ustadha

My ustadha said something really beautiful today. She said, “When you’re doing assignments on your laptops you can sometimes make errors, so to get rid of them you press the backspace. It would be as if you never made that error in the first place. And there’s no limit. No limit to how many times you can press it.

Repentance is just like that.

There’s no limit to how many times you can repent. And the most beautiful thing about repentance is that, just like the backspace, repentance erases your sins so that you have a clean slate again.”

Your life is nothing more than a love story between you and God.

Every person, every experience, every gift, every loss, every pain is sent on your path, for one reason and one reason only: To bring you back to Him.

—  Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed
One of the signs that you love the Prophet ﷺ is that you emulate him ﷺ, apply his sunnah, obey his commands and avoid his prohibitions, and take on his adab in ease and hardship, joy and despair
—  Ustadha Noshin quoting from The Shifa of Qadi Iyad

Advice to Single Sisters Entangled with Married Men

The man you claim to “love” and are eagerly waiting on the sidelines for in the hopes that he’ll see you, is keeping you in the periphery for a reason. He knows perfectly well that he can go on enjoying his game on the field and you’ll still be standing there waiting around when everyone else goes home. You see, he loves the attention you give him. He relishes every minute of it. He loves the power he has over you. He loves that you are so eager to please him. Come rain or shine, he knows that you’ll always be standing there, eagerly waiting for him to just give you a glance…and no matter how difficult the game is he’s playing, unlike everything else he’s got going on, he knows you’re a sure shot. You may be the only guarantee he has in life, which is why his grasp on you is so tight.

He may say all the right things, he may go out of his way to make you feel EXTRA special. Maybe he has a nickname for you and “only” you. He has you convinced that YOU are an exception above all other women, even his wife, which is why he can’t stay away from you. If he’s really good, he’ll periodically pull the “I’m feeling guilty” card and disappear for a while. Then, in poetic fashion, he’ll reappear and tell you how “impossible” it was to forget you, how he thought of you every day and just needed to see you again!

Sounds so amazing doesn’t it? After all, what woman doesn’t want to believe that she’s irresistible? What woman doesn’t want a man to make her feel that she has a special power, above all other women in his life, to make him weak?

He’s figured out that by sticking to this solid script he can manipulate you to do pretty much anything he wants you to and believe anything he tells you.

Now, I know it’s hard for you to hear these things about the man you “love”. After all, he’s so sweet and such a good man otherwise. He has a good heart, he may even go to the masjid, help raise funds for charitable causes, and be an all-around “good guy”. How can such a man be capable of intentionally manipulating you? He’s not evil! He loves you…you know it, you feel it…he just can’t be with you because his life is so difficult. He’s sacrificing his own happiness (which is being with you) because of his family, his children, his parents…you feel so sorry for him but it makes you love him even more that he’s so noble…

Hold up…let’s rewind for just a second.

No one is saying that he’s evil. Being a man who is caught up in this toxic situation and one who is otherwise a relatively “good Muslim” are not mutually exclusive. Throughout history, even in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), men (and women) have fallen into this dangerous trap of shaitan. So, no one is denying that he has virtues. He is caught up in the addictive cycle the same as you are, just for different reasons. But that’s a whole other topic all together. We’re focusing on you right now.

Now, I want you to indulge me for just a moment and consider the possibility that what you perceive as “love” for this person is not as pretty and romantic as you think but it’s actually something else, something that is actively harming you. How many nights have you cried yourself to sleep because of the loneliness, the feelings of neglect? How many times have you beaten yourself up wondering why he’s not with you or why he didn’t choose YOU as his wife? How many times have you felt sick to your stomach over the guilt? Is that what you imagined you’d feel when you met “the one”? Or did you imagine someone who RECIPROCATED your feelings, and not just by word, but by action?

Didn’t you imagine that when you found the person you were created for that he would be loyal to you, be there for you when you needed him, take care of you when you were sick, honor your friends and family, wipe away your tears when you were down, and be proud to walk side by side with you, just as you were proud to do so with him? If you did, then you were right. That is how a man and woman who are in love behave with one another.

I’m certain you didn’t imagine that being in love meant that you would be hidden, like someone’s shameful secret. Unfortunately, despite the intensity and authenticity of your feelings for him, despite the fact that you already have and would probably continue sacrificing yourself, your principles, your reputation, your family’s honor, your spiritual health, etc., for him, he is not willing to do what it takes to be with you.

That would take honesty on his part. It would take for him to sacrifice many things that are part of the life he’s created…but he’s not willing to do that, which is why his promises to you will most likely NEVER be fulfilled. He is not willing to lose it all for you…if he was, he’d already have done it and wouldn’t be stringing you along as he has been.

