bringing revolution into our daily lives. I wanted to share a few of my favourite poets with you to help you understand and appreciate the power of the rhythmic word.
Sylvia Plath is by far my personal favourite; she is undeniably my greatest source of inspiration. She suffered from depression for a long time and this influenced her work greatly; her writing is emotive and terrifying but she captures the rawness of emotion so accurately that she creates a foundation for woman to relate to. Her work is timeless; she writes with elegance and fervour that can never be lost. I love reading about her life and her influences because she is a truly fascinating being. I am currently reading through her journals and am always left in utter enthralment at her depiction of her experiences. Sylvia Plath eventually committed suicide and this personally made her work even more appealing to me as I wanted to comprehend what had eventually led her to go through with it after several failed attempts. Her mindset was extraordinary and I just find myself reading her poetry again and again. Two of my favourite poems by her are ‘Insomniac' and 'Morning Song.’ I would highly recommend reading her novel ‘The Bell Jar’ which is semi-autobiographical and provides an accurate account of what it feels like to have a mental illness. Her level of humour adds another layer of reality to this great piece of literature. There is a sense of rawness to her words, they seep into your skin and it almost leaves you feeling vulnerable. She almost induces a feeling of worry through her bleak descriptions of our everyday reality.
My second favourite poet is Federico García Lorca. He is a Spanish poet and I have only ever read translations of his work so I cannot truly grasp the entirety of his words. His words will always be ground-breaking for me due to the initial moment of discovering him. It was almost as if the world beneath my feet had spun me around and shown me a new way to live. His writing style is genius; he uses metaphor and symbolism and his work has always been quite obscure. Upon reading his collection of poetry titled ‘The Poet in
My final favourite poet is Pablo Neruda. His writing style is possibly the most diverse of them all. He wrote about love and despair but he was also quite politically motivated. His work varies, but the different direction of his writing almost makes his words more alluring. My favourite poem is ‘Waltz’ purely because I feel that his each line is pure brilliance. Every single time I read this poem, I am left in utter admiration of the playful nature of his words. He beautifies imagery with a subtext of darkness and I always find myself wishing that I could take him out for coffee and ask how he came up with such magnificence. I would strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of his poems because his words are worth reading, simply because of his abstract language. He makes you realise that language is not concrete and he uses words in such an innovative manner that it advocates you to sit down and write your own cadenced verse. Another favourite is ‘Saddest Poem' which is unequivocally poignant; it encapsulates everything I love about his work.
I have provided links to the poems that have been mentioned so they are accessible to you. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts if you do read them and also let me know who your favourite poets are.
Monday, 13 May 2013
My blog is currently lacking substance; I will be posting pictures until my mind decides to realign itself with the universe.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
The last few weeks have been life-changing.
I haven’t decided whether I will write about what is going on because I am still coming to terms with things. I’ve been severely ill and today is the first day that I have been able to physically get up and do something.
I need to make a lot of changes to my life but my biggest concern at the moment is having an outlet for expression. My mentality is my highest priority and I need to maintain a healthy mindset. I changed around my blog and I will hopefully start posting regularly. Requests would be great.
I hope that you are all in the best of health and emaan, insha’Allah.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
We look for different things in words. You read to seek knowledge and I read to seek acceptance. You read for gain and I read for correlation. Both intentions benefit our souls in different ways. Upon reading words, we both become better people.
Why I Write.
Monday, 18 March 2013
In the words of Lord Byron ‘if I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.’ Writing keeps me sane; it is a form of liberation. It has become a way of life. There are moments when I cannot recall my thoughts with my tongue; it is the pen that speaks for me. Sometimes the pen has a mind of its own, using my thoughts as energy, writing things that I didn’t know I was feeling. Writing has become an obligation, like breathing. It has become a part of me, like skin.
My words are not written for an audience but rather for myself, to preserve memory, to conserve emotion, to make sense of things and to develop insight. Writing is therapeutic. There are no boundaries; it allows me to establish a place in the world to call my own, it provides me with a voice. Having one’s thoughts in print allows you to reflect and review them; it is your mind echoed onto paper. I conceal experience behind each word and the beauty of words is that every individual will have their own interpretation, the root is obscured. Writing is a veil of meaning, it corresponds possibility and hope. As a child, I came to the realisation that I had the ability to create a world that was superior to my own; it was a form of escapism. I made characters come alive and created things that had not yet been found; it was almost like playing God.
Although I write for myself, it is a foundation of something that people can relate to, it can provide aid. My writing can be used to validate one’s own feelings; it is an amalgamation of imagination and reality, the lines having been blurred. Though my writing overflows with emotion, it only takes a few words to change somebody else’s outlook, and to change an outlook is to change a life. Some live their lives in accordance to Holy Books, which are ultimately a construction of words, this is a demonstration of how words can be used to influence. I want to use my words to initiate thoughts in ones mind, to encourage and to create change.
My writing is about meaning, if I cannot take something from a piece of writing, I consider it to be futile. Writing, for me is about a correlation between the author and the reader. There must be some sort of fulfilment upon reading. I take everything I see and pour it into words, driven by emotion. My understanding of the world transpires from words. My experiences and the person I am surface from the lines that write me. Writing for me is about depth and implication, about emancipation and perception; it is a conversation within me. Words pave the route of my life, they are more than ink embossed on paper, they are a way of existing.
Isolation in Escapism.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
I have had two companions in this life; isolation and words. I frequently write about feeling isolated from people which is something that I began to experience throughout my childhood. This seclusion is what led me to read books; I then came to the realisation that I was able to create my own reality through the written word. I had the capacity to make anything happen. There was so much possibility that was alive in words; I didn’t have to feel alone anymore. Words gave me something to connect to, they gave me a world.
I spent a lot of time writing stories and constructing characters. I poured my isolation into action. At the age of 9, I showed one of my stories to my teacher. She absolutely loved it and had it printed out on a large piece of paper. She then stuck it in the hallway outside the reception; a wall that visitors always stopped to look at. This only encouraged me to write more, but I wrote for the sake of sustaining myself. My dad then bought me a computer; I would spend hours immersing myself in a whole new world, creating a reality that I hoped to live in.
I began to work on a story at the age of 11 which I continued to write over a period of three years. I submerged myself into the characters and it was a way of making me feel less lonely. Whenever I was upset, I would write it into a scene. Whenever I was angry, I would make something bad happen. It was a way for me to release my emotions without surrendering to them. This became my coping mechanism. The story became a fragment of my life, the characters became my friends and I spent hours and hours writing away as a form of escapism.
At the age of 12, my English teacher assigned us with an essay about an excerpt from The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It was mundane but I tried my best and handed in my essay. The next day, my teacher said that she needed to speak to me. She asked me whether I had written the essay myself. I nodded and asked her why. She told me that the essay was very well written and she was surprised that I had the ability to write like that. I smiled and didn’t think much of it.
The story that I was writing was now 1,804 pages long. However, as I was writing, I was also growing up and so I kept having the urge to go back and re-write large sections. I wanted the characters to feel certain emotions; I wanted the text to be authentic, for the world to be more just. In the end, I decided that this chapter of my life was over and I deleted the document. It was strangely painful as it had become such a big part of my life, but I knew that if I wanted to, I could always compose a new story.
