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Never Broken, Just Distracted

Never Broken, Just Distracted

“Often, life’s distractions divert your attention from the real journey. Broken dreams, broken relationships … and you mistakenly think your soul is broken, too. If you find yourself miles away from your heart, only a few steps back brings you closer to home. Spend time with Self and I. You will realize that you are still as complete as the day you were born. Never broken, just distracted.”

–Dodinsky

The Chapter of Adoration

*In spirit of the theme of the title, I dedicate this blog post to all those I adore– beginning with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), my parents, my sisters & brother, and my dear friends.

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If you’ve read the Quran, or parts of it, you may already know that there’s a surah called Al-Sajdah.

If you’re Arabic, or know the language, and were asked to translate the word, you might probably (and correctly) say it means “Prostration.” The surah of Prostration.

But I came across another translation this morning, and it was different, unexpected, but fluid with the term ‘prostrate’. It was so beautiful I had to write this blog post before this fuzzy feeling wore off…

In Sahih International translation, or most others, surah 32 of the Quran is titled Prostration.

In Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation, you are reading surah 32, titled… wait for it!… Adoration.

Adoration.

Yes, you read right! Al-sajdah is translated to adoration! Prostration is adoration.

(Wait, what? How do those two correlate?)

Well, I’m no expert– but I have a personal interpretation. 😉

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When we do prostration in prayer, we say a minumum of 3 “subhana rabbi al-a’laa” (Glory be to the Most High”). We put our focus into humbling ourselves, placing the part of you that holds the most pride on the lowest of things, to exalt the Most High.

Now note this:

The head: The most sacred part of an individual’s body. The Prophet forbid hitting on the face, as this is not only painful physically but emotionally as well. It’s where all one’s dignity and pride resides. Ever wondered where the expression ‘his/her nose held up in the air’ came from?

 The ground: Where feet step on. The lowest of the low.

So the act of prostrating is putting the most important part of you onto the most unworthy (or so it seems) part of the earth. You’re not placing your face on silk mattresses, velvet pillows or against an upright wall. You’re instead putting yourself in your most vulnerable position. No one would do this if they did not truly feel small, insignificant and thereby submissive to their Lord.

But how many do it purely because of their love and adoration for Him?

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I went on dictionary.com to find some exact definitions of ‘prostrate’, and this was the first of five meanings:

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We all prostrate out of submission. The stronger in faith, out of submission and humility. But the best combination is in doing so out of submission, humility AND adoration (may God make this as easy on us to do in practice as it is to type it!)

Next time you pray, try taking a different approach. Put a little more focus into feeling the Love you have for Him and the Love He has for you.

After all, who is more worthy of our admiration and adoration than the Most High?

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“Only those believe in Our verses who, when they are reminded by them, fall down in prostration and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord, and they are not arrogant.” [32:15]

 

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Have a spiritually uplifting day! 🙂

-A.S.

You Be The Judge

Just a reflection on what it means to see and be blind.

True story. Wrote this sitting next to the very same man I was writing about. He never knew, and probably never will. 

 

“You Be The Judge”

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Once upon a time as I was on the metro
Just on my way home from downtown, you know?
I noticed a man across of me, wordlessly moving his lips
Talking in silence, his head slightly atilt.

He clumsily stares around, seeming very engaged
As he taps his pale fingers across a white page
A page with no words, no color or meaning
His eyes are bloodshot, with no sign of feeling.

I thought, is this guy confused?
Who is he communicating to?
Holding so many white pages of a book…
It made no sense, so I took another look.

Now, if you saw someone like him,
Staring across with neither frown nor grin,
Silently talking with so much energy,
His eyes red as if from an allergy–

Wouldn’t you first think he was mindless?
Or out of the present moment, no less
Might you initially have come up with some grudge
For a fleeting one second, if you were the judge?

If I were the judge… And so I was
And it turned out I was wrong, because–
Because there was more to the picture than I could see
I just hadn’t looked at it all completely.

You see, when my eyes, once more, looked down at his book
When I took the time to have that important second look
I realized the white pages were empty of words, indeed
Yet they were full of bumps and small shapes to read…

You be the judge… Cuz as a judge I failed
To realize that this man was actually reading… Brail!
He was a blind man, empty of sight
Yet, ironically, I was the one who couldn’t see it right.

You be the judge… who was blind in this case?
The one who read in peace, or the one who judged in haste?
He was a blind man, empty of sight
Yet with my own visual eyes (plus glasses!), I was the one who couldn’t see right.

And it got me thinking– what do so many of us see?
For is all we see truly a reality?
Is seeing falsehood, a form of vision?
Or could we only be living a life of illusion?

You be the judge… ask yourself, what does sight do?
Simple answer is, it gives you shapes and colors around you
Doesn’t that sound trivial, and oh-so-nothing?
Yet if sight vanished, life could be crushing.

You be the judge… Now let’s be honest
Don’t you love to see the faces of those you are fondest?
Don’t you love to see the moon, the sun and the sky?
Don’t you love to look down when you’re up so high?

You be the judge… but judge only yourself
Have you acknowledged the gift of sight to yourself?
Have you ever said, “Thank You God,  thank you Allah for letting me see
The faces of my friends and beloved family”?

You be the judge… Imagine this now
Your sight vanishes overnight, somehow
The world is in darkness during night and day
And you think your life can’t get more dismayed.

You be the judge… Is the world really dark?
Or it is merely because you won’t acknowledge the sparks?
Does it make a difference if one can actually physically see
But still won’t acknowledge the blessings of reality?

Is this poem getting confusing? Perhaps it is
So being the Aya Salah I am, I’ll get down to business
I’ll strike one last example, and you can decide
Who is the blind one, and who sees the light.

Here is an example of a vengeful man
Who uses his eyes to target, kill and slay
And prevents innocent people from seeing another sunny day
His heart is clouded with ignorance, selfishness, greed and hate
Causing the oppression in the world to simply inflate.

And… another man holds his cane, and taps the wall
So that he doesn’t trip another human and cause him to fall
His heart is enlightened with hope and life
Because he knows, he is certain, that the All-Merciful One, will help him in every strife.

Now… You Be The Judge
And try not to misjudge…

What use is sight
If we don’t -or rather won’t- see things right?
What use is vision
If we use it for suppression?
What use are our eyes
If they look down at others with despise?
What use is a blessing
If we use it as a cursing?

Who is more blind, the one who is sightless by fate or the one by will?
Who is more disabled, the one who leaves things as they are
Or the one who causes the world to go downhill?
How about those who lie, slander, hurt, put down, insult, backbite and hold pathetic grudges?
I won’t bother answering because I already gave you the title:
You Be The Judges.

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–A.S.
Fall 2010