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{Repost} This is Awakening

By: Yasmin Mogahed 

It’s hard to describe the feeling. Imagine living your entire life in a cave and believing it was your whole world. Then suddenly you step outside. For the first time in your life, you see the sky.  You see the trees and the birds and the sun. For the first time in your life, you realize that the world you once knew was false. For the first time, you discover a Truer, more beautiful Reality. Imagine the high of that realization. For a moment, you feel you can do anything. Suddenly, nothing from your previous life in the cave matters. You become empowered, fully awake, fully alive, fully aware for the very first time. It is an unexplainable feeling. This is the spiritual high that comes with newly discovered Truth.

This is Awakening.

A convert to Islam knows this feeling. A born Muslim who comes back to the deen knows this feeling. Any human being who lives their life away from God, and returns, knows this feeling. This state is what Ibn ul Qayyim (RA) calls ‘yaqatha’ (awakening) in his book ‘Madarij Al Salikeen’ (Stations on the Path to God). He describes this state as the first station on the path to Allah. This is the state sometimes referred to as the “convert zeal”. When a person first converts or starts coming back to Allah they are often full of motivation and energy that others do not have. The reason for this energy is the spiritual high, characteristic of this state.

Characteristics of the Station of Awakening

Allah makes worship easier:

While in this state, worship becomes much easier. A person is so driven and motivated that they may easily sacrifice everything for the sake of the new reality they have discovered. This zeal can take a person from 0 to 60 in no time. It’s like being on spiritual steroids. The strength you have is not from your own self, but from an aid that was given to you. In this case the aid is given by God. Some may advise not changing too much, too fast. I don’t think fast change is the problem. I think arrogance is. I think hopelessness is. If Allah gives you a gift whereby you are able to do more, use it. But thank Him—not yourself, for that ability. And know that the heightened state is temporary. You may go from 0 to 60 in a very short time due to it, but when the high passes, don’t lose hope and let yourself slip back to 0.

Temporary:

Like every state in this life, this state is temporary. Life is never linear. And neither is the path to God. Not realizing this can cause despair and hopelessness once it passes.

Pitfalls of This State

The 2 pitfalls associated with this state correspond to not understanding the characteristics of the state listed above. These pitfalls are also the 2 causes of stagnation on the path to God: arrogance/complacency and hopelessness. The arrogant person already feels they are good enough, so they stop striving. The hopeless person believes that they will never be good enough, so they stop striving. Two opposite maladies, leading to the same result: To stop moving on the path to God.

Arrogance: The first pitfall corresponds to not understanding that the increased ability to worship came from God and is a characteristic of the state—not the individual! The one who doesn’t understand this wrongfully attributes the heightened ability to worship to one’s own righteousness. This false attribution is very dangerous because it leads to arrogance and self-righteousness. Rather than realizing this heightened ‘religious state’ is a gift from God, the worshiper feels a sense of hidden pride and may look down on others who don’t share similar zeal.

Despair and Hopelessness: This pitfall corresponds to not understanding that like all states in life, the spiritual high is temporary. This does not mean you have failed or done something wrong! Most people know what it feels like after the Ramadan high has passed. The instability of the ‘high’ is a characteristic of life. And that lesson is one even Abu Bakr (RA) had to learn. One day Abu Bakr (RA) and Hanzala (RA) came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said: ‘Hanzala is a hypocrite, Messenger of Allah!’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Why is that?’ I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, when we are with you, you remind us of the Garden and Fire and it is as if we could see them with our eyes. When we leave your presence, we attend to our wives, children and estates in a state of great heedlessness.’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘By the One in whose hand my soul is, if you were to remain in the state you are in when you are in my presence and in the dhikr (remembrance), the angels would shake hands with you on your bed and in the street, but, Hanzala, different times are not the same.’ three times.” [Muslim]

After the Spiritual High Has Passed

The most important part of this journey is never giving up! Know that you don’t feel the same zeal, not because you have failed at something. The dip that follows the high is a natural part of the path! Just as the Prophet (pbuh) explained to Abu Bakr (RA), these ups and downs are part of the path. And had we always remained in the high, we wouldn’t be human. We’d be angels! The determining aspect for success is not so much what we do when we’re up. The question is what we do when were down—when we’re not feeling it. The key to succeeding on this path is that once you do reach your ‘low’, you keep going, knowing that it’s normal.