At the age of 15, I went through a very difficult time and so I began to write poetry to relieve myself of my suffering. It was dark and painful poetry but it was the only means of expressing myself at a time in my life when I felt so lonely. This poetry helped me endure my pain and I realised that if I did not have people, I always had words. Gradually as time went on, I made a MySpace page where I began to post short pieces. This was the first time that I truly shared my writing since the age of 9, and the feedback was great. This slowly built up my self-belief and it motivated me to write more. My environment always led me to feel secluded and words were the only thing that did not disappoint. When it came to choosing my A-Levels, I decided to choose English Literature. However the reading list was tedious and I made the decision to study Business instead.
I began to share my writing with a support teacher that worked in our 6th form. She had studied English Literature at University and was one of the most encouraging people that I had ever met. She made me believe that my writing needed to be shared and I came to the realisation that writing was something that I should pursue. I applied for a Creative Writing course at University and also for a few Journalism courses. Due to the fact that I did not have any A-Level qualifications in English, the universities required me to attend interviews. The first interview was for Creative Writing; it was terrible. The lecturer told me that my writing was problematic and that I should consider doing something else with my life. I was heartbroken, I thanked him and left. When I arrived at school the next day, I discussed this with my teacher who told me that if he was an old man, he most likely grew up reading Dickens and probably expected everyone to write like that. She said that I should not be discouraged. I then attended my second interview which was for Journalism. The lecturer that interviewed me loved the pieces that I had written and told me that my work was emotionally enthralling and that I wrote with the wisdom of somebody that was so much older. He offered me a place immediately and told me that I had so much potential and that I would write great things one day. A few months later, I decided that I wanted to take English instead, I contacted the University and they were able to change my course for me. Sadly, I never saw that lecturer again.
My degree was a compilation of linguistic, literature and creative writing modules. The creative writing modules were my favourite. My creative writing lecturer loved the first piece that I wrote and asked whether she could publish it in the University newspaper. Throughout the year, I had more things published in the newspaper and I felt more comfortable sharing my work. I still remember the first time that I stood and recited a poem in front of the entire class, it was terrifying. In the second year, a group of students started a creative writing magazine for which they interviewed me. I had a double-page spread dedicated to me and this only encouraged me further. It was then that I created this blog. I wrote about my days and how I was feeling. I shared my opinions and my worries because I realised how much writing was helping me become a better person.
During my final year, it had become evident that my writing was the only thing that I wanted to pursue. A lecturer told me about a Masters in Writing and said that it was something that I might be interested in. I applied and was rejected. My lecturer told me not to be disheartened and found another course that I could apply for. Several of my lecturers wrote beautiful references for me, they attached some of my work and I was also required to write a personal statement. A few months later, the university informed me that I had been accepted.
I decided to study part-time and my first year of my Creative Writing MA was amazing. I was introduced to new texts and diverse poets and authors that I never would have discovered. My writing developed so much and I finally began to believe that my writing was good enough. We were required to share our work in class each week and by this point, I felt comfortable reading my work out to the class. Everyone had such a different writing style and I came to see that my way of writing was just as valid as anyone else’s.
This whole journey demonstrates that sometimes we do not always get what we want, but it does not mean that we should be discouraged because something better always comes along. The encouragement from my teachers was the greatest motivator. It took me a long time to believe that my writing was good enough, for this reason, I always kept my work a secret. People did not even know that I wrote, but now because I feel so comfortable sharing my work, they only know me as the writer. My enthusiasm grew with age as I realised that words were sustaining me. Writing became a way of life, it was an escape, it was comforting and it taught me how to come to acceptance.
I have reached a point in my life where I have this drive to write and it surpasses any other desire. I must write to breathe, I must write to live.
Morning After Dark.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
Words seem to be vacant and all I can think of is to give them meaning, to fill them with purpose and vibrancy. Everything has been colourless for a long time; the canvas has been yearning for a shade of existence. Finally, I can write with profoundness, I can see in colour and precision.
I need to fill this space with significance again; I would very much appreciate suggestions for future blog posts. Is there anything that you would like to read?
Who Are You?
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
I was introduced to the Myers Briggs personality test; the results have been almost revolutionary. The test is straightforward and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. You can take it here. There is a voiceover which talks you through the steps. Upon taking the test, you will derive a personality type. This is the personality type that you have. You can conduct some research online and read descriptions of your personality type or even search for careers that are suited to your type of personality. People ask what they can gain from taking this test and my response is that you will gain a better understanding of yourself and the way that your mind operates. The descriptions are terrifyingly accurate and I have confirmed this by convincing many others to take the test. The results can alter your perception of yourself and of the people that surround you.
I had an epiphany as I read through the results of my personality type, they put everything into perspective. I found myself in absolute agreement with the entire description. The personality type that I have is INFJ. Less than 1 percent of the entire population share this personality type. Reading this almost felt like the moment when you push the button on your camera to focus on an object and the blurriness clarifies into lucidity. I thought about the amount of people on earth and what 1 percent of the population would equate to. I have spent my whole life feeling isolated from everyone that has ever crossed my path. I now realise that this is because I have never met anybody with the same personality type. Having looked at the figures, I wonder what the possibility is of ever meeting someone with the same personality type.
People have always made me feel marginalised. They made me feel that something was wrong with me and for this reason; I did not ever perceive myself as being normal. On many occasions, I embraced this, however sometimes it became a lonely solitude. People do not accept things that they do not know. If something is different and unusual, they will deem it as unacceptable. I was being labelled as strange, simply because people did not understand me. Eventually this led to me feeling disconnected from people and I can remember several occasions when I felt like this, even throughout my childhood. I remember wondering why I was so different and why I always took everything to heart. I saw the world in a different way to other people my age. I was always too mature for my age and I knew even then that there had to be more to life. This couldn’t be it. Eventually I became closed off because I became tired of being labelled and judged for not imitating everyone else. These opinions began to affect me internally as I grew older. I questioned myself and felt that maybe I was too stubborn, maybe I was too sensitive, and maybe I did need to change. I allowed people to convince me that I was depressed. This led to me forming a negative perception of myself which affected me more than I had realised.
Taking this test made me realise that I am normal, everything I feel, and everything that I am is valid. The rarity of this personality type is what is leading to me feeling secluded. Most people fit into the common types and I am only perceived as strange because I do not fit into them. The descriptions made me aware of my own abilities and thoughts and it made me realise that I should never question the way that I do things or why I react in a certain manner. I am fine the way that I am and I should not be made to feel that I should change or compromise who I am. I know myself well, I am aware of my weaknesses and the problem is that throughout my life, it is only my weaknesses that have been accentuated by people. The descriptions that I read, emphasised the strengths and how it is one of the best personality types to have.
I came to read a list of famous people that shared the same personality type, amongst them were people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. These people are a significant part of history, they had such a positive impact and they made profound changes. If I share the same personality type as them, what does this mean for me? It gave me hope, it made me feel positive and I feel good about myself again.
It is amazing how quickly we can change our perception of ourselves. We should never allow people to make us feel that something is wrong with us or that we need to change. Everything that we feel is valid. Everything that we are is valid. We were made the way that we are for a reason. God has predestined everything and all that we do has already been written. Hold on to the person that you are, embrace yourself and don’t concede, ever. Believe in yourself and the person that you are. Have faith and know that God has destined you for something better and far greater. Your personality has been gifted to you by God; you would be a fool to change it.
I would wholeheartedly recommend taking the test. Let me know if you do and post your results below. I also apologise for how poorly written this post is, I can’t seem to write anymore.
P.S – I did remove the audio post; however I will hopefully be posting more in the future.
The Expectations of Being a Woman.
