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12 In Soul

Bullying: My Story

This has been on my top posts to write since forever, but fear held me back. Having recently read so many stories. of beautiful young children committing suicide, because of bullying, I thought it’s time to share mine.

I was bullied from a young age; probably from around age 4-16 years. My school years were filled with torment, pain and just anguish. I covered the scars of my soul for such a long time, but I think now is the time to share this with the world.

This is in no particular order. It’s not as thought out as my other posts. So if it’s all over the place just know that it’s raw and real.

 

Bullying was the norm

“Look at your face. Why does it look like that?… Eww, don’t play with her she’s got nits?… You’ve worn that jacket for 3 days. Tramp!

Going to a predominately south-Asian school, I was bullied for the way I looked. From what I gathered (in my 12 years or so at school), is that being white was considered beautiful. I however, am the opposite (and I love it). Alhamdulilah (All Praises Due to Allah).

I have a wider nose (which I have grown to love), tanned skin (which I simply adore), jet black wavy hair (which is thick and lustrous allahumma barik alaayki –  May Allah bless it Aameen). I’m not disfigured alhamdulilah, but I felt that way. My features were that off a mixed-raced African girl. The bullying started with the way I looked to ‘where is your dad’ (because apparently, being raised in a single-parent home was a reason to be abused).

Looking back, I never realized that being physically and verbally abused was deemed as that. Yes bullying, but it didn’t hold the same connotation as abuse.

I use the word abused, because bullying has the same effects as mental, physical and sexual abuse. But I believe it’s downplayed to say it’s normal for it to happen; especially in school. There is nothing normal about being abused. Nothing. I rather stick to calling bullying what it really is; physical and mental abuse.When you constantly pick on someone to the point that they consider ending their own lives; that’s abuse.

Teachers never intervened. No matter how many times my mother complained to the headteacher; it was shrugged off. I was blamed;

“maybe she needs to befriend them’, ‘maybe they’re just picking on her because they want to be her friend’, ‘oh they’re just kids, these things happen”. 

Regardless of your age; kids should not abuse other kids. I didn’t realize that it was wrong, because bullying is likened to growing pains. Kids beating and verbally abusing others, is because he/she is expressing him/herself! Or because he/she is attracted to the person they’re bullying! Subhan’Allah (Glory Be to Allah)! This is the context the word ‘bullying’, is used, Unfortunately, it’s sugar-coated abuse.

Teachers saw it as normal. Heck, I saw it as normal because it had happened to me from such a young age. One day I had friends, the next day I didn’t. One day I was happy, laughing and joking with my ‘so-called friends’ and then the next day I was sad, lonely, suicidal. All from the age of 4.

I think the worst of the name calling was being referred to as ‘kali’ which means black (in Urdu) on a daily basis. I remember grabbing the bleach when I was 7, and rubbing it all over my face and arms. I wanted to be white so badly. When my dear mother caught me, she broke down (May Allah rest her soul aameen).

Despite her attempts to protect me, she felt as though she had failed miserably. When I used to cry and scream ‘why is this happening to me’, she would give me words of strength that I appreciate so much; 

Rosy, you’re unique, don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise, that’s why they pick on you. You’re different, amazingly different. There’s just something about your sparkle that makes them feel insecure. Don’t let them break you down’, 

but at that moment in time, I felt absolutely disgusted with myself. Isn’t that what abuse does?

 

Mentally and physically tortured

Yes you read right; tortured! That’s how it felt. Going to school everyday, wondering if I should just stand in front of the road and let that lorry run me over. Or just run away altogether so that I don’t have to face these animals.

There’s one incident that still haunts me to this day. I was standing in the playground (by myself) and a group of maybe 50-60 boys and girls were heading towards me and surrounded me. They taunted me and threatened to beat me up. And I kept praying that they would. Even though I didn’t really believe in God at that time, I kept praying ”Please God, let them kill me!” 

Although I wasn’t touched that day, I felt like my soul had been scarred. And to make it worse, the next day, one of the boys kicked a football so hard at my head, that I fell unconscious. Yet no-one rushed to my aid. Not even the teachers.

 

High School was just as bad

Going into high school wasn’t any better. I had my head flushed down the toilet, rumors spread about me being a prostitute and lesbian. Girls wanted to fight me because I spoke to a boy they liked, or I was hanging around the boys they liked.

