Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Prophet (pbuh) went through it too...

This is a real story narrated by Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda, it's been put it in print for those who don't have access to the video

Told by: Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

"I was telling this story in the khuṭbah a few years ago. A brother comes up to me afterward. People generally have some feedback for you after a khuṭbah. This brother says, “Brother, you know what you talked about today? It personally really moved me.” Sometimes somebody comes up to you and says something and they just have that look in their eyes like they have a story to tell. This brother had that look, so I asked him, “Brother, if you don't mind, can you share with me how the khuṭbah personally relates to you and how it personally hit home for you?” He sits down with me and tells me, “I know was born and raised Muslim, grew up in a good Muslim family – ṣalāh, masjid, Qur'ān, dhikr. It was a part of our lives as a family, but today was the first time I have prayed in almost a year.”

SubḥānAllāh, what happened? He tells me, “About a year ago I was at the point in my life where all of the pieces of the puzzle were coming together. You know what I'm talking about? You've been working for some time towards certain goals and you're at the point in time when it seems like the master plan is coming together. I was about 30 and nearing the end of my medical residency and had a young wife and two little kids. We lived the life of a student and resident in a small little apartment. We had one beat-up, old, used car. Life was tough, but we made it through school and residency. I was nearing the end of my residency and fielding very lucrative offers from doctors, groups, clinics, and hospitals. Things were looking up. We had gone to look at some nice new houses where my kids could run around and have a backyard to play in. We went minivan shopping at the dealership and were looking at nice schools where we could send our kids. The whole nine yards. Everything was looking up.

“One day I came home a little bit earlier than I normally would from the hospital. I walked in and said salām, and nobody responded. I realized that it was the time when my wife would usually put the babies down for a nap, and she would take a nap herself, so I decided I won't wake them up. I went and ate some food and started reading and passed time. An hour or so went by and I heard the kids from the bedroom. They had woken up. I could hear them being fussy in the room and got excited. I went to the room and opened the door, and the babies were sitting there awake on the bed and crying because they just woke up, but my wife is lying there motionless and not responding. I went in to take a look at her. When I checked, I realized that she was dead. She passed away.

At that moment, my world just fell apart. My life unraveled. The first couple of days were a blur during the janāzah and funeral proceedings. Once the funeral was done and reality set in that my wife was gone, the mother of my children was gone, for two weeks I did not come out of my bedroom. I locked myself in my room with the lights off and just laid there. I barely ate; I barely slept. During those two weeks, I didn't even hold my own children in my own hands. I didn't know what to do with myself. My life didn't make sense. What had happened? What am I supposed to do?

My brother who has been supportive had been there and taken care of my kids when I was incapable of taking care of them. My brother kept encouraging and motivating and telling me, 'You need to pray. If you pray, things will start to make sense again. You need to talk to Allāh and reconnect with Allāh.' I kept resisting and resisting.

One day I woke up in the morning and my brother came to me and said, 'I'm not taking no for an answer. You are coming with me to the masjid.

From the minbar, when you talked about the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) losing his wife and his children losing their mother, I found the answer to my problem. I realized that my Messenger Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has gone through what I'm going through. He understands my pain. He felt my pain. I felt connected to him and realized that if he could go on, so can I.”

Sometimes when you try to understand the story and can't really grasp it and really truly can't appreciate what the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went through unless you went through that yourself – may Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) protect all of us. Sometimes Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) brings someone to you so that you can get a better understanding. You can look into the eyes of another human being and at least get some idea of what that pain was"


There's many lessons we can all learn from this:

i) For all the spouses, if your partner passed away tomorrow would you be happy with the way you treated them? Would you regret not telling them how much they meant to you? Would you then worry about any petty issue with lead to fights?

ii) For those who cannot relate to this, can you imagine the prophet's (pbuh) reaction when he lost his wife as well as his uncle? Instead of receiving help and care, the Quraish took advantage of that moment

iii) You are NEVER alone. The prophets, sahabas and the pious before you went through your exact experience (sometimes worse) and they found their way back. In fact some of the pious today went through what you may be going through and they made it out as well. Just remind yourself this: you're not alone. Learn and read the stories of how the righteous found their way out. This is something we can all relate to

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Egypt, today's 1973 Chile? (By Mohammad Zafar)

Egypt, today's 1973 Chile?

What’s happening in Egypt is nothing new. On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet backed by the United States staged a military coup in Chile. He took power from the previous democratic elected government of president Salvador Allende. Sounds a bit like Egypt doesn’t it? Actually that sounds exactly like Egypt!

• In the years that followed, Pinochet’s regime would become responsible for the disappearance or killings of more than 3000 Chilean activists. The U.S didn’t like Allende’s government who somewhat posed a threat to them, so they supported Pinochet in an ‘any means necessary’ coup to take control of the country.

• People kept disappearing the louder their voices became.

• Pinochet quickly built one of the largest concentration camps since the time of Hitler. And within less than a year, he detained a quarter of a million people in these camps; away from their family, away from their loved ones and so on and so forth. Many of the women prisoners admitted they were raped but did not want to go in detail of what occurred. The prisoners were beaten everyday without mercy in the concentration camps. Most of them died.

• Why did so people step down against Pinochet? Because they couldn’t take it anymore. Women kept becoming widows, sons were being taken away, fathers were being killed and fear was spreading throughout all of Chile

• The people became scared and simply started to live a life of depression with general Pinochet running the show. Suicides started to occur in high numbers.

• When the world started to see the tyranny of General Pinochet, the U.S (Henry Kissinger) publicity denied helping take out Allende (the democratically chosen president), although CIA documents which were later leaked clearly showed their support.

• The argument made after was “Chile only exist today because of just came at a huge price".

The price? “thousands of deaths” verses “stability in the economy long term”.

[In Islam, there is no argument in this. This is a crime.]
Pinochet had no regard for the people’s and their opinions. He was a truly ruthless military dictator.

