Warnings about the Caprices of the Ego

The ney flute being played in the background holds a significant meaning. The ney is an ancient Middle Eastern flute. The hollow sound of the ney showcase a longing for God. While I reflect on the lines of the Qasida Burdah, the sentiments of the reed flute which says “Whoever remains far from where they […]

Path of Shukrulillah

When people ask how are you? They meant to ask about your soul. The question is really, how is the state of your soul right now?

A lot of people asked me, and I can’t help but to reply “down”.

Because what’s more worrying than the state of our souls.

“Pray for me”, greatly appreciate a dua instead.

7 different mistakes, doesn’t seem to be a good thing especially in this holy month of Ramadan.

And I can’t tell if I placed my standards high for a weak soul like mine.

But in all due, even having passing through this 7 doings, it’s important to be in a state of gratitude for every each of it.

Alhamdulillah.

Not because of the bad. But because the bad makes you see that the good comes from Him.

Let the awareness of our faults be a veil from our stations but not a veil from Allah and the need of Him.

This is the path of shukrulillah. Path of gratitude.

Emotional Validation

Sometimes a relationship ends, and just as much as you go around asking people for their opinions, everyone points their fingers at you saying that it was your fault. So the frustration to explain yourself debilitates the whole process. You face rejections instead of understanding. You blame yourself for the outcome. And then when you get back, and that if you do, you get so afraid of saying “I want this.”, “I need this.” because the mind fears losing the same person the next time.


Just like a child, a child is weak, it attaches to its caretaker, no matter if the caretaker has the ability to provide healthy nurturance or not. The child at its innocent stage still attaches itself to its caretaker. The caretaker could have expressed anger at the child’s needs. Conversely, the caretaker could have withheld attention or nurturance when the child is angry, causing the child to repress their own needs. To the child, losing the attention and affection of the one providing it is a scary thing. Thus he/she learns to repress his/her needs in order to keep the attention and affection of the one providing it.


But what creates the whole dynamic is that in the future, the cycle repeats. Because you weren’t confident in voicing your needs and what works best for you, it leads to indecisiveness which slowly causes withdrawal. If you stay, you allow less than what you want, and then you wonder its worth. No, you wonder about Your worth. And if you withdraw, you wonder if you don’t deserve to be treated like you belong and you wonder if you don’t deserve love.


Some days you’re In and other days you’re out. Just like your emotions, sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down. It’s instable because it hasn’t learned to understand itself and its needs. It settles for less yet the heart hesitates. It settles for how people treat you rather than how you want people to treat you.


There’s no shame in being vulnerable. There’s no shame in asking if you do not know. There’s no shame in wanting what you need. And there’s no shame, in standing solo.

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I had a very good conversation with my sister last night and she gave me good advice,

“Not everyone is nice enough to give you closure. Sometimes you just have to learn how to love yourself.”

Build self-confidence in order to speak authentically. Love yourself first in order to know true intimacy.

Faqir 

In our foolishness at times we question will I find a job as good as this? Will I find like-minded people as in line as my goals as this? We fear of taking the risk, we fear losing company. Yet we hold on to something that doesn’t work anymore. Every time we say I’m lonely, I’m lacking, He says I’m here I’m here. We grapple, we face discrimination, we endure obstacles, we limit growth. We basically fear of losing. What if we choose to finally let go of what we can’t control and have the freedom to choose how we wish our life would be like, and we choose to be happy. Maybe it’s in the losing, we’ll find. Do not take it as social maladjustment that needs to be dealt with, when not in one bit do they sit and support your growth in any way. How in giving up we renounce the ego, renounce the nafs and we realize the ease there is when we go with the flow. I find myself in a lot of thoughts lately. Some, Alhamdulillah, are from a higher mind and some are totally the opposite, just psychologically exhausting. But these are the deepest pit of fall and the highest rise for me. They say the level of breakdown equals the level of breakthrough. I thought about how people give their bodies as a means to relieve their difficulties but still be in emotional numbness. I thought about how people endure romantic abuse at the expense of their self-esteem. I thought about how foolish some women are who choose to believe and date unavailable married men. I thought about how giving a payback doesn’t have to be dark and dirty, it could be passing the contact of a criminal lawyer to someone in grieve need, and I’ve done that before. Through all these thoughts it felt like God was telling me something.

“You are a doorway to the salvation of every sinner who attaches himself to you”

I found myself smiling a lot after I met those girls in the Road 2 Remembrance initiative 2 days back. Road 2 remembrance is a group of girls who come together through social media to have tasbih making sessions to give it out during Ramadan on the streets. They reminded me of my soul searching days. 