Shaytan’s Traps

Remember Shaytan will get at you in different ways depending you your state.

When You’re High:

When you’re high, he’ll try to get you by making you arrogant. He’ll try to get you by making you look down on others. He’ll try to get you eventually by being so pleased with yourself that you don’t think you need to keep striving because you are already so great (and better than others around you). He will consistently make you look at those who appear to do less than you to justify your own shortcomings. For example, if you don’t wear hijab, he’ll make you think, “There are hijabis that do x, y, z bad things! At least I don’t do those things! I do x, y, z good things that hijabis don’t do!” Or if you slacken in prayer, you may think, “At least I’m not clubbing or drinking like so and so.” Remember, Allah isn’t grading on a curve. It makes no difference what others are doing. We all stand alone on the Day of Judgment. And this is just a tool of Shaytan to make us stop striving.

When You’re Low:

But when you’re low, shaytan will try to get at you differently; he’ll try to get you by making you hopeless. He’ll try to make you believe that you’re worthless and that there’s no point in trying. He’ll try to make you believe you are a failure and no matter what you do, you’ll never get back to where you once were! Or he may try to make you believe that you’re too ‘bad’ for Allah to forgive you. As a result, you may let yourself fall further. You may have been up once, and then felt so bad about yourself because you started to slacken in your worship. And maybe because of your previous self-righteousness you didn’t give people permission to make mistakes or be weak. This ends up becoming self-destructive because it further translates to not giving yourself ‘permission’ to make mistakes and be weak.

Since you believe you don’t have permission to be human and fallible, when you do make a mistake, you are so hard on yourself that you lose hope. So you let yourself go. You may end up committing more sins, which only makes your hopelessness worse! And it becomes a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. Shaytan will also try to make you believe that you shouldn’t try to repent or pray because you’d be a hypocrite since you are such a ‘bad’ person. He wants you to despair in the mercy of Allah. That’s what he wants! These are all lies, of course. But he’s good at what he does, after all. When you have sinned, that’s when you need to turn to Allah even more—not less!

To protect yourself from this downward spiral, remember that the lows are part of the path. Remember that ‘futoor’ (the dip) is part of being human. Once you realize that this does not mean you failed or that you are a hypocrite (like Abu Bakr (RA) thought), you can keep from giving up once you get there. The key is to develop certain habits which become your ‘bare minimum’. That means no matter how you feel, how unmotivated, how low, you still do these things at the very least. You realize that when you’re at your low, it’s going to be harder, but you struggle to keep doing them. For example, the bare minimum is the 5 daily prayers at their appointed times. This should *never* be compromised no matter *how much* you’re ‘not feeling it’. They should be considered like breathing air. Imagine what would happen if every time you were exhausted or in a bad mood you decided not to breathe!

It is preferred to have other rituals that are part of the ‘bare minimum’. For example, stick to certain extra prayers and athkar or daily Quran—even if it’s little. Remember that Allah loves a small *consistent* action more than a huge inconsistent one. If you hold onto certain essentials during your ‘low’, you will ride the wave of iman and come back up, insha Allah. And, God willing, when you do go back up, you’ll be at a higher place than your last ‘high’.

Know that the path to Allah is not a flat one. Your iman (faith) will go up and down. Your ability to worship will go up and down. But, know that for every dip, there is also a rise. Just stay patient, stay consistent, don’t lose hope and seek help in Allah. The path is hard. The path will have bumps and drops. But, like all things in this life, this path will come to an end. And that end will make it all worth it!

