Tag Archives: relationships

Step One

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
(In the Name of ALLAH, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)
How do I begin?
As I pondered on how to start this new entry, I realized my question was something that has actually been posed several times in dialogues I’ve been blessed enough to have.
How do I begin?
Perhaps, it sounds absurd for some—even a ‘no-brainer’, so they say. However, admit it or not, there indeed comes a point in our lives when we feel paralyzed by unexpected situations or overwhelming expectations. It could be that sudden loss of something or someone so valuable that we are left wondering how we can possibly take another step, let alone another breath. Or, it could be the realization that we’ve committed a major mistake that has now caused significant people in our lives so much pain—thus, hurting ourselves as well. Or, it could be finding ourselves being given that opportunity to get our biggest dreams yet it also feels like the whole world’s breathing down our necks, telling us we cannot afford to make a mistake. SubhanALLAH (Glory be to Allah), three scenarios that are different yet are also quite the same. Why don’t we ponder on them a bit?
Loss. It never is easy to lose hold of those we’ve come to consider as life essentials. Yes, maybe we all know that sooner or later losing them was bound to happen (after all, nothing in this world is permanent). But, let’s admit this: as we get attached even more to this world, we unconsciously forget that loss is inevitable and it is something that we can and will experience. We forget this basic truth that when it finally does happen, we often feel devastated—how can something so wonderful end just like that? And, how can others expect us to begin anew? Speak to an old lady whose better half for almost 50 years passed away and you’ll realize how difficult beginning could be: first morning without him…first breakfast, first step out of the house, first trip to that familiar supermart to do the groceries, first chat with old friends…first of everything once again—without him. And we suddenly grasp why lines like “you can do it” or “you’ll be ok” can sound so meaningless for the bereaved. How do we begin, so they wonder…but…inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon, remember? To ALLAH we belong and to HIM is our return.
Mistake. It’s easy to demand or expect our loved ones to make amends immediately when they hurt us. Yet, when it’s the other way around, especially when we realize the gravity of our mistakes, the acts we know we should do to make things right become difficult. How do we begin to say sorry? How do we take away the pain they feel? How can we expect them to forgive us after the things we’ve done? The simple is suddenly blurred by the complex and exaggerated thoughts of what would happen next. And, before we know it, selective amnesia sets in—we remember so well what we’ve done wrong but we’ve forgotten the timeless essentials that would help make things better. We’ll expound on this some more in a separate article. For now, suffice it to say that the i-am-beyond-redemption mindset makes us forget that it is actually possible to tread on the path towards a brand new start. La taqnatoo min rahmati Allah, remember? “…despair not of the mercy of ALLAH.” (see Holy Qur’an 39:53 for complete verse)
Risk. It’s quite ironic how we pray so hard that The Most Gracious gives us our hearts’ desire yet when an opportunity to turn those dreams into reality is presented, we freeze. What are we going to do next? What step must we take? What if things go wrong? What if we fail our loved ones? What if we fail ourselves? Imagine that. We’ve been brought this close to our dreams by The All-Powerful One yet we now forget to trust that HE will continue to guide us in our next steps. Hasbiyallaahu laa ‘ilaaha ‘illaa Huwa ‘alayhi tawakkaltu wa Huwa Rabbul-’Arshil-’Adheem, remember? Allah is sufficient for me. There is none worthy of worship but Him. I have placed my trust in Him, He is Lord of the Majestic Throne.
There…three different life events that make us ask how to begin. Events that reveal our fears—fear of getting attached too much only to lose, fear of never being forgiven, and fear of failing to reach much-wanted goals. And, if we ponder on them some more, fears tell us how afraid we are of experiencing pain. After all, it is painful to lose something or someone we’ve considered an extension of ourselves. It is painful to realize it is our own selves who’ve caused the very ones we love pain. And, it is painful to not get those much-wanted dreams in life. Fear and pain. Indeed, different scenarios yet the same—always a test of faith. Fear reveals how strong our faith is in The Best Planner, The All-Wise. And, pain can actually be a blessing in disguise; a way to remind us of the purpose of our existence.
How do I begin?
Others quite often say, you just do it…just begin. It may sound absurd, but then again, think of it. Each moment of our lives is a beginning. I mean, who would’ve thought we’d make it to the next moment? Had HE willed, this could be our last breath, subhanALLAH. But, we’re still here, Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah). In fact, wherever you are right now, if you’re still reading this, then that’s more than enough to say, “Alhamdulillah.” (And we’re not yet even reflecting deeply on the air, the sun, the electricity, the computer you’re using, the sense of sight, and all the what-have-you’s that we often take for granted) Some of us may not have wanted to still be breathing right now because of how tragic life seems to them, but hey, we’re still here. Alhamdulillah. And, whether we like it or not, life goes on as long as HE wills it.
Hence, if each moment is a beginning which HE lovingly gives, then we are left with only two options: to either begin by giving it the best we have or to begin by letting our fears and all the negativities get in the way. Reflect. If you wake up and you tell yourself “It’s too difficult” or “It’s no use” or “I won’t make it”, then that’s already how you chose to begin your life at that very moment—and seriously, it’s going to affect the next moments you may be given unless you decide to change. So, which option is it going to be?
Still finding it hard? Perhaps, it’ll help if we modify the question:
How do I want to begin this moment of my life?
There. We’re not even talking about the rest of our lives; just this very important moment given to us—the here and now; the (gift of the) present. One moment at a time. One step at a time. Step one. And what matters is the kind of step one we make out of the moment HE lovingly gives, in shaa ALLAH (God willing).
Difficult? Perhaps—when faith wanes…but may we remember that with HIM, it always is possible. And, truthfully, may we pray that each of us decide to begin each moment with our lips, our minds, and our hearts saying,
Bismillah. In the Name of Allah.
In the Name of Allah. In the Name of The One Who’s lovingly created you and me. In the Name of The One Who never tires. In the Name of The One Who Hears even our hearts’ unspoken prayers. In the Name of The One Who gives peace and light. In The Name of The One Who bestows more than what we can ever imagine.
Bismillah. In the Name of Allah.
Don’t you just love how that sounds? I honestly hope we find our hearts smiling much, in shaa ALLAH.
“Bismillah is the start of all things good.” – Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in reach UP


