Thoughts about My Future

Being at home sometimes makes me lazy and I wonder what I’m supposed to do. I become bored. I was advised by someone that I should make a plan of what I should do each day – in that way, I won’t be left with idle time, wondering what to do. However, sometimes in life, unexpected things happen or your family want you to do other things so you get pulled away from your own plans. It would probably make me unhappy if i was unable to do what I had planned.

So I want to plan enough to have some sort of guide, but not overplan so there is no flexibility. Sometimes plans stress me out as well, whereas I like looking at empty spaces in my diary. Not really sure what to do.

I wrote about happiness a few days ago and how the search for it is futile. People (especially in the West) expect themselves to be happy all the time, so are probably disappointed when they are not. It is not humanly possible to feel happy and joyful all the time. Sometimes our mood will just be neutral and that is ok. It is the times when we expect our emotions to be different to what they are, which leads to problems (as a recent study suggests).

So I am here today in bed, wondering what my future will be like. It can be sad when your parents want one future for you but you want a different future for yourself. It is a case of differences in values and expectations. You can’t really live your life according to what another person thinks is best for you. But you want to keep your loved ones happy too. But to what extent? That is something to reflect on. You are your parents’ children but they can’t control you. They have no right to. You have your own thoughts, dreams, ideas and ambitions. They can’t force their ideas upon you or make you behave in the way they want you to. 

We are our own human beings. We will stand before Allah alone. To what degree do we factor in our parents within our lives? I want them to be happy but I’m not prepared to compromise on what I am passionate about. It’s a hard and sad life which is why I need to develop my faith so I can withstand the trials of life with sabr, and so that I am rewarded with jannah. I have a lot of learning to do, and so here I begin with my path to become a better Muslim who is more educated and is more active in giving da’wah inshaAllah. How will I do this – I must put myself out there and engage with as many people as I can. May Allah make this path easy for us all.

Shaytan = Resistance

I have been feeling a little sick lately and have been getting headaches and I can’t think of any physical reason for why I would have these symptoms.

So I thought to myself, perhaps it is from the shaytan. I made the intention to progress in my islamic learning so that I can be a better person and also be a better da’ee inshaAllah. Maybe the shaytan is trying to stop me.

I don’t know but I do know that I won’t give up by the grace of Allah. I must continue in my aims, not overexhaust myself of course but this is resistance and I should stand firm against it. I’m not going to charge at it, but I’m going to try to remain firm. May Allah help us all, Ameen.

My Diseased Heart – Loving the Dunya

I feel like there are many diseases in my heart at the moment – love of dunya, hatred towards other believers, anger, bitterness, etc.

And I wonder to myself, how will I rid myself of these diseases?

I’ve been reading some of Ibn Taymiyyah’s book called ‘Diseases of the Heart’. A chapter that stood out to me was the one on passionate love (ishq). This type of love sounds like a destructive love that is bad for us – maybe the love that humans feel when they fall in love.

This is the type of love that is promoted by our society – through stories like fairy tales, movies, novels. People crave this type of love but this love is harmful. Our hearts should attach itself to Allah and nothing should compete with our love for Allah. 

The author says that if our heart is affected by this type of love, then if we give in to it we become sicker but if the object of our love is taken away from us in any way, we are hurt and grieved by it. 

Passionate love is a love that exceeds the proper bounds of love. It is the love that is usually described between a man and a woman. It is so problematic that if one is affected by this love, it could cause them to neglect their other commitments such as ties of kinship, cause them to be excessive in delivering their rights (such as leaving all their inheritance for the object of their love) or being extravagant and going to excesses in spending on their love.

If one holds back from this love and fears Allah, then they will be rewarded inshaAllah. The story of prophet yusuf (as) demonstrates this very well. He turned away from the love and affection that was directed towards him by the most noble and prettiest woman that existed in his neighbourhood at this time. 

Surah Naziat states that those who restrain themselves from their lust and desire, that paradise will be their abode (79:40-41).

The author then goes on to state that the love of Allah should fill our hearts and if we were tried with passionate love, then this love would diminish our love for Allah.

