New Muslim Reflections: One Day

Moving on from a tragedy does not necessarily have to involve shrugging off your emotions and desensitize yourself. Emotions are what makes us human. If something traumatising has happened to you and you can’t forget it, its okay. People will tell you to stop. May be because they love you and do not want to be in a state where they can not do anything to ease your pain. But don’t worry about it. They will be alright. Focus on yourself.Take a retreat if you need. Embrace the loss,live in the memories,feel the pain. Grief in its greyish hues is beautiful too.Take all the time you need to understand yourself. Your potential. You will be surprised to see how much pain you can take. How unbelievably strong Allah made you.

Then slowly you will get accustomed to the pain. The ache will  eventually eat away lesser and lesser portion of you. Over time it will hurt less and less. Then one day you will feel joy again. You will stand in front of the mirror and gaze at the person you have grown to be. Stand in front of Allah in prayer in the middle of the night-but this time is out of overflowing gratitude and awe; as you present yourself in front of Him. As you recollect how He changed the course of events for you, took you to the world of relief and joy that you never knew existed. Gave you everything of which you had written yourself off.

Allah will teach you to love again,to experience joy again,to laugh again. One Day.

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A New Muslim Is A Spiritual Warrior

If you dress modestly but you hate it; if you smother your frustration in response to your parents even when you want to scream; if you continue to pray your prayers even though you wonder why you do them; if you would drink but you don’t; if you say no when you so badly want to say yes: it doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It doesn’t mean your belief is weak.

Your doing things even if you don’t want to, your not doing things even when you wish you could, for the sole reason of trying to live your life within the guidelines you believe have been set by God: that’s a testimony of the STRENGTH of your faith, not your lack of it.

Keep doing the right thing even when you’re frustrated with it. And ask God to give you strength to love it, understand it, and have a support system to help get you through it.

You’re not a weak believer. You’re not a hypocrite. You’re a spiritual warrior.

المجاهد هو من يجاهد نفسه على طاعة الله
“The warrior is the one who strives against his/her self in obedience to God, the Mighty and Majestic.” -Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) [At-Tirmidhi]

-Maryam Amir

To The Secret Convert

To the secretly struggling one,

The secret tears you shed
The secret prayers you pray
The secret duas you make
In those secret depths of the night
In those secret moments before breaking your secret fasts
In those secret good deeds you do
The secret sacrifices you make
The secret battles you fight
The secret temptations you resist
The secret desires you control
The secret scars you hide
The secret pains that rip you apart
The secret emptiness you feel
The secret melancholy in your void heart
The secret scream of your torn soul
The secret thirst to reach your destination
You are not alone. I am with you.

Lets raise our hands up together, because He is too Generous and too Shy to return them back to us empty (Narrated by Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him.)For verily, He is the best to respond to the distressed one when he calls on to Him.

(“Is He (not best) Who responds to the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations? Is there any deity with Allah?” [Surat un-Naml 27:62])

Sincerely,

A Struggling, Everyday Believer

Patience Does Not Forbid You From Grieving

Patience does not forbid you from grieving. Prophet Yaqoob AS is described in the Quran as the epitome of someone who shows patience. Yet He grieved to a point where he lost his eyesight. Did Allah condemn him for his emotions?On the contrary Allah honors his grief.Allah immortalized his grief for centuries to come because we are entitled to our emotions. You are allowed to grieve for your loss, and that does not make you less of a believer. When his own people started mocking his unshakable belief in Allah, that Allah will return his son, Yaqoob AS actually turned to Allah to complain. He cried to a point where he lost his eye sight. Yet He turned only to Allah-a heart full of sorrow yet with profound hope;belief that Allah will return his son. He turned only to Allah because the people around failed him.

When if you go through a crisis and find yourself unable to behave according to everyone’s expectations, if you find others being uncomfortable with your emotions, feel everyone abandoning you for your grief, then know that Allah has honored you with a sunnah(tradition) of this great Prophet. There is a much greater wisdom behind Allah allowing you to be left alone. So hold onto that Beautiful Patience (Sabrun Jameel) of this great Prophet (may peace be upon him)- a patience full of hope radiating from an unfaltering certainty (yaqeen) in the mercy of Allah.

“I only complain of my grief to Allah. I know from Allah that which you do not know. And never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” (Surah Yusuf 12:86-87).

Allah Has Honored You. And Every Human Being

Unquestionably, We have honored all children of Adam (17:70).

