The actions of patience

How often, in times of difficulty, have we reached out to others, to our Imams, or our friends or family and are told, “Patience” (Sabr) “Have patience”?

How often are we told this, but then are not given the proper steps or directions needed to rectify the circumstances we find ourselves in?

I have had first hand experience several times and have always walk away frustrated and confused.  It was not until I really began to unravel the true definition of patience that I realized the advice of “have patience” is not enough, unless we know and understand what it means.

Because many of us do not know the true meaning of patience, we take the advice to mean, sit back, continue with your daily routine, and wait.

What exactly are we waiting for?

Are we waiting for some miraculous lightning strike, some mysterious turn of events? Do we think that we will wake up someday and everything will be fixed?

This is what most people think when they hear the phrase “Have patience”

In the famous words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for ya?”

It isn’t working, is it? In fact, it sounds very similar to old definition of insanity that most human service workers, counselors, etc.  are taught:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (Albert Einstein)


What needs to happen is a bit of education. We need gain a deep understanding of the definition of patience.

The Wikipedia definition of patience is “the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.”

The Islamic definition includes all of this along with forbearance, perseverance, determination, fortitude, constancy , steadfastness, and restraint of ones self to that which is dictated by divine law. All of which are virtues that we must turn into actions. Breaking the definition down even more:

  • To be steadfast in obedience of Allah
  • To be steadfast in avoiding what is prohibited
  • To be patient at the onset of calamity

More importantly, in Islam it is understood that Allah will test us with loss, hardship, and difficulty. It is understood that when we are being tested, that we are to remain patient.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem


“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to as-sabirun (the patient ones).” [Qur’an 2:155]

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and not be tested.” (29:2)


When we are faced with trials, we are not to react in extreme anger, we are not to complain to others who have no way to help us, and we are not to jump into making irrational decisions.

However, we are human, right? Emotions erupt, don’t they? When we are attacked, when we are faced with loss, when we are faced with disaster, or calamity, or turmoil, our human weakness becomes more apparent. Our first instinct is of raw emotion. And, shaytan is just waiting to jump in, catch us at our weakest, disturb events even more, and attempt to pull us far from Allah. Once that anger takes over, Shaytan has arrived! Shaytan has won that round of discontent and is relying on our weakness to win round 2, 3, and 4.

When we begin to feel overwhelmed we need to do all we can to seek Allah’s help and protection from the Shaytan. We need to seek refuge with Allah. “I seek refuge with Allah from shaytan, the cursed one.”  “Audhu billahi min ash-shaitanir rajeem.” 

Once we have sought protection with Allah from the cursed Shaytan, take a breath, be patient. This is where the actions of patience must begin. Here is where we can gain the Blessings of Allah, InshaAllah.

If we can check ourselves, hold back that initial anger, that initial reaction, and immediately seek protect with Allah and seek Allah’s help and guidance  (action) we begin to calm. And, if we continue to ask only from Allah as part of our daily routine (action) , if we crawl out of our warm beds in the early morning hours to seek Allah’s help (action) , to cry opening to Allah (action) , and if we remember Allah throughout our day (action), our struggles become less overwhelming. And, if we do this, if our intentions are pure, if we are patient (with intention and action)we are showered with blessings from Allah.

When we utilize the actions of patience, we may not immediately understand why we are going through certain trials, or we may not immediately be removed from the trials. However, we will begin to feel relief in the knowledge that we have reached out to our Creator to seek His assistance. We will put our trust in our Creator, the only One who we should be putting our utmost trust in during these trials.

When we begin to feel that raw anger, stop, breathe and take the time to sit with it before reacting and be sure to seek Allah’s guidance and assistance (an action of patience).

As Muslims, when we are angry or highly frustrated, we are told to make wudu (action) because wudu will prevent us from increased anger and prevent us from taking the wrong action .

Narated By Atiyyah as-Sa’di :  The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) as saying: “Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.”

Good advice! Wudu will stop us from committing the wrong action! When we stop, take a breath, make wudu (action), run to Allah (action), put our heads to the ground in prayer in seeking guidance , forgiveness, and assistance (action, action, action), our anger begins to subside.

Although the trial is not immediately removed, or changed it in the way we may want (immediate gratification), we are being heard. Remember always, Allah hears our call and He responds.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

“When my servants ask you ( Oh, Muhammad PBUH) concerning Me, tell them I am indeed close (to them by My Knowledge). I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me so that they be led aright.” (2:186)


There will be a bit of “waiting”, of letting the fog lift, of letting things settle, and letting our emotions adjust.  However, within that waiting is action:

  • Action in the form of seeking Allah’s help and knowing that He is the only one who can truly help, truly guide, and truly forgive.
  • Action in the form of increasing our remembrance of Allah, increasing our duaa, increasing our connection is needed.

We need to take these steps, these actions! He is waiting for us!

So, when we are told “have patience” take that advice and be sure to follow the actions of patience!

We may not believe that our supplications, our duaa, have been answered because we do not get what we expect or we want, however our duaa ARE answered with the best of answers. It could be that what we want is not good for us. Therefore, Allah is about to replace that with something which IS good for us. Something harmful may have been removed from our path in place of our duaa. Or, something we have done that was not so nice is being forgiven.

What is required of us? Patience!

Patience also comes in the form of what we can do for ourselves. While we are putting our trust in Allah, we also need to be proACTIVE!

We need to ask ourselves:

  • What do we need to do as we struggle through the difficulties?
  • What are our priorities?
  • What are our responsibilities?
  • What do we need to do to be patient while being accountable and making the correct changes?