Sunday, 3 February 2013
Women have difficult lives; not only do they need to live their own lives, but they must also yield to what is expected of them, by religion, by their parents, by their culture and by the society in which they live. Living with such compliance is tough. In the midst of trying to please others, their own happiness is sacrificed. When a woman is born, her life is already paved out for her. There is a checklist that is ticked at every stage of her life. This checklist differs according to culture; however the overall blueprint remains the same.
A woman must educate herself and attain the best possible grades. She must set a fine example for her siblings and also make her parents proud. She must not destroy her parent’s honour; she must remain pure and chaste and not surrender to temptation. Upon educating herself, she develops her own dreams and aspirations. She maps out her life in her mind and hopes to travel and see the entire universe. However she is not allowed to travel alone, she must not deter from the checklist and the idea of a woman travelling alone reflects badly on the family.
Her appearance must always be immaculate, otherwise nobody will marry her. She must learn to cook and clean, otherwise she is a failure at life. Everything is judged according to its ability to increase her marriage potential. Once she completes her degree in something that has been approved by her parents (Law, Medicine or Business), it is time for her to seek a husband. She must look perfect otherwise she will never be sold. She cannot search for too long or be too picky because it ruins the honour of the family. She must not reach her sell by date otherwise people will begin to suspect that something is wrong with her. Eventually, she gets married. She belongs to a new family; she now abides by their expectations. She gives up her dreams and instead begins to serve her husband. She is expected to maintain the household with a cooked meal on the table, ready for when her husband gets home. The cooking and cleaning must be done, the house must look pristine. She is expected to submit to everything that he desires.
She will endure pregnancy and the 9 months of agony until the pain of childbirth almost breaks her. Whilst recovering from this, her life becomes all about the newborn child and trying to take care of him/her. The husband is no help; she almost raises the child alone. All she perceives is the child until he/she is old enough to care for themselves and by this time the woman has lost all of her dreams. Her life becomes about the family and she has no time to do anything for herself. She magnetises judgement because of course she is doing everything wrong. She eventually becomes bitter.
She has no career and instead her days are spent alone in the house. If she is to stray from this path, she is deemed rebellious and her behaviour is frowned upon. She is not allowed to have consciousness of self. She lays awake at night wondering how she reached this point of confinement and how she did not get the chance to fulfil any of her dreams. She dies out of regret and exhaustion.
This may be a hyperbolic account of the expectations of a woman but as you read certain aspects of this, you will have found yourself nodding in agreement. These are the societal and cultural expectations of being a woman, and if one is to object to this, they are labelled as being problematical. This blueprint does not allow for individual differences, the woman almost has no expression. There is no deterring and this in itself is problematic.
Islam does not say that women cannot have a career, just look at Khadijah (RA). She was a business woman when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) met her. Women should not be discouraged from having any sort of career, both before and after marriage. A woman has hopes and dreams just like men do and it is unfair to dismiss them. Our lives should not be about a checklist and we should not be judged according to our marriage potential. We are not objects that are waiting to be sold, nor do we have sell by dates. We are strong, independent women and culture should not frown upon us for aspiring to be this way.
Having said that, there is nothing wrong with following this checklist or even wanting this. Most girls dream of having a family but there are some that want careers and are deemed as being difficult because of this. Everybody is different, we each have our own opinions and beliefs, therefore we should not be penalised for wanting something that deviates from the norm. There should be no pressure and a woman should be allowed to do things within her own time. There is nothing to say that she cannot fulfil her own dreams before settling down. If she has gone to such great lengths to educate herself, why should it be allowed to waste away?
What are your thoughts on this?
Born To Die.
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
She stood on the congested platform awaiting her train, constantly checking the time because the lethargic seconds appeared to be moving slowly. Her class started in less than an hour; she was going to be late. An announcement was made through the tannoy declaring that the train had been delayed. She glanced at the time again; she wasn’t going to make it. There was another announcement; the train had been delayed further. She took a seat and stared into the fragmented sky in frustration. She hated being late. How difficult was it for the train to reach the station?
‘Why has it been delayed?’
‘Somebody jumped onto the tracks.’
‘Of course. How selfish? Couldn’t they have waited another hour? I’ll miss my appointment!’
As soon as she heard this conversation, she felt the warmth of her blood override her senses until she became numb. This was such a sordid world. She forgot about her class and about her life, and instead began to think about the poor soul that had just taken their life. She whispered a little prayer as she continued to look into the sky at the brokenness of the clouds and the world below.
Suicide is intentionally taking one's own life. It is both a sensitive and grave issue that is taken lightly. Suicide has become so common around the world, even though we each have the ability to prevent it. There are not enough measures to deter people, to prevent it, but rather it is publicised and glamourised on television as escapism. There is no beauty in suicide, only pain. People that have personally been affected by suicide will affirm this and those that have experienced suicidal thoughts will attest.
However, a majority of people that have been spared from this pain consider suicide to be a selfish act. Humans tend to critique feelings and experiences that they have not undergone, therefore deeming the unfamiliar as something negative. The mere concept of suicide being selfish is selfish in itself. If people were not so self-absorbed, they would stop to contemplate the fact that a person has taken their life, and rather not on the inconvenience that it has imposed on their own life. Nobody stops to think about why a person would choose to do this to themselves; they do not stop to consider the consequences for the family. This person had a choice; they made the decision to throw away their dreams because life was intolerable. Suicide is not a selfish act. Surely the family and friends should have recognised the signs; there must have been something that could have been done to help the victim. The victim in fact thinks that they are making life easier by eliminating themselves from the equation. They assume that the world will be a better place without them. From which angle is this selfish?
I chose to use the word ‘victim.’ This is what they are; victims. They are victims of loneliness and victims of the cruelty of ignorance. They are sufferers.
Imagine for a moment what it must take for someone to feel that they should kill themselves. Imagine how low one must feel to even reach this point. Imagine how it would feel to lose hope in everything that you once believed in. Imagine what it must be like to have nobody that listens. Imagine what it would feel like to be completely alone. Imagine being invisible and nobody even realising that you are suffering. Imagine how it must feel to lose enjoyment in everything. Imagine how it must feel to forget how to smile. Imagine how it must feel to be so empty that you can’t even cry. Imagine how horrible it must be to feel so detached from your own self. Imagine how it must be to lose feeling; to become numb. Imagine how it must feel to want to die. Imagine how it must feel to lose the essence of your being. Imagine how depressed one must be to lose their purpose. Imagine how it must feel to think that your death would make everything better for people around you. Imagine feeling like nobody cared. Imagine having to suffer in silence. Imagine being so weak that even death is better than reality. Just imagine for a moment and now thank God for your blessings.
Suicidal thoughts eat away at you until you have nothing left to give; they can destroy you. You cease to exist. Some people deem this as being weak but everybody has a different level of tolerance to emotional and physical pain. Some are more sensitive than others. Some experiences affect us deeper than others. You cannot generalise and nor can you understand the severity of one’s pain without experiencing it.
Ever since I started taking the train to university, there have been multiple occasions where trains have been delayed because someone has been hit. It is so upsetting, and yet the only thought that people have is that they will be late to wherever it is that they need to go to. They think about the nuisance rather than this person and their motive. This is ghastly. A person died. They are no longer with us. They just took their life. How is this not a problem? How does this not matter? It has become so common that humans have become desensitised. They use ‘I’m going to kill myself’ as a phrase when something does not go their way. Where is our sense of morality?
