The “C” Word

Here’s a word that I’ve been reflecting over for a while. Confidence. A lot of people define it in different ways, they perceive it to be different things and so on. Psychologically the word Confidence is to firmly believe in one’s self and one’s competency. I agree with this but I’d like to add to it. Confidence is the ability to be courageous and strong in your principles and to carry yourself well under pressure. It could be internal pressure; your thoughts, anxiety, feelings or external pressure; culture, people, trends etc. 

In short, being confident is in being you. Accepting yourself and portraying your true self to everyone else even if it means contradicting what people find acceptable and desirable. 

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Keep it hidden!

The one thing I’ll never understand is why people tell others’ the horrifying things they’ve done (in their past) after they’ve solemnly sworn to God Almighty that they’d never do those actions again let alone think of it. Listen buddy… You made mistakes, fine. You thought you knew it all, fine. You assumed you were the love interest of every woman you saw, fine. You played around with a few of them and fell into depression in the process, fine. You realised your mistakes and changed your ways, fine. You’re now a strong advocate for educating young adults on those things which are in fact detrimental to their well-being, be it physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological, fine. You’re confessing your crimes to the masses in hopes of them not doing the same thing as you, NOT fine.

Now this might raise a lot of objections, please allow me to explain. You should definitely share your personal experiences with people but don’t make it like a confession. Don’t uncover those private matters which you have now learned to keep private. You made mistakes, repented and now God has covered you with honour. There’s no need to rant on FaceBook or Snapchat that sin like no tomorrow. Come on!

Good Food & Good Company

Today we went out for lunch and yes, this was my meal. A tomato salad with cubes of feta and avocado, sliced olives and hints of tuna and grilled bread on the side. الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ it was delicious and revitalising. The energy you receive from a good meal is often overlooked whilst it’s one of the most important blessings we need to acknowledge. I sat alongside family and we talked about different things. Young adult topics if you will. 

But I kept my mind focussed on one thing.

How Kind and Merciful God truly is. He gives us so much more than we ask for. A verse from the Quran comes to mind,

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; {al-Ibrahim:7} 

And really when you think about it, how hard is it to say الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ or Thank You God for everything you’ve given me? It isn’t physically challenging to do so but because we forget and overlook these favours, we don’t thank Him. A characteristic we should aim to instill within us- gratitude.

It’s only the Beginning

الحمد لله رب العلمين💎

This is just the beginning of a beautiful journey with the Book of Allah as we follow in the footsteps of His Chosen One, Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم.

If you want answers to your life, contentment and overall happiness, I urge you to take a leap of faith and begin your own journey with the Quran. On a personal level, I truly don’t know how I survived so many years without knowing what the Quran was about. 

I even advise the youth to study Quran first before anything else as they ask about how I did it whilst pursuing a degree. It’s an investment into your Akhirah (afterlife) which will only result in profit. Never think you’re too young to begin this journey.

Bear in mind that success isn’t in the result but in the effort and action upon what is learned

If you choose the path of knowledge, here are 3 qualities (amongst many others) to make Dua for:

• Sincerity

• Humility

• Gratefulness 

May Allah Bless and Honor every student of knowledge out there 🙂 

Be Positive

Nothing is permanent. Nothing lasts forever. Problems are no exceptional to this rule. Everyone goes through ups and downs, nobody is exempt from challenges and trials. At some point people have had to deal with; financial worries, a sick relative, a bad marriage, rebellious children, mood swings, failed exams, stubborn or -worse- absent minded parents, overbearing in-laws, a tyrannical leader, general discontentment and the list goes on.

Yes, it feels like you’re in quick sand, you’re only sinking deeper and deeper and it seems like there’s no way out. But there is. You just need to believe there is. Don’t slouch, sulk and assume you’re going to be stuck like this forever but make a plan, think of a strategy to overcome the problem. If it’s family issues, read up on communication skills and think of a method to get a message across without starting up conflict. Perhaps a constant smile and saying kind words even if you don’t want to. If it’s a sick relative, praying to God that they get back on their feet but also willing to accept whatever Decree God has planned because He knows Best. 

There is a solution to everything so long as you look for it and are willing to shed a few tears to get there. Nothing worth having comes easy and this goes without saying so next time you’re thrown into unpleasant situation, force yourself to recognise that this problem isn’t forever. It will come to an end just as the sun rises  at the beginning of a new day. 

