Maverick

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Unbranded and home on the range.

I’m Bringin’ Sweetness Back.

salamualaikum

So, Rabyia asked me a question:

“I’m really interested to know how you would advice an individual who has tasted the sweetness of eemaan but through stresses of life has drifted away from the deen and now has become like a stranger to even the simplest of deeni matters.”

Honestly I don’t feel capable of answering this question but I’ll try.

Have you read the hadith of Hanzalah, when he was sitting and crying, accusing himself of nifaaq, and when he explained why he felt that ay to Abu Bakr, then he too also became stressed similarly? This was because their eeman used to be so high, so rock solid when they were with the Prophet, but when they were away from him, it used to go lower.

So nabeyuna Muhammad [saws] told both of them that eeman is not something that stays at a constant, high level all the time. It goes up and down. So from this we know that – as is blatantly apparent – our eeman will fluctuate from time to time. Sometimes it’ll be like just a few bumps and other times like a roller-coaster.

It happens to me too.

I usually deal with it by reminding myself of a lot of things, not all at once, but just any of the following, and in no particular order:

1.) Rabyia … Allaah doesn’t place a burden on any soul greater than it has the strength to bear. I know this just as sure as I see the sun rise every day into the big blue sky. So any challenge that comes my way, I already know full well that I can handle it, so I just set about finding out which method is the best way of meeting that challenge. I keep my chin up, sometimes I’ll laugh and say [to Allah] “oh wow cool! I didn’t know I had the strength for this! 🙂 “ and … you know? I just get to work on it. The mere fact that we’ve been told that He will not place upon us any burden greater than we can bear gives me the confidence and strength to laugh at whatever comes my way, roll up my sleeves and just belt it out “Bring it ON baby!!”

2.) I remind myself how fortunate I am, that I am probably in the top 5% pf the world’s most fortunate individuals [oh yeah, and you probably are, too] and how, because I’m better than the rest +95%of the world, I DON’T have much to complain about, in fact. I mean its not like I live in a war zone with militias and gangs running amok amidst violence and anarchy. It’s not like I live in a famine-stricken country, where everyday I live not knowing where my next meal is coming from, and that I might even get shot and killed in a fight over food supplies. Its not like I was born with any significant defects to my five senses – I’m not blind, deaf, dumb or mute. It’s not like I live in a bleak country or place that has no opportunities for me, its not like I was born into some remote village or farm, condemned from the get-go to eke out a a sub-par, unremarkable existence where the lack of opportunity means I can’t do much for my people or for Islam. When I remind myself of these things, it throws my life into such stark contrast that I begin to feel ashamed of feeling over-burdened or challenged at whatever problems I might be facing, because those problems literally shrink until they seem like nothing, compared to what the rest of the world is going through.

3.) I am pretty much an optimist and extrovert by nature, so those are two qualities that certainly help. I think both are qualities that Islam recommends – with decent measure, of course. For example, regarding optimism, there’s countless instances where we’ve been told to *sincerely* work and make the effort [for whatever] and in the end Allaah will give us the barakah, and give us the success in our work. Like in Surah aal-Imraan for example, Allaah clearly says He will not allow the work / efforts of the Mu’minoon to go to waste. So I rest confident, knowing that if I do not see the fruits of my labor in this world, then I’ll certainly see it in the next where it’ll be infinitely more sweet and rewarding. Then there’s the hadith that says [translated and paraphrased] “Allaah is as His servant finds Him to be.” – to me that’s pretty apparent in what it means – if you always have a pessimistic and negative outlook on life, then yeah, pretty much everything will appear to be that way for you, and you may even end up accusing Allaah ta3ala of giving you the short end of the stick – na3udhubellah. But Rabyia, … if you know deep down inside, with absolute unwavering conviction, that Allaah is indeed unlimited in His generosity and bounty, then you’ll drive yourself to ask Him of whatever you want – indeed you might even begin to realize the meaning of that oft-repeated but little-understood dua “Rabbana aatina fid’dunya HASANA, wa fil akhirati HASANA … ” ….. you’re asking him for the best things in this life [success, money, kids, eeman, a house, nice cars, whatever] and the best things in the akhirah [al-Firdaus] … no one said you can’t have both. But most people fail to grasp the full meaning of that dua.