The cure for this love is dhikr, to constantly remember Allah, to supplicate to him constantly, to recite one’s daily adhkar and to ask for forgiveness. One should also value their obligatory actions such as their five daily prayers.

May Allah make it easy for us to rid our hearts of anything that might compete with our love for Allah. Ameen.

Searching For Happiness is Futile

If it was happiness that I was searching for, then I won’t be able to find happiness in things that take me away from Allah. In fact, I am starting to realise that wanting to be happy is a futile aim. Happiness is a mood and mood is a changing state. We can’t always control it. In my mind, I thought that if I go out to places, spend time with family and do the things I normally enjoy, that I will be happy, however, doing those things hasn’t made me happy. In fact, I think I was just euthymic. What’s the point in doing those things then, I’m asking myself?

It would be more worthwhile me spending time doing things that could bring me closer to Allah. However, I know that sometimes those things make you happy and sometimes they don’t.

I have come to the conclusion that I should stop searching for things to make me happy and bring me pleasure, because even so-called pleasurable activities don’t seem to make me feel happy. So I question, what is happiness? We can’t even define it. It’s not even an entity, so how will we even know that we’ve reached that state of happiness? We can’t even measure it.

I didn’t consciously realise it but that’s what I’ve been doing lately – searching for things to bring me pleasure. I wish to formally bring this pursuit to an end inshaAllah. I am done with chasing happiness and pleasure.

However, I still believe in contentment. I will pursue a life of value inshaAllah. When I have learnt something new that makes me a better person, or I do a good deed, then those things are adding value to my life. My aim in life is to build up my bank of good deeds so that on the day of judgement, my scale of good deeds is heavier than my scale of bad deeds. I want to earn the pleasure of Allah by pursuing what will make Him happy and keeping away from things that serve no higher purpose. If I do those things, sometimes I may feel happy, but the purpose of life shouldn’t be to seek that happiness. The purpose is to please Allah.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:216)

Am I Showing Off?

A friend of mine once pointed out to me that before I do something or want to do something, I state out loud that I want to do it, whereas she will just go and do it.

This was a few months ago but only recently I am coming to realise the significance of this. I thought to myself, why is it that I feel the need to announce to the world or publicise my actions? Am I showing off without even realising that I am. Showing off is not good in islam as our actions should be for Allah alone.

“Whoever shows off, Allah will expose him”

(Bukhari and Muslim)

Furthermore, there is another hadith that states that the first three people to enter the hellfire will be three seemingly good people (on the outside). They were someone who was wealthy and gave away their money to charity, someone who memorised the Quran and someone who fought for the sake of Allah. But once they met Allah, Allah told them that they had lied about wanting to please Allah and had instead wanted to impress people so that the people would think they were pious, generous or courageous.

What this shows me is that sometimes we can even lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that something is for the sake of Allah. But have we really made that intention pure and sincere at the start? It is definitely something I need to be careful about before I share my deeds with the world.

Also, it is not from the sunnah to state our intentions out aloud. It is sufficient to make that intention internally in our hearts and minds.

This is just a reminder for myself.

Life is hard. I feel I have so many different distractions in my life. The world is calling me from so many different directions and sometimes it can be difficult to prioritise or pick what is best for me.

Perhaps this is where I need to remind myself of d’ua and constantly seek Allah’s help. I pray that He guides me and helps me choose the right things. I also pray for sincerity and purity, Ameen.

Same Vision, New Plan

I have been reflecting on myself a lot lately and which areas I feel I need to develop myself more in. Everything in life happens by Allah’s decree and I am starting to realise more and more why I needed everything to be this way for me.

As believers, we are required to attach our hearts to Allah, to turn our faces in His direction every day but not just physically, it should be with our hearts and minds too. Maybe I loved things/people/ideas more than I loved Allah, so I should make myself love Allah. I should devote more of my time and attention to thinking about Allah, and how I can please Him, rather than thinking about His people. 

I also try too hard to win the affection of the people around me. It means a lot to me when people I care about approve of what I do. I’ve always had that need for approval – from my parents when I was growing up, some members of my extended family and then some of my closest friends. However, people don’t know what is best for me, they know what is best for them (if they were me). They put themselves in my shoes when giving me advice but their thoughts/aims/objectives in life may be different to mine. I can’t fully trust other people. However, I should be open to listening to them and taking their advice, but not necessarily doing what they say or obeying them.

