Friday, April 14, 2017

5 Keys to Handling Life Like a Boss - Moutassem Al-Hameedy


I haven't had much inspiration to blog lately because I am currently on my own journey to find peace within due to my external environment and circumstances but I found this written piece written by the imam of my masjid to be very insightful and helpful. I hope that you can benefit as well insha'Allah .


 5 Keys to Handling Life Like a Boss
(taken from : http://rashidoon.com/2017/02/18/5-keys-to-handling-life-like-a-boss/) 

Life doesn’t turn out to be what we expect or wish for. It is full of ups and downs and it surprises us in countless ways. If you reflect over the last year of your life you will definitely see moments when life seemed to take you down, and moments when it has offered more than you expected. In brief, this is how life works and expecting it to be fully responsive to your desires and expectations is a tall order.
Although this likely to make you feel down about life yet the reality is that this is the beauty of life. It is not an easy challenge. It is meant to test you and push you beyond limits. The hardships that life throws at you are meant to stretch you beyond your comfort zone so that you will discover treasures among you that you never expected. What seemed an opportunity could end up as a set up. What once looked like a hopeless case can turn out to be the best investment ever.
Most people let this wavy and unpredictable nature of life crush them and kill their dreams. This creates a deep sense of resentment and frustration towards life which ultimately leads to a failure is seeing the great opportunities it actually
offers.
This article offers you a fresh outlook on how to view life and yields a new paradigm that has the potential to help you understand life better. This is meant to make you see hope in the most hopeless situation and see through the false flags of what may seem an opportunity.
This paradigm is built on the tenets of Divine Decree as Islam teaches it. The principles of Qadar are not merely theoretical ideas that are committed to memory. They are a way of life and a full system for handling life correctly. I will be addressing hardships here more than anything else hoping this will also help you figure out how to handle times of ease and tranquility.
Here are the practical solutions this paradigm offer to handle challenging times in life:
First: Reality is not as solid as it seems to be. In other words, reality as we perceive it is never a finished business; it is a work in progress. What many people fail to realize is that what happens is half of reality, while our perception, interpretation of, and response to this reality altogether create the final reality we have to experience. This usually comes as a surprise to most of those with whom I share this concept. However, many find it a liberating realization. There is something inside each one of us that recognizes this as true to a certain extent.
What this principle suggests is that reality is not so carved in stone. Instead, reality is so malleable and we play a major role in how it turns out to be. Yes, this means you are responsible for your circumstances, to a certain extent…actually to a great extent.
And it is this element of responsibility that throwspeople off. Who wants to face the notion that they are responsible for their pain and suffering. This notions strips away the comfort of a victim mentality. It allows you no space to blame other things or other people for how your experience in life has been going.
However, this concept is so liberating as it puts the power in your hands and places you in the drivers seat. If you are able to see this and embrace it, I promise your life is on the way to changing to the better.
Through this principle losing your job is not necessarily bad. It could be an opportunity for you to move on to a better job, or learn new skills and move to the next level of your professional growth, or maybe the reason that would push you to take that step and build your own business and achieve more financial freedom.
I once read the story of a nurse who was laid off. She felt miserable and was devastated since she had to take care of her elderly parents. Three years later, she writes the boss who laid her of a letter of appreciated for giving her the golden opportunity to face life by herself which made her build her own business and now she had become a millionaire.
Second: Everything that happens is essentially good. If you grasp the first principle and embrace it, you will have less tendencies to grapple with this one. Allowing this principle to sink into your the deepest layers of your consciousness will offer you a ticket to a new outlook on life that will put you on the path to a fully lived and rich life. Things that happen in life are only allowed in when they serve a better end; this is how Allah works with Qadar. To put it differently, only the best possible versions of reality takes place, period. This is a universal fact of life that is not easy to accept despite being one of the most empowering and liberating. You need a mature mind to find peace with this notion.