• Near the end of his life, Pinochet wrote, “exile is my fate…and a kind of loneliness that I never could have imagined, much less desired”

This was the same man who once in his prime said: “Not a leaf moves in Chile without me knowing it”. SubhanAllah how close is this to the ayah in the Quran?

وَمَا تَسۡقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعۡلَمُهَا
(not a leaf falls, but He (Allah) knows it) [Surah An’am (6):59]

- This statement just shows how much control Pinochet had over the country. One can only imagine what Sisi will do if acquires this much power.

Today in Chile there is a famous saying, “Para que nunca mas en Chile (so that never again in Chile…)”.

Chileans gather every year on September 11 (the same day the military coup took place in 1973) to remember what they went through and to hope that never again does it ever happen in Chile.

We all can hope that never again will what happen in Chile happen in Egypt (or any other country for that matter). But resemblance so far is scary.

May Allah protect the Muslims in their faith wherever they are being tested.

Monday, 1 July 2013

“How I walked away from suicide” (By Mohammad Zafar)

This was something I thought I’d never have to or would want to share, but recent experiences have really pushed me to do so. It’s something I still haven’t even told my closest friends. What led me to share it was because I came across a surprisingly high number of articles, videos or discussions about Muslims struggling with stress, anxiety, depression and even having suicidal thoughts. I don’t know if I have solutions but I wrote this piece so that perhaps someone might benefit from my experience and approach their difficulties differently.

I’ve broken it down in 3 parts so it may be easier to read through it.


Part 1 (How the stress built up)

[Allâh does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour on you that you may be thankful. (5:16)]

The truth is no one wakes up one day saying ‘Oh, I think I'll kill myself’. Even as a child I knew from that age suicide was ‘Haram’ (prohibited), it was something Allah didn’t allow. And the simple thought of it was something that never even crossed my mind. Of course at that time it didn’t really need to. But what led me to go from being adamant on never thinking about taking my life, to considering it, and then finally planning to go through with it?

It was about a couple of years or so ago for the first time in my life I found myself sitting and speaking with a counselor - the way I got there was completely accidental. I was never one to express myself and preferred to never speak to anyone about any issue I had. When I did speak to someone it would only be out of dire need. But I was meeting the counselor for a reason - I needed some direction as to where I was heading in my life. I felt almost anything I tried was leading me to failure. Perhaps the counselor would help.

I told her what I felt: "I’m tired of trying and failing. I’m tired of hearing people trying to motivate me. I’m tired of the cliché ‘don’t give up’, ‘keep your head up’ gestures. I just want to put this behind me and move on".

I knew there were certain factors in my life which were the roadblocks stopping me from performing the tasks that everyone around me “expected”. But I had no clue what it was.

I went to university one day struggling with issues I couldn’t point my finger to. I can still recall that day. The professor was speaking but I could only see him moving his lips. People around me were talking to each other and yet their voices were silent. It was like my mind just hit ‘mute’ and all that I could hear in my head were the voices from my past memories. I tried and tried to get them out and there I would find myself again overwhelmed by them. I didn’t have the energy to cry. I just sat there still, neither moving my head nor getting up.

I thought back to my earlier years when I was five and my family and I moved to Canada. I had a normal childhood just like anyone else. Loved cartoons, and as I’m told, was very talkative and energetic. The turning point probably came at age 6. I needed to have immediate surgery on my nose. However in the operation the surgeon made a mistake replacing the cartilage to my nose and it resulted in a slight deformity on my face. The front part of nose was partially flat, something very difficult to ignore if you saw me back then.

And so my entire childhood, kids my age would taunt me, make fun of the way I look and beat me up at times for no other reason except that I “looked” weird. I wish I could have memories of better days, but this was it for me - a living nightmare.

I remember one day at school when one student came to my best friend and starting making fun of my appearance. I hoped in the back of my mind that at least my friend would have my back, but he in turn also started laughing. I guess he was scared in that situation but since I didn’t have many friends back then, it made it hurt even more. I could see from the side of my head them looking at me, including my best friend, pointing to their nose and just laughing. I turned my face away and just kept my head down.

It was a normal occurrence for me to be walking down the street as a young kid while girls my age would walk past me and within 5 seconds burst out laughing. Perhaps it was something else, but I couldn’t help and think it was me. I tried to keep it in, how will long will this last I thought? The next day would sometimes be worse than the day before. I didn’t know how to handle it. If I stayed quiet and patient, the mockery would just continue.

At times in school during recess, I would be walking alongside a wall when two or three kids from the school would start throwing tennis balls at my direction at full speed. They would taunt me throwing the ball right in front of me and right behind me as I would try to duck and avoid getting hit. And when it drilled my face, they would laugh and sarcastically say “oops, I missed. I was just trying to hit the wall”.

I started to become more and more distant from others and wouldn’t speak much. I became extremely anti-social. Anything I’d say or do had to be disregarded because of how I looked. And worse, there was no way around it. No matter what I did or what I said, nothing could change the way I looked.

My parents later put me into an Islamic school. It didn’t really change things (kids are kids of course). Now there was just a different group of students to bully me.

When coming back from school I wouldn’t bother even leaving the home at times. When I would go outside, people in the street would look at me with awkward stares - you would think I’d get used to it right? No, not one bit.

Things took a turn for the worse, when I was 11 our family friend came to our doorstep and announced dad had passed away battling cancer. My sisters screamed in shock, I walked up to my mother to hug her and she, completely overwhelmed by what just happened, pushed me away and broke down crying. So the only male influence I ever had in my life was gone just like that. I never had a male role-model to learn from - it was just my mom and five (older) sisters from there.

