Monday, August 14, 2017

Life Update : Chapter Three - Life as a Convert (Revert)




The best of cures for sadness is to know that one cannot bring back what he has missed and that by being sad, one is just adding a misfortune to an already existing misfortune, thus making it two misfortunes. Ibn al Jawzi in Disciplining the soul Pg.70 (via hassan-ibn-abdul-qadir)



I guess since my most recent posts, I have been able to find some solace in expressing myself through writing and sharing with others my struggles. Even though nobody has really reached out to me (except for my friends who I know personally), it feels comforting to know that somebody..anybody...somewhere in the world can understand my pain and can relate one way or another. It is nice to know that I am not alone, even though I feel very alone with my thoughts and with what I am going through, I know that somewhere close to home, there is someone going through difficult times and struggling to stay positive each and every day.


My life as a convert has definitely not been an easy one. In fact, I have experienced more hardships and difficulties while I became Muslim compared to my life when I was a non-Muslim. Life as a non-Muslim was so much easier! I could drink away my problems, I could listen to music to drown the negative thoughts, I could easily go and party away the night just to forget about things until the next day! I basically drowned myself with distractions to help me get over life and all it's problems temporarily. But now, now I can't do things like that because when I reflect on how that toxic lifestyle made me feel and how it brought me nowhere in life but down, I realize that detrimental lifestyle was slowly killing my life within. I made rash decisions, I had no morals and values and I treated life like a game. 

But now, now I am faced with reality. Life has pushed itself in front of my face and it won't move. I am face to face with life and I can't push it away with this or that. I must deal with it in a way that I am not used to. I must deal with it in a way that I am not sure how because before Islam, I only knew one way, and that was the easy way out. I would follow the exit sign and just run, run, run.

Today, I can't do that. I made a conscious choice in my life and I dedicated myself to those choices . I made a commitment and though I have had problems committing to many things in the past, this I knew was something different. This was a commitment that I needed in my life and it was something I knew would benefit me in the long hull. Islam is a commitment for a better life, a better me.  I will be honest with myself though, during hardships, it is hard to see beyond my distorted vision of reality that Islam is meant to help me get through my life's biggest challenges. Sometimes I feel like things are only getting worse and not better even though I strive and I strive and I try to fulfill my obligations as a Muslimah. I wonder and I think "is all this pain and suffering even worth it?" I know some who read this will not understand and I know others who read this will understand because after all, we are human. I guess things have to get worse before they get better right? That is how we learn and grow in life.

I feel exhausted , honestly, I am so tired. Sometimes when things just don't get better, you start to become discouraged. I feel like my life is very stagnant right now and I am feeling frustrated. I don't know if it is because I keep expecting change to come soon - happy change. Maybe because I expect something in a certain time frame and when nothing happens, I become disappointed. I then remember that everything happens when Allah wants it to. As hard as it is to accept, this is something I have to really believe and understand. When I try to look at the big picture, I think to myself - "hey, it has only been nearly two years right? It is not THAT long!" but then I think about my situation and who I am living with and how even one month living here feels like an eternity. Though time has gone by so fast subhana'Allah, it feels like it has stood still.

My 2011 new Muslim self would have told my current Muslim self that I should utilize all this time to learn and read and watch lectures and attend dars and spend every sleeping, waking moment studying and learning about the deen. But my current Muslim self would have told my then 2011 new Muslim self that you are going to end up burning yourself out and everything will become a burden to you. This did happen and I am just starting to learn how to balance the deen in a moderate manner. 

It is also hard for me to listen to lectures while living with my non-Muslim parents because the dynamics of our relationship will just cause more speculations and assumptions with my deen and I don't have a close enough relationship where I could explain to them "see I am now listening to a lecture about patience and gratitude." There are many things I struggle with while living at home . I am constantly surrounded by endless backbiting and gossiping. I am constantly surrounded by negativity and blame. Things that come easily to most Muslims, are extremely foreign to my parents and explaining things to them will just probably end up in an argument or they just won't understand. Maybe it is the language barrier, or maybe they just hear what I say but don't actually listen. My ears have become immune to music because they love to watch things with music and Chinese singing competitions (lol). Alhamdulillah at least I don't understand what the songs say but shaytan loves these kinds of fasiq things so it just is an open invitation always for the shaytan! I mean even in a Muslim household the shaytan wants to creep up uninvited, so you can only imagine living with non-Muslim parents who have tons of idols and photos everywhere! 

