Monday, February 19, 2018

Life Updates: Chapter 11 - Why I HATE Social Media

I remember the days when I used to post on Instagram tidbits of my life. Little things from my every day life that I appreciated and thought to share with the online community.

I remember when I finally downloaded Snap Chat for the second time (because the first time it took me too long to understand how it worked so I just gave up) and gave it another chance. I remember how exciting it was to be able to share with others little snaps of my every day life. Adding Geo-filters and going out of my way to snap what I was eating, where I was shopping, and who I was with felt like such a fun activity. I wanted to share with everyone my "happy" life. I wanted to show everyone that I am "OK" despite my situation and that I was having "fun." I would do it just because I wanted others to think that I had an exciting life and things were going well for me. I wanted to show others that my life was not stagnant and that I always had places to go and people to see.

What a deception! I was in fact not OK, nor was I happy and the fun only lasted temporarily. At the end of the day, it made me really think to myself , "why am I living my life as a lie? What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to impress?"

I would see other people posting snaps of themselves travelling, enjoying time with their husband and family, dining with their families and having "fun" too.  I wonder if they were living life as a lie as well? I wonder what really happens behind the camera lens. Don't you guys ever wonder?
Is what everyone portrays their life to be on the online world ACTUALLY what it is?

I have seen so many non-Muslims and Muslims documenting and posting pics and videos of their "perfect" life. Always laughing and smiling and taking selfies with their man or with friends. Always dolled- up and having somewhere to go. Dining in at the fanciest places and shopping for the latest trends. Life looks so lavish and fancy online. But I wonder, what is really going on in their hearts? Are they really satisfied with life? Is their marriage REALLY perfect? They MUST be right? Because they look SO HAPPY?! I guess I will never find out because it really isn't my business and quite frankly, I could care less lol. To each their own. If you want to show the world your life and your love, go ahead. If you don't care about evil eye, then go ahead. Things may seem happy-go-lucky now, but things are never permanent and this fleeting life is only temporary. This is what I remind myself every day.

That is why I deleted SnapChat and I will only download Instagram from time to time to share my blog update and check out some accounts here and there. It just became too much of a fitnah for me because it made me feel unappreciative of the things that I have. The smallest of blessings could be the biggest to others yet whenever I would see other people's "blessings" it made me feel self pity and that my life was so boring. AstughfurAllah !

Like, let's be real, though, if you were really happy with your life, why share it? Happiness is a sacred feeling and it deserves to be kept safe and hidden from other envious eyes. The more happy you think you are because you are sharing your personal life with a bunch of random strangers, the less special those moments become. I remember when I used to post things on Snap Chat, instead of actually enjoying the moment, I would think to myself, "I better get a photo of this and show everyone this exciting moment!" Trying to capture the moment so I could share it with others and show everyone how "exciting" my life is. I mean, there were points where I would actually take videos and photos of things I was doing because I wanted to share the life in Toronto and what kind of things there are to do here, but eventually it turned into mainly just posting so I could show people that I wasn't a complete loser and had a life. lol. I wonder how many people share the same reality?

I guess we need to be honest with ourselves. We need to ask ourselves, what is the purpose of me sharing my life online? Is it to benefit others? Is it to make them feel happy? Sad? Jealous? What is in it for me? Will I get reward for posting my daily activities online? Will my posts invite envy to me and my family? Or will everything I post be against me on the Day of Judgement?!

It is hard to think about these things deeply at the time when we take the photo and upload it. We are not really thinking about whether or not it will be beneficial or harmful. We are just living the moment and we are excited to share with the world our lives! I totally understand that because when I was active on social media, I didn't really think twice.

