Awaken the Leader inside You!

Leaders are people. They are from a society and rise to to a position of power based on the qualities and personality traits they possess. Amongst the many things I learned this weekend, here are a couple of gems to awaken the leader inside of you 💎

Treat people with equity not equality

• The worst thing is to be a prisoner of your own thoughts

• There’s a difference between being a person of significance and being person of success

• People are different from you and not necessarily better than you

• Sisters, stop having a victim mentality! 

• There’s a lot we do for our CV and little we do for our legacy

• Punishment suppresses behavior and discipline changes behaviour

• Nothing is more liberating than being happy for others

• Leaders serve people and not the other way around

• In giving children what we didn’t have, we’ve forgotten to give them what we did have

• Arrogant people have a low self esteem

• Remember, you are important!

• There’s no place for mediocrity in Islam

• A Muslim doesn’t learn to earn but to serve 💫🙌 

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Self Reminder Series #8

Abdullah didn’t know what bothered him more. Was it the fact that he had done the same mistake yet again or whether he let himself be fooled into thinking that he was strong enough to resist. In any case the deed had been done and regret had settled at the bottom of his troubled heart. What do I do? Where do I go from here? He smacks his forehead and leans against the door to his friend’s room. What was I thinking?

His mother had asked him how the studying was going and he lied saying they’d made flash cards and quizzes to help retain everything they’d learned, little did she know that he was doing anything but that. He was helping Sulaiman, a friend from his Statistics class, hook up with a long time crush. He knew this was wrong but it was hard to say no to Sulaiman. The guy had persuasion skills like nobody else he’d ever met before.

Abdullah felt a wave of anger crush him as he thought about his behaviour. He promised his mother he would change after she caught him with a pack of cigarettes two months ago. Everything had been going well until Sulaiman came along. It was safe to say this guy was not a good influence no matter how smart he was. I need to stop this. Abdullah returns to the room and tells his friend that he can’t stay. Sulaiman raises an eyebrow with a tinge of arrogance as if to say, “you’re not going anywhere.” Abdullah suddenly didn’t care. He wanted to simply get out of here and be true to himself, so he did exactly that. 

وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ 
And He is the Forgiving, the Affectionate, {al-Buruj:14} 

Allah عز و جل is the most Forgiving and Loving One. Don’t ever forget that. No matter how many sins you’ve earned or how big, your Lord is always ready to respond and forgive you so long as you realise your mistake and make an effort to come back to Him.

Self Reminder Series #7

Jamila and her brother stared at the news silently. Their hearts filled with shock and slight terror at what was going on in Palestine. Jerusalem was being claimed to be the Capital of Israel. You might be wondering, who said this? An under-qualified president who’s name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned. Jamila could feel her blood boil at the absurdity of all of this. Her mind flashes back to an Ayah she learned in class which comes in the context of the corruption that has spread throughout the earth. 

قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلُ ۚكَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّشْرِكِينَ
Say, [O Prophet], “Travel through the land and observe how was the end of those before. Most of them were associators [of others with Allah]. 
 فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ الْقَيِّمِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا مَرَدَّ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ ۖ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصَّدَّعُونَ
So direct your face toward the correct religion before a Day comes from Allah of which there is no repelling. That Day, they will be divided. {ar-Rum: 42-43} 

The verses are as clear as day in her mind. Allah tells us to travel and see what happened to the corrupters of the previous generations. To take a lesson from their lives and never to repeat their actions as it will inevitably lead to the same disastrous outcome- annihilation. 

There’s no point tweeting at him and making a mockery of him, is there? Badr voiced his thoughts. Jamila smiled softly at her 12 year old brother because he didn’t even have an account to begin with. In any case she advised against it. The only solution is to become more firm and obedient to our religion. Can’t we tweet and mock him and then…? Jamila chuckled at her brother’s persistence. There’s no way we’re doing that. The best way to teach him a lesson is by following our religion the right way. The conversation ended there. 

Self Reminder Series #6

Jabir was a responsible driver on most days but when it was time for him to leave work, he was like a two year old child tasting candy for the first time. Yes, overly hyper and thrilled. Right now however he was stuck in traffic and the radio had nothing interesting going on. He fidgeted in his seat and groaned at the line of cars in front of him. He glanced around uninterestedly till he saw a Masjid to his left.

It didn’t have a calm or serene vibe to it. There were bright lights and green cloths tied to the gates. People rushed in and out, some shouted instructions to others. A few people handed out what Jabir assumed were flyers. His curiosity spiked as he leaned into the window screen and realised that there was a shrine inside the Masjid! His mouth fell open at the sight. This has to be a joke he thought to himself. This wasn’t what he was taught as a child! 

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّـهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّـهِ أَحَدًا
And [He revealed] that the Masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone. {al-Jinn: 18}

Indeed, the Masjid is a place of worship to the One Creator- Allah. He has no equal or partner. Anyone who raises their hands and makes Dua to anything besides Allah has in fact committed Shirk. The GREATEST sin. Yes, let that sink in. Allah protect us. 

Self Reminder Series #5

She didn’t know when to give up, the young man thought to himself as he glared at his phone. She sent him yet another message of what time she wanted to meet him despite the fact that he cancelled on her twice. Lately he hasn’t felt any inclination to hangout with this girl he’d been seeing over the past few months. Ever since his friend Wasim dragged him to the Masjid for Isha, he hasn’t been himself. 

I mean, who’d pass on an opportunity to be with a beautiful and popular girl? This girl was everything a man would want; her good looks, charming personality, amiable and wealthy family. You name it, she had it. But for some reason, every night as he prayed, he’d feel a weight on his heart. One that physically hurt and put him on edge. He didn’t like it at all.