I keep to my room the majority of the time and I choose my conversations wisely because that is the kind of relationship I have with my parents - a surface one. There are tons of unresolved issues and grudges that brew deep down inside of them and myself so that is why it is such a toxic environment if I surround myself too much with them. Many people have suggested that I try this and that or do such and such but I have certain guidelines and restrictions that I choose to place on myself because I know what kind of fitnah those other options could bring therefore I do not want to resort to them and basically I have to outweigh my pros and cons. So I am stuck here and this is my life living with non-Muslim parents. 

This is what a lot of converts go through. We are stuck with our parents and if they don't oppress us with our religion, they oppress us in one way or another. Most have to endure humiliation, constant opposition and some are even kicked out of their homes with nowhere to go. Is there support from the community? From what I have noticed, not really. We really need to reach out to the new Muslims and even the born Muslims. It is just a matter of time until people start leaving Islam, and many are already choosing that path, Muslim converts and born Muslims! How scary is that thought? But can you blame them? Many convert to Islam, hoping to be welcomed into the community but only to be judged, abandoned and disregarded! How do you expect anyone to hold onto the deen when there is absolutely no support aside from the congrats and the hugs they receive after they proclaim their faith to Allah?! 

Everyone is too focused on themselves and their own problems- which is understandable to some degree. But this is unacceptable and since I have lived here I noticed that a lot of people are so self- centered (even if they don't do it intentionally) and they will initially be concerned with how you are doing, but then they just end up being busy with life and they forget about you. Of course alhamdulillah there ARE some sisters who really make that effort and they do go above and beyond and alhamdulillah Allah has blessed me with some. But for other converts, they have nobody. They really are all alone and they have no support whatsoever. So how can we blame them and judge them when we find out they left Islam? Please reach out to those new Muslims in your area, not only will you have relief on the day of judgment for relieving one of your sisters in Islam in the dunya, but you will also carry the reward of any good deeds that they do! 

“A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection…” [Bukhari and Muslim].


“Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward. ( Sahih Muslim 1893)

Life I tell ya, it is so exhausting. I'm still on this journey and every day I am constantly reminded of just how frustrating, tiring, and annoying this dunya is. Nothing will ever go the way I want it to and things never last - even though at this very moment, this pain and frustration feels like it will never go away. But I know that sadness, depression , happiness,  joy,  etc.. all those things come and go. Even though I am constantly experiencing only sadness and frustration, I guess some day, I will finally experience happiness and joy ...because that is what Allah promises right? 

Some days are better than others and some days I just choose to bury these feelings inside of me deep somewhere within. I feel like these feelings will never disappear, they just become numb and forgotten for short periods of time- well better than nothing right? I'm trying to stay positive. I have stopped expecting people to be there for me and even though I have friends who try their best to be supportive and encouraging, at the end of the day they have their own family and their own problems to deal with. They are not always there when I really need them- and I have accepted this and that is just part of life. It just proves to us that the only One who will always be with us no matter what is Allah. 

As for now, this journey is mine and mine alone and even though I feel like nobody will ever know how I feel and what I am going through except for myself (because our hardships are our own and nobody really will ever understand), I know that Allah is the only one who knows what is going on in my heart, my head and He knows my situation because He put me in it in the first place. Even though I may not feel that Allah is with me at times, I know deep down that I must continue to believe and hold on and if He put me in it, He will get me through and out of it (insha'Allah)....as hard as that is to believe right now.  I must remember that commitment I made to myself and how I could choose the easy way out which would cause more harm in this life and the next or I could choose the hard way through which will hopefully bring about happiness and joy in this life and the next. 

Which one would you choose?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life Update : Chapter Two ( Growing Pains)

I felt like I should have done this a long time ago, and it only dawned on me now but since my most recent post, I felt that it really helped me in certain ways and I felt like writing again, because why not right? No pressure on myself and no commitment. Since this has been such a journey, I thought I would just turn my thoughts into chapters.

The more I feel obligated to post on my blog, the more it deters me away. Whenever I am forced to do something, I always feel like the enjoyment factor is taken out of the activity. For example, whenever I plan for Ramadan or have a schedule that I MUST stick to, I always end up failing and then I feel upset with myself because I was unable to follow the schedule whereas when I just improvise and go with the flow, I tend to become more productive and that is when I am at my most comfortable and creative state! Is anyone else like that too?

