Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why aren't you married yet? When are you going to have kids??

"Part of the perfection of one's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him." (Tirmidhi)


I know I go through  phases where I blog some and then I go quiet some and then blog some and then go quiet some... I guess I could say that I haven't had much inspiration or motivation and I have been trying to work on my own emaan and trying to advise myself with the advice I would normally give others. Therefore, I don't really feel entitled to be writing about how to be this or that while I'm currently trying to figure out things for myself.

BUT that being said, there is definitely something that I really wanted to talk about. It has to do with being considerate of others and watching our manners.  I wanted to bring up an anecdote of my own so you all can know what kind of impact it may leave on an individual. It hopefully will make us all mindful about our manners and to leave that which does not concern us.

A few months ago I was introduced to this sister who I had never met in person nor had I ever spoken to on the phone. I was introduced to her because a mutual friend thought that she could help me out with an issue concerning my personal life. I texted with her some and then I ended up speaking to her on the phone. I had noticed already a judgemental tone but I chose to brush it off and reminded myself that she was a sister who had good intentions. So that was that and a week later she texted me saying she was in town and she wanted to visit me. So she came to visit me and my mother. Keep in mind this was the FIRST time I ever met her but she made herself so comfortable in my home that it almost seemed like she was a relative of my mother's! Perhaps it was her culture that she put before Islam, but she began to undermine my husband's authority and speaking out of line with matters that did not concern her. She began pressuring me into things that were out of my control and she was being extremely judgemental with my personal affairs and private life. She talked with what seemed like a very condescending tone. I was SHOCKED and APPALLED to say the least ! Who did this woman think she was? I couldn't believe my eyes. I have never met someone so oblivious and so acrid ! I was so taken aback that I just sat there acquiescently because my mother was there and I just was too shocked to respond. Her opinions were arbitrary and had nothing to do with Islam and to this day I still shake my head at the thought of the whole encounter. HasbiAllah ! I have already been going through ups and downs this year and I have been constantly trying to fight through my emaan lows. I remember I had a great weekend the day before she came and I told myself I would try to stay positive despite all my life's events but that very same day she visited my home I felt nothing but chagrined! Chagrined is the perfect word to describe how I felt and still feel whenever I think about that incident! She even overstayed her visit and my mother even was feeling restless. Yes, she had mentioned a handful of things about the hijab that I found actually relevant to her existing in my home but other than that, I was ready to ask her to leave and never come back! Finally, she left and that was the last of her. I never contacted her after that and she never contacted me either so I think she must have gotten the hint insha'Allah. As soon as she left I could not help but feel negative, sad and back to zero with all that I had worked on to keep myself up. My emotions, my spirits and my outlook became very low. I was felt absolute dismal !

Sisters, I want you to please learn from this experience.
This experience has given me insight to know that I never want to make a sister feel the way this sister had made me feel. It really opened up my eyes to why it is important to have good akhlaq and why having good character and manners is so beloved to Allah! Making your fellow sister feel more sad or depressed than she already is, is something that is extremely frowned upon. Even if that sister did not know what I was going through, she should still take into mind that whatever my current situation was, she should have been mindful with her words and especially she was a GUEST! I only met her that one time and already she thought she was entitled to spewing her unwelcomed opinions and advice. I never even asked her for advice or opinion on ANY matter so I really wasn't sure why she was sharing them. She should have been encouraging rather than negative. She should have been positive instead of putting salt on my open deep wounds!

Whenever we speak to a sister who we are not familiar with or who we are extremely close with, we should always remember to understand where they are coming from. Asking a sister, "When will you get married??" or,  "You guys have been married for how long now? When are the babies coming?" is not only inconsiderate but it shows a lack of thoughtfulness and deficiency in one's manners. Do you not think that the sister wants to be married? Do you not think that sister wants to have children like you? What if she has not found the right spouse after several attempts with different brothers? Or what if she is unable to have children? Have we ever thought of these things before asking such questions that do not even concern us in the first place? What is it our business to ask when is someone getting married or when are they having children? Unless you are willing to pay for their wedding or pay for their hospital fees, please leave that which does not concern you. It is not an excuse to use that these are "conversation starters" ! They will not bring any benefit to you nor will they increase love between you and someone. These are PERSONAL, PRIVATE matters and if they wanted to tell you, they would tell you without you even having to ask.