Let me tell you from the side of a person who watches other people's snaps and who browses other people's Instagram accounts. I guess it depends on what someone posts and the context they are posting it in. Sometimes I feel happy. You know, happy for those who experience joy after they have been through hardships; it allows me to have hope with my situation and gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing at least somewhere, someone has received their ease. When people posts photos with a meaningful caption allowing the followers to understand their journey and where they came from, I can't help but hit that 'like' button. Those who post for a reason, hoping to reach out to others by sharing their experiences in life, well, these people I can genuinely feel happy for. On the other hand, there are just some posts that add no value to my life. There are some posts that are made to make you feel miserable about your own life and there are some posts that are made to make you feel ungrateful. This is the reality of social media and if you are thinking that you don't react this way then  good for you - masha'Allah. But let me tell you, majority of people who creep on social media react exactly the way I have mentioned.

At first, you can approach social media with an open mind and an open heart but as you begin to go on it more and more, you become addicted and overwhelmed and you see that everyone has the things you don't have and then it gets to you. Then eventually, you cave in. I can't speak for everyone, but for myself, I know that it makes me feel ungrateful and it makes me feel like I need to prove to people that I am somebody I am not. I need to show the world that I am happy even though I am crying inside from pain. I feel like I need to tell the world that I am OK but in reality, the only person who I need to tell that I am OK, is myself.

Social media, to me, is deception and lies. Somebody can be sharing the most exciting life or their account can be flooded with beneficial Islamic reminders, yet we do not really know who the person is behind the device. Of course, there are exceptions here and there but the general population probably is somebody they are not who they say they are.

Sharing your life with a selected few close friends and family is understandable and I truly believe those individuals are doing it to keep their family updated and to share precious moments with loved ones. But when I see people sharing their entire life story from A.M to P.M with completely random strangers, I wonder what is the purpose of this? I have seen some sisters who share their family on social media and I try to understand maybe from her point of view she wants everyone to know that you can be a niqabi and have a happy family and be free from oppression? But then I think, but why do you need the whole world to know by putting you and your family in danger? I mean I can sit here all day and wonder this and that but in the end, I will never know and only Allah can judge and He knows best. I would even like to say it is none of my business, but it really does become MY business when someone chooses to share their intimate family life to the public. Right?

The point of this post is to basically let people know why I hate social media and why I refuse to use it to share my life with friends let alone random strangers. It is not for me and if it is for you and it makes you feel happy, then alhamdulillah - you do you . Social media, to me, makes me depressed and I feel like it is so pointless because all it is is some kind of social competition to show that I have this and you don't. It makes me always want more and it makes me ungrateful for the things that I already have. And if you are already in a weakened state of emaan, it will just bring you further down. I still have bad habits and download Snap Chat and Instagram to see what is going on with people's lives but I limit myself now and every time I see their posts, it is always the same things and nothing has ever changed. It is entertaining, though. I guess that is why I still check in from time to time lol because it has become nothing but mere entertainment for me now.

Do we want to live our lives entertaining others? Why make our lives some spectacle for thousands to see? I guess at the end of the day before you share your life and post about you cooking your husband a low carb gluten-free, vegan dinner, or your Starbucks order ask yourself if you are doing it to benefit others? Or are you doing it to entertain others because you are so bored and unhappy with your life? Do you need to show others your happiness in order for yourself to accept your own happiness? Is that what true happiness is ?

Be honest with yourself and figure out the answer and you will be surprised.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Useful Men. #sunnah #hadith

Household Chores Are From The Sunnah

Noble Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih Al- 'Uthaymeen رحمه الله said ;

❝When a person is at home then it is from the Sunnah, that for example he makes his own tea, cooks if he knows how to and washes up that which needs washing, all of this is from the Sunnah.

If you do this then you get the reward of following the Sunnah, with imitating the Messenger [ﷺ] and in humbling yourself for Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic.

This also brings about love between you and your wife. When your family sense that you help them in their chores they will love you and your value to them will increase, therefore, this will end up being a great benefit.❞

[Sharh Riyadh As-Saaliheen, (3/529) | Translated By 'Abbaas Abu Yahya Miraath Al-Anbiyya]

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Life Updates: Chapter Ten - My Rock Bottom

(side note: All posts are not recently written. They were written according to how I was feeling in the present moment I wrote them. I just write and then post each one in the order in which they were written at the time- and I know we are in 2018, thanks.)

