My Comforting Email

I have only removed my name and specific details but generally nothing has been deleted from the email. When things were tough, a person I looked up to wrote to me this comforting email 10 years ago:

Assalam-o-alaikum,

I feel for you. May Allah help you, and He is the best Helper and
Redeemer. Seek His mercy and protection, for He is the best Protector.
Our lives in this world are very short. One day we all have to move on
from this world to a different world. No matter how bad conditions get,
one day they will end. If we keep obeying Allah and exercise patience in
face of hardships and afflictions, then Allah’s promise is that He will
reward us in the Aakhirah (here-after). For a muslim, it is a win-win situation.
Wether he is happy or sad, he gains. In happiness, through Shukr (grateful),
thankfullness to Allah, and in miseries, through Sabr, patience for the
sake of Allah.
In face of hardships, Prophets and Saints advice people to do Istighfaar (asking forgiveness),
tauba (returning to Allah), keep doing it. Like Younus AS kept making dua to Allah, while
inside the fish:
LA ILAHA ILLA ANTA SUBHANAKA, INNI KUNTU MINAZ ZAALIMEEN.
There is no lord beside you, o’ Allah, you are glorified. Verily, I am from
the opressors.
This dua turned Allah’s punishment into mercy. He was saved inside the
stomach of the fish, then he was delivered without difficulty. Not only
this, but the nation he left hopelessly that they will not bring Imaan (faith),
Allah guided them.

Do not blame others for your hardships. Imaan teaches us that everything
is from Allah. All creation put together cannot hard or benefit us in
anyway. Whatever is happenning, is from Allah. So always turn towards
Allah and humble yourself in front of Him. Seek His help. Turn your
attention away from makhlooq, creation.

Let the events take their shape, in whatever direction they take. Just
quit resistence and relax. Take a deep breath! Let the forces take you in
their flow. But do not leave Salat,
for nobody could dare stop you from performing it. Do zikr (remembrance) of Allah, for
remembering Allah is an act of heart. No power on the earth could have
control over your heart.

You got the drift, what I am trying to tell you. Now I have full
confidence in you, that you will deal with stuff in a mature manner. You
have gained this attitude through tough experiences. Like they put gold in
the oven to purify, you are purified through these agonies. Like they put
iron in the fire to solidify and harden it, you are hardened by these
afflictions. Make use of this purity and hardness. Do not harm anybody.
Allah will reward you immensely. You will see in your life ahead, the
effects of your patience, InshaAllah (God willing). There are those who take revenge,
and satisfy their animal instincts, yet there are those who forgive and
turn their attention to the real source, Allah, and He elevate their status
to great heights. This is the akhlaaq (character) of our Nabi (Prophet)SAS, and his Mubarak (blessed)
saying: Join those that run away from you, forgive those who oppress you,
give to those that deprive you, do good to those who do bad to you.

You like to fly like birds or soar like eagles. We should try to reach
higher goals and our goal is Allah, who is the Highest. Our flight should
surpass everybody else’s. Right??

Allah teaches us in the Qur’an that good and bad cannot be equal. If you
return good with bad, then your arch enemy will become your best friend.
This is a proven case. This is the rule of Allah. However, Allah says
that not everybody could do this, except those that are gifted by Allah
with perseverance and patience. Let us go for it, and prove to the world,
how Imaan (faith) revolutionize a person, and strip all the base desires and animal
instincts from him. Let us follow the footsteps of our noble prophet SAS,
who is indeed best model for us and the rest of humanity, until the day of
judgement.

Remember me in your duas. For dua in time of distress is acceptable. I
will make dua for you too. For dua for a muslim brother is also
acceptable.

your brother,

(If you have benefited from this, raise your hands and pray for me and send it to others)

Looking For God

Amazing article written by this sister.

http://www.yasminmogahed.com/2012/09/05/looking-for-god/

This is a piece I wrote while in the airplane…

Looking for God

By: Yasmin Mogahed

I’ve been looking for God my whole life. I just didn’t know it.

When we study those things that we all seek—in life, in a companion, in everything—we’ll find that both the believer and the atheist are actually just seeking God. See, God is the designer. Whether you’re an atheist or a believer, God is the designer of your needs, your affinities, your inclinations. And He has designed these inner drives to fit the natural order: tawheed (to seek, recognize and submit to one single higher power).

Think for a moment about what you and I seek. What do you look for in a companion, for example? What are we running after and willing to give anything just to hear?

“I’m taking care of you.”

“It’s going to be okay.”

“I love you. Always. That will never diminish or change.”

“You can hold on to me.”

“I will never let you down.”

“I will never hurt you.”

“I will never leave you.”

“I will always be there for you.”

“I appreciate you.”

“I see you.”

“I understand you.”

“I know who you are.”

“I’m close to you.”

“I will forgive you.”

“You don’t have to be perfect.”

“I will never abandon you.”

“I will never betray you.”

“I got your back.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

“I’m listening. I’m really listening.”

“I’ll never let them hurt you.”

“I’ll always protect you.”

“I’ll never leave you.”

“You are never alone.”

“I will never leave you alone.”

“When everything around you is falling apart, I’ll hold you up.”

“I truly only want what’s best for you.”

“Even when you’re messing up, I will still forgive you.”

“Even when you’re unable to give, I will always give you.”

“Even when you’re fighting me, I’ll still be kind. I still won’t abandon you.”

