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Thursday, March 22, 2012

A prayer to make our day easier

The dua of Hazrat Moosa (on him be peace) is one that is very dear to me. At first I simply thought it was a prayer for help with public speaking, but as I wrote it out for the kids to memorize, I realized that it was meant for much more than preparing for a speech. The amazing thing about prophets and saints is that nothing they did was simply for this world. In their lives the spiritual and physical were fused together so as to become inseparable.

Hazrat Moosa faced many trials in his life. When he was chosen for prophethood, he did not think himself equal to the task and asked Allah to help him with the tremendous work ahead of him. He prayed with all his heart:

Oh Allah, open up my heart for me and make my work easy.
Loosen the knot from my tongue to that my words can be understood

He was meant to convey a message to his nation and could not do that if his heart was constricted with fear and doubt, his burdens felt too heavy, and his speech was not clear. From the Quran we learn that Allah accepted his prayers, as He indeed accepts the prayers of the righteous, and granted Hazrat Moosa great strength to face the mighty and evil Pharoah, and to lead his nation out of slavery.

I felt that this prayer could enrich our daily lives in many ways.
O Allah open my heart for me
An open heart is that first thing we need as we go about our daily business. We must be open to receive knowledge, and to be open and flexible to the opportunities that arise before us. O

And make my work easy ...
Sometimes our daily burdens can seem to crush us with their weight. A connection with Allah allows us to shift our attitude towards gratitude, to sing as we work and skip as we walk, even though the work may be uphill.

Loosen the knot from my tongue to that my words can be understood.

Often problems in communication create the most bother and anguish. As a mother I often throw up my hands in frustration, feeling as if no one can understand the simple instructions I give for a task to be done. Whether we are working at home or working at work, being clear in our speech and motives can help our day go smoothly, allowing ourselves and those around us to feel calm and peaceful.

What a great blessing Allah has given us by preserving the prayers of the prophets for us so we can remember their exact words and repeat them, deriving wisdom and guidance from the prayers of those esteemed persons, who wholly dedicated their lives to Allah. May we follow in their footsteps. Ameen.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Open our eyes and see

Yesterday as I dropped off my son and his friend at soccer practice, I could not find a parking spot. I circled the parking area twice looking for a car that was leaving, but it seemed as if cars just kept coming and no one left. Finally I parked in the Fire Lane and got outside my car to look around for a parking spot. It was then that I saw something so marvelous that it took my breath away. The sunset!

A thin layer of scattered clouds was covering the sky and the setting sun had illuminated them to an amazing splendor and brilliance. I felt as if I were getting a glimpse of the gates of heave! The sight was truly faith and awe-inspiring. As I stood there marveling at it, I wondered at the beauty of the Lord, the Creator of this sunset, and so many others, and how we could ever behold His Beauty. I also noticed that no one else seemed to be looking at the sunset. People were driving here and there, looking for parking spots, or rushing their kids to the soccer field. They were doing what I had been doing a while ago. It was as if they could not see the heavens in a blaze of magnificence. I felt like stopping the people who were walking by and saying, "Look, look up, look at the sky, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?"

I did not do that. Instead I spotted a place to park and moved the car away from the Fire lane before someone towed it. Then I walked to the soccer fields while enjoying the last of the sunset. Before my very eyes the clouds that had been on fire, turned back into ordinary grey clouds, as the sun set. I found myself wondering what else had I missed while rushing here and there. Beauty is all around us in everyday life, in things big and small. Spring has come once more, bringing buds and flowers to adorn the world for us, blossoms that are breathtakingly beautiful. Yet do we take time to stop and look at them, to wonder, to marvel, to let our hearts swell and burst with the love of the One who made all of this. For us.

I was also thinking about the transformation of the clouds from grey to crimson and gold, to colors that I have no name for, a glory that I have no words to even describe. I thought that similar is the human being. It can remain ordinary or it can let the Divine Light shine through it and become something truly resplendent.

I am grateful that parking was tight yesterday. How great would have been my loss to miss such a sigh,t while I plodded onward in my routine, rushing here and there for my small purposes, sight firmly fixed to the ground. Heaven is above us, within us, within our reach, but only if we seek it, strive to see it, let worldly concerns go for a while and cast the gaze above.

Let us open our eyes and see.