Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Merci for Mercy - part 2

Name  of Allah "Ya Rahmano" - All Merciful
Hand painted in watercolor

Assalam o Alaikum and peace to All!

Inshallah today I will try to sum up most of the important aspects of Ya Rahmano 
that i have been making notes of as a continuation to my last post. Plus a short tutorial into creating a unique background in watercolor paintings as you can see in the painting shown above.

The idea of unconditional love from Allah swt is a very comforting feeling. But I must say that this comfort only came to stay once I had developed a certain amount of trust in Allah being all merciful. so much trust that when things go wrong, instead of blaming God for messing up my life, I started looking for the reason behind an event or a circumstance.I started wondering, that if the equation only results in mercy then I need to find His mercy in this time of trial...Almost like a crossword puzzle..trying to figure out the secret-lesson that He wants to teach me! Wow...I started feeling  liberated and at much less blame, hurt, negativity and bitterness... and so much more to live for. I started to see how much i had learnt out of just trying to be patient.

Well its almost like saying, I tried to put on a pair of shades, shades that make every thing around me or happening to me, look like a sign of mercy of Allah swt.  absolutely everything.This is the most liberating feeling ever.... I was some what able to get rid of all my grudges, my regrets, any hurtful feelings etc.All the bitterness and stink just felt like it was washing away..

But how does one get to that stage of stability. A place where your inside is calm and focused. How can we trust Allah's Love and Mercy so much that no matter what calamity (in our point of view) falls on us, we still say...ShukrAlhamdolillah ( Thank you Lord)!!

A friend once said...that such a thing is only possible if you "pretend" you are thankful. How can anyone  ever, in their right mind say thank you God if they lose a leg... for example..

Let me share a true story here:

A woman was seen saying thank you Lord all the time. There are a lot of people who
say that all the time but its not surprising. What was shocking about this lady was that she had no eyes, no arms and no legs!!!! 

(Hello!!! what is she saying thank you for... such a deprived life...can God be any tougher on her !!!)

and yet she was always seen saying thank you Lord...
Once she was asked why she thanked Allah when she was so crippled
and the reply came,

 " Thank you God for if I had eyes, i may have seen sinful sights....
Thank you God for if I had legs i may have trespassed into sinful places...
Thank you God for if I had arms/hands, I may have committed sinful Acts..."

To me this story is absolutely inspiring and yet some people become very cynical and say that's CRAZY!

The idea is that life isn't very sweet for any one, its always a challenge...Challenge to accept and value! but its not so simple and yet when there is a WILL, there IS a way!.. and the simple way that I found is probably to "see the half glass full, instead of half glass empty.

Moreover, what worked a miracle for me was some SPACE. I call it MENTAL SPACE..away from Facebook, chick flick movies (movies that instigate and amplify carnal desires) and from people who have a negative attitude towards life. After doing all this (which took a lot of will power and self control, especially with internet access at our finger tips on iPhones etc..) I finally realized how much I had cluttered my mind with Mindlessness and unnecessary mental clutter, desires, stubborn desires and non-productive activities...... 

Voila!! I finally found some time and space...
But this is not enough, freedom of time has to be used with wisdom and I yearn for freedom from a jabbering mind...a mind that only made me feel inadequate, discontented and unsatisfied????

 Meditation...ooooooo, meditation really helped changed my life a lot!! initially books like Qunoot, and  "light within me"  inspired me  to do zikr and that practice started to turn into a beautiful habit. 

When ever a negative thought or feeling would come I would try and forget about every thing, make an image any of Allah's Name in my mind and do zikr of it...BUT you can't fight your thoughts all the time, you have to let them flow by, fighting with the thoughts to to stop them is like..... thinking about those very thoughts!! isn't it???

But does Quran tell us to Meditate??
One of our teachers took us by surprise when he said, Quran is full of meditations!! "Really"? i was wondering..and then he explained... He said that every time Quran says " afala Ya'ta dabbaroon" Why don't you think, why don't you ponder .or ponder over this ....etc these are all invitations from God for us to sit and ponder.These ARE the meditations!

One of my very favorite ones is Ayat 99 of  Surah Anam (6).

