All people really want from relationships is to have someone love them and care for them; that’s it. And they want to hear it. It’s really simple but people still don’t understand. 

But no matter how much pain you have hidden inside, don’t let it stop you from being the better person. My parents rarely ever expressed their love to me (because of rigid cultural family traditions) and I think I have sort of an underlying problem because of that, but I’ve been trying to change.

Today in my Seerah class, Sh. Abdulbary Yahya said (on a tangent) that sometimes just get like a candy or a little something for your siblings and when they ask why, just say: “Because I love you.”

Now this is gonna sound kinda ridiculous to y’all but that’s something very hard for me to do. I’ve never heard “I love you” so it’s hard for me to say it. If there’s one thing that I really, really wish my siblings don’t inherit from our parents and me, it’s the inability to express our (positive) emotions.

So now I’ve a new goal: I’m gonna buy something for all 5 of my siblings inshaAllah and when they ask me why, I’m gonna say: “Because I love you.”

Good night :)

Sometimes opportunity is floating around but you don’t see it. It comes like a warm drizzle; its light touch you may not notice. But then you feel something gently warming your heart and you look up to see it smiling at you. You think about where. You think about how and why and all the other questions that you heart likes to conceive. It goes, slowly touching some part of you, awakening some hidden dreams. Your eyes follow in silent pursuit but words fail to reach your lips. You hold out your hand but no longer can you catch it.

 

Old Scholars

If you listen to an old Imam or shaykh, you will sometimes find it tedious to sit through the long pauses, listen to the cracked voice or try to understand the heavy accent or the old language (i.e. word choice) but you need patience.

I remember when my dad used to play a CD in our car, loaded with a lecture from an old scholar and I would groan. He told me that besides the knowledge, that would teach me patience. And it did. He taught me that I cannot dismiss people if I don’t find them immediately appealing.

It’s easy to listen to people who are good, eloquent speakers and if they are providing authentic knowledge, then go ahead and listen to them.

However, sometimes the wisdom that you need with the knowledge is only found with the older scholars, the ones who have spent their lives learning, contemplating and teaching the Deen.

Random concepts (makes sense to me)

Some people refuse to embrace themselves, with their character and personality, their strengths and weaknesses, their positive points and their flaws because they think that embracing themselves as they are will hinder their progress.

What they fail to realize, however, is that self-love is a very important motivational factor to get you where you want to be.

If we did not love ourselves enough, how would we find the motivation to go to Jannah? Why do we want ourselves to go there? Why do we want the best reward from Allah?

Also, accepting yourself as you are does not have to mean that you are happy with your current state; it just means that you stop blaming yourself all the time and instead propel yourself forward using your strengths. It means being grateful with your body and appearance, your provision, your health and your opportunities because they are all gifts from Allah. As for your spiritual condition, then you can always improve it.

The road to Tazkiyah is always open.

“Indeed, your efforts are diverse. As for he who gives and fears Allah And believes in the best [reward], We will ease him toward ease.”

Al-Layl (92: 4-7)

Our diversity of personalities will most inadvertently affect what path we decide to take towards Allah. And instead of letting that be simply a coincidence, we can deliberately use our unique talents and abilities to aid the Deed of Allah.

But it starts with loving yourself enough to do the best and the willingness to turn that into the da’wah track of your life.

Disclaimer: By “path we take towards Allah”, I do not mean any sect and any ideology. We must adhere to the Qur’an & Sunnah and the path of the Salaf but what I do mean are the modes for da’wah. For example, if you are a good writer, you can write and publish Islamic articles or if you’re a good speaker, you can make youtube videos giving advice, etc.

On Family

When young people are depressed, many of them turn to their friends for help. And others turn to the internet. Okay so what if they turn to the internet? What if they look for validation among people unknown to them?

The reality is that people tend to open up when they’re sad and that openness leads to vulnerability.

But that’s not my only point. I’m trying to get somewhere with this. When these young people lock themselves up into their own worlds (whether that be the virtual world or that of intoxication), they are consequently distancing themselves from the people who love them most-their family members.

Yes it’s true that sometimes your family does wrong you and sometimes they are the cause of your stress, but if you do not make the effort to improve your relations with them, you will always be miserable.