Right before high school I finally had surgery to repair my nose. And although now I 'looked' like a normal kid, I certainly didn’t feel like one. You know the parable “when you keep pushing someone into a corner, sooner or later they’ll turn around and come back at you”? That was essentially me. The years and years of verbal/physical abuse caught up and now I had become extremely cranky and rude tempered. This included getting into fights with anyone who made fun of me, yelling back at teachers, cursing, etc. I basically became what you could label as a ‘troubled kid’.

But I felt I had to act this way because there was no way around it. No one had my back. My friends would walk away. My dad was dead. My mom could hardly speak English. My sisters had no clue how to deal with a brother - as I was the only guy in the house. I felt in order for anyone to show me respect, I would have to scream back to them so they would understand I was no pushover.

I also couldn’t speak up for myself. I didn’t know how to respond when someone taunted me in front of others, my immediate response was just to curse, yell or fight back (even if it were an adult). Teachers and elders would always look at me as a spoiled kid or someone who had no respect for others. My family friends would often ask my mother why her son was so distant from people and bad-mannered. I felt like no one around me understood who I was.

Ya Allah when would this end? I felt something bothering me inside. I started having mental breakdowns as a teenager. I wanted to run away. I wanted to leave my home, run and just run. Where? I had no idea, just run until I could run no more. My mom had no idea what was going on in my life, but can I hold a grieving widow responsible? I was a regular kid just like others around me, I wanted friends, I wanted some attention, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted people to stop looking at me with disgust…I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I just knew that I could only find that peace I so dearly wanted in Islam. So one day I went to my mother and said: “mom, I can’t go to this school anymore, I want to leave this place and go to a Quran academy, maybe memorize the Quran. Or just go to the mosque every day and pray. I just can’t go to school”. She was very unwavering on the thought of leaving school and continuously told me “No”. So over the remaining stretch of high school, I would start skipping classes upon classes. In my eyes school only represented hurt feelings, loneliness, betrayal, bullying, and heartbreak. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I would show up to class uninterested and gave every reason for teachers to assume I didn’t care.

But I was fortunate to have a couple of teachers from Islamic school who were very understanding of my situation. They never yelled at me despite my obvious behavioral issues. I would go to school sometimes just because I felt “welcomed” in their class. What made them great was I could look up to them as older siblings rather than teachers. They didn't just come to work for their paycheck, they really cared about all their students. But unfortunately both of them would move to different locations and I would lose my connection to school again.

Several times throughout the year I would wake up suddenly in the middle of nights with something I felt was piercing through my heart. It was a weird feeling. I felt disturbed and extremely confused. I felt lost in this world, like I didn’t belong here. The only remedy I found was crying. I would start crying profusely and not know why I was doing it. I found no words to explain how I felt except for the stream of tears that would run down my face. And no matter what I did, things just wouldn’t change.

Who would want to continue living like this? It was at that point I started to ponder committing suicide.

Part 2 (To commit suicide or not? Back-and-forth battle)

[“Truly, Allâh is with As-Sâbirin (the patient ones)” (2:153)]

But the notion of suicide didn’t stay long with me. How could I do it I thought? It’s Haram. Then the waswaas (whispers) of Satan would start: ‘But lying, backbiting and cheating are all haram and yet many people still do it. Even the ones who would discourage you from suicide do it’. So I thought maybe I should do it then. Honestly what would be the point of living? I wasn’t going to hurt anyone and I also didn’t want to upset Allah (swt). I would tell myself that all I’m doing by staying alive is getting Allah (swt) more and more upset by sinning. Suicide would at least bring the sins to an end. To say that I was going back-and-forth with myself those days would be an understatement.

It made sense to me at the time to go through with it. I just about convinced myself and not even the thought of my mother and sisters missing me had any effect. But the sole reason I didn’t go through with it at the time was because I just couldn’t convince myself that Allah (swt) would be happy to see me come to Him like this. If I truly loved someone I would want to make the best first impression I could to them. And I felt that in the loneliest of times there was always Allah watching over me. When I had my back turned against the wall, the One and only One that could help me was Him. And I thought, what if I was about to be thrown in Hellfire, how could I have the audacity to call unto Allah to help me if I came to Him like this (i.e: suicide)? That concern, and nothing else, is why I’m still alive today.

But not going through with it didn’t really change things. Out of dire distress I would begin to sob and cry (for reasons I didn't know) over many more sleepless nights. And sometimes out of dire distress I would go walking outside for hours heading nowhere.

Time passed as it usually does.

I kept my issues private. Barring a few breakdowns I seemed to be handling it quite well. High school was finally over but my mother wanted me to go to university now. I was however fed up of school as I had nothing but bad memories from it. I couldn’t endure more. Although I passed high school barely showing up for classes, I couldn’t keep this up in university. I tried, and then left. I went back and then left again - a cycle which I became very tired of. So I started working any job I could find to stay busy. Work felt a bit easier. I didn’t have to think, just do.

I was just tired of school. As soon as I went and sat in my chair the memories would start. As soon as I tried to study, the memories would start. I couldn’t study at all with these issues bothering me. However my mom wouldn’t stand the thought of seeing her only son do this. She and my sisters would all gather up and repeat the same things to me: ‘you’re doomed for failure, you’re going to regret this’; ‘do you want to work as a loser your whole life?’, ‘what will people say?’, ‘you obviously don’t care about your future’, etc. I know they said it with the best intentions but it got to a point where I didn’t feel like coming home anymore.

I would roam around the streets late into the night just so I didn't have to go back home and hear another lecture. I couldn't help but fantasize about a destination I could walk to right there and then, but I just didn't know where to go, where to look and where to even start. I was lost, just completely lost. Even though I knew my family wanted what was best for me, I found the most practical solution in simply distancing myself from them.

They wanted me to do things my friends were doing, and I had become fed up of them comparing me to other guys who were doing better than me. I just wanted peace of mind and no one to bother me but that clearly wasn’t happening. And worse, I still didn’t know why I couldn’t do the same things my friends could. What’s wrong with me I used to think day and night?

