Maktub

“Maktub” loosely translates to “it is written” in English. In the book, “The Alchemist”, The crystal merchant introduces maktub to Santiago.

“Maktub,” the merchant said, finally.
“What does that mean?”
“You would have to have been born an Arab to understand,” he answered. 
“But in your language it would be something like ‘It is written.”

Santiago gets into some difficult situations throughout his journeys to find the treasure and complete his own personal legend. But as he gains confidence and knowledge with the Soul of the World, Santiago realizes that he can be more assured of his success. He can be more assured of his success, because of maktub. Fate has a way of falling into place for those who are following their own personal legend. Why? Because of maktub. Because it is written. Santiago’s success is written; it’s up to him to accept it and step into that role.  

These past few days have been excruciating. I’ve been bed bound from the nova virus. I was shivering and had a high fever. I even tried to find out if I could pray with my blanket, because I was so cold. I did anyway. When I’m ill, I feel humbled. In this state, I took to my laptop and deleted over 20,000 items. Picture and videos I had accumulated from the past few years. Even though I had not viewed them in forever, I realised Shaitaan sometimes infiltrates your heart in many ways. Often times keeping you glued to your past. You become a prisoner to the memories and stop being present. Today I freed myself a little bit more. 

Allah sends us reminders all the time. Sometimes in the form of people, sometimes in the form of an illness to break us free from path of the self induced bondage that can lead to our destruction. Examine what you are holding on to and ask yourself, if you believe in the decree of God and if something is meant for you. Why hold on so tightly? Let go and remember these beautiful words of Imam Ghazali (ra), “What is destined will reach you, even if it be beneath two mountains. What is not destined will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips.”

Step in to your truth, and remember with absolute conviction Maktub, it is written. 

Unfiltered truth


Here is a pic of me with an acne covered forehead and it’s time for Ramadan. You are probably thinking why am sharing this and what does it have to do with Ramadan. Keep reading, it will make sense shortly.

It’s almost time for Maghreb and I’m whilst I’menjoying a BBQ, I reflect on this past year. In a few minutes the holy month of fasting will begin.

Last year was overwhelming to say the least. My circumstances were heightened at that point; I was petrified, scared and did not know how I was going to make it through the month. But I did, and want to know how I did it? I got a front row seat in Tawakul (trust in God) and embracing my humanness. It literally saved my life.

You see, I think we as society have forgotten what it means to be human, and that means being imperfect is part of our perfect design. In a world where we are image obsessed and hyper focused on celebrity culture, we are constantly trying to make ourselves more appealing. We tell ourselves once we get ‘there’, we will be happy. But isn’t it interesting how “there” is a never ending road. We build these false ideas of how someone should look and expect them to look great all the time. But we cannot look great all the time. When life is difficult, it’s ok to allow it to show. When you are sad, you feel pain. When you are in pain you are not suppose to look like a GQ cover model. You are supposed to look like you feel. It’s really that simple. The endeavour of perfection is a trap of the devil because it does not exist. You can not attain the impossible.

When I was going through my storm, I would hide it from everyone. Even those closest to me, because I did not want them to see me weak, to see me vulnerable, in pain. I wanted them to see the side that they had always seen, the happy, life of the party, fun brother/friend/son. But I was only making it harder for myself. I realised I was not fully accepting my narrative, my truth. So I let go. And letting go was not as easy as it sounds. But I did. And I let people who cared about me in, I let them see me weak, in pain, a mess and although I felt incredibly uncomfortable I realised I was winning. I was not going to let circumstances be my prison. I could rise if I allowed myself to push. So I pushed away my fears and there found something powerful there: Courage.

So many people are thirsty for love in this harsh world. Nourish them with compassion and drown them in the same mercy you wanted shown to you when you were feeling low. Let your pain allow you to be better, not bitter. Enough kicking someone down, why don’t you offer your hand and raise them up? Next time you see someone who seems sad or looks different to how you normally see them. Why not offer them a smile and a good word.