Sometimes, I’ve even made dua to Allaah to give me close to what he gave to Sulayman [AS]. We know that Sulayman [AS} asked Allaah to give him such power, authority and kingdom that no one else had before him and that no one else would ever have after him, and Allaah accepted his dua, and the rest is history as we all know. So I ask to be the next in line and Allaah is my witness, I’m definitely not shy of asking Him for that.

4.) I focus on that which I like doing, and I develop a passion for it, a passion unyielding and unrestricted except by what Allaah made halaal or haraam. So, for me, its business, trade and finance. For you, it might be cooking, or art, or writing, or reading all sorts of books and gaining knowledge [“iqra! bismi rabbik alladhee khalaq….”]. It might be anything. But find out what it is, and do it with ihsaan and excellence, as nabeyuna Muhammad said “whenever you do something, do it with excellence”. And that recommendation of his is what drives me to be all that I can be, for the sake of Allaah. Its the burning passion inside that really, makes me step on it and just floor it, like there was no speed limit. I dismiss all the haters and pessimists and naysayers. I just set my sight on a goal and I head straight for it, sometimes even knocking other people or obstacles out of my way.

That kind of passion, combined with the optimism I discussed above, helps me keep my eeman at a certain level generally, and prevents it from dropping so low that I would despair of Allaah’s Mercy or even give up practicing any of the faraa’id or some of the major sunan. Basically, what I’m saying is I keep my mind and heart focused and occupied with something that I really believe to be dhikr, because as Allaah ta3ala said : “Verily in the remembrance of Allaah do the hearts find rest.” And dhikr or ibaadah isn’t only sitting down and belting out tasbeeh and whatnot, its also about doing something with the right intention for His sake. God, its so freaking easy to find something that you already love doing anyways, but now you just do it sincerely for His sake. And if it also helps your family or the community or the Ummah and all that jazz, then so much the better. So you see, now I’m doing something I enjoy doing anyways, and it helps keep my eeman up as well. Heck, sometimes it even puts it on a supercharged afterburner while I kiss the sky.

5.) Another thing that I do if I am feeling down, is being persistent in making dua, sujoud, salah, and reading or listening to the Qur’an … even if I’m not particularly “feeling it” because of principle … sometimes you do something because it’s the right thing to do even if you aren’t feeling adequately motivated enough to do it. And sooner or later, such activities pull me up after I’ve fallen. I dust myself off and I. Keep. Rockin’.

6.) I laugh often. Genuinely, and not forced. I laugh at myself, at the mercy of Allah and at His bounties when I give thanks, I laugh with my family, etc. I’m a bit of a joker by nature, so having a laid-back or mellow attitude also helps in lightening up the tension, if and when it comes.

7.) I scare myself sometimes. I know that on Judgment Day I’ll be wishing like MAD that I could get sent back in time to clean up my account and make it all sparkly clean and shiny, but I know I won’t get that second chance. So I do it now in order to prevent the irreversible regret later on, and again, even if I’m not feeling it, I just say Bismillah and go do it. I know Allaah is not going to waste my efforts.

8.) The biggest thing, or one of the biggest things, is the fact that Allaah Himself has told us that if His servant comes closer to him by an inch, then He moves closer by a much bigger distance. And if His servant comes to Him walking, then He goes to him running. So if you’re feeling down, just make sincere dua to Allaah to lift you out of that state, and He will. You know He’s there, and you know His door is always open.

9.) Company. Make sure you have good company. If someone is always pessimistic and negative, I don’t associate with them as much anymore except to pull them up out of their slump. Otherwise, I’m runnin’ with the boys who have the same vision as I do, who like to laugh and joke and remind one another to stay straight and stuff. Let me put it this way Rabyia, if you were walking with a FRIEND and you tripped and fell, they would help you get up right? Help you wipe the dirt off your clothes and make sure you’re alright, and then you keep walking and talking and laughing as before. They certainly don’t kick dirt in your face when you’re down, or sit on you and laugh at your accident, or scold you for tripping and falling. No, they help you up and they continue along, soon forgetting that you tripped and fell. Similarly, the people you associate with should be the ones who help you up when you fall and continue on with you. So look to your friends and associates to see who’s like that and who isn’t. If they always keep harpin’ on you for mistakes that you make or for whenever you trip and fall … then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your association with them.