At the age of 10 a similar incident happened again, involving around 70 kids. We were all sat in the hall because it was raining outside during break. A girl approached me and began hurling abuse. I can’t remember what exactly it was about, and then all of a sudden the hall just gathered around me and threw food. I ran to the toilet, locked the door and cried. At that moment I felt so alone. I grabbed my pencil and tried digging it into my arm, I wanted to just end it all so badly. I couldn’t physically  scream or cry. But my soul was wrenched in pain, yearning for a way out. I stabbed at my arm for maybe a minute, until I just gave up and finally sobbed on the toilet floor.

Of course, the abuse continued. Girls regularly commented on my dress sense, my hair, my skin. I was regularly told that I’m going to get beaten up and that there’s nothing I could do about it. And I, 100% believed it.

This is the main thing about bullying; you believe the abuser. You believe they will harm you, even if they don’t. It’s a form of self-control because the abuser is SO weak and insecure; the only way to boost his/her ego, is to harm others they perceive as weak.

For me the bullying extended outside of school hours. I’d get regular phone calls with the song ‘who let the dogs out’ playing in the background. It was literally soul-destroying.

 

Zero self-esteem

As you can imagine being abused on a daily basis for no reason is enough to send anyone insane. I was suicidal.

I would regularly ask my Mom ‘why didn’t you abort me’? I was saying things like this from as young as 4. Yet, in a school full of teachers, not one adult decided that enough was enough.

Nope. Not. One. Single. Teacher.

I was seen as the problem, the issue, the one who wasn’t compromising. I was always getting in trouble, getting suspended; I was the cause of my own misery.

Teachers have such a huge influence on children nowadays because we spend most of our lives in school. They have enough leverage to bring a positive change to way children interact. For one, if you’re a teacher and you are aware that a child is being bullied: DO SOMETHING. And PLEASE, do NOT blame the victim!

At the age of 15, I no longer believed in myself. I didn’t feel adequate enough or worthy enough, of being a friend or even getting far in life. I was a failure in my mind. I felt utterly betrayed by the world and all that’s in it. I constantly asked myself whether it’s worth living. Whether anyone would notice if I just disappeared and died. Self-loathing was rife at this point.

And the sad part is that I felt needy. I needed to be loved, I needed friends. I turned to smoking, drinking; anything to just numb the pain. I became rebellious because it felt good to be in control of something. I stayed out late, hung out with the wrong people. All of this, because I was constantly picked on.

 

I didn’t always let them win

Although I felt utterly alone, I faked a smile everyday to school. It was like a ‘ha-ha in your face’ kind of thing. My mom advised me;

‘do not let them win. If you don’t go to school, they’re going to think they’ve won; stand up to them by just turning up’. 

I really thank my Mom for this (May Allah grant her Jannah Ameen). At the time, I was wondering why she wouldn’t change schools (well in all honesty she couldn’t; with 6 kids it was difficult enough raising us with NO support), but I am so glad that she didn’t.

Everytime I was ganged up on, or beaten, I returned to school the next day and my abusers were always left with nothing to say. I was left alone, maybe for a few days to a week and before I knew it, it started all over again.

 

I’m thankful for the experience

You’re probably thinking huh? After all that, she’s thankful?! Yes I am.

Leaving school was the best day of my life. I don’t miss it. Alhamdulilah, I have only one friend (she knows her name), who I’m still in contact with to this day. But one thing I’m grateful for is finding the strength to overcome the pain of bullying.

I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as well as a borderline-personality disorder from a young age. However, I’m completely cured and better than ever, because I chose to take the natural approach to my own healing. Alhamdulilah. The path to self discovery helped me find Allah and I don’t think I would be a Muslim, had I not gone through this test.

It was tough; even to this day, those negative voices creep up and sometimes get me down. But I don’t let them win. I persevere and remind myself that if I survived that kind of abuse, then I can survive anything.

And I don’t think I’d be the person I am today, had I not been bullied. I wouldn’t be as resilient, strong and persistent. I wouldn’t be as ambitious as I am right now. My love for helping and healing others, probably wouldn’t be as strong as it is now.

So, if there is one thing I could tell my younger self is that everything will work out in the end. No matter how hard it is, it’s going to be okay. And to anyone reading this, who’s going through a similar experience or is still suffering from the effects of bullying; it’s going to be okay insha’Allah (Allah Willing).