The picture is an example of me acknowledging every part of me. Breaking out because that’s just life. I made it through the month, and so did the many others who silently overcame.

Keep fighting, and you will too.
Ramadan Mubarak.
Catch you soon,

Musa.

And your home.

There comes a moment in everyone’s life where they meet themselves. They encounter that person whom you meet for the first time. They put their feet on your dashboard as you drive to get breakfast and coffee to soothe a headache and drive to admire the Raleigh nature together. You see a beautiful autumn leaf but are too shy to grab it, but they read your heart and run back and pick it up for you. They give you a piece of clothing so you can use it as a prayer mat at airports. This person will break down walls, and snack your soul awake and even though you may feel like you are breaking down, you are being remade stronger and whole again. You speak in the car for hours, talking about things that keep you awake at night. Even though you are distant, you know your heart still yearns for their company because they made you feel like no other had. They occupy a space so deep, the worlds best diver would struggle to find it. You recognise their soul; it feels young and free. A familiar terrain. Beautiful moments are made when you put your heart into them, when you operate from the heart, you will always live and feel deeply. That’s what home feels like. Life has many turns and the path has many bumps and detours, but if you find yourself lost, just find that connection, and you will be home.

The sunrise

We are all struggling with something in our lives. Some of us go through our days, facing the world with a smile, and often the closest to us do not know of the storm encircling us. There are days when we feel confused and broken, and wonder if the trial we have to endure will meet its end. It takes one moment, even the uttering of a single word that sets a spark to the issue and we feel crippled and burdened. We feel soaked by the weight of the pain we are living, every single day. In this period, It is easy to lose hope and remain fallen. You are tired, drained and destitute. You feel although no one understands the heavy heart you carry. So you withdraw. You think it’s better to stay quiet and silently suffer.
With every setting of the sun you are reminded of the darkness that envelopes, but there *is* a reminder of hope. In the signs of the sunrise, we understand that darkness is not permanent. Yes there are periods when you feel like the sun will never rise. But eventually it does, and when it does, it displays such beauty it leaves you in awe. The sunrise is your chance at a new day, honour the battle scars marked within you, but also the light that is waiting to be let in. Nothing is permanent, not even your sadness.
Light can come in many forms. Sometimes in the friend who holds you as you cry into their arms, sometimes it arrives in kind words, simple gestures and moments. You just have to recognise them. Shift your focus to the light at dawn. Shift your focus, knowing you are being remade, stronger and more resilient than ever. This is not the end, this is your path to Jannah (paradise), just one day closer than the last. You are a superhero, and with every lash and cut, is a call from your heart to fight harder until you are free. In the signs of the sunrise, you rise.

The light in the storm


A little over a year ago I was living away from my home, and because of a personal circumstance, I felt like I was in the eye of my storm and on this particular day it was raging. I felt depleted, crippled and broken. As I lay in bed and I hear a knock on the door. Someone who I cared about deeply sent me this package, it contained one of my favourite things; ice cream. It was one of the sweetest gestures. This person knew I was not well and soothed my heart (and stomach) with a simple act of kindness.

Allah says in the Quran, “indeed with hardship there is ease” (94:6).

Indeed. My trial did not end that day, however I found comfort in my ease. That moment, that person, the other people who were there for me. I felt the mercy of Allah nourish me. When someone in going through a something, one of the best ways to show you care is to “show up”. Be present. Even if you cannot be present due to distance, you can still make your presence felt. Emotionally. That’s how we build connection. We lean in when it matters.

Sometimes people may leave our lives for different reasons but it is always important to remember the blessings they bought with them. In psychology It is said when you focus on something, it grows. Focus on the light and it will grow, and when it does, it will illuminate the darkest crevices of your life.