Please sisters, I have seen this happen to myself and to my friends WAY too many times. This is not from Islam to cause dismal to our sisters or make them feel chagrined! We are supposed to encourage and always speak good words to them and give them hope! We should let them know that Allah is always with the patient and His reward and promises are true! We should be uplifting them instead of making them feel helpless and hopeless! This is one reason why I have only a handful ( if even) of sisters who I can confide in because in all honesty, and it is sad to admit this, I cannot trust many sisters to give me positive reinforcements or happy encouragements.

Another thing I wanted to bring up was those sisters who are so entrapped in their own happiness they are completely oblivious to other's around them who are struggling with trials. Some newly wedded sisters and new mothers are drowning in their own happiness they forget that their zealousness isn't something that everyone wants to hear about or care about. Many sisters forget that not everyone wants to hear about what you and your husband do on weekends or what your husband does with your new baby when you are out with friends. Not everyone cares about what you made your husband for dinner or what things you bought your new baby! Unless you are with another sister who has the similar lifestyle that you have (new husband, new baby, kids etc.) then yes that would be a beautiful topic to talk about with each other! But if you are talking to a sister who is single, or who is married but with no child, or divorced then shouldn't you be mindful of the conversation topics you chose to talk about? Let us try to be more considerate of others and to be more thoughtful. We wouldn't want us to feel left out, troubled, or feeling low about ourselves now would we? So why should we make others feel that way?

Next time you meet your friend, new or old, please remember to think before you speak. Even if you do not know their whole lifestory doesnt mean you need to pry into their personal life. If they bring it up then that is fine but if they do not talk about it, then leave it and do not ask things that do not add value to your life whether you knew about it or not! Be mindful of what that sister could be going through. Perhaps she doesnt talk about wanting kids or being married because she is divorced, in a long distance relationship, financially unstable, infertile or whatever the reason may be! It is not your business unless she makes it your businsess.

Let us reflect upon these aHadith and try our best to have the best manners and character whenever we meet and speak to our sisters in Islam. May Allah guide us all to good and forgive us and make us of those with beautiful character and manners ameen!
(DISLCAIMER: my thoughts and experience expressed in this post is merely for educating and though I really frowned upon the actions of the sister, I do not dislike her as a sister in Islam and I ask Allah to guide her and give her what is best for her in this life and the next ameen. I just found it very beneficial to share from my own experience because it is more raw and real which may help us to reflect upon our own actions) 

“Much silence and a good disposition, there are no two things better than these.” (Bukhari)
 “Shall I tell you of him who will be shut out from the fire (of hell)? Every quiet, good-natured fellowman.” ( Tirmidthi)
 “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit to people, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother Muslim in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month.”( Tabarani – Hasan, Silsilah Saheeha, Al-AlBani)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And then it was gone...

