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My Outlook on Life (Part 1 of WallahuA’lam)

The past few months have been very confusing for me, to be perfectly honest with myself. I’ve always known myself to be a person of positive direction and goals, and these are what have been carrying me throughout life really. This is the outlook that has given me (by Allah’s hand) success in a lot of my endeavours, whether it be spiritual, academic, physical or social.

However, recently it began to dawn upon me that my life was becoming little more than just fulfilling my responsibilities as a student, as leader and as a person, and that my happiness was becoming increasingly contingent on future events that I expect to happen.

“Perhaps happiness will come when I get into the university of my dreams”

and a long list of things that follow.

I find it difficult however to shake off the truth that I never know if the plethora of expectations I have of myself, events and other people will ever come to fruition. As much as one would like to believe otherwise, the multitude of factors involved in achieving anything means that nothing is certain. People? People change, even the ones we love the most, which renders it unwise to depend on people for support or fulfilment.

I realised how much of my life is lived pursuing happiness, which inevitably inculcates in myself the idea that happiness is something constantly strived for yet always out of reach.

And that was the problem.

Because if the grand scheme of things did indeed complement this paradigm I had in my head, I would have no problem being happy right now simply because I have achieved much in the past.

No, this does not mean that I remain satisfied with where I am and therefore not work towards achieving greater goals, but shouldn’t I, at the very least, in this moment, feel content?

In the midst of such confusion, I spoke to a good friend of mine about exactly this, who largely felt the same way and told me that it would be grand for us to aim to be happy in the precise moment we’re living right now. It is indeed true that the majority of us ‘hang our happiness’ on the future, or rather, our expectations of the future, which inevitably leads to great stress, a very fixed and closed mind, and at times, despair.

Reconciling this became primary to me.

As much as the grandeur of such a prospect struck me at the time, I also wondered how exactly such an easier-said-than-done thing could be accomplished, to which my friend answered:

“Soul searching”

I thought for a moment about what that meant.

And then knew that that was indeed what had to be done.

So that’s exactly what I began doing.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

After flushing the toilet.

Cause I was having the conversation on the phone while I was in the bathroom.

Classic.

~Azzam

 

Poetry · Satay

That moment between being awake and being actually awake

 

“It was like being plunged headfirst into a pool of ice water without a chance to catch the slightest breath beforehand.

Disorientated.

I hadn’t the slightest idea where I was or who I was or why I was here or why I was suddenly awake having not even remembered falling asleep or why I was in a room that was so terribly familiar yet I couldn’t recognise or why I had no memory of any previous existence of mine despite knowing I’ve been here for long although I knew all the information was somewhere but unreachable because it was so

far

 

far

 

far

 

away.

 

I was still blind though.

My eyes hadn’t opened yet.

 

And it only got better when they did.

A sudden flood of sharp white light that filled every crevice of my cornea and stripped what was beginning to surface of my conscious completely bare, now leaving me with no idea of what I hadn’t an idea about, as if I was newborn baby that somehow got stuck between the womb and the world without the slightest clue to what was going on and without the means to know what and why.

Or perhaps worse than that, for not knowing on its own would have been fine but in that split second that I was in that felt that like an eternity stretching upon another eternity I did not only know nothing but had the means to know something but could not know whether or not I knew the means to knowing could be trusted.

It was like trying to pluck out something useful from a cloud of dust that spanned the entirety of my conscious, which proved to be impossible. My mind was struggling between the life I knew I was living in reality and the life I knew I was living in a dream just moments before and the life I knew I was living in my dreams and would not settle on one for more than a flicker.

I must’ve lived and ended about a million odd lives without knowing whether any of them were truly mine and my eyes weren’t even halfway open.

That’s when I began to get nervous. 

I’d realised that all the millions of lives that I’d just lived a thousandth of a second ago all came packaged their own problems and any of them could have applied to my own real life and in fact all of them were my lives and all the problems that had to be solved had to be solved by me but I didn’t know how.

