Tag Archives: life

Many of the lifestyles that people want to live are made impossible because of the need for money.

I’m not at all talking about the “better lifestyle” that is achieved through a higher salary. I am talking about our collective enslavement to a society that values only money. If there is a reason that we cannot leave work and just go live on a farm or in some remote (poor but peaceful) village is because life is harder over there. The way we have grown up in first-world countries has made us believe that we cannot survive without money, that simple living is difficult and hence, something to be feared. That a modest living won’t be enough.

And in some ways, it’s true. The poor cannot afford healthcare. They cannot afford private schools for their children. They cannot go on vacation. They cannot even leave their hometowns sometimes to go see the beautiful world that Allah has created. In the past, travel was physically difficult, yes. But you didn’t need huge sums of money in order to travel. People could hop on their camels, horses or whatever it was and go to different places. We all know how the Sahabah and the Tabi’een traveled the world in search of knowledge and to spread the Deen, and many of them were very poor.

It’s disturbing how much of our life revolves around money. We make money in order to live a “better life”. But we spend the money. So we have to go back and make more. And then we spend our lives making money and forget to live.

I don’t want to do that.


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.


Reflections (Parents)

I have always felt odd talking about my mom in a neutral or positive light, maybe because I’ve always focused on her negative qualities. Over time, I’ve alienated myself from her deliberately, and not all of my reasons for doing so were wrong. But now that I am able to handle what I know will come my way (inshaAllah), I think I should stop pretending to be a vulnerable victim and start doing what I know is right.

My aunt told me a few days back how much my mom praises me and loves me. I don’t need anyone to tell me that my mom loves me-that’s a given with *every* mom, but when she told me that my mom is proud of me, my world changed. Before this, I mostly used to hear complaints and sometimes I cared while at other times not necessarily.

I remember how miserable I used to be in high school; and I know for a fact that one of the main causes of my misery was my failure to treat my parents the way Allah had obligated.

One of my main du’as used to be: “O Allah, make my parents pleased with me because Your Pleasure lies in their pleasure.” 

Then, I started the journey of trying to fix my behavior with my parents. I remember first verbalizing my intention to do so to my friend on the last day of school when I was in 11th grade.

Even two years after that, I still felt as if I was lost, as if my efforts were in vain. But SubhanAllah, as with all things, Allah gave me victory with patience. I know for a fact that my parents will never be 100% pleased with me and nor will one of them probably ever say it to my face if they are, but at least I know that they are right now and that Allah is consequently pleased with me too, at least in this arena (inshaAllah).

This is an extremely personal bit of my life that I decided to share because I think there are lessons to learn from it (apart from the fact that I feel kind of at ease right now).

1) Allah is the Turner of the Hearts, so ask Him to turn your heart to His deen and His obedience. If you feel constricted by any relationship factor that is not in your control, ask Allah to help you. Beg Him to fix your situation and to grant you sabr and istiqamah, because without patience and steadfastness, you will fail.

2) Dedication is the key to attaining anything in life. Wanting something but ignoring it or not working towards it diligently will not gain you anything.

3) Your mom loves you more than anyone else, just short of your Creator Himself, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala). You need to make time for her and validate her concerns instead of brushing them off. There is an incredible amount of love that goes into her nagging, scolding and disciplining.

4) If you love one parent more than the other, that’s not your fault; it’s a matter of the heart. But your treatment of them should be according to what the Qur’an and Sunnah dictated, i.e. a mother is 3x higher in degree than a father.

5) Learn to overlook peoples’ mistakes, esp. those of your parents. When you seek to understand people and they notice that, they will automatically let their guard down and trust and respect you. In the case of parents, when you obey them, they love you more and they become more lenient towards your shortcomings.

6) Victory comes slowwwwly. Really, really slowly. Like a wave that comes in to shore, you must come and carry the bad sand away into the ocean and purify it. You must wait and work until what you want to become is what you are.

7) The road to improvement never ends. When you have one negative thing in your life, get rid of it, revel in the joy of doing so and then move on to other things that need improvement. InshaAllah one day you’ll be able to stand before Allah telling Him all about your journey of Tazkiyah (purification).

May Allah grant us all the ability to fulfill our obligations to our parents and to treat them with love and respect. May Allah open their hearts to understanding us better and ours to do the same. Ameen.

My Little Sister

[Long-held thoughts, spontaneous post]

When I look at my little sister, I see me. I see her going to the same school I went to while wearing the same white hijab and the same style of a plaid uniform with black shoes.

I see her excellent Qur’an memorization, her above-average academic performance and her generosity to her peers.

What I don’t see is the messy, hurt, inherently timid girl who wants to feel free.

Basically, my little sister is a better version of me.

All of my positive childhood qualities are engraved within her, but in greater amounts and with more confidence.

Initially I used to be jealous of her, but instead of blaming myself for it like I used to, I learned to accept it as a natural occurrence and I now think about all the positive things that have come out of this rather hesitant journey of discovery.

My sister is not me and I am not my sister but I know that through our similarities and differences we can change something for the better.

She lights up my world with her smile and cute words and my goal is to help her grow into the being who can happily and confidently submit to her Lord, defy cultural stigmas and learn to be happy without guilt.

She is currently the better version of me, but I want her to be the best version of herself as well.


