Cairo is Dying

is life worth the carnage in the street?

the corner where the children played

drips with blood, black with gore.

Broken glass and broken hearts

This is not the country of your father,

that kills its men and women and babies.

this is not the language of your mother,

that screams in rage, in hate, in oppression,

Here, they target your religion.

Your politics. These brothers you may have

served or salaam-ed?

You can no longer call them your own.

The ones on the rooftops,

in the street,

in the crowd,

the ones sending you to your grave,

peering through their crosshairs.

Nesha Usmani

WUDU. The right (and only) way.

I want to talk to my Sunday school teachers and ask them why they didn’t teach us to make wudu like this, but it would be wrong to blame anyone except myself.

I found this a year or more ago and then somehow could not find it again. Today I stumbled across it on Facebook, Alhamdulillah.

Seriously, as Muslims we make wudu at least 4 times a day, more if we need to. We forget that without it, salah (prayer) is not accepted. Not only that, we forget, as one of the brothers in the video point out, that wudu is PART of Salah. It IS ibadah (worship).

So instead of splashing around in the sink and snorting and gargling…take a look, man!

SubhanAllah. Look how Shaykh Khatri slows down. Pours his water from a pitcher (controlling how much you use and decreasing the waste of water). Look how much attention he pays to each step subhanAllah, and even patiently answers and demonstrates questions regarding women’s wudu (it’s not different, except for how we wash our hair).

Listen to his dhikr and watch his determination, subhanAllah. I think he used maybe 1/4th of the water I would normally use and took 5 times the amount of time I would normally take during my wudu, authubillah.

So here it is, Allahu Allam, it says this Sheikh is following an unbroken chain leading back to the Prophet (SAW), (This Sheikh learned from his Sheikh, who learned from his Sheikh, who learned from his Sheikh, etc, until reaching the Prophet (SAW).

May Allah guide us to the purest knowledge and the straightest path and never lead us astray. Ameen

Stars

Night does not come,

There is no star that radiates

darkness.

The window to the universe

is simply left open by a departing sun.

But the soft pink tips of night

do seem like an approaching guest.

The stars, so enticing, so rich and lush

in their seemingly infinite abundance, subhanAllah.

I wonder what they hide and what they distract from.

If Paradise is a few miles or a few dimensions above them.

If their size is a thousand times the earth or one-tenth of it.

How my heart still beats as they collide, explode, freeze and melt.

How I sink my nails into the dunya as galaxies swirl into the hungry maws of

holes in the universe.

How, no matter how severe the calamities are in the heavens,

the emptiness of the stomach feels more severe.

And all that my Lord creates, changes, and destroys

He does with the knowledge of the unseen,

which is always for the best.

But the chaos of the stars and planets combined cannot compare

to the chaos of the heart.

The sin and the greed.

The heedlessness and ignorance.

Impatience. Cruelty. Ego.

The fragility in decision making is terrifying.

And I think of the day my heart stops. And the Day all of this ends.

I hope I am not the only one who thinks like this,

like the greatest calamity is not any natural occurrence.

No. No burning star, no deadly meteor. No mysterious black void.

But the emptying of the heart in favor of the filling of hands.

The drop of an anchor in dunya; choosing this minuscule ball of water in space,

instead of waiting for something purer, unseen, un-defiled by shaitan

and the empty hearts of men.

Nesha Usmani

7/21/2013

Valley

post Fajr hours during Ramadan:
The daylight follows quickly
On the heels of sleep.
No water to lull anxious nerves
And this deprivation turns you
Towards Allah
While a part of you is ashamed
That deprivation is a more powerful
Motivation than gratitude.
You think of people who spend hours
Thanking Allah, with tears flowing.
Or begging Allah, with fear and dread in their hearts.
And you fear a polarization between the thankful and the deprived.
And you wonder if you’re the former or the latter.
If Alhamdulillah is, in your case, reserved only for gain
And Astaughfirullah shows its face only for loss
And if the valley between these mountainous supplications is a dry barren land
No blessing in between?
No well of blessed water between this Safa and Marwa?
You wonder if shukr lies hidden in the middle of constancy.
If the answer to your Dua might come easier if your repentence and remembrance were given constantly,
And not forgotten in the time where nothing spectacular nor disastrous happens,
But also given in the peace between,
Where needs are met effortlessly
And difficulties are mere pebbles on the path.
The light brightens in the room as fear and sadness still tick softly within your heart
And you think of all the Sahabah (ra) and the Rasuls (AS) and beloved Muhammad (SAW)
And their heartbreaks, desires, and goals.
And their sabr shines out.
Between the mountain of blessings and the mountain of calamity is a valley of sabr (patience).
And in the middle, perhaps, is an oasis of shukr (gratitude).
You whisper: ‘Alhamdulillah’
As fear, sadness, and hope tick softly on
As the water drips from your tired eyes.

Nesha Usmani
July 14 2013

London

London, you’ve taught me a couple things.

One is, that you’re probably better looking

and in a better mood when the sky is heavy with

passionate rain clouds.

Heat does not suit you, nor does the blinding sun on

your cobbled streets.

And the mighty Thames looks

well…weak.

And your bright red double deckers are charming from afar,

but inside them, the constant stopping and going

makes the mind wander, in its frustration, to leaping

out of the window in a sweaty, claustrophobia-induced rage.