Do we need to walk away from something that is not good for us? Do we need to accept something that we may not like because it is good for us? What do we need to do to fulfill our obligations? What is our “to do” list? And, our “what not to do” list? Do we need to look for new employment, new housing, more knowledge, new associations? Do we need to remove ourselves from certain people, certain circumstances, certain perceptions?

All of these steps that we may need to take require a connection to Allah through seeking guidance, through the prayers of Istikhara. This is a must as Allah knows best and can help clarify our decisions for us.

SubhanAllah, if we can take a step back, breathe, and call upon Allah, we will benefit with blessings for enduring, with true patience, what Allah has placed on us here on Earth.

It is also an opportunity for us to have sins removed. An opportunity to get closer to Jannah and further from Jahannam.

The Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) show us examples of patience/sabr and the rewards of true patience.

One of the most beautiful Hadith on patience is narrated by Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said, “The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but he remains patient till Allah removes his difficulties.) And an impious wicked person is like a pine tree which keeps hard and straight till Allah cuts (breaks) it down when He wishes.”

So, be patient with whatever Allah wills upon us. Bend with the wind, endure!


Some ayah on patience in the Qur’an:

And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.” (42:43)

“And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and As Sabirun (the patient)” 47:31

So, why are we tested?

As Muslims we know why. We know that Allah is Most Merciful, Most Forgiving, and Most Patient. In times of struggle, hardship, loss, and sadness we put our heads down and ask for His help alone.

We do not turn away!

We grab this opportunity to get even closer to Allah. And, when we are patient in all of our affairs, even while faced with temptation, with desire, stress, sadness, with ill-health, with calamity or loss, we are rewarded. Patience is a great weapon for the believers. When we go through troubles, illness, and difficulty, remember that Allah’s plans are the best of plans.

Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience”. (Al Bukhari and Muslim)


SubhanAllah! Do you see? Even the slightest hurt, if endured with patience, is rewarded!

This is why when we are faced with distress, we still say “Alhamdulillah”


Patience…..Sabr…… What is our reward?

“Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final Home!” (13:24)

Patience is required:

“By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Surah al Asr)


When we are blessed with health, love, family, sustenance, goodness, happiness, be thankful to Allah.

And, when we are faced with hardship, endure with patience, and turn to Allah.


Self reflection and discovery

A time to heal.

Hard lessons to be learned, or rather, accepted. The reality of this world is overwhelming to me. I have learned that I am not as strong as I thought I was and not nearly as patient as I thought I was. The reality is that I am emotionally ill equiped, unable to process some of life’s inevitable truths.  On one hand, I was protected from some of the ugly truths through my upbringing and my own seclusion when faced with distress, thus causing extreme sensitivity to evil. One the other hand, I was also placed right in the midst of chaos, and attempts were made to protect me, which caused confusion, denial, and conflict.

Now, I am an adult and I feel that I am going through an emotional development stage that is very uncomfortable and hard to process.

Self-reflection: I have high expectations for mankind, sorrow over the state of mankind, and emotionally processing these truths is difficult.

I hear the whispers in my ear “Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.”


I stumbled upon the following quote recently, which certainly pertains to my inner struggles/jihad:

“Today, I shall meet people who speak much, who are selfish, loathsome, and who love only themselves. Yet, I will not be annoyed or bewildered by them, because I don’t imagine the rest of the world to be any different.” (Marcus Aurelius)

In my head, I know that there are people who boast, and use words to hurt others. Their tongues (spoken or written word) are their weapons! I know that there are people who are selfish, out for themselves at the expense of others. I know that there are people who are loathsome, hate and ugliness spills from their core. And, there are people who put themselves above others, looking down as if they were given some special appointment, entitled with arrogance.

This I know, and I must truly accept and embrace, InshaAllah! But, I fight it, which is wrong! And this causes internal stress and turmoil. I have learned that my brain and heart are so intertwined that it is very difficult for me to process the spread of hate, of lies, of attacks, and hurt. I often feel as if I am walking along the perimeter, gazing in occasionally and quickly turning away. And, when I am swept into the reality and slapped in the face with evil, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. My world spins into reaction, unhealthy reaction. And, I acknowledge that I can possess these characteristics as well and I ask Allah to keep me from acting or reacting with the use of attack, hate, or intentional hurt. I know that, although I strive to perform countless good deeds, InshaAllah, I will receive blessing for not committing a bad deed, even if the thought crossed my mind.

Ibn Abbas  (رضي الله عنه) reported that our Beloved Prophet Muhammad  (صلى الله عليه وسلم) reported from Allah Most High that,

“Verily, Allah has written the good and the bad, and then explained it. So whoever inclines to perform a good deed but does not perform it, Allah writes it for him as a complete good deed. Then, if he inclined towards it and actually performs it, Allah writes it for him as ten good deeds to seven hundred times, to many times over. And if he inclines towards a bad deed but does not perform it, Allah writes it for him as a complete good deed. If he inclined towards it and then performed it, Allah writes it as one bad deed.” [Bukhari& Muslim]


My internal struggle, my jihad, is with my own simplicity, my own understanding of life’s purpose which I know to be true, clouded by the fact that others turn from the truth.