Does this mean murder and rape are good? Absolutely not. But as the first principle suggests, reality is not a finished business. Murder, rape, and all other crimes and violations are evil in and of themselves. But reality extends far beyond the immediate circumstances and what is evil could very well serve a greater reality and repel a greater harm. Again, this principle is about being able to see how among all possible versions of reality, only the best takes place. I understand this is not so easy but here's a practical way to approach it.
The power of this principle lies in one’s ability to embrace it and find peace in it. Only then you will be able to make this principle work for you. Universal principles will respond to you differently based on whether you believe in them or not. Yes belief is a causal force that has physical consequences.
The Prophet (PBUH) puts this whole principle in a simple statement when he says: “Amazing is the state of thebeliever; whatever happens to him turns out to be good. If a blessing comes to him, he is grateful and thats good for him. If harm comes to him, he is patient and this is good for him. And this is only available to the believer.”
Third: Things that happen were decided long ago. This principle is also unexpectedly empowering. I say “unexpectedly” because I’ve seen many people see it in a negative light and tend to use it to relieve themselves of taking responsibility for their actions and their life. Others also use it to blame Allah for the tragedies that take place. Others use it to blame Allah for creating humanity even though He knew many of them will disbelieve and end up in Hell. I will respond to these objections somewhere else. I will take a pragmatic approach to it here to stay in course in this article.
The fact that Allah wrote everything down way before the creation of the heavens and the earth should only be seen in the light of His wisdom, knowledge, mercy, and justice. Again here the best possibility of reality was created and favoured above all others. This makes your heart rest in peace. When reality seems to be beyond your control and immediate influence, you know that the best choices have been made for you even though they may seem challenging and negative at a first glance.
When you reach a state of certainty that Allah has chosen things for you based on His mercy, wisdom, and justice you rest assured that things are happening for you not to you. This is what Allah invites the believers to as they respond to threats:
((Say nothing will happen to us except what Allah wrote for us. Indeed He is our protector and guardian and in Allah let the believers put their trust)) [surat at-Taubah: ] Fourth: Adverse circumstances fall into two types. Undesired events are one of two:
1. those you can change and those you can do nothing about. With the things you can do nothing about, the best solution is to leave them for Allah and be happy with His choices for you.
2. adverse circumstances you are able to affect either completely or partly, you should do all you can to change them. The ability to tell the difference is very important in this regard.
The key here is to classify the condition at hand. Putting it were it belongs is the first step. Then you know how to handle it. If it is something you can do nothing about, you should leave it for Allah and not worry about it. Having trust in Allah is necessary if you want to do master this principle. Many people are addicted to worry. They can’t stop thinking of negative circumstances about which they can do nothing. I will be sharing techniques to help you change that in a future article on gratitude.
Fifth: Focus on the good things you have in life. Often times our attention has been trained to focus solely on negative circumstance and we don't seem to be giving enough attention to the countless blessings we are showered with.
In most of the cases, depression and negative feelings come from the mismanagement of one’s own attention. We have been conditioned to pay more attention to undesired conditions and almost completely forget about the good that constitutes the majority of our living circumstances. Our attention draws our reality. What we pay attention to tends to push away other elements of reality outside of our consciousness. Then we fail to see how many blessings there are in our lives. This leads to depression and a life of misery, complaint, and negativity.
So make a point to bring to your attention some of the good things in your life and circumstance and thank Allah for them. You will be surprised how the quality of your life will change. Here's a video to help you develop this skill.
Finally, having an all consuming cause to live for can give you all the energy needed to implement these five keys and keep your focus on the things that empower you. This cause must come from your heart and must be a genuine response to your soul’s calling.
If you embody these tenets and embrace them, you life will be a rewarding experience. You will live a rich life regardless of your immediate circumstances. Remember Islam is not a set of ideas designed for mere memorization. It is a way of life to be embraced and lived and this is how it delivers the promises its followers.
Try to read these five principles as often as possible and take time to reflect on them and try to see your life through their lens. After a while they will find their way to your mind and start showing you a more profound version of reality. and remember all the time that Islam is so powerful.