At that point I felt like I didn’t belong in this world (again). There was something wrong with me. I wasn’t capable of doing anything while others around me did it with ease. I prayed and prayed for death. I would cry making dua to Allah so that He could take me off this earth. I slept at times hoping my life would end as I would die in my sleep and wake up to meet Allah. Instead I would wake up in my same bed disappointed and knowing that I had to go through another day.

My patience ran out. Everyone around me would advice me on how I should be living my life. I was tired of receiving advice. I started to have mental breakdowns again because of the stress. But I did a very good job of hiding these feelings from others, only my mom would see me in distress. Her motherly love led her to become more patient with me. “It’ll get better, don’t worry. You don’t have to do anything. Just be happy” she would say. Although deep down I knew how much she wanted me to study and that led me to feel even more ashamed. My mom just wanted her only son to study and I couldn’t even do that.

My mental health started to affect my physical health. I felt fatigued the entire day and had no energy to do anything. In a period of a few months, without any change in diet or exercise, I lost more than 20 pounds. My blood pressure was pushing towards the 170/110 numbers, which is really bad. I knew though that my body couldn’t handle the stress anymore.

Back came the thoughts of suicide, but this time they were very strong. I just couldn’t take it now. Allah will forgive me I kept saying trying to convince myself.

So one day I wrote a text message to a friend and indirectly wrote how I was about to go through with suicide. I lost the energy to cry and just did it unemotionally. The police would find the text message in my phone and perhaps that would explain to my family why I did it. I just wanted to quietly leave this world and not bother anyone in the process. And as weird as it sounds, I really wanted to meet Allah.

I prayed to Allah to take my life Himself as I really didn’t want to go through with it. I took off to the Masjid hoping Allah would take my life while I prayed Isha salah or else I would have to kill myself. I came in a little late for Salah as everyone was praying and before I joined, I took a deep breath telling myself that this was my last Salah. The prayer ended and there I was still alive. I walked home frustrated, kicking the ground and upset why my dua wasn’t answered.

I wanted to jump on the street with fast moving cars going by. But just before I could take any further step, those same thoughts that stopped me from committing suicide back in high school would resurface. I just couldn’t go to Allah and meet Him like this. I only had one chance to make a first impression and this just wasn’t it.

Yet things still weren’t improving. I didn’t see any dream. No magic light ran past my home. Nothing drastic happened…everything was just like it was. Although I couldn’t convince myself to commit suicide, I would try that fate help me. So I started riding my bike late at night as fast as I could, with my head down, hoping a car would come and hit me…somehow I survived through it all.

It was an unbearable ordeal, subhanAllah what an ordeal it was. Had Allah not created patience, I felt like that would have been the end of me.

PART 3 (I would go on to thank Allah for all my problems)

[The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Verily, the hearts of all the children of Adam are between the two fingers of Allah. He turns them wherever He wills.” Then he said, “O Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts towards Your obedience.” (Sahih Muslim)]

Alhamdulilah things started to slowly improve after that. I didn’t have an epiphany, but I did start to improve slowly. I would learn a lesson one day and then couple of weeks or months later learn something else. There wasn’t any miracle that came and changed things but it wasn’t something that simple either. It was more of a gradual change than something that simply took place overnight.

Things didn't really improve...I improved.

I felt like I really started to mature. I didn’t care much for failure anymore. I started to look at things differently. I became more and more independent, started to spend time with friends and started to dwell into the things that interested me. I stopped comparing myself to others and just worried about the things that would benefit me. I would start to go out of my way to please friends, family, brothers at the Mosque and even strangers (for Allah) and in a short time I started to feel better.

My sister once sat down and told me ‘I think there were a lot of people telling you what to do’ - it was her way of apologizing. I just smiled when I heard that and told her ‘it is what it is’.

I started to think more positive about Allah, how short sided I was subhanAllah. The more and more positive I thought about Allah, the more and more I started to understand things clearly.

The odd thing was, not much changed from before, in terms from just problems - they were still there. But my mind wasn’t occupied with them as much. The only difference now was I didn’t care as much. I wanted to read a book on the stories of the prophets, I wanted to listen to lectures, I wanted to spend time with my sisters and their kids, I wanted to spend time with friends, I wanted to sit down and converse with my mom - and I wanted to do it so He would be more pleased with me. The more I did it, and the more I went out of my way to do it, I felt my life had a better balance.

But I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t make it large. I didn’t acquire this world’s riches, I didn’t become famous, I didn’t even accomplish much (in terms of this dunya) - yet I felt like I was where I wanted to be or heading to where I wanted to go. It is what has led me to strongly and wholeheartedly believe that tranquility and happiness isn’t in money, respect from people, one’s job or education…it’s within thinking more and more upon what will make my Lord happy.

Allah (swt) was the Best Teacher/Guide/Helper/Caregiver I ever had.

When my dad wasn’t there to show me how to do things, I would come across someone else by chance who would help me. Now when I look back to it, Allah (swt) was helping me through that person. When I had no one to befriend in dire loneliness, I knew Allah (swt) was a dua away. When I was hurting, broke and even (felt) that my own family had pushed me away - I knew Allah (swt) never looked at my wealth, status or what the whole world thought of me. All of it started to sink in. The confusion started to go away. My life was flashing before me again, but I started to view it with a different lens - through the love and care of my Creator. I started to see the positive in almost every hardship…

People could say what they wanted about where I worked - I enjoyed it and was relaxed, so why would their opinions matter? My family friends could look down on me if they wanted - but would their approval or disapproval change my connection with Allah?

I felt at peace with who I was. I didn’t feel I needed to be accepted by others. I just had to be confident in who I was. The iman that entered my heart gave me the confidence I never thought existed. It helped me to speak up when at one point I never thought I could. I started to expect less and less from others and more and more from Allah. I stopped freaking out at mishaps. My anger at the world turned to forgiveness. The past memories, which were nightmares (and I still feel they are), still came back to me but it was a small price to pay for all the good that came with it. I started to thank Allah for all those bad memories.

