What Defines YOU?

BISMILLAH-IR-RAHMAN-IR-RAHIM

This post is a continuation of #TrueLifeStories on DISAPPOINTMENT TAUGHT ME DETACHMENT. You may want to consider reading the previous post before you continue.

A bit on what gave birth to this post you are reading. I decided to write this because I was on a search to identify what defined me. I have defined myself with different labels, but I noticed that they left me at one point in my life – the labels were temporary: they left me. We define ourselves with labels and titles. That was how the search began. To identify how and what I should allow define me and this story follows….


As Muslims we are blessed to have a way we should live our life, because we have a life manual. We have a guide to follow to be successful, to be achievers… name it. We have answers to many life questions. All we need to do is to search the right sources and we will find the answer glaring in front of our faces. We have a guide to follow on how we should live our life. To anyone reading, for any question you have  always go back to the Qur’an and Sunnah as your source or ask learned people you trust. We should treasure this gift of Iman (faith) and take measures to preserve it. As Muslims we should always pray to live and die as a Muslim. Pray that you do not lose your connection with Allah ﷻ, because this life will be meaningless without it. Without knowing your purpose you will be on the search for an unending self-discovery.

What defines you? I have come to realize that it is up we as individuals to choose what defines us. As human beings, we have perceptions of ourselves. How we want to be seen and viewed by the outside world.  Many of us have or still define ourselves based on our accomplishment, status, appearance what we do. etc. but now, I choose not to. And I want you to do the same. What happens when we get stripped of the so-called labels we attach to our names? How will you see yourself?

Over to you, I’m asking you what defines you?

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Before you answer, let’s have a glance over a Hadith about Mother of the Believers – Khadijah raḍyAllāhu ‘anha.  

Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه reported: The Angel Jubriel came to the Prophet ﷺ, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, here is Khadijah coming to you with a dish of stew, food and drink. When she arrives before you, greet her with peace on behalf of her Lord and myself. Give her glad tidings of a palace in Paradise made of reeds, wherein there will be no turbulence, nor fatigue.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3610, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2432]

Anytime I come across this Hadith I adore her more. As it makes me reflect on how I can elevate my status in the sight of my Rabb – Allah. Why did she have this lofty status you may ask? Why did she receive Salam from Allah ﷻ and Angel Jubriel? Why was she given glad tidings of Jannah on earth? She sought and gained her status with Allah and we should emulate her in this regard.  Before the coming of Islam she was a woman of nobility, from a noble lineage and had a high status in the society. Her status in the society changed when the message of Islam began to be propagated. She raḍyAllāhu ‘anha stood with the Prophet. Used all she had for Islam. She raḍyAllāhu ‘anha lost her worldly status but secured her place in Jannah.

This leads me to an ayah of the Qur’an in Suratul Hujurat:

“Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Qur’an 49:13)

What earned Mother Khadijah raḍyAllāhu ‘anha status with Allah ﷻ was her righteousness. Her piety. All of this elevated her rank in Jannah. So, we should earn our honour with Allah on account of Taqwa. We should seek our status with Him.

What should we take from this? When you define and assess your self based on your Taqwa, you will commit to working on it. You will seek to develop this personal relationship and seek your status with Allah by engaging in righteous deeds.

Any worldly title you have is a means for you to attain Taqwa. E.g My role as a daughter, a student, etc is to attain Taqwa. I am using the so-called labels as resources to earn my status with Allah. By doing this you will naturally conform and behave in accordance with attaining Taqwa in all you do.

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most, so he said: “Taqwa of Allah, and good character.” And he was asked about that for which people are admitted into the Fire the most, and he said: “The mouth and the private parts.” (Tirmidhi

I hope that now since you know what you should allow to define you, you can work on it.

POINT OF REFLECTION: Ask yourself what do you need to do, to strengthen your relationship with Allah? Does your acts of Ibadah make you have Taqwa? Are you conscious of Allah in your dealings?

Abu Hurayrah said: “Some people asked the Prophet ﷺ, ‘Who is the most honourable among people?’ He replied, “The most honourable among them with Allah is the one who has the most Taqwa…” [Sahih Bukhari]

PS: Ramadan is less than 50 days. Prepare for it – RAMADAN PREP

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Till next time Fi Ammanillah!#

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Disappointment taught me Detachment

BISMILLAH-IR-RAHMAN-IR-RAHIM

Another #TrueLifeStory to remind you never to trust your abilities. Many of us have gone through the academic phase of life. It is important that we are cautious in our strive to excel. To not lose focus of the real thing.


I’m Sid and here’s a bit of my life and how I learnt about detachment.