The Beauty of Salah (prayer)

What a beautiful lecture!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

What Will I Leave Behind? - A Tribute to Linda

" O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (the results of your deeds which you did)." 
(Surah Inshiqaq: 6)

Bismillah,

For awhile now I was suffering from emaan lows and heedlessness. Even before I moved back to Canada I felt like my problems were heavily weighing me down. My problems felt like burdens upon burdens that just gave me excuses to drown myself with things that wouldn't increase my emaan and would just cause more heedlessness . I struggled a lot with my emaan during the past year and a half from the time I was living in merikuhhh up until now. I can't explain what it was exactly that made me lazy. I blame it mainly on myself and my own deficiencies because in the end even though shaytan plays a role in our demise, it is ourselves who allow him to get to us in the first place, and even use him as our main excuse. I do not deny that my passion for the deen is anywhere near where it used to be or where I wish it to be. I guess I just got caught in the life of this dunya and worrying so much on my dunya problems that I kind of just put aside my akhirah goals.

The reason why I am bringing this up is because a week ago I had received tragic news regarding two families. Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ileyhi Rajioon. A friend of mine who's beloved mother returned to Allah after battling stomach cancer ( May Allah accept her as a shaheedah ameen!) and another sister (who I was not close with, and who to me was just an online personality) passed away 3 months after delivering her second child from cancer ( May Allah forgive her and grant her Jannah ameen!). She was only in her early 30's who had a very loving husband who she would talk about often. Both these incidents happened a day after each other Subhana'Allah and it really made me reflect upon my own life. Alhamdulillah I was able to see my friend's mother the day before she returned to Allah and it really opened my eyes. I had only met Linda, my friend's mother once and even though it was only one time, I fell in love with her immediately. I remember the first time I met her she sat up and had her eyes glued on the television where the Qur'an was playing and the K'aaba showed. She talked about how nice it would be to go there. Despite her illness, she had a loving energy that really touched my heart. She was sweet, she was kind and I truly felt like she was a loving mother to her children (May Allah have mercy on her and grant her the highest level of Jannah ameen.) It only took me one meeting and I already felt such an affinity for her. She was a revert as well Alhamdulillah! The second time I saw Linda was indeed the last (May Allah reunite me with her in Jannah ameen!) La Hawla wala quwatta illah billah. There is no Might or Power except Allah. Linda's health had deteriorated significantly and when I saw her on that hospital bed, I could not help but break down and cry. A plethora of emotions overwhelmed me as I reflected upon the first day I met her to the final moments of her life. Knowing that she was going to return to Allah any given moment that day really struck me. The memories still keep playing in my head and the feelings are as raw as ever. I was touched to see the amount of support my friend had received (and continues to receive) and how there was a sister sitting beside Linda reading Qur'an during her final moments in the hospital. So many sisters wanted to visit Linda and support my friend because they knew what a special woman she was. Though the room was filled with quiet sobbing there was an unexplained feeling of comfort and hope. Comfort because we knew that she would return to her Lord and hope that He will be pleased with her. The fact that she had stomach cancer was a mercy from Allah as it is considered one of the ways of a Shaheed.

{Abu Hurairah that Allah's Messenger (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: "Who do you consider to be a martyr?" They said: "O Allah's Prophet, he who is killed fighting for the cause of Allah." The Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "(If this is the definition of a martyr) then very few in my Ummah will be martyrs!” They asked: "Who else are they, O Allah's Messenger?" He said: "He who is killed fighting for Allah's cause is a martyr, he who dies in the cause of Allah is a martyr, he who dies in an epidemic is a martyr, he who dies from a stomach disease is a martyr, and the one who dies of drowning is (also) a martyr."  (Muslim, no: 891}

 My friend told me she felt very at peace and calm when her mom returned to Allah. Close friends and family surrounded the bed and made duaa for her and at that moment they knew that Linda was in a better place. Alhamdulillah.  May Allah be pleased with her and make her grave spacious and full of noor! Please make duaa for her as you are reading this!

