The Brain is Wider Than the Sky

I’m sitting at my workspace and my mind is racing. Niqabinja puts it best when she says, “My mind is so full but it’s empty.” There are ideas floating past and I’m trying as best as I can to keep up and grasp them before they are lost in the voracious void of what is the most remarkable creation on Earth. 

As usual, that grounded, I-know-what-I’m-doing-now feeling doesn’t last for even a month. I’m back at the drawing board and the list just keeps getting longer yet I don’t have a road map yet. I need razor sharp focus and a killer cup of coffee. As with any new project idea, this one has me up at night and then bright eyed and bushy tailed very early in the morning. This is when I know that it’s the way to go: when I don’t have to make an effort to keep it going. I grab my pen and a journal and make a mindmap but none of it is making sense. Bittersweet. 

Back and forth with Niqabinja as we throw ideas at each other, and we’re finally scratching out the rejects. Almost there almost there almost there… 

Surah Yunus in the background. A random choice meant to maximize my focus and catch a reminder or two as the storm rages on and maybe even end up with a productive revision session if nothing else. Typing away, backspace, backspace, scratch, erase, no no no and then it finally hits me hard and FULL STOP. 

قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّن يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَن يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

Say, “Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?” They will say, ” Allah ,” so say, “Then will you not fear Him?”

That’s what these ideas are. They’re alive. Floating, exploding, bouncing, doubling, tripling, inspiring, driving me to do things I would never have imagined for myself. Dozing off and then waking me as I find myself in the middle of a traffic jam. Dozing off and then waking me as I find myself scrubbing and scraping. Dozing off and then waking me as I reiterate the correct answers. Dozing off and then waking me as I stare at the walls in the endless corridors the way to which I have memorized.

They’re like bubbles of hope, bubbles that don’t pop, they simply rest on a fallen leaf until the next wind blows them up and away. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Just because you can’t touch it or feel it doesn’t mean that it’s not alive. The abstractness and intangibility is what makes you do the things you do.

Its the invisible pulls that tug at your heartstrings. What do you do when you don’t feel the tug anymore? What do you do when your soul has trained itself to ignore the tug? Do you even notice that it’s gone? Do you miss it? You have a head full of it, did you use it for what it was created? Its apparently the size of your fist, do you know what it can do for you? Seemingly its very alive. But is it really?

وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِن قُرْآنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

And, [O Muhammad], you are not [engaged] in any matter or recite any of the Qur’an and you [people] do not do any deed except that We are a witness over you when you are involved in it. And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom’s weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater, but that it is in a clear book. 

Two sides of the same coin. Did you die before you died?

-Umm Saifullah 



The Red Sea speaks to Me

Standing on the seashore of The Jeddah Corniche. I watch the foam floating ashore, as white as milk, bubbles like soap, moistening the hot sparkling desert sand, and pulling back with its debris. It brings with it shimmering sea shells, taking sand and debris in return, as if  sealing a trade. I look up. I see the gleaming yellow-gold sun setting in the horizon, streaking pinks, reds, and yellows throughout the sunset sky, almost like a painter’s canvas- each color carefully splashed on, each shade gently blended to give it a sense of belonging. The Sun showering its sparkles as if to show its pleasure, the waves dancing gracefully back and forth in glee and harmony. Years of Geo class remind me it’s the Red Sea, it must be.


The Balancing Act

Tightrope wobbleMirette set her eyes straight forward and ignored the cheering crowds behind her.  Her concentration and balance were most vital at this critical moment. A single slip and she’d fall flat on the ground. She breathed in deeply, let her joints relax, and took her first step on the wire. Her arms wobbled slightly but her balance was maintained. She carefully slid her foot forward at a steady pace. The crowds roared beneath her and the loud speakers boomed above her, cheering her name. Just one more step and she’d hit home. One more step and her dream to cross the high wire would become true. As easy as it seemed, this one last step led to her downfall. As overconfidence hit its target, a gush of strong wind set her off balance causing her arms to waver and her left foot to slide off. She fell downwards. The crowd booed.


Back to the Sahara

Dear Sahara Trekkers and Moonlit TrailBlazers!

Welcome back to the Moonlit Sahara! We’ve been on a long snore due to unavoidable circumstances (which happen quite often out here in the Sahara), but we’re as excited as you are to jump back into business. The Moonlit Sahara’s new look has motivated us to keep posting, and we hope it motivates you to keep reading! Insha’Allah commencing January we’ll be finishing up the  2 series we had started earlier this year including:

1- Youth Under the Shade Series: Extensive posts on the lives of some of the courageous youth who stood up for the truth and left a legacy to be carried on by the youth of today. Having discussed the lessons in the life of Ibrahim (AS) and now wrapping up the story of Yusuf (AS), drop by to see who our next hero is. Hint: Have your sword sharpened and armor ready!

2- The Hadith Series 1: Short and simple posts which extract lessons from authentic ahadith collected by Imam Al-Tirmidhi in his book, Shama’il Al-Muhammadiyyah.