Allah says:

‘Oh mankind, indeed you are ever toiling towards your lord, painfully toiling…But you shall meet Him’ (84:6)

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Masha Allāh.. another spiritual awakening article written by one of my favourite ustadzah; Yasmin Mogahed! I'm reposting this on my blog because it'd be easier for me to re-read and re-read again! Really, everything we do in this life will be truly accounted for. What she did all these times have helped me to be aware more, and surely waken me up too, Alhamdulillāh. Even though I never go to attend spiritual activities outside as for these periods.. The last time I got formal islamic education  is when I was in high school (astaghfirullāh), I still can learn Islam through useful websites that the others ummah made, and surely islamic books too! Alhamdulillāh, I'm truly thankful for their knowledges that are shared through any media that I can touch. Hopefully their virtual da'wah will also bring good effects, benefits for the ummah worldwide, aamiin. But that doesn't mean I would't join Islamic activities outside.. I crave to do that, but my body isn't moved so much and I don't have any access to get in 'there', I'm such a homey (home + ey = homey) girl. Alright, I am so wrong to have complained.. This situation must not control me. Bismillāh, insha Allāh.    

D.I.Y Trip

D.I.Y. doesn't stand for 'Do it Yourself', but it stands for 'Daerah Istimewa Yogjakrta', one of the special and amazing town in Indonesia!

Alhamdulillāh, this morning I've arrived from Jogjakarta after having a wonderful short trip with mom. I spent about three days there but in those period, I've visited and ate the central place to eat Jogja's special food; gudeg around Street Wijilan, visited Borobudur Temple, Affandi's Museum, Parangtritis Beach,  Kota Gede, dinner at Soto Kadipiro (they serve super delicious soto, masha Allāh!), used the transportation 'Trans Jogja' (the latest improvement of shuttle bus in Jogja), went to Universitas Gajah Mada, Plaza Ambarrukmo, Kraton, Taman Sari, and surely walked around Malioboro! Malioboro is a must visited tourist attraction to get souvenirs and some goodies.. Malioboro area has always been living up with a bunch of people with various activities! 

Since it's going to be a long post for the trip I had to be placed in just one post, I'm going to write them later insha Allāh. But now, I'm going to share what I got from Jogjakarta. I had some interesting buys!

Modern Mary Blouse

Assalamu'alaikum!
The first time I was registered to Hijab Fashion Week, Sister Wafa told me this exciting news that I was offered to review a piece from Modern Mary. I am definitely happy to accept that offer. About last week, I received a package of black "Pintuck Ruffle Collar" blouse (below). Alhamdulillāh, Jazaakuma Allaahu khayran.. Sisters Wafa and Seema! 
So, this blouse came out in black and white. I've never had this type of blouse which has this ruffle details that add elegance and feminine side for the whole look. I like how its length covers our backside, the size isn't tight but it fits perfectly for me.

I've just figured out this fashion line throughout Hijab Fashion Week event, and I personally think that Sister Seema's creations are truly one of to dig in. The concept of this line is to harmonize modesty and fashion. Modern Mary's style aesthetic is universally designed for every women who likes to dress down comfortably yet still looking beautifully in not tight-fitting, and not overt clothing.

Reincarnated

source
Firstly, I found this picture on my tumblr dashboard. And I was instantly enamored with the portrait of that women. I usually saved my favourite pictures if I really really liked them. And this painting is definitely one of them. I like to make those pictures as desktop background or walpaper on my phone or iPod. And then, when I decided to put this on my blackberry messenger display picture, I slowly start to think that I looked like her (you wish, Mil.. LOL). Except her blue eyes, of course. Yeah, I felt like the mole under her left eye is just like mine (I don't know whether she had mole on her right cheek too), those black eyebrows also remind me of mine (though mine aren't as neat as hers), my cheekbones are also prominent like hers, and I'm open mouthed also. I'm such an open mouthed girl even when I'm quiet. I have an overbite upper teeth that makes me so. My mom always tells me to keep my mouth closed or sealed! She would be like: "Mila! close your mouth! (Mingkem! heeeem)" I just didn't do it purposely. I need extra effort to make my mouth sealed. Haha. And my elder sister also happen to tell me that the women on that painting looked like me! Weird. I've heard something like this: "we have three twins in this world, who have some similarities with our face". I think I believe that. I've seen some people look pretty the same like others, and so on. Whether our twins would be three or more,  it's still remaining as God's mystery.. Wallahu a’lam :). So, could she be one of my twins? I just personally think so.

