Living by It. One lesson a day…

… from Quran. Changing slowly, but surely.

Lesson 34 – Night & Day, Day & Night April 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saima @ 2:01 am
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“He it is Who has Created night for you to be peaceful in, and daylight for you to see in. Indeed in all this are the signs for the group of those people who listen.”

Surah Younus (Surah 10), verse 67

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Mom and my mom’s sister have ALWAYS said that. And I totally see their point. But there are so many things I have to do in one day that I can’t help but stay up late most of the time. The fact that shaitaan makes me irresistibly drowsy in the afternoons is what I need to address. I know that if I stay up those 3 hours I sleep in the afternoons, I could easily work my way towards a sensible sleeping time. A time that is in concordance with nature.

You would agree that when night falls, everything LOOKS as if it’s meant to be asleep. Like there is a purpose to the darkness, to the quiet that accompanies each night. I do have a problem with corporate for extending working hours to insensible schedules, with load shedding for wasting hours of the day, hours I could use to do my laundry and iron my clothes but they’re are all excuses my mind desperately formulates to escape the issue at hand.

Medically, mornings are great for the body. Cortisol (natural steroid) is released in a diurnal manner. Peak time is around 8 am in the morning and the lowest levels are around 12-4 am. Cortisol has many, many effects on the body. It’s basically a hormone released in stressful states. It helps release glucose (brain’s fuel), helps retain water and sodium in the body (integral for mental function), helps build short-term memory (too much of it, though, can impair learning), it weakens the immune system (if there’s a continued or increased circulation of it), it raises blood pressure (a controversial quality), it increases acid secretion in the stomach (that can give you the pangs in the morning) among its myriad of actions.

That all can be as good as being bad for you depending on different situations. It’s like if you have a deadline to meet, you find ways to do things, bring people in, have brilliant ideas and come up with a product minutes before it’s due. If you’re being given too many deadlines, you’re going to run short of ideas, short of the motivational drive and the desire to produce meaningful things. That’s pretty much how cortisol works. Going by plain logic then, waking up early  after a good night’s sleep, will mean that the cortisol is high at the same time as you’re awake, thereby keeping the motivational drive intact. Even on Sundays when, otherwise, we like sleeping in. Because we spent Saturday night partying. Going by that same logic, sleeping before 12 means we’ll be down right about the time that the stress hormones are minimal. But, of course, cortisol is not the only thing that needs to be considered; Allah’s Creations are always much more complex and fascinating.

Allah’s Words are too simple to be true. We make it so hard upon ourselves. We get lost in the flurry of things around us. In the things OTHER people are doing.

RE-PRIORITIZE is what I need to do, something I realize but don’t implement. DE-PRIORITIZE parties and TV and people’s inappropriately timed plans. If I truly have the will, I will find a way to stay awake and be productive in the afternoons and wake up in time to welcome a healthy dose of cortisol. I’ve trivialized this verse for far too long and I hope I can find ways to change that.

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Lesson 24 – Salat | Forgiveness | Repentance | Reward March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saima @ 11:39 am
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Confused about the date. Help?

“Of course your Rabb knows that you certainly stand (for salaat) for less than two-thirds (2/3) of the night.

And for half of it (at times), and a third of it (at other times).

And also a group from among people who are your companions.

And Allah has decreed that the duration of night and daylight hours (must decrease and increase).

He Knows that you are unable to count of it (your time of devotion).

So He has turned to you (in acceptance of your repentance).

Therefore read as much of the Quran as you easily can.

He is Aware that some of you may be ill and others will be traveling in land seeking of His bounty.

And yet others fighting (or preparing for) war in Allah’s cause.

Therefore read as much of it as you easily can.

And stand regularly for salaat and give zakat. And give an interest free loan to Allah, a beautiful loan.

And whatever you send ahead of you, the good for yourself, you will find that what Allah has with Him is better and a great recompense. And keep asking Allah to (provide the cover of) forgiveness for you.

