How we live now

Seconds to minutes to hours to days to weeks to months to a whole year. A whole year has flown on by and here we are in a world void of so many that filled it with their breath and voice and movement.

It was in last Ramadan that the world mourned for our dear brother, our leader and our friend Bashir Osman. Those who had met Bashir, even once, will tell you how they fell in love with his warmth, his humour, his character. He made everyone feel like his best friend. And for how well he was known and how much he achieved he still remained grounded and humble.

The response after his death was equally warming and numbing. He had messages from scholars across the world, people who did not even know him got to know him. People donated to the building well project he had started. It was truly exceptional to witness.

As I remember him now I remember one of his last tweets, hope simple yet so powerful.

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When I think of Bashir I think of the amazing life he led. But in all he did – leading FOSIS, all his charity work, the immense friend he was – he did as a student. A young person just like you and I. I wonder how I will be remembered after my inevitable demise. Will strangers sing my praises and wish to know me? Will my acquaintances mourn me even after a year? Will my loved one be proud of me? Will I have a legacy that can live on?

Bashir fills me with hope. We all have the potential to be like him. So let us take heed of his advice. Take advantage of today, worry not of the past.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.’ ” [Narrated by Tirmidhi]

This is my entry for Ramadan diary: day 15. 

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#IAM: islamophobia awareness month 

As I waited for the train this morning I felt disturbingly aware of my surroundings. Did that man just glare at me? Is that women charging towards me? Why do those group of kids keep looking at my direction?

I felt genuine fear. I didn’t know if I should call someone or if getting my phone out would make me more vulnerable. Islamophobia is making me paranoid.
And I know it’s not just me. A good friend has asked her mum to not go out for a few weeks. She chooses to wear the face veil and had a man attack her. Can you imagine, being trapped in your own home. I would not know how I would cope if anything happened to my mum. Heartbreaking. Another friend of mine was spat at in the street as he walked home. Imagine people who think of you as such subpar and with such disgust that they can spit at you. Revolting. A woman was bottled in the street a few days ago just because she was visibly Muslim – choosing to wrap a scarf around her head. Terrifying.

This month is Islamophobia Awareness Month. The point of it is just make people aware just how real islamophobia is. It is not people playing the race card or making a big deal out of nothing. It is heartbreaking, revolting and terrifying. And it is the reality of Muslims all around the world.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9YX_yxylZqc

Write a status, blog or tweet about how islamophobia has affected you with the hashtag #IAM. Let’s share our stories, they’re real and should be heard.
And for those of you who has not experienced islamophobia yourself, ask your Muslim friends how their journey home was recently, offer to hear their fears, be a good friend.

If you’d like to find out more, check out these events FOISIS (below) and MEND (their website) have organised.  

And to our Lord we return

Yesterday I was devastated to hear the passing of an amazing guy, who drowned in an accident whilst abroad. A leader, a friend, a brother to so many. Innallahi wa innallahi rajiun. To our Lord we belong, and to Him we return.

I am still in shock. He was active on Facebook just eight hours before I heard the news. At first I thought it was a joke, I just saw him the other day, he’s so young – still in his 20s, how can this even be?

I cannot explain to you how loved he was, and by so many – he was so warm, so funny, so humble, always thinking of others. People knew him from all over the country and abroad. He has raised thousands for charity, organised soul-enriching events, and he has revived a whole movement. In the few years he walked this earth, he dedicated his life to Islam and Muslim youth. World renowned scholars and artists are writing statuses about him – testament to the legacy that his work, his character and his efforts have left behind. He knew thousands of people, and I don’t think even one of those people could say a bad word about him. How many of us can the say the same about the much smaller group of people that know us? Even though I had met him twice, his character was such that I am grieving like I’ve known him for years.

The time and circumstances of his passing are among the most honourable of ways to return to our Lord. He has drowned, a shaheed, and in the blessed month of Ramadan when the doors of Hellfire are closed. Please keep him and his family and friends in your prayers. How glorious that Allah chose to take his life in that way – in a place that he had described as the most beautiful lake he had ever seen and in water, where he had dedicated himself to building wells. Please donate what you can to his final charity project.

A reminder to myself, death does not wait for us to grow old. I look at what I have achieved and wonder if I am ready for my Lord. The answer is no. Even in death he has inspired me.

If we do not meet again, I pray Allah unites us in Jannah – Bashir Osman Ameen