From time to time, I will receive quite a few e-mails from my lovely sisters in Islam who are looking for some advice and support (and that is why I started The Big Sister Little Sister project- be sure to check out the info here!) . What I noticed is that majority of them are from our youth! Many young sisters seeking advice about issues that are really affecting the adolescent today as well as sisters who are just looking for someone to talk to (and I loveeee these e-mails! Please keep them coming insha'Allah!)
As we try to catch up to the technology in this fast paced 21st century world we live in, we can't help but to fall into the powerful waves of fitnah which drowns us and brings us down to the bottom. We lose our self identity, our self respect and our longing for our Creator. I know how it feels to be living as a youth in today's world. I have been there, done that..and I know what the youth of today are facing. What was different with me was that I was not a Muslim during most of my youth so I was very lost. Often confused, and living life without a purpose, I chased the dunya as fast as I could. I chased, and I chased until I realised I could no longer keep up.
During my youth, I had very low self-esteem and this resulted in me doing things to always try to "fit in" and try to find that sense of belonging. I was often teased during middle school because of my weight and because of the teasing, in high school I suffered from a mild eating disorder ( Alhamdulillah, it did not become severe but I was VERY obsessed with self image) and I went through many identity crises and I seemed to never be content with myself, like, EVER. I thought I found my identity when I started to become OBSESSED with fashion. I ate, breathed, lived VOGUE magazines and I knew all the fashion designers by heart! I had dreams of become a designer myself and I started drowning myself in the materialist lifestyle. I even wanted to become a fashion model! Though I did some modelling for some local Toronto photographers, I had bigger dreams of hitting the runway (even though I am WAY below the minimum height requirement- Alhamdulillah Allah saved me from such oppression!) but those dreams later died out when I realised that I just could not live up to the 'druggie-anorexic' lifestyle. IMPOSSIBLE! I was always obsessed with body image and because I was overweight during my youth, I developed a true love for health and fitness. I joined countless gyms and became addicted with working out. The gym life was something else and it was just as dark and dirty as the fashion industry. Like most fashion models who do a lot of drugs, many people in the gym were no better (how ironic right?). Most of the men and women were "genetically modified" (lol) and I was naive to think that all personal trainers lead a healthy lifestyle. Most of them did not practice half the things they preached, i kid you not! I started to see all the ugly things that went on behind the scenes and I just felt so cheated and disgusted. I tried to escape the fashion industry because in my eyes, it was something too unrealistic for my lifestyle and I didn't expect that the "health and fitness" industry would be just as bad (if not worse)! I felt deceived. I was so let down because I had such high expectations of the worldly life. I expected the dunya to give me the same things I saw on television. Everything on television just seemed so perfect and I wanted to live that reality. I thought chasing the materialistic things of life such as money, body image, relationships, and latest fashion trends were THE things that were most important and the way to seek happiness. Was I ever wrong?!
(please take a few minutes to watch this quick clip and click CC for caption!)
Chasing the worldly life will not bring us anywhere except down and it will only hurt us in this dunya and in the akhirah. I say this because I truly have been there, and done that. For my readers who follow me, you know I write a lot about my past life and I try my best not to expose my sins from my past because I know Allah conceals all our sins and we should not expose them , but I am only doing it merely for the sake of daw'ah and to let you all know that the things that you cherish now (romance novels, sad love songs, haram relationships, etc.) ...these are all things that are meant to deceive you and harm you in this life and the next. These very things are the tool of Shaytan and it is his way to lead us all astray (may Allah protect us all!)
“(Iblees) said: ‘Because You have sent me astray, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You)’” (Quran, Al-Aaraf: 16,17).
". . . and follow not the footsteps of ‘Shaitan’ (Satan). Surely he is to you an open enemy" (Quran, Al-Anaam: 142)
No revert is particularly proud of their past life before they became Muslim but many of us have been able to experience the life of darkness and deceit before Islam and we realise just how truly blessed we are that Allah guided us. I often tell my readers, over and over, that the worldly life is just not worth the chase! It is so easy to become deceived because when you see everyone doing something, you become desensitized and you think that it is ok just because fulanah and fulanah are doing it! Well, remember my sisters! Just because sister a,b,c,d,e and the whole alphabet is doing it, it doesnt make it right and you should never justify their actions as being correct and in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunnah! Deep down, you know it is not right and it is not what pleases Allah. So be the leader and not the follower! You are strong and you are beautiful and you do not need random men and women to validate that! Know your worth and try to use your brains instead of your beauty to make it in this world! Be that successful Muslim doctor, that successful engineer, or a successful teacher who will touch the lives of many ! Be that successful mother who will raise righteous, well-mannered, modest children which this Ummah is lacking! Be the change you want to see in this world. We feel sad when we see what is happening all over the world and we cry and ask Allah to change the condition of this Ummah ! But when will we change our own conditions first before we expect the things around us to change? Do not attach yourself to this dunya, work hard to leave a legacy, something that will benefit you while you are in your grave. When you die, nothing will go with you except your deeds so make sure you strive your hardest to attain the comfort and spaciousness in that grave that you deserve! Imagine meeting Allah on the Day and He is pleased with you! All that hard working in the dunya and finally, alas! You have succeeded! You eternal abode is the highest level of Jannah! Seeing the Face of your Rabb! Just imagine this day and ultimately strive for this day of success !
Know that the life of this world (dunya) is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children… the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment. (Al-Hadid 57:20)
Verily, the Promise of Allâh is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allâh. (Luqman 31:33)