reform your memory. not my religion.

Please know what it is that you wish to “reform” before you call for reformation. Reformation has caused spiritual destruction in the past. The world is not what it was. The world has changed. Our souls have remained consistent. What our souls need has remained the same. Instead of changing the tried and true remedies to spiritual maladies, what we must do is correct our vision and understanding. We have all developed spiritual astigmatism and autism. We no longer see straight- our vision twists and bends with the development of developed societies twisted whims. We are drowned in tanks filled to the brim with self.

There is a universality to gnosis that has and will always exist. It didn’t come about with Adam or Jesus or Muhammad. It is a miracle, a miracle that still takes place- it is the miracle of God choosing to reveal Himself to His creation. It is our selves that make it a miraculous occurrence because this thing- this knowing, is organic. How do you come to a state of not knowing the very thing that you first knew? You keep your eyes closed to the phenomenon that is God manifesting through creation. We were all in His presence at the beginning when He forged our souls. We have all known Him.

يسألونك عن الروح قل الروح من أمر ربي
“They ask you about the soul. Say it is from the command of my Lord.”

We have always wondered where our souls are- always thought about where our thoughts are. There is limitation to understanding, but knowing, knowing is the difference. The scholars say, “if you know yourself, you know your Lord,” and this is the key to that soul search. Once your self is found, understood, and reassigned to its rightful task, the doors of knowledge open, and we know that God gives knowledge to the favored ones, the ones He wishes the most good for.

We don’t need reform or reinterpretation. We just need to open our hearts, cleanse our intentions and do the work. Remember God because that is our purpose. We have been separated from our Source. Remember Him and you will find all that you need, all that you desire. It’s all here for us. Open the book and read it. Praise Him with your every action. Stop letting your days pass you by without reconnecting to all that is Real.

It’s a difficult task, to remember something you’ve forgotten.
He is merciful,
He does not call us to figure anything new out,
or seek out new ways of connecting-

He just asks us to remember.
And once you remember,
how can you forget?
Love is unforgettable.
It is with God in Eternity.

May You allow us, dear Lord, from Your infinite mercy to serve You, remember You, and love You with all that we are and all that we do.


Where is Allah?

Facebook, the endless spout of human consciousness, once led me to read a note by a muhajjaba who was considering not covering any more. She was writing to let the world know that she had decided to continue wearing it because she felt that it was part of who she was, part of her identity as a Muslim American and to remove it was to remove part of who she was from her being. Those are not her words but that was the argument made.

This summer I was in the midst of yet another conversation about hijab this time with an elder who was confessing to me how she constantly day dreams about being without hers. She made the argument that God never asks us to do things that are too hard for us and how it feels too hard to do nowadays because of the mean mugs and how it “just makes us look foreign and strange to our peers, the only people we share a culture with.”

I was struck. Never had I heard or thought of hijab as being something that tied me to people or identity. It was always something that was between nothing and no one but God and myself. Is it a struggle to put it on and cover myself when the rest of the world is flaunting everything they have to show? Why yes, yes it is a big struggle. Does it get hot under there like they like to ask? Why yes, yes it does indeed get hot under here but we endure – not because we feel like it will rip from us part of our identity if we stop wearing it; or that we may lose some tangible part of ourselves if we stop doing this thing. We continue on in this hijab jihad because Allah ordered us to- and that is all there is. To take the responsibility of assuming that we might be able to rationalize something that the Creator mandated for His creation is just a little bit…..well, arrogant. Hijab is not about modesty or identity. It is plain and simple a commandment and obey I must because when there is full trust that there is Creator, there is no doubt that His mandates are good, and that His right above all others, will be fulfilled. He has always taken care of me and my needs and never have I been let down, my provision is always there waiting for me and so shouldn’t I at least show the respect and love owed in that regard?

So my question is where is Allah in the conception of Muslims? Can He truly be the goal if He is not even a thought in the understanding of an idea as simple as a mandate? Where is the breakdown and where did we lose Him along the way and can we go back and relocate where we left Him? I think it is important to note here that we didn’t lose Him, rather we lost ourselves and true understanding of who we are. If we understand ourselves to be Muslim Americans beyond Allah, then what does it mean to be a Muslim? Who or what do we worship? Do we then worship our identities, or our selves and what we strive to make ourselves for other people?

This sparks in me the importance of renewing our intentions. The “classics” if you will, of the great scholars of Islam all begin their books with a chapter on intention and this is for one very important reason; our hearts change. We must constantly be in a state of checking in with it and renewing the purest of intentions that we can muster so that we don’t get stuck in an outdated malignant version of our original intention. It must be revamped and up to date because as time passes, we grow and so must our intentions and the actions that follow them. So whether hijab is something we do for our parents or for proof to whomever that we are indeed what we spew, it is all based in the heart and if the heart doesn’t even have a clear notion of the why, then the manifestation of that thing will too be convoluted and confused, right?

My mother likes to relate the tradition that says a worshiper falls into one of three categories. The lowest level is the level of the slave who fears her master and does everything out of fear of reprimand or punishment. The middle level is that of the merchant or trades person who is always in search of that bargain….if I do this, you do or give me that! And the highest level is that of the lover, who would do anything her Beloved wished because she believed her Beloved to be deserving and desires nothing but their pleasure. How can we dupe ourselves into desiring anything but that highest and definitely sweetest level?