The suicide rate has increased dramatically. Are the pressures of being alive that fatal? We should try to prevent, because the cure is always too late. The signs are evident if you look for them. This is our humanity. This is our society. If we are not making the effort to help and support each other, our own exhilaration is insignificant. The vast population of this world means that nobody should be alone. They should not feel isolated, and nor should they be made to feel that they have nobody. How can we allow a person to feel that they have no hope? This disgusts me more than I can pour into words. It angers my blood, my heart, my being. We focus on our own lives and unless they are in our circle, we do not care about them. This attitude is one of the many problems and causes of suicide. Nobody cares. Nobody has time for anybody else. This humanity is exactly what these victims are trying to get away from. It could have taken one person to sit and listen to them. All they needed was somebody to listen.
Give somebody your time, and spread positive words. Give each other hope because that is all there is left to give. We complain about society, but we ARE society. It is our responsibility to make changes. Hearing about a suicide should make us more aware of our relationships with people and our effects on them. You could have been rude to a stranger who was already having strong suicidal thoughts. Your insolence could have pushed them over the edge. They could have gone and killed themselves but you will never see them again, you will never know.
Anybody can have suicidal thoughts. Somebody sitting next to you could be suffering beyond comprehension and you would never know. Think about the amount of strangers you pass by in the street. How many of them are alive now? Suicide is more common than we realise. Too many people are unhappy and we, as a part of humanity, are accountable for it. We are not doing enough. We contribute to each others lives and we are responsible for the way that we make other people feel. We are liable for our words and actions. Be cautious and remember that some are more sensitive than others.
Suicide should not be an option; nobody deserves to be that depressed. The next time somebody wants to talk to you about their problems; listen and advise them as you would like someone to advise you. Be there for other people, never turn somebody away. If you witness bullying, speak up otherwise you are equivalent to the bully. If you see somebody suffer, help them. Be a good person and worry about your reward later. The next time you hear about someone committing suicide, say a little prayer for them and their families.
I do not condone suicide, nor am I arguing that it is right. I simply wanted to clarify that these victims felt as if they had nobody. It is not right for one to feel like that when we are living in a populated world. People should not suffer in silence, and they should never be made to feel as if they are an inconvenience. We do not have time for people in our busy lives. We make others feel as if they are a burden, or like their feelings are not valid. The suicide rate increases, just as we become more selfish.
How I Changed.
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Sometimes I bump into people from my past and they are astounded by my transformation. I was always the girl that went through mutinous phases and people eventually became used to my eccentricity. They knew that they should expect the unexpected because I was always changing, I could not surrender myself to a constant. I did not dress like the conventional girl, and was incessantly being watched due to my peculiarity. I dyed my hair crazy colours and was comfortable in my own skin. I was not afraid to be different, I thrived on my individuality and I was reckless. When people see me now, they find it almost surreal to see me like this; covered and tamed.
The questions that I am most often asked are in regards to how and why I changed. People are reluctant to renounce habits and change their lifestyle. Once you have lived a certain way for a long period of time, everything becomes customary and it almost feels impossible to amend a habit. A lot of people want to change, they are either awaiting the right time or do not have a strong enough motive. Change is simple if you truly want to better yourself. It does take time, but one must persevere instead of giving up and making excuses. If you sincerely want to change, you will do everything in your power to make it happen, even if it means eliminating certain things or people from your life. Sadly it seems to be melancholy that drives us to change.
As cheerful as I appeared to be, my happiness was always a fleeting photograph that dissolved as soon as the flash had disappeared. I was always searching for something to electrify me which was the reason for my constant phases, however everything was transitory. I found myself always falling back into a disheartening vortex. I had no reason to be sad and yet melancholy always found me. There was always misery; there was always emptiness. Nothing was enough, nobody was enough.
I had everything in life. My parents were amazing and gave me everything that I could have possibly wanted. Teachers praised me, I was surrounded by people, I had money, but I could not pinpoint what was missing. I could not identify the void that needed to be filled. I was just unhappy. It was not always extreme; sometimes the sadness would manifest itself after a few days, or weeks, sometimes even months. However, it finally reached a point where it began to interfere with my life, I could no longer cope, I wanted to give up.
During the summer of 2010, everything came to a terrifying climax. I woke up crying, in fear. When we generally fear something, we are able to specifically identify whatever it is that we are afraid of. I woke up that day, absolutely terrified, to the point that I lost all awareness of my surroundings. I was shaking, I was panicking, I was crying and during this, I did not know what it was that I feared. This became a daily occurrence. Every morning, the same thing would happen and that fear stayed with me throughout each second of the day. I did everything I could to ignore it, I tried to keep myself busy but it became worse and obstructed my daily life. I would cry throughout the day, I cried tears that fell perpetually for no reason at all. Everything became distant; I was so detached from the remainder of the world. Fear flowed through my veins until every fibre of my being was shaking and I could no longer breathe. I was suffocated by my own trepidation.
One night, it came to a point where I could not deal with it anymore. My mum comforted me, but as she held me, I continued to shake and the tears continued to fall. I did not understand what was happening to me and why I was so petrified. My mother was always able to comfort me into a state of serenity, but this time I remained broken. It was at that moment that I realised that this problem was beyond human help. Nobody could make me feel better. As time went on, I became too terrified to sleep in my own room; or even be in my room with the door closed. I had awful panic attacks and could not be left alone. I just cried and cried and became increasingly anxious. It went on for a long time, each day growing progressively worse. I was a 20 year old; a 20 year old that constantly needed her mother by her side. A 20 year old that could not leave the house alone, that could not sleep in her own bed, or step into her own bedroom without supervision.
I just wanted to feel better, to be normal, to stop feeling like this. I began to forget what it felt like to smile, to experience anything joyous. Life lost its entire colour, its purpose, its beauty. I woke up every single morning wanting to die because the feeling was so excruciating. I cried because I wanted this feeling to go away more than anything else in the world. I felt so frail that I began to experience difficulty completing even the smallest of tasks. I was so fearful that I could no longer sleep. I had no strength or hope.
The abyss was terrifying, drawing me in until I fell hard against the arctic base of sorrow. I lay there, only just breathing, but dead inside. My fingertips were comatose, I felt nothing, I saw nothing, I heard nothing, I became, nothing. Life became a series of moving images, each meaningless and an amputation of existence. The piercing of melancholy so deep within my soul that each breath became a punishment.
Somebody suggested that I read the Qur’an. I had not read it in such a long time, I was afraid that I had forgotten how to read Arabic. Alhamdulillah, as soon as I began to read, something within me took over and I was reciting Arabic at the top of my lungs, feeling liberated with each utterance of declaration at the tip of my tongue. My heart split open and poured itself into a solemn stream. It flowed to the peak of submission where purity was its current, and faith, its perpetrator. My soul had been captivated and it was the first time in a long time that I had experienced any sort of peace. I did not stop reading because the feeling was too beautiful to cease. I began to read the Qur’an daily for as long as I could and for those moments throughout the day, I felt temporarily soothed, but it was the only means of making me feel better. Slowly I realised that turning to God was my only way of recuperating.
I started to pray and I asked Him to alleviate me. I had not prayed in such a long time and yet it was my innate intuition that caused my body to kneel down in prayer in absolute submission to Him. As the tears fell, one by one, the thirst of the empty space was being quenched. This whole time, my heart had been calling out to God.
I continued to wake up feeling fearful, so I began to start each day reading Surah Yasin as soon as I woke up, in order to instil peace within me again. This is something that I have continued to do. Eventually Uni started, and I was worried about how I would make it through my final year. I did not know how I would get my dissertation done whilst being in this state. I panicked when receiving my timetable due to all the free time. I did not know how I would refrain from being alone in those moments. I began to keep myself occupied at every moment of the day. I read the Qur’an whenever I could, I read books, the main objective was to not allow my mind to rest for a single second. I continued with prayer, I pleaded to Allah SWT to heal me.