He realised it had something to do with the fact that in his religion, this was wrong. Mixing, flirting and getting physical (as he had done) with a Non-Mahram girl was forbidden. That night, as he stood next to Wasim and the Imam began the congregation prayer, he recited the following Ayah,

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ ۖ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّـهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.

Could it be that as he gets closer to Allah through prayer, he gets further away from sin?

Self Reminder Series #4

Aliya growled at the mirror and tossed a makeup brush in its direction. She tried so hard to make a winged line at the crease her eyelid but it got smudged. Her eyes were too small, her nose too big, her cheeks too low, her hairline to high and her skin too blotchy. The list of course continued in her mind but she was depressed as it was and reminding herself of these flaws would only make it worse. 

She stomped to the washroom and washed her face completely. Her Mac foundation swivelled in the sink along with her expensive blush and eyeshadow. What a waste she thought but at this point she didn’t have a care in the world. All she was concerned about was how looked like a pizza face. She HATED the way she looked. Nothing could make her feel better. 

ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators. {Mu’minun: 14}

Aliya remembered her friend explain to her a new Surah she had learned. It was Surah Mu’minun and in particular this verse. Her mind is filled with a mixture of ingratitude and regret. How could she have such negative thoughts about herself when Allah is the Best of Creators?

Self Reminder Series #3

Khadijah sighed tiredly and sunk into her bed. Her day was long and exhausting and as you read about her routine you’ll understand why. She woke up at 3.00 am, offered her Tahajjud Salah, memorised and listened to a portion of the Quran, reviewed her class notes, offered her Fajr Salah, got ready for class, ate breakfast and was at class which was from 9.00 am to 2.00pm. She stayed at the Institute and continued her work till it was time to attend a social event with her friends from 4.00pm-7.00pm. She got home by 8.00pm only to find her mother packing a a big suit case. Confusion masked her face as she questioned her about what was going on.

Her mother informed her that their flight to go abroad for the purpose of vacation and gaining knowledge was brought forward due to an emergency. Khadijah didn’t feel as thrilled as she would’ve been on any other day. She wanted nothing more than to take a sleeping pill and knock off for a week but that was unrealistic and selfish. She bit her cheek and began packing her own luggage without another word. Now she thought about how Allah was testing her and she couldn’t help but feel the question of ‘Why me?’ set it. She wasn’t trying to be ungrateful but that’s exactly how she felt. Then her thoughts fled to this Ayah in the Quran, 

وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّـهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَـٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّـهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ 
And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.

Khadijah thought about how Allah chose her for His work. She strove for the Pleasure of her Lord and not for self comfort. Life isn’t easy but it isn’t meant to be. Plus nothing worth having comes easy. Jannah is priceless, now what do you say about that?

Self Reminder Series #2

Maryam slept through Fajr yet again. Despite the blaring alarm sounds, she pressed snooze and turned the other way without a care in the world. She was a paid intern working as an accountant. She was too busy for anything besides work, food and sleep. I mean a girl has to function right? Plus she had to maintain her social life and all of this devoured her time.  

Her cousin Sarah who was visiting her for that weekend however woke up on time and prayed her Salah with as much Khushu’ as she could muster. She was a full time college student, as a result she was swamped with assignments and presentations. All of which had deadlines that nagged at her. She also volunteered at a soup kitchen weekly, visited her relatives and taught Quran to young children at an Institute. 

وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِّمَّا عَمِلُوا ۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ
And for all are degrees from what they have done. And your Lord is not unaware of what they do. {al-An’aam: 132} 

Can these two people be equal in the Sight of Allah? Won’t one of them achieve a greater status than the other? Of course! This is the justice of Allah. One has to sacrifice in order to reach heights! 

Self Reminder Series #1

Her fingers trembled as she held the scarf in her hands. Her eyes flicked to the floor length mirror, she inched closer to it and held the scarf in a mix of excitement and fear. Excitement because she wanted to wear it but fear weighed on her anxious heart at the thought of what people might say. Her family. Friends. Teachers. Community members. They all held her in high esteem but if she changed then, what would they say or do? She shuddered and tossed the scarf over her shoulder. 

He shoved his hands deep into his jeans and looked around nervously. All his friends were doing Shisha and passing it around amongst them. He was inclined to doing it as well, I mean after all he’s an adult by age, he has every right to make a decision for himself. Dawud passes him the pipe and he takes it with resolve. He was going to do it, it’s his life and he can live however he wants. 

Both of them forgot the following; 

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion. {Ale Imran: 185}

That night the girl died in her sleep and the doctors later discovered it was because of a brain tumour. The boy got into a fight and was stabbed. All of us argue and debate about so many things, can any of us differ over the fact that we’re all going to die?

The Solution is Salah

People have problems. This isn’t some attempt to highlight an alliteration, seriously it’s a fact. Everyone is going through a test, difficulty, challenge, an aversive situation that they want to end completely. But how do you end something you don’t like? You look at the results of the problem and use your resources to end it. However people need to understand one thing and that is that nothing will work, I repeat nothing will work without the help of Allah.

In order to receive the help of Allah, one needs to build a connection with Him. The best link to Allah is the Salah. My dear brother/sister in Islam; put aside your phone, iPad, computer, plate, book, pen, PS4, remote, earphones, laptop and whatever else that occupies your time and attention for the time being. Instead, go take Wudu consciously. Feel yourself prepare for your meeting with Allah. Then walk towards the Musallah (place of prayer), lift your hands up to your ears and say, AllahuAkbar (Allah is the Most Great).

Every problem and challenge is minuscule at that point because you know and trust that Allah will take care of everything. Once you’ve done this, then turn to the tools and resources Allah has provided you with. Use the means He Blessed you with, put in the effort and then you’ll see positive results. But never for one second think or assume that you can do it on your own. You can’t. Not without Him. Ever.