However in no way shape or form, is bullying/abuse acceptable. So if you’re being bullied I advise you to seek help. Do not suffer in silence. Find someone to talk to, even call the police if you have too. Do what you can, to stand up to bullying. From a person who survived the torment my one piece of advice is this;

JazakAllah khayrun for reading. I hope you found inspiration

If you have been affected by what I’ve written, or are being bullied in any way, then there are many organizations such as Bullying UK and the National Bullying Helpline that can help with advice and what to do. Do NOT suffer in silence.

0 In Soul

My Journey To Islam

Have you ever wondered your purpose in life? What you’ve been put on this Earth to do? Why you’ve been created; just for fun, eat, sleep and then die?

When I was young I had a feeling that something Higher was watching me, that I would be held accountable for everything I did. I just didn’t know how to acknowledge Him or worship Him. And that’s how I found Islam.

Childhood

I remember my friend asked me if I believed in heaven and hell. My response was ‘hell is on Earth and heaven is when you die’. I was adamant on this fact. My Mom was raised as a shia Muslim, but she never really practiced it.

Unfortunately, I born into an abusive home. My father was Muslim, but wasn’t practising. My earliest memories from childhood, is my father trying to kill my mom and the memory still haunts me to this day.

We subsequently ran away when I was four years old and went from refuge to homeless shelters for over a year. Mom was finally given a house but we had nothing to make it a home. All six of us, slept on a mattress whilst my mom stayed awake making sure we were comfortable (May Allah be pleased with her aameen).

We were quite poor for a while, until we received financial assistance from the government. Unfortunately, because Mom ran away, her family also disowned her. Being divorced in Persian culture is seen as a huge shame. So not only did I enter this world without knowing the love of a dad; I also didn’t enjoy the love of an extended family.

I went to a predominately south-asian school, and was severely bullied until the end of high school. This was the main reason why I didn’t really believe in God. I mean, how could God let cruel people beat me and bully me on a daily basis? Where was the justice? And I still don’t know why I was bullied. The only thing I can think of, is being raised in a broken home. I was asked a lot where my father was and my reply was always the same ‘I don’t know but let me know when you find him’.

As I was always trying to find myself in life, I appropriated different cultures. Sometimes I would hang with the black kids, then other days the white kids. And the asian kids occasionally. People ask me why I don’t know anything about my culture. Well, my mother was to busy trying to survive as a single mother with six kids. She didn’t know what her own culture was, as she was raised to just cook and clean.

Christianity to Jehovah

Mom was always searching for her purpose in life. As kids we used to go to church with our christian neighbor. She was really lovely and always made sure we were well looked after. I remember going to Sunday service and not really understanding what’s going on.

We read the Bible and the only thing that didn’t make sense to me, was Jesus being God and the Trinity concept. Time passed and then we turned to Jehovah Witness. This was when I was around 12-13 years old. I remember going to their services with a notepad, writing things about the apocalypse.

As Mom was searching for validation, she would ask questions at the service and one of them was about accountability. Jehovah witnesses don’t believe in a soul and to this my mother disagreed. So we stopped going and remained plato for a while.

Atheism

After leaving school I started modelling. I went through a rebellious stage where I stayed out most nights and partyed. Most of my friends at this time were Muslim, but I didn’t really know what Islam was. I knew Muslims prayed and I sometimes prayed. Praying was like deep meditation for me. But in my heart I still did not believe. I followed the crowd as I wanted to fit in. Growing up without a father, aunties, uncles and grandparents made me drift between different cultures, in the hope of just fitting in. But I didn’t. I actually used to believe that Islam was run by male chauvinists, who believed women are created to just cook, clean and have babies.

I wore the hijab once and Mom completely disapproved of it because she believed it was dictated by men. She actually didn’t like Islam at this point. I think she was dwelling into Hinduism because she would mention there were many Gods. So I just carried on modelling, partying and being a rebellious teenager.

God wasn’t a part of my life at this point, but it was always at the back of mind. Modelling was just a hobby for me; I actually despised it. Being on show for the validation of men (all my go-sees were men telling me how to look), made me sick to my core. But I wanted to be accepted and I felt this was the only way how.

Around the age of 20 I got involved in the wrong crowd, thus compromising my studies at Uni (I was studying law). The only way for me to move forward in my life, was to move out of mom’s home and to another city. It was hard at first; I missed my family and the comfort of my mother’s love. Soon enough I was going back to my old ways and that’s when it happened.

