Tag Archives: change

Circumstance

When your belief in people being indifferent towards you and not caring for you gets stronger over time (regardless of whether it is true or not), it leads to you becoming that much more protective of yourself. That protection then manifests itself in either becoming overly vulnerable, closing off completely, or becoming selfish. I can see parts of me that use these various coping mechanisms and it is honestly just so unhealthy.

When you’re constantly in the habit of defending yourself, you cannot grow out of it even when you no longer need to. When you are used to protecting yourself, you lose the ability to be selfless, and that’s what stops you from sacrifice. You can no longer put others before you, because you are so used to being the only one there for you.

I used to feel very guilty, and I still do. The selfishness makes you feel inhumane, but it came to be because of circumstances. And although your circumstances change when you change, sometimes you just really need your circumstances to change first.

It’s not an excuse, just a reality. And I know there’s a way out. I just don’t know what it is.

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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.

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.

 

“ALLAH’s Support is Near” Sh. Shaker Elsayed

“We ask Allah much more than we answer Him. Many people say, “I pray but I don’t seem to be getting an answer from Allah.” If you meet one of those people, ask them: “Do you answer Allah when He calls?” And if you don’t answer Allah when He calls, what credibility do you have to expect Him to answer you when you call? This is the biggest problem of our Ummah, that we want what we want, despite what Allah expects of us. This attitude has to change.”

The Turner of Hearts (the Turner of Life too)

Change.

When it’s gradual, it allows you to build your personality and your character in a way that would allow you not only to survive in your different way of life, but maybe also succeed.

But what happens when in one instant your *whole* world is turned upside down?

No notices, no warning, just the same attacks over and over.

You think it’s all over; that webs of frustration are now your weak homes and you’re just a mangled spider who needs to remake herself into another species to be able to survive.

But what if the Maker did not wish to see you change your identity? What if identity and behavior were actually related in ways way different than you had been taught? What if you were taught twisted notions of justice which you came to believe and then the verses came and slapped you in the face?

What does it feel like when conviction turns into confusion? What happens?

Chaos.

Chaos in the heart and mind and if a person’s intellect starts betraying him and his beliefs start failing him, what will behavior do? Behavior has no real mind of its own, but is a product of what’s inside.

How can a person correct what’s inside when the inside is unknown?

The hearts have been twisted, turned, pushed, pulled, stepped on and maybe even burned.

But He is the Controller of hearts, the Turner of Hearts.

He holds them in His Hands and flips them when He Wills.

Can you decide what you want to feel or do or become or does He have that
Power as well?

Answers to questions often come by seeking the answers from those who know.

Who has more knowledge than He?

If you seek guidance, you shall be guided, help and you shall be helped.

He turns away not except from those who turn away.

I turn to Him and say:

“Ya Muqallib al-quloob, thabbit qalbi ‘ala deenik”

(O turner of the Hearts, Turn my heart towards Your Religion).

My heart might be blinded by people, but the Holder of it knows what I want.

Because I seek not except the truth and I speak not except it too.

The Past & Present (i.e. I’m at peace).

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Being free from worrying about what others think of you and what lies in your future is truly a blessing.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “We fear not what the future holds, because we know Who holds it.”

For the first time in ages, today I feel liberated.

I remember when I was 16, I was the most carefree about my future. I was so happy on some days that I couldn’t stop smiling. Then I started worrying-worrying about college, my relationship with my parents and other things. Some stress is good as it motivates a person but I fell into depression. The only thing that kept me going was that I strove to please Allah. My teachers had faith in me and my friends encouraged me. I was arrogant but ironically had low-self-esteem, which was coupled with the passionate desire to improve myself. Somehow, though, I also cared about people. I was addicted to Islamic knowledge. Al-Maghrib was my sanctuary and the people there my saviors. I wanted everyone to love Islamic knowledge like I did and I wanted everyone to start their journey towards Allah like I had, by the Guidance of Allah and with the help of my Islamic Studies teacher. Every time I learned something new, I would share it with my best friend and we would talk about Jannah for hours on end. We made grandiose plans of becoming shaykhas and changing the world and leading everyone to appreciate the beauty of Islam and the peace of detachment from this dunya. My heart was truly attached to the Hereafter.
But then 12th grade came along. It was time to apply to colleges. I was too lazy and depressed and I thought college would take me away from Islam. I thought it would deprive me from time to study Islamic knowledge. But my friends and my teachers pushed me hard and told me I could balance both. I knew every other Muslim was doing it, so why couldn’t I?
It turned out, my initial assumptions were right. At first, I didn’t know how to balance college with my religious studies. My relationship with my family wasn’t too great either. Which brings me to my next point. Time and time again, my dad would tell me that my Islamic education was of no benefit if I didn’t have akhlaq. I didn’t know what he was talking about. I thought he was humiliating me. I kept on regurgitating the information as well, and passed it off as his lack of acceptance and compassion.
I was gaining more and more displeasure from my parents, which I knew also displeased Allah, but I strove to come closer to Allah in other ways.