Ramadan came and went in the blink of an eye. The first week started off really slowly for me and then after that I don't know what happened!
My Ramadan this year was not like any other. I didn't get a chance to pray taraweeh in the masjid but since my husband is not with me (just like all the times when I am home for Ramadan in Toronto), I had no problem praying it in the comfort of my own home . I was able to attend my first iftar at the masjid I usually attend and I was able to attend iftar gatherings with many of my good friends Alhamdulillah.  But of course, Ramadan is not just about having iftar gatherings, actually it is far from that. Ramadan should be about getting closer to Allah and rectifying our own selves and holding ourselves accountable for our actions and our character. Even though I didn't do loads of ibaadah, I tried my best to be consistent and I think I moved at a steady pace alhamdulillah. I always found the prior years whenever I would try to make a plan I would fail miserably. Just something about writing down a plan makes me feel stressed and forced. So this year, I decided to go at my own pace and do what I thought was best for me and what was within my capacity. I tried my best to be consistent and worked on things gradually and tried not to dive head first into the deep end, which is something I always end up doing, resulting in me becoming burnt out in the end. It is really important that we always pace ourselves not just in Ramadan but during our lifetime as a Muslim. If Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear, then we should not do that to ourselves!
What made my Ramadan different this year was that I was able to reflect a lot. Day and night, I was reflecting and thinking about my own self and my many flaws which really needed to be rectified. I almost felt like I went through an emotional boot camp because I experienced so many different emotions all in one month. I went from being happy and excited to feeling sad and depressed! I then realised the negative feelings I was experiencing was due to my lack of yaqeen (absolute certainty) and tawakkul (reliance upon Allah) in Allah. I also kept focusing on all the negative aspects of my life when in fact I should have been trying to focus on the positive things ! I know it is so hard to be grateful when we are going through trials. It is so easy to forget that we have so much to be thankful for during our times of hardships. For example, we should feel happy that we have either our health, our wealth or loved ones around us when we are suffering from something that is testing us. We should always be thankful and grateful no matter what because then Allah will increase us with more.

"And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe."" (14:7)

even though this is such a challenge most of the time, every time we feel ungrateful we should immediately stop ourselves and think of all the blessings that Allah HAS given us! Even if we think there are none, if we truly reflect , we will find many ! I always ended up comparing myself to others and then I would feel lonely and sad but then I tried to remember the story of Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ayyub (aleyhi salam) and I compared myself to them and then I thought, wow, I have no right to complain because look at what they went through and how patient they were?! And they did not even complain for one second! It is amazing how Allah gives us examples in the Qur'an and uses His righteous slaves to help us get through our hardships! How great Allah is! Whenever we feel sad, ungrateful or hopeless, let us look at the example of the prophets (May Allah's peace be upon them all) and reflect upon ourselves and remind ourselves that they were the best of people and yet they were struck with many difficult hardships yet they were patient and never complained and exercised full tawakkul 'ala Allah! A great reminder to myself first and foremost.

I hope that I can continue to strive daily to always be grateful because now that Ramadan has passed us by almost a month now, I am finding myself starting to become heedless and impatient. The struggle is real! The best way to stay on track is to always surround yourself with those who remind you of Allah and to always surround yourself with people who have less than you so that you will always remember your blessings that Allah has sent upon you and I ! May Allah keep us steadfast and firm with Islam and upon the correct understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ramadan Reflection : Food For Thought

{Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance).} [Quran 7:31]

So I meant to write this post earlier in the month but I have just been distracted with trying to figure out what to do with myself during this blessed month. I usually stay up until fajr because I really don't like that groggy feeling if I sleep like a short hour before suhoor (since the night is so short) you can't really get a good nights rest. I feel more productive during the night but at the same time I get too tired to write. But I am taking another attempt and hopefully bidhniAllah, this post will make sense and I will get my point across clearly insha'Allah ! 

We are now pretty much half way through this blessed month and to be honest with you, I have been struggling to be productive and trying to stay focused. A lot has been on my mind lately and I am just trying to deal with my emotions concerning a bunch of things and really trying hard to not fall into any kind of sadness or depression. I know this dunya is a test and the whole point of these challenging tasks is to come out with more sabr and resilience. The struggle is real! I always find myself going in strong at the beginning of the month but then I tend to go in too strong and too fast resulting in a final burn out during the last 10 nights! So I have really been trying to gradually pace myself and try my best to do what is within my capacity and to not overburden myself or to stress myself out too much if I don't complete task a, b, or c. On top of that I am trying to deal with dunya issues so I am trying to go easy on myself (but obviously not too easy.) I hope everyone else's Ramadan is going well and you are all getting your ibadaah in and making use of this blessed month! 

