2017 ends, 2018 is about to begin…

 

One year ends and another begins! What have we learned? How have our future plans adjusted?

I wrote a poem some time ago while traveling to Japan. Here I was about 30,000+ plus feet up in the heavens, cruising at about 600+ miles per hour. I was having one of those “me” moments. This was one of the many opportunities to reach out to God (SWT). I pondered life and my reason for existing. The funny thing that happened was I received a Yoda-like answer:

 

Why are you here?

You are here for this moment!

It is a reflection of time past;

The culmination of all your experiences.

You are what you have learned…

 

At the time, I was in pursuit of my YonDan (4th degree) in Kendo, the art of Japanese fencing. I was also in the process of overcoming a fear of flying.

I was successful in my challenge for YonDan, at the time. This broke a series of numerous failures. I learned about perseverance and not “giving up,” especially in the face of adversity.

With regard to my fear of flying, I now just “let go and let God…” It helps that one of my best friends is a commercial airline pilot! I sit back and enjoy the ride. If there’s turbulence, I imagine I’m on a bucking bronco. It works for me. Let the pilot fly the plane!

For a period of time, I lost touch with my “inner feelings” and that “inner voice” that I might hear. Some said it was due to the stroke I experienced and the subsequent depression. Now I view it as God (SWT) just putting me through a test to enhance my understanding of life. Alhamdulillah! I am ever grateful for such experiences these days.

Today, I feel especially good. My family is ever expanding. Many of my friends and I keep in touch on a regular basis. I feel rather “feisty” these days. Perhaps a return to Kendo in 2018, inshaAllah (God willing…)

 

My Lord, from Thee we all come, and indeed, to Thee, we shall all return!

Please forgive me my past sins and transgressions and keep me on the straight path.

Please reward me for my hardships and exchange them for something better.

 

Please help me to overcome all the challenges placed before me.

Please help me to attain the peace and harmony seek.

 

My Lord, Thou has always been there for me, and I am most grateful.

Thou art my Nurturer, thou art my Sustainer,

Thou art my Provider and Protector!

Indeed, Thou art my Lord and Savior!

I am in need of whatever good Thou may send in my direction.

Please continue to watch over me and my family.

Please watch over my friends and colleagues.

Please protect us all from bad, evil and immoral things.

Please save us all from the Hellfire!

Please help me to gain the success and prosperity I seek.

Please help me to be a better human being.

Please help me to get healthier.

My Lord, please help me to stay in Thy favor and get closer to Thee!

Amin!

 

Wishing you and your family a Happy & Prosperous 2018!

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Remembering the Garden…

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A patch of dirt for some, a new beginning for others. These thoughts come to mind as my wife became excited while examining a neglected garden in back of the place where we were staying.

The landlady had given her some scallion sprouts and a tomato plant. She later added some ginger buds. Clearly, the two of them had a “special agenda” that I was not privy to. All I know is that slowly, with a little effort, I was witnessing the beginning of a lush garden start to unfold.

Surely those who believe and do good deeds, are the best of all creatures.
Their reward with their Lord shall be the gardens of Eden, beneath which the rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. God shall be well pleased with them and they shall be well pleased with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord. (Surah 98. Al-Baiyina, Ayah 7-8)

This was a sign from God! He sees all and is ever present!

You start with a vision and work to make it happen. InshAllah, you will achieve success.

I have observed this many times during my life but never really thought about it from this perspective. It was such a clear example. I thank God for giving me this realization. Allahamidulilah!

I used to think of gardens in purely romantic terms (http://wp.me/p2wvqF-1g), now there are added dimensions to the metaphor. It is a shelter from the storm of uncertainty, a haven of contentment, it is a place of of everlasting bliss… This is what we all striving to achieve.

The garden is the reward for one’s perseverance!

 

 

 

 

“Your Secret Garden…” This Is My Beloved. N.p., 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.

You Get What You Ask For

It has been said, “To believe that God gives us what we ask for is to acknowledge the might of God and His love for us”

While I am grateful for all that has happened to me, both good and bad, I am also most appreciative of the lessons imparted. I ask for God’s indulgence in making this world a better place for all my progeny…

As I get older, I think more and more about the world I live in. I think about my current position in it. I think about what I have achieved and what I still aspire to achieve. I think about my children and their children.

The thought of grandchildren brings me great joy! Alhamdulillah! My lineage is perpetuated one additional generation. It is a refreshing thought! I ponder if any of the traits they acquire will be directly attributed to their grandfather, me?

I also wonder about the current state of this world. That gives me much pause for concern. I feel both powerless and at the same time, having the potential to change things for the better.

