People - people everywhere; people are the pathway to Jannah
Our last night in Makkahtul Mukarramah till I am invited back. Please Allah I plead that you bring me back - and until then, let the heat of what I've gained (through your mercy) remain kindled - let our bond be as hot, at the very least very warm. It's been hot and humbling stay. Hot and trying. Hot and jarring: a startling awakening to my own weaknesses.
I reflect fleetingly (lest I forget) on what this last week has taught me, especially because being Ramadan, it's a barometer of my own weaknesses, rather than devilish insinuations(!) The weakness of the vulnerable nafs without the excuse that Shaytaan tempts. A cleansing.
Madinah always call me. This time however Makkah has made a mistress of me. For the first time I consider that my makeup may be more Makki than Madani. I once wrote that Makkah takes no prisoners - you're either an Abu Jahl or Bilal. Perhaps as I grow older I too must reconsider whether I am as (soft) an honorary Ansar as I've always assumed myself to be.
I am impatient. I must learn to accommodate - [arrogance, ignorance, indifference, differentness] rather than make excuses why I can't.
I have an unecessary flaring temper, that lasts stupidly long for minor infringements such trampling in my personal space. What starts as a niggle flares disproportionately in my mind. I must realign my priorities & react in measure to the long term repercussions, not just immediate ones.
I am but an unneeded flyaway atom to my Creator. He has billions of weighty slaves who earnestly and eagerly praise, glorify and deserve Him more than my lackadaisical whimsical worship. Mine is far too much emotional and far less physical prayer. Physical prayer is what is desired first. The feeling will follow. The feeling is not paramount. The feeling passes far too quickly. The weight of the actual deed is what remains.
I sniffle fluishly now partly because of the disdain on my face delivered to the unclean? I may have been hurtful to a fellow Muslim; perhaps? I am wholly unfit to withstand these levels of heat. What does that paper fitness even mean - the cardio, the tighter leg and arm muscles? Physical stamina was a prerequisite for Sahabiyaat; to be like my beloved Asma bint Abi Bakr. Pilgrimage is a jihad for women - the true meaning of feminine weakness I have learnt and understood here many a time. It is a grating answer to many questions I have about my own femininity and about Quranic allotment of gender roles in general. Women are prey. Even when you're playing, you're being played. Hence, You Are closer to the Fitra woman! Submission is a jihad. Accept it and be rewarded for its huge toll on your ego, or leave the Faith.
"When she leaves her home Shaytan stalks her" -- measure your hijab (even in speech) to fit the specific circumstance. This is a newly matured take, and signifies new personal growth.
All women are not equal in understanding and maturity. The Quran is universal. It is forever. It transcends your or my namby-pamby negotiations and platitudes regarding "open communication" and a "round table" discussion. I stood in Qiyam and pondered the wording - "women you have entered" "now you can touch them" "your women are a tilth" etc. The Quran also says "hit them" if they lean to infidelity if your talking and separating from them doesn't work. Taj Hagey may say it means "undertake a journey" with them, but who is he anyway? Hit them / the brash, crude, uncultured, unwashed. (I use this specifically to indicate that fishy menstrual uncleanliness & the cottage cheese, ripe odour baking in layers of the Makkah summer.) The unsophisticated, labouring badwi I specifically have in mind will no doubt hit that man right back. She will pour hot oil on his head. She will deliberately connive and lie against her co-wife or daughter-in-law to win favour. She is shrill and loquacious, verbose and garrulous. All this, at once. She is the queen bee. She, for all her lumbering swarthiness or seemingly fragile leanness - that misleading intricate nose and bird wrists is a tour de force. Reasoning will not work with her. She may need a smack. Yes. The Quran is Divine and Allah is Al Hakeem, Al Aadil.
I am a needy mother. Just as my baby needs me, I need him. Unashamed symbiosis. I must accept this. It is biology. The cycle of life.
Like the sahaba said they looked at Abu Bakr like he was reading that verse for the first time after Muhammad (S) died, I too listened to many verses like I've never ever heard them before during Qiyaam. Indicative that I am not listening to enough Quran for pleasure. This has to change.
My friend Alameen wrote:
"My view of family is it's there to soften your heart. Unlike friends, you can't get rid of family. And for good reason. That unbreakable chain - it exists even if you deny is - means we're stuck with the always-in-trouble brother, the lame-duck cousin, the interfering aunt and the Nazi uncle. Some we love and some we forgive. And some we love and then hate and then love again. We're forced into constantly forgiving, building, breaking and rebuilding. In that process, our hearts are put through the mill. It's alternately hardened, broken, shattered, kneaded, massaged and filled and expanded mainly through our family. All that sharpens our sense of identity and forces us to examine ourselves and others; to be more considerate and stronger."
Yes. Family, close family, distant family and people. People teach you all this. The path to paradise is through people. Sabr with people. Like nabi (S) taught us: "The Fire has been surrounded by lusts and desires and Paradise by hardships." [Bukhari, Muslim]. Persevere, and be grateful for every opportunity to grow.
Allah, save me from a Jahannam I may earn through a minute unqualified utterance.
11 Ramadan 1435
Related: A 2013 post on Madinah Munawara