I know this month is where we are supposed to strive harder than usual and increase in good deeds. We are supposed to try our best to kick old habits and work hard to improve ourselves and to get closer to Allah. One pressing issue that I find within our community is something that really makes me sad and upset; that is the issue of wasting food. I was blessed this year to finally attend my local masjid for a few iftaars and though it was a lovely experience, I was absolutely shocked by the amount of food being wasted! I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw half of the rice box being thrown away and it really broke my heart. I couldn't believe that this is the very food that Allah has blessed us with to break our fast, the very food that many all around the world are wishing to eat and to fill their stomach's with and yet some individuals are just throwing it away like a piece of garbage astughfurAllah!!!!! 

Sisters, please realise The prophet ordered us not to leave anything in the plate and he said: "You do not know in which portion of your food Allah has put the Barakah "(Blessing). [Muslim]  you all are doing a great job in fasting and fulfilling one of the pillars of Islam but when your eyes are bigger than your stomachs and you cannot finish your food, please do not throw it away. Think about all the hungry children around the world. Think about those suffering in all the third world countries, all the war torn countries, and all the countries where even water is scarce! Yet look at the food that Allah has blessed us with and showered us with His Mercy. Can you imagine yourself for one second in their shoes (or lack thereof) of these poor Muslims who do not even know when they can have the chance to break their fast in and outside of Ramadan! Alhamdulillah for donations and we can feed them during Ramadan but even so, not every country has the luxury of being fed biryani or rice with meat . Think about how blessed you are to be able to eat that! 

Sisters, it is a duty upon you to set an example for your household and especically your children and to show them the importance of not wasting and the importance of not taking more than what you can eat. If you cannot finish your rice box, please, save it for suhoor or worse case scenario, feed it to the birds on your porch! But do NOT throw that blessed food away. This is a gift from Allah! Can you imagine not being able to have any food and Allah tests you with a loss of wealth? Throwing away food is like throwing away blessings. Allah can easily test you with hunger and starvation and it doesn't even have to be in the month of Ramadan! Please be mindful and really realise that what you have is a gift and that it is a big bounty and favour from Allah. If you throw away the food, you are throwing away Allah's bounties and His favours upon you! Of course I am not encouraging you to stuff your face until you can't breath resulting in you standing and burping while praying taraweeh or being so full you can't even stand at all audhubillah!In reality, we should really remember this hadith"The child of Adam has not filled any receptacle worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the child of Adam to eat small bits of food that keep him healthy. Now if he wants to eat much any way, he should give a third to the food, a third to the drink and a third (of his stomach) to let him breathe comfortably." [Ahmad] and next time, before you think about throwing away that food, just for one second remember the children who are suffering from malnutrition or the children and adults dying from starvation and then remember the gift of food in your hands that you are about to throw up. Remember that the food you are about to throw out could actually be the part with the most blessings in it! IF YOU CAN'T FINISH IT, PACK IT UP TO GO and have it for suhoor. Do not be picky, if you don't like to eat the same thing twice, just think for a second and tell yourself "wait! There could be great blessings in this and Allah can reward me for not wasting !" and you will get an easy reward just by doing that! Or you can even feed it to some bird or raccoons or a stray cat! Just don't throw it away please! 

If you are just as passionate about this issue as me, please do take steps to bring it up to the masjid and to maybe put up signs as a reminder to NOT WASTE ANY LEFTOVERS! Leftovers are awesome and they usually taste better the next day anyway! You can even get creative and do some mix and match and make some awesome new dish or recipe with your leftovers!

This is the month to kick bad habits and if you are used to throwing away food, let this month be the month to change your old ways. Food is a blessing, a bounty from Allah. You did not earn it nor do you deserve it except that Allah gave it to you from His Mercy! Always remember, you are nothing but a weak human being who can have all this wealth, health, life taken away in a matter of seconds. Because you wasted food so freely, Allah could easily test you by making you starve for all those times you threw away food! Just as easily as Allah provided us food, He can so easily take it away (May Allah protect us from such trials, ameen.) Always remember that. Do not go to the extreme of gluttony  and overeating your share and do not go to the extreme of wasting. Being a believer is all about moderation and balance. May Allah give us the tawfeeq to remember always His blessings and to be grateful for everything and may this be a reminder to myself first and foremost and may He bless us with success for the remainder of this month and that which follows ameen! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ramadan 2016

Ramadan Mubarak all ! 