I stopped forcing things on myself and started to live more relaxed. Now I wanted to study - I had realized how much interest I always had in history and decided to pursue a degree in it. For the first time in my life I felt confident I could actually do it. It didn’t feel impossible to me anymore.

The biggest deception I was in was that I thought my problems had to go away so I could live a happy life. But my problems never went away, and still haven’t. Like I mentioned before, the only difference now is…I just don’t care as much. They don’t weigh on me like they used to. Who other than Allah do I have to thank for that?

Right before publishing this article I came across a quote by Sr. Yasmin Mogahed which I feel really summed up my entire life:
“Your life is nothing more than a love story. Between you and Allah. Nothing more. Every person, every experience, every gift, every loss, every pain is sent to your path for one reason and one reason only: to bring you back to Him”.

Before ending, I wanted to share just a couple of points…

Back in my teens when I used to skip school, I couldn’t tell others I wasn’t feeling well (it was hard to explain). And when I would explain, others around me would think I was using an excuse. They would say “you’re healthy, you’re walking, you’re playing sports…how again you are not feeling well?” They didn’t see any external issues I had and I guess automatically assumed I was perfectly fine.

I kept hearing people telling me “life is hard Mohammad, you can’t be so weak. You have to toughen up” and the cliché “you can’t just run away from life’s problems”.

The way I look at it now is…

Imagine you’re having stomach pain. Will you keep taking advice on how to rid the pain from friends and family (even though they have your best interests) or will you go to a doctor? If it’s a day or two, then most of us would probably go and ask our parents about it. But imagine the pain goes on for weeks? Or for months? Would you still go to family and friends or would you think about visiting a professional, like a doctor? If it’s a no-brainer to visit a doctor for these “pains” then why should one completely change their perception when it comes to battling the “pains” of mental health? Why when it comes to mental health does everyone become a professional?

People’s words would really bother me, especially the ones who had no idea what they were talking about. But when I started to look at the way I just described, I would imagine my response at a barber (instead of a doctor) telling me what to take for my stomach pain. After thinking about it like that, I stopped worrying when others would criticize me. At least they had my best interests, so if anything I could thank them for the worry in their voice.

I certainly am not in a position to advice any of you regarding your troubles. If you’re tired of countless advice, trust me, I know the feeling. But I’ll share with you a few things that really helped me to address my concerns. You could apply them if you wish:

1. I stopped caring what people would think of me and stopped comparing myself to others: I can’t tell you how hard this was to do and also how much it helped me after. Even now when I hear this so-and-so person is doing better than me, I feel happy for them but know that I have my own path in life. I don’t need to take the same path as everyone else.

2. I started to forgive everyone:
I made it a goal I should never sleep if I hold a grudge against anyone.

3. I started to admit my mistakes: I was always embarrassed to admit I did something wrong. I felt that others wouldn’t show me respect if I did so. But instead, others were very forgiving and understanding. Admitting my mistakes made me feel comfortable being who I was. I didn’t feel I needed to be perfect. And knowing that I would slip up from time to time, I wouldn’t look at my mistakes like the end of the world.

4. I became very honest: Honest with myself and with others. I stopped yelling back at people so they would show me respect. Instead if I felt they were disrespecting me, I went to them in private and calmly told them why I didn’t like it. They would mostly stay quiet and just apologize right away.

5. Sincerity was the “secret”: I came across a book by Sr. Amira Ayad called ‘The true Secret’. In it she simply implied how sincerity was the secret ingredient needed to bring the help of Allah. Nothing brought me more hope than doing things with sincerity. The more sincere something was, the more weight it had.

6. I stopped expecting from people but raised my expectations from Allah: I never felt disappointed doing this.

What would I say to a Muslim who wanted to commit suicide? Simple. A reminder of a hadith from the prophet (pbuh) who 3 days before his death said:
"Let none of you die unless he has good expectations from Allah"
[Saheeh Muslim].
Every person owes it to themselves to search for ALL the good Allah has placed within the trials of their lives. The only way to unveil the good hidden within hardships is to think positive about Allah. One would commit the greatest injustice to himself dying with keeping bad expectations of Allah.

I think it’s human nature to hope for God to show you a sign Himself. But what I learned was a sign doesn’t always come to you, sometimes you need to put in the effort and search for them yourself. I don’t remember doing anything specific except that I made a sincere intention and effort to search for those signs.

Nearly two times in my life I pondered and considered taking my life. Truth be told, I would love to meet Allah (swt) as soon as possible but I’ll let Him decide when He wants that to be. I just know I have a lot of work that needs to be done.

Thank you to all of you for taking the time to read through this. If you have questions at all, feel free to contact me:


Friday, 1 March 2013

:: Best times to make Dua ::

When Are Dua’s Accepted

Compiled by Abu Hibbaan & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari

In recent times when calamities are befalling the Muslims and all of us are in need of supplicating and asking Allaah for aid and assistance, we thought it would be important to compile something to show the times and instances when our duas are accepted.

Generally Allaah listens to his servants and slaves any and every time and accepts their supplications and invocations, however there are instances when our duas are accepted a lot quicker or specified to be accepted. We wish to mention some of them inshaAllaah.

