The Messenger of Allah Muhammad [Peace be upon him] is reported to have said:
” If one gives charity it does not diminish his wealth; if one forgives others, Allah bestows more honour on him; and if one humbles himself for Allah’s sake, Allah exalts him higher.” (Hadith-Muslim)
by Ustadha Hosai Mojaddidi
The man you claim to “love” and are eagerly waiting on the sidelines for in the hopes that he’ll see you, is keeping you in the periphery for a reason. He knows perfectly well that he can go on enjoying his game on the field and you’ll still be standing there waiting around when everyone else goes home. You see, he loves the attention you give him. He relishes every minute of it. He loves the power he has over you. He loves that you are so eager to please him. Come rain or shine, he knows that you’ll always be standing there, eagerly waiting for him to just give you a glance…and no matter how difficult the game is he’s playing, unlike everything else he’s got going on, he knows you’re a sure shot. You may be the only guarantee he has in life, which is why his grasp on you is so tight.
He may say all the right things, he may go out of his way to make you feel EXTRA special. Maybe he has a nickname for you and “only” you. He has you convinced that YOU are an exception above all other women, even his wife, which is why he can’t stay away from you. If he’s really good, he’ll periodically pull the “I’m feeling guilty” card and disappear for a while. Then, in poetic fashion, he’ll reappear and tell you how “impossible” it was to forget you, how he thought of you every day and just needed to see you again!
Sounds so amazing doesn’t it? After all, what woman doesn’t want to believe that she’s irresistible? What woman doesn’t want a man to make her feel that she has a special power, above all other women in his life, to make him weak?
He’s figured out that by sticking to this solid script he can manipulate you to do pretty much anything he wants you to and believe anything he tells you.
Now, I know it’s hard for you to hear these things about the man you “love”. After all, he’s so sweet and such a good man otherwise. He has a good heart, he may even go to the masjid, help raise funds for charitable causes, and be an all-around “good guy”. How can such a man be capable of intentionally manipulating you? He’s not evil! He loves you…you know it, you feel it…he just can’t be with you because his life is so difficult. He’s sacrificing his own happiness (which is being with you) because of his family, his children, his parents…you feel so sorry for him but it makes you love him even more that he’s so noble…
Hold up…let’s rewind for just a second.
No one is saying that he’s evil. Being a man who is caught up in this toxic situation and one who is otherwise a relatively “good Muslim” are not mutually exclusive. Throughout history, even in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), men (and women) have fallen into this dangerous trap of shaitan. So, no one is denying that he has virtues. He is caught up in the addictive cycle the same as you are, just for different reasons. But that’s a whole other topic all together. We’re focusing on you right now.
Now, I want you to indulge me for just a moment and consider the possibility that what you perceive as “love” for this person is not as pretty and romantic as you think but it’s actually something else, something that is actively harming you. How many nights have you cried yourself to sleep because of the loneliness, the feelings of neglect? How many times have you beaten yourself up wondering why he’s not with you or why he didn’t choose YOU as his wife? How many times have you felt sick to your stomach over the guilt? Is that what you imagined you’d feel when you met “the one”? Or did you imagine someone who RECIPROCATED your feelings, and not just by word, but by action?
Didn’t you imagine that when you found the person you were created for that he would be loyal to you, be there for you when you needed him, take care of you when you were sick, honor your friends and family, wipe away your tears when you were down, and be proud to walk side by side with you, just as you were proud to do so with him? If you did, then you were right. That is how a man and woman who are in love behave with one another.
I’m certain you didn’t imagine that being in love meant that you would be hidden, like someone’s shameful secret. Unfortunately, despite the intensity and authenticity of your feelings for him, despite the fact that you already have and would probably continue sacrificing yourself, your principles, your reputation, your family’s honor, your spiritual health, etc., for him, he is not willing to do what it takes to be with you.
That would take honesty on his part. It would take for him to sacrifice many things that are part of the life he’s created…but he’s not willing to do that, which is why his promises to you will most likely NEVER be fulfilled. He is not willing to lose it all for you…if he was, he’d already have done it and wouldn’t be stringing you along as he has been.
Trust me when I say that a man in love will move mountains to be with the woman he loves. A man in lust, a man addicted to the attention his ego gets from such relationships, a man who cannot control his desires, will NOT. He will just continue to fulfill his desires. He will keep the addiction going as long as the supply is there and he can continue getting whatever he wants out of it. The moment his needs are no longer being met he will disappear completely. What does that mean for you? It means that the moment you stop giving in to him, the moment you stop showing up at the games, the moment he no longer sees you on the sidelines, he will dispose of you without a second thought…and unless he gets help, he’ll move on to his next conquest.
