Completion

As salamu alaikum and good evening!

 

A few days ago, I finally finished Purification of the Heart, a commentary by Hamza Yusuf. While I read it sporadically, all of it made an impression on me. Each deflection mentioned I found in myself. I made sure to find it within myself even though my first thoughts were how I had seen them in other people. I did not read the book for others, I read it to gain benefit of how I can change inwardly to reflect my outward self. Insha’allah, I will make a post about which deflections really stood out to me and how they affect me. Possible even list all the key stains that one can possible have on their hearts. While that post may be coming, do not let it deter you from reading the book yourself as it is a wonderful piece by the Shaykh.

In the mean time, while that post is still in its progress, please find it, borrow it, buy it however. Make it yours in possession and really take time to read and absorb it.

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Children

As salamu alikum and good evening,

Today I went to the grocery store, all to my embarrassment because I didn’t come prepared at all. Any other day I would have felt awful, I would have sulked, but today I had someone special with me. My little niece, Audrey, came with me and I put into practice everything I have ever wanted to experience in the event I ever had children of my own. There was  not “don’t touch that”, or “put that down”. Rather, there was, “well, what is it?” and “why do you want it?” I asked her a lot of questions that inspired her to ask me more questions back. It was learning for both of us. But the most important part of our adventure was the grocery store music. I don’t really pay attention to the radio of modern music as much as I used to, but this pop song came on and she started doing this wiggle. I thought she had to go to the bathroom at first, but then she put her hands on the floor and started spinning- her interpretation of break dancing. Naturally, I danced willy with her.

It was just us in the aisle. Dancing like a couple of silly fools, paying absolutely no attention to those walking past us. Finally when the song went off, a man came up to us laughing and said ” that was beautiful” and walked away. It was simple. It was fun. It was carefree. We engaged and we laughed. Most people would frown at how “dancing is haram”, but children are children. It is okay to just be and have fun for even a small moment of your life. To ask questions, to look and to hold things you cannot understand. All within the realm of the halal of course, but still have the child’s aspiration. Inquiry and intrigue.

Bask in those simple things. The things that matter the most happen then.

Relaxation

As salamu alaikum and good afternoon,

 

I have been off the past few days and took it to taking care of myself. Which ended up being lazy, but maybe we all need lazy days. I noticed in that time, that I was lonely. I was not in need of company or friends, but it was an inner loneliness.  Something that only I could change. It was almost like being alone with myself sets me on edge, but not in a way that suits with my depression; it was more of a void.

We all need to make changes within ourselves, and as much as I remind myself of this, I never do it. Making changes to yourself can happen over night. You can want to change how you are and how you live. You can be fed up with how things are going. Not everything can change, but you can instantly change the way YOU are.

This was only bought to my attention more because of an anime I have been watching (If I haven’t mentioned it, I love anime). In the first few episodes a girl, with the influence of a friend, realized that her friendships are not real friendships, but “fake friendships”. She analyzes their interactions and how she truly feels  about them and finally addresses the matter. Even though she is hurt at first, it gradually works it way out in the end and she finds herself as well as the true friends she wants and needs.

I think we, including myself, spend so much time worrying about everyone else and how they think of us, we never take time to truly ask ourselves what we think about our own selves. We don’t reflect. We don’t speak up out of fear of hurting feelings. But what is more important that your own sanity? How can you achieve your dreams if you are too busy worrying about someone else’s?

Reflection. Reflection. Reflection.

Even life long friends need to be cut off at some point. Find your true potential and live up to it. Let God guide you to something you never even dreamed about. Be strong and stay true to your morals.

Be blessed and be safe.

Seeking

Assalamu alaikum and good evening,

 

Today I went to the masjid. I haven’t been to a masjid in such a long time. I have gone, but never willingly wanting to go. Today I had a goal in mind. I spoke to the imam, I overcame my fear of being in a crowded room and I prayed dhuhr. The janaza there should have reminded me about death, but instead showed me togetherness. I found two sisters whom I had been searching for in my heart, but never managed to find. Both in the same room, standing next to each other. Alhamdulillah how that works! I stood outside the janaza for nearly 5 minutes waiting for the crowd to die down, and if I would have waited a moment more, I would have missed them both. Allah does work in such mysterious ways.

 

The imam and I spoke about my past bouts of depression and how to move forward with them. The more I look into learning more about Islam and taking it seriously, the more I hear the words “scholar” and the more I fear from it. I don’t want scholarship due to the fact I do not think I am worthy or willing of it. But only Allah puts those in ranks whom He deems and if it is for me, then so be it. If it is not, then at least I have the knowledge necessary.

To think that all today started with was a tension and a shower. Daily actions that slowly grind the gears. Allah gives us only what we need. He gives us these small reminders that He is there. He never leaves us.

Why Am I A Muslim?

As salamu alaikum and good evening,

If you read my blog and you have read Past , then this is the post that shook me. I have added onto it to finish just as promised and I am satisfied. I pray that I am able to come back to this question years down the road insha’allah and become just as shaken as I was when I first wrote this.

Enjoy.

 

Lately, during salat, I have come across this question. How did I end up waking up every morning to pray? When did I actually plan my schedule around praying? Why am I trying so hard not to listen to music? All these questions at the time only frustrated me because I was trying to focus on salat, but afterwards I sat and thought about them. I know how I became a Muslim, but why? When I reverted I had nothing to lose (mash’Allah) and nothing to prove. These days it only feels like I’m in a race for iman and instead of doing things for the sake of Allah, I’m doing them for “benefit points”. Just keeping track of all the good things I can do, just so I can get recognition.