I even thought to myself earlier on, that perhaps in the past I have blindly followed other human beings. I became lazy and just because others around me came across as being well-read, intelligent, pious and thorough in their research – I just followed them, not really questioning them too much. However, people have flaws. They are not always correct. If they go down a wrong path and you are following them, then you fall down with them too. It’s important to be careful and develop one’s own moral compass, rather than depending on others for our deen.

So Allah has cleared my life out for me and I must use it to my own advantage. I should use it to develop a clear vision for my future that falls in line with my values and my views. Then I should formulate a plan for how I will reach that. This is a work in progress, but I am excited. 

This holiday has allowed me to see the world from different angles. It has given me thinking space and has allowed me to start thinking differently. I have experienced some huge setbacks in life but now I am required to navigate myself around them. My previous ways and methods of thinking have not served me well so I need to change to adapt to my circumstances. I can’t lose sight of my core values and my final goal of jannah, but within life there will be lots of dips and troughs. The plans and goals I had set before may not apply to my current life so I need to adapt my plans to fit it with how things are now.

I tried to hold onto the past as I wanted so many things that are out of my control to be a part of my future. But now I have realised, that I’d much rather focus my time and attention on things I can control and that is with things like islamic learning, da’wah and of course the overarching goal of becoming a doctor (though I feel that these days I’m not as focussed on this as I was before, but perhaps that that isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe it is more useful and healthy for me to have other aims and be more balanced, rather than put all my energy, time and resources into one thing which is a very long-term thing and I won’t really be seeing results for it for a long time inshaAllah.)

May Allah make my plans a reality and keep me firm in sticking to my vision. May He make it easy for the Muslim ummah in attaining our goals. Ameen.

Learning New Things

Sometimes I find in life when you learn more about your deen and you become more practising, you can’t connect as much with the people and environment around you. That can be quite difficult as we do want to be connected to those we care about, but when we change our actions, we might feel that it might affect our relationship with our family and friends.

And I wonder why this disconnection happens in the first place. Is it because the deen distracts us from the dunya, so maybe the detachment is a good thing? I’m not sure. We still need to be able to engage with the dunya if we want to function as a good member of the society and ummah. We just should be careful to not allow the love of people or the love of gaining the approval of the people to enter our hearts. Pleasing Allah should come first and foremost.

I am also pleased to say that I have made the intention to embark upon a path towards scholarship. I don’t have access to any teachers at the moment which is important so in the meantime I just want to try and get hold of as many of the translations of the classical books on fundamental principles of the deen as possible. It is a start but better than nothing.

I love learning and studying. I feel happy and at peace Alhamdulillah. I hope Allah makes the path to scholarship easy for us all.

A Different Me

I feel more at peace today Alhamdulillah. I have made an active decision to pursue the things which I deem to be the most important.

I’m reading a book about goal-setting so decided to write down (or type up in actual fact) what my life goals were and what I would really want to do with my life. The author of the book said that we are way more likely to achieve our goals if we write it down. And already, I can feel my passion and my enthusiasm for my goals growing and I have already started taking action today Alhamdulillah.

The book also spoke about making d’ua and that is what I did. I made d’ua to Allah that he heals my pain, that he allows me to use my time in the best possible way and that he grants me what is good for my deen.

And then, for the first time in a long time today, I felt I was more focussed than I had been in a long time. I was able to completely devote myself to an activity and become fully immersed in it without the background pain. Something had definitely changed. 

I got out of bed with the feeling of wanting to do something with my life. I don’t want to carry on feeling sorry for myself anymore. The clock is ticking and before we know it, time will have run out and we will reach the day when we have to face Allah. What will we have to show for it?

I finally feel that I should just let go of my friend and carve my own path. There was a reason why Allah thought it best that we be separated in some sort of way. Everything happens for a reason. I need to become stronger and more confident. I need courage. She can’t be my safety net forever.