The workload began to increase and so my mind became permanently occupied with research that had to be done. I threw myself into my assignments and poured my heart into writing. Eventually I realised that I was improving, and it was then that I truly realised the power of Allah SWT and how all I had to do was turn to Him. I began to realise what had been missing from my life, and why I had spent so much time searching for something that was already embedded within me. This realisation was revolutionary. I attended more Islamic lectures and volunteered to help out at events. I surrounded myself with people that reminded me of God, and found that I was slowly grasping the contentment that I had longed for.
There were still moments when I broke, but I knew that feeling this pain was a sign that I was healing. I learnt how to be patient and that I was never alone. Everything was in His control and regardless of whatever was going on; I could always turn to Him. Life with heartfelt prayer was better than any pleasure that sin could bring. I so effortlessly changed my ways because I made God my first priority and it was that attitude that changed my life. I realised the purpose of my life and why any of us are even alive. My final year at Uni was my best year, my grades were remarkable and I met some beautiful sisters. I owed it all to God and realised that He continued to give me everything that I asked for. Having been able to comprehend these blessings, everything was magnified, everything was meaningful, and everything had purpose. I began to feel whole.
I did not have to think twice about wearing the Hijab. I didn’t discuss it with anyone, one day I just walked into Uni with a scarf on my head. It felt the same as dyeing my hair a random colour, I just didn’t care what anyone thought. I liked it so I was going to do it. I felt truly committed to God and it was all I cared about. I had to change the way that I dressed, I needed to dress modestly, so I did it. There was no space for excuses. It was for Him, it was as simple as that.
Devoting myself to Islam was my answer. Without it, everything is meaningless. You can have everything you want and still be unhappy; celebrities are the perfect example. We, as humans covet everything but nothing is ever enough for us because it does not satisfy the place in our hearts that is for God. We cannot expect Allah SWT to make us happy when we are not doing things to please Him, when we are not turning to Him, therefore why should we not be sad? Why should He bless us if we do not worship Him? It is perfectly logical. If you do not pay a cashier, you are not entitled to the goods. If we do not please Him, we deserve nothing.
It took a long time for me to truly comprehend the significance of what I had experienced and the way that the pain had strengthened both my faith and my own being. Suddenly the misery was the mentor and my torment, the purifier. When I was going through this, I could not even sit in my own bedroom. It appears to be something so simple and yet for me it was horrifying. I am currently sat in my bedroom, my door is closed, and even this is a blessing. To be able to sit with the company of oneself.
Allah SWT loves us more than we can comprehend. He is our Creator. Without Him, we are nothing. Without remembering Him, our lives are barren. Sometimes even now, I do have moments when I get really sad but I perceive this as Allah SWT reminding me that I am neglecting Him. Pain is a means of growing closer to God; He wants us to turn to Him. Whenever I am upset, my Emaan is most likely low because I have not placed my trust in Him to make things better. How can we be sad when we have such a merciful Lord? How can we worry when everything is in His hands? How can we fret about the future when time is predestined?
I had to share my story because I knew that somebody must have suffered like this before, yet they suffered in silence. Are we not selfish to learn through experience and then keep the moral to ourselves? I wanted to share this for your aid, for the one that is undergoing anguish, for the one that needs something to believe in, for the one that has lost hope and for myself so I do not ever forget. I owe Him my each breath, my each smile, my each moment.
I apologise for such a long post but I hope that you can each take something away from this. Comment ‘How I changed’ if you read the entire post.
Mirror of Logic.
Saturday, 12 January 2013
A few days ago, I was shopping with my mother. I wore my Hijab loosely using a single pin to keep it in place. As we were walking, there was a sudden gust of feral wind which caused my Hijab to come undone and almost fly into the air. I held it down until the wind stopped and then realised that I would have to find somewhere to redo my scarf. I turned to my right, hoping to use my reflection in the glass of the shop window to mend it. However when I turned, there was a large mirror placed in the window, right in front of where I had been standing. I smiled, and used the mirror to fix my scarf. As I began to walk away, I thought about how coincidental it was for that mirror to be placed in that exact position in the window, precisely where I had been standing.
I thought about this for the rest of the day, and realised that I could use this example and apply it to life. Allah SWT sometimes brings calamity into our lives, but He always provides us with the means of dealing with them. My scarf almost came off my head, and yet the mirror was right there so I could fix it. It seems like an asinine example, but the simplicity of it, depicts this notion correctly. We may think that we have all of these problems that we cannot solve; we remain oblivious to the fact that Allah SWT has already preordained these predicaments.
This means that there is not anything that is inflicted upon us that we cannot deal with. This statement in itself is a source of strength. We should always rely on Him, we should place our faith in Him, we should turn to Him, we should ask for help from Him, we should trust that He will cure us. We are His creations; He loves us more than we can comprehend.
There is always the means of solving and overcoming, we need to believe this, and we must find our strength and deal with our quandaries because help always exists. Everything will resolve itself, everything heals.
Educate Your Pain.
You are holding on, I know you are. Some days are probably difficult, unbearable even, to the point that you spend hours crying for no reason at all. There is fear within your core, your body will not stop shaking out of sorrow, and you wonder whether you will ever taste happiness again. In these moments, you must remember that each day draws to a close; all you need to do is make it through until the end of that day. Make it through each minute, make it through each hour. Your pain is only temporary, and like each day comes to an end, your pain will also come to an end. You see, everything in this world is temporary. It will get better and you know it will, because you can feel it in the depth of your soul. It may appear that this is too far in the distance for you to be able to see, but the faint outlines are visible to you. Keep your eyes open. You can see the light, you know you can. It won’t always be this way.
Pain teaches you valuable lessons that will be instilled within you for the rest of your life. Pain is the educator, it will strengthen you, it will provide you with wisdom, but this does not mean that we should revel in it or that we should be broken by it. We should use pain as a means to draw ourselves closer to our Lord. Pray. It is the only thing in this world that will help you. Allow it to be your medicine, and know in your heart and soul that Allah SWT is your only hope. Nothing in this world can cure you; there is not a creation that can rid you of your pain. He brought this pain into your life and only He can take it away.
Take a moment to appreciate the smaller things in your life, you will locate joy in these smaller moments, and it only takes one of these moments to believe that your emptiness is temporary. You will taste the sweetness of bliss, and will want to let your pain go. We too often hold on to pain and the memories that are attached with it.
You are strong, you are beautiful. Don’t waste your moments. Whatever it is that you are holding on to, let it go. It is self-inflicted pain. Let it go. It may keep haunting you, seeping into the night, drowning out the silence, but the light will eventually consume you. The sun will rise. The acceptance of the revelation that you do not care anymore, is revolutionary. Everything will suddenly become magnified, and you will feel like your life has been restored. You will feel as if you have been reborn, you will rediscover and enjoy life as if you have been released from captivity.
Pain makes you feel heavy. You are tired all the time. Drained. You want to do nothing but wallow in your sadness. You find a place in your thoughts and it becomes home. You need to leave. You need to stop thinking. You need to let it go. Where is it getting you?
Moments will consecutively build themselves and they will ultimately work in your favour. Think of the ultimate picture of the jigsaw puzzle that you are piecing together. Keep that end picture in your mind. You will attain in, but do not lose your way. Do not lose hope. Do not lose faith.