"Verily, with every hardship there is ease." (94:6) 

In my "Chapters" series, I have been sharing my experiences and thoughts with not only myself but also to my online readers (whoever is actually reading- lol.) I have been writing a lot about my struggles and my not-yet triumphs with life. It has given me comfort and helped me find solitude. Alhamdulillah.

It is safe to say that since I have started this blog, I have hit rock bottom many times. My most difficult struggles started back in 2014 and continue up until present day 2017. I took long breaks in between blogging because I thought that would help me figure things out and also because I thought I had nothing to write about because I was going through hardships. I thought that my silence would help me deal with life.

I guess through those hardships, I realised that I do in fact, have everything to write about and it is something that gives me relief. I remember in 2014 I suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks and writing helped me in many ways I never thought it would. Writing is something wonderful and I encourage everyone to open up a blank page and just write. Write to yourself, to Allah, or to the world. It doesn't have to be structured, it can have all the spelling and grammar mistakes possible, and it doesn't even have to make any sense so long as you write. Writing can give you more release than you can imagine. It allows you to organize your thoughts even if it looks like a messy chaos in front of your eyes. Sometimes we just need a little relief in our lives. Duaa comes first, no doubt and after that, writing can really help you channel your thoughts and feelings and give you a sense of comfort and solace.

My rock bottom lead me to write and through that writing, it allowed me to see things in a different light. I opened up my own eyes to different possibilities and different outlooks. My rock bottom lead me to focus on the present moment. My rock bottom continues to lead me closer to Allah. My rock bottom allowed me to realise that I am human, I make mistakes, and I stumble.

Though sometimes I don't feel close to Allah at all, I recognize that all this hardship is allowing me to learn about myself and who I am as a Muslim woman. It is an ongoing journey that allows me to discover new things about myself and about my life. Even though my external environment has not changed, I slowly feel like my inner self is taking on new shapes and forms. Although many times I slip and fall and wish that I can just stay lying on that cold, wet floor, I force myself to get back up with the help of Allah.

I still battle with myself, though.
Every. Single. Day.

Some days I feel like I have life all figured out, and other days I feel like I am back to ground zero, running away from reality, slipping and falling on that cold, wet floor.

I struggle to stay patient and positive and I sometimes think that this is the forever outcome of my life. Hard to stay positive when life has been so stagnant for a long time. Hard to stay positive when everyone around you moves forward with life and you are still standing still. Hard to accept your decree with a content heart. Hard to stay focused and keep going. Everything becomes hard when you have hit your rock bottom. This is life. Whether we like it or not, life is not meant for us to sit, settle, and enjoy permanently.

My rock bottom brought me to places I never knew existed. It was dark, it was weird, it was raw. I can still remember it because it is just a matter of time until I reach that place again. This is life. But at least when I reach my rock bottom again, I will be better prepared. I will look back on this post and remember that this journey is meant to not be a perfect one. I will remember that I was once here before and even though I hated every single second of it, I came out better, I came out stronger, and I learned more about myself than I ever would have had I never gone through any hardships and hit rock bottom.

A lot of the times, rock bottom to us is somewhere we live our lives trying to avoid. When someone has hit rock bottom, we often think "oh poor her.." or "oh that sucks, good thing I'm not in her position!" but because I have hit rock bottom one too many times, I have began to see the beautiful light that Allah has promised. Sometimes relief does not have to be a tangible or dunya related thing. Relief could come from within; it could be spiritual, mental, and emotional. I thought that relief meant that I would be physically removed from my situation and given something better. Sure, that is one form of relief but then I think to myself, no matter where I could be, there will always be circumstances that will not be in my favour, because things NEVER go the way I want them to.  So what makes the most sense is to find that balance within. Knowing that no matter what you do or where you go in life, things will never be perfect and there will always be things that go against your wishes. Those things we can't control, but what we can control is what we feel within. We have full control over how we react, how we handle our life, and how we deal with things. When you can achieve this, then you will have life in your hands.