Indeed Allah Forgives, He is Merciful.”

Surah Muzammil (Surah 73), verse 20

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Wow. *blink*blink*

Okay.

  • So two thirds of about an average 8 hours of night is actually 5.3 hours. I don’t think I stand even one eighth of the night! Either I’m not following this… or I’m a poor Muslim. A half would be 4 hours, a third 2.6. Somebody help and explain me this!

From what I understand, night is the time to ask for forgiveness because He has turned to us at that time. Makes sense because nights are when the distractions are minimal, when the day has ended and so have the energy levels, when we realize we haven’t thought about ourselves all day and need to, when the misery of the day comes crashing back to infuriate us and we’re looking for a pure vent out. So Allah Knows all that and He Chose that time to turn to us… although to be fair, I think He’s always available, if we just bothered to check.

  • For the last few years, I’ve been having conversations with myself about what Allah Wants from me. Surely, He Knows how I spend my time, the duties I have and the chores I have to do. He can See how I don’t have time for myself sometimes and admittedly so, the movies and blogs took much of it… but if I were to eliminate those wastes from my routine, I think it’s still understandable I don’t have time for everything everyday. But guess what! I don’t even have to fret about it! Because He had already given me the leverage that I was just beginning to contemplate on… and He didn’t Say it just one time! He has Said it twice here: Read as much as you easily can. The problem arises when I de-prioritise reading Quran and loosen the definition of what is easily readable, on a day to day basis, to according to just my terms. That’s just being clever. I think we all look for ways to excuse ourselves from whatever that limits our number of roads; I mean I think we enjoy entertaining the idea that opportunities are unlimited and that we have so many roads to go down on. The road that leads to Allah is what we sideline because we read He’s Merciful and we think, “Oh well, I’ll get to it… Someday, but I will.” The next time we think about WHEN that day will come, it’s already a few years for some, a few decades for others. By that time, the vices, the sins, the selfishness, the miseries, the hopelessness have all accumulated and we attempt to direct ourselves with a whole new perspective, a seemingly wise one (because we equate years to wisdom) until a point is reached when we rue on our laziness to rush to His promises and His guidance.

I may not be reading as much as I, truly, easily can everyday… but writing it all down has the very evident advantages of helping me remember the verses more and it’s helping me to uncover the different angles of a seemingly small verse, that by the end of the post reveals its profundity albeit to what I can decipher alone. I like the idea of questioning things, it’s definitely the best way to let ideas sink and stay anchored.

  • Zakat and loans. Okay, so those are lessons for another day InshaAllah.
  • I know a few people, as of now, who are going through tough times. Not surprising because times are really tough for most! The thing is, almost all of them fit the bill for upright-and-maintaining-integrity types… and honestly, that shocks me. And fascinates me. I’m at that point in time where things are Alhumdolillah great, nothing to complain about and I seriously doubt if I would maintain my integrity if circumstances were less than favorable for me… but I digress. This last bit of verse about recompense and forgiveness? I think people should read this regularly and thank Allah for His Kindness in that He is basically Calling out to them (and to people who’re working to improve lives, making waves, helping humanity) to stand where they are and just trust Him. HE WILL GIVE THEM BACK WHAT THEY SENT. AT A BETTER PRICE!!!!!! That’s like I give you a Cadbury bar and a few years later, you give me a Lindt bar. I just wrote that to drive home the point better; no disrespect or trivialization was intended during the construction of that statement…. Along with that, He Asks you to keep asking for forgiveness. Either that means the tough times are a payback for the sins (which seems highly unlikely to me because of the distortion that thought process is capable of) or that continuously asking for forgiveness will keep you busy and humbled during your tough times and indirectly remind you of Who is truly in control or that the prayers during the tough times are adhered to more (again a highly likely situation to me). Or it could simply be because man is liable to sins and Allah is just Asking us to watch out! Whichever one of those that it is, He ends the verse by reassuring us that He will Forgive a truly repenting soul.

SubhanAllah!