I've just realized that this painting is one of Gustav Klimt's artwork. Gosh! his name could be seen on that painting. I have been crushing on his artworks all this time. The first time I saw his artwork is on Harper's Bazaar way back when issue (I was in senior high school at that time). The name of the painting is "Adele Blochbauer I” (below). They have this amazing spread with Julien Ann Moore on portraying the ladies of the paintings! Such a great concept. You can check out more images of the spread here. I like the painting style of Gustav's Klimt except for some of his artworks that show nudity, I don't fancy nudity. 
Here, I make the hijabbed version of the women. I feel like making a shot that portray this painting. Haha.
Talking about paintings, I slowly to have some interests on them after watching a tv show on BBC Knowledge named "Fake or Fortune". It discussed about lost or rare paintings. It's a ding-dong journey to find out the mysteries of those paintings, and how much a painting could cost! Amazing. I don't pretty much know all about the painting business, but I think it's really interesting. I enjoy when some painting experts explain the motions and emotions over a painting. It's just like, 'a picture paints a thousand words'. 

I wanted to visit a monographic exhibition at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta. Too bad! I missed the opportunity to come to the solo exhibition of Raden Saleh's paintings. Raden Saleh Sjarif Boestaman (1807 or 1811 - April 23, 1880) is one of the best known painters from Indonesia and a pioneer of modern Indonesian art. He was considered to be the first modern artist from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and his paintings corresponded with nineteenth-century romanticism which was popular in Europe at the time. He also expressed his cultural roots and inventiveness in his work. (source)

Energizing Sunday

It feels really good to be back! Alhamdulillāh :)
Photos from left to right:
  1. It's Jalan Dipenogoro or Dipenogoro street on Sunday Morning, 17th June 2012. There's a Sunday Market every Sunday (of course :P) around that area, nearby Lapangan Gasibu or Gasibu Field. The merchants don't just trade inside the Gasibu Field, but they also use the roads! You can imagine how it creates jasm every Sunday.. You can find that they sell from underwear, fishes, to vehicles at one place! Creatively Bandung people~ And I've just figured out that people are starting to open their booths on Jalan Dipenogoro. The local government or the police itself might be unable to close this 'every Sunday' market. Maybe it's because of the enthusiasts of this market.
  2. Haikal and Mom with the police's car behind.
  3. Taman Lansia or Elderly Park. It's really nice to have this park in the town but sadly, the citizens are still lack to maintain the cleanness and the beauty of this park.
  4. Police's patrolling motorcycle
  5. Haikal said that I was cruel to take his pictures! Haha~ OHMY. Look at that annoyed face >,< I'm sorry brother, but you're my particular photo object *wink*
  6. Me and Mom at Yoghurt Cisangkuy! photo taken by my brother.
  7. Mommy walked in Taman Lansia.
  8. Angkot Pink!!! It's one of the public transportation in my town. Angkot is the acronym from "Angkutan Kota" which means "City Transportation". The pinky one is somewhat is an hot issue currently for me because it has the same colour with my scarf which I wore on this post! The car on that picture isn't slightly the same with my scarf actually, but there are some which coloured slightly the same. LOL! So then, I was curious what is the name of the track of that angkot. It's routed from GD Bage - SP Dago to Caheum. Ok, this is truly random. But there's a long story why do I really care about this angkot. Hehe >,<      

The firsts two photos were captured by my lil bro! thank you Haikal! \^o^/
Fashion Formula:
Hijab Chic dress + Ayoka Hijab scarf + Necklace from Payless + Bag from Aceh + Black socks + Nike maroon sneakers

We all have those moments

source: @iylianaj's instagram
When I firstly saw this, I laughed out on this is funny meme. It's true of what she (the source I got from) said on its caption: "Oh you know, we all have those momets. When we see something haram, when we accidentally do something haram >.< but epic meme is epic #MuslimMoments". But whenever we're into problem or making our own problem, there will always be tranquility remembering Allāh Swt. 


So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.(QS: Al Baqarah 2: 152). And the best recovery through those moments is to tawba, tawba, and tawba!