They reminded me of that early 30s divorcee who followed me around for company but every time during the breaking of fast she would look around in anxiety anticipating her ex and eventually told me her story after our volunteerism at Darul Arqam on the way home.

They reminded me of that girl who chased after me and stopped me when I was going off with my friends after our sharings at an all-girls usrah event, to tell me that she was touched and inspired by my story, then gave me the warmest hug and made the most sincere dua for me. 

They reminded me of that one home I visited under an organization called Apex that I was volunteering with and there was this Nenek (grandmother) whose son just got out of prison and was taking care of her by himself and all the other siblings left them and to make matters worst, their inheritance was taken away so they became poor. After telling us their story, that motherly lovely nenek said to us that if it’s easy for us to do visit her again. She kissed all of us on the cheeks and told us countless times that she was utterly grateful for our presence. Her loneliness made me felt so compelled to bring her company and put a smile on her face that I asked the organization for some details and permission post-event. 

Even today after meeting up with someone I know, I couldn’t focus on my own sadness, because there are people whose problem is sadder than mine, whose confidence is more limited than mine and whose heart is more broken than mine. Being on the other side of the table this time, I realize that a dua is more befitting for that soul. And it brought with me a heavy heart. 

I finally found the courage to remind myself this; let go once again and take it as an opportunity for intimacy with God. You have a lot more to heal and you have a lot more of your soul in you to give.

Find a way to your innermost secret. Let no other perception distract you. -Rumi

Purpose of place: finding Allah through life’s mission

I really love the approach of Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes when it comes to spirituality. Imbuing spirituality with social issues, which I find personally relatable when it comes to the teaching or therapeutic lines like counseling or psychology. It was a privilege to have him here all the way from the US and to remind us once again to use our gifts and our skills in service to Allah swt and to know our true purpose with our spouses and our children.

Last year on his more intimate ‘Youth Activism: Unlock Your Potential Being’ workshop, Shaykh Mendes asked us to look within and to recognize what are the things you are most mad about and what are the things you stand up for. That will be the clue to figuring out your life mission in bringing about change in the community. Then to think of what you’re going to do for the next 6 months to bring about that change. A brother bravely shared with us that he had experienced losing himself in drinking and smoking, so he plans to open up a boxing training center for people who struggles with similar issues to divert their attention to a healthier lifestyle and also to provide a space to release pent up anger. Syabas! 😀

This year in his ‘Purpose of Place: Finding Allah through Life’s Mission’ workshop, it reminded me again of what I believed in. 3 years ago, I found peace, authenticity and Allah ﷻ through that although it wasn’t something religious. And I too wondered why were there a lot of people who opened up to me with their stories. Not only people of my age but also people who were older than me and they’d always expressed gratitude and ease after our conversations. This non-religious complicated thing that I had a passion for yet resonates with the sentence “man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa Rabbahu”, which means “he who knows himself knows his Lord” which Allah has said in the Quran. I then find it interesting how he mentioned in his ‘The Way of Love: Joys and Realities of Marriage’ workshop about the 4 temperaments, which is a proto-psychological theory that suggests four fundamental personality types and that each of the 4 temperaments is connected 4 basic fundamental energies such as hot, cold, dry and wet. But what I found interesting was that he states that as our nafs. You have to understand your nafs, your spouse’s nafs, your children’s nafs. The positive sides of the temperaments are his or her strengths and if is compatible, achieve goodness while the negative sides of the temperaments are what you have to work on as a couple. However, marriage is like a spiritual path. With humility, it can make you a saint. What I meant by that is maybe the difficulty is not in embracing our differences after all. Maybe it is in overcoming our pride and opening our minds beyond what is comfortable. And it has a way of crushing our ego and conjure us to learn how to love unconditionally. And with patience, it promises you paradise. “So be patient, with a beautiful patience” [70:5]. How can we say we are marrying for our deen and for the purpose of purifying our nafs, if following the words of the Quran itself is a hard thing to do. With true love, strong marriages teach you Rahmah, Mawaddah, and Sakinah. Make time for Allah, give yourself space to just be with Allah, even if it’s in a marriage.

You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your
days.
Yes, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but each one of you be
alone–even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver
with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not in each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the Cyprus grow not in each other’s shadows

– Kahlil Gibran, on Marriage from The Prophet

because in a physical world where zahir is usually more important, Allah will allow a sincere heart to reach something it longs for, if not in zahir, in batin. The beauty of it is that contradicting as it sounds, it will grow two hearts closer. This, however, will be hard, if we do not take responsibility for our selves. The wounded child that helplessly attaches itself onto others out of anxiety or loneliness. Connecting intimately with a greater entity, in another word, learning tasawwuf, helps us control these negativities.

