One of the things I love doing is reading posts by my fellow bloggers. They entertain, inspire, teach and inform you. It’s like your own little portal to an around the world journey of different thoughts and ideas. For some reason words on paper (or in this case a screen) means more to me than words uttered. I think there are posts which make you think, laugh, cry, and then there are posts which just make you fall madly in love with it. These are the posts which makes your head scream “Must re-blog!!”
I came across this beautiful post (thanks to a good friend of mine) which describes what being a Sri Lankan is really all about. I can truly say I absolutely love this post! It is beautifully written and subtly shows us the things which we should really concentrate on, the things that bring us together, not tear us apart. I fell in love with it, maybe you will too.
We’ve barely worked our way out of one ethnic conflict – and already trouble makers of Sri Lanka are starting up the next one. Anti-Muslim this and that – a small minority to be sure, but a frighteningly vocal one. They insist that we must protect ‘Sri Lanka’ and that they are ‘Sri Lankan’.
To me – I have never imagined myself as any less Sri Lankan because I was from a minority That was not how I was raised, and that was not how the people around me saw themselves. But what scares me is that as a nation we spend so much time drawing lines around our communities, that we forget the things that bind us together as Sri Lankan. And to me – those are the best things we have.
To me being Sri Lankan means having your mouth water at the thought of acharu in little siri siri bags. Thambili on a sweltering day. Horrific traffic and people driving like they are blind. The mosques call to prayer broadcasted on their speakers mingled with the nearby temples chanting. Waving to the elephant when we pass the Gangarama temple. The smell of Sidalehpe when one is sick. Feeling a thrill when some random Hollywood movie mentions ‘Sri Lanka’ and re-watching that scene for that reason. Complaining about internet speeds.
Being Sri Lankan to me means always having your breath taken away when Vesak comes around, and the whole city seems to come alive. Eagerly waiting to see what magnificent Christmas decorations Odel and the 5 star hotels will dazzle us with. Plates of buyriyani at Ramadan. Blessing our multi-ethnic society every-time a long weekend comes around. Double blessings when we find two in a month. Araliya trees in bloom. The tree lined Thurstan Road. The smell of sandalwood in Wellawatte.
Calling everyone ‘Aunty’ and ‘Uncle’. Everyone knowing or being related to everyone. Everyone having family who lives in USA, Canada Australia or all three. Family dinners that don’t serve food til 10pm. Always asking someone new you meet – ‘What school did you go to? Oh, what batch? I know so-and-so’. Lavish weddings. Jumping with excitement every time an American fast-food franchise opens up. Freaking out at cricket matches. Sighing whenever you go abroad and someone assumes you are Indian.
I feel Sri Lankan because of all these things. This is what Sri Lanka is to me. And no matter who they accuse of heading conspiracies and how they try to divide and alienate us – I just need to remember that there are things that bind us together, no matter how different our lives are.
But I fear that while the rest of us refuse to raise our voices, this small angry minority will rip us apart. And when we allow that to happen – it is our children who will weep. Like our parents left us a war torn nation to fix – we will leave our children a shell of a nation. Is this what we want?
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This post is more a reminder to myself and a declaration to inspire me, if unfortunately there comes another day I need a pick me up. I hope it helps anyone else who has been going through the same thing I have.
Recently I haven’t been doing well, or should I say my iman hasn’t been doing well. I just seem to lose myself sometimes, and I know what I should do but it’s just so hard to get back up once you fall down. I don’t think I’ve fallen this hard since well my initial reversion. Dark days indeed. It was sort of a process until you just feel lost. I don’t know how to explain the feeling but you just feel empty, you lose the contentment you had, life now seems more important than the here after and stupid things like looking good matter more. Your depressed but it doesn’t feel like it, it just feels like nothing. Worse is the shame, the shame of turning to your lord and telling him that you have been so stupid, lazy, negligent and just down right disobedient. So you think you can run away, and just maybe you can crawl in to a hole with all that shame and escape it all. Of course in reality this is the stupidest thing ever coz well Allah (SWT) is all seeing, all knowing. He can see you hiding and running and yet he chooses mercy. Alhamdulillah for our lord’s undying mercy upon us, his kindness and ability to forgive us. He’s so amazing! I owe him everything, every single thing in my life, and I feel so horrible to think that I repay him by being negligent to what he has expected of me.