I see all that is wrong with this world and I know we can all do better. Truly, man is in the dark and ungrateful. There are misplaced people from Myramar, Syria and other places, seeking to avoid the bloodshed in their native lands. There is a gap between the rich and poor that continues to widen, unabatedly. I have witnessed the sustained disenfranchisement of women, in varying degrees. Bigotry exists in different forms throughout the world; cultural biases overshadow Quranic values. Oftentimes, the good that is preached overlooks the questionable behaviors in society. Can anything be done to correct these occurrences?

It starts with an idea, a thought and it grows over time. We make excuses for these behaviors when in essence they all go against our better nature.

When we die, we all hope to eventually reside in some place “celestial,” Heaven or Jannah, but we often overlook the disjunct between the here and now and then

There is so much abundance in this world and yet poverty still exists. How do you feel about it? When you see the image of a dead 3-year old child floating on the ocean, does this evoke a feeling that something is wrong in the 21st century? Environmental abuse for short-term gain persists and at everyones expense! I could go on and on about these events, but I prefer to emphasize pro-activity.

When one of you asks for something then let him magnify his wishes, for verily, he is asking his Lord, the most Exalted and High.” – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

A while ago, I composed a dua or prayer which I now say every morning. This is my contribution to affect change, a small request yet huge in its potential leveraged effect. I am an optimistic person and am hopeful that the idea will catch on like a fire in a dry forest! It is about understanding; it is about what we all need to think seriously about to create a better environment, not only for us, but for future generations as well. I ask for a better world.

How can we seek to gain that “nearness to God,” tomorrow when we neglect what He has given us today? If we are strong in our faith and strive to improve our commitments, God willing, things can and will change!

I pray for a better World, I pray for World Peace and Harmony.
I pray for a World in which Man seeks a better understanding of himself
And strives NOT to offend his Neighbor.

I pray for a World in which Children can be Children,
And grow up to become fine upstanding Adults,
With a good set of Values that have been imparted to them,
By their Parents, other Family members and their Elders.

I pray that they are never again exposed to the horrors of Man,
Because these have in fact, become non-existent!

I pray for a World in which Man is the Most Diligent,
And the Most Successful CareTaker of this Most Wonderful Gift
That has been Bestowed upon us all – this Most Beautiful Planet Earth!

I pray for a better World, I pray for World Peace and Harmony.

I believe that one’s attitude is directly related to our interpretation of circumstance. I have a high regard for the power of collective thinking. One way to magnify the “essence of God” (which resides within us all) is by multiplying the virtues God has given us. When we channel our thought process, we are capable of amazing things. We can find a cure for diseases. We can place men in space. Surely we can also solve the world’s problems. God has not placed any limitations for us!

Changes…

As the year draws to a close, and a new one is upon us, I find myself wanting more and expecting more, first from myself, but also from everyone else!

More effort! More understanding! More cooperation! More peace! More harmony!

Imagine how better off we would all be if we all tried just a little harder. This applies not just to individuals, but nations, governments and religions as well.

I believe that within each individual, “God has placed His own spirit, so there is great potential in every human being. Those who cultivate the talents given to them become resourceful, and those who neglect their talents become weak. God has not only given talents and intelligence to the human being, but also the initiative to apply them. We should, therefore, strive to develop what has been given to us and become resourceful.”1 

I wrote a haiku about the moon years ago (http://wp.me/p2hekR-1). As the year changes tonight, so does the phase of the moon. I think this is one of those rare occurrences, but I take it as an additional sign of the change, which may be upon us.

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I wish everyone a better New Year, filled with much hope, more peace & harmony and abounding prosperity!

 

 

 

1 Sultan Abdulhameed The Quran and The Life of Excellence (Denver, CO: Outskirts Press: 2010) pp. 207-208

Feeling it …

While perusing Pinterest the other day, I came across an interesting poster, which seemed to capture the state I was in.  The past few days have been both enduring and wonderful at the same time.

An old friend recently commented that I seemed to “move with a Zen-like quality” as I interacted with those who stepped before me during Kendo Keiko. I was simply trying to conserve energy while I was in the middle of my fast. I did not want to pass out due to the smothering temperatures at the gym where we practice, not to mention the heat generated within my armor and lack of fluid intake.

Some might say that this was a foolhardy effort on my part, but one does not practice a martial art for 30 plus years and then stop because of in climate weather conditions.

I have been in a good mood lately. I offer greetings to strangers. I smile at everyone. I truly believe that if we just clear our eyes, we will see that the world is a beautiful place. I feel the introspection. How can I explain the feeling?

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Bliss…

When I can read a thought and experience uncontrollable tears of joy.