It made me reflect upon just how weak the human being truly is ! We walk around the earth with our head up high and our noses in the air, but once we are struck with calamities and illnesses we lower our heads with shame and humility. Sometimes we call upon Allah only when we need something or when we are suffering or dying yet all the other times when we are perfectly fine we are heedless and forget that our lives and hearts are in the Hands of Allah !


"And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein, but when some evil afflicts them because of (evil deed and sins) that their (own) hands have sent forth, lo! They are in despair!" (Surah Rum: 36)

"And when We show favour to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications" 
(surah Fussilat: 51)

And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying down on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on his way as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him! Thus it seems fair to the Musrifun that which they used to do (Surah Yunus: 12)


...O mankind! Your rebellion (disobedience to Allah) is only against your ownselves, - a brief enjoyment of this worldly life, then (in the end) unto Us is your return, and We shall inform you that which you used to do. (Yunus: 23)

All these verses I shared really open my eyes and make we think about myself. Not only am I heedless sometimes but I often forget that during these hardships and tests, they are meant to expiate some of my many sins and also to give me a chance to earn as much rewards as I can so that I can bring them to Allah on the day I meet Him! Sometimes I get so caught up in all my life's problems that I forget to say "Alhamdulillah" for all the other blessings that I overlook. Duaa is and always will be a form of worship and even when things are good and we are smooth sailing through life (which that in itself is a big fitnah and you should be worried), we should always make duaa that Allah protects our health and gives us well being as well as always asking for guidance and for good in the akhirah! I often think about life since Linda's return to Allah and I think how she has left her children to continue fulfilling her legacy which she left behind. She was able to raise children who will insha'Allah be sadiqah jariyyah for her and insha'Allah her grave will be filled with ease and noor because of her children continuing to do good deeds in her name for the sake of Allah. That is something really amazing when I think about it...and then it also makes me ponder...What will happen when I am in that grave....what legacy will I leave behind? As soon as my soul exits my body, that is it. I won't be able to do any more good deeds, I can't repent any more and I won't be able to go back and erase all the wrongs I did. What will I bring to Allah? 

Honestly, since that day, every time I just picture in my head the image of a grave and how two people I once knew is in there right now and how the first stages of their Hereafter has begun, I can't help but shiver . Sometimes it takes something as real as death to bring us back to reality and to put us in our place. We often think that we have life all figured out and that we continue to be heedless and commit haram even while knowing that we are disobeying Allah. Yes, the human being is weak and we are made to sin but how many times have we actually prayed to Allah and asked Him for forgiveness? Too many frightening stories out there about instant deaths, dying upon kufr, and dying upon great evil acts which we hear and see every day. May Allah protect me and you and all the Muslims ameen. We always think "oh, it wont be me" or " oh i plan to do Hajj or make ummrah soon , I know Allah will not take my life before then!" Oh sons and daughters of Adam! How naive we are to think that we will not be next! One minute I was sitting with Linda and having a conversation with her and the next, she returned to Allah (May Allah have mercy on her soul ameen!) One minute that sister just gave birth to her daughter and the next her family and friends are mourning over her loss ! She had great plans for the future and she believed that she was going to fulfil them all! But how death does not wait! How death does not wait! I know that many of you who read this will think "ya but still, I won't be next, not me" and then there will be some of you who will take heed and this post will send chills up your entire body. I pray that you will be the latter for you really will never know when it is your turn.

May this post be a reminder to me and to you and may we always take heed and build our bank of good deeds so we have at least some to bring with us in the grave. It really is time to start taking our life seriously and push and strive for the ultimate goal. Meeting Allah while He is pleased with us. 


