Finding Sakina (Tranquility) in Supplication

When du’as (supplications) are answered, life halts and feels almost fragile. The solace it brings is a gentle [Divine] nudge: that your endured pains have never existed.

What an incomparable gift.

***

Dear God,

In times of distress, I’ve learned that stability is a blessing. That soundness of mind provides you with a complete consciousness necessary to breathe easily. That contentment of the heart is what is needed to move forward.

After every accepted whisper, the only words that dare escape my lips spell of Your praise. I am consistently reminded of Your loving mercy.

You give in abundance; while my being drunkenly wanders in between states of ephemeral highs and lows.

At my lowest, exhaustion weighs heavy on my shoulders and makes room for its closest friend: hopelessness. Together, they wring my soul dry until I am unable to move.

I am always messing up.

In these moments, Your incandescent presence surrounds me with warmth. Words I often fail to remember faintly ring in assurance:

فاتقوا الله ما استطعتم

“So be mindful of God as best as you can…” (64:16).

This desire I have to seek perfection is due to my own soul being once in the very company of Perfection. However, perfection isn’t what You seek from me. It is an attribute only You encompass. What You value most is sincere and utmost striving and effort.

Despite my momentary departures, I now recognize that this cycle of fluctuation in heart sings of a love greater than anything else.

The Most Loving. Most Kind.

My Protecting Friend.

You teach me to never give up on myself or Your endless mercy.

Light Is a Gift & a Mercy

At a point in my life where I was feeling extremely low, I would sometimes go to the nearby masjid just to feel some sort of peace. I would go alone and attempt to avoid any interactions. I would try my best to slow down the negative thoughts that ran through my head. Doing this every so often would be the bit of comfort that I needed to urge me to continue on.

On one of the days I was there, a sister who I met for the first time greeted me with the warmest of smiles. She mentioned that I didn’t look at ease, and without further questioning me, she began chatting with me as though we were long-time friends.

Every word she spoke, and every story she shared with me instantly tugged at my heart. I couldn’t stop myself and ended up uncontrollably tearing up like a baby. It was as though my heart found her familiar, and finally opened up after so long.

This embarrassing moment of crying into a stranger’s arms and “randomly” bumping into her on various occasions after that (it was always whenever my heart needed it), was a constant reaffirmation to myself: that people truly cross your path for a reason, and you are sometimes given reminders at moments when you may either be looking for them or not – but in hindsight, when you need them most. And this is one of the biggest mercies.

When my sight becomes a bit foggy and someone with a light like her’s helps me to see His Light a little clearer, this is without a doubt a gift that I am a million times grateful for.

May we all become reflections of His Light for those around us, even for strangers we may speak to only briefly.

• • •

God shows His love and presence through His signs.

Steadfastness Is Our Superpower

I often used to wonder why people lost faith until I realized how easy it was to do so.  It’s so easy to fall off the right path. It’s easy to stop doing the right things, indulge and follow our desires.

Having the freedom to choose between right or wrong is difficult. I honestly sometimes wish we didn’t have that privilege. At times, I think of it as a burden.

A little part of me envies the Angels because they earn God’s pleasure with ease. They were created to worship Him, and they never once disobey Him.

Having the freedom to choose between right or wrong is difficult. I honestly sometimes wish we didn’t have that privilege.

Thinking this way though, I often forget that the Angels root for us. Despite our differences in creation, they are in awe every time we go against our nafs (self) and rush to worship.

There was once a moment when the Angels showed hesitance about our very existence. They asked God—out of pure curiosity, if He was really going to make a Creation that causes destruction and sheds blood on Earth. God responded by saying, He knows what they do not when it comes to the disposition of mankind.

I often forget that the Angels root for us.

Us humans are infamous for our constant forgetfulness. Interestingly enough, the word for human in Arabic is ‘insan.’ And the word that it is derived from is ‘nasiya’, which literally means ‘to forget.’

Now, remember the response that God gave to His Angels?