10.) In sum, all I’m saying is we’ve already been told in advance, we’ve already been given the playbook in advance. We know how the whole show is going to go. WHO RUN IT? You DO KNOW but ya actin’ like ya don’t know. [yeah yeah yeah 🙂 …. ] Its not like my life and the end result is one big unknown X … we know that Judgment Day is for real so whether I’m feeling it or not, I just keep on going, content with the knowledge that while the quality of my efforts may change depending on whether I’m feeling it or not, Allaah Himself won’t let my efforts go to waste.

Hope that helps a lot, or at least a little bit. Cheer up, it’ll be alright.

He loves you and He’s smiling down on you right now – you came closer to Him by asking that question and I hope that He will come much closer to you soon.

ROCK. ONNNN.

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Filed under: Leadership, Solace

19 Responses

  1. Rabyia says:

    Maverick, I wanted to say sincere JazakaAllahu Khairan for giving your time to my question. I would love to be able to think and appreciate bounties of Allah (swt) like you, but unfortunately, I feel as if my heart has become solid.

    Have you ever felt like you really want to implement a change but just need one last thrust? Be it witnessing an event or a person mentioning something so striking that caught your heart. I would give anything in the world to be able to feel the regret for my sins, acknowledge the love of Allah (swt) and FEEL the hope again.

    Thanks Mav – I don’t remember the last time I made dua but here’s a positive step towards change inshaAllah. May Allah guide me back to Him (swt) and reward you abundantly for giving up your time. Ameen

    🙂

  2. Maverick says:

    O Allah, increase Rabyia in eeman and health, and hasten her return to You, ameen.

    If in these days you ever get the chance to see a protective mother saving her baby from a danger, great or small, then take note of the extreme concern she displays for her child.

    And then know that Allah’s concern for you is much more greater and intense than what any woman could have for her child.

  3. Noor Ad-Deen Ismail says:

    As-Salaamu Aliakum!
    Dear Brother we know that Iman does not stay the same. Fitnah can cause it,or it is natural,
    We should do our our best to be a mirror for our Brother.And to honor the rights of Brotherhood,so that he knows he may come to us.
    Also no matter how much we care,we cant really read the heart of another:
    As-Soodorin An-naas is known only by Allah Subahannah wa Ta’Ala.
    Prehaps in his Salaat and Dua your Brother allready finds the Sakeenah only Allah can give,and like the Father of Yousuf “Complains only to Allah.”
    Keep him in your Dua’s Brother. And me.

  4. Rabyia says:

    /\ 🙂

  5. Z-Money says:

    Aiyo, here’s the kicker though; we tend to think “deen” is synonymous with “religion”. Consciously or not, we search for spiritual solace in the narrowest of places; thinking comfort can come only from the most explicitly “Islamic”, “religious”, and overt of rituals. What we forget is that “deen” means an entire way of life. Your character, ambitions, interests, humor, hobbies, dreams, aspirations, favorite books, etc.; all these together make up the “deen” of a person. It’s only when we beat ourselves up in fear of our inadequacy and worrying we are too content that we become plagued with spiritual discord. God is beautiful and loves beauty; there’s no beauty in a soul crushed by doubts and the pressure of fitting in with the “deeni” stereotype. You will find God’s love in anything you do. If you’re content and have a penchant for falling to your knees in du’a, look no further for your sweetness.

    “Entertain and play, indeed I hate to see roughness in your deen.”
    ~ Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  6. Maverick says:

    Ditto. Almost like No. #4 up there.

    Z’s got the money, Rabyia – check it out.

  7. Z-Money says:

    btw, that was all just a compliment to what you’ve already said.

    We the verbal Herman Munsters, the word enhancers,
    sick of phony mobsters controllin’ the dance floor.
    The taut taces be bringing these hot styles through
    Some of you bum a few chairs from shock value
    Word power can plow through acres of cornfields
    Paragraphs cut like warm steel, perform ill…

  8. Aida says:

    As’salamu alaikum.

    Awesome post, mash’Allah. Although the post is directed to sis Rabyia, I’m sure many other readers, such as myself, can and will benefit from it. JazakAllah for taking the time out to write this.

