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ummraiyaan | Sisters Achieve
Why that one painful test…

Why that one painful test…

Tonight I had a session with a beautiful sister, may Allah grant her ease, ameen. It got me thinking…

Some tests and trials are a result of our poor decisions and reactions. Others are sent to us purely by the decree of Allah. Often it is these tests that are difficulties our hearts have silently begged Allah to never test us with. You know, that one that causes you immense anxiety and fear. That one test that you makes you feel like you are already drowning in your perceived inability to cope with what you perceive to be completely out of your control. When the test hits us from nowhere, we wonder why we feel like we’re drowning. The drowning is in fact our focus on the details of the test itself.

I invited her to do one thing. I invited her to shift her attention away from the details and to consider why the One who decreed that she be tested, tested her with this particular test at this specific moment in her life. For these types of ‘qadrAllah’ tests are gifts because Allah only grants good for the believer. In fact, it is these types of tests that are precious because they are the ones that lead us to grow, improve in ourselves and in our relationships with Him. Without these tests, we would have remained as we were…

When we shift our focus to the discovery of the gift that is in the shape of the test, doors will open and we will find ourselves stronger, accepting, understanding and with a new appreciation of Allah and His Special Ways of loving us and gifting us with what is specifically good for us. And in that discovery, despite the continuation of the test, lies the ability to rise to the surface, emerge and take that much needed breath and continue breathing.

Focus on discovering the gift of the test and on the Giver of it. There lies the strength you need to continue.

Sweet Agony

Sweet Agony

Physical pain hurts; even that of a minor cut. A minor cut to a finger surprisingly feels foreign and sharp, like it shouldn’t be there. A cut surprisingly heals quite quickly. It is amazing to observe the body taking full control of the healing process as the cut scabs over and returns to its former state; a blueprint of good health.
Emotional pain hurts and the hurt runs ever so deep. I have questioned whether physical scars are more painful than scars of the heart and soul. And what happens when you experience both?
I have faced one of the greatest tests I have experienced. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe and yet life had to continue. Mouths needed feeding, educating had to continue, and work would wait for no one. At times I felt as though I couldn’t breathe; the sheer challenge of the test felt suffocating, the tears when no one was around kept falling violently creating troughs in my cheeks.
In the midst of silence, alone, I lay – fluctuating between heavy wailing sobs and quiet tears gliding over a frozen face of despair. Each minute seemed like an hour as I asked Allah to relieve me, forgive me, have mercy upon me and open a door for me.
Time passed and the test became more challenging, more difficult, testing every part of my being. I felt I couldn’t continue and take it anymore and wanted to give up. To feel nothing seemed easier than to fight and struggle. Hurting, feeling like I was travelling on the road to despair, I prayed 2 rakat and turned to my Lord. I felt as though I had no physical or emotional energy left and could not even raise my hands. And so I chose to simply speak to Allah…
“Ya Allah, I am tired. I am hurting. I turn to you as Ayoub (alayhis salaam) turned to you. I am in pain and you are Merciful. I am struggling with this test. I trust in You o my Lord. And I am struggling to cope. I am struggling to be patient. I am struggling to be strong. I am struggling with x, y, z. These are my struggles and I admit them to You, ya Rabbi. I am in need of You. No one can help me except You. I turn to You. I know as I sit here and beg You for relief that you are watching me, hearing me, seeing me. I know that You already knew that I would be turning to You before I even sat down. For You are the All Knowing, The Most Wise. I ask you Ya Allah to envelop me in Your Mercy. I am desperate for Your Mercy. I need you my Allah.”
I continued to tell Allah all the things about this test that I was finding ever so difficult and then in the midst of telling Him my struggles, and asking Him for His Mercy, He opened a door for me during the very process of duaa…
One of my favourite hadith qudsi came to my mind. It is not only my favourite, I mention it everywhere I go. I use it during any talk I give and I love it so very much that even a sister gifted me with it on a beautifully decorated plaque. And though it is something that is often on my tongue, it was like a new precious gift for me at this moment of dua from a place of near despair.
I cried. Oh, how I cried and then I continued to speak to my Lord…
“Oh Allah, You are The Most Merciful and most definitely The Most Kind, the door is opening for me ya Allah. I feel it. I love you oh my Lord. Yes. You promised me ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’. And oh my Allah, I choose, yes, I choose to think of you as The Most Merciful right now. In my agony, I choose to perceive You as The Most Kind, The Helper, The Protector. I choose to think of you as The One who is Subtle with the believers. Oh my Lord, you said ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’ and ya Rabbi, I choose to think of you in all of these ways. I’m smiling my Lord because I know Your Promise is always true. My Lord, I feel my load lightening, I can see the door opening and I feel that you will carry me through this. No, You are carrying me through this. Because simply by choosing to see You in this way, You will be exactly this way with me and more than I could ever imagine. You are stronger than this test. You are stronger than my thoughts that this is hard and difficult. And I admit to You I need Your strength. You are the Powerful, Fully Capable of anything and I ask You to relieve me and take care of my affairs. You love your servants. Ya Allah I choose to perceive you as The Most Loving, loving me despite my weakness in managing this test. You are the Comforter and I feel the comfort right now as I turn to you ya Rabb. What a beautiful gift you have given to me in ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’. Full thanks and gratitude are due unto You for this moment of relief that I am experiencing right now.”
And in that single moment. I smiled and I took a deep breath. I felt light. For the first time in a long time, I began to see the solution to this test and how I could continue and still smile and breathe.
And that was it. In that moment of choosing to perceive Allah as helping me, carrying me, comforting me and loving me, my door opened. The test remained, however something changed within me. Something moved. I felt like I could manage this test. I could handle it. I could still smile and breathe despite it still being there.
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If you’ve ever been tested with something incredibly difficult, I am sure my words have resonated with you. If you are at a point in your test where you feel it is so very difficult to bear, talk to your Lord and tell Him how you choose to perceive Him. It is a comfort to the heart and soul like no other. The most pressing tests seem so heavy, dark, and difficult to manage. Allah azza wa jaal loves it when His servants turn to Him and in the words of Ibn Al Qayyim (RH) He delays the response to a dua because He loves His servant turning to Him, begging Him, relying upon Him. It was in this moment of mine that I realised that such a moment is precious too for the believer. It is when the broken heart turns only to Allah, that the deepest agonising feeling can turn into a pure moment of sweetness between the lover and her Beloved, The Lord of the Worlds. Talk with your Lord. He is Near. He is always there.