ANYWAY ,

So after my most recent post , after what felt like half a decade before I decided to resurface! I was thinking about my life and where I am currently since I converted to Islam. Honestly, where I am in my life at 2017 compared to where I THOUGHT I would be now back in 2011 is definitely not what I ever imagined or expected. I thought by now I would have had a family of my own and other parts of my life would have been sorted out by now. But none of that has happened and I am back to where I was physically 7 years ago. Stuck at home with my parents lol. This situation really does bring back a lot of memories for me. As mentioned in my previous post, a lot of my childhood consisted of emotional, physical, and mental abuse. Mainly because I am an only child and my parents only knew from what their culture taught them: raise children with strict discipline, beat them with no mercy and show no affection or love. Even to this day, I will never be able to talk to them about things that bother me or things that I want to do in my life for fear of being judged or using my failures against me or just being blamed for everything I do or don't do. It is definitely a toxic environment and extremely draining mentally and emotionally. That is why I never lived at home much during my young adult life because I just couldn't deal with that feeling of being a prisoner in my own home. I am definitely feeling again like a prisoner in my own home, maybe not physically but definitely mentally and emotionally. It is a struggle each and every day to have to live accordingly without compromising my deen. So that is why during my non-Muslim days, I would just live my life the way I knew how to and I would drown my sorrows and troubles with listening to music, partying and staying out of the house until dawn. I ran away from my problems and I wanted instant relief and I would do anything to get it.

The reason why I am writing about this is that I realized why I am struggling and having a hard time dealing with these current hardships. It is because, this time, I have to face my problems and there is no running away from them nor is there a quick relief for them. Even though things are somewhat different, things are still the same from 7+ years (living with my parents who still treat me like i'm 12) I now have to deal with my problems head on and there is no quick fix for it AT all. This is what is so frustrating and this is why I am having a difficult time. Never before in my life did I have to face my problems, I always found a quick fix around them or I would just simply run away from them and forget about them until they crept up on me again and then I would just complete the same vicious cycle over and over. Though the problems will not go away until Allah wills them to, I guess this whole experience is to help me gain sabr and to help me grow emotionally- 'growing pains', if you will.

A week ago, in the halaqah I attended, we talked about how to develop emotional intelligence, how do we grow emotionally and learn how to have a healthy balance with our emotions. It made me think about myself. I realized from a young age I really had a lot of pain and suffering emotionally because nobody was really there for me when I needed them the most. I would cry to anybody who would listen but most of the time I would jot my thoughts down on paper and writing became my release. I only knew of negative emotions and I am now trying to find that balance and not let the negativity take over my mind and my heart.

From that halaqah, I concluded that this whole life lesson is to help me develop more sabr and to help me grow emotionally. Though my emaan may be weak at the moment and holding on to faith and hope at this point in my life is something that doesn't come easy, I know this is because I am going through growing pains. I guess because I ran away from everything for the whole of my life and I always found instant temporary relief for my problems, I am not used to this new concept of actually facing your reality rather than running away from it. I am starting to believe this is what Allah wants me to learn. I am convinced that this is the only way I can mature spiritually as well as emotionally. Even though it is something I hate, I try to remind myself that, "But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not" (2:216) and even though I have a hard time accepting this, I know deep down that everything I go through, good or bad, there is good in it whether I believe it or not at the time. It is not easy you know. Struggling to accept the qadr of Allah and to know that whatever you go through, it is what you need in your life at this exact moment. Whatever you are going through is where you should be right now. This is what was written for you and this is what you need to accept. Even though many of us, myself included, believe this with our tongues, it is another thing to actually believe it with our hearts. I find myself often saying " yes, I am aware, yes, I know" but then sometimes I find my actions completely opposite. And this is where I struggle. 

In 2011, I found myself going through a lot of ease. The first three years as a Muslim, I spent most of my days learning about the deen and preaching to others what I learned. I was very active online and had many of my own online community friends who would follow me trying to enjoin good. A few years later, reality hit me and the verse "Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested." (29:2) fully hit me and now I am learning to fight the battle instead of running away from it. Although there are just so many times where I wish I could just hide from everything- but where would I hide anyway? 

I look back at myself then compared to now and I feel like I was so naive. Being a Muslimah back then was such a simple task. It was a simple routine of eat, sleep, pray. But now, now I am learning the true meaning of living as a Muslimah in this dunya. Tests upon tests, hardships upon hardships. In 2014, real life started to happen and since then, every day remains a struggle. I strongly believe that these tests will never end until I return to Allah, and even then, there is the trials of the grave and the questioning on The Day. 

At the halaqah, it was mentioned that the happiest Muslim woman is the one who lives her life remembering the Last Day and how she will return to her Lord. Living your life like this will fill your soul with richness. I strongly believe this and I wish some day I can get over the reality of this life and transcend to that level, but until then each day remains a struggle to remember and live up to my identity as a Muslimah. 