My fishbowl is filled with worship of Allah, with love, purpose, gratitude, reflection, healing, and understanding, along with pain, sorrow, soul-searching, anger, incomprehension, and sadness at the state of mankind. Also in my fishbowl is my knowledge that this world is filled with people know their true purpose, who are kind, and whose tongues are their gifts, who are selfless, who work towards the betterment of mankind, and who embrace all of mankind as their brother/sister. They treat all of Allah’s creation with love, care, and respect. They acknowledge that we were all placed here as Allah’s vicegerents on Earth.


I know that there is good and I know that there is evil! But, when that evil enters my world, enters my fishbowl,… quiet turns to chaos. Turbulence stirs within the bowl.

Why do I need to embrace this turbulence?

Because I know that nothing, not one thing happens without the Will of Allah. Everything is a creation of Allah and He created mankind, and only mankind, with the attribute of free will. It is this free will that allows us to either follow His command and gain a beautiful reward in the Hereafter, or turn away from His command and receive a just and severe punishment in the Hereafter.

It is entirely our choice!

All of the knowledge I gain, all of the experiences, the joy and the heartache, the pleasure and the pain, all continue to be tests for me and all of them will make me a stronger individual who will receive blessings from our Creator as long as I stay the course and fulfill my obligations on a daily basis. InshaAllah. He has made it easy for me to gain faith. He has allowed me to gain faith, now I must learn ask for continued patience to endure struggles within this life, InshaAllah.

My bewilderment, my confusion, my struggle?

Why would anyone want to make the choice to stray from His command. Why would anyone want to make that choice? The choice to take the hellfire over paradise? Why would anyone want to choose, through arrogance and selfishness, to take the path that clearly leads to pain over a path that leads to endless beauty and reward? Why would anyone want to sacrifice their everlasting life for a brief “want” within this world? Why would anyone want to jeopardize this? Why, for a short lived satisfaction would anyone risk complete and eternal bliss?

The answers:

Narrated Irbad ibn Sariyah (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“…I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey even if it be an Abyssinian slave, for those of you who live after me will see great disagreement. You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs. Hold to it and stick fast to it. Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error.”


For the disbelievers:


“The hypocrites, men and women, are from one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Munkar (disbelief and polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and forbid from Al-Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and they close their hands (from charity). They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them. Verily, the hypocrites are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah.)” (9:67)


For the believers:


“Adn (Eden) Paradise, which they shall enter and (also) those wh0 acted righteously from among their fathers, and their wives, and their offspring. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate saying: “Salamun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for that you persevered in patience! Escellent indeed is the final home!” (13:23-24)


For the disbelievers:


“And Shaitan will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.)” (14:22)


For the believers:



For the believers:




Evil, disbelief, arrogance, hate, etc. ,these are characteristics that some people possess, are all around me and to embrace this truth will only allow me to get closer to Allah. To see evil, to acknowledge it, and to do what I can to stop it, is an obligation:

 Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is  unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”. (Muslim)

I am comforted by the fact that if I don’t possess the ability to change something with my hand, or by speaking directly about it, I can, at the very least, change it with my heart, InshaAllah.

Whispers again in my ear: “Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.”


I have been put in situations that are foreign to me, hurtful situations that have caused  what I have self termed “post traumatic emotional stress” experiences that are relived instantly upon the slightest word, situation, misinterpretation, or painful reminder. I am healing with the help and guidance from Allah. I am learning with the help and guidance from Allah.

I know my faith, I know my purpose, and I am comforted in this. This is what brings me back and expands my fishbowl to allow for growth. This is what allows me to accept the evil. I will be tested, I will embrace these tests, and I will be patient, InshaAllah.


“Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (2:153)


 “Verily, with every hardship there is relief. Verily, with every hardship there is relief.” (94:5-6)


He responds

The following hadith always brings tears to my eyes and reminds me of how much I need to seek Allah’s Mercy, and Forgiveness, and I must always praise Him and be thankful to Him alone for everything!

The Hadith is about Suratul Al Fatihah and how Allah (SWT) answers our call. This shows us the importance of developing Khushoo in our Salah so that we are  focused, humbled, and submissive to our Creator.

 We need to strive to treat each and every Salah as our opportunity to have a private conversation with Allah SWT. To have our time with Him, to speak directly to Him!

He responds. He responds. He responds.


We must always be humble and remember that Allah is Greater than anything else!


Abu Hurairah (RA) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) declare that Allah SWT had said about Suratul Al Fatihah: 

“I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My slave, and My slave will receive what he asks for. “

When the servant says: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds”,

                                                  “Alhamdulillahi rabb il-âlamîn”

Allah, the Most High says: “My slave has praised Me.”

When my servant says:  “The Most Compassionate, the Merciful”

                                                      “Ar-Rahmân ir-Rahîm”

Allah, the Most High says: “ My slave has lauded Me.”

When my servant says: “Master of the Day of Judgment,

                                                        “Mâliki yawm id-dîn”

Allah SWT remarks, “My slave has glorified Me.”

When my servant says: “You alone we worship. You alone we seek guidance”

                                                   “Iyyâka na`budu wa iyyâka nasta`în”

Allah SWT says “This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for.

When my servant says “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You hast been Gracious, not of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.”

     “Ihdinâ ssirât al-mustaqîm. Sirât al-ladhîna an`amta `alayhim ghayr il-maghdûbi `alayhim wa la ddâlîn.”

Allah SWT says “This is for my slave, and My slave will receive what he asks for.”



Allah SWT responds to each and every supplicant! What more could we ask for?

“Then which of the Blessing of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny? (Suratul Ar-Rahman:13)


SubhanAllah  Alhamdulillah  Allahu Akbar!