Shaykh also said that we as Muslims are meant to go back to our deen al-fitrah in order to find out our purpose. Which then in his ‘Prophetic Parenting: Raising God Conscious Children in the 21st Century’ workshop, he brought up the meaning of Rabb as “to nurture one up to its perfected form”, which comes from the root word yurrabi, meaning to raise a child. Masya Allah.. Just like the concept of tarbiyah, in counseling, we have our inner child to raise in order to complete each of its needed developmental stages so that one can grow mentally. How many times do we hear people say ‘grow up’ and then be perplexed at how childish and irresponsible we were at that point. And how at times we feel like we are torturing ourselves from the pain we have to face while losing ourselves mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. We had a break out session and we were told to share what our dreams are to our group mates. I shared with my group that I aspire to open up a center where people can seek both professional counseling/psychological therapy and just like what Sout Ilaahi is doing, providing lectures, workshops, activities, and events on spirituality and traditional Islamic sciences for the masses. Therefore my greatest wish is to put the two together.

Just like what Shaykh Mendes said, it doesn’t mean we give you the hasbunallahu wa’nimal wakeel to recite, that will cure you. That hasbunallahu wa’nimal wakeel is to turn you to a solution and that not all kinds of illnesses can be cured with awrad. But that awrad is a means of attaining aspirations for the disciple at the same time discipline the soul to be in the remembrance of Allah. Thus my idea is to provide such a resource for people by collaborating with spiritual events, reveling the Prophetic teachings. He too, pointed out a very good point for all of us in his closed-door session ‘Wisdom in Action: Dealing with Contemporary Social Issues’, quoting Theodore Roosevelt;

“They don’t care about what you know, but they want to know whether you care.” – Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

He reassured me, that just like the Prophet ﷺ , he catered to the needs of his sahabahs who came to him with worldly issues and did not dismiss them.

Alhamdulillah for such RE-flections. His visit here was extremely beneficial and his words just healed me. I am writing this to show that your deepest inner struggles can be your light, and sometimes Allah gives you such pain in your early life so that sooner or later it knocks on your heart to find that mission. Remember that the job that is earning you money doesn’t necessarily be your purpose. ❤️

May the things we do be in service to Allah swt.

Sincerity after dispossessing

Sometimes when I regress, I do wonder if I need a spiritual path or a professional counseling therapy? Sometimes I asked myself, wasn’t Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s life filled with love and peace between his brethren and his wives? He Sallallahu alaihi wasallam was a simple man, he is so loving and merciful, his relationships with others were filled with love and compassion. Oh, this heart yearns to be filled with his love and mercy that this broken soul couldn’t find in this world.

And this broken soul is trying to stand on her own two feet.

How all of these can be so exhausting to the mind and the spiritual state. He gave you that opportunity for balance because you are torn in the middle and He doesn’t burden you with more than what you could bear. If a break is needed, it’s fine. As long as you saw His mercy in it, you are still with Him. Why torture yourself from the pain you harbor? But Rumi says if you are irritated with every rub, how will you be polished?

Help yourself and work yourself up. The confidence is in you. Don’t worry, Allah has mercy over all His creations. He will help you. He will be with you wherever you are and he is Ar- Rabb, the one who nurtures you up to your perfected form. If you feel like you are missing out, remember that Shaykh Ahmad Saad said, the best tool for understanding the Quran is life experiences itself.

The ego never wants it. Just leave it. Leave the problems. Leave the nafs. Renounce everything. Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse said “people think too much of their problems. They don’t think of Allah. If they think and remember Allah, there is no problem there is only Allah.” And it’s true, we won’t stay together in each other’s presence long enough if it’s not for the sake of Allah ﷻ. Not being able to run away from this, all I see is his ﷺ power that binds us together and reunites us, because no matter what our souls recognize each other, we yearn for the same thing, and we will surely be tested with every intention that we make.

With this, I would like to share with you guys a man by the name of Mahmoud Darwish. He was one of the real-life diasporas. As a poet and an author, he uses Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of paradise, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He has been described as incarnating and reflecting “the tradition of the political poet in Islam, the man of action whose action is poetry.”