1. In The Month Of Ramadhaan

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Without doubt Allaah saves people from the fire of hell every day and night in ramadhaan and verily there is a dua for every Muslim in the day and night in the month of ramadhaan that is accepted.” (Imaam al-Albaanee said Saheeh Li-Ghayrihi, Saheeh at-Targheeb Wat-Tarheeb (no.1002), Kashf us-Sataar (no.962) of Imaam Bazzaar)

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “There are 3 people whose dua are not rejected. (1) The just ruler, (2) The one who fasts until he does iftar and (3) the dua of the oppressed. Allaah will raise their dua on the day of judgement without any clouds and the doors of the skies will be opened and Allaah will say, I swear by my honour I will indeed help you even though it may be a little later.” (Tirmidhee (no.3598), Ibn Maajah (no.1752), Ahmad (2/305), Ibn Hibbaan (no.3428)

2. On Laylatul – Qadr

Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (Soorah al-Qadr)

Due to the virtue of this night and the great significance contained in it.

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhaari and Muslim refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e 2/1100).

Aishah (RadhiAllaahu AnhA) narrates, “I asked Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam), “If I find Laylatul Qadr then what should I do? He (the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam)) said, recite this Dua.“ALLAAH HUMMA INNAKA A’FUWUN TOHI BUL AFVA FA’AFU ANNI” (Ibn Maajah (no.3850), Tirmidhee (no.3513), Mishkaat (no.2091) Allaamah al-Albaanee said Saheeh)

Imaam Shawkaanee said, “One of the great criterion of this night is that the duas of the people are accepted and this is the reason why the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) encouraged the companions to search for this night and the great desire to attain it.” (Tuhfatudh-Dhaakireen (pg.46)

3. On The Day of Arafah (The 9th of Dhul Hijjah)

Amr on the authority of his grandfather narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “The best dua is the dua on the day of Arafah. The best dua I and the prophets before me made is, “la ilaaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa huwa a’la kulli shay’in qadeer.” (Tirmidhee (no.3585) Saheeh al-Jaam’e (no.1102) Imaam al-Albanee said Saheeh)

4. The Third Part Of The Night

The night is the period from the time of sunset until the sun rises.

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Our lord descends to the heavens of this earth at the third part of every night and says, “Who is there who supplicates so that I may accept it? Who asks me so that I may give him? Who seeks forgiveness from me so that I may forgive him.” (Saheeh Bukhaari (no.1145) with Fath ul-Baaree (11/133), Saheeh Muslim (no.758), Tirmidhee (no.446) and Saheeh Jaam’e (2/1357)

In another narration Amr bin Absah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Allaah is close to his servant in the last part of the night, if you are capable then supplicate and be from amongst those who remember him at that time.” (Nasaa’ee, Tirmidhee (no.3579), Saheeh Ibn Khuzaimah and Mustadrak al-Haakim, refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e (1/259 no.1173), Mishkaat (no.1229), Saheeh al-Adhkaar (pg.73) Shaikh al-Albaanee said Saheeh)

5. A Particular Period Every Night

Jaabir ibn Abdullaah (RadhiAllaahu Anhuma) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “There is a period every night in which a Muslims asks Allaah for goodness in this world and in the hereafter then Allaah definitely fulfils it and this period occurs every night.” (Saheeh Muslim and Musnad Ahmad, refer to Saheeh Jaam’e as-Sagheer 1/427)

6. In the Middle Of The Night.

Uthmaan bin Abee al-Aas ath-Thaqafee (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “The doors in the heaven open in the middle of the night and a caller announces is there anyone supplicating that his supplication is accepted? Is there anyone asking for something so that he is given it? Is there anyone under distress so that this is made easy for him? No Muslim will remain who supplicates and his supplication is not answered, except the woman soliciting or the one who forcefully takes money from others.” (Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheehah 3/62)

7. Waking Up Suddenly During The Night.

Mu’adh (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “The Muslims goes to sleep whilst making dhikr of Allaah and then he wakes up at anytime during the night and then asks Allaah for any good from this world or the hereafter then Allaah grants him his request.” (Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah, Musnad Ahmad, and Tayalisee. Refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e 2/1003, Saheeh at-Targheeb no.597, Mishkaat no.1215)

Ubaadah ibn Saamit (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Whoever wakes up whilst sleeping he should recites the following la ilaaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa huwa a’la kulli shay’in qadeer alhamdulillahi wa subhanallahi, wa la ilaha illallah, wallaahu akbar wa laa hawla wa laa quwata. And then he says Allaahumag-firlee and seeks forgiveness from Allaah or he supplicates, his dua is accepted and he gets up and makes wudhu and prays then his prayer will also be accepted.” (Bukhaari, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhee, Saheeh al-Kalim at-Tayyab)

8. At The Time Of Adhaan

Sahl ibn Sa’ad (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “The dua is not rejected at 2 times, after the Adhaan and whilst it is raining…..” (Abu Dawood, Mustadrak Haakim and Saheeh Ibn Hibbaan. Refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e (1/590), as-Saheehah (no.1469) Saheeh at-Targheeb (no.266) (2 narrations combined)

Anas (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates a hadeeth that, “When the call to prayer is made the doors of the heavens are opened and supplications are accepted.” (transmitted by Abu Ya’ala, Tayalisee, al-Mukhtarah of Dhiya al-Maqdisee, refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e 1/203 and as-Saheeheh no.1413)

9. At The Time Of Iqaamah

A mursal report from Makhool mentions the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “A supplication is accepted during the time of standing in battle for war, at the time of Iqaamah and whilst it is raining.” (Musnad Shaafi’ee and Ma’arifus Sunan Wal-Aathaar of Imaam Baihaqee, refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e 1/235, this report reaches the level of Hasan due to supporting narrations refer to Shaikh al-Albaanee’s as-Saheehah no.1469)

10. Between the Adhaan and Iqaamah

Anas (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “A dua is not rejected between the Adhaan and Iqaamah. The companions asked, “what shall we ask for Oh Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam).” He (the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam)) said, “Ask Allaah for wellness/good health in his world and in the hereafter.” (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhee no.212, Saheeh Tirmidhee no.175, 244, Abu Dawood no.521, Nasaa’ee, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibbaan and Musnad Ahmad (3/119), Shaikh al-Albaanee said Saheeh, refer to, Irwaa ul-Ghaleel no.224, Takhreej al-Kalim at-Tayyab no.73 of al-Arnaa’oot and Saheeh al-Adhkaar pg.55 of Imaam Nawawee)

A narration in Abu Dawood states, “A dua that is made between the Adhaan and Iqaamah is accepted hence make dua.” (Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood 1/105 of Allaamah al-Albaanee)

The wording of the narration in Mustadrak al-Haakim is, “The dua that is made between Adhaan and Iqaamah is accepted.” (Saheeh al-Jaam’e 1/641 of Imaam al-Albaanee)

11. At The Time Of Prostration

Allaah accepts the supplication that is done whilst in prostration.