“No matter what you do, I can always forgive you.”

“I love you despite your weaknesses and your faults.”

“I will give you peace.”

“I will make you happy.”

“I will give you stability.”

“I will give you strength and power.”

“I will cure you.”

“I will give you status and respect.”

“I will always comfort you.”

“No matter how tiny the gesture is, if you do it for me, I’ll appreciate and reward you for it.”

“If you turn to me, I’ll be there for you, no matter what.”

“No matter what you’ve done to me, I can always forgive you.”

The truth is, when we thought we were looking for a good husband or a good wife or a good job or a lot of money or a lot of fame, we were really just looking for God. So it’s no wonder that we got disappointed when the husband, the wife, the job, the money or the fame didn’t fill our need—or our emptiness.

Even that emptiness itself was created for a purpose: To drive us to fill it. The problem is we try to fill it with the wrong things. Everything inside us was created to enable our journey to find the true fill, to find Him. Ironically even shaytan and the nafs—if reacted to correctly—can become a means to reach Him.  Shaytan and the nafs are our enemies. True. But how can we protect ourselves from them? Can the people help? Can money help? Can worldly power or weapons help protect us from our greatest enemies? Where is the *only* shelter from both shaytan and our nafs? The only shelter is in Allah. It’s like sending a storm to push us to the only refuge. To push us to Him (azza wa jal).

Even your sins can be used to push you to God. After all, who else can forgive you for them? Where else can you find shelter from the storm and horror of your own sins? Who else can take care of them and erase them and even transform them into good deeds?

Your fears can also be a means. When you’re scared, who else can protect you? Who else can give you comfort and safety, when you’re stranded in the middle of an ocean? When you’re poor, who else can provide? When you’re sad, who else can pull you up? When you’re broken, who else can mend your heart and your life? Who else can give life to what’s dead? Who else can cure you? Who else can save you? When you’re lost, who else can guide you?

Who else?

You thought the storm, the ocean, the fear, the sadness, the mistakes, the loss, the brokenness was all bad for you. But really it was only a means. It was all a vehicle to make you seek Him. To bring you back. To bring you back to completion, to happiness, to life. To bring you back to where you began. To bring you back to all that you really seek.

To bring you back to Him.

(If you have benefited from this, raise your hands and pray for me and send it to others)

Fear/Harm/Benefit

Most of us live in fear. I remember as a youth we fear not being accepted.

Am I making enough money? Am I accepted in society? Am I accepted by other people?

Everyone has their own fear. As youth, we fear our exams. As adults, we fear instability, financial security, relationships.

Then, there is concept of benefit. Some believe that if I don’t get involved in these sins (have a girlfriend, party out, drink etc.), I will be missing out in life. If I am not accepted and appreciated by certain people in society, I am a failure. But who really has the power to benefit?

This is an excerpt from speech of Tariq Jameel.

All the power of this world put together cannot harm you or benefit you.

“But they have taken besides Him gods which create nothing, while they are created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit and possess not [power to cause] death or life or resurrection. “ (Al Furqan:3)

Where we believe there is benefit, our hearts turn towards it.

Where we believe there is harm, we give in or submit out of fear.

Where there is a matter of life and death, every human being struggles.

In the above verse, Allah negates everyone and everything (the whole creation) except Himself to have the ability to cause harm, benefit, death, life and resurrection.

None can harm you. None can benefit you. They are not the master of death. They are not the creator of life. They cannot resurrect the dead.

So who is it that can do all these?

That Lord is Allah (swt).

(If you have benefited from this article, raise your hands and pray for me and send it to others)

Endorsed by Devil

Sometimes even practicing muslims fall into despair or lose hope. This is an excellent excerpt from Sea without Shore by Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

To know that the Devil’s line of work is sowing doubts in the minds about Allah, about oneself, about the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and about anything else that is valuable in the next world. Whoever sets out for Allah is going to hear some of these doubts, because he has chosen to fight the Devil, whose whole aim is to make him as bad as he was before taking the path, or worse.

In order to see who is paying for an advertisement, one has to look at the bottom line. Similarly, to see who is behind one’s doubts, one follows the thoughts to its logical conclusion and sees what it leads to. If the conclusion is “Things are so bad, there is nothing to be grateful for, “or “You’ve gone this far, you might as well go all the way, “or “You can’t do everything, so you might as well do nothing” —one can guess who’s paying for it.

(If you have benefited from this article, raise your hands and pray for me and send it to others)

The Good Life Promise

One is the promise of your intellect.

One is the promise of your desires.

One is the promise of the devil.

One is the promise of your education.

One is the promise of wealth.

One is the promise of your employer.

One is what the ad promised you.

One is what society promised you.

One is what culture promised you.

One is what your boss promised you.

One is what your teacher promised you.

One is what your people promised you.

One is what your parents promised you.

One is what your spouse promised you.

One is what your friend promised you.

One is what he promised you.

One is what she promised you.

One is what everyone promised you.

And One is the promise of Allah.

“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” (16:97)

(If you have benefited from this article, raise your hands and pray for me and send it to others)

Studying Exams and Patience (Short Beautiful Lecture)

Many scholars and other individuals have tried to talk and advice about Exams. To be honest, I didn’t find them that helpful. This is by far the best and most applicable advice I have ever heard. Even if you are not studying for exams, the speech talked about patience which was great insight.

(If you have benefited from this, raise your hands and pray for me and send it to others)