The turning point

When I left home I met some Muslim sisters who are still dear friends to this day. As I was trying so hard to just be accepted; when asked if I was a Muslim my answer was yes. Even though I wasn’t.

I attended a few of the ISOC meetings and really enjoyed the sense of belonging, love and warmth that I received from these sisters. And that’s also how I met my husband. In fact, he was also studying Law and we just so happened to be in the same lectures as each other. But he was extremely shy and never approached me.

As I was a lazy student (I seriously don’t know why I studied Law), I would miss most of my lectures and seminars. So, I embarked on a mission to find someone’s notes that I could copy and it ended up being my husband. As we were discussing the lecture outside he abruptly said he had to leave to go pray. At this point I didn’t know that he was a Muslim.

My reaction was to ask ‘oh to Jesus’, and he said ‘no to Allah’. Honestly, my world stopped when I heard these words. First of all, I had never met a Black Muslim and secondly just hearing him say Allah, made my heart stop. I was wearing a short dress and just remember having an overwhelming feeling to cover up.

As I had many Muslim friends I began quizzing him on the 5 pillars of Islam etc and he answered them all correctly. Let me tell you, I was in complete awe  like I had discovered something completely new.

Shahadah

I didn’t see my husband for a week or so after this encounter, but the profound effect had me searching for answers. When I finally bumped into my husband again, the first thing I asked was ‘why do women wear hijab’? He said that he would have the answer, by the end of the day.

So I waited and he presented me with an A4 piece of paper titled ‘The Pearl” (I still have it this day, bless him!). He’d gone out of his way to type up all the reasons why women wear hijab and asked me to read a chapter from the Quran called Al-Ahzab. I immediately went home and looked up this chapter and stumbled across this verse;

O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al Ahzab:59)

As I looked further into this verse I found the following hadith;

May Allaah have mercy on the Muhaajir women. When Allaah revealed the words “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)”, they tore the thickest of their aprons (a kind of garment) and covered their faces with them. (Sahih Al Bukhari)

SubhanAllah, it sent shivers down my spine. These women, were acting on their own accord. No husband, father, brother, uncle or grandparent forced them to cover their faces. They did it out of fear of their Lord.

At this point my world just felt completely different. I felt complete, like I had found the missing piece to the puzzle. All my life I had been searching, my soul was yearning for peace and I finally found it. I broke down and cried, asking Allah to forgive me and to accept me amongst his believers. Then I recited the shahadah, with no hesitation. Whilst saying it, I felt a HUGE weight lift off of me, like I was a brand new person. I stayed up all night crying, praying, thanking Allah for guiding me. I too wanted to be like the Muhaajir women, so I made a scarf into a niqab and wore it to Uni the next day.

And Lord did the crowd go wild! Literally. Walking into that lecture hall was probably the most exhilarating experience of my life. Everyone was figuring out who I was and when they realized; some greeted me whilst others shunned me away. But I was so content I couldn’t have cared less.

And oh yes, I married my husband 3 months later alhamdulilah.

There you go folks. I hope you enjoyed reading my story about how I came to Islam. Feel free to comment below.

2 In Soul

Advice For A Healthy Marriage

Okay ladies, this post is for you. Before you start hissing and booing, and asking why not for the men, let me explain.

I’ve been married for nearly seven years allahumma barik alaayki, and it has been a series of trials and tribulations. We separated for a few years and reconciled 3 years ago. Recently, a dear sister of mine recommended a book for me to read called “Fascinating womanhood” by Helen Andelin. And it’s beyond fascinating! I recommend all you lovely ladies to purchase a copy.

Marriage isn’t perfect (Perfection belongs to Allah only)

No marriage is perfect. So, whatever you see on social media, is just a fabricated version of what that particular couple want you to see. It’s easy to take a picture smiling with your hubby, but no less than 5 mins ago you were arguing about who’s cooking dinner. A still photo shouldn’t be the reason why you feel inadequate in your marriage.

I used to compare my marriage to others and that’s part of the reason why me and husband ended up separating. I didn’t understand the role of a woman in a marriage (men have roles too, but I’m writing about us). Empower yourselves by understanding who you are.

Us women are the Queens of our homes; so if we don’t understand our positions, then how do we expect to have a healthy marriage. It’s like trying to fly a plane without taking lessons.

Yes marriage is 100/100 from both sides. I don’t believe in that 50/50 malarkey. And after reading Fascinating Womanhood I have  FINALLY understood that it’s really women who lead men, to be the best versions of themselves.