Repentance (tawba) means that one feels regret and, filled with remorse for his or her sins, turns to God with the intention to obey Him. According to truth-seeking scholars, repentance signifies a sincere effort to no longer oppose the Divine Essence in one’s feelings, thoughts, intentions, and acts, and to comply sincerely with His commands and prohibitions. Repentance does not mean being disgusted with what is bad or prohibited and thus no longer engaging in it; rather, it means remaining aloof from whatever God hates and prohibits, even if it seems agreeable to sense and reason. Repentance is usually used with nasuh, literally meaning pure, sincere, reforming, improving, and repairing. Tawba nasuh (sincere and reforming repentance) means a pure, sincere repentance that perfectly reforms and improves the one who feels it. One who feels such a sincere, heartfelt, and true remorse for the sin committed seeks to abandon it, thereby setting a good example for others. The Qur’an points to this when it mentions true repentance: O you who believe! Turn to God in true, sincere repentance (66:8). (source)

Softpink X Neonyellow

Yesterday's Outfit
The sweater happen to match with the iPod case!   
Fashion Formula:
Zara white long sleeves shirt  + Mango Casual neon-yellow sweater (PRESENT FROM NISA)+ Scarf from Debenhams + White jeans + Printed canvas tote (PRESENT FROM NISA+ Nude socks + Nine West studded nude flats + p.s: I didn't wear flats on this picture, I wore my home-slippers >,<

The Yellow Ribbon

Assalamu'alaikum :)
It's been almost a week since my last post. I felt sorry that I hadn't made my HFW Day 7 post because I thought I would be able to follow the whole theme on HFW this season. Since my last post, I went to Jakarta to visit my family there and I didn't have the time to make that post.

So today, I went to the very first Indonesia's Hijab Festival. For more information, you can visit here. I went shopping with Junisa (She has been featured here), she is called Jujuy. She was actually one of my peers at Junior High School way back when but we have never talked before. We started talking after we're as old as today through the virtual world. Funny right! And it seemed we've known each other pretty long, so I think I had a  fun time hanging out for the first time with her without any awkwardness. She's such an adorable girl. Smart, beautiful, friendly, nice personality, and the last but not the least: her style. I love it! really modest but at the same time: stylish, and I'm happy knowing that to be syar'i is more prior to her! Alhamdulillāh.. Such an inspiring friend :) You can check out her blog here.

And then later, my chum; Nisa caught us up some hours after we've done shopping. She actually had an examination today, so we cancelled our first plan.. But then, her lecturer removed the schedule to another day! that's pretty sucks. But anyway, it's also good so she could get rid of her curiosity about this event. But after all, she ended up buying nothing. The crowds plus the heat made her not eager to shop. x_x 

HFW Day 6 - Date Night

Hmmm… I must confess that I actually am really excited to work on this post! It's not because I have a crush on someone, LOL (Alhamdulillāh). So, I’m going to share some part of my love life here. Even though that I have never been on a date with a man before, I surely am just like a normal girl who dreams to have a leader in her life who can guide herself and insha Allāh their future family to the Jannah, aamiin. A figure that is called 'the husband'. Rasulullah have said that: 
“Nikah (marriage) is my Sunna. He who shuns my Sunna is not of me.” 
So, it must be really beautiful to follow the Sunna, and being married is also a form of worship to Allāh. What a wonderful term it is. 

For some people in my society, perhaps my love life is categorized as crunchy, plain, and boring. I thought the same thing at first, because I haven’t known about islam deeper and deeper. But throughout the time, throughout experiences, I got the enlightenment, Alhamdulillāh. Loving Allāh is way much much more beautiful than trying to get loved by human beings. Allāh, no doubt; will love us back, as long as we become the person who performs His commands, insha Allāh. But actually, even though we didn’t ask Him… our realism in this world is already a form of the blessing from Him. How we’re protected by Him through nights and days, how we’re given adequacy from Him, how the sustainability of the nature has been designed perfectly fit for us, for example the frequency range of human hearing. We were designed to hear the frequency that begins from 20 Hz up to 20.000 Hz. How if we could hear all the sounds surround us? how it will be tiresome? Everything has been designed very well by the Most Perfect Designer of all. There are so many things that we don’t realize as blessings… because there are too much, and we’re too focused to have the worldly life.

HFW Day 5 - Special Occasions

Fashion Formula:
White shirt + Thrifted monochromatic buttons up + Mango Suit sheer blouse + Maysaa scarf snood + Necklace from Pasar Baru + Maxi skirt from Pasar Baru + Calvin Klein clutch bag + Chrissie heels + Black socks + Revlon raisin rage lipstick  

HFW Day 4 - Destinations

If you could go anywhere for fun, where would you go and what would you wear?

