#OurThreeBrothers & Beyond: Silence Is a Form of Injustice

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’un
Indeed we belong to God, and to Him we shall return.

It’s difficult to not let the anger that we inevitably feel when we hear about horror stories such as this to consume our heart. When my eyes and ears have to witness sweet souls sentenced to their death without warning, it’s disheartening. Mothers are mourning for their children, crying until their eyes swell shut, and their bodies numb. This happens far too often. They don’t give us time, no time at all to mourn, to heal – we are constantly bombarded with tragedy after tragedy.

Adam Kamel Mekki (20), Muhannad Adam Tairab (17), and Mohamedtaha Omar (23), all of Sudanese-American backgrounds. 2 Muslims, 1 Christian. Our Three Brothers. Found in a home, murdered execution-style. No media coverage for days after their deaths. I heard about this after THREE LONG days of silence. This was a silence that was deafening. A silence that was heartbreaking. And a silence that will be remembered.

Beloved, beautiful, black young men and women are stripped of their future every day. They don’t only face erasure, but are also subject to many forms of violence. Selective mourning exists, there is no denying that fact. And it needs to end. There is no tragedy that holds greater importance over another. A life is a life. The Prophet, peace be upon him, told us that we are like one body. When a part of us is in pain, all of us should feel it.

What is heartbreaking, is that families are alone in mourning for their children while we are fragmented as a people. A brother of mine said…“For those of you who heard about this incident and assumed gang violence or drugs, you are part of the problem. For those of you who needed a justification to mourn, shame on you. And for those of you who remain silent, were they not souls?” As a community, we should care, regardless of reason. Adam, Muhannad and Mohamedtaha lost their lives. That alone should be the sole reason for us to stand up in solidarity.

It was reported that a funeral passed by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and he stood up in respect. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jewish man, the Prophet beautifully replied, “Was he not a soul?” He taught us that all lives have worth, and that every person has value in the eyes of God.

We may never forget the ache that has lived inside us for so long. And we shouldn’t. It has flowed in the veins of the strong men and women who fought for us to feel a sense of peace and belonging in this world. Our mothers and fathers who have been tested to the point death nestled itself in their throats, attempting to silence them from voicing against hate and injustice. Do not let their struggle be in vain. We will wait for justice. Justice that will soon come. We all share this commonality. Let this sense of hope consume our hearts instead of the anger. May the many Adams, Muhannads, and Mohamedtahas always be remembered.

Honing Your Spiritual Wisdom In Times of Despair

When you beg for Allah to guide you in a matter, you may not always perceive His response to be clear. Your understanding may be distorted by your desires, or your eyes may be blind to the truth that He has unveiled in front of you.

But Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), He is ever so merciful as to send you clarity. In a way that calms your greedy hands, and softens your confused heart. You must learn to look carefully at His signs, and understand that He always wants the best for you. You must assure your heart that His will is not one to lose faith in.

See nothing but beauty and wisdom. Your affairs are in the hands of the One who is Most Loving and Most Wise.

My First Home

Once I arrived at my long awaited destination, I attempted to open my eyes. I instantly regretted it, for I was welcomed by brightness that shot at me mercilessly. I closed my eyes and relied on my other senses to take everything in.

A layer of cold enveloped me and rudely left harsh goosebumps that raked every inch of my body. I then felt warmth, and soaked in the heat that cradled me from the cold but didn’t dare take a look. I heard voices, each tone laced with various emotions. I could tell the people around me were excited, and felt exposed with the unwanted attention.

My senses were vivid, and I listened as the people around me made comments such as how precious and plump I was. Suddenly everything became too much to bear, and the blood in my body rushed to my cheeks as I flushed a bright red and let out a cry.

I needed an asylum. A home. Abruptly, I felt strong hands lift me up and lightly drop me into a pair of noticeably tired, yet protective arms. I was hungry and quite impatient, but those feelings were momentarily dulled the minute I felt wet tears dropping on my face.

I was clearly aware of the impossibly large amount of love that was radiating from this particular person. I opened my eyes once again, fearing the light, but was instead shaded by a face that gazed adoringly at me. Feeling a curve that felt foreign to me grow slightly on my face, I took in my first real deep breath and knew I was with the happiest of them all: my mother.