I am trying to accept that life isn't always measured by the material successes in your life ( marriage, children, career, etc) but it is based on your inner self and how you can be content with your internal centre even if your external circumstances are not in your favour. My external circumstances are nowhere in my favour right now (except Alhamdulillah I rather be in Toronto than USA ANY DAY! ) and my challenges in life is to learn how to be content with what I have and to be content with who I am so that whatever external challenges that come my way, I can accept them and learn how to deal with them. 
Maybe I am a slow learner and maybe everyone else has this figured out but me, but I guess it is a start right? I can finally say life, ain't easy. There have been so many times I wanted to just give up but alhamdulillah, Islam has helped me find my way no matter how lost this dunya makes me feel. It has not been easy and I know now that life will never get easier, it is only us who learn to adapt and change our outlook on life thus allowing us to become better and stronger in facing the reality of this fleeting, temporary life.

Sigh.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Life Update : Chapter One (back home)

I have almost been living in Toronto for two whole years now. By the end of this December, it will have been two years. I decided to finally surface since my last written post was in November.

A lot has happened as well as a whole lot of nothing. A whole lot of nothing in terms of I am still living here stuck with my non-Muslim parents and a lot has happened in terms of self-growth and self-realizations. I continue to struggle each and every day with learning about how to live a life as a Muslimah going through trials and hardships. I thought the hardships would subside a little once I got back to Toronto but let me tell you! It has been even harder since I moved back. My faith, trust, and hope in Allah have been tested every single day up until this point as I write. I have fallen into depression, despair, and disappointments over and over. So often that I find myself asking when, when will the help of Allah be near?

Sigh. 

 I know I am not the only one out there who is struggling to keep their head above the waters of the deep Dunya and this is why I am writing. I know somewhere out there, whoever (especially the converts) is reading this, is also going through tests with their faith and are struggling to get through each day. Somewhere out there is someone who is fighting to stay positive and even fulfilling their daily obligations feels heavy. I know I am not the only one. Even though it may seem that everyone I know around me is living happily with their lives and going on their days with ease, deep down they are struggling just as I am. I have learned through these hardships that NOTHING ever goes the way you want it to. Life never goes the way we imagine it to go. I realized how HARD it is to live as a Muslim with non-Muslim parents, especially if you are an only child who has been physically and psychologically abused by their parents at a young age (and still continue to undergo a mild form of psychological abuse).

For as long as I have been here, I have felt nothing but a prisoner who is emotionally and mentally oppressed. Living here has been nothing but exhausting. Subhana'Allah . There have been sporadic months where I have been able to come out of my depressive hole only to find myself going right back into it shortly after. To my convert brothers and sisters, I FEEL YA! I really really feel ya. Especially the dreaded day of Eid. Spending it alone and realizing just how depressing your life really is when you see posts of your friends with their big families enjoying big feasts for days. I know exactly how you feel. Of course, I have had many memorable moments while living here and they mostly happened OUTSIDE of the home. I have been able to truly enjoy my beautiful city with beautiful company but once I go back home, I am back to reality. Anything that happens inside the home is just always accompanied by a dark cloud over my head. I am exhausted and I really wonder when the help of Allah will come.

My emaan has been better since the US but it is always unstable because I find myself falling into sadness and despair quite often. Listen, I know and I keep reminding myself of all the ahadith and Quran verses of how Allah tests those He loves, Allah responds to the caller, Allah loves those who are patient, Jannah is not attained without going through hardship, hardships are an expiation of sins etc.... I am well aware of this and I am sure every other convert who is struggling is well aware of this as well. Being reminded of these things are essential in order to get through our struggles but what we don't understand is, it is easy to be sympathetic to others and offer advice that will only touch the surface but being EMPATHETIC is another story.

For once in my life, I know exactly how converts feel and what they go through. Since I was living away from my non-Muslim parents for nearly 5 years and I was with my husband, at that time, things were easier. Despite the fact I was living in a horrendous disgusting country, it was much easier than it is now.

Now I am full fledged living the life of a convert lol, without my husband and where I struggle daily to hold onto my emaan and to not let the terrible kuffar traits around me get a hold of me and take me down. I struggle to remain positive and I struggle to imagine that one day, just one day, I will be relieved from here and every suffering, every tear, every pain, and sorrow will be worth it. At this point in my life, instead of KNOWING that this will happen, I have only but a tiny glimmer of hope in me that THINKS this will happen. I know the hope should be much greater but I feel defeated at the moment. I know that Allah is with those who are patient, I know Allah is the only one who can help me get through this and out of this. I know that and I am well aware. But when you are thrown into difficult situations, that is when your faith is truly tested and to be able to strongly believe and apply what we know and learn about Allah and Islam is in itself, another test.

Sigh.