When you are by yourself, you are forced to depend on no-one but Allah as you have no choice. I need to learn tawaqqul, instead of turning to and complaining about my problems to the people around me. I need to have sabr and realise that with time, goodness will come to those who strive. But am I striving, that is the question? Not hard enough, is the answer.

I can’t be annoyed at myself and my flaws forever. There will have to be a time when I should get up and become that person that I want to be, instead of dreaming about it or making excuses saying I’m not confident enough or able enough or whatever other untruths my mind likes to believe.

I want to set myself aims and live by those aims inshaAllah. Goal-setting and planning is the way forward inshaAllah. I want to make my family proud and I want them to be a part of my dreams inshaAllah.

Maybe Allah wanted me to focus on different things. I can’t have everything that I want in life. 

Reflecting On My Life

I like nature, flowing water and pretty scenery, but too much of that leaves me feeling a bit bored and empty. Seeing the same thing again and again can become quite tedious. And so I like holidays usually at the start but by the end I am missing home and looking forward to doing productive things again.

I have been doing a lot of thinking and I have decided that I want to let it go and will not actively try to connect with my friend. She isn’t interested and each time she says something that directly or indirectly expresses her disinterest and her disengagement, it just leaves me feeling very dejected and insignificant.

However, I have a conscience. And I refuse to treat her in the way she treats me. I have to live with myself at the end of the day. So I will continue being friendly towards her inshaAllah, like I try to be with everyone else. 

I have also been thinking about myself and my habits. I do think I am being far too lazy recently. I waste a lot of time and so perhaps I need some motivation for myself. Something to make me feel ambitious and driven towards success again. Falling to the ground again and again has left me feeling a little wary of putting myself out there again. In the back of my mind I also sometimes think about what others may think of me – people that I value, but I can’t live my life the way others want me to. At the end of the day, I will have to account for my actions to Allah by myself. However, I need to put my time and effort towards the things that are best for me inshaAllah and fit with my life vision, which is a bit difficult when you can’t really decide what you want as your brain feels a bit foggy.

I have to make d’ua that Allah grants me greater clarity and inspires me by sending me the best things my way. Need to get my feet off the ground now inshaAllah.

Trying to Repair My Heart

It’s nice to get away from my usual surroundings, to see different people, different buildings and different sights. It’s nice to also be staying somewhere that is pretty, Alhamdulillah.

But the thing that is stopping me from enjoying my trip is my mind and my thoughts. I keep on thinking negatively. My mind keeps on making up negative scenarios inside my head to explain what is happening in my life and I keep on imagining negative future scenarios. I picture these things in my mind and I definitely feel pretty grim too.

I haven’t been so good at reciting my adhkar lately so maybe I am being affected by the wiswas of the shaytan a lot more. I need to fight it. I can’t allow him to plant negative thoughts in my mind about other believers, especially the really good ones – the ones that I value. Yes, they have flaws and yes they have made some mistakes which had very hurtful effects on me. However, Allah is merciful and I should feel that mercy towards other believers if I want Allah to show mercy to me. 

The past happened and I can’t change it. I can’t explain it either. Maybe I just need to accept that I won’t understand many things in life, especially when it comes to the behaviour of others. Sometimes people don’t even know why they do things. They simply just react unconsciously in the manner that fits for them at that particular time. 

Do people really sit down and ask themselves why they are doing something? Do I do that? Not always. In fact, hardly ever in my day to day routine. There are lots of things I do that are just habits and I do without knowing or understanding the reason for why I do it at the time, like washing my face in the morning or eating something. Yes, I understand the rationale for those things but I just don’t think about the rationale when I do those things.

People are influenced by their emotions and they are not always aware of their own emotions. Others usually are because our emotions might be painted on our faces or might manifest itself in our changed behaviours. 

So maybe I shouldn’t be this harsh on this other believer. She is fragile, just like me. And she was deeply affected by my life. I need to understand that. It affected her so much that she had to turn away. And I am required to respect that.

I miss her terribly. We could chat for ages about things that were important to both of us. We had deep, meaningful conversations where we connected or I felt connected on a much deeper level. It felt like a beautiful friendship and I miss it so much.

I will still continue praying that Allah reunites our hearts again. Our friendship happened once before by the grace of Allah. I hope it repairs itself again inshaAllah.