But before I go into the top tips I want to say to all you ladies; that your worth is immeasurable. We are the world’s mothers; a unique quality that only we possess. As women we have great courage (more so than men). Imagine, we give birth and sacrifice our youth and bodies to nurture our children. That takes a lot of courage.

We are sensitive and nurturing. Imagine a world without this trait; how cold and unloving it would be. But us women, possess such great qualities regardless of whether we’re married, divorced or single.

Our worth is not defined by what a man can give us but what we give to the world. I hope you’re aware of this ladies!

Okay, so here are my top 3 tips for a healthy marriage

1. Submission

Please don’t freak out. I know you hate the dreaded S word; submission. You’re probably thinking I’ve lost it and are on the verge of throwing your laptop/phone out of the window. But submission is not such a bad word. I can think of many other words beginning with the letter S, that are far more offensive.

The problem with the word submission, is the images we attach to it. When you heard submission, you probably saw yourself kneeling in front of your husband saying ‘your Majesty, I am at your service’.

What if I told you that everyday you submit to something in your environment. For example, you submit to your boss at work by being there on time, doing what is required from you. Sometimes you go the extra mile to please your boss by doing something out of your job description. And that’s where the real submission lies.

Submission should really be defined as making the lives of people in your home better. It should answer the question ‘how can I make my husband’s life better’? Yes you can make your dreams come true. Submission doesn’t mean you give up your dreams and just become an entity. Go do what makes you happy, but when it comes to love, surrender. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down.

So if you want a healthy marriage you have to be willing to create one. Being endearing towards your husband will only bring out the best in him. Take it from someone who’s been fighting with the word submission since forever!

 

2. Allow him to lead

This is paramount. As women we are created differently than men. Men are the protectors and breadwinners. It’s part of their DNA. This doesn’t mean that they can’t help in the home by cooking and cleaning, but if you were to put masculine qualities in higher ranking order, then protector and breadwinner will be in the top 2.

Our beloved Prophet sallahu alayhi wasallam used to help out in the home, cook and clean and sew his own clothes. But this wasn’t his main role. He sallahu alayhi wasallam was out tending to the affairs of society, ensuring everyone got their rights including his wives.

Nowadays women have been subjected to the ‘Miss Independant’ mentality. Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being independent. As women, we need to have some independence. But when this conflicts with your role as a Queen in the home, that’s where the problems arise.

So when making decisions; whether they be big or small, ask his opinion. Leave it open to him (if possible), always use the word we, instead of I.

I’ve been using this trick for a while now and it’s worked wonders. So go ahead and give it a try.

3. Admire him

A lot of women think that by complimenting your husband, it will make his ego huge, thus causing more drama in your marriage. Wrong.

Have you noticed how children react when we compliment them? When we praise them and give them a treat in turn for their hard work, what do you see? You see your child puff his chest out and feel great about him/herself.

This is also innate in our husbands. Husbands love knowing they’re appreciated.

When telling your husband you admire him, make specific points such as his masculinity, his work or his looks. Men love being admired for their looks (it’s not just limited to us women). So when he’s looking handsome, or looking extra sharp for work; compliment him. Make him feel like he’s the only guy in the world that possesses such handsomeness. Trust me it works every time.

Please note: I am in no way advocating women to stay in an abusive relationships, whether it’s physical, verbal or mental (or all three). If you’re suffering at the hands of domestic abuse, I urge you to get help. This post is by no means meant to encourage women, to stay with an abusive partner.

I hope you enjoyed reading my post. Feel free to comment your thoughts below.

 

2 In Soul

Ramadan Reflections

15 days have gone by and we’re already half way through Ramadan?! SubhanAllah! Time has seriously flown. I can still remember preparing suhoor on the first day, and panicking thinking I overslept. Unfortunately, I’m not able to fast due to being pregnant, but alhamdulilah I gain the reward of fasting, through feeding my hubby (Love you hubster!)

So for this Ramadan I decided to keep a journal for each day. In it, I wrote all my thoughts; what I’m thankful for, how I wish to improve myself, my emotions, thoughts etc. Reading through, I can see a transition of my being. I can sense a profound change in my character alhamdulilah.

So here goes. I hope you enjoy reading this post and take some benefit from it insha’Allah.

1. Be grateful

I lost my job, just before Ramadan started. Those who know me personally, know that when I’m not talking about natural living; I’m teaching English to Saudi students. And I love it.