Mercy

Mercy is a beautiful trait. Those who are merciful draw in the love of God and the people that surround them. All of us possess some level of mercy but there are those who don’t show it, such people are truly deprived of goodness. They lack compassion and the ability to be kind. Mercy isn’t a an occasional display of kindness, rather it’s a habit. A lifestyle even. Here are a few practical examples; 

When the elderly make you repeat your words, when young children cry for no apparent reason, when a friend takes a loan and isn’t able to pay you back, when your spouse doesn’t listen to you, when your parents take out their anger on you, when your employee doesn’t make it to work on time and the list goes on. In all these cases, it’s incumbent upon us to be merciful and gentle in such situations. 

 

But first, Intention

When you’ve made up your mind to do something, it could be anything- just do it. You can do anything if you put your mind to it but there are a couple of things you need to get straight.

  1. Intention: why are you doing what you want to do? Who are you doing it for? What is the purpose?
  2. Effort: are you willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill your dream? Scribbling down ideas whenever they materialize, making structured plans, consulting experts, a few sleepless nights, research and undergoing the process of trial and error are all part of this condition
  3. Divine Help: do you have a connection with your Creator? Do you maintain a belief in a Higher and Superior Being? If so, life in general is a lot easier to deal with because it doesn’t matter if things go right or wrong, you believe that everything happens for a reason. You learn to rely and trust in God and you train yourself to be grateful in every situation.

Be Yourself & Build Yourself

If you’re passionate about something and you love it so much, then go after it until Allah takes your life – My Quran Teacher

Life is too short for us to spend it on measly and wasteful things. We have one life, one time, one chance to make it right. One of my teachers explained to me how she had studied the Quran almost 10 years ago and she took up the course online. She would think to herself that if she was an onsite student (who attended the Institute in Canada live), she would make sure to do things very differently in order to accommodate students like herself from other parts of the world. Now, almost 10 years later she’s an Online Course Coordinator for the very same Institute and very same course.

My Teacher then went on to say the words I’ve quoted above. If you want something, don’t squander your time and resources on things that have no value but invest it in something long lasting. For instance; you might have a passion for writing. Don’t spend another minute thinking about how it’s impossible for you to pursue it at this stage in your life but get yourself a typewriter, laptop or whatever else have you, sit yourself at a window start writing.

You might want to start up a business even, go ahead and do it. Write down a plan perhaps in the form of a web diagram; what’s the objective? What’s the product? What type of audience are you targeting? What is your role? The list goes on. The point is- you can do it if you  really want it.

Keep working towards what you want. You goals, ambitions and aspirations. Whatever it maybe, go after it. Don’t stop. Stay motivated and be different. Be yourself and Build yourself. 

Emotional Dump

Some feelings are really inexplainable. Words can’t form a sentence to describe the kind of chaos the heart goes through after every test and trial. Especially as people who claim to believe in Allah and the last Day. One day it’s a death in the family, then a financial crisis then bad grades at school then a car accident then being a victim of racial slurrs then a child throwing a tantrum then a sick relative and the list continues. After every single difficulty the heart is affected. Good or bad, the heart internalises everything. It’s emotionally charged.

Hence the famous words; ‘heartache,’ and ‘heartbreak.’ The heart feels every single emotion we go through. Many thoughts run through our mind at that point like; when will this end? Wait, will this end to begin with? I’m so tired of it. I’m sick of it. I want to move on from this. But the test is only chasing you everywhere you go and you come to a conclusion that you don’t know if you’re dying as a result of holding on so much or if you’re only becoming more resilient to the test. I can say from experience that you’re only becoming stronger. So hold on, no matter what.

Dua Can Change Everything

She stared blankly into space. The environment around her seemed irrelevant, her thoughts consumed every sensory cell in her body. Nothing made sense. Nothing mattered. She was over this. God was the only being she relied on at this point, no family member or friend could relate to the electricity of loneliness that zinged in her blood. It was painful. Pain. Raw. Suffocative. Unadulterated. Just Pain. 

Her mind flicks to the man who went through every type of pain. A man who knew pain like the back of his noble palm. A man who was tested in every aspect of his life; physically (when people stoned him), mentally (when people insulted him and called him all kinds of names), emotionally (when he lost the love of his life and all of his children during his lifetime except Fatimah) and spiritually (when he had to convey this religion forward no matter what). A man who didn’t let his problems affect his mood, attitude and dealings with people. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW). 

Dua

Instantly her eyes fill with tears, her heart bleeds with grief and remorse as she realises that no matter how tough her life seemed, nothing she went through could possibly be worse than the Prophet (SAW). She pats her wet cheeks and wipes her drippy nose as she thinks of the mountain of challenges he must’ve faced and yet… He kept smiling. So much so that no one smiled more than him. She chastises herself, rises from her seat and makes her way to do the one thing that can change everything. 

Dua.