Suratul Al Fatihah


The bigger truth!

I recently read a comment on Facebook responding to another person’s post about someone that went through a life saving surgery. The first comment in response to the post  was, “Thank God that this was able to happen.” The very next comment was “Don’t thank God, thank the surgeon who performed this surgery.”
My initial reaction to this comment was shock, I actually gasped. I thought, why would someone say NOT to thank God? To me, that was one of the most arrogant statements that someone could say!
My next reaction was to feel a sense of pity towards that person. I realized that this person is missing out on the bigger truth. The only truth. And, this person may never be able to get through his/her own arrogance and ignorance, to see the truth!
The truth is, Allah (God) should always be praised and one should always be thankful for what one has, because it is all from Allah. Allah gave that surgeon the ability to perform that life saving surgery. The surgeon could do nothing without Allah’s Will. So, the first comment “Thank God that this was able to happen” was the most appropriate comment. Allah should be thanked always for all that He has provided, and He has provided it all! This is the bigger truth!
We have all experienced pain and tragedy, some of us are going through this right now. When it strikes, it takes us to our deepest grief. And, at these times we must be ever aware. We must be thankful to Allah, and be pleased with Allah always, for everything! Even when we are going through these times, we must be pleased with Allah and thank Allah for giving us the strength to endure and to learn. This is the bigger truth!
As Muslims,we know that we must thank Allah for everything, because without Allah, there is nothing. We know that we will be tested with tough times, with very difficult times, yet with these tough times comes ease. This is the bigger truth!

Prophet Muhammad said: “How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not apply to anyone other than the believer.” (Muslim)


“Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return). “Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon” (Al Baqarah: 156)


We must understand that Allah is the best of planners. He knows what is best for us and He has provided us with the best of all role models in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Allah has provided us with the best of guides in the Qur’an. We must be pleased with all of Allah’s commandments and decrees. This is the bigger truth!

We will not always be provided with what we want, but we will always be provided with what we need. Allah does not provide for us based on our desires, He provides based on His Will. He alone knows what is best for us. We must be thankful and we must be pleased.  Some things that we desire may not be good for us, and Allah knows best. He may replace what we think is best with something that IS the best! This is the bigger truth!


They are those on whom are the salawat(blessings) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones”. (Al-Baqarah 2:157)

We cannot be like those who are content only during good times:

“And among mankind, is he who worships Allah as it were, upon the very edge (in doubt); if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss.” (Al-Hajj 22:12);

We are mere human beings. In the face of tragedy, we can still grieve. In the face of tragedy, we can still be sad. In the face of tragedy, we can still “experience”! And, we must be mindful. In both loss and gain, in sorrow and in joy, in the midst of tragedy and in the midst of abundant good, be patient, be pleased, be thankful, seek forgiveness, and seek help only from Allah. This is the bigger truth!


On the authority of Abu `Abbas `Abdullah ibn `Abbas (RA) who said: One day I was behind the Prophet (PBUH) [riding on the same mount] and he said:

“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]:

Be Mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you.

Be Mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you.

If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone].

And know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you.

The Pens have been lifted and the Pages have dried.” (At-Tirmidhi)



With the darkness, comes the light.

With the storm, comes the sun.

With the draught, comes the rain.

With the pain, comes the relief.

With the sadness, comes the joy.

With the harshness, comes the comfort.


Be thankful, be pleased!



Allahu Akbar

 This is the bigger truth!






The defining moment.

Living in Connecticut, I have the opportunity to experience all four seasons, the new beginnings of spring, the lush greens and abundant vegetation of summer, and the fresh cleanness from new fallen snow in the winter. But my favorite time of year is the fall…. Autumn in New England!

When I was  young, I used to call fall “crunchy leaf season” because of the sound the leaves made as I walked through them, kicked them, jumped into the big leaf piles. The crunch as I stuffed handfuls of leaves into old jeans and shirts for scary Halloween decorations to be placed outside on the porch to scare trick or treaters coming to the door in search of candy.

Today, I still love the smell of  the autumn air and the fallen leaves, the change in the air from the summer heat and humidity to a nice crisp coolness. I love to watch the trees changing colors and I love to drive through the hills and hike through the many trails I grew up near, to see the foliage.  And, I love to being able to experience the most amazing sunsets of the year.

                              Subhan’Allah. (How glorious and amazingly perfect is God)

It was during the fall season, when I was in my first semester of graduate school heading from one end of the campus to other end for class with fellow students, when my outlook on life began to change. The day was gorgeous. The wind was blowing lightly causing a “whirlwind effect” of leaves spiraling down to the ground. “It’s such a beautiful day, I love this time of year”, I said to my classmates. “Just smell the air, feel the crispness. Its sweatshirt season again! I love this!”

Just then, a fellow student, a Muslim brother said to me:

“You know what is beautiful? “What?” I asked. His response was “it is beautiful that not one leaf falls without the permission of Allah (SWT).”

“And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it” (6:59)

I stopped suddenly, unable to move. I looked up towards the sky as I watched one leaf break from a branch and slowly fall to the ground ever so gently. Then, another gust of wind came along and hundreds of leaves came down.  I thought, “Oh my God……what?  What was that he just said? That was so beautiful.” I was suddenly filled with an emotion that I had never experienced before. I felt a sense of overwhelming gratitude and awe and I actually began to tear up.

What just happened? Why did that statement have such a profound effect on me? What did I just experience?