As any human being our instant reaction is to get angry and frustrated. And that was mine. My inital thought was that I had sacrificed being with my mom, for this job. The thought cut me so deep. I was an emotional wreck for days.

As I entered Ramadan, I still had that resentment towards the situation. It was so intense, that it actually affected my ibadaah (worship).

I wish I had quit in January, when mom was admitted to hospital. That way, I wouldn’t be here wishing I could call her. I wouldn’t be stuck here, wishing I could’ve had just 1 more day with her. I should’ve just quit in January.

All I could think of was my mom. I was feeling guilty, regretful; just utterly devastated. I tied the pain of losing my mom, to losing my job. It was like a huge slap in the face.

After making lots of dua and praying, I had a dream about my mother. She was holding my hand, comforting me, repeating ‘don’t worry Rose, everything’s going to be fine’. The next day I woke up, thanking Allah so much for allowing me to see my mother in my dream. This is the first time since she passed.

I woke up with such a thankful heart that day. I realised that there is so much in my life that I should be grateful for, and that Allah only removes you from a situation for your benefit.

Now I see the wisdom in losing my job. I missed out on so much with my children. My mother was a full-time homemaker; just having her with us everyday made our family that much closer. Now everytime I look at my children, I imagine my mother looked at me the same way when I was little; with such a grateful heart and constantly counting her blessings.

Lesson: Be thankful that Allah hasn’t placed you in a worse situation. Allah never burdens a soul beyond what it can bear.

2. Emotions are temporary

As you can imagine, losing my job was a hardship that affected my whole family. Unfortunately, my children were most affected. Being at home with them wasn’t easy. I was so used to dropping them off to daycare and going to work, that I had forgotten how to actually interact with them.

Yaqoub is driving me crazy. OMG! This boy! If I have to tell him one more time to leave Maryam alone, I’m going to lose it!!

As hard as it was for me to write that for the world to see, I no longer am that angry mother who hated  her child. Yes I say hated. I remember the exact moment. Yaqoub had just dropped his sister on the floor and she started bleeding from her mouth. My instant reaction was to shout at him, and make him feel worse than he already did.

And it all backfired. He just threw himself on the floor in a rage. I didn’t know what to do, but just to stand there and scratch my head. But I let him vent.

I was still feeling annoyed over the situation so thats why I wrote that excerpt. A few days later, Yaqoub came over to me and told me he acts naughty sometimes because he wants to tell my things but doesn’t know how to.

Hearing this broke my heart. I felt like the worst mother in the world. My instant reaction was to hug him and cry and say sorry a million times over. I feared the day my child would not be able to come and express his emotions; and it was happening at the tender age of 5.

After a good hug, we spoke about all the things he loved (dinosaurs, spiderman, his cousins… ). We spoke for a good hour and after he thanked me for listening.

Lesson: Emotions are not a weapon, but a tool. Embrace them lovingly and with patience.

3. Focus on the end goal

I remember reading an instagram post about how nowadays, we’re so forced to find our passion; but what if our passion is just to be living life and enjoying it? And it made me question everything.

All my life I’ve been driven by my ambition to be self-made. To live that entreprenurial life and be a millionaire. Honestly, doing that has made me lose touch with my real goal in life; Jannah.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really living for Jannah, or just living up to people’s expectations of me. I’m getting tired of trying to be successful when all I want is success in the Hereafter. Isn’t that enough?

Ramadan 2014 was my best Ramadan to date. My eemaan was soaring high and I really tasted the sweetness of that month. That month, I tried so hard to strengthen my ibadaah, and by Allah it was such a blissful year. I had just divorced my husband and was raising my son alone. But I felt content and at peace. As long as I had Allah, nothing could harm me.

As years went on, I lost that feeling. I thought in order to find myself, I had to have something tangible, for the world to see. I placed value in what I could show people.

This Ramadan has been such a wake up call for me. From realizing that my mother never got to see this Ramadan, to losing my job; it has been the turning point in what I really want; and that’s for Allah to be pleased with me. Now, I’m focusing on ways to improve my eeman rather than improve the image that people percieve.

Lesson: Pleasing Allah is easy. It’s the only way to Jannah.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my post. What’s 1 thing you’ve learnt so far, this Ramadan? Feel free to comment below.

 

4 In Soul

Things I’m learning from death

Two months ago I lost my best friend; my mom. It has been a painful journey of anger, regret, denial, sadness and unbearable pain.