So I just realised the most recent post I just shared was the very first post of 2016 and we are already in June! Subhana'Allah how time flies. I moved back to Toronto on Dec 30th of 2015 and at the blink of an eye, it is already June 2016 ! Insha'Allah I will try my best to keep blogging regularly since things have settled down now alhamdulillah. 
Allah has blessed me and you with His Mercy by witnessing yet another Ramadan. I remember the first time I spent Ramadan alone here in Canada without my husband and I made it such a big deal and I was really upset and just wasn't feelin' it ! But now that this is my 6th Ramadan (only by the Permission of Allah) and my 4th one alone, I finally feel more comfortable and in fact, grateful that I can witness yet another Ramadan and by myself! I admit, it would be really nice to experience Ramadan with a big family but I feel like when I fly solo, things are just a lot easier for me. Making iftaar and sahoor for one body is awesome and eating by yourself while playing a lecture or chatting with your friends online is pretty sweet. Also, you are on your own schedule and you can do whatever you need whenever you need. So, Alhamdulillah for the solo Ramadans! As well, I really don't want to complain because compared to many, most of us have it real good. Just being able to fast in your own home or having food to break your fast and feed yourself with for sahoor is more than a blessing! If we just look around the world and see how the Muslims suffer and bloodshed going on everywhere, we should realize just how blessed we are and how we should thank Allah each and every day for the things we have. I often think about my revert sisters who's family don't know they are Muslim because they would disown them, or the revert sister's who's families hate Islam and do not let them freely practise in the home and it makes me really feel sad for them. I know that it is really difficult because I live with my parents and certain things can really be a big struggle and a big test! A message to those sisters, you are NOT alone! Allah is with you always and continue to strive hard and stay strong and always remember that we will not say that we believe in Allah and the Messenger (peace be upon him) and then not be tested and tried ! Always remember that the glad tidings and big rewards are with Allah and He does not forget any small thing we do for His Sake. Alhamdulillah! What a good reminder to myself. Whenever we think that we are a stuck in a situation, let us always remember that Allah has always relieved the prophets (peace be upon them all) and they came out strong and always successful therefore Allah will never leave us hanging unless we forget Him and leave ourselves hanging without Him ! 

I want to make this month a month of reflection. I want to be able to pick the smallest of situations and be able to reflect upon it. I feel like sometimes I am so caught up with my problems and my tests that I forget to look at the big picture and realise that whatever happens, it is something good and it will help me with the present and the future. 
 “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful 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.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2999).  

Today we should reflect upon the fact that we are here today to witness another Ramadan, may Allah allow us to complete it successfully and may He forgive us and allow us to witness many more ameen. I feel like sometimes I take my life and my time for granted. Many times I just expect that I will be alive tomorrow. When I really sit and think about how short life really is, it is really ignorant for me to think that I can take my time with my life and doing good deeds. I remember when I first became Muslim and all the blog posts I wrote, were always so reflective and passionate! I remember that I was always so focused about the akhirah and racing to do good deeds! Somewhere down the road, I got a little side tracked and began to worry more about dunya things. Subhana'Allah how easy it is to just get so caught up with the life of this world and forget the true purpose of life as a Muslim. Even as I sit here writing I am overthinking and worrying about my personal affairs. I hope that I can increase in tawakkul and always remind myself that Allah is the Best of Planners and I can only make duaa that I will have a good ending and that Allah will have mercy on me. Death is such a scary thing. It is like the elephant in the room, nobody wants to talk about it but we know it's there and close by. I hope that my passion for the deen will be ignited like once before and that I will be able to write with firm hope and enthusiasm. I know that I can't expect everything to happen overnight and I am definitely a work in progress. I know, though, Allah is most Merciful and He only cares to see that we have tried and we continue to try and we continue to call upon Him and Him alone. 

