Archive for March, 2018


وَعَادَاهُ لَكَ بِحَقِيقَةِ الْعُبُودِيَّة

shows enmity toward [Shayṭān] through the reality of servanthood



once upon a time

someone knew You

he knew You better than most

he loved You

he worshipped You

the mysteries of the unseen were his

and yet

he did not obey You

he did not affirm the rank of what You created

he did not submit

thinking that his knowledge of You

saved him from You

and so he was banished from Your mercy


even though

he was not banished from knowing You


so we seek Your mercy

for only You are to be feared

and we seek refuge in You from You

for knowing You

does not necessarily save us from You


so grant me the realization of my eternal servitude

by Your mercy

send me where You will

not as i will

engage me in that which You want

not what i want

surround me with those You choose

not those i choose


if you want me to make sajda

to someone You created

i will

for You know that which i do not

and i am Your servant

nothing more

لا إله إلا أنت سبحانك إني كنت من الظالمين


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‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.


I don’t remember precisely what year in high school the momentous event took place. But I do remember it quite well.

I had a music stand in my bedroom that I used for a variety of purposes. On it I put a picture of Jesus and a picture of Krishna. I turned the lights down low. Perhaps I lit a candle (although I am not sure).

And I prayed. Perhaps for the first time in my life I really prayed with sincerity, because I actually wanted an answer.

Dear Jesus and Krishna.

People tell me that you are God.

I don’t know what to think.

The pictures of both of you are beautiful

and the stories are moving.

But I am confused.

If one of you is really God

then please show me.

And nothing happened.

My mind could not accept that either were the Creator of everything I had ever known. Even though hundreds of millions believed in them, and some people dedicated their whole lives to serving them, I could not even take the first step. Was it arrogance on my part for not seeing the truth? Was I hesitant because I was addicted to worldly desires? Or was I actually a sincerely searching soul that wanted clarity regarding the mutually contradictory claims of competing religious traditions? I figured praying for an answer made sense.

And then came Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him and his family. He did not say he was God, but that he was the Messenger of God. And the words he uttered made sense to my mind as well as challenged it.



Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop – then at once he is a clear adversary? 

And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?”

Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.”

To this day, as much as I believe in it, it is hard to imagine being resurrected. But the Qur’an is so clear on this point: I was already dead once. I have already experienced it.


How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.

And so I became a Muslim. I found out that I was willing to take the first step – not a leap, but a step.

But with each step came another step. Pray, even when I prefer to do other things. Fast, even when I am starving and tired. Avoid the forbidden, even when I crave it. Again, the Qur’an let me know what was coming.


Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?

But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.

And that is how it has been every day since. When I want to give up, the Qur’an is there to set me straight.


Those who remained behind rejoiced in their staying [at home] after [the departure of] the Messenger of Allah and disliked to strive with their wealth and their lives in the cause of Allah and said, ‘Do not go forth in the heat.” Say, “The fire of Hell is more intensive in heat” – if they would but understand.

I could have remained the secular agnostic I was when I made that prayer, or I could have chosen Christianity or Hinduism due to some sort of metaphysical intervention in my skeptical questioning. Or I could have given up striving a long time ago and just been content to be who I was. But it was the Qur’an that guided my steps.


We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?

My Lord witnessed me that night, and I eventually found the answer to my prayer. I began taking steps down a certain path, and as I look back on the last 25 years, that made all the difference. As I look ahead 25 years, there is so much left to do. And so now is not the time to stop, for I have a promise to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.


Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration

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Unexpectedly, I am brought back to reflect on how this blog began 10 years ago. March 2008 to March 2018.

I don’t think anyone knows that the name of this blog, “A Mercy Case,” came from the Hindu story of Jagai and Madhai. In short, two sinful guys (Jagai and Madhai) throw an earthen pot at a religious person named Nityananda, causing his face to bleed. Nityananda’s spiritual master, Chaitanya, is about to kill them in response, but Nityananda intercedes and they are spared. Moved by this act of compassion, Jagai and Madhai reform their lives and follow the teachings of Chaitanya.

Back in March 2008 (when this blog began), a Hindu friend described the incident of Jagai and Madhai as “a mercy case,” and that was my inspiration.


In my very first post, I alluded to this:

Guidance can sometimes come from the most unexpected of places. The inspiration to write came from a chance encounter a week ago, and the title of this endeavor came from a phrase used by a friend of mine who is not a Muslim. Wherever we turn, God is there, no matter how often we forget.

The same Truth still holds today.

I have lived the last 10 years in the tension between believing that God is guiding me and admitting the possibility that I am in a state of delusion. The atheist surely believes I am deluded, whereas a Hindu might consider me to be more or less going in the right direction, but with some serious modifications to be made if I want to succeed at the moment of my death. But the most important thing to me is that, if you have lived life through my eyes, then God is surely real and in whom else can I possibly hope except the One who is with me wherever I am. And I can not live life through any eyes but my own, as much as I may wish I were able to experience existence the way millions of others do. Only God can do that.

لَّا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ

No vision can take Him in, but He takes in all vision. He is the All Subtle, the All Aware.

Over the last 10 years, these posts have contained many many quotes. It is inevitable that our religious ideas are formed by the ideas of others. And so I want to share a quote (see video below) on this special occasion that describes my experience of faith probably better than anything else. Maybe in the next ten years faith will mean something different to me than it does now, but I do not know my future. All I know is my present and what I can remember of the past. It is no surprise to me that this quote comes from Hamza Yusuf, one of my teachers and someone who has had a lasting impact on thousands if not millions. Whenever I speak with him, I am reminded that we are both searchers.

Almost without a doubt, 10 years from now some of us will not be here. Only God knows. Best to keep on doing our best, worshiping our Lord until certainty comes.

May the Most Merciful of those who show mercy lead us all into Eternal Mercy, ameen.


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