Some say that the conversation about hijab is irrelevant because we need to get past it and other things that hold us back from doing the “real” work that needs to be done. But how do we go about doing that when our intentions and even when our understanding is incorrect? Is this an irrelevant conversation in the scheme of American Islam because we are beyond such labels or because we are too arrogant and/or afraid to truly submit? Where is Allah in this “real work?” Is He the goal? Is He our inspiration? Does He have a place in it?

The Prophet, upon him be peace said, “Islam began as something strange and will return as something strange so give glad tidings to the strangers.”

“بدأ الإسلام غريبا وسيعود غريبا فطوبى للغرباء”

I relish the opportunity to be strange. Allah is the Ultimate Glad Tiding; The hijab between He and I is the only one I pray to have removed.  May He unhijabify truth to our hearts and minds.


verbose verbiage = garbage

“Do not limit yourself to deep words and profound spiritual allusions but make provision for the afterlife before death comes, when fine words will be lost and the rak’as you prayed by night and day will remain.”
-Shaykh Muhammad Sa’eed Burhani

In a lecture Shaykh Hamza said something along the lines of:
The scholars used to take entire books and condense them into simple sentences without losing anything. Now we write books explaining their simplification.

Precision is a lost art. We hide behind big words and seemingly complex ideas- thinking that it veils our ineptitude. It does not. The more words it takes for us to understand something, the less likely we are to understand it.

“Someone asked me what is the knowing I speak of and how does the love I mention feel. I said if you don’t know, what can I say? And if you do know, what can I say?
The taste of knowing love has no explanation, and no account of it will ever give anyone that taste.”
– Ma’arif Bahauddin

I once asked a friend to explain an experience they’d had. They said “explain to me what honey tastes like.” I couldn’t.


On God & astrology

Trite spirituality:
I believe in the science of the stars. I believe these things as there is nothing in my spiritual constitution that tells me I shouldn’t. My heart does not send up warning flags from thinking these thoughts and so I find them to be sound according to my tradition. One this though, it is so absurd to me that we can believe in things as distant as the cosmos dealing the cards of our lives, while God remains a distant concept to many of our peers.

Taking false Idols:
There are many whose lives revolve around astrology. They become slaves to their sign.  They become followers of the rules and laws that govern their particular sign. They embody and exude the characteristics of their sign in hopes that it will add some order to their chaotic life. We are all looking for spirituality, a connection to the Divine, and instead of putting in any real effort, we are indolent and come to find that the trite spirituality that astrology has can superficially fill that void nicely for a time. This is a sign of a much more odious malady than just indolence. There is a void within us that only a set of laws can fill and some choose to fill it with false conjecture and a completely human constructed science rather than fill it with freedom in surrender to the Creator of all concepts who created that little idea too.
God is Greater than ______.

this statement holds true no matter what you fill the blank in with.



What if it didn’t?

What if food in general wasn’t a source of pleasure?

What if it was painful?

How merciful God is to make our source of sustenance be a source of pleasure too! He is so good to us that He took something necessary for our survival and made it pleasureful too. Imagine having to masticate something that we found no pleasure in, and needing to do so multiple times a day, just in order to be able to function and have enough energy to go about our daily business! Food could have been just a means to an end, eat to energize- but instead we eat for pleasure. Rare is it that we think of our food only as a source of energy for us. Rare is it that we measure how many joules of energy this or that food will give us. Instead we ingest what will bring us the most pleasure. Imagine if we had to do this monotonous thing, day in and day out, multiple times a day, only for it to be something we dread- something that pains us. Mastication is already strenuous and takes effort, imagine if there was no immediate gratification for the effort! The arduous act of chewing coupled with delicious tasting wonders, only One greater than us could have been so kind and gentle.

And what a mercy it is that we do have to masticate! How He allows us to savor our food- How He allows us time to enjoy it in our mouth before it enters our system to give us necessary energy. What a mercy it is that He allows us time during chewing for our bodies to decide when it is time to stop eating. What a mercy that we are able to chew to make it easier on our weak bodies to digest the means of energy- How He is the source of that energy.

And how amazing it is to think of the life of your food. How that slice of watermelon I just savored was always meant just for me. The fact that He set aside my provision in that watermelon when my book was written and made that watermelon come to be, and then brought to me…awe inspiring. (and to think that my watermelon, is in a complete state of God consciousness, and in praise of Him- How can I do anything but praise Him for making my food praise Him too- How can i do anything but give thanks when what I am eating is praising Him- it would be wholly unnatural and inorganic!)

SO give thanks for your food- but give thanks for its deliciousness because in that is a blessing and mercy too!

Oh Allah, so few thanks do we offer and how many are due- Make us mindful of your mercy. Make us mindful of Your un-enumerable blessings, and gift us the intellect to recognize You in these things! ameen.

These Attractions
from Maarif Bahauddin

I was saying Glory to God and the inner meaning of that came to me. If you desire elegance, the perfection of it is in the presence of God. The same with wealth, authority, dignity, sama, and sohbet. All of these reach perfection inside the mystery. Whatever we love in this visible world, we are sure to discover its flaws.
We grow more alive, more perfect, when we take these attractions into the presence. Let them live inside our being drawn there. Every pleasure of light, color, taste, touch, fragrance and sound becomes filled with out remembering. We go light-hearted, high spirited (37:99). Even when I fear going there, I am held, kissed, and bathed in the luster.
Now I begin repeating Allahu Akbar, God is great, and I see the beauty of the visible forms of that greatness, physical strength, banners, a mountain cliff. Likewise, when I [do dthikr,] that conversation becomes a spring wind turning dead ground into roses, water running by, word of a friend’s arrival. Saying praise together out loud brings into being a key that opens the heart.