Thus I set about to think of a solution, the entire world (or the half that I could see of it) spinning round and roubd endlessly before my eyes, my heart in pain, my mind intoxicated, almost as if my brain had been saturated with a concentrated alcohol that was seeping it’s way through layer upon layer of my subconscious and getting to the very core.

And then

it just

 

 

 

 

 

vanished

 

 

 

 

 

as soon as it came.

 

For my conscious conscious had managed to surface before then,

successfully traversing

 

miles

upon

 

miles

 

of fluffy subconscious grey matter, 

the cloud of dust that spanned the entirety of my mind,

in half the time it took to open an eye.

 

Then the immediate clarity that followed,

the sweet feeling of knowing, 

knowing where I was,

knowing who I was,

knowing what I was living.

 

A rare moment of lucidity that enveloped my brain like a warm honey with a cinnamon tinge,

rendering the alcohol that was previously there,

even in the deepest cracks of my being,

gone.

 

How sweet could opening one’s eyes be?

 

For I could only help but smile,

at the clarity,

 

at the familiarity,

at the comfort,

at the ease,

and at the new day.”

 

~Azzam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry

The Sweetest Bath

“She’d finally done it.

Racing down the salty steps,
calloused feet banging on mould-ridden wood,
as the wind filled her hair and made each strand flow
as much as the waves in front of her did,

The sun just beginning to kiss the horizon,
as much as it would like to do the same to her
good soul

It’s loving red rays spreading across her skin like
butter brought to a boil,
only to be cooled by her smile to a
lukewarm cinnamon latté
that enveloped her from head to toe
and was almost as fragrant as her
pure heart

The smell of the ocean would normally sting the insides of noses 
like a battalion of ruthless sea soldiers paving their way of escape from the dark depths
with sharp spears and sharper knives
but not with her
and not with her tiny nose

She held the wind with her bare hands
and let it lift her up
and up
and up
and up
and let her go from a great height
while the sun would dip it’s eyes beneath the horizon, anxious about seeing whether or not it was too great

But it was of no concern,
for the good waves would catch her and cradle her tiny frame
like a million hands made from warm honey
handling her like the beautiful
yet easily broken thing 
that she was,

and they’d cradle her back and forth,

back,

and forth,

and back again,

until she got dizzy with the movements of the endless hands,
and the sweet warmth of the sleeping sun,
and the gentle touch of the whistling wind,

and she’d be enveloped in the warm honey she’d come out of,
and became as sweet as it herself
if not sweeter,

and it would drip off her onto the velvet coast,

pitter patter by

pitter patter

to which the few fortunate grains of sand that were dripped onto would jump with joy,
filled with sheer awe,
euphorically bewildered at what they had done to deserve such a privilege

And that was her life after that
after the jump
after it all

And she’d continue dripping the honey everywhere she went,
smiling at herself as the sun waved goodbye,
and the waves sang farewell,

as she continued to pitter patter along the velvet forevermore,
her honey dripping and dripping endlessly,
enchanting those who were,

by some fortuitous turn of fate,

lucky enough to taste it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry

“The Quran”

“It overwhelms me.

The sheer simplicity of the words,
that I am not able to understand,
but the underlying complexity that I can just somehow feel,
as it comes apart,
strand by strand.

The rhythm that captures and entangles me,
that only intensifies with every line,
that the brain can only enjoy, lavishly,
like a fine dine for the mind.

The ink, as if capturing all rich darkness,
and the pages, all pure light,
I almost shiver at it’s touch,
and soften at it’s sight.

And the air that gains a distinct heaviness,
as the covers split apart,
like a divine humidity that settles on your shoulders,
and swims it’s way to the heart.

And then, gliding out the mouth,
back onto the pages once more.
Me having gained absolutely everything,
and it, losing nothing at all.”

Some books just really have that effect on you. Sometimes, even if I don’t feel like it (which is usually the case), I’ll just sit down for two minutes and read a tiny bit. The minutes stretch into hours and I don’t even have a clue. How do you feel when you read something precious to you? Maybe your own religious book, or a letter from a loved one? Let us know!

~Azzam