It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan said: when ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier  for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.’” And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.” 
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684)


It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the lahd, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat around him, as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said, “Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times. Then he said, “When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allaah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the the mouth of a waterskin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this good soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the best names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is opened, and (the soul) is welcomed and accompanied to the next heaven by those who are closest to Allaah, until they reach the seventh heaven. Then Allaah says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon in the seventh heaven, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’ But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’ Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning): 
“for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle”  [al-A’raaf 7:40] 
He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.”  Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning): 
“and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place” [al-Hajj 22:31] 
He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’” 
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063 – this version was narrated by him. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1676. 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say, ‘Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-kasali wa’l-haram wa’l-maghram wa’l-ma’tham. Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaab al-naar wa fitnat il-naar, wa fitnat il-qabri, wa ‘adhaab il-qabri, wa sharri fitnat il-ghina wa sharri fitnat il-faqair wa min sharri fitnat il-maseeh il-Dajjaal. Allaahumma ighsil khataayaaya bi ma’ al-thalji wa’l-baradi wa naqqi qalbi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas, wa baa’id bayni wa bayna khataayaaya kama baa’adta bayna al-mashriqi wa’l-maghrib (O Allah! I seek refuge with You from laziness and old age, and from debts and sins; from the torment of the Fire and from the tribulation of the Fire, and from the tribulation of the grave and the torment of the grave, and from the evil of the tribulation of wealth, and from the evil of the tribulation of poverty, and from the evil of the tribulation of the Dajjaal (Antichrist). O Allah! Wash away my sins with the water of snow and hail, and cleanse my heart from sin as a white garment is cleansed from filth, and put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West).” 
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6014). 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why aren't you married yet? When are you going to have kids??

"Part of the perfection of one's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him." (Tirmidhi)


Bismillah,

I know I go through  phases where I blog some and then I go quiet some and then blog some and then go quiet some... I guess I could say that I haven't had much inspiration or motivation and I have been trying to work on my own emaan and trying to advise myself with the advice I would normally give others. Therefore, I don't really feel entitled to be writing about how to be this or that while I'm currently trying to figure out things for myself.

BUT that being said, there is definitely something that I really wanted to talk about. It has to do with being considerate of others and watching our manners.  I wanted to bring up an anecdote of my own so you all can know what kind of impact it may leave on an individual. It hopefully will make us all mindful about our manners and to leave that which does not concern us.

A few months ago I was introduced to this sister who I had never met in person nor had I ever spoken to on the phone. I was introduced to her because a mutual friend thought that she could help me out with an issue concerning my personal life. I texted with her some and then I ended up speaking to her on the phone. I had noticed already a judgemental tone but I chose to brush it off and reminded myself that she was a sister who had good intentions. So that was that and a week later she texted me saying she was in town and she wanted to visit me. So she came to visit me and my mother. Keep in mind this was the FIRST time I ever met her but she made herself so comfortable in my home that it almost seemed like she was a relative of my mother's! Perhaps it was her culture that she put before Islam, but she began to undermine my husband's authority and speaking out of line with matters that did not concern her. She began pressuring me into things that were out of my control and she was being extremely judgemental with my personal affairs and private life. She talked with what seemed like a very condescending tone. I was SHOCKED and APPALLED to say the least ! Who did this woman think she was? I couldn't believe my eyes. I have never met someone so oblivious and so acrid ! I was so taken aback that I just sat there acquiescently because my mother was there and I just was too shocked to respond. Her opinions were arbitrary and had nothing to do with Islam and to this day I still shake my head at the thought of the whole encounter. HasbiAllah ! I have already been going through ups and downs this year and I have been constantly trying to fight through my emaan lows. I remember I had a great weekend the day before she came and I told myself I would try to stay positive despite all my life's events but that very same day she visited my home I felt nothing but chagrined! Chagrined is the perfect word to describe how I felt and still feel whenever I think about that incident! She even overstayed her visit and my mother even was feeling restless. Yes, she had mentioned a handful of things about the hijab that I found actually relevant to her existing in my home but other than that, I was ready to ask her to leave and never come back! Finally, she left and that was the last of her. I never contacted her after that and she never contacted me either so I think she must have gotten the hint insha'Allah. As soon as she left I could not help but feel negative, sad and back to zero with all that I had worked on to keep myself up. My emotions, my spirits and my outlook became very low. I was felt absolute dismal !