So, please my dear sister, do not be someone who lets ANYONE treat you like you are disposable. Do you realize who you are? I know this relationship has probably worn down your self-image and self-worth, but let me remind you that you have been honored by Allah (swt) to not only be a Muslim, but to be in the ummah of the Best of Creations (peace be upon him). Much of the Prophets life mission, even up until his last moments on earth, were to fight for YOUR rights as a woman, to be honored, to be cherished, to be loved, to be respected. You deserve better than this. You were not created to be used by someone and have your rights and honor stripped from you in the process. Would he ever allow someone to do this to his sister, to his daughter? Of course not! So what gives him the right to do it to you? It’s because what you risk losing is not as important as what he risks gaining from you. He does not care that you are in a state of perpetual heartache, that you cry when you are not with him, or that you have possibly missed out on so much of your life being caught up in this vicious cycle.
Please get out and seek help. There are professionals who can help you, people who will never judge you or ever expose you. They will do whatever they can to guide you out of this, inshAllah. You just have to believe that with Allah (swt) anything is possible. If you are sincere, in the blink of an eye, he can remove these feelings from your heart and set you free. Return to Him. He loves you, He loves your tears of repentance more than you can ever know. I promise you, if you surrender to Him, you can and will overcome this inshAllah. You just have to value yourself as much as He (azza wajal) has valued you and take the first step.
Allah (swt) said: “I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself. And if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” (Hadist Qudsi: Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
Have you ever wondered why it is difficult to concentrate in your prayer? Or why your faith throughout the year is not on a high like it is during Ramadan or through Hajj? Maybe it is because we usually jump straight from a phone conversation into Takbir or because we just go with the flow in Ramadan and are influenced by the environment around us and not our own ‘real’ feelings.
A lot of us usually live life and have our faith dependent on an upcoming major event i.e. “I’m going to start reading a page of Quran a day as soon as Ramadan starts; I’m going to start praying Qiyam every night when I come back from hajj; or, I’m going to stop smoking when my child is born.” And because of this way of thinking we usually end up with an anticlimax; we don’t end up giving up smoking, we don’t end up praying Qiyam and we start reading Quran but then get back to our normal old self after a few days or weeks.
This is because these ‘statements’ or ‘feelings’ are based on impulse and not a real thought out plan. We usually don’t prepare for Ramadan or hajj or have a plan for our faith to stay at the increase; we just go with the flow and expect it all to happen. Well, it doesn’t!
Wouldn’t you love to enter the month of Ramadan on a real high and have the effects of this beautiful month be a permanent impact on your life thereafter?
How can this be done? Below are the 8 steps for a Legacy of a Ramadan.
Step 1 – Create a Ramadan Count Down
Counting down for Ramadan (whether it is done mentally or by keeping physical signs around the home or office) will help create hype and buzz in your mind and amongst the people around you. When you and others are counting down to the same event, it becomes part of regular conversation and excitement spreads.
Step 2 – Seek knowledge about Ramadan
This will help you ensure you will do things correctly and perfectly for Ramadan, it will create a hype as there are many motivational aspects and events in the month to look forward to and finally it is a reward reaper. The more you know about Ramadan the more you can apply, hence multiplying your rewards.
Step 3 – Make a Ramadan plan
Be it reading the entire Quran, ensuring you pray taraweeh every night or inviting families over for iftaar; make a list of things you would like to achieve in the month and then how you plan on achieving these goals. It is important that goals are realistic and it is better that your life doesn’t need to entirely take a different road in this month (i.e. take the month off work or change work hours etc.) so that you may continue to do these deeds after Ramadan. Knowing what you want to achieve in the month will help you stay focused. Ensure you plan your day every night before you sleep when Ramadan starts (try to continue this even after Ramadan).
Step 4 – Know your life
Be aware if Ramadan affects anything that is happening in the month or shortly after. Do you have exams during Ramadan? Or is there a major family wedding after Ramadan by a short time? Moving house? If so, plan for these events from now. Study now so that you are prepared for the exams before the month starts. Be packed and ready to go before Ramadan or plan that you do it after so that it doesn’t take time away from your worship. The last thing you want to do is spend Ramadan at the shopping centres. Buy any Eid presents and prepare for any wedding before the month starts.
Step 5 – Prepare spiritually
We all know that Ramadan is about Fasting, Praying, Reading Quran and giving in charity. Start these worships early; don’t expect to just click into it as soon as the first day of Ramadan starts. Start doing extra prayers from now, start revising and regularly reading Quran now, get used to being generous and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and fast during Sha’baan.
Step 6 – Prepare your mind
Fasting is to refrain from more than just what we consume in our mouth. Start working on your patience; be extra vigilant with your conversations: ensure you are not backbiting, slandering or talking about useless things.
Step 7 – Say ‘good riddance’ to bad habits
Know what bad habits you have and stop them from now, don’t wait until Ramadan begins. If you sleep late, start sleeping early, if you are a Facebook junky start cutting down, have a coffee craze, slow it down etc. It might sound much easier said then done, but once you’ve committed yourself, purified your intentions – make sincere dua for guidance. Insh’Allah, these bad habits will be easier done with than you ever expected.
Step 8 – Plan your life around your worship
For instance; instead of working through your prayer or setting up meeting etc., at prayer times, plan that you have a break at prayer time. Don’t take your phone with you to the place you pray and forget the world as you stand between the hands of the almighty Allah(glorified and exalted be He).