Regret, because I was thousands of miles away from her when she passed. Painful, because I wasn’t there to tell her one last time, that I love her and to forgive me for all the pain I ever caused her.

I’m writing this post today, not to tell you how to cope with grief, but to hopefully inspire you. That you can still find strength, through the storm of losing a loved one.

Regret is a beast

The days leading up to my mother’s death were difficult. Doctors couldn’t do much for her so my family brought her home.

Her lungs were still filling with fluid, and her heart was getting weaker. Alhamdulilah her kidneys were improving with the daily dose of cannabis oil, but still it was too late.

The last time I had seen my mom was in January. Although she was in hospital, she was laughing and talking like usual. But a few weeks later she began hallucinating, became incoherent and started forgetting a lot of things, which was unlike her.

So, it was at this point that I made so much dua to Allah; that if it’s better for her to live then let her be healthy and if not then let her die in peace and grant her Jannah.

I remember the last conversation I had with her. She asked when I was coming to visit and I told her inshaAllah soon. I had just shared the news that I was expecting my third child, and she was so happy and was adamant it’s going to be a boy. I told her to hang on, because her grandchild needs to meet her. But Allah had a better plan

Two days later, my family had been frantically messaging and calling me saying mom is not well and is not going to make it. But as I’m three hours ahead of the UK, I didn’t look at the messages until my mother had sadly passed.

Seeing the messages on my phone was traumatizing. It was the hardest thing for me to comprehend, that my mom had gone. I broke down like never before. I never thought I could feel that much pain and regret at the same time.

Straight away all I kept saying is “it’s my fault, I should have been there, I could have helped her”. The regret I felt was indescribable. It still is. I felt so guilty, like I was a bad daughter, unworthy of my mother’s love.

But of course that’s not true. Whatever happened, did so by the will of Allah.

And that’s the beauty of it all. The way my mom died, was peaceful. She took her last breath and her soul departed from this world.

 

Grief and gratitude

I took the first flight I could find and begged my family to not bury her before I come. She passed Saturday 18th March.

On the plane I could not stop crying. It was an overwhelming feeling that burned my throat and made my heart pound.

As I arrived to my mom’s house the first thing I could think of was running inside and hugging my mom. But the sofa was empty and my family grief stricken,

As Muslims, we do the ghusl (washing) of the deceased before burying. It had not hit me yet that mom is dead. Seeing her body on the table, lifeless, was painful. She looked so peaceful but we were far from it. We were so used to relying on our mother for comfort, support and strength. She was our rock, our mother and father. The one we used to run to for advice. And she gave some amazing advice allahumma barik laha.

Washing her body was my way of accepting that she’s gone. Alhamdulilah I’m glad I was able to do that for her. And that’s when I began feeling so grateful to Allah; that He chose to take her soul when she was suffering the most. She was only 54, but Allah was so Merciful, to bring her suffering to an end.

Both my brother’s died when they were young and my mom, kept patient. So I was grateful that He took our mother away, before one of us. I don’t think she could have coped with the loss of another child.

 

Love and loss are two sides of the same coin

Going back to normality has been tough. Knowing my mom is buried is a really weird feeling that I can’t put into words.

Little things that happen, the first person I want to tell is mom. My daughter started walking but she isn’t here to see it. My son asks about her all the time  and all I can do is look at him with tears in my eyes. He wants to visit her in the holidays, and all I can say is ‘Nani is not there’.

Little moments like this are heartbreaking but I think to myself that if mom lived longer, the pain of losing her would probably be more intense. Especially for my children.

 

It’s a blessing

“Verily with hardship there is ease”. (Quran 94: 5-6)

Allah says twice with hardship there will be ease; not after hardship. It’s a promise from Allah, that you will be able to cope with whatever trial you go through in life. He tests you, but He also gives you tools to cope with the test.

Looking back, I can see the ease from Allah. My mom was in hospital for 3 months, so I couldn’t call as much as I usually would. My brothers and sisters got used to her not being around. This was such a mercy from Allah. T

Although I’ve lost my mom recently, the pain is easing slowly. I’ve belly laughed, read a good book, admired the sunset and appreciated the little things. I’ve slowly caught my breath. The wound may never heal and I may never be the same person again, but I know the memories will help me move on.

 

May Allah forgive my mom for all her sins, and grant her Jannah al Firdaws. Aameen

 

Thank you for reading!