Listening to Brother Nouman Ali Khan I learned that when you miss your prayers, Shaithan comes to you and tells you “Well you’ve missed one, one more won’t matter” and it goes on untill he says “Can you face Allah now that you have missed so many prayers? You have been so negligent why should he forgive you?”. He fills you with shame so that you chose to not face Allah and ask for forgiveness. This is his biggest trick. You end up feeling horribly guilty and thinking that asking for forgiveness would be of no use. You just think why would he forgive you? you wouldn’t if you were him. But that’s the point, your not him, Allah (SWT) is not limited by human emotions. He is free of all boundaries. He is infinite in all of his goodness.
Now I’m not blaming Shaithan for my mistakes, I’m a big girl I know what I did. I don’t know if it really was Shaithan who made me feel this way but I did feel too ashamed to turn to Allah (SWT). And the worse is when you realize that your being tricked, you feel even more stupid and guilty so you try to hide and not turn to Allah (SWT) even more.
But I did turn to Him in the end (Mashallah!), coz I know if there is anyone (at all) in this universe (forget the world) who can forgive me and still love me even after I have been nothing but a spoiled brat, it’s Allah (SWT). After all that he has given me, made, and shown me I have to fight. I have to try. So I mustered up what ever last bit of strength I had and I asked for his help and mercy. And of course he answered, as always. Allahu Akbar! I really wonder where I would be without him. A very dark and empty place, no doubt.
Alhamdulillah I feel a lot better now a days, I feel my iman strengthening and I know it is all because I put aside my shamed feelings and bowed down to my lord and begged for his forgiveness. Inshallah I shall return to how I once was, but for now it’s all about the fight to stay up. I kept wondering why it happened to me, I see brothers and sisters who are able to stay up right (Mashallah!). Why do I grow so weak and lose it? Why do I let it get to me?
I don’t know if this happens anyone else. It happened to me and I think maybe this is the Jihad I have to fight. The constant struggle to stay on the right path, and to get back to the right path. I found this picture which really helped me and inspired me. No matter what happens we will always have one person who will love us and show us mercy. It doesn’t matter what we might have done, as long as we seek his forgiveness we can always get back to the right path. It only feels like it’s too late, it never really is. No matter how many times you go up and down, what matters is our will to fight.
So this is me, swearing to fight until the last breath escapes my lips. I know I will fall again but I will get up, Inshallah I will stay in the right path. I know I might not be able to live up to my promises, but I will surely try, and never stop trying. I just know the difference of having Allah (SWT) and not having him in your life, it’s drastic. It’s horribly lonely and empty. I never want to go back there. I never want to lose Him. I don’t know if I can be a good Muslim but I know I’m gonna at least be the most resilient Muslim. So I might not have a camouflage uniform and a gun, but I have a hijab and a Holy Quran. That is how I fight.
This thought has been working in my mind for so long and I just had to get it blogged! It just acted as such a source of inspiration to me today.
This brother (who is one of my good friends) in order to better himself and strengthen his iman quite smoking awhile back and, Alhamdulillah he has been doing great after going cold turkey. As a person who is VERY pro anti-smoking (Yes I do lecture/debate friends and family on this topic) I understand how difficult it is to quite such an addictive habit. The other day I watched as he sat with all his friends. They all had cigarettes in their hands and blew smoke in to the air, and it just blew my mind because Mashallah he was so strong. He was the only one not smoking and he didn’t even flinch. It really made me wonder if I would have had the same strength if I was in the same situation.
So from what I saw,
1. I felt proud to know such a strong brother. I felt proud of him!
2. It made me realize the struggle he’s going through, the struggles we all go through.
We all go through our very own little jihads (*Jihad being a struggle). We don’t realize it but we have millions of brother and sisters around the world who fight against struggles everyday and, Alhamdulillah win! Whether it’s waking up for Fajr prayers, wearing a hijab in public, walking in a crowd wearing a niqab, or in this case resisting the temptation to smoke, we all struggle. So now every time I feel lazy and think that I can pray later I remind myself of that Brother and how he fights, which then allows me to see that I should fight against my temptations too.
I pray that Allah rewards this Brother with the very best in this world and the here after! I pray he gives him strength and protects him from temptation! and I pray for all my brothers and sisters around the world who struggle each and everyday. May Allah reward each and everyone of you, and may he bless you all with the strength to carry on and to conquer your temptations!