  9. Rabyia says:

    I entirely agree with you Z-Money, maybe thinking peace is confined to rituals only, leads people to Sufism. In my question I referred to ‘simplest deeni matters’ such as things we do on daily basis, practices that make us who we are. IF one is to leave these daily practices than one is a stranger to the entire deen. You say deen is our character, hobbies etc.

    My dear fellow muslim, what would you have to say to a person who has adapted fictional novels to Speech of Allah (swt), music being Words of Allah (swt) to common entrainment . When one has abandoned the rights of Hijab. When one’s prayer if one decides to perform it, is purely an action. When one talks, all you hear is bitterness and complaints. You tell me dear muslim, doesn’t that call for concern. Small daily practices if abandoned, leaves one incredibly far from the ‘deen’ therefore I say one must review his/her daily commitments.

    Anyhow, shaytaan is on tails of every righteous believer. I shall ask of Him (swt) for what’s remaining of this blessed month insha’Allah. My sincere regards to you brothers. Please remember me in your duas for Allah (swt) will never reject dua made behind one’s friend. Jazaka’Allahu Khairan – Wasalam

    P.S: I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever be in this situation, so far from the deen, so I ask you to always make this dua – “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate from the truth after You have guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Your grace. Verily You are the Giver of bounties without measure”. (3:8)

  10. MR says:

    Nice! You joined the Muslim CLIQ!

  11. Kulsum says:

    That was too long for me to read!

  12. […] improvement. Lectures and talks will only do so much for you. The deen is wholistic. IbnM wrote a good post on finding the sweetness of […]

  13. salafiya says:

    wow, jazakAllaahu khairan. that was awesome (thus far…I have read 4/5 points)

    Rabyia, my advice for you is the same as I say to myself when my emaan feels low: sit alone late at night, facing the qiblah. Reflect about life and think about all of the sins you have committed. Think think think. How much has Allaah given you? How much have you been ungrateful for? Why are you feeling so stressed/have a low emaan? Keep thinking about this type of stuff while trying to cry until you are actually weeping. If you can’t weep, then think of something that will MAKE you weep. And once you’re crying, make use of those tears and ask Allaah to forgive you for your sins. Ask Allaah to purify your heart and to keep you on the Straight Path until He takes your soul (which could be any day).

    My other advice….go to a khutbah at which you know there should not be a single dry eye left in the crowd (I mean go listen to a speaker who you know can/could often make you cry). Go to many Islaamic outings and hang out with good Muslims. I don’t know if you have any group da3wah giving opportunities, but those really really help me.

    Of course, everybody is different and not everything that helps me will help you. But give it a try inshaAllaah and make du’aa sincerely.

  14. BeerOot says:

    ye ye thats ma BOY and thats how we roll

  15. Rabyia says:

    Asalam alaykum Ukht Salafiya,

    JazakaAllahu khairan for your kind words. Don’t know if you remember me but I’m on your msn :). Haven’t spoken to anyone in ages so please remember me in your duas!

    Wasalam

  16. That was one of the most inspiring posts I’d read in a long while. Spirituality/Imaan is so personal and ‘vague’ (for want of a better word) that we all understand it but can’t necessarily explain it or define it. Your post is probably the closest thing to an actual step-by-step-instruction on how to improve our iman, that I’ved read in a really long while! I can totally see what you mean/where you’re coming from. Thanks for the reminder!

    “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the Prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me; That they may walk in the right way.”
    (Holy Qur’an 2:186)

  17. […] that your eeman is going to go up and down. Second, stay constant. Check out the following: Im Bringin Sweetness Back. __________________ Elizabeth Swann: There will come a moment when you’ll have the chance to do […]

  18. […] that your eeman is going to go up and down. Second, stay constant. Check out the following: I’m Bringin’ Sweetness Back. __________________ Elizabeth Swann: There will come a moment when you’ll have the chance to do […]

  19. Hi... says:

    […] who had the exact same challenge you have right now – try reading it and inshallah it might help: I’m Bringin’ Sweetness Back. � Maverick __________________ Elizabeth Swann: There will come a moment when you'll have the chance to do […]

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