So stay tuned and ride the dunes with us to make our Sahara a flourishing oasis of knowledge.  Your feedback is important to us and we’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until the next sandstorm,

The Sahara Bloggers

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to be notified as soon as we post. Jazakum Allahu Khairan

The Deserted Desert

A believer is a guardian over himself: he accounts himself for Allah. Those who take account of themselves in this world will be audited lightly in the Hereafter. Those who take this issue lightly will find their auditing very difficult. (Al-Hasan Al-Basri)


The view from my bedroom window on the fourth floor of a typical Jeddah building is breathtaking-the first of it’s kind for me. The severe weather conditions would not permit me to venture out to Makkah today. While that means a full day’s worth of classes missed, I am learning my very own lifelong lesson right here, in the midst of one of Jeddah’s finest sandstorms. The horrifying howls of the wind, like sturdy metal chains clashing together, are blowing whirlwinds of sand in all directions, fogging all sights and blinding the eye. I could easily see myself in a hurricane scene from the Wizard of Oz, as trees bow this way and that, imitating windshield wipers of a car on a rainy day.
Birds circle the sky and screech warning calls, alarmed. In this commotion I sense hidden messages, speaking to me, catching my attention to be heard. The incessant wailing of the wind only intrigues the thought and seems to strike its gusts against my soul. Its pleas force me to check where I stand, to grade myself with a degree, to label myself with a category. If death were to come as sudden as this sandstorm, rather with more intensity, would I be ready? Would I embrace death with joy and relief to depart from this world, and see the Exalted face of my Lord?? Or would my soul race around my body in panic, attempting escape from the Angel of death, begging for a second chance to amend?? I shake my head in self-reproach and could only wonder at my fate. 

أفأمنوا أن تأتيهم غاشية من عذاب الله أو يأتيهم الساعة بغتة وهم لا يشعرون؟

Then do they feel secure that there will not come to them an overwhelming [aspect] of the punishment of Allah or that the Hour will not come upon them suddenly while they do not perceive?

How wise were the words of Umar bin Al-Khattab Radi Allahu ‘Anhu! If only I knew what he knew, I would never find the courage to read over the ayahs of warning without assessing its graveness and shivering – in fear and hope.

حاسبوا أنفسكم قبل أن تحاسبوا، وزنوها قبل أن توزنوا، فإن أهون عليكم في الحساب غداً أن تحاسبوا أنفسكم اليوم، وتزينوا للعرض الأكبر، يومئذ تعرضون لا تخفى منكم خافية

“Call your souls to account before you are called to account and weigh your souls (i.e. your actions) before you are weighed for it will make the accountability easier for you tomorrow if you call your selves to account today.” [Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad]

The alarming question still pounds in my head for an answer, “Have I filled my vast desert of records with good deeds  or left it deserted?

-The Sahara Bloggers  (Niqabinja)

Floating Like Froth


قم يا صلاح الدين، قم”، حتى اشتكى مرقده من حوله العفونة

كم مرة في العام توقظونه 

كم مرة على جدار الجبن تجلدونه 

أيطلب الأحياء من أمواتهم معونة 

دعوا صلاح الدين في ترابه واحترموا سكونه

…لأنه لو قام حقا بينكم فسوف تقتلونه

We never achieved victory through power or numbers. Armies and weapons never helped us in any of the battles. In the battle of badr, the Kufaar outnumbered the Muslims THREE TO ONE. In the battle of Yarmuk, they outnumbered the Muslims SEVENTY TO ONE. The current situation is exactly the opposite, billions of Muslims in the world now and the population is rapidly increasing. Where they had quality we have quantity, yet it amounts to nothing. These numbers amount to nothing if the majority are slaves to the enemy. We never won the fight because of our number. Instead, victory was given by Allah in accordance with the Share’ah that was being implemented, in accordance with our submission. We lost victory when we lost the importance of His law in our hearts and minds. We lost victory not because our enemies defeated us, but because we defeated our selves by forgetting His law.

In this striking hadith, the Messenger of Allah accurately describes our state now, 

“The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food.” Somebody asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied, “No, you will be numerous at that time…but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent of water.”

Contemplate his choice of words, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Froth floats on the water, weightless, moving with the water in a state of delusion. Scum that is useless and has no benefit whatsoever, in fact, it does not even have control over its own movement. 

He even told us the cause of this low state, “…and Allah will remove the fear of you from the hearts of your enemies, and cast into your hearts Al Wahn.” They asked, “What is Al Wahn?” He said, “Love of the world and dislike of death.” And that is proof of the influx of corruption from capitalist and socialist ideologies… MATERIALISM. 

When Khalid ibn Al Walid faced the Romans, the first thing he said to their leader was, “I’m warning you, we are a people who desire death as ardently as you desire life.” 

يا أيها الذين آمنوا ما لكم إذا قيل لكم انفروا في سبيل الله اثاقلتم إلى الأرض أرضيتم بالحياة الدنيا من الآخرة فما متاع الحياة الدنيا في الآخرة إلا قليل ** إلا تنفروا يعذبكم عذابا أليما ويستبدل قوما غيركم ولا تضروه شيئا والله على كل شيء قدير

O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in Jihad, you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter. If you do not march forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people, and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is Able to do all things. (Surah Al Tawbah: 39,40)

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)