Posts Tagged ‘quran


Are You There God? It’s me, Khalid…..

If you make intense supplication
and the timing of the answer is delayed,
do not despair of it.

His reply to you is guaranteed
but in the way He chooses,
not in the way you choose,
and at the moment He desires,
not the moment you desire

~al-Hikam of  ibn Ata’illah

_____________ a child, I used to collect Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures and would always be excited when my mother would take me to Toys R Us to get one. From Rocksteady and Bebop to Usagi Yojimbo and Casey Jones with sports equipment arsenal included, I had every one that you could imagine.  Whenever my mother bought me one, I was really happy.  But on those days when she told me I already had enough, I got really upset with her.   How could she possibly say no to something that would make me happy?

(These days my Ninja Turtles collection, along with my Transformers, Thundercats, Star Wars, and GI Joe collections, is somewhere in Pakistan being played with by kids who probably don’t know that they are worth as collectibles. Twenty years later, I’m over it.  Kind of 🙂 Alhamdulillah.  and I love my mom more than I can imagine.  May Allah preserve her inshallah and grant her the best in this world and the best in the next.) retrospect, I had done two things that were problematic. The more obvious of the two is that I would get upset when I didn’t get what I wanted.  The seemingly less obvious was not being appreciative when I did get what I wanted.  I would never really say thanks.  I felt happy, but I left it at that.   (I was also 7 years old so give me a break please 🙂 )

A lot of us do this in our respective relationships with Allah.  We assess the worth of our relationships with the Divine not necessarily through what we have been given, but through our perception of the response we receive when we explicitly ask for something we want.   If I ask for something and I get it, then I must be doing well.  If I don’t get it, then something must be wrong.   Aside from the pain of being denied something that I really want, I also feel a pain because I subconsciously need a sense validation of my efforts.   I need to know that I am good and that how I am living my life is also good.  But I can’t always tell that right away if I am being denied what I am asking for.   In the absence of some tangible way of measuring my relationship, how do I really know that I am doing ok, or that my relationship with Him is sound?

In a nutshell, the question of “Why” becomes hard to deal with.   Why didn’t I get what I asked for?  Why did this happen to me?  Why does everyone else get what they want, but I don’t?

Ibrahim ibn Adham, rahimahullah, was asked about the verse in the Qur’an that very definitively states that if one was to call upon Allah, regardless of their background, their call would be answered.

And your Lord says Call upon Me, I will respond to you…” Surat Al Mumin, verse 60.

The people asked him if this was the case, then why do our prayers go unanswered.

Ibrahim ibn Adham responds with ten potential reasons:

You know Allah, yet you do not obey Him,
You recite the Qur’an, yet you do not act according to it,
You know Shaytan, yet you have agreed with him,
You proclaim that you love the Messenger of Allah, yet you abandon his Sunnah,
You proclaim your love for Paradise, yet you do not act to gain it,
You proclaim your fear for the Fire, yet you do not prevent yourselves from sins,
You say “Indeed death is true”, yet you have not prepared for it,
You busy yourselves with finding faults with others, yet you do not look at your own faults,
You eat that which Allah has provided for you, yet you do not thank Him,
You bury your dead, yet you do not take a lesson from it. very insightful set of considerations that help us to examine at what we might be doing that’s problematic and in turn preventative of things going the way we want them to. Realistically through, there’s not really too much else we can look towards.   It’s not possible for us to begin to put definitive answers as to why Allah has decided what He has.  Ultimately when the question of why is asked, we can really ultimately only say “I don’t know” and then be reliant.

So how do I know that I am ok?  That I am a good person?  That my actions are being accepted?  I don’t.  I just have to try my best and keep trying my best and allow for that to build into an ever-lasting satisfaction that gets me through times that are tough and helps me appreciate times that are not.  I might not have gotten the girl, or the car, or the job.  But I was still given a lot of other things. And I shouldn’t forget that.   My relationship with Allah has to in fact be a relationship, not just something that exists on an abstract level.  Just like any friendship would allow for me to go above and beyond in understanding my friend, so too I have to work at developing a close relationship with the Divine that allows for me to really trust His responses to my requests because I know He wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accept all of our prayers and secret wishes, as there are no secrets from Him. He is the All-Knowing, the Merciful. Ameen.