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Forget not

Interestingly, FB memories remind me how my Decembers have been for the past five years…all about psychosocial support. More interestingly, however–and one i pray i never forget–is the fact that in the process of providing such support, in the face of such raw and honest interhuman encounters, i find that it is i who has been awakened, who has been touched and inspired, who has learned so, so much. Alhamdulillah.



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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in I + You = WE, reach UP


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For now, that’s us. And, the truth is, this earthly life was never meant to be perfect. There’ll be a lot of tests and there’ll be moments when we’d want to give up; to give up on others or the situation, which makes me realize that’d be us giving up on ourselves–on the servants HE wishes us to be.

EaRtHLiNgs. It may not be easy to be one, but Alhamdulillah, we’re here…still here with an opportunity to make the most of this life so we can successfully go back to our real home in the end, bi’idhnillah.

Smile, supplicate, and strive to keep the faith! 💗


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Posted by on October 29, 2016 in reach UP


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still going :)

the pause was…a change of state. a new chapter–or should i say, two chapters? a crazy adventure. a giving up to gain. a learning from scratch. a discovery and re-discovery of who i am and what it means to be beautifully interdependent. no mastery of lessons…yet…still going…still hopeful that i’ll get to my desired destination, in shaa ALLAH.

no more full-time work for me–save for wifeyhood and mommyhood (harhar). yep, i did get to find the courage to take that step forward. so, there…and the journey of this muslimah continues….