Traveling is such a perfect gateway from the crowd of daily's life. Since I'm in my holiday now, I really feel the 'breeze' of this theme.. yet, I haven't traveled anywhere but a town nearby named Cirebon. I had a fantastic two days there, Alhamdulillaah. I really want to travel around Indonesia. Especially to one of my hometown; Banda Aceh, and then.. Jogjakarta, Semarang, Tanah Toraja, Lombok, and so many places around Indonesia which have exotic and beautiful natures that need to be explored. OMG, I really wish to become a person whose job is traveling.. one day, insha Allaah ♥. When we're going to tropical places, we must be accompanied with comfortable, light, and easy-to-wear apparel, due to the hot weather. But still, we can stay modest as well. I also choose my leather backpack to carry my things for traveling. It is practical to contain my DSLR camera, laptop, books, and everything to documenting the journeys. A pair of comfy shoe is also a must!      
Fashion Formula:
Gap buttons up shirt + Marni for H&M trousers + Love, Diva necklace + Camel coloured socks + Vincci oxfords + Levi's black leather backpack + Black pashmina
Thank God that I am not so tall. This trousers were created to be mid-calf pants for people whose height is somewhat 1.7m. Since I'm not that tall (I forgot the numeric calculation of how tall I am), I am able to wear this just like a long trousers! *horray* Marni for H&M collections were really really gorgeous.  Surely as a fan of Consuelo Castiglioni's designs, I am thrilled with all the layerings-do, prints, and so many things that were shown on their lookbook. These trousers are really comfortable to wear. Its material is light, and it has elastic bandage on its waist. It really fits for travelling, comfortable to keep on moving from one place to another place, but still manages to look stylish.

Traveling Formula:      
Aku bahagia.. di khatulistiwa~
:)

translation: I am blithesome.. in the equator line~ 
(LOL)

HFW Day 3 - Time Travel

Today's theme key words:
"Bring something back from the past and combine it with a recent item or trend!"

So then,
I'm bringing  my granny's neon flower printed maxi vest ! :D
Fashion Formula:
Navy blue cotton abaya + Granny's maxi vest + Mango cardigan + Thrifted waisted belt + Camel coloured socks + Noche wedges + Bag from Aceh + Maysaa chiffon scarf snood 

HFW Day 2 - Favourite Hijab

 /// It's time for Fuchsia! \\\ 
Fashion Formula:
Marks & Spencer fuschia long sleeved shirt + Mango Suit sheer blouse + Topshop gray hareem pants + Fuschia scarf from Alisha + Necklace from Pasar Baru + Paris Hilton quilted bag (given from my cousin) + Fioni blue pumps from Payless + Puma socks  

HFW Day 1 - Leaders in Hijab


Whoa! It's the first time I participate Hijab Fashion Week. I know I'm so late to join in, but insha Allāh, I'm able to manage myself to participate for the whole week! >>> an absolute last minuete particpant <<< hehe. peace!

Day One. Leaders in Hijab.
Each of human being is a leader. 
Especially for themselves.
That's why lovehfw includes the questions:
What leadership roles do you have? and how do you dress for them as a hijabi?

Surely, one has many roles in his/her life. I am myself is a package of a daughter, a friend, a sister, and insha Allāh a khalifah who is now studying in a faculty of social and political sciences. In this section, I will dress down as a student. 

Firstly, I was inspired after reading an information about the woman who works at NASA. There, on the "Woman at NASA" section, I saw a hijabi woman. My eyes were clicked right on her picture and was thirsty to get know about her information. She is an American Muslim named Tahani Amer. Masha Allāh, Alhamdulillāh. What's truly strong about her is that she lives by three simple principles:
  1. Please God and you will please all.
  2. Education is the key to the opportunity.
  3. Serve others with compassion and kindness.
The second point has made me think about the importance of the education itself. "Education is the key to the opportunity." The key to have the opportunity to be one of His khalifah is through knowledges and surely His will. That has surely sparked me off to go through my academic life passionately. Insha Allāh.