In one of his poetry, he says,

“and I ordered my heart to be patient; be neutral, as if you weren’t mine.” – Mahmoud Darwish

As similar to life itself, in dispossessing what we think is ours, deprived of control, in losing and detachment, there’s intimacy with an entity Greater than this world. Rid of the jealousy, we go out to the world with a heart of kindness and unconditional love. With inner strength. With the possibility of a raised station. With the companion of that something Greater. To finally be alone with the alone.


A special language spoken between two spiritual lovers, Rumi and Shams were. How the reed-flute yearns to reunite with the reedbed. And how every broken hearts seek to love the Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wasallam. How can we write our own poems in our hearts if the world and our problems mattered more?


Indeed, we have to love with the integrity of feelings and give with the generosity of hands.

Alexithymia part 2

via Daily Prompt: Hesitate

“You can have some time with him”

Oh I wasn’t ready for this.

Worried. I grew silent. A few seconds later my hands turned into cold sweat. Speechless. I ruminate silently. It was closer to my turn. My pulse raise. I grew anxious. Nervous, I turned to my friend asking for assurance. “Anything? I can say anything? But what if it’s more of a feeling?”. As the time passes, it felt like my stomach was twisting. Pretence. I wasn’t calm at all. But I was trying to calm myself down. Because I knew that this was an opportunity I shouldn’t waste once again.  As I continued ruminating, it felt like I was digging myself into a hole. Deeper and more deeper. As if every time the clock ticks, I’m choking on myself even tighter. I looked around, I looked at the time, I looked at my friends. I didn’t know what to say. My mind went blank. I gave up, I’d rather not think. I didn’t want the door to open. Let them prolong their conversations. I wish. But that didn’t happened.

“Aishya, your turn”, he said

I jumped up, my anxieties peaked. I was still considering at that very last minute. Pushed at the edge I was, when I saw him getting mad and impatient. Just three seconds passed, he immediately asked another to take my spot. Right at the same time “It’s okay, I think I’m not meeting him”, I decided on impulse.

I knew very well in what state I was in, immediately, embarrassed to face everyone in the living room, I went into the room, all alone. Sat myself down beside my bag and tried to calm myself down. Giving myself another chance to give it a second thought. Failed to, the displeasures of the rush and rejection just consumed me. My anxieties consumed me. My pain consumed me. My hands were still in cold sweat. I needed to get away. I picked my bag up and went off.

While I was walking off quickly, as if the fast pace could allow me to run away from my feelings, my thoughts consumed me so much, my face flushed, I was holding my anger in, holding my anger in, holding my anger in until my tears fell. And I was lucky. Very lucky, that nobody was around the blocks that night. I allowed myself to burst out crying even though I was in public. While I was still walking, it just kept on falling, and I kept on wiping my tears off, with both hands, like a child. I was mad, upset and nervous all at the same time.

That night I didn’t have my friend to accompany me home. But I thought I really needed someone to talk things out to. So I texted my friend and told my friend that my past feelings were recurring and that due to me feeling very empty, detached and indifferent, a lot of things came crashing down recently. The anxieties, it happened to me terribly in 2012 and I am surprised it finally happened again that night. I couldn’t pretend, the accumulated hurt made me realize that I couldn’t pretend to be okay. But once I was reminded that it’s the lower self that brings up the thoughts of running away, I knew that I needed to put myself in a healthier environment for the moment. I knew that I needed to heal this poor soul.

And that was the problem. The huge main problem. I didn’t have any queries nor complains. How would I have? When the route way out is always to dissolve things at the back of my mind. I didn’t know how people could run towards help, I run the other way.

Battling with trying to be heard and validated, my emotions sometimes leaves me dry and confused. At times it does destroys my ability to feel, articulate and so to ask. Bringing into consciousness a suppressed feeling could land me to express them either in confusion, anger or frustration at times.

A false belief that I could hold on to my own rope on my own. Albeit I can’t. Ruminating is a one way ticket to further negative self thoughts but we often dismiss it. An avoidant gone sullen, trying to care for my own well being, I wish people could be more accepting so I could be more accepting. But in trying to control what you are in no control of, they say what if He’s asking you to break?


 

“I want you in the house but not in my room… unless I invite you” – what an avoidant would say

Though the only person who is ego-less and merciful  enough ‘to go into my room and hang out with me’ is my mother. They say if you wanna see a person’s true character towards you.. watch how they treat you when at times they can’t benefit off of you. That’s why they say mothers are the closest to the teachings of the Sufis. She showed me a lot about sincerity and divinity. May Allah love her and grant her happiness in both this life and the hereafter. May her light nurture us all. And may Allah raise her station and make her be among those who are His friend. Ameen!