Of course, I'm still trying to figure this all out and trying to accept this concept.
Sometimes I fear for the next time I will be met with my rock bottom again. Nobody likes to be faced with a place that exposes our vulnerability and weaknesses; a place where our deepest emotions emerge and our negative thoughts take over. But there is nothing wrong with feeling vulnerable and weak because after all, the human being was created weak and vulnerable. We cannot hide from what we truly are. The more we run away from this, the more we will end up disappointing ourselves.

Accept your rock bottom, live in it for a little while, explore it, get acquainted with it and use that vulnerability to climb back up into the reality of  this life. The first few times may seem heavy and hard, but after awhile, you will realise that your rock bottom has turned your weaknesses into strengths and you will understand that hardships and struggles can be a beautiful thing because they shape us into who we are and who we will become, insha' Allah. The ease you find within is much greater than the ease you can find around you in tangible forms. Our environment we live in will always change and things will never go the way we want them to. The storm around us should not bring down who we are inside and who we are inside is the very same one who will take you to that eternal happy abode, Jannah , insha'Allah.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Insanely accurate!

Just taking a random break from blogging about my boring life's struggles *lol* to share with you something quite amazing! One of my close friends shared with me this link and told me how accurate it was to best describing my personality. I was a bit curious as to what she would attribute me with to this video. I watched a little, then I continued to watch more and then I finished the nearly 12 minute video. WOW!!! Insanely accurate. I think this video did a better job in summing up my personality in 12 minutes than I could in a one hour interview! Minus the bars and clubs thing...I would definitely say this is verbatim of my whole life's story *lol*

I think it is definitely interesting to find out about your personality. It gives you insight into knowing more about yourself and allowing yourself to get in tune with who you truly are. It seems these days, instagram, snapchat, facebook and twitter are the only things that define our personalities. That is just so hashtag-boring. Everyone looks the same, talks the same, likes the same things and can't think for themselves! Live a little and dare to be different! 

Anyway, just wanted to take a random break from my posts to share this random video and link with you so that maybe it can spark some interest into discovering more about who you truly are. You may be surprised at the results! 

Here is a reputable personality test link that I find pretty accurate (if you answer honestly lol)  check it out and take a tour into your own self ! I took the test and I thought I wouldn't score the same but lo and behold *lol* here are my results : 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Life Updates: Chapter Nine - Giving up

So I decided to take a browse around my blog (and I encourage you to as well, it is free of charge!) and take a look at some older posts that I wrote. To my surprise, I noticed that for the past four years there has been a reoccurring theme where I speak about my emaan, my hardships that affect my emaan, and me being in a physical environment that is not in my favour. It is kind of funny to read back and see myself speaking about the same things I am blogging about currently. I guess it is a re-occurring theme?

The reason why I wanted to point this out was that it reminds me again and again that life will NEVER go the way I want it to nor go the way I expect it to! I was in KY, a place I physically, absolutely detested and still I was going through struggles and hardships - externally and internally. Now I am back home in my beautiful country yet I find myself in a circumstance which if I had a chance to choose, would definitely not choose it at all!

That brings me back to remembering what Islam is all about. How even if the external circumstances are not befitting to you, you must be content and pleased with what Allah has given you and to connect with your inner self. Finding that richness deep within instead of looking for it around you.
“Wealth is not in having many possessions. Rather, true wealth is the richness of the soul.”Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6081, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1051.This is such a simple yet deep reminder.

I always think that success in life is determined by how many children you have, having a successful career and living somewhere where you love with loved ones. I think perhaps all this time I have been missing the point because I allowed and continue to allow my external circumstances affect my well-being and emaan. Not to say, though, that your external circumstances do not have a role to play on you internal centre because it definitely does. Your external circumstances can really affect you in ways you can never imagine. Many individuals including myself can't find peace of mind in an environment that is unfamiliar or makes us uncomfortable. I am still struggling and to be honest, I really don't think I will find peace of mind until I remove myself from this environment, but at least I can strive to find a balance where I can tolerate my circumstances and try to exercise sabr.