Alhamdulillah. (All praise is for Allah)

You see, I had been struggling with my beliefs, or non-beliefs, for several years. I was raised Catholic, but it never made sense to me. What I was learning seemed to contradict itself all the time and I never got any clear cut answers to my questions that made any sense to me.  I stopped going to church as soon as I could figure out a way to do it without my parents catching me (although, I am sure that they figured it out).

I wasn’t kidding anyone, especially myself.

As I grew and matured, I continued to have this feeling that I had a purpose in life, and that this purpose was definitely not linked to what I was doing, or how I was living during that particular period of my life.

What was my purpose? Was it to be a good mother, a good wife, what was it?

I, along with most of the other people I hung with, was not concerned with anything but that very moment in time. I was not concerned with what occurred yesterday, or what may or may not occur tomorrow. But, I still had this undefined “feeling.” The feeling that this life, the here and now, today, is not what it is all about.

I started to notice that the people I surrounded myself with would simply do the same things over and over again (having fun doing stuff of course), but there was no purpose other than to catch up with one another to do the same thing again. “I soon began to view things from outside of this cycle of “sameness” or “purposeless.” What I once considered fun did nothing for me anymore. I would rather sit home and do nothing than go out and party with friends.  I struggled with depression and often felt alone and sad.

Through all of this, I had this inner drive to find my purpose, but I was too wrapped up in my own stuff to even know where to begin. I often brushed off my feelings as “being to analytic” or I would have the “come, on, just snap out of it” attitude.

But…….I knew that there was this “truth” out there somewhere. I just didn’t  know where or what it was. I knew that there was something to believe, some purpose, some truth, but what was it?

Well, believe it our not, the remark that the Muslim brother said: “Not one leaf falls without the permission of Allah (SWT)” was probably THE defining moment of when I began to realize that this emotion, this “feeling” that I just experienced, has something to do with my purpose in this life.

If something so simple, so insignificant (or so I thought) as a leaf does nothing without the permission of Allah, then what is my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing?

It was that day, that one brief moment in time, that I began to understand the Greatness of Allah (SWT).

Allahu Akbar. (God is the Greatest)

I began to listen to this brother talk a bit more. Things he said made so much sense, yet they were so simple! How could something so simple and easy to understand be IT, be part of my purpose?  I began doing some research, and was encouraged to seek information from someone with much more knowledge.  I met with a local Islamic scholar, each time learning more and more about the pillars of and basic beliefs of Islam.  Each time being given things to read and opportunities to ask questions. I continued to ask, to research, and to learn.

With all of this information, this new knowledge, I had to make a choice. I could:

(a) go on living the way I had been, rather recklessly and with no clear direction or purpose, or

(b) based on my new knowledge, embrace the fact that there is No deity worthy of worship but God (Allah), and that I am a servant of God. That was my purpose, to worship Allah SWT alone.

If I wanted any chance of true peace, of success in this world and the next,  I had no choice but to embrace Islam.

Alhamdulillah. (All praise is for Allah)

So, I took my Shahada, which is the testimony of faith that one says when they embrace Islam.

“Ash-hadu An La Ilaha Illallah Wa Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadur RasoolAllah.”

“I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the final messenger of Allah.”

I began to realize that the feelings that I have always had when I experienced the beauty of this world, was my way to begin to learn about Allah SWT.  I have always loved to observe all of the natural beauty that surrounds me. I have always been in awe over the sighting of an animal in the woods, the sound of water as rivers flow past, the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the sweet smell of fresh rain, the clean smell of snow, and all of the beauty that lies within this world.

It is when I am experiencing these natural wonders, that the Greatness of Allah is so apparent.

As a child, I was naturally attracted to nature. Since I was little girl, I have always found little treasures that I would bring home. Some piece of nature would find its way home with me. I could had a pocket full of sea shells from the Cape, a pocket full of rocks from a hike in the woods, a piece of driftwood or a bag of sand from a beach in Maine, a bouquet of wildflowers, or a snapshot of something beautiful I stumbled upon on my hike.  I now know that these items are my small tangible representations of a much larger truth.

I look at all of this beauty with absolute amazement and thankfulness to Allah (SWT). Every ant that crawls through the grass, every butterfly that soars by me, every step that I take on this earth that sprouts vegetation, every rain drop that falls from the clouds, every animal searching for food in the early morning hours, every waterfall, every mountain, every gorge, every leaf that falls……..all here because of the Greatness of Allah (SWT).

Allahu Akbar

All of this beauty that is found all over this earth, beautiful waters, beautiful forests, beautiful deserts, beautiful scenery, the many animals, the sky, the stars, the sun, and moon, all beautiful creations, all on a set course.

All of these creations of Allah SWT are in perfect harmony and there is no disorder. Each has a purpose, to obey and worship Allah (SWT).  And…we are able to experience this beauty because of Allah (SWT).


All of this vast beauty…which also has a purpose! The same purpose as me! To Worship Allah (SWT)!

He provides all that we need, Alhamdulillah.

The beauty of this world is just a small glimpse of what is to come for those of us who truly have faith and knowledge and follow the guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and worship Allah (SWT) alone.

“Those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward is with their Lord: Gardens of Paradise beneath which rivers flow. They will dwell there in forever, God well pleased with them and they with Him. This is for those who hold their Lord in awe.” (98:7-8)


“Ash-hadu An La Ilaha Illallah Wa Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadur RasoolAllah.”

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. I testify that Muhammad (PBUH) is the final messenger of Allah.”