My Rea Sea

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Imagine a pearl necklace, each pearl connected to the next. This story is as such, each account connecting with another, forming a story, albeit one still unfolding. In 2015 something happened to me that made me confront a lot of my deepest fears, I felt overwhelmed by the test God had given me, and even though I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, my heart could. So my heart hugged my soul and together we dived. That is the thing about life. Sometimes life is so uncertain and we struggle with attaining certainty when we need control. We need to understand where we are going. If we do not, we feel helpless, defeated or confused. I was tried with something that made me lose control of the faculty most take for granted, my body. In this realisation I pondered over the the story of my namesake, the Prophet Musa as (Moses). When Musa (as) was at the juncture of the Red Sea, he was scared, but had hope, he was unsure, but had hope. In that moment of feeling uncertain, he made a very powerful du’a (supplication), he said:

“Inna ma’iya rabbi sayahdeen”, (Truly my Lord is with me and He will guide me through 26:62).

I was now facing my own Red Sea and called out to God with the same supplication along with another* very powerful one. Having no control over my circumstance i called out to Him. When I did this, I learned an A class lesson in Tawakal (Trust in God). I came to understand when you truly place all your fears, anxieties, worries with Allah, and you dive into the His Ocean, one of two things will happen, He will either catch you, or teach you how to fly.

I flew. Realising i had wings, hidden for so long. It was very much an inward journey of love and loss, recognizing the wounds and healing from so much more.

*To be continued.

Take Two

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We all romanticise over the perfect partner. Walks on the beach, late night Cold Stone Creamery cravings, skyping a movie together if you are long distance. It is almost like we expect to be Jack and Rose during the Titanic ‘flying scene’; wind blowing through our hair, hands intertwined, gazing into the sunset. Then something goes wrong, and we panic. We have this ideal scenario of how things should have gone, and any less, will just not do. The conversations that made the heart smile seem distant when the mist of fear blankets over the atmosphere.

But we forget God never intended us to be perfect, and life is not perfect. In this misdirected endeavour we hurt ourselves with these ideas. We despair at not getting what we wanted. We forget every person who is in a relationship with another, be it a family member, friend or romantic, are playing for the same team. For teams to excel they need to work together. During a test match, one player in the team may get wounded from training too less or even too much, and they crash. When this happens, they realise they need to sit out. It does not mean they do not value the team, they just need to recover. When that happens the other player may feel undervalued and then the ego speaks on behalf of the heart. In that moment, one of two things can happen, in psychology this is known as fight or flight. When the one who was hurt, maybe in so much pain from their circumstance, when the waves of Dunya are vast and overbearing. To win in a relationship when they storm hits, recognise this as their struggle, hold space for them, and acknowledge their limitations and worthiness, and together braving the storm. When humans are in pain, drained in all their faculties, it seems like the only way to keep afloat is to swim before you drown. If someone hurts you, and they love you, remember they are hurting more themselves. Life is not perfect, nor are people, forgive them and forgive yourself. If someone hurt you, tell them. If you love someone, tell them. Rectify, heal and grow.

We hide so much of the things we want to say. So much of what the heart says is left in the dark abode of fear and resentment and we go through life in pain. We may smile but our actions speak for our pain, because all pain needs a release, and just like the volcano, if you lock something up in a contained space for long, it will eventually erupt.  But we have choices. We have a choice to live in vulnerability, to tell the person whom we loved so much that they hurt us, and the thought of being vulnerable again fills our lungs with anxiety keeping us imprisoned. To the lover you lost, the friend who has now become a stranger, it is not the end. Life is so short and so very beautiful, and beauty often hides itself in shells of courage. When we live bravely, the shells break, and we own the treasures of beauty in this world. You do not want to spend your life living in regret. Yes its hurts to fall, but it hurts harder to stay there, coddling the wound. Wounds are inevitable part of life, so you have to make choices. Some choices keep us chained with fear and some emancipate us and open up us to the rebirth of something beautiful. Everyone from time inception has erred and fallen, it’s the way of man, but with every great fall is a mightier rise. Embrace the humanness in that moment of others and embrace your own. Everyone deserves a second chance, and sometimes, it is always better when you take two.

Catch you soon,

#musarebelheart