Now I’m 20 years old, and I’m about to finish my 2 years at NOVA and then later transfer to university.

There have been so many changes in me in these 4 years that to write about them would probably make a book. I don’t mean to boast as nothing is in my hands, but I do know this much-if you truly seek Allah, He will guide you. Allah says in Surah Al-‘Ankabut:

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

No matter how many times you fall, He will pick you up and put you back on the right path. And yes, sometimes He won’t answer your du’as even when you desperately want them to be answered, because He knows better than you do. I remember specific du’as that I had made back in my teen years and I am now grateful to Allah that He didn’t make them come true. But there were also du’as that I remember that Allah answered, not quite in the way that I was expecting, but in His own Special way. For example, I asked Allah to make me patient and He put trials in my way, one after another. I asked Allah to make me love my parents and He showed me their beautiful and unique qualities that I had never been able to see before due to my haughty and resenting attitude. I asked Allah to give me knowledge of the Qur’an and to give me Adaab and this is a journey that I have just begun. With the help of Allah, I was finally able to start my long-term Tafseer class with Al-Huda Institute (online) and I am almost done with the 1st Juz. Words cannot explain how ecstatic my heart is just thinking about my test that’s coming up in a few days. I also learned that when you study the Qur’an in detail, with all its intricate meanings and wisdoms, you really are strongly compelled to improve your akhlaq. I testify that in all these years of taking Islamic classes and listening to lectures, nothing has changed my akhlaq more than what the Qur’an has done to me. It’s been 8 months since I registered for my Tafseer class and I am way behind than I should be, but it keeps making me reflect on how ‘Umar (or was it Abu Bakr? R) spent 8 years learning Surah Al-Baqarah, because he didn’t move on until he practiced what he learned.

Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Allah has allowed my heart to soften. I had a very hard heart, and whether that was by circumstance or choice or both, it was pulling me down. My emotions had held me captive for so long. But I wanted to break free. Holding grudges and being unkind and unforgiving was only making me go farther away from Islam. It was hindering my spirituality and keeping me from excelling in my deeds. I wanted to change for the sake of Allah but my dad’s high expectations helped me get there faster, as did my wish to get married. I learned in marriage lectures that we always hope for/look for a good spouse but fail to become good people ourselves. One quote that hit this point home was, “Would you marry yourself?” A few years back, let alone marry, I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to be friends with me. Now, I can say “Maybe” 🙂

So, here I am. A kind-of new me. I want to hold on to the good that was in me long ago and leave all the junk behind. I want myself to be the source of benefit for all people everywhere. In the Collector’s Edition class (Introduction to Sahih Bukhari), we learned an interesting hadith:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree.” Everybody started thinking about the trees of the desert areas. And I thought of the date-palm tree but felt shy to answer the others then asked, “What is that tree, O Allah’s Messenger ?” He replied, “It is the date-palm tree.”  (Bukhari)

-One of the benefits that we can derive from this hadith is that a believer is beneficial in all circumstances (just like the date palm tree that can be used in its early stages all the way to its late stages and every part of it is useful-nothing goes to waste). A believer always benefits himself and others no matter where he goes.

This hadith had a huge impact on me but I still forget it from time-to-time. When I remember it, however, it puts me back on track in regards to my relationship with people. I want people’s lives to be better because of my presence in it, not deprive them of their peace.

So to the people who have helped me come thus far: My dad, all of my friends (yes, you all had a part to play even if you don’t think so), my wonderful teachers, my stepmom, my younger siblings, and yes, even random strangers, I want to say thank you and may Allah Bless you all and grant you all the best in this world and the next. You may or may not read this, but I love you all for the Sake of Allah and one of the greatest things I look forward to is for us all to be in Jannah together inshaAllah, having a great big halal party 🙂

Life is sweet and your heart is precious; give your heart to its Maker and He will take care of it.
And He will take care of you.

So long,
Wa assalamu alaikum! 🙂