Since my external environment is not somewhere I really wish to be, I try to do what I can and make it work. Many times I have failed and that is normal because again, I am only a human being and I can't expect myself to be in a good mood 24/7. I know a lot of us wish that things would go our way because it is just easier. When we can have what we want, live where we want to live and do the things we want to do, it is just easier.

Things are just easier when we don't have to strive and struggle. But then we would never learn, right? How else can we get to Jannah if we don't go through hardships and be put through situations and circumstances that we really don't want to be put in? Even non Muslims have to go through struggles and tests to get to where they are today! So many successful non-Muslims have struggled and suffered and then they attained what they were striving for, the success in the dunya. Allah gives us whatever we strive for. If we want the dunya, He will give it to us and if we want  the akhirah, He will give it to us. I guess it all comes down to priorities and how much we are willing to struggle in the way of Allah.

“The dunya is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever,”[Sahih Muslim, vol.4, #7058] 
I am really starting to understand this hadith because I truly feel this way. The dunya really does not have anything good to offer. It is full of let downs and disappointments. I continue to struggle to remind myself that this dunya is only temporary and I shouldn't focus all my efforts and pain on this life. It is not my friend and it will always deceive me. It is so easy to drown yourself in this life with worries and problems which will be the least of our concerns on the Day of Judgment!

Day to day, I still struggle to accept that this life is not what I had in mind. All the tests and trials I go through are only to remind me not to settle comfortably in this life. All the tests and trials are made to remind me that I have to push and strive until the very end. But it is so hard.

Sometimes I just want to give up and submit to my desires and forget about everything I have been working towards. That instant gratification that seems so tempting and so easy. It is so easy to let your desires run like a wild horse. It is so easy to just give up because everyone else around you is living happily fulfilling their own desires. Their lives seem so exciting, fresh and lively! Everything seems so picture perfect. But are they really happy and satisfied with this fleeting life?

Then I think back to the days of my pre-Islamic life. Was I happy when I used to submit to my desires and chase the dunya life? Did I ever find satisfaction from doing this or that? Did my life really feel complete when I would accomplish x-y-z? The answer is No. Not at all. Anytime I accomplished something, I wanted something else. I wanted more. I was never satisfied and I always wanted something else, something new, something better. Even if it was unrealistic and unattainable, I would try to attain it. That is the reality of this life. You will always try to chase SOMETHING. The dunya is meant to make us greedy and unsatisfied. That is why it is such a temporary place. Once you attain something, you want something else and the vicious cycle continues. Your happiness is always termporary. It will never leave us fully satisfied because this is not the place for that.

I can't even begin to express how deceived I feel by this worldly life. It is not something I want to befriend and it is definitely not something I want to trust. Up until this point in my life, I have been deceived over and over and I have been left disappointed. Anytime we want to blame Allah for our hardships and struggles and trials, remember that it is not Allah who we are to blame but we need to remember that this is the reality of the dunya. This dunya is the external environment that we need to survive in and the only way we can do that is to keep our internal self satisfied with Islam as our religion and Allah as our Lord and Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wasselem) as the last and final messenger.

When we figure out how to live with this in our hearts, then truly we will have succeeded and that inner richness will help us strive until the very end. But getting there is not an easy task. It will take many moments of defeat, hopelessness, and helplessness. Surely we believe in our hearts and tongues that Islam is our religion, Allah is our Lord and Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) is our last and final messenger BUT when we are faced with trials and adversities, sometimes we forget.

We forget that Allah put us in the hardship in the first place to reward us and to cleanse us from our many sins. We forget that Allah is the one who will help us out and through the struggles as long as we call upon Him over and over. We forget that Islam is a religion to guide us through this life with peace and determination. We forget that prophet Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) endured so much pain, suffering and hardship for us ! Wow, even I forget all these things sometimes.

It is so important to keep making duaa even when you have nothing left in you. I have struggled with this so many times when I just wanted to give up on making duaa- even to this day, as I write this, I sometimes feel like "what's the point though?" But then I remember, no, there is a point to all this. Duaa is a form of worship and it is my string to hope and my way to Allah. Thus I must continue to push, shove, climb and strive my way to Him, even when everything around me wants to bring me down.