- by Wesam Kerayem
by Jill Stark
Happy ever after: We want it for ourselves, we want it for our kids, and we want it now. But what if everything we know about happiness is a lie? What if the relentless pursuit of pleasure is in fact making us miserable?
A growing number of psychologists and social researchers now believe that the ”feel-good, think positive” mindset of the modern self-help industry has backfired, creating a culture where uncomfortable emotions are seen as abnormal. And they warn that the concurrent rise of the self-esteem movement – encouraging parents to shower their children with praise – may be creating a generation of emotionally fragile narcissists.
Some therapists believe this positivity obsession is partly to blame for rising rates of binge drinking, drug use and obesity. The more that genuine contentment eludes us, the more we seek to fill the gap with manufactured highs. But as we try to anaesthetise feelings of sadness, failure and disappointment, our rates of depression and anxiety continue to climb.
”So many people now think, ‘If I’m not happy, there’s something wrong with me.’ We seem to have forgotten that feelings are like the weather – changing all the time; it’s as normal to feel unhappy as it is to have rainy days,” said Russ Harris, a British-born Australian doctor and author of The Happiness Trap, in which he argues popular wisdom on happiness is misleading and destined to make you miserable. ”Painful emotions are increasingly seen as unnatural and abnormal and we refuse to accept that we can’t always get what we want.”
As the ”happiness industry” of life coaches and self-help gurus has exploded, parents have been taught that self-esteem is the cardinal virtue for raising well-adjusted kids.
But it has had unexpected consequences. Researchers say the value of hard work has been replaced by the belief that every child is ”special” – a phenomenon fuelled by rampant consumerism and reality TV shows, which promise: ”If you want it enough you can have anything.”
Some of the world’s leading happiness experts now fear that the self-esteem juggernaut will leave future generations hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with life’s disappointments.
On Wednesday, some of those experts will converge on Melbourne for the Happiness and Its Causes conference. Among the delegates will be
Harris, and Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University. ”More and more, parents are unwilling to let their children struggle,” she says. ”They want them to feel good at all times so they’re telling them how smart they are, they’re really showering them with what we call person praise – ‘you’re talented, you’re smart, you’re special.’ My research shows it backfires. It makes kids worried and tells them that the name of the game is to be smart.
”Then, when we give them harder problems they don’t do well and they lie about their performance because their ego gets so wrapped up in all of this. But if we give them what we call process praise – ‘you focused well, you tried hard, you used good strategies’ – then it makes them want hard things, where they can apply their effort and strategies and be resilient.”
Professor Dweck urges parents to talk to their children not just about their victories but their struggles. Like Harris, she maintains that accepting setbacks and unpleasant emotions, rather than trying to block them out, is the key to building resilience.
Already, clinicians are seeing the first casualties of the self-esteem movement entering therapy.
In a 2011 Atlantic article, US psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb reported that many young adults – largely from happy, loving, advantaged homes – were feeling confused, anxious and empty due to overprotective parenting that focused too much on happiness and shielded them from adversity. Thrust into the real world, even minor setbacks became catastrophic.
Australian social researcher Hugh Mackay addresses these issues in his latest book, The Good Life: What Makes a Life Worth Living, and says we must look beyond the pursuit of success and happiness as life’s main aspirations.
He believes that the self-help movement, which took off in the 1980s as a well-meaning antidote to rising rates of depression in Western society – born out of a turbulent period of social, economic and technological change – has morphed into a beast that sells happiness as a commodity.
”It’s been hijacked by the pop psychology movement to suggest that we’ve all got to look for positive outcomes, that we’ve all got to be bright, shining optimists and extroverts. It’s become an industry – there are conferences about it and a whole spate of books and talk shows and people on the lecture circuit who are feeding this idea that one of our emotions [happiness] is sovereign and that should be our default position.”
Instead of viewing happiness as an entitlement, Mackay maintains that a sense of wholeness and meaning is what brings satisfaction. Indeed, he points out that even those in the Buddhist faith are starting to question the Dalai Lama’s tenet that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness.
”We have to nurture our relationships, our engagements with other people, our responsibility for other people’s wellbeing – that’s what nurtures community, and we are sustained by those communities,” Mackay says. ”If we focus only on happiness we’re neglecting the richness of the full emotional spectrum and we’re overlooking the fact that you couldn’t make sense of happiness if you didn’t know sadness.”
New Zealand psychologist Chris Skellett knows this only too well. His book, When Happiness Is Not Enough, explores how a fulfilling life can only be achieved by balancing being happy in the moment, with a drive towards longer-term goals.
When he speaks at the conference this week it will be from a position of tragic, lived experience. Last month, his 21-year-old son Henry died suddenly and unexpectedly. While processing overwhelming grief, his understanding of the importance of the full range of human emotions has never been greater.
”The loss gives you access to a wonderful array of very real human experiences, especially the connection between people,” Skellett say. ”Sadness is tinged with an incredibly profound depth of appreciation of life. You’re acutely aware of what’s important. A lot of the things that preoccupied me before seem rather trite and superficial now. Now, I’m much more connected to the little things. I’m much more profoundly moved by music. A walk in the evening just seems like a gift.”