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “A worshipper becomes close to Allaah when he is prostrating hence make dua abundantly at such a time.” (Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawood (no.875), Nasaa’ee no.1173, Baihaqee, Abu Awaanah and Musnad Ahmad. Refer to Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood 1/166, Irwaa ul-Ghaleel no.456 and Saheeh al-Jaam’e 1/259 no.1175 and Saheeh at-Targheeb no.387)

Similarly it is narrated by Ibn Abbaas (RadhiAllaahu Anhu)h the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “As for the prostration, then one should supplicate fervently, as it is possible it may be accepted.” (Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e 1/536)

12. After The Obligatory Prayers And At The Time of Suhoor

Abu Umaamah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) was asked which dua is readily accepted? So he the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “The dua during the last part of the night and the dua after the obligatory prayers.” (Shaikh al-Albaanee said Hasan in Saheeh Tirmidhee, Tirmidhee no.3499, Sunan Tirmidhee with Tuhfa 9/331, Saheeh Targheeb no.1648 and Mishkaat no.1231)

The suhoor falls in the last part of the night and therefore it is included in this period. It is also a sign of the believers and those who have taqwaa to seek forgiveness in their duas.

Allaah says,

“They used to sleep but little of the night, And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness,” (Soorah adh-Dhaariyaat 51:17-18)


“The patient, the true, the obedient, those who spend [in the way of Allah ], and those who seek forgiveness before dawn.” (Soorah Ale-Imraan 3:17

13. Whilst Fighting The Kuffar

Sahl ibn Sa’ad (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “The dua is not rejected at 2 times, after the Adhaan and when 2 armies are ready to battle” (Shaikh al-Albaanee said Saheeh, Abu Dawood no.2540, Refer to Saheeh al-Jaam’e (1/590 no.3079), Saheeh at-Targheeb (no.266)

14. Whilst Drinking Zam Zam Water

Jaabir ibn Abdullaah (RadhiAllaahu Anhuma) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Whatever (good deed) zam zam water is drank for, it is fulfilled.” (Shaikh al-Albaanee said Saheeh, Saheeh Ibn Maajah no.2484, Ibn Maajah no.3062)

15. A Specific Period On Jumu’ah

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “There is a period on Jumu’ah that if a Muslim asks Allaah for something whilst praying then Allaah grants him his request. Then he the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) indicated with his hands the shortness of that period” (Bukhaari no.935, 5294, Muslim no.852, Ibn Maajah no.1082. refer to Saheeh al-Adhkaar pg.53)

Abu Lubaabah Badree narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “There is a period on jumu’ah that when a worshippers asks Allaah for something he is granted it.” (Shaikh al-Albaanee said Hasan, Saheeh Ibn Maajah no.888)

The wording of Saheeh Muslim is, “There is a short period.” (refer to Saheeh al-Adhkaar pg.54)

This period is not exactly known but Imaam Ahmad said, “We find from most of the ahadeeth about this period and we hope that our dua are answered, is after the Asr prayer or we hope it is after the sun reaches its zenith ie jumu’ah time.” (Sunan Tirmidhee 2/361 cited from Saheeh al-Adhkaar pg.54-55)

The Scholars have differed as to the exact time of this period due to the differing and various narrations that mention this period which led Haafidh Ibn Hajr as citing 40 various statements of the Scholars pertaining to this period (Fath ul-Baaree 3/82). Hence duas should be made after jumu’ah till the end of the day, as some of the scholars have said. (Fatwaa Islaamiyyah 1/400)

16. On the Night of Jumu’ah

Alee (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “There is a period on the night of jumu’ah (ie Thursday evening.) in which a dua is accepted.” (Sunan Tirmidhee cited from Saheeh al-Adhkaar pg.54)

17. During Rain

The Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Seek the time of the acceptance of dua, when 2 armies meet to battle, during the time of Iqaamah and when it rains.” (Silsilatul-Ahadeeth as-Saheehah no.1469)

18. After Reciting The Quraan

Imraan ibn Hussain (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Whoever recites the Quraan should ask Allaah with it (ie make dua) as in the future there will come a group of people who will recite the Quraan but yet still ask the people (for help) by it.” (Shaikh al-Albaanee said Hasan, Tirmidhee no.2917, Musnad Ahmad no.19039, Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheehah 1/461)

19. During The Gathering of Muslims

The Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “When a nation gathers and indulges in the dhikr of Allaah the angels encompass them and the mercy of Allaah descends upon them and the tranquillity, then Allaah mentions them amongst what is with him (ie the creation with ie the angels.” (Saheeh Muslim, also Saheeh al-Adhkaar pg.57)

20. When the Rooster Cocks

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “When you hear the rooster cock then ask Allaah for his grace because it (ie the rooster) sees an angel and when you hear the bray of a donkey then seek refuge in Allaah because it sees shaytaan.” (Bukhaari no.3303, Muslim no.2729)

21. After Closing the Eyes Of the Deceased

Umm Salamah (RadhiAllaahu Anha) narrates “After the death of Abu Salamah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) went to her and his (ie Abu Salamahs (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) eyes were opened. So he Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) closed his eyes and said, “When the soul is taken the eyes follow it.” So the household started to scream so he Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said, “Do not call up yourself anything except good as whatever you say at that time the angels say Ameen.” (Muslim no.920, Abu Dawood no.3118)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

"I hate listening to the Quran" (By Mohammad Zafar)

Have any of you had friends or someone whom you knew that couldn’t stand hearing the Quran being played? Perhaps that person being someone who was also Muslim? If so, then you've probably wondered, how can I offer any naseeha (advice) to them?