We always hear in Islam the importance of family ties and the danger of breaking them. Your emotional isolation may or may not count as breaking family ties, but stop for a second and think what your dad must be feeling when he asks you what you did at school and you say “nothing” or how your mom must be forcing herself to eat when you didn’t come down to dinner. Imagine what your younger brother must be feeling when you refuse to play a game of basketball with him or what your younger sister must be feeling when you refuse to read her a bedtime story.

If you’re a person who doesn’t spend much time with your family, set aside a day of your week only for them and see how happy you become. That happiness is not coincidental; it is a result of the blessings that Allah has put in spending time with your family.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Learn enough about your lineage to facilitate keeping your ties of kinship. Forindeed keeping the ties of kinship encourages affection among the relatives, increases the wealth, and increases the lifespan.” Jami’ At-Tirmidhi (Hasan)
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari told him that a bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was travelling. He asked, “Tell me what will bring me near to the Garden and keep me far from the Fire.” He replied,“Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, perform the prayer, pay zakat, and maintain ties of kinship.” (Al-Adab al-Mufrad)
Disclaimer: If you suffering from physical, mental or emotional abuse from your family or you need to be away from them for a while, that’s completely fine and you may even need to seek help from outside sources like a mentor, counselor or the authorities. What I meant by depression in this post was probably the minor kind, or the everyday struggles that keep us from giving time to our family. We all know ourselves better than others and May Allah rectify our affairs.

My Favorite Qari: Mishary Rashid Alafasy

Sometimes when people are discussing their favorite qurra’ and I say my favorite is Mishary Rashid Alafasy (hafidhuAllah), people give me that “oh-how-standard-why’d-you-pick-him” look.

What do you want me to say? Someone with a fancy reciting style? Someone who is moved to tears when he recites?

I like Mishary because:

1-I can actually observe the rules of Tajweed that I learned. He stops where I learnt to stop; he elongates the Madd the way I was taught to elongate the Madd, etc.

2-His recitation is in sync with the meaning. He seldom cries in his official recordings but you can tell when he’s reciting a calming ayah, a warning ayah or a conversational ayah simply by the way he changes his tone of voice.

3-He has a unique style for each surah, even in the way he says “Bismillah” for them sometimes, which helps if you’re trying to memorize.

Reflection (stages)

We all have stages through which we wish to proceed in the journey of change.

If I was to split up my journey into stages, I’d say I’m on the 2nd stage out of 3. This is not necessarily in terms of goals, but in terms of tarbiyah, behavior and lifestyle changes.

1st stage: Lost and trying to find my way; not knowing what to do and/or knowing the right thing but not doing it. (This part is now over by the Grace of Allah).

2nd stage: Knowing what path I am on, what I have accomplished, what I have yet to accomplish, what my strengths are, what are the things that keep pulling me back, and what my game-plan needs to be. InshaAllah, this year and onward, I want to be able to improve myself in all the ways that I know how to.

3rd stage: This is the one that will go on forever, because improvement is a life-long journey. It includes perfecting my akhlaq, always keeping tabs on myself, attempting to make progress without regressing and teaching others bi idhnihi ta’ala.

When I was in the 1st stage, which mostly consisted of my high school and early college years, I always asked Allah for help to guide me and to help me understand others’ points of view and to make my character better as a Muslim. I was kind of lost, kind of making it to guidance. I knew what I ought to be doing but had no idea how to get there. My mistakes served as quicksand and the vines that I used to lift me back up were often too weak.

The ayah that kept me going, along with a few others, was:

And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” Al-‘Ankabut (29:69)

Now, I feel as if Allah has answered my du’as and I have consequently landed at stage two.

That’s why this quote hit me like an arrow: “After asking Allah to guide you to the straight path, don’t just stand there … start walking!” – Albaz Poetry

I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing: standing in the middle of a train track whose destination is clear without having the daily consistency to move upon it successfully.

And I keep forgetting what a big ni’mah it is from Allah that everyone in my family is so supportive of me, that I know what my passion is, and that I am provided with all the resources to pursue it.

Whenever I see people who are lost in their career paths or are consumed by the stress of poverty or the depression that has resulted from a bad relationship, I am constantly reminded about how blessed I am.

Having all of these blessings and then declining to take advantage of them is a type of ungratefulness.

I hope that Allah gives me the ability to overcome my personal challenges so that I can actually start moving on the path of action.