What are your goals for this Ramadan? If you are reading this , please share in the comments below.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Back from USA ! Alhamdulillah!

It has been a long while since I last wrote on my blog! Hope all my readers (if there are any left lol) are doing well bidhniAllah (by the permission of Allah)! Well a lot has happened since my last post! I finally moved back to Canada and no longer living in US ! ALHAMDULILLAH!!!! I never disclosed my location where I was living when I was in US mainly because I was looking out for my own safety! I am now living at my parents place back in Toronto and struggling with a long distance relationship with my has definitely been a big change extremely challenging. 

I guess now I can share my experiences with you about my life in US. I was living in Kentucky to be exact, and where I lived, there were little to no Muslims there. There were only a bunch of #Saudi students and well, #selfexplanatory #noexplanationneeded. I met a few kind sisters alhamdulillah but generally speaking, the Islam in that town was weak and really pathetic. I felt very alone most of the time and my emaan really suffered. When I say suffered, I can't even begin to explain just how low it was! There were no masjids around us and most of them were either 25-45 minutes away and filled with Sufi-modern-merikuhhhn muslims who did NOT make you feel welcome! If you are ever in the Cincinnati area, do NOT go to Clifton masjid because the sisters are mainly very rude and if you wear niqab they look at you like you are some kind of terrorist! Nobody says 'Salam' (except for the odd few) to you and they all have their own clique which they congregate into a little circle against the wall. I REALLY had a bad experience there and all the other sisters I knew also stayed away from there and warned me as well (even though I had already experienced it for myself) yeah, STAY AWAY! They also promote heavy mixing and always have mixed events and they think nothing wrong of it! Allah Must'aan! One masjid I do recommend though is West Chester, the only thing is it was REALLY far from us, nearly 45 minutes away (one way) ! We mostly just went there for Eid prayer and there was a tiny halal market/sit-in restaurant attached together and it was probably like one of the only few restaurants in that pathetic little city. The masjid was beautiful, the sisters were much nicer than those at Cliffy. Of course most of them still have their own agenda (because you know they can't teach TOO much Qur'an and Sunnah *rolls eyes*) but if you are looking for a masjid to go for Eid prayer or to meet some sisters, I recommend West Chester. There were some other random masjids as well, one in Florence KY which was predominately Somali but most of the sisters there didn't really speak English. Most of the masjids did not have many classes or sister only classes..and even if they did, I felt a bit adamant to attend because I didn't know what kind of things they would be teaching. So for pretty much 5 years of my life I was stuck at home and too afraid to step outside my front door to go anywhere alone. That's right! I have never felt so unsafe before living somewhere. In KY I felt so unsafe and aside from that, there was absolutely NOTHING to do where I lived. There was only a Kroger, and a shisha place and a 24 hr Wal-mart (which was like stepping into a KKK hotspot because everyone there was white and angry). It was the most trashiest town I have ever lived in! It was probably worse than a random street in the middle of nowhere in Niagra Falls *lol* .. It was a big challenge for me to keep up my deen. I tried to keep active with reading and listening to lectures online but for 5 years, it can only help you for so long. I realised how important it was to always be able to have a good circle of friends (which I didn't really have- except for two sisters, who later moved away ) and to be able to attend Islamic classes in a reliable masjid is such a blessing! 