I call upon Allah every day in my prayers. I seek His forgiveness and I seek His assistance. I know that He provides for me and I trust in Him alone.

 I am truly a life long student, seeking as much knowledge of this beautiful deen as I can so that I continue on this beautiful path.

The blessed days of Dhul Hijjah and the pilgrimage

It is believed, by some,  that The Holy Ka’bah, located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, was first built by Adam (Peace be upon him), the first man, first Prophet in the worship of One God, that it was forgotten for many years, and was later found by the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmael (Peace be upon them both).

However, most scholars are of the opinion that the Ka’bah was first built by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismael, and not by Adam, as commanded by Allah.

“And remember when Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” He (Allah) answered: “As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!”

“And remember when Ibrahim and his son Ismail were raising the foundation of the House saying, “Our Lord! Accept this service from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All- Knower.” (Surah al Baqarah: 126-127)

Makkah is also the birthplace of the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). For years after Prophets Ibrahim and Ismael (AS) had passed, people who did not accept Allah as the One and Only God, continued to worship idols and these idols were worshipped within the Ka’bah. After many years of idol worship and lewd behavior taking place at the Ka’bah, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), reclaimed the Ka’bah as the House of Allah, and today, all Muslims pray (at least 5 times a day) towards the Ka’bah. The Ka’bah is also known as  “Bait -ul- Athey” (the oldest house)and “Bait Ullah” (house of Allah). (

The Ka’bah was the first structure ever built solely for the worship of the One God, Allah SWT.  Thousands of years later, Muslims from every corner of the Earth turn towards the Ka’bah 5 times a day (at the minimum) to perform their 5 obligatory prayers. This week, marks the beginning of the Holy Month of Dhul Hijjah. It is during the first 10 days of this month, each and every year, that thousands upon thousands of Muslims visit the Ka’bah as part of the ritual of performing Hajj.

Hajj is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, along with Shahada (declaration of faith), Salat (5 daily prayers), Zakat (Charity), and Saum (Fasting during the month of Ramadan).

Hajj (pilgrimage) is incumbent upon all able bodied Muslims once in their lifetime. Muslims are free to perform Hajj more than once, however once is the obligation. To perform Hajj, one must be physically and financially able to go which includes being sure that your family is provided for, and not suffering, while you are gone.

Woman must be accompanied by her husband or a Mahram to perform Hajj. If she does not have a husband or a Mahram , Hajj does not become obligatory for her. A mahram is a male, whom a woman can never marry because of close relationship such as a brother, a father, or a sibling.

“And pilgrimage to the House (the Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses; and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj), then he is a disbeliever of Allah, then Allah is independent of all creation.” (Surah Al Imran: 97)

As one can see from this Ayat from the Qur’an, if someone has the ability to perform Hajj and they choose not to, they are seen as disbelievers by Allah. No Muslim should take this lightly! Start putting money aside, start a “Hajj fund”, save your pennies, plan!

Just last week, I was assisting with a recent Sunday school Islamic Studies class and the subject was the importance of performing Hajj. A student shared that she knows a recently married couple who chose to go to Hajj for their “honeymoon.” SubhanAllah, May Allah accept this couple’s Hajj. They could have easily spent their money on a traditional honeymoon, as many young couples do, travelling through the Caribbean or Europe, but they chose Hajj instead. May Allah continue to guide them. Ameen.

Hajj happens once each year, however, Ummrah (the “Lesser Hajj) can be performed at any time of the year. The holy month of Dhul Hijjah is now upon us, and it is during these first most blessed days of Dhul Hijjah that pilgrims from across the globe make their way to Makkah to perform the rites of Hajj.

I was able to perform Ummrah during a brief stay in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and as I think about all of the Muslims currently making their way towards Makkah and towards the Ka’bah, I can recall my own emotions as I visited the Ka’bah for the very first time and I know what Muslims visiting the Ka’bah for the very first time will experience over the next few days.

It is hard for me to find the right words to express the emotion that one is overcome with when they see the Ka’bah in Makkah for the very first time. It is hard to convey the emotion, especially to a non-Muslim. How can a building in the shape of a cube draped in cloth (The  Ka’bah), this simple concrete structure, evoke such emotion?  You see, it is not the structure itself, it is what this structure represents.

“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”

The experience is profound. As you enter the Mosque, you are first struck by the columns and arches that you pass by as you make your way towards the Ka’bah. You feel as if you have stepped into a different space in time, you notice people ahead of you, people on both sides of you, and people behind you, all there with one shared belief.  A feeling of intense awe begins to overcome you as you are struck by the realization that millions of people have walked the very same path as you. The same path that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) walked, the same path that Prophet Muhammad (SAW),his family and his companions all walked so many many years before us. And, each and everyone of us is there for the same purpose, to worship Allah (SWT).