وَهُوَ الَّذى أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّماءِ ماءً فَأَخرَجنا بِهِ نَباتَ كُلِّ شَيءٍ فَأَخرَجنا مِنهُ خَضِرًا نُخرِجُ مِنهُ حَبًّا مُتَراكِبًا وَمِنَ النَّخلِ مِن طَلعِها قِنوانٌ دانِيَةٌ وَجَنّٰتٍ مِن أَعنابٍ وَالزَّيتونَ وَالرُّمّانَ مُشتَبِهًا وَغَيرَ مُتَشٰبِهٍ ۗ انظُروا إِلىٰ ثَمَرِهِ إِذا أَثمَرَ وَيَنعِهِ ۚ إِنَّ فى ذٰلِكُم لَءايٰتٍ لِقَومٍ يُؤمِنونَ
English-Pickthall translation

He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, and therewith We bring forth buds of every kind; We bring forth the green blade from which We bring forth the thick-clustered grain; and from the date-palm, from the pollen thereof, spring pendant bunches; and (We bring forth) gardens of grapes, and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike. Look upon the fruit thereof, when they bear fruit, and upon its ripening. Lo! herein verily are portents for a people who believe.

These are surely wonderful, mesmerizing meditations that you can do all the time,in the car, while eating, in the garden.. ALL THE TIME. and the most beautiful thing is that they bring so much Trust in Allah!!

How's that?

Well, what clicked me was the Absolute predictability with which Allah works. There are no undue delays, no mood swings... nothing..just dicsplane and  expectability. With out fail a night follows the day and a day follows a night...  He blesses a non believer with the very same fruits, that He blesses a believer with...the apple seed is always available in an apple. Imagine if God  wouldn't put seeds into any apples one year? no apples forever..apples would go extinct !! that's dinosaurs have gone extinct!!
Every year when a farmer sows the apple seeds he trusts God to grow them.... isn't it? We just don't know it but subconsciously we are at a certain level of peace because we trust God to do His work impeccably!If we didn't trust Him it would be like a guy getting married the next day but he frets about the sun coming out on time the next day or not!!

The sheer fact that laws of physics can be taught in textbooks year after year is a proof of the flawlessness with which Allah works. So if we can trust Him with these petty details  (in our ignorant point of view) of life, why can't we trust Him when He says 'I am Ar Rahman' The All Merciful!! matter what you do I LOVE YOU!!!!
The more one meditates about Allah's perfect ways of working, the more one absorbs a sense of trust and a constant feeling that 'I have some one PERFECT, REALIABLE and WHO LOVES ME SO MUCH AS THOUGH HE'S CRAZY ABOUT ME (so he would never ever leave me alone) and FULL OF WISDOM (he would never take a wrong decision for me)  so as to rely on Him at all times ...24/7" .... 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could experience that kind of absolute serenity where we have nothing to worry about!!! ... lets keep trying inshallah! Allah says you take one step towards me an I will take ten steps for you .... SubhanAllah :)

(Please leave your comments so i can get a feel of how much more i need to go into detail in this subject...
there is lots and many resources you can go through for a better understanding too...let me know)

Now its time for the water painting tutorial:

waterford paper seal of authentication
One of the key ingredients in getting a beautiful watercolor painting is the right choice of paper..I use waterford. Please make sure your water is clean, drinking water may even be better for places where water is chemically treated too much... but i use normal tap water :)
 ok so here goes:

1. Apply water to the entire area of background with a thick paint brush.

2. use colors like raw sienna, yellow ochre, Red umber, burnt umbre, vandyke brown. use the guide given below to find the corresponding colors from your palette. the following is available on the leaflet that comes with Cotman watercolor paints by Winsor and Newton.

3. Add water to your paints and create appropriate colors in your palette. 

4. Now paint on the already wet areas of background on your paper.

5. As you paint, start sprinkling Salt over the wet painted areas. Leave the salt on the paper until the paint dries up.

6. As the painting dries up, you will start seeing the effects more prominently. Let the painting dry up completely, then brush out all the salt with clean dry hands or  dry white tissue paper.

7. Now start painting the other stuff... Hope this was helpful ... have fun painting :)
Please feel free to ask any questions ...i'll be happy to hear from you all :)

May we all be honored to become the utterly humble servants of the All Merciful one day!
With prayers and best wishes for all ... Fee amanAllah until next time !!

Upcoming Blogs will discuss: getting rid of negativity and acceptance of what is......inshaAllah!
more tutorials too :)

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