Allah SWT is here. Let Him heal you.
State of Heart.
Her heart was placed in a jar and handed to her. She took it in her hands and almost dropped the jar because of its sullied state. Her heart was drowning in dirt that was beginning to gather at the base of the jar, it slowly concealed the heart. It was blackened by guilt and impurity, by immorality and sin. She tried to peer inside but the heart was barren. She shook the jar and watched the filth circulate the heart, uncovering holes in the shape of initials of each person that had left her. Again, she shook it, this time vigorously, she felt the solidity of the heart collide with the rim and make the sound of a thousand stones dropping from the sky. She shook it for the final time as to maybe cleanse it and this time her view cleared. The heart was engraved with signs of the devil. Her hands slipped and the jar struck the marble floor shattering into symbols of slander. She salvaged the heart and held it within the palm of her hand, feeling it burn through the skin and seep into her blood. The heart coveted sin; it fed malice to her soul until her entire body was electrified with whispers from the devil. There was still a morsel of morality left within her feet which carried her to the washbasin. She bathed her heart in water but it was already dead.
Friday, 4 January 2013
What are you reading right now?
Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Can people change?
Mission of Mind.
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
In my last post, I wrote about the Q & A 5-year-journal and posted the question for day 1. I thought that I would take the liberty to post my answer and also expand on it.
The question does not distinguish whether this is in reference to a long-term or short-term mission and so I will constrain it to my general mission.
- Remain calm and be positive.
I have a tendency to become highly stressed about my assignments to the point where I cause myself to suffer from migraines. It sounds inane as I write this, and yet I am currently in a stressed state. My general concerns tend to be that I will run out of time to complete the assignment or that I will fail. Although I usually do not fear failure, it is rather the fear of failing and disappointing my parents that affects me. Sometimes I feel like people overestimate my intelligence, and so this leads to me feeling pressurised, therefore making me feel like failure is the worst possible thing that could happen. Alhamdulillah, the stress is always worth it and I do complete my assignments, but the stress itself is not healthy. I need to work on this, especially in the next week. I have witnessed how chronic stress can make a person ill and I want to avoid this at all costs.
The second part to the above mission is to be positive. Over the past few months, I completely lost myself in every way possible. I lost the ability to write and think. I lost my appetite and could not sleep. I was stuck in a perpetual state of deadness. Stillness became dangerous and I lost any essence of life. Losing hope is one of the most destructive things that can happen to a person. Without hope, you cannot look forward, you cannot believe, you simply surrender yourself to negativity. Without feeling, you become just a body. You become a corpse. I allowed myself to fall into this state and life lost the entirety of its meaning.
Alhamdulillah, I have slowly been feeling better and my main objective is to ensure that I do not return to that state. Therefore, I must always think positively, I must surround myself with positive people and positive energy.
A few weeks ago, I ordered a ‘Q & A 5-year-journal.’ I absolutely love the concept of this and have been recommending it to everybody. As today is the start of a new year, I was finally able to complete the first page.
Each page of this journal begins with a question which you are to answer for that specific day. Once you have completed the journal, you merely start over and follow the pages through again. You do this for 5 years, and the idea is that you can see how your answers, you as a person, and your opinions change over the years. The questions range from general to philosophical questions and the actual journal itself is beautiful.
As humans, we are always changing, we are always growing. I have changed in more ways than I could have possibly imagined, and this has only been within the space of 2 years. Sometimes we don’t even realise how much we have changed until we take the time to look back at the people that we used to be. This journal will act almost like a photo album, whereby you are presented with who you were and are able to reflect and perceive how far you have come.
I thought that this journal was a fun idea and so I wanted to share it with you. You can purchase the journal here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Q-A-Day-5-Year-Journal/dp/0307719774.
Anyhow, I thought that it would be a good idea to post the question from each day here on my blog, and then receive your answers via the comments. It would be a good means of interacting and it would also possibly lead you to think about things that you may have not previously considered.
Day 1: what is your mission?
Locked Out of Heaven.
Monday, 31 December 2012
Life has been a cyclical sequence of completing assignments or thinking about completing assignments. I have spent the entire month of December continually thinking about or working on a 6,000 word assignment that is finally beginning to conclude itself. People underestimate how complex linguistics can be. The amount of research conducted for this assignment is similar to that of my dissertation. However, the assignment is due next week and then I will hopefully get my life back and have some time to breathe before my next deadline. It will be nice to think about something other than typography and multimodality.
I have forgotten how to write; I have forgotten how to exist. I have forgotten who I am. I need to write more. I need to be using this space to express myself as much as possible, I need to push myself otherwise I become deadened. I need to find myself again. Writing is the only way that I achieve this; it is the only means of restoring myself.
I am currently struggling with what to write about. You are the readers and your comments are always valuable. I would greatly appreciate requests on topics to write about. Is there something that you would like to know my opinion on? Maybe you want me to write about a certain aspect of myself? Or maybe you want to know about an experience that I’ve mentioned before? Maybe you just have a few questions that you would like me to answer? Anything.
Leave me a comment with suggestions and you can always remain anonymous if you wish. You can also email me at email@example.com if you prefer.
I will hopefully begin posting regularly after this weekend, and I will also be working on a new layout. I look forward to reading your comments and I hope that you are all in the best of health and Emaan, insha’Allah.
Saturday, 29 December 2012
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
There is an entire world that lives within my heart, with breath and soul and dreams of singing doves and waterfalls. This is the world that wishes to be released, and every time I write, a piece of it finds its way to the surface and everything is magnified. There is hope, these doves will see daylight. They will fly again.
Saturday, 24 November 2012
During a literary stylistics class, we were in the midst of conducting a transitivity analysis when my mind travelled to the construction of fairytales and their conscious characterisation and fabrication of an explicit formula that is embedded within each story. Whilst studying for my undergraduate degree, I took two linguistic modules which heightened my awareness of the techniques that are used to manipulate us through the use of language. You can read about this here. These modules enriched my reading experiences and were beneficial to my comprehension of information, I chose to take a linguistic module for my Masters, in hope of exploring this further.
The class that I am currently taking focuses on language in a literary context. Instead of going into the technicalities and using linguistic terminology, I will briefly summarise my thought process in order to elucidate the content of the remainder of this post. We were conducting a transitivity analysis of an extract from a romance novel. Upon completing this, we observed our findings which demonstrated that the male used more behavioural and material processes whereas the woman demonstrated more verbal and relational processes. In this case, a material process is physically ‘doing’ something. The representation of gender was stereotypical. The man does, whilst the woman talks. My mind wandered to other pieces of literature and whether they adhered to this.
Think about the fairytales that were read to you as a child, most of which were constructed on a formulaic basis. The girl is in trouble and the boy is the hero that saves her. She is expected to sit around and wait to be saved; she is helpless. The boy fights the battles and is her savour; he earns the glory. He almost has a higher status. Again he uses material processes whilst the girl uses mental processes. Most fairytales follow this premise and these are the stories that are read to us during our early ages of learning, discovering and coming to comprehend what the world is all about. They also form our understanding of genders. Beliefs are rooted within us at this crucial age, these principles will linger inside us for the rest of our lives. We live in accordance to them through time.
These stories form the basis of our expectations and perceptions of the world. They shape a specification by which a male and female are measured. Women grow up with the conviction of being saved by their Prince Charming. A man is expected to ‘make the first move’ and take charge whereas the role of the woman is to be courted. They justify any vulnerable behaviour simply by claiming that they are women. It is as if a woman is expected to be helpless and emotional, whilst a man must be muscular and tough. Men are often reprimanded for not being manly enough. If a man is to cry, it is taken as a sign of weakness, whereas it is expected by a woman.