He knows what they do not.

This is a testament that God believes in us, day in and day out—every moment we mess up, every moment we forget. He clearly sees our potential, even when we may not. His presence never wavers, and He always waits for us to come back to Him when we turn away.

The good that we can do despite the distractions around us, is proof to the Angels every time. I always have to remind myself that the one whose love for God is greater than the desires that tug at their heart will be given gifts beyond measure.

The good that we can do despite the distractions around us is proof to the Angels every time.

When I see those struggling, or even leave faith—or at my weakest moments when my mind wanders to things that displease Him, those are the times that I tell myself I desperately need to keep striving. Because in a world that causes us to forget, faith is irreplaceable.

Your Comfort Zone Is a Mindset

For the last couple of years, I’ve been feeling as though I’ve been oddly stuck in a sheltered bubble. Everything that bubble encompassed has undeniably shaped my mind and character. Surrounding myself around things that were comfortable, has set limits on myself and what I can be. It has done more harm than good. Realizing this reality, I’ve come to learn a few things:

1. There is so much out there.

There are many people in this world waiting to meet you. There are numerous places waiting to be explored by you. Every conversation will affect you. Every experience will make you question and grow.

Change will allow you to have a new perspective on things that you might’ve been stubborn about for a really long time.

2. Constantly look at the condition of your soul.

Is what you see beautiful enough to be worthy of God’s most beautiful gifts? Learn to ask yourself every day, “Have I used the ability to love—which God has given me, to love Him in the correct way?” This is extremely important.

Everything comes from Him. He is the source of all the good we seek in this world and the next. To want good, and to claim to deserve good, it is only right to love and show gratitude to the Most Great first and foremost. Let the love of God take up more room in your heart than any other temporary thing.

Let the love of God take up more room in your heart than any other temporary thing.

3. Your mind is always growing.

It takes time for a person to finally form their personality and everything about themselves (hopefully for the better!). The biggest theme of life is self-betterment. God has given us all a specific personality and certain traits to make a change and impact in this world. You have to dig deep and look for it.

The biggest theme in life is self-betterment.

4. Always work on becoming the best version of yourself.

Life is a journey – to win the battle against your self and to reach your highest potential. You are the creation of God, the One Who Loves you abundantly and with no limits. Do not set limits on yourself.

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.

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.

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.

inevitability

All these years of existence boiled down to the one event I feared most. I always prayed for this to never occur. This was my biggest fear. I don’t know how to feel anything else besides sadness. I want to fix things. I always do. People tell me I’m too optimistic. I always want to push people together instead of seeing them part ways – even if that may be for the best.

This whole issue began with the problem of trust and then lack of common ground/incompatibility. There have been smiles, lots of laughs, fights, hugs, yells, tears, and jokes. But nothing could cover up the hole that was always there. They wanted more. Maybe even deserved more. They were given more. But it still wasn’t enough. We weren’t enough. Never good enough. They were the world to me, and it was written for each of us to make separate, unparalleled worlds of our own. This is a test. I know it is. I don’t know whether I’ve passed, will pass or if I’m doomed to fail. Maybe I should have tried harder. It’s already too late.

My entire life I have been searching for one thing and one thing only: happiness. I haven’t found it yet, though I’ve experienced and drowned in many other emotions besides it. Now I’ve realized that happiness isn’t truly attainable – at least not in this world. With people, events and objects; they will always lead you to disappointment at some point.

The only happiness you can ever experience is remembering the Creator. The one Who fashioned you, clothed you, gave you, had mercy upon you, gave you more, and protected you. The only one I can count on is Him. I don’t know if I’ve pleased Him enough, or if I ever will. But He is what you think of Him, and I have hope. He’s all I have. All I ever did have. And life isn’t as perfect as I thought it was as a kid growing up. Also, the concept of change was never one I was fond of. But, change is natural. I just need to understand that. If understood, then letting go and moving on might be natural, and maybe even easy, as well.