Sisters, I want you to please learn from this experience.
This experience has given me insight to know that I never want to make a sister feel the way this sister had made me feel. It really opened up my eyes to why it is important to have good akhlaq and why having good character and manners is so beloved to Allah! Making your fellow sister feel more sad or depressed than she already is, is something that is extremely frowned upon. Even if that sister did not know what I was going through, she should still take into mind that whatever my current situation was, she should have been mindful with her words and especially she was a GUEST! I only met her that one time and already she thought she was entitled to spewing her unwelcomed opinions and advice. I never even asked her for advice or opinion on ANY matter so I really wasn't sure why she was sharing them. She should have been encouraging rather than negative. She should have been positive instead of putting salt on my open deep wounds!

Whenever we speak to a sister who we are not familiar with or who we are extremely close with, we should always remember to understand where they are coming from. Asking a sister, "When will you get married??" or,  "You guys have been married for how long now? When are the babies coming?" is not only inconsiderate but it shows a lack of thoughtfulness and deficiency in one's manners. Do you not think that the sister wants to be married? Do you not think that sister wants to have children like you? What if she has not found the right spouse after several attempts with different brothers? Or what if she is unable to have children? Have we ever thought of these things before asking such questions that do not even concern us in the first place? What is it our business to ask when is someone getting married or when are they having children? Unless you are willing to pay for their wedding or pay for their hospital fees, please leave that which does not concern you. It is not an excuse to use that these are "conversation starters" ! They will not bring any benefit to you nor will they increase love between you and someone. These are PERSONAL, PRIVATE matters and if they wanted to tell you, they would tell you without you even having to ask.

Please sisters, I have seen this happen to myself and to my friends WAY too many times. This is not from Islam to cause dismal to our sisters or make them feel chagrined! We are supposed to encourage and always speak good words to them and give them hope! We should let them know that Allah is always with the patient and His reward and promises are true! We should be uplifting them instead of making them feel helpless and hopeless! This is one reason why I have only a handful ( if even) of sisters who I can confide in because in all honesty, and it is sad to admit this, I cannot trust many sisters to give me positive reinforcements or happy encouragements.

Another thing I wanted to bring up was those sisters who are so entrapped in their own happiness they are completely oblivious to other's around them who are struggling with trials. Some newly wedded sisters and new mothers are drowning in their own happiness they forget that their zealousness isn't something that everyone wants to hear about or care about. Many sisters forget that not everyone wants to hear about what you and your husband do on weekends or what your husband does with your new baby when you are out with friends. Not everyone cares about what you made your husband for dinner or what things you bought your new baby! Unless you are with another sister who has the similar lifestyle that you have (new husband, new baby, kids etc.) then yes that would be a beautiful topic to talk about with each other! But if you are talking to a sister who is single, or who is married but with no child, or divorced then shouldn't you be mindful of the conversation topics you chose to talk about? Let us try to be more considerate of others and to be more thoughtful. We wouldn't want us to feel left out, troubled, or feeling low about ourselves now would we? So why should we make others feel that way?

Next time you meet your friend, new or old, please remember to think before you speak. Even if you do not know their whole lifestory doesnt mean you need to pry into their personal life. If they bring it up then that is fine but if they do not talk about it, then leave it and do not ask things that do not add value to your life whether you knew about it or not! Be mindful of what that sister could be going through. Perhaps she doesnt talk about wanting kids or being married because she is divorced, in a long distance relationship, financially unstable, infertile or whatever the reason may be! It is not your business unless she makes it your businsess.

