The image in the mirror was smiling back at me. This was a transformation I had never imagined would happen. Tears of joy, shame and gratitude started falling from my eyes. Each tear reminding me of the greatness of my Lord, the Mercy of my Creator, the special favor of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala (SWT) upon me, Alhamdulillah! How many times had I saddened Him (SWT) without knowing that the true love that I had been searching for, my entire life, had always been there! Only I needed the eyes to recognize it! How much had I disappointed my Creator by not doing what was expected of me by virtue of being a Muslim? Still, He (SWT) kept sending His signs to me, to remind me to turn to Him in times of need, desperation and anxiety! I had consistently remained blindly oblivious through all those trials – blessings in disguise – trapped in the web of self-pity spun by shaytan. I had failed miserably to acknowledge all His signs, Astaghfirullah!
It was that time in my life that I realized that the pen in my hand was actually mightier than a sword. I recognized that true strength lay hidden in words that were deeply heartfelt, and expression that was sincerely spontaneous. My words started to make sense to people and get acknowledged. All thanks to Allah (SWT) for enabling me to discover an unexampled self-identity and this blessing of self-expression.
The more I got involved – writing for the sake of Allah – the more I felt the need to understand the Qur’an and its teachings in its true essence. It seemed to me that I wasn’t doing justice to myself or my readers, because they thought of me as a knowledgeable caller to Deen, whereas I was only barely a learner, who was struggling her way through to become a practicing Muslimah. I prayed to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala to accept my striving and make me shine through and rise, in His Sight, and indeed, it is He who answers prayers:
“And He found you lost and guided you.”
(Qur’an; Surah Ad Dhuha: Verse 7)
I thought to study the Qur’an in detail, with its meaning, translation, and explanation and got myself enrolled at Taleem Al-Qur’an Online. This would be a means of my salvation, or at least I thought so. I even said to myself that I would start wearing an abaya, the day I graduated. Something deep down shook me strongly, when this complacent thought arose into my mind. “What if you’re never able to graduate? What if you die before you complete the course? What if you leave it mid-way for whatever reason?” “True that!” I said to myself. I shrugged my shoulders and walked into my closet to take out the abaya that a very dear friend of mine gifted me when I was leaving U.A.E. in 2011. I remember vividly telling her, “I don’t wear abayas.” ”I know,” she said. “Just keep it, in case you need it!”
And here I was, 3 years later, in January of 2014, standing in front of the mirror looking at my newly found self, analyzing my credibility to be worthy of wearing an abaya and hijab, and self-assessing and critically analyzing my worth as a ‘visible’ Muslimah in public.
I am glad that I made this decision of donning the jilbab back then, although I started wearing a hijab, much before that, Alhamdulillah. Had this choice of mine been contingent with graduating from Taleem Al-Qur’an, I wouldn’t be wearing my Abaya to-date! Why? You may ask. That’s because I quit the online course within a month of joining it, not finding as much satisfaction from it as a classroom environment would have given me.
Fast forward to September 2014, and Alhamdulillah I moved to Mississauga from Toronto and reached Al-Huda practically. For the first time in years, I was in that place physically where my heart had been present spiritually, for at least a decade. January 2015 brought the course on-campus and I was a proudly enrolled student of TQE6.
My heart would skip a beat whenever I would hear the recitation of the Qur’an in that heavenly environment. My eyes would well up and my voice would get choked with my tears. My pen became a means of befriending the many students of the class, with whom I would share my reflections. Many online students would also listen carefully to the flow of my abrupt thoughts, which by the grace of Allah (SWT) became organized and meaningful, slowly and gradually, as Allah’s Glorious Book unfolded its priceless gems upon me. The mere thought of saying a sentence suddenly changed into rhythmic reflections that made way into many hearts.
Amidst all this emotion and zeal of an enthusiast, eager-to-learn student, I prayed sincerely to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala to provide me the guidance, resources and strength to run my own magazine, to spread His word, in the most beneficial way and in a manner that is most pleasing and fully acceptable to Him. That’s how our baby, Hidayah, came into existence! Alhamdulillah-e-Katheeran for this opportunity, where like-minded sisters-in-Islam who came together to learn the Deen, ultimately united and aimed their focus on one goal, to attain Allah’s (SWT) blessings and pleasure, by means of spreading His word, for His Sake and Love alone. This verse of the Qur’an became the stepping stone of our vision:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them with that which is best.”
(Qur’an; Surah An Nahl : Verse 125)
I’d like to clarify here that none of us is a writer per se, and none amongst us is a scholar. We are a team of thriving students of Islam, who along with a few teachers of ours are determined to bring a positive impact in today’s world, and Insha’Allah spread the khair (good) that we have gathered, during the course of our study, among others who may not have been able to educate themselves in this manner. We hope to be that beacon of light which enlightens the hearts and illuminates the souls through the words of Allah (SWT), Insha’Allah.
A lot of sweat and hard work has gone into this publication. Team Hidayah sat through days and nights of holding pens and not getting a single sentence across, or nothing would feel ‘just right’ for our sections. We had numerous meetings, racing against time and sending countless emails to each other, to be able to coordinate amongst ourselves. The editorial team, design team, contributing editors, marketing team, social media team and our guest writers have all worked very hard, investing their time and effort, in the way of Allah (SWT). We fell, we stumbled, we got up with renewed passion, we thrived and finally came up with this magazine for you all, by the Will, Mercy and Blessings of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala alone.
We hope that you find our expression sincere, our speech beautiful, our thoughts beneficial and our perspectives useful. Hidayah is a combination of untiring diligence, sincere dedication and immeasurable urge to impart insightful knowledge to its readership, Insha’Allah. May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala reward ‘Team Hidayah’ and accept all our efforts in His Path. May He Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala put barakah (blessings) in our time, health and efforts to continue to deliver this responsibility that we have lifted on our shoulders. May He Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala make us the coolness of the eyes and a means of sadaqa-e-jariyah (on-going charity) for our parents, and our children for us.
“O Allah! We ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision, and deeds that will be accepted.” (Ibn Majah)