As Muslims we believe that mankind was created from Adam and Hawa (Eve), may peace be upon them. Adam AS was the first creation of Allah, and then his wife Hawa. So they are parents of the entire mankind, and that makes every human being, despite culture and faith,  brothers in humanity.In the verse above, Allah says He has honored all children of Adam, and there is absolutely no question about it. Therefore we can not take away the dignity and honor Allah has given to another fellow human being. Of course, the honors vary in ranks. Even among Muslims, the one who struggles hard for Allah has more honor in His sight. But the point remains that we don’t trash talk or dismiss other people simply because of their values.

You might have families and loved ones who have not entered Islam yet. But that does not mean that Allah has written them off. They are also part of this verse. . Even the most beloved uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), named Abu Talib,who was his only guardian on this earth, was not a muslim. Yet Abu Talib helped the Prophet (peace be upon him) spread the message of Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved his uncle and grieved immensely when his uncle passed away. His uncle was not a muslim yet Allah did honor him by including him in the life of His favorite messenger(peace be upon him).

This verse also means that we need to honor ourselves, give ourselves the respect we deserve. If you are trying hard but you keep slipping, please, don’t criticize and demoralize yourself. Appreciate yourself for the efforts, don’t condemn for the results. Accept that a mistake had been made. A bad deed does not make you a bad person. Allah created us as humans so we do not get to walk on this earth as angels. That is why He gave us a higher honor than angels, because unlike angels we are prone to make mistakes and slide off. But what makes us believers is that we do not give up, neither on ourselves nor on Allah’s  incessant forgiveness.

…mankind was created weak (Quran 4:28)

We continue to ask Allah for forgiveness and keep on trying, albeit we slip. Allah has promised us that as long as we keep returning to Him He will continue to forgive us. For this reason He has even named Himself Al Gaffar-The One who forgives continuously, even when we do not ask. He knows we will make mistakes and fall short of our obedience to Him, time and again. So this name is befitting in that we turn to Allah for forgiveness repeatedly.

In the end, all honor belongs to Allah only, because He is the Owner of Majesty and Honor (Dhul Jalal E Wal Ikram).All honor is from Him, so when He honors someone, we honor them as well.

First Day For A New Muslim- Worship Easy

For any new (revert) Muslim, the entire ordeal just seems too much. It feels like everything needs to change, from your work to lifestyle to food and what not. And on top of that with the constant policing of those around you, telling you to do it all at once is just too much. So much so that you might even start doubting everything. Is it all even worth it?

That is where Allah comes to play. His messenger, Prophet Muhammad comes to play, may peace be upon him.When Allah revealed the Quran, He did not reveal it all at once. He revealed it over 23 years. Because in His infinite wisdom Allah knows human beings take time to adjust to new changes.

Unquestionably, it is We who have sent down to you, the Quran in installments.(Quran 75:23)

Once a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and expressed his interest in embracing Islam. However, he was not ready to pray five times a day; he could do only two. The Prophet (peace be upon him) agreed to that. The man accepted Islam and left. Afterwards the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him why did he allow the man less than required number of times to pray? Because a Muslim must pray five times a day. Prophet (peace be upon him) answered ‘Once he tastes the sweetness of salah (prayer), he will start praying all five just like that’ .

People around you might try to make you a scholar of the Quran overnight, or fit you into a longest hijab or beards, for which you might not be ready yet. You need to know that Allah does not expect you to turn your life around overnight. If it takes you one week to memorize one verse, or even less, that is okay with Allah. Allah is not interested in your quantity, He is only interested in your quality.

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Allah has named Himself Al Shakur. He appreciates every bit of your struggle. So don’t beat yourself up of you can’t focus, or do any better than what you are doing.You are doing the best that you know how to, with what you have. You would do more, if you could.And no one knows that better than Him.

Worshipping Allah is not only confined within rituals like prayers and fasting. Every good deed that you do, from smiling at someone to removing a trash from the street, saying a good word, maintaining truth and honesty,helping a person in need, feeding the poor,all are worship. Basically being a good person is worship. Asking Allah for help (dua) is the greatest act of worship. Even though others are fluent in their prayers and yours seem a far cry, its okay. Your sigh from exhaustion is a worship of Allah. When you wish to fast but your body gives away, that mere wish is also a worship of Allah. That is the beauty of Islam. Everything is worship when done being mindful of Allah and His Pleasure.

Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds”. (Quran- 6:62)