There was a time where I would go to the masjid early, make namaz and read Quran or any other books they had. I would be so involved in growing and being a better muslim, purifying me self and trying to put what I was learning into practice. But it was all try. I would say, “when I hang out with non-muslims friends, I’ll modify this, and redirect the conversation so its not gheebah.” But it never went that way, and I figured it was okay because if they knew I was Muslim that was enough. I’ve been so bend on that ideal that I haven’t taken my deen seriously. I’m doing it specifically for the label that I am muslim via appearance and nothing more. I can only imagine what will be said about me on the Day of Judgement.

I’ve tried starting over so many times but I’ve never had the patience, and when I would think about that, I would realize that I sounded so selfish. How could I even say that I don’t have time to learn about Allah? I would make so much du’aa to Allah that I would not be so focused on how to look like a muslim on the outside, but truly be a muslim, inside and out. Understanding what it was I did and why I did it. Now I cannot even tell you the meaning behind the prayer.

I made the conscious effort to read Quran, however many pages I could before Jummah, where I would read Surat al Kahf. I realized that even though I would tell my story of reversion so often, I would never say Allah led me to Islam, when that is the only way. I had never knew a muslim, never seen one to my knowledge, yet I somehow found Islam. Which is through nothing but the grace of God, SubhanAllah. I have started over plenty of times, but I have done it all wrong. I overwhelmed myself and got burnt out with the idea of what I could do before I could even do it. I didn’t take into consideration, that I too was a human being and not unstoppable. I have my limits just like everyone else. So I’ve started reading a Muslim book for beginners, taking an online class from newmuslimacademy.com, and of course reading Qur’an. I know that with the mercy and help from Allah this will be easy.

As I was reading Al A’raf, I across and Ayat that is said so often, yet I never paid attention to it.


“Because you have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones.”
– 7:16-17

Then when Allah put Adam, (AS) and Eve in Paradise, he lured them to the tree Allah forbade:

“And he (Shaitan) swore by Allah to them both (saying): ‘ Verily, I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both.”

-7: 21

From that point on, I knew that this would be difficult.  It’s not supposed to be easy, because this life in this world is full of trials. In Surah Al Baqarah(2:214) as well as Al- ‘Ankabut (29:2), Allah reminds us that there will be trials and it will not be easy. Especially in this day and age where everything around us is a distraction and tries (and in many times succeeds) to lead us astray.

There are moments of spiritual highs that you pray you cannot come down from and lows that make you feel like all hope is lost. It is in that moment that it is not. That is when you try harder, repent, turn to Allah and remember Him. Remember the knowledge that you have gained and remember the hardships, most importantly, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).  During his journey to Ta’if he was insulted by their leaders, had stones and food thrown at him as he sallalahu alaihi wa salam, walked down such a lonely, horrible path. Physical wounds may heal, but it is the emotional wounds that take much longer. Even in that moment of complete low, He sallalahu alaihi wa salam, still turned to Allah. Any of us in that state would have continued to sulk.  I know I would have. But he did not give  up, he stayed on the path because he had a purpose. Just as he, sallalahu alaihi wa salam, had a purpose, so do I. We all do.

This deen is not hard and it is not confusing. We only make it to be. Allah has perfected it and made it easy for those who strive to do good for Him. Everything that hurts in this life, will feel better in the next life, and that is something that I so look forward to. It is what I strive for so much in this moment, that nothing that can happen to me henceforth can change that.

So as I ask myself, ” why am I a Muslim?” I cannot give an answer that is definite. It is only that I am a Muslim because I simply am. It is instilled in me. It is as much of my identity as I am black. My past does not define me, but I use it as a reference of where I  have been and inspires me to continue to move forward. It is not just a feeling, but a being and a sense of urgency that I give completely and wholly all of my energy.

What Will People Think? Why It’s Important To Get Over The Fear of Other People’s Opinions

myrihla

I have always been one to dance to the beat of my own drum. I was thinking recently about the risks that I am taking in regards to my work and career and the conversations that I am having with people as a result of it.

It got me thinking about the moment I told my parents, I was taking a gap year. My Dad was livid and my mum burst into tears, and she said something on the day that I will never forget. She said;

How am I going to explain this to people back home? What will people think?

And whilst I was concerned that I had made my mother cry, the one thing that I didn’t care about was the opinion of whoever she was referring to. Mind you, I decided to take a gap year not because I failed – Got my 2 A* and…

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Lessons From 2017: Confront Your Demons

myrihla

2017 for me was the year of practising radical self-honesty and in many ways that practice liberated me. For me to develop and evolve, I had to be honest with myself about things or emotions that I was grappling with. I’ve been reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown, and one of the sections in the book had a list of rumbling topics which included:

* Grief  *Vulnerability *Failure *Forgiveness *Blame and accountability *Disappointment, expectations and resentment *Fear *Nolstagia *Stereotypes and labels *Boundaries *Perfectionism *Identity *Trust *Love, belonging and heartbreak *Regret *Need and connection *Criticism *Generosity *Shame and *Integrity

My rumbling topics this year have definitely been about failure, blame and accountability, shame, boundaries, fear and vulnerability. 2017 was a year where I opened myself up to new knowledge and experiences which helped me to deal with the above. More importantly, unlike in previous years, I was able to go through a process…

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