“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”

As I walked towards the ka’bah, my emotions were intense. I was walking and searching for the first sight of the Ka’bah. My eyes were intent on seeing it yet I wasn’t sure if I was ready.  My dear friend Amina who, along with her husband and young child,  brought me there for my first experience, said to me “Ok, get ready, you are going to to see it soon.” And then……it happened.  My eyes filled with tears, as I caught a small glimpse of the black covering which drapes the Ka’bah, I began to tear up and shake with emotion, intense happiness, intense awe, intense sadness that I wasn’t able to share the experience with my loved ones at home, along with intense overwhelming gratitude.  I was not yet ready to fully experience it, I quickly looked down and stepped to the side to let people pass as I made du’a to Allah and to let the tears flow. I felt as though if I looked up towards the ka’bah again, I would realize that I was in a dream. I took the chance…I looked, and it was still there, I could still catch a glimpse of the black cover. I quickly stepped to an area to pray 2 rakah as a prayer of greeting for the Mosque and to  thank Allah SWT for allowing me the opportunity to be there, and to make du’a and seek forgiveness.
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”
As I began to walk towards the Kaa’ba once again, I continued to experience intense emotions, the experience seemed almost surreal. Was I really there? Was this really happening? So much to take in….and then….there it was. The Ka’bah, this beautiful structure, draped in black cloth (Kiswah) with Qur’an verses embroidered in gold. The very first building to be erected for the sole purpose of worshiping Allah (SWT) so many many years ago. The Ka’bah, where 24 hours a day, each and every day of the year, people are there in worship. A place where at this very moment, people are making the pilgrimage there for “the largest temporary gathering of humanity on the globe.” (Shalabi,2001)
A place where many people will experience what I experienced.
Once you have taken it all in, performed the rituals of Hajj or Ummrah, and are able to begin to observe others, you share in their experience. You see, as people walk towards the Ka’bah and suddenly catch a glimpse…the emotion!  The tears, the amazement, the awe! You quickly remember that feeling. The feeling that I am experiencing right now as I think about the millions of Muslims who are going to experience this feeling right now.
A bit on Hajj:
When preparing for Hajj, pilgrims enter a state of ihram where they make their intentions to perform Hajj to Allah SWT and exchange their everyday clothes for two pieces of white cloth as their clothing (men only) just as Prophet Ibrahim (AS) did during earlier pilgrimage. Men are no longer seen as a businessman, a wealthy person, a prince, a poor person….all appear the same, equal under the eyes of Allah (SWT). They are all humble servants of Allah.
Once one has made his intention to perform Hajj and is in the state of Ihram, he begins the journey towards Makkah. He will begin to recite the Talbiya:
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”
(I respond in obedience to You, O Allah – I respond. I respond – no partner is there to You – I respond. All praise and favor is Yours, and sovereignty. There is no partner to You.”
This is happening right now, as I type, many Muslims are reciting these very words as they make their way to Makkah.
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal mulk, la sharika laka.”



 There are several rituals that are performed during Hajj, they include:

1. Putting on Ihram

2. Circumambulating the Ka’bah seven times

3. Walking between as-Safa and al-Marwah near the Ka’bah

4. Visiting and staying at Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah

5. Throwing pebbles at three fixed places at Mina

6. Shaving or trimming hair

7. Sacrifice of an animal

InshaAllah, I will be able to go back to Makkah to perform Hajj at some point. However, even though many Muslims are unable to do Hajj, there are many things that we can do in observance of these blessed first days of Dhul Hijjah.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said,  “There are no days of the year in which righteous deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah than the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah!”What are good deeds that we can do during these first 10 days?

  1. Fasting on the day of Arafat (9th of Dhul Hijjah)  If  you fast on this day, your sins will be forgiven for the year before and the year after.
  2. Dzikr. Remebrance of Allah. Saying  “Allahu Akbar”   “La illaha illAllah”    “Alhamdulillah” often throughout the day.
  3. Repent to Allah SWT with sincerity
  4. Extra voluntary deeds of prayer, charity, and Reading Qur’an
  5. Tahhajjud
  6. sacrifice an animal for the Sake of Allah SWT. After Eid. It can be done on the 10, 11, 12, or 13.  Whoever sacrifices an animal, all sins to the amount of hair on the animal will be forgiven.
  7. Pray the Eid al Adha salat (10th day of Dhul Hijjah). Eid al Adha is to commemorate the end of Hajj and to remember the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son to Allah SWT.
  8. Appreciate the blessing of Allah and come close to Him during these 10 days through all of these acts with intention, thought, appreciation, prayer, and seeking forgiveness.

May Allah SWT accept everyone’s Hajj, Du’a, and acts of worship. Ameen.

“Allahu Akbar”   “La illaha illAllah”    “Alhamdulillah”

“Allahu Akbar”   “La illaha illAllah”    “Alhamdulillah”

“Allahu Akbar”   “La illaha illAllah”    “Alhamdulillah”

In response to the recent violence. What would Prophet Muhammad (SAW) do?

I woke up on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 knowing that it was yet another anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A day when many people, myself included, can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing, on that very day eleven years ago.

A day when Americans, and millions of others across the globe, reflect on the lives that were lost that day, on the families that were impacted by this loss, and by the sheer magnitude of how that day has affected us all, forever.

I know that, as a Muslim woman (even though I am an American, born and raised here), unfortunately I must expect some additional “awareness” of my presence in the community on the anniversary of 9/11. And, I must have a more “heightened” awareness of my surroundings. Although no one made any comments to me on that day (well, comments that did not make it to my ears anyway), I did experience a bit of discomfort (no harm) from others actions.

Once the media started reporting on the violence (ironically the violence began to occur on the anniversary of 9/11?) erupting in some middle eastern countries due to a stupid, disgusting, and ignorant low-budget film that was made in the USA depicting a blasphemous, ridiculous, slanderous, vile, and disgusting portrayal of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (SAW), I suddenly felt so let down (once again) by people who immediately choose violence over Islam! People who certainly do not understand Islam, or who have been very misguided due to their lack of knowledge.