No One Taught Me

I attended an Islamic school my whole life, and many kids spend several years in the school with each other before leaving, so we all knew each others’ class standing, i.e. who was the best in math, who memorized the most Qur’an, who knew the best Tajweed, who had the worst handwriting, etc. On occasion, new students would come. If they came from a nonpracticing family, they would be bullied or made fun of. Even the teachers would sometimes ridicule them for not knowing “the basics of Islam.” I had always grown up in an ultra-conservative, religious environment with my dad leaving no stone unturned to teach me surahs and du’as and practices from the Sunnah, so when I came across kids in the 3rd or 4th grade who didn’t know how to pray or kids in 8th grade who could barely read Qur’an, I would wonder: “How? How can he not know how to pray? How can she be so bad at reading Qur’an?” because I had simply never experienced the tragedy of the answer that the students always gave whenever they were asked how they “didn’t know anything” (about Islam). They always said: “No one taught me.” I would be shocked, as well would the other kids. We would ask about why their parents didn’t teach them, if they were born Muslim or if they even cared about learning how to pray. I remember seeing shame in these kids’ eyes, sometimes coupled with fear, at other times with anger. Some of these kids left the school because they felt pressurized while others left because the teachers couldn’t handle the “bad influence” they were having on the other kids. Some of them stayed with us and learned and improved and became our friends, Alhamdulillah.

Whatever their fate, they left me with a question: Why could I never say “no one taught me”? The answer was simple: because they did. Everyone around me was constantly teaching me something. My dad, my grandma and my teachers, were always teaching me something and giving me life lessons. They never left me alone to figure things out, but instead guided me carefully along the path of learning and motivated me every time I wanted to give up.

Finally, when I was in high school, I wanted to improve my level of Islamic practice, and that’s when I realized that there was so much I needed to know. It was the time when I understood that just because I had been passing all the religious education milestones in an Islamic school and getting good grades and recognition for it didn’t mean that I knew everything. I was so used to things just coming to me that when I actually had to use my mind to understand something, it opened up my eyes to how easy I had it all along.

I remember on several occasions admitting to classmates that I didn’t know how to pray Salatul Janazah or the ‘Eid prayer (with all its Takbeeraat). I remember the shock on their faces as I choked out the words: “No one taught me.”

“But you’ve been in an Islamic school forever, how do you not know how to pray these simple prayers?”

Again, my reply would be the same as I could feel my heart crushing under the weight of my ignorance.

It was only then did I understand the pain of those kids who I had met long ago who were treated like outcasts just because they didn’t know something. No doubt, their lack of knowledge concerning our religion was detrimental, but I still think that it was our intolerance and lack of understanding that pushed them away from Islam more.

It’s true that you never understand another’s pain until you are in their shoes. You never know their hurt and their feelings until you feel it yourself.

If there is anything I want someone to take away from this, it’s the fact that Allah has gifted some people more than others, and He has gifted people differently. If you are better than others in some things, it doesn’t mean you’re better than them. If there are those who are lacking in outward goodness, maybe they have been given kind hearts. If you feel that you are better, that automatically makes you worse.

Allah’s gifts are meant to be cherished. to be grateful for and to share with others, not to stroke your own ego. It doesn’t take Allah long to take away what He Wills, as it doesn’t take Him long to give.

Reflections from Jeffrey Lang’s “The Purpose of Life”

It took me forever to learn that this world is not meant for happiness. We are made for struggle and we will always have problems. I can’t believe that I underestimated the amount of people who have problems or the amount of problems per person. We always think others have it easier than us, but in reality, most of us have it hard in our own personalized way. When we embrace suffering and use our intellect to make the right choices, we develop superior qualities and become people of strong character. No wonder good character is worth so much on the scale on the Day of Judgement. It’s as if the weight of your worldly hardships will be lifted off your shoulders, converted into the reward for your sabr and placed atop the scale. Indeed, Allah is One Who removes hardship and brings ease.

Thoughts after a Handful of Monotonous Days

I sometimes think about the people who live life on autopilot. Their lack of enthusiasm in life puts me down, until it forces me to think about the great blessing from Allah called passion. If you aren’t passionate about the goals you want to achieve in life, how will you ever motivate yourself? What’s worse than not being passionate about your goals is not having any at all. I remember a time when I lived a monotone life; if people asked me what I liked, what I wanted to do, what I wanted to eat, what I wanted to (insert anything), my answer was always “I don’t know.” I was afraid of people’s opinion of me and I was afraid of being “wrong.” I was afraid of trying lest I fail. Now when I see people who go through their days as if they just have time to kill, I can’t help but think of all the amazing things that could have been getting accomplished in those wasted hours.

People sometimes think that in order to go after what you want in life, you have to sacrifice the rights of the people around you or that while fulfilling others’ rights, you will have to sacrifice your dreams, but that’s not true. Allah has a plan for all of us. It is our duty to find the ‘win’ in every loss and the hope in every problem. Optimism is devalued if it’s only shown in good times-it is your attitude in the hard times that counts.

Du’a is your greatest weapon.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way and that’s what I live by. By the Grace of Allah, when I am too tired to motivate myself, He always sends some reminder or some miracle takes place that allows me to re-adjust my focus and go after my dreams.

Make Allah’s Pleasure your motivation and ask Him to be your Guide-you will never get lost.