Trust me when I say that a man in love will move mountains to be with the woman he loves. A man in lust, a man addicted to the attention his ego gets from such relationships, a man who cannot control his desires, will NOT. He will just continue to fulfill his desires. He will keep the addiction going as long as the supply is there and he can continue getting whatever he wants out of it. The moment his needs are no longer being met he will disappear completely. What does that mean for you? It means that the moment you stop giving in to him, the moment you stop showing up at the games, the moment he no longer sees you on the sidelines, he will dispose of you without a second thought…and unless he gets help, he’ll move on to his next conquest.

So, please my dear sister, do not be someone who lets ANYONE treat you like you are disposable. Do you realize who you are? I know this relationship has probably worn down your self-image and self-worth, but let me remind you that you have been honored by Allah (swt) to not only be a Muslim, but to be in the ummah of the Best of Creations (peace be upon him). Much of the Prophets life mission, even up until his last moments on earth, were to fight for YOUR rights as a woman, to be honored, to be cherished, to be loved, to be respected. You deserve better than this. You were not created to be used by someone and have your rights and honor stripped from you in the process. Would he ever allow someone to do this to his sister, to his daughter? Of course not! So what gives him the right to do it to you? It’s because what you risk losing is not as important as what he risks gaining from you. He does not care that you are in a state of perpetual heartache, that you cry when you are not with him, or that you have possibly missed out on so much of your life being caught up in this vicious cycle.

Please get out and seek help. There are professionals who can help you, people who will never judge you or ever expose you. They will do whatever they can to guide you out of this, inshAllah. You just have to believe that with Allah (swt) anything is possible. If you are sincere, in the blink of an eye, he can remove these feelings from your heart and set you free. Return to Him. He loves you, He loves your tears of repentance more than you can ever know. I promise you, if you surrender to Him, you can and will overcome this inshAllah. You just have to value yourself as much as He (azza wajal) has valued you and take the first step.

Allah (swt) said: “I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself. And if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” (Hadist Qudsi: Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

—  Ustadha Hosai Mojaddidi

I’ve always thought it was a beautiful irony that God enables us to feel remorse, guilt, and sadness in our hearts over past mistakes but then simultaneously tells us that judgement is reserved for Him alone.

It’s like He wants us to suffer through self-loathing, to taste the bitterness of our soul’s deception. He wants us to know we have an enemy who tricks us and that WE allowed him to succeed. He wants us to know that we’re not as smart as we may have deluded ourselves to believe. He wants us to know that even with all the education, the amazing family values we were taught, the “good head” on our shoulders, that those things can’t do anything to protect the heart if we leave it unguarded…which we did.

And then when the constriction becomes too much to bear, and our eyes dry from the tears, and we want to disappear in a hole and never come out…He shakes us to core and boldly reminds us once again that we haven’t been paying attention. He reminds us that we have NO power to condemn ourselves, even if we want to, because despair was NEVER the point, humility was.

Tawba is not about hating yourself, it’s about realizing the awesome forgiving power of your Lord and never wanting to disappoint Him again.

“Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an 39:53]

—  Ustadha Hosai Mojaddidi

Many of us have felt inadequate this Ramadan. Long hours of fasting with short nights makes it hard for parents, caretakers, those working full time, or those who are unable to fast, “feel” Ramadan. We can’t do the extra worship we used to and even when we get in our extra Qur’an or pray in the mosque we can’t even concentrate, so we end up just feeling lame.

But what we really need is a perspective shift.

We need to recognize that taking care of the future generation, providing financial support for ourselves and loved ones or taking care of our health are some of the highest forms of worship in and of themselves. We just need to make the intention and internally shift our perspectives.

Give yourself five minutes, just you and God. Sit and raise your hands and share what’s in your heart with Him in your own words, even though He is well aware of it.

“Dear Allah, I feel distant from you and it hurts especially because it’s Ramadan and I want to feel close to You in this month. Please, accept all my sacrifices for Your Sake and let me taste the sweetness of our relationship together through what I’m doing. I wish I could concentrate and focus more on my worship, but I’m doing whatever I can to fulfill the responsibilities You’ve given me in this phase of my life. So please, write me among the highest in Paradise, pour barakah into my life and let me taste the sweetness of my relationship with You through what I’m doing.”

Then, just keep renewing your intention. Remember, even the mundane (brushing your teeth) can be worship with your intention. And try to increase your dhikr just a little bit when you’re walking to your car or washing the dishes or taking your medicine or going to sleep.

The beauty of Islam is that it doesn’t restrict worshiping God to praying, fasting and reading Qur’an. It can encompass your daily actions simply through your intention.

As Abdullah ibn Mubarak said, “Perhaps a great deed is belittled by an intention. And perhaps a small deed, by a sincere intention, is made great.”

This Ramadan, make your worship something transformational. Choose to understand your relationship with God as one which will continue even when your life changes. Choose to magnify your intention.

— 

Ustadha 

Maryam Amir