God & His Servant: It’s an Odd Relationship

“And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is (generally) most unjust and ungrateful.” —Surah Ibrahim [14:34]

My mind cannot wrap around the fact that the Most Merciful allows me to speak to Him, cry out to Him, and to ask of Him. I am not worthy.

Surely a sinner doesn’t deserve mercy? But Allah—whom none can compare to, is our Lord. Even though you feel most undeserving, He still gives. He smiles upon you, wishes the absolute best for you and His sustenance for you never once falters, even for a bit.

He accepts. He understands. He knows. He is the Most Merciful, even when you have foolishly turned away from Him.

Do not turn away from Him.

Do not wrong your soul, and instead, take a step towards the Ultimate Source of Love—unconditional and pure. Walk towards His mercy, care, understanding and acceptance. And He promises to run towards you.

Reconciling with Doing Something I Love & Feeling Unappreciated

There had been something in my life that I absolutely loved to do. I was excited to jump out of bed hours early just to plan out the day. I would go above and beyond the expectations because it made me beam with happiness inside. Sometimes, the things I would do would be unnecessary and over-the-top, I’ll admit, but I didn’t care. It was my love for this striving that blinded me from the idea of “doing just enough to get by.”

However, I wasn’t being noticed for what I was doing and that crushed my heart. It shouldn’t have, right?

I had to sit down and ask myself: did I expect something in return? Did I wish for a “thank you” or a pat on the back? Was this what I wanted? I shook my head so many times with distaste at my feelings.

The flutter in my chest every time I spoke about what I loved doing was not for others to appreciate me. It was because I needed this, it was what I wanted to do. The very thing that made me get up so early in the morning was passion—not the fascination of wanting to look good in front of others or wanting to be praised.

It took some time to digest this. When I did, this newfound thought helped me realize something else. Something that stopped the tears that traced down my scrunched-up and confused face in hurt.

Nothing we’ve ever given has gone unnoticed. Every sacrifice we’ve made, God has seen it. If no one acknowledges our hard work, the dedication and passion we put towards what we do, know that God acknowledges us. He knows all that we do and He will reward us with something so unimaginable that we’ll wonder why we craved others’ acknowledgements in the first place.

And maybe a part of that very reward in my case, and at that moment, was clarity. Learning to purify my intentions. This revelation helped me become grateful for this passion that was ignited within me. And also helped me realize that it can exist without needing to be fed by others’ recognition. It also gave be hope to continue to do what I love.

Rules of Life

I want to live by these four simple rules with hopes that they will enable me to be able to navigate certain situations and be more content with the unpredictable nature of life.

  1. There’s nothing wrong with going about things backwards sometimes.
  2. Happiness doesn’t always look the same for everyone.
  3. You can’t let others convince you that you are making a mistake every time your life takes a different route than theirs.
  4. Sometimes getting lost is the best way to get found again.

Beauty in Hardship: Faith

A man spoke of the Syrian refugee crisis.
He wondered why so many of the refugees relied on God’s help.
Why they had faith.

His heart ached.
He angrily proclaimed that God wasn’t there.
That the Syrians were crying out to no one,
Praying to a God who didn’t care enough to relieve them of their pain.
They needed to open their eyes.
They were latching on to false hope.

I thought hard about what this man was saying and almost nodded, in agreement until I caught myself. I remembered that there’s a bigger picture to everything.

We may not know why things happen. We question things, hang onto the whys, ifs and buts, and claim feverishly that it isn’t fair. It’s  natural reaction. However, doing this will not benefit us nor will it change the situation.

Our minds may not be able to comprehend the things God does. But His names and attributes tell us that things happen for a reason, and despite how horrible a situation may seem, there is always a reason.

We can accept it, have a positive outlook and always remember that He always wants the best for each and every one of us. He knows what we do not. And if we understand that, it’ll be easier to let go and let God—do our part to help in any way we can, and then let Him handle our affairs in the best way possible.

I’ll admit that this is difficult to do but not impossible. Ultimately there is no one better to leave the matters of your life to than He who gave you life. Knowing the attributes of God and who He is will suffice you through your hardships. There is wisdom beyond our imagination in His work.

The Syrian people must already know this.