Living in the US was a big test for me and through all the suffering, it made me realize a lot of things. It made me more thankful ,appreciative, and patient. To this day, I still do not know how I lasted 5 years in the middle of nowhere, and made it out alive and still a Muslim. Alhamdulillah, of course I had my husband to help me and encourage me to stay patient and he always reminded me of Allah but at the same time, the struggle and battle was mostly an inner one. Every day I had to fight to overcome my negative mindset. I felt beyond trapped living in the US. Aside from all the physical things that I had to overcome, I had to really fight hard to keep myself from losing hope. I would always fight to hold on to that small string of hope I had left in me. Those who know me personally, know my situation and as I said, I am a very private person so I would never broadcast my life publicly over the internet ( i still don't understand how some can post fashion photos of themselves beautified and with their pregnant belly or newborn baby all on the internet for thousands to see- like don't you worry about evil eye? Subhana'Allah)  but I went (and still am going) through many tests that really made me question a lot of things. There were times where my faith was so weak I even wondered " has Islam really made my life better?" and I really would just struggle day after day to think good about Islam and Allah. I even questioned Allah at times astughfurAllah and I fell into heavy depression for the last two years I lived in US. It was truly one of the worst times thus far as a Muslim (alhamdulillah I have been Muslim now for 5 years! May Allah keep me and all my revert sisters/brothers and all Muslims steadfast and strong upon the straight path ameen!) and I had blogged about health issues in some of my posts which was something that had really affected me and made my depression even worse. I had suffered from an infected tooth and had to get it removed and because of all the negative factors surrounding me, I suffered major panic attacks and anxiety attacks that were debilitating and left me bed ridden. For those of you who have ever had a panic attack or anxiety attack, you all know very well what I am talking about. Most people who have never suffered from one would probably just look at me and think I am silly and being over dramatic, but NO...mental illness or any kind of unbalanced mental state is even worse than a physical injury because physical injuries heal but your mind, which is probably one of the most powerful parts of the human body, really can make or break you ! Subhana'Allah how weak we are ! Anyway, so I suffered for a good year from anxiety and it was just an accumulation of things that made me feel this way and of course anxiety and depression go hand in hand so I fell into depression as well. The main reason I think was because I felt trapped and I just felt like I would never get out of the US. Wearing the niqab also was a big test for me, not only because I was worried about being attacked because of it , but also because it constricted my breathing sometimes which in return would affect my anxiety. Because breathing has a lot to do with anxiety! It was a horrible place to be in and I could never leave my home without feeling afraid or scared that I would be attacked or harassed. I had to carry pepper spray with me everywhere I went and I never went out without my husband Alhamdulillah. I really disliked living in the states so much subhana'Allah that when I moved back to Toronto I felt like I was in Paradise on earth (just figuratively speaking of course because we all know there is no Paradise except the Paradise that Allah has created for the righteous believers who do good deeds and worship Him alone - may we all make it to Jannatul Firdaus ameen!!). And I just wanted to add, that I did visit a few states like Chicago and Washington (many times) when I stayed in merikuhhh..and though I cannot base my opinion about USA on just living in one state, I will hold true to my opinions mainly because even when I visited those states (which were really beautiful - landscape wise and shopping and food wise!) and even though i met countless sisters from USA online (who maybe only one I keep closely in contact with and consider a friend!) I can say that the mentality is pretty much all the same and the merikuhn vibe is just...I don't know, it's something you can only understand if you are a Canadian. Even the Muslim vibe I experienced online with merikuhnn sisters was very very different and I just can't bring myself to say that I enjoyed any part of living in USA at all (except the obvious, being with my husband)!