As a Muslim woman, I felt that these people could actually be putting my safety at risk from across the world.  Why did I feel like they could be putting my safety at risk and that I may be a target of others comments or violent actions? Because, I am identified as a Muslim woman. Because I cover my hair and body.

God willing, I will remain safe but I am certainly becoming a bit hypervigilant while out and about by myself.

And, God willing no one, no law, no group, will ever take away my right to identify myself as a Muslim woman.

That being said, I am so deeply disheartened by all of the hate that I continue to see in the world today.

Growing up in a small community, predominantly white, with very little diversity, I was sheltered from much of what happens in the rest of the world. I am thankful to my parents for instilling me with values and morals that include love for all of humanity, not just those who were in my local community that I saw everyday.

As students, we are all taught of how far we have come since the days of slavery, the days of people of color having no rights in this country, the days of women having no rights in this country, etc.

Really? We have come so far?

Sure, laws were passed to “give equal rights”, but laws did NOTHING to remove the hate and prejudice! It is still here, and it is very widespread.

Such arrogance! Yes, it is arrogance! How can one person feel that they are better than another? Show me the proof that this is true! Where is that found?

Now that I am an adult (a female, white, American adult), an adult who has embraced Islam as my way of life, I am no longer part of that sheltered community that I was raised in, and let me tell you, it is like seeing the world through a different lens. Not just MY lens, but the lens that OTHER people are looking through when they look at me. To some, I instantly go from the American female that I am, to someone from another country, someone who can’t speak English (so I don’t understand their snide, hateful, ignorant, comments), or someone who must be oppressed because of how I dress. Throw in that social media has gotten so huge that “Freedom of Speech” has taken on a whole new level of acceptance.


Free speech… from what exactly?

I AM IN NO WAY CONDONING THE RECENT ACTIONS OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN SO OFFENDED BY THE ACTIONS OF “THE HATERS” THAT THEY HAVE TURNED TO VIOLENCE (which by the way, is not found in Islam and they are not acting according to what is taught to us).

I am offended myself, very offended, but I know that patience, sharing the truth, and acting in accordance with what Islam really teaches, is what I will do, God Willing.

Take away lesson: BE NICE, BE KIND! I’ll take that kind of “free” speech any day!

Pretty simple right? Why is it so hard to do?

Let me share something on the character of Prophet Muhammad SAW. As Muslims we should all know that he was the best of mankind! His noble character is a model of excellence that we should all strive for in our own lives. It amazes me that so many people believe the slander! I urge those of you who do not know of the remarkable human being to learn about him. To learn the truth about him from those who know the truth and are not making up lies and taking things out of context and spreading hatred!

Let me share a short example of  what the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had to endure during his years as a prophet and his response. About ten years into his prophet hood, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) set out on foot to the town of Ta’if to spread the word of Allah and invite people to Islam. When he arrived there, he was met with hostility. He endured this hostility for 10 days, staying in Ta’if and delivering his message.  The people of Ta’if did not welcome him, in fact, every day that he was there they literally tried to drive him from their town by pelting him with stones. He was so wounded that blood from cuts that he received was filling up in his shoes and overflowing. He endured this violence for 10 days. Once he had left the boundaries of Ta’if, he sought refuge and began supplicating to Allah SWT.

He said, “O Allah! To You alone I complain of my weakness, my insufficient ability and insignificance before the people. You are the Most Merciful of the mercifuls. You are the Lord of the helpless and the weak. O Lord of mine! Into whose hands would You abandon me: into the hands of the unsympathetic distant relative who would angrily frown at me, or to the enemy who has been given control of my affairs ? But, if Your wrath does not fall on me, there is nothing for me to worry about.”

Your pardon is ample enough for me. I seek protection in the light of Your Face, which illuminates the darkeness, fixing the affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone.”

SubhanAllah, he had just endured days of suffering and pain and he complained of his own weakness and sought forgiveness and safety from Allah’s wrath. He complained of his own inability to convince the people of Ta’if of the truth.

Upon hearing this supplication, and knowing what the people of Ta’if did to the Prophet Muhammad SAW, Allah SWT sent down the angel Gabriel who said to Muhammad SAW “Allah has heard what your people said to you, and their reply to you. Allah has sent the angel of the mountains to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.”

Do you know what Prophet Muhammad did next? He could have had the entire community crushed between the mountains, but instead, he left them alone. SubhanAllah. His response was, “No. I hope that Allah will let them beget children who will worship Allah Alone, and will worship none besides Him.” (Al Bukhari).

Alhamdulillah, the Prophet was certainly upset, and certainly offended by the response of the people of Ta’if, but he did not act out in violence, nor did he ask for them to be punished. His only wish was that they continue to have children in the hopes that some from that community will embrace Islam.


Another hadith about his character is related by Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with her). She narrated “When the Messenger of Allah (SWT) was enabled to choose between two things, he used to choose the easiest of them if it was not a sin. If it was a sin, he used to evade it. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) did not take revenge for himself, except if the lawful commands of Allah were violated. In this case he used to take the revenge for the sake of Allah SWT)” (Al-Bukhari).

During these troubling times, we need to ask ourselves:

How would the Prophet have dealt with this insanity?

How would he address the Ummah?

Were the lawful commands of Allah violated? That will be for Him to judge!

I know who creates this evil, this hate! We all need to be aware of who is stirring up this trouble. After all, didn’t Iblis say  that he would create havoc among us.

“Then I (Iblis) will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).” (Surah Al Araf: 17)

We need to stay strong, don’t cave to the Shaytaan’s whispers!