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Love comes from heart

Some sisters struggle with it while some easily adopt it without any doubts or questions. Some may wear it as a fashion symbol and many wear it for the sole purpose as worship and because it is what Allah wants from them. Some even wear it for cultural purposes! Some don’t wear it and some beautify it.

I know where my thoughts stand on the topic of modesty and the hijab and I want to point out something. I’m not a scholar not even a student of knowledge, but I do know one thing from what I’ve learned from my own personal experience of being at one extreme end of Islam. I used to be one of those who used to look down on those who don’t cover or who beautify the hijab. I used to be harsh and displayed arrogance towards those who didn’t cover properly.
I realized, everything is from Allah and not from my own self. For those who cover correctly and do it as worship to please Allah, this is not from your own hands. This is a blessing from Allah so you shouldn’t display yourself to be better than anyone else because Allah can change your heart literally in a heartbeat and the roles can reverse.

You may become like those you are criticizing and dehumanizing. May Allah protect us from that. But what I’m trying to say here is, instead of pointing out the obvious importance of hijab and covering and telling everyone who doesn’t cover what they probably already know, we should be addressing the core issue.
And what is the core issue? We don’t know Allah as well as we think we do. It is knowing Allah, tapping into your fitrah & purifying your heart. Emaan doesn’t grow in the heart and stay there. When it grows it will show through our actions. When it shines through, hijab will be easy, Salah will be easy and every worship will become easier. Because when you know and love Allah, all worship will become easier, you will just want to do it. Why is it easy to show love to your kids? Why is it easy to sacrifice things for the ones you love? Because it comes from the heart.

Worship stems from love for Allah. So if you see sisters not wearing hijab or not covering properly, instead of stating what is already obvious, try to share more things like what is the true meaning of loving Allah, how do we learn to love Allah? How do we learn to know Allah? We also need to learn to know ourselves and love ourselves in the process. The relationship between you and Allah and you and yourself needs to be fixed and needs to grow in order for everything else to work.

Purifying our hearts, unlearning what society has ingrained in us, introspection, self dialogue are some ways to start tapping into knowing yourself and knowing Allah.

We need to address the heart before we do anything because actions are by intentions. If the heart is not sound, the intention will not clean and it will show through our actions.

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CamelliasBloom podcast

Assalamu Alaykum, please listen, support, follow and share! Your support is actually supporting all of us convert/revert/new muslimah sisters! May Allah put blessings and success with this project so we can come together and build a small online community for all of us convert/revert/new muslimah sisters. Ameen.

2nd Episode is here –

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We need to CHILL for a second

When I first became Muslim I had this sudden zeal that was burning within. Obviously, this is very natural. When we love something, especially when it is new and exciting, we want to share the news with everyone ! I wanted to share my new journey and faith with all those around me. I wanted everyone to experience what I felt and all I would do was talk about Islam the whole time. I was so excited about my new faith that I just HAD to share it. I shared it with Muslims and non-Muslims and when I look back at myself (lol) I can’t believe how silly I was. I mean of course we have to share the beauty of Islam with others! But there is definitely a certain approach you must take!

I became very passionate and emotional every time I talked about Islam and how I converted. I would always try to organize some sort of Islamic reminders on What’sApp chat groups and force everyone to get involved (lol!) and for a while, it was benefiting myself and others. Then I started suffering some serious hardships in the US and it caused me to retract into my shell and all I wanted to do was keep to myself. I realised that my emaan and my zeal seemed to be only on the surface because once I was put into tests of my own, I noticed that my trust and hope in Allah were very weak.

I’m not sure if you all understand this but let me try to explain it to you.

My zeal and passion for Islam was built only on seeking knowledge. All I would do was read and learn about how the pious predecessors (the Salaf) would practise Islam. I would make a lot of effort to practice outwardly the Sunnah without really understanding the true beauty of why the Prophet (peace be upon him) did them and everything just had a surface value. I was doing things more out of fear rather than love. I was worried that if I did not do things, Allah would punish me. This is SO wrong.

OF COURSE, all these things are extremely important and beneficial for us and we should constantly be educating ourselves about the Sunnah and the pious predecessors but we also need to remember that in order for us to be consistent with acts of ibadaah, we need to remember that emaan grows in the heart and when it does, that is when we truly enjoy doing acts of worship because they are genuinely for the sake of pleasing Allah! What is in the hearts will eventually radiate through our actions!

A lot of people say that emaan and Allah are in the heart, but if Allah is in your heart (and let us not take this out of context and think that Allah is everywhere- yes, SIGNS of Allah are everywhere but we know that He is above the throne!) and emaan is in the heart, then your speech, your actions should reflect that. Things like the hijab, prayer, and doing other acts of worship come easily and naturally once the emaan in the heart grows. I thought that I had emaan but then I realised a lot of the time I was doing things because I HAD to and not because I sincerely wanted to.

So once I was tested with hardships, I left a lot of my voluntary acts of worship and I even began to question Allah and Islam (may Allah always protect me and you from this ameen). It was only until I moved back to Toronto that I realised that I have a very limited understanding of Islam and even though I sought knowledge non-stop, it never reached beyond my mind. It never transcended deeply into my heart or my soul, it never touched me the way it touched Ibn al Qayyim( rahimuAllah) or Ibn al Jawzi (Rahimuallah) and the likes of. My understanding of Islam was on a surface level and it is only until now that I started to realise that being a Muslim is not just about the outwardly obligations but it is also understanding yourself and through that, then you can know Allah and then learn to love Allah.