These fairytales provide a criteria for female and male behaviour. They provide society with a model which is able to ascertain whether specific behaviour is appropriate for a gender. For example, if a woman does something that is considered to be a male job such as being a mechanic, she is frowned upon and it becomes difficult for her to find a job. However society seems to be more lenient towards men. There has been a rise of men working in the make-up industry or as fashion designers; it has become almost customary. Fairytales allocate men with power, which in turn provides them with the freedom to do as they please. Women are still expected to be reliant on a man and their sole purpose in life should be to find the ‘right one.’ Men tend to be more career-orientated, their lives are about status and supremacy. This again arises from fairytales, which dictate our future behaviours.
Women dress up to attract the attention of men and society emphasises this to be proper. Make-up and perfume are marketed to enhance our beauty and everything is about the female looking beautiful for the male. Women are objectified. By analysing the structure of fairytales, it is evident that the objectification of women stems from this.
Fairytales teach us about morality and implicitly about our own behaviour. We subconsciously believe that it is improper for us to act in a certain manner, which if questioned, resonates from fictitious stories that were read to us through our childhood. These are stories that were also read to our parents, which travelled through time, cultures and generations. They are tangible. Although writers have taken it upon themselves to revise and subvert fairytales, it is essentially the classics that continue to be distributed.
Echoes of Faith.
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
As the readership of this blog increases, I become reluctant to write openly and honestly about the things that I feel. I am a very private person, and although you may find me insinuating through tweets, I keep my words as ambiguous as possible. I do not like people to know explicitly, unless I have told them. I have been this way since childhood; I like to preserve as much privacy as possible but today I shall write and allow the words to seep beyond constraint.
I have been unhappy recently, and although I have not yet reached a state of melancholy, I feel that my heart is not at ease. There are many factors that have contributed to this, but I cannot seem to reach a moment of being truly motionless. My mind is thinking at every occurrence, even my dreams have been infiltrated. I just cannot seem to find the peace that used to percolate my being.
Everything at the moment is a tributary of pressure and I literally seem to be feeling the strain of this burden across my shoulders. I seem to forget that there are people around to help me, and when I do remember, the procedure of having to explain myself appears to be tedious because their understanding is always an oversimplification. It is effortless to listen to somebody else’s problems and perceive it to be smaller than it is, because it is not happening to you.
Academically, these past few months have been the most demanding months of my life. I am undertaking an arduous module, which is facilitating me in my understanding of the structure and interpretation of writing. When I tell people that I study creative writing, they immediately assume that I sit and write about fairies all day long. Try understanding linguistic parallelism, deixis, negation, and then we’ll talk. This module requires me to truly comprehend these concepts in great depth. It has been revolutionary and has altered the way that I read and intake information; however it requires allegiance and has been mentally draining.
My mind is my best asset. I have been blessed with a very academic mind, alhamdulillah. I consider this to be my gift from Allah SWT. However, whilst being blessed with this, something else has been taken away. I am not great at the practical side of things. It is the same with my writing. I may be able to construct profound sentences, but I sometimes struggle to express myself verbally. Nobody is perfect at everything and in time, I have come to embrace this. Having said that, I am learning to drive again. I find myself trying to remember everything at once and my main lapse is to over think. When I write, my mind works too fast for my hand to keep up, likewise when I drive, my hands can’t seem to keep up with my mind. It is going to require persistence.
Aside from this, my main trepidation is my level of faith. If I am ever unhappy, my first act is to assess the state of my Emaan because I believe that this stimulates everything else. If your faith is strong, it echoes into each area of your life, into each facet of your being. Your relationships are stronger, you are more content with life and you find yourself alleviated from concern. Sometimes our Emaan slips away so gradually that we do not feel it becoming lost. In fact sometimes we do not even notice its absence until we find ourselves suppressed in apprehension. In these moments, it almost feels like we will never attain that level of Emaan again, we feel disorientated and disheartened. Within this time, Allah SWT is patient with us, and if you truly stop and look, He is guiding you. Even by allowing you to realise that your Emaan is low, He is showing you that you still have faith, in the same way that feeling guilt after committing sin demonstrates that you have not entirely lost yourself. Allah SWT has provided us with the means of strengthening our Emaan, and it is fundamental that we understand that there is always a means of escalating. We are not alone in this, and the reason for me even writing about this is for two purposes. One is for me to record this as a standpoint. I hope to read this in the future and distinguish how I have grown from this stance, insha’Allah, but also if I feel like this again, to understand that I should not feel disheartened because there is always a way out. The second purpose is to ensure you that it is customary to feel like this. Our level of Emaan is not going to remain constant, it will fluctuate and it happens to everyone. Most people do not broadcast when their Emaan is low and so this makes us feel like we are the only ones that this is happening to, and as a result of this, we feel more alone. This is the entire purpose of this blog, to ensure you that we all suffer, we as humans experience very similar things and it is okay to feel like this. This is why I write about my struggles, so you are aware that an experience is not exclusive to you. Emotions are universal.
When I have identified that my Emaan is low, I make it my foremost priority to amplify and fortify it. This is the way that it should always be. Our relationship with God surpasses everything else, and I begin to think about everything in my life that is leading me away from Him. If they are things that I can eliminate, I do it, for example if I am listening to music again, I will cut it out. Once I have been able to eradicate these things, I focus on strengthening my relationship with Him. Reading more Qur’an, praying voluntary prayers, doing dhikr at any spare moment, watching more lectures, reading Islamic books and making so much more du’a. I will do anything that brings me closer to Him.
Sometimes we become lazy and although we are aware that we need to be doing something, we say that we will do it tomorrow out of ignorance. For the past two years or so, whenever this voice speaks to me, I remind myself that it is the voice of Shaytaan. What if I die today and that act could have increased my good deeds? There is no going back. It is just that simple. It may be an extreme way to perceive things, but I hear about deaths each day and it scares me to the core. You are living on borrowed time, with a rented heartbeat. If you were told that you had terminal cancer, and only had a certain amount of time to live, you would do everything in your power to make your days more meaningful, would you not? You would know that you are going to die; you only have a set amount of days left. What is the difference between us and them? We are also dying each day; with each second we move closer to our death. We should live as if we will never see time again. We should increase our good deeds because regret is barren. You could wake up perfectly fine and be hit by a car later on in the day. It would have never even crossed your mind that you would die today. In fact, these could be the last words that you ever read. How do you truly know that you won’t die later on? You don’t, therefore treat each moment with importance. Do not exploit them.
Time glides through our fingers like sand. We need to be in a constant state of attempting to better ourselves, and every time that we fall, we must pick ourselves up. God comes before everything else; He is the means through which anything is possible. We sin and sin and yet He continues to be merciful and bless us. Subhanallah.
Wednesday, 7 November 2012
The sound of heavy laughter filled the carriage; it was coming from a woman. There was something peculiar about the way that she laughed. It was profound laughter, resonating from a place deep within her. With every moment, the laughter traversed through her, until it became inherent. It emanated a sorrow, and it was as if laughing was her only way to heal. She was laughing through melancholy, through pain; this laughter was surfacing from the abyss. I pondered, but could not locate the words to depict this sound that I was hearing.
My mind travelled to the derivation of the English language and how we hold concrete labels for emotions. Oversimplified and generic labels. English is in fact one of the least expressive languages. I could not situate this laughter because it was distinctive and yet any name that I attempted to give it was inconsiderate towards her anguish.