Living the single life…..**sigh**

About two months ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Sister Dania Ayoubi on a panel at the ISNA conference in Washington DC entitled Living the Single life: Benefiting from Your Time Before You get Married. It was recorded and I was debating as to whether or not post this video during Ramadan but I figured it probably make more sense to do so now rather than wait til afterward, as during this month of introspection it would serve many of us well to realize that there is nothing wrong with us if we are not married.

More often than not it becomes very hard for a person to make a critical sense as to why they want to be married so badly, but yet they aren’t married for whatever reason.   In the short time that I was allotted on this talk, I wanted to convey to the audience that it is hard to deal with the emotions that come from being single and wanting companionship, and how we need to learn to deal with those emotions constructively.   Please do share with others if you think there is benefit in it.

Thanks to Fatih Alev from Denmark for sharing the original video.   Fatih runs a group called Muslims in Dialogue that focuses on integrating Islam in a European context.  You can visit the MID website here and see the original video in its entirety here.

I’ve also posted Shaykh Faraz’s and Sister Dania’s talks as well as our Q&A session below.   Be sure to check out Shaykh Faraz’s response to the question on being obedient to one’s parents in the first part of the Q&A at 3 minutes and 15 seconds.   The entire Q&A session is pretty good so try to listen to the whole thing.

You can visit Shaykh Faraz’s blog here and check out the online classes that he teaches along with many other notable individuals at Seeker’s Guidance here.  I am going to look for an online resource for Dania Ayoubi and update this post if I find one inshallah.

I’m sure I’ll write up something more on this topic in the coming months. Please feel free to share with others


Motherly Love Lost

Last night I was in Central Jersey co-teaching a seminar entitled “Seerah: An Intellectual Discoure on the Prophet’s Life”. (The seminar was organized by my good friend Faraz Khan and had a great turnout. You can find details of it here)

After the program ended, I was trying to rush out so that I could stop by my parent’s home on my way back to New York. These days, even though I live about an hour away from where I grew up, I can count the hours on my hands of how much time I spend monthly in NJ. So now when the opportunity arose to see my mother and father, I was trying to get there as fast as I could.

As I stopped to talk to a few of the students on my way out, I noticed an eldery woman who was waiting to speak to me. When she and I finally started to speak to one another, she started the conversation by telling me that I didn’t recognize her. As we continued to speak, she reminded me that she and I had spoken a few times before, but hadn’t ever actually met in person. Her son, Omar, had been admitted into NYU’s medical center a few months earlier and had entered into a coma from which he did not wake up. May Allah have mercy upon him and grant him the highest level of jannah without any judgement.

As she mentioned his name, her voice trembled and intermittent tears began to fall from her eyes. Her husband then joined in the conversation and we briefly revisited the time that they had spent at NYU. I then learned that Omar wasn’t their only child. They have a daughter and another son. This son is Omar’s twin brother. At this point two things came into my mind.

Firstly, when you lose someone you love, it hurts. Many of us have felt the pain of losing someone at some point in our lives. A relationship gone sour, a friend or relative moving away, changes in priorities, and of course death. Some of these are more obviously ultimate than others, but each still resulting in pain. Even within the Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has a year in his seerah that is known as the “Year of Grief” in which his wife Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, passed away as well his uncle Abu Talib.  All of us have felt that loss as some point. But imagine what it would feel like to see someone who looks like the person you lost every day. In this instance this woman had not only lost someone that she loved, but, because she had been blessed with twins, every day she would see someone who looks just like her beloved child who passed away. What a strong woman she must be to be tested in this way.

Secondly, the love a mother has for a child is most unique. I think a lot of us take for granted that relationship and in seeing the pain on this woman’s face I only could think of my own mother. My mother who calls me daily to see if I am eating properly, who ask me if I am getting enough sleep, who asks me when I am going to come home to visit, and who stays awake til the late hours of the night waiting for me when the only time I can come home is at a time when everyone else would be asleep. Its no wonder that the debt I owe to her is something that can never be repaid.

I am sure this woman would give anything to spend even one more minute with her child. Inshallah Allah will reunite them in the highest levels of jannah amidst the company of all those whom they love and the company of His most beloved, ‘alayhis salaam.

Who is doing the thinking

My name is Khalid Latif. I work as the Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at New York University as well as a Chaplain for the NYPD, New York City Police Department.

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