I know a lot of us may lack this understanding. I have seen and continue to see way too many individuals, especially on social media, show their Islamic knowledge outwardly. It does not go anywhere deeper than that. How do I know this? It is very simple and obvious. Their manners and character show it all. Most of these sisters do not have good manners and lack empathy. They dictate the deen and if you do not take the opinions of their shaykh, they will chastise you. You are basically ‘non-practising’ in their eyes. They basically want to force you to follow in their way and if you don’t, you can’t “sit with them.”

This brings me to my last point.

This is the kind of interaction that is not even from the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Prophet (peace be upon him ) was never forceful and Allah even says in the Qur’an there is no compulsion in the religion (2:256) so why are you forcing others to do what you are doing?

What you do to get closer to Allah may not be what another person wants to do at this moment in time. They may be on a completely different journey than you and even though you may be more fast-paced then them, they are going at a rate that is suitable for them- but at least they are still trying. For all we know, they could be crying to Allah behind closed doors every day asking Him to guide them to wear the hijab, or to fulfill their five daily prayers! We will never know what is going on in their lives and what they are struggling with.

A lot of the times, individuals always seem to preach that Allah is strict and harsh and if you don’t do A-B-C you will be punished! Again, up until recently, I believed this as well. I was doing things because I didn’t want to be punished not because I truly wanted to do them. Allah is not a harsh, mean Lord ! Yes, He punishes where He Sees fit but He also rewards. Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful. Forcing people to do acts of worships is never the key to success. You are not responsible for anyone but yourself. If you truly want to help someone, lead by example through your speech and your actions and show them how Islam has touched you. If you are forcing the deen down someone’s throat and if you find yourself being harsh and cruel, you got it all wrong, girl. You are causing more harm than good. Trust me! I have been there before and I was the harsh one with excessive zeal forcing the deen down other’s throats! Rarely does this method work.

So this reminder is to myself first and foremost, focus on myself and my relationship with Allah. Do not force others to listen to x-y-z lectures or force others to do a-b-c ibadaat . Yes, enjoining good and forbidding evil is our DUTY as a Muslim, but do it wisely. The way we enjoin good can actually turn out to be evil because of the method we approach people with becomes counterproductive!
Acts of worship should never be seen as a chore or a drag. We should want to do it with our hearts and soul because we love Allah and we want Him to be pleased with us. If you are the reason that people find acts of worships to be a drag, then please remember to focus on yourself before you focus on anybody else.

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Salt on the wounds

Have you ever met those types of people who just seem to smother your open wounds with a whole tablespoon of salt? I have! I have met many.

Either these people just don’t get it or they lack common sense – which by the way, in 2019, is not so common anymore. Sometimes I marvel at the types of personalities out there. Of course, I am fully flawed myself and I have some serious personality issues; but alhamdulillah, I admit them completely and I know my many shortcomings and I always ask Allah to not make me out to be what I hate! Aameen!

It’s just that, some people are really clueless, you know?
Maybe I am one of them?! Who knows!
Maybe this is a post directed to me!

I mean, I never write with the intention of just addressing the general public without me having to reflect on my own self first, so insha’Allah this will be a good reminder to myself, first and foremost.

I mean, judging only by the apparent, I feel like these people have not had a lot of experience dealing with humans or life in general. I almost feel like these people can be categorized into the narcissist (audhbillah ) category! They lack empathy, they only talk about themselves, they fail to listen, they nearly shove in your face things you really don’t want to hear about (their marriage, their husband, their children, etc..), they think their advice is golden when in reality it probably would have been better if they never spoke in the first place. There are some who are far from falling into the narcissistic category but are just plain negative. Being around these types of people are draining, to say the least. Sometimes we feel obligated to be around these people, or at least I thought I was, but then I realized, why should I sacrifice my own wellbeing to be around people who do nothing but sabotage my state of mind/wellbeing?

I know many of us want to be that supportive sister when one of our friends cry out for help. We try our best to offer beneficial advice and solutions that may help them feel a sense of solace and comfort. I understand that and I know the intentions are from a pure place (insha’Allah) but have we ever thought to ourselves, everyone is different thus the advice we offer may not always hit home for the other person? I remember when I first converted to Islam and I was beyond overzealous with my new faith. The advice I gave others was not always ideal nor was it the solution to their problems. In fact, some of my solutions, at that time, could have been more detrimental than beneficial. May Allah forgive me for my ignorance ameen.

But sometimes our advice can add salt to their wounds.
Sometimes our careless anecdotes can add salt to their wounds.
Sometimes our actions can add salt to their wounds.

I think it is extremely important to be aware of our words when we are with certain types of people. Remember, not everybody is like you. Just because you handle things one way, doesn’t mean the other person wants to handle it your way.

Just because you experienced something and went about it a certain way, does not mean that the other person will react positively to your methods or your words. I remember I met a few sisters who had gone through some hardships and as a result, it had really scarred them. Thus leaving them with a lesser-than-tainted outlook on life and as a result, when I was in their company, I felt negative and sad about myself and about my situation. I have nothing against these types of sisters and I ask Allah to relieve them from their hardships and give them comfort within, Ameen; but if I am already struggling and going through some tests myself, I don’t need to be around anymore Debbie-downers, right? 

I need to be around people who are encouraging and who will remind me that Allah will respond to my duaas. I need someone to remind me about Ayyub (aleyhi salam) or Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ya’qub (aleyhi salam)! I need someone to remind me that they went through hardship after hardship after hardship and to the point of utter exhaustion yet they still persevered and prevailed because they believed in Allah and kept making duaa. I need someone