What do you call the hurt that one experiences upon having their trust broken? Betrayal? Disappointment? Neither of these words do this feeling justice, nor do they truly articulate this sentiment. Everything is an oversimplification, and through this, we are being insensitive towards the victim. We search for the closest words and attempt to brand feelings, but nobody truthfully understands because there are no words to accurately explicate our feelings.
What do you call somebody that has just had their heart broken? We say that they are ‘heartbroken.’ This is an oversimplification that does not encompass the aching that this person feels in their soul, or the sorrow that embraces their each moment, or the incessant clouds in their eyes. What do you call that feeling you experience during the first few weeks of having a crush? We say that this person gives us ‘butterflies.’ What does this really mean? We rely on experiences to try and reverberate these feelings but we become displeased upon the other person being unable to understand. Therefore when it comes to reading a book, we are more likely to relate to characters that have experienced something similar to us because we can still feel the echoes of our own pain embedded within our souls. We have something that we can evoke. The spaces between the words are the most powerful for us; they speak to us only through occurrence.
What about when we read about something that we have not experienced? Our hearts are rarely moved by them; unless the writer is able to procure such a character that we can find ourselves within. Again this is about being able to relate. If there is no connection, we remain isolated. The English language makes it almost alien for us to relate to a feeling that we have not experienced and through this, we remain estranged from each other and the rest of society. We are not able to efficiently communicate because we do not have the correct means to do so and any attempt is almost an oversimplification of our pain. Miscommunication breaks up relationships and the source of this is the restriction of our language that prevents us from truly verbalising our own sentiment.
If you begin to examine other languages, they have words that express concepts that we experience and overlook each day because there are no words to depict them. One of my favourites is the word ‘toska’ in Russian. Vladamir Nabokov (author of Lolita) explains this as:
'No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.'
Do we in the English language have a simple word to identify this feeling?
Monday, 29 October 2012
If my heart burst into pieces,
silver liquid would surge out.
It would churn and churn,
itself into molten lava.
If my heart turned into clay,
the current would swallow,
until the bruised residue swept up,
and the sea made me whole.
If my heart caught fire,
ice would drink up its venom,
and the blue sky would melt
dreams into my infinite soul.
If my heart became the sun,
the stars would taste bitter,
and the moon would ignite
liquid gold into my broken hands.
Even forever has a barricade. Everything eventually comes to an end. Nothing is infinite. There is no incessancy, everything is temporary. The end will come, and your eyes will be too blind to perceive it. It will creep up on you like a stranger in the night, and before you turn around, he will be gone. Only darkness will prevail.
Everything.You are going to lose everything. You are going to lose everyone. Do not get attached. One day they will leave you and heartache will become the source of the hurt that will eventually consume your each moment, your each breath. One day you will see. You will remember reading these words and you will wish that you had maintained a distance. The tears that fall will almost become relentless.
Empty. Numb. Someone ripped your heart out and left behind barrenness. You will search for something to fill it, anything. You just want to feel anything but woe.
It gets better. Everything is evanescent. Even your sadness will conclude itself, and then you must promise never to make this same mistake again. The pain only wounds deeper the second time, and the third, and the fourth, until you become nothing but a stature of ache. Save yourself.
Grace My Resentment.
Saturday, 27 October 2012
I’ve been thinking very deeply about things recently: family, friends, life, the world, and then I finally came to the realisation for why people have become so broken. We allow ourselves to be hurt too quickly, and then we give resentment a big place in our hearts. We feed this antipathy and we become bitter. It interferes with our outlook and perspectives, our relationships and our lives and everything eventually turns into a game of vengeance. We do things out of spite and the beauty of life becomes lost.
However there are also people that are quite content with themselves and their lives. The root of this is simple; they do not allow resentment to sit in their hearts. They choose to forgive and move on with their lives. Resentment is in fact pointless, it harms only the bearer. Humans are always going to disappoint, it is in our nature, however one must realise this and not penalise everybody else for their mistakes. Those that are happy with their lives tend to be those that marvel at beauty in the smallest of moments. They overlook and try to extract goodness from anything in sight. These are the kinds of people you both want in your life, and also should aspire to be. Let me refer to these people as being ‘light’ and the other as ‘heavy.’
Upon really thinking about this, I began to consider the people in my life and the category that they fall into.
Eventually this brought me to realise what it was that drove me to them. There is lightness about them, there is grace. There is gentleness, and kindness and a compliance to forgive. They don’t resent, or hate, they overlook and let things go. There is beauty within them, there is positivity and there is always hope. There is honesty and truth, faith and loyalty. It is the bitterness of this world that leads us to becoming broken, but there is optimism and strength within them. When I look into their eyes, I see love. Pure, incessant love. I see peace, harmony and stillness.
They have a tenderness about them that will not fade with age or trauma, a tenderness that has become the splendour of who they are. This aforementioned ‘light’ is what I see in them, it is what we should be surrounding ourselves with because it will eventually reflect onto us.
Now pause for a moment. Think about which category you fall into and whether it is where you really want to be.
Sunday, 21 October 2012
He sat on the cold ground of the sinister subway, a Stephen King novel in his youthful hands. His eyes moved over the pages with great contemplation. He spoke only words of kindness and had a sparkle of sorrow within the depth of his pupils. Many passed him, never stopping or even glancing away from their own lives to perceive this stationary and helpless being. He was the busker that I had written about all of those years ago. Long hair, pristine skin, and azure oceans in his eyes; I remembered them clearly. He had grown a beard, but otherwise there was no mistaking it, this was him. I searched for a guitar, but he had only a torn khaki backpack and a piece of graffitied cardboard. I wondered what had happened to him and how he had ended up here. More people passed and I wondered how many had actually stopped to ask how they could help him.
I went back the next day. He was gone.
She lay on the bed with her eyes memorising the order of the patterned tiles that made up the ceiling. Her eyes were the only part of her body that still continued to move. The attached limbs had become strangers to her; she felt nothing, not even their presence or echo. Every day, she wondered why they continued to keep her alive. She was occupying valuable space, and without being able to walk or even move at all, she was useless. The nurses would read to her in reverberations that her ears could not comprehend, in hope that maybe one day she would be able to distinguish sound again. Friends would visit to revoke her memory, but their touch remained apathetic. Her eyes would eventually grow tired and again she would sleep away her days in a dream. Her life was nothing but the movement of her eyes, trapped in the body of anaesthesia.
Imagine this was you. How ungrateful are we to be able to feel and touch and not recognise them as blessings? How ignorant are we to be able to hear and see without showing any appreciation or gratitude to our Lord?
Alhamdulillah. We cannot even comprehend the depth of our blessings.
A Piece of My Soul.
Friday, 28 September 2012
We write about the world in the way that we wish to see it. The world in which the villain loses and the hero triumphs. We want to live in the world where justice is prevalent and war is a rarity, in a world where the universe is called into order and the stars are always aligned. We fabricate the utopian world that we wish to live in through sentences and metaphors. We prefer this fiction over reality because we can always alter it, because we can augment. We are never content with reality, we always seek more.
We write ourselves into our characters, extracting a piece of our soul into these fictional pretences. They become real people with emotions and a conscience. They become enhanced versions of ourselves and the people that we have always yearned to be. It is through this writing that we learn truths about ourselves and our world. We experience the events that we construct, we experience the pain and joys of our characters and this becomes our way of life. We journey through their artificial souls; we breathe through our own words. We write in order to survive.