To those who are reading this, you may not think it was really anything THAT bad, but believe me it was. I am not going to go into personal details (as I mentioned because I am a private person etc..) but I just want to say that I was put to test through my wealth, health, children (lack there of) and my faith. I realise now that everything that happened was for my own good and that it truly has made me become a better Muslim. I can't express how much i detested living in USA for 5 years but as Allah says in the Qur'an
   “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (AI-Baqarah, 2:216)  and I truly realised how good it was for me and for my spirituality.  I feel like if I did not undergo what I went through for 5 years of my life as a Muslim, I would not understand the true value of life and the true gift of Islam. The first two years of living in KY were not all that bad. I had really good days and really bad days and the good days had outweighed the bad , but towards the end of my stay there, it was truly a challenge in all aspects . I am glad that Allah gave me the success to overcome those tests (even though I probably complained so many times - astughfurAllah) and to open up my eyes and heart to the true blessings that He gives me and you each and every day. Now I am even thankful for just being able to wake up and live in a (marijuana) smoke-free environment, or even just being able to stand outside my balcony and overlook the sunset during maghrib. Even going out for a walk with my hijab (i can't wear niqab around my parents) alone or with a friend is one of the best feelings I have ever felt in a longtime! Allahu Akbar! It also shows that with hardship there is always ease, because even though we are being challenged with hardship, Allah gives us ease in one way or another. When we are being put through tests, we should always look at the other blessings that Allah has given us. For example, our health! Subhana'Allah , since the anxiety attacks, I realised just how important our health is and second to the biggest gift of all , Islam , our health comes right after! What good is having all the money , children, luxuries of this world when your health is deteriorating?! Not that we should ever be chasing the dunya, but just imagine! The harships that I faced and continue to face, just proves that Allah's promise is true. 

What did I learn from my experience living in the USA ? 

I learnt soooooo many things!! A lot of things that made me reflect about who I am as a Muslim and what the true meaning of being a Muslim means in this worldly life we live in. Perhaps I was becoming too complacent or maybe even displaying signs of kibr (may Allah protect me and all of us from ever becoming arrogant! ameen!) and these tests were to humble me and to keep me in line with myself. I learnt that instead of complaining about hardships (which I often found myself doing, astughfurAllah) I forced myself to reflect on what the purpose of all these tests were. I remembered also that the more we complained about everything, the worse things would get and I knew that I was failing my tests and that I would end up losing out on all the possible rewards from Allah ! 

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’.” (14:7)

I also learnt that this dunya is way too short and that all your blessings can disappear in the blink of and eye. I also realised how important it is to take advantage of your health; whether you use it for helping out your parents , your family, or helping out the sick, USE your health to your FULL advantage for the beneficial things that please Allah! Health is by far one of the biggest blessings Allah has gifted us with subhana'Allah! 
“The son of Adam will not pass away from Allah until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, and how he utilized his youth, with what means did he earn his wealth, how did he spend his wealth, and what did he do with his knowledge.” (Tirmidhi)

Above it all, what I really learnt was that all these tests are only because Allah loves me and He wants to raise my rank and to shape me to be the best Muslimah I can be. I know how hard it is to always try to reflect upon the blessings of a test or trial when all you can think about is the suffering you are going through! Many times I would feel sorry for myself and sulk because of my situation and I would think that I was going through everything all alone. Little did I know that this hardship was something I truly needed in order to open my eyes to becoming more humble and to giving me more courage to keep trekking through this crazy life called dunya. It is so easy to get lost along the way when you are struggling and in a bad place (physically and mentally). The saying holds true: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I hope that my experience is something that we all can reflect upon and to always be thankful for our blessings, from being able to just open your eyes and get out of bed without any help to having food to break your fast with!

As narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah :  - The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'The greater reward is with the greater trial or the greater the trial or difficulty of test or hardship is then the greater the reward. And when Allah loves a person He will test them. The people as long as they are in good health, good shape, good condition they are covered. You don't know their true character because they are in good situation, they are in good circumstance. As long as they are in a good circumstances they are covered. But if a trial or difficulty or a hardship comes upon them, then you will see their reality. They will go to their reality. The Mu'min will run to his Imaan, the hypocrite will run to his hypocrisy.

'As recorded in Buhari and Muslim: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever Allah wants good for him, he puts them to test. He puts them through difficulties. Like a diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then that which is bad from it is removed so that you have that which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever. Put them to tests, trials and difficulties."

"Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who had faith with him said, 'When will the Help of Allah come?' Yes! Indeed Allah's help is close!" [Al-Qur'an 2:214]

Please keep my in your duaas my readers as I continue to go through some hardships and not being with my husband and now living at home with my non-Muslim parents. May Allah continue to guide us and bless us with good health and be pleased with us in this life and the next ameen!