 As you read this, remember that  your advice may not resonate with the grieving heart. Your advice may not reach deep within the troubled soul. Your words may be comforting only to the ears but to the heart, they do not feel a thing. Until you show empathy and truly put yourselves in someone else's shoes, your advice will only be taken at a surface level. This is what I have learned and this is what I want to share with anyone who is reading. A lot of sisters who ascribe themselves to the Salafi minhaj believe that their harsh words of "FEAR ALLAH! How can you feel this way?!? " , " If you did this and that you wouldn't feel this way!", or " you only feel this way because your emaan is low" (well OBVIOUSLY our emaan is low or else we wouldn't feel this way!!!) .... these words do not help, in fact, they will only drive a sister away from you and the deen.

Many of us become obsessed with seeking knowledge and trying to spread it and share it but fail to realize that the manners and character of a Muslim are far heavier in the sight of Allah than the knowledge that you seek and do not act upon. As you read this, remember that when someone is going through hardship, they are looking for support. They are looking for someone who can listen to them with non-judgemental ears and for someone to remind them about how temporary the Dunya life is and things WILL and DO get better. Yes we also need to be reminded of our blessings and compare ourselves to those less fortunate, but to be honest, when someone is going through hardship, pain IS pain. Their pain is all they can feel at the moment and it is all they can see. It is very difficult to tell someone who is going through a hardship to look at those around them because all they see is their own blurred vision of reality. So continue to be the listening ear, the supportive shoulder, and the encouraging mouth. Even though it is hard for us who are on the receiving end to believe that things WILL and DO get better, we like to hear the encouragement. Encouragement is good. It is needed.

All the days that I feel alone, all the days that I don't feel like talking to anyone, I find myself forcing it upon me to remember that Allah is with me and Allah will help me. I force myself to remember that this is only a test and like gold, I need to go through an extreme process before I can come out beautiful and strong. Even though at this very moment in my life, I do not feel that anybody is with me, I know these thoughts are from shaytaan....Living in a home full of idols, full of negativity and full of no barakah, it is hard to keep strong and firm.

Afterall, I am only a human.

This post may not have much structure to it and may sound all over the place, but that is exactly where my thoughts are right now. All over the place. I am allowing a more raw side of me come through and I hope that somewhere in the world, someone can benefit from this post and to also know that what you feel... I feel too and at the end of the day, I rather struggle as a Muslim to get through life's lessons than to get through it as a non-Muslim who would only drown her sorrows in alcohol and provocative behavior that will bring her nowhere but into her own demise. That thin string of hope is what eventually threads through the needle creating a strong support for use.

At the end of the day, Alhamdulillah we are Muslim.

It may feel difficult at times and we may feel a loss of hope, despair and deep dark sadness. We are only human beings and it is normal to feel negative emotions. Allow yourself to feel them, allow yourself to deeply feel them. Feel them from the bottom, from the top and from the sides and the little, hidden corners. Feel them and get to know them. This is who you are at this very moment. Accept it and then move on. Move up and move on and try to find that glimmer of hope, that loose thread you are hanging onto and hang on to it a little while longer.

 Keep making dua even though you feel like nothing is being answered. Keep pushing yourself to do a good deed daily even if it is as small as saying a good word to someone. Just keep pushing yourself. Maybe it will be during these moments, finally, just finally Allah will respond to your call and grant you relief. This is what I try to tell myself daily, even though it may be hard to understand and implement at times, you just have to do it. Life doesn't wait for anyone and life will move on without you. You can sit and sulk (which I have done enough times this week lol) or you can keep trying, trying and trying until some day, just some day you will see the fruits of your efforts pay off. It is not easy, but nothing in life is and especially getting to Jannah. Everything comes with a hefty price.

I guess it is up to us to decide where we want to pay our attention to. I know it is easy to say all these encouraging things, but acting upon it is something else. I can tell myself these things every day and every night, but in the moments where your emotions take over, it is another story. But we have to try because if we don't tell ourselves these things, then who will right? We can't constantly have our friends and family by our side giving up pep talks 24/7 - especially since they don't even know how we feel or what we are going through! Nobody is living your life except for you so you just gotta live it to the best of your ability...

Sigh.

 Anyway...to all those who are going through hardships and struggling to hold onto their emaan and deen like me, May Allah grant you ease, happiness and tears of joy and success soon and grant you the highest rank in Jannah. Ameen

This Dunya is an exhausting one and all I wish is that I will be able to look back one day at this post and smile. Smile and think to myself " Subhan Allah wow, I made it through and I can't even believe how much has changed since those days..all praise and thanks is for Allah alone! "  I wish that one day I could look back on this post and it will just be a distant memory.

But until that day, this is me and this is who I am at this very moment. 

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!