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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in I + You = WE


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to the sojourner

who cries for justice yet remains locked in the dark
who numbly prances to the tune of gunshots
whose loved ones’ end may never be known
who realizes that most questions will be left unanswered

to the sojourner
whose life is shattered by another who has ceased to be man
who forces a smile amidst the tears
who leaves home in search of serenity
who breaks down yet repeats to oneself that all is well, all is well

to the sojourner
who’s driven mad by meaningless orders
whose soul dies each time it takes a life
who remains wide awake though he is asleep
who struggles in moving forward to find his way back

to the sojourner
whose experiences drain me yet strengthen me
who teaches me how tough life in this world is
who reminds me of HIM and HIS Divine Will
who hopes, like me, for happiness in eternity

to the sojourner
who’s different yet the same as me…
you are far yet near, silent yet heard
be comforted that one day it’ll all be over
we are one in prayer, sufficed by One True Healer.



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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in I + You = WE, reach UP


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intention check


what you may consider as just being ‘friendly’
can in actuality be interpreted differently.
perhaps it’s the other’s fault to assume;
but how sure are you you didn’t give the devil some room?
you may think you’re speaking from the heart,
but you could be tearing a person, a couple, or a family, apart.
when the damage is done, “i didn’t mean to” is so easy to say,
but it shouldn’t have happened had you not let pride get in the way.
Check your intentions. Check your actions. Yes, it may not be easy,
but sincerity will always be a reflection of GOD-centered sensitivity.

Keep right and battle against yourself with all your might.

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in I + You = WE


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Sabr :)

Day Four of this Blessed Month, and I’m re-learning so much.

Goal Tweaking.  I’ve tweaked my Ramadan goals after realizing some are not actually doable for someone like me who’s just beginning to have a more regular relationship with Arabic (i.e, daily reading practice on my own). Reading is one thing–and I’d have to say I still get some letters mixed up and I am not even sure if I am pronouncing them correctly; understanding is another.  Understanding.  It’s this part that makes me frustrated with my situation at times. It’s a blessing to find translations for most but then there are some which I can’t find, and it honestly feels kind of pointless to utter a prayer I don’t even understand. It makes me appreciate the existence of someones-like-me-in-the-world who help me understand things better.  Still, I’m happy I can find it in me to continue on my own, Alhamdulillah…and continue throughout this month and beyond, I will, in shaa Allah.

Hibernating.  Deactivating my Facebook account and going online on Viber only when necessary has helped me work on some of my goals.  It’s funny how the first few days before Ramadan turned out to be tougher than expected–going offline yet suddenly getting a surge of calls and SMS from them. Brotherly? It makes me realize that this hijab does not exactly prevent sisters much from getting attention when the people involved do not fully understand and respect the meaning of hijab. I keep forgetting I’m in a predominantly non-Muslim community. It also reminds me that it probably isn’t always true that men have a tougher time avoiding fitna because seriously, men naturally do the courting (or hunting, if you will) and women are often left with having to deal with what these men do.  A training on assertiveness for me as well.  And just to be safe, I’m sticking to the same goal I had last year: to not just protect my intentions but also help others keep the right intentions through lesser interactions. In shaa ALLAH.

Fasting.  Aside from fasting from online presence and food & water this Ramadan, I am trying my best to fast from negativity.  A month of great training for the soul, mashaAllah. Considering Satan and all his allies are chained this month, any negativity could only come from our own selves–from our evil-commanding souls. And, I know it may take some time for me to train myself to respond–not react–to people who constantly test me, but with HIM, I will make it. In shaa ALLAH.

Feasting.  It’s a month of not just fasting, really.  It’s a month to feast on performing prayers, supplicating, remembering ALLAH, Qur’an reading, increasing knowledge, giving back to the community–especially to the less fortunate, and renewing ties with family and friends.  It’s a month to give and ask forgiveness, increase and protect our sincerity, and do all things with excellence–all for The Most Merciful’s sake.  It’s indeed a month to feast on all the blessings HE has made available around and within us…and for us to become better servants, in shaa ALLAH.

When I think of it, this year’s main theme for me is all about patience–patience to pursue my goals, patience to deal with others the best way I can, patience to perform my religious duties the best way possible, and patience to see life and everything & everyone in it always as a blessing. Difficult, you think? Maybe…but with ALLAH, nothing is indeed impossible.

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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in I + You = WE, reach UP


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