Scoring high marks in university was my thing. I was someone who always worked hard, read and helped others to understand what we were taught in uni. But something happened that changed my perspective with my academics. I had some setbacks, or we’ll call it realizing moments. This was a uni module assignment that was challenging in the beginning for me. I have heard how difficult it was to pass the module, and maybe it affected my approach subconsciously. We were given a formative and I scored high marks unexpectedly. I kept wondering how this happened. Fast forward to the final assignment. I ensured I did my best, crossed my I and T’s.

Unfortunately, when I saw my result I was shattered. I was like no, no, no, this can’t be my result. I was not ready to accept what I saw. I cried so hard. I did not fail. But I was expecting something so high. And this is a problem that happens when you place so many expectations on yourself. This is what happens when you trust your abilities without Allah. When you tie your camel, but do not put your Trust in Allahﷻ.

To be honest it was a challenging module, and I know I did well compared to so many people, but this is the danger of having high expectations. I was so hurt, sent an email to ask if it could be remarked with a response of NO.

I cried my eyes out. Words of solace were not comforting. I just wanted to be alone. To speak and be by myself. I believed so much in my ability, in my intelligence and when it did not help me, I got disheartened. It was sometimes later that I calmed down. There was a lot I learnt from this life experience and looking back I would say, I was happy to learn this lesson at this point of my life. Sometimes you need to break to heal and that was what I was going through. I needed this experience to remold me. To be submissive. And humble to Allahﷻ. To recognise the gifts He bestowed upon me and use it in the right way – to please Him.

Most especially I had to acknowledge that Almighty Allahﷻ rewards us for our effort, not always through results. Though, this is something I have always looked at in the deen aspect. I never really applied it to my other spheres of life. As you know, you might be doing something without seeing the reward, but knowing that Almighty Allah is going to reward you for your effort and not the result is reassuring. It also made me try to not depend on myself when I am doing uni work. I now don’t try to expect so much. I now take it easy on myself. I don’t feel overwhelmed.

It was a very hard lesson and it made me realize that failures and setbacks are for us to learn lessons. We have to learn lessons from ourselves. Really hard ones! And this is something that can happen to anyone reading. Take it easy and manage how you deal with expectations. Then I wasn’t learning so much about the deen and it just shows you how my mindset was so closed that there were people who would score less but they would be grateful. I lacked the gratitude mindset and it really made me hurt, pained and was extremely disheartening. To anyone reading I implore you, not to let your grades to define you – I was trying to define myself by my grades and that made it affect me so much. I needed to learn how to detach myself from my grades. I am this… not what my grades say. (I say to myself now)

I am still going to strive to get the highest marks possible, but I have to know that it is up to Almighty Allahﷻ. While I put the effort and hope that He rewards me.

Anytime, I think about this incidence, I laugh at myself and express gratitude that I was able to extract lessons from it because it has nurtured me, helped me to grow, in the way I define myself. And I hope anyone reading this, maybe you are going through a similar situation. Take it easy on yourself and put them in the hands of Allahﷻ. I am not saying you won’t be hurt or disappointed, but your reaction will be managed. Also, take lessons from yourself. Your life situation. Learn lessons from whatever situations you are in.


After reading Sid’s story I will like to expand on 3 points

Importance of tie your Camel and put your Trust in Allah.

This is a popular hadith and we know it from our lips. But how many of us have actually implemented it in our lives? It is important that we trust Allah more than our abilities. He is Al-Khaliq (The Creator) who created all that is in existence. He Created the Camel that you are tying, and He is the only one who can preserve it. This reminds me of a saying of Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah the Most High have mercy on Him) that I came across. he said: “from the weakness of your yaqin (certainty) is that what is in your hand is more reliable than what is in the Hand of Allah”. This is a powerful statement. Applying this means that we should depend and rely on Allah than what we have. Ask yourself: how well have you tied your camel? How is your trust in Allah?

Detachment.

The whole story sums up detachment. I’ve also done a bit explanation on detachment here. We get attached to things and people because they give us a sense of security. Love. A sense of belonging. Meaning. And certainty. Many of us have been getting it all wrong “Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.” (Ali ibn Abi Talib رضي الله عنه) Don’t allow what you have to own you. As Human beings we long to have things and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem starts when you begin to tie yourself what you have. The only object of our attachment should be our Rabb – Allah. For He creates all that we see. All that we want. All that we possess. When you attach yourself to Allah, you will feel at peace within yourself, see life as temporary. Strive to please Him with what you do. The way to begin to attach yourself to Allah is to seek to know Him. (Learn His Names and Attributes). You can’t get attached to who you don’t know.

What defines you? (Coming soon in another post In Sha Allah)

This story is a new addition to the blog. #TrueLifeStories.. Read about its purpose here. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like to share your story to inspire others. Contact us via Instagram or email thoughtsandreflectionsr@gmail.com

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Share with the intention to be rewarded by Allahﷻ. Sharing is caring:)

Till next time Fi Ammanillah!

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