What if I told you I did indeed knew a Muslim who used to hate hearing the Quran being played? And what if I told you that person was me? SubhanAllah, at one point this was the state I was in. I wanted to share my experience with you all...

I still remember this incident which took place many years ago. I was in the car with my sister when she put on the Quran. SubhanAllah, I couldn’t stand the sound of the Qari reciting. No, it wasn’t the volume…no, it wasn’t the Qari’s voice (which by the way isn’t an excuse)…it was just the sound of the Words of Allah. I was moving my head around trying to avoid listening to it because there was something inside me that felt like it was being tormented by this sound. As soon as I got home I ran to my room, put on music in my headphones and it felt like relief. I felt that pain going away and started enjoying the songs I was listening to.

But it wasn’t just when I heard Quran, anytime my mom reminded me to recite Quran I would find it the most difficult task in the world to simply open the Book of Allah…even that I couldn’t do. Salah even felt like a burden. I would have to force myself to go to Jumuah as well, never enthusiastic about it.

Many years have passed since then, and honestly it wasn’t like one day everything changed, it was perhaps more gradual. But with all that behind me, I learned many things

Perhaps the most important aspect was that all I kept hearing around me were rules and restrictions. Rules for which I didn’t care for at the time. Do-this, do-that. But how long can one do something when he/she doesn’t have full conviction on why it’s being done?

One of the most telling quotes (a quote I always use) is by Aisha (wife of the prophet pbuh) when she said:

"If the first thing revealed in Quran was ‘do not drink khamr (alcohol)’, the people would have said “We are never going to stop drinking”. And if the first thing that was revealed in Quran was telling people ‘do not commit Zina (fornication)’, then the people would have said “We are never going to stop committing Zina (fornication)”. But the first things that were revealed in Quran were the surah(s) of Musafal, which talk about and mention Hellfire and Paradise. (When and) until the hearts were attached to Allah (swt), only then the orders of Haram and Halal came down."

This quote nailed it! SubhanAllah, even in the lives of the sahabas the Deen came down gradually. The first surahs which were revealed were not about fiqh issues and how many salahs one needs to pray, but the first verses were almost entirely about the Hereafter (Day of resurrection, Hellfire and Paradise). And when people’s iman increased, then following rules and regulations was a simple task. Because now they KNEW why they were doing it.

In fact, when the verse forbidding alcohol did come down, some sahabas threw away their drinks, some tried to throw up so it would leave their system, others started to empty the bottles in the streets. As such, the streets of Madina were described as “flowing with whine". No one gave excuses, no one had a hard time accepting what came down...they simply wanted to make their Lord happy with them.

From my personal experience, my heart really opened up when I heard these 3 topics.

1) Paradise – All its wonders and beauties. But key point, most people are not SPECIFIC when they speak about it! When one speaks about paradise, saying things like: ‘you'll have a nice house, nice garden’ just doesn’t cut it. You’ll need to speak about how houses are built with gold bricks; there are hollow pearls 60 miles long built as homes for the believers; there are trees in which a horse would have to speed hundreds of years to just get across its shade.

2) Day of resurrection – Same concept here; the specific details of the “believers” that Day. They will be happy to meet Allah, and He will be happy to meet them. Their faces will shine and illuminate on that Day. For someone who is really far from Allah, scaring them by mentioning what will happen to the disbelievers would be a more risky element to start from.

3) About Allah and His pious servants – Everything good from Him. How He helped those pious servants of His who were in trouble (i.e: prophets, sahabas). How He is the most Merciful, how His Mercy overcomes His wrath. How He is the Most-Loving. And again specific examples of this.

These 3 topics are honestly ALL one needs to get going. Someone who is far from Allah is simply overpowered by Satan and his allies, so that person will frequently turn to movies, music, shopping, etc. Anything to stop the pain they’re in.

I remember my own experience so vividly. I felt like there was a covering around my heart. I felt like I was standing alone in a spacious land where all the clouds had blocked away the sun, and even though people around me were reminding me of good (which was the sunlight trying to get through) my sins (the dark clouds) and the power I had given to the whispers of Satan (more dark clouds) were overwhelming and covering every bit of the sun. But Alhamdulilah there is always hope. No matter how dark the clouds, the sun’s light can still overpower it when it comes closer. And a sun behind the clouds is better than no sun at all.

I felt that by just trying to change (even with very little effort) helped me take away those dark clouds. When just a little bit of sunlight came in, I started to read books upon books on Jannah, and since then it’s been my favorite topic. Now I feel the longer I stay away from remembering Allah, those same clouds start to form again and cover the sun. And when I return to remembering Allah, the clouds start to scatter and move away.

Alhamdulilah I'm extremly grateful for those around me that never gave up on me and provided me with that sunlight because if there is no sun to begin with, then clouds or no clouds, a person remains in darkness.

This reminded me of the days I used to play outside as a child. I would sometimes cry when I had to come back home as I watched the sun depart. The sun going away meant to me that the joys of that day had come to an end and perhaps I would never see them again.

But the most beautiful part about having Iman (faith) is that it’s ALWAYS there. In fact, in the darkest hour of the night is when the sun is at its brightest and the distance between a servant and his Lord is at its shortest.

O Allah, provide for us all a sunlight in our lives and help us towards doing good. Take away the dark clouds which take us in darkness and give us no sense of which days were in. O Allah, help us and forgive us

- your brother in faith, Mohammad Z.