She is the one that used to…

There’s a sister I know. A beautiful sister mashaAllah. Her character makes her one of the most beautiful people I know. I’ll call her Sister A.
Sister A loves Allah very much. Her knowledge in Islam is average. She recites Qu’ran very slowly – struggling to join each letter to the next. But subhanaAllah she really does love her Lord.
Recently, I was thinking about Sister A. Something she said to me many years ago nestled itself within my many thoughts and wouldn’t leave. I kept replaying her words again and again and it reminded me of ahadith that speak about ordinary sahabah who were promised jannah. They were simple beings like you and me but there was something they did that was pure – untainted by riyaa or any other worldly reason. That simple deed or part of their character created their path to jannah.
One day I asked Sister A how without fail she would always keep to the sunnah fasts throughout the year – hardly missing any. It was something that I noticed about her. Mondays, Thursdays, the 3 white days, and all the other highly recommended sunnah fasts throughout the year. She hardly missed any. In the freezing winter when her body called for the warmth of tea and coffee and in the scorching summer heat, ice cold drinks did not tempt her away from fasting. She replied…
“*sigh* Umm Raiyaan, I wish I could do more for Allah. I don’t know very much and I don’t have control over finance in our home so can’t give sadaqa as I’d like to. But I hope through fasting, Allah will accept me as His Slave.”
Her words exuberated sincerity. She knew that she was limited in doing other good deeds but this was something she could give to Allah in the hope she would be counted amongst His Slaves. SubhanaAllah this is amazing on so many different levels.
1. She chose an act of ibadah and has held on to it with dear life all these years. How many of us dip in and out of ibadah? Sister A’s dunya portfolio is full of fasting – one of the best deeds as it is hidden worship.
2. Her motivation through fasting is to be accepted as Allah’s slave. After all, what is a slave? It is someone who tirelessly serves his master. Day after day. Year after year. Her fasting has always been consistent. She has tried to hide it on a few occassions but I now know her so well that I know it is just a part of her life; a part of her existence for Allah.
So many of us do not have limits in giving sadaqa, in giving dawah, in sacrificing our sleep and the list goes on. I wish to be more like Sister A. It is never about the quantity of deeds but in the level of purity and sincerity of our deeds. What have I learnt from Sister A? To choose an act of ibadah I love and to give my all and excel in it. Do the same my dear fellow sisters.
And maybe just maybe the angels will be boasting about us saying, “That servant of Allah. That muslimah who adored Allah. In the dunya, she is the one that used to …’
3 for sunnah! #7 Midlands and dua

3 for sunnah! #7 Midlands and dua

Assalamu alaikum!

Here’s the 7th 3 for sunnah blog post! I’m so excited to share this series where each Monday I’ll be sharing 3 things that I’ve either read, studied, experienced, discovered, learnt, lost, gained, loved and hated! Deen and dunya!

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What I’ve learnt – Be prepared for Allah azza wa jaal to answer your adaiya in ways that you can’t imagine. Your dua may be answered through ease, sometimes via sin and the ensuing tawbah, and sometimes through a test. Submission is knowing that He always grants us what’s best even though we may not understand it at the time.

What I’ve loved – That feeling of returning home after being away from the children. Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder and puts so much into perspective.

What I’ve experienced – I spent 4 days training the new batch of Solace support workers in the Midlands (www.solaceuk.org) The sincerity of these sisters who volunteered their time and the sisters who picked us up from the station, dropped us to our hotel, and took us out for dinner in Birmingham. There are beautiful sisters who really are selfless in their quest to make things easy for others. May Allah ease their difficulties as they go out of their way to ease the difficulties of others. Ameen.

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Enjoying the 3 for sunnah series? Forward this post to one other person.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

May Allah grant you an amazing week! Ameen.

Umm Raiyaan

 

 

 

3 for sunnah! #6 Receiving and marrying for love.

3 for sunnah! #6 Receiving and marrying for love.

Assalamu alaikum!

Here’s the 6th 3 for sunnah blog post! I’m so excited to share this series where each Monday I’ll be sharing 3 things that I’ve either read, studied, experienced, discovered, learnt, lost, gained, loved and hated! Deen and dunya!

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What I’ve learnt – If you’re a person who likes to give, you also need to be a person who is willing to receive. It’s how the world works.

What I’ve discovered – Call it the 5 year itch, the 7 year one, 10 year one or even 15 year one, more and more and MORE Muslim practising couples are falling out of love. Worse still, the love wasn’t there to begin with. It seems most married with their heads hoping their hearts would follow. Is it possible for a practising Muslim man and woman to marry for love and for that love to grow into something wonderful?

What I’ve loved – The My Fitness Pal app. I used it years ago. Back on it again – tracking my food and drink intake and exercise. Check it out!

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Enjoying the 3 for sunnah series? Forward this post to one other person.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

May Allah grant you an amazing week! Ameen.

Umm Raiyaan

 

 

 

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