Let us reflect upon these aHadith and try our best to have the best manners and character whenever we meet and speak to our sisters in Islam. May Allah guide us all to good and forgive us and make us of those with beautiful character and manners ameen!
(DISLCAIMER: my thoughts and experience expressed in this post is merely for educating and though I really frowned upon the actions of the sister, I do not dislike her as a sister in Islam and I ask Allah to guide her and give her what is best for her in this life and the next ameen. I just found it very beneficial to share from my own experience because it is more raw and real which may help us to reflect upon our own actions) 

“Much silence and a good disposition, there are no two things better than these.” (Bukhari)
 “Shall I tell you of him who will be shut out from the fire (of hell)? Every quiet, good-natured fellowman.” ( Tirmidthi)
 “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit to people, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother Muslim in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month.”( Tabarani – Hasan, Silsilah Saheeha, Al-AlBani)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And then it was gone...


Ramadan came and went in the blink of an eye. The first week started off really slowly for me and then after that I don't know what happened!
My Ramadan this year was not like any other. I didn't get a chance to pray taraweeh in the masjid but since my husband is not with me (just like all the times when I am home for Ramadan in Toronto), I had no problem praying it in the comfort of my own home . I was able to attend my first iftar at the masjid I usually attend and I was able to attend iftar gatherings with many of my good friends Alhamdulillah.  But of course, Ramadan is not just about having iftar gatherings, actually it is far from that. Ramadan should be about getting closer to Allah and rectifying our own selves and holding ourselves accountable for our actions and our character. Even though I didn't do loads of ibaadah, I tried my best to be consistent and I think I moved at a steady pace alhamdulillah. I always found the prior years whenever I would try to make a plan I would fail miserably. Just something about writing down a plan makes me feel stressed and forced. So this year, I decided to go at my own pace and do what I thought was best for me and what was within my capacity. I tried my best to be consistent and worked on things gradually and tried not to dive head first into the deep end, which is something I always end up doing, resulting in me becoming burnt out in the end. It is really important that we always pace ourselves not just in Ramadan but during our lifetime as a Muslim. If Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear, then we should not do that to ourselves!
What made my Ramadan different this year was that I was able to reflect a lot. Day and night, I was reflecting and thinking about my own self and my many flaws which really needed to be rectified. I almost felt like I went through an emotional boot camp because I experienced so many different emotions all in one month. I went from being happy and excited to feeling sad and depressed! I then realised the negative feelings I was experiencing was due to my lack of yaqeen (absolute certainty) and tawakkul (reliance upon Allah) in Allah. I also kept focusing on all the negative aspects of my life when in fact I should have been trying to focus on the positive things ! I know it is so hard to be grateful when we are going through trials. It is so easy to forget that we have so much to be thankful for during our times of hardships. For example, we should feel happy that we have either our health, our wealth or loved ones around us when we are suffering from something that is testing us. We should always be thankful and grateful no matter what because then Allah will increase us with more.

"And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe."" (14:7)

even though this is such a challenge most of the time, every time we feel ungrateful we should immediately stop ourselves and think of all the blessings that Allah HAS given us! Even if we think there are none, if we truly reflect , we will find many ! I always ended up comparing myself to others and then I would feel lonely and sad but then I tried to remember the story of Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ayyub (aleyhi salam) and I compared myself to them and then I thought, wow, I have no right to complain because look at what they went through and how patient they were?! And they did not even complain for one second! It is amazing how Allah gives us examples in the Qur'an and uses His righteous slaves to help us get through our hardships! How great Allah is! Whenever we feel sad, ungrateful or hopeless, let us look at the example of the prophets (May Allah's peace be upon them all) and reflect upon ourselves and remind ourselves that they were the best of people and yet they were struck with many difficult hardships yet they were patient and never complained and exercised full tawakkul 'ala Allah! A great reminder to myself first and foremost.

I hope that I can continue to strive daily to always be grateful because now that Ramadan has passed us by almost a month now, I am finding myself starting to become heedless and impatient. The struggle is real! The best way to stay on track is to always surround yourself with those who remind you of Allah and to always surround yourself with people who have less than you so that you will always remember your blessings that Allah has sent upon you and I ! May Allah keep us steadfast and firm with Islam and upon the correct understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!