But your markets, landmarks, gardens, and shoppes

made up for transportation woes.

Another valuable lesson is that

heartbreak can reach even your ancient fortresses,

your hundred-year-old buildings, bridges, and houses.

I keep expecting to see his face,

and the smile that still makes my heart weep,

the eyes that cause my pulse to race,

and the love I thought I’d always keep.

Nay, not London, not an ocean.

Not a marbled arch or preserved parliament

can keep the pain at bay.

But in the crevices of my palm, to which I whisper

my du’a

Filling my hands with prayer and repentance,

it is only then that I can cope.

The extra beat in my heart is solace.

Only then can I feel some hope.

 

Nesha Usmani

July 9, 2012

Tiny Changes

Tonight, while cooking dinner at the end of a very long day, I went to my Pandora app on my phone and tapped one of my custom radio stations.

But, while chopping vegetables, I realized that I wasn’t feeling all that great about Bruce Springsteen as I used to.

In fact, on the way to the animal shelter a few days ago, another artist I used to like was, at that moment, causing me a great deal of ache in my head  (see what I did there?) the sound was echoing weirdly and it just fhjghrjkh gw hoijdsijfhdbjh.

Tonight, what I actually wanted to listen to was a series on Muhammad (Peace be upon him), whilst dicing up the celery and stripping the chicken of the fat.

Now, before you go all crazy and tell me, “now, Nesha, things like that are not meant to be used as background noise…tsk tsk tsk”

I know. It wasn’t! I was listening, I promise.

I also listened to it on the way home from the animal shelter today, and I became very emotional whilst listening to the revelations about Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)  that are actually mentioned in the Bible! Citing the sources and Bibles as well!

SubhanAllah!

The amount of information I don’t know, the knowledge I didn’t try to pursue until know has become overwhelming to me. How could I not know about the similarities between Musa (AS) and Muhammad (SAW)? How could I not have ever slaked my curiosity about the Prophet’s (PBUH) wives (RA)?? Why did I never contemplate the reason for all of the Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) being shepherds of sheep, and not of, say, horses? Why sheep? Why goats? Why them? The significance of the word “IQRA”, what it meant to Rasulullah (SAW), and what it means for us, and why it’s different from his. The mathematical proof of Rasulullah’s (SAW) revelations…and his beautiful mind and love for his Ummah.

His acceptance of gifts over charity (concerning himself , Peace be upon him).

The building and rebuilding (5 times!) of the Ka’bah.

Muhammad (SAW)’s ancestry. His parents! SubhanAllah.

The information I’ve learned and digested so far…just…wow. SubhanAllah. I don’t know that I’ve ever appreciated my religion and ALL of the Prophets (PBUthem) as much as I do now. The history is just so intense and incredible.

haha, I definitely don’t remember Sunday school being as interesting and awe-inspiring. It brings me to my knees in wonder and amazement, and praise to Allah (SWT).  Allahu Akbar.

It also makes me realize how much more there is to learn. May Allah make it easy, fulfilling and beneficial, Ameen!

The next few months are going to be umm….crazy.

In a day, or two, my sister’s coming home FINALLY. InshAllah.

Next weekend something awesome is going to happen, inshAllah.  Or at least I hope. InshAllah.

After that I’m apartment hunting in Chicago inshAllah ….because I’m going to grad school there, inshAllah!!!

And then in mid-June, I’m off to Scotland to visit family and absorb the accent and come back skinny and Scottish. Or atleast skinny, inshAllah.

InshAllah, at the endish of August I’ll be moving to Chicago.

And then will proceed to lose all sanity and social life to classes like “Biostatistics” and “epidemiology.”

Gulp.

In between all these titanic sized events I’m going to continue, inshAllah, to learn more about Islam and also try to improve myself. Also try to figure out why my body is conspiring against me.

Either it does not realize that exercise and diet = weight loss, or it’s just completely insubordinate. Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, inshAllah, we’ll see what’s going on there.

On a side note, if I have any lady readers out there (yes, you, o’pretty one), I have a gift for you.

2 tbsp greek yogurt

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp lemon juice

combine in a bowl. Smoosh on your face.

THE. BEST. FACE. MASK. EVER.

***please keep in mind that turmeric is a rather hyper shade of yellow. It will leave a yellow tinge. To remove this, put boiling water into a large bowl, and cover the bowl with a large towel. Duck your head beneath the towel and let the steam rise against your face in 10-15 second intervals, gently using the towel to exfoliate in an upwards-rubbing-motion in between intervals. repeat until water is cooled or you’ve had enough, OR, just wash your face with a gentle cleanser and use a make-up removing wipe to clear up the rest.***

you’re welcome 🙂

Nesha

Sunce Moje

You have bled into me,

Like the day which bleeds into night,

The change is subtle at first,

But, indeed, I blink

And the world is brighter.

From black dusted with stars,

The corners begin to turn

A blue that only time can provide.

Time and the natural order of things.

A darker blue, like your eyes

Is shot through suddenly

With a plume of pink

Like sweet kisses before the sun’s arrival.

It bids the moon farewell,

With warm orange hands that pierce the blue.

And I still see the stars, twinkling, reminding me,

I give a last respectful nod before my eyes begin to water,

Everything has turned bright.

Gold, like your hair.

Warm, like your heart.

Slowly, surely, making its way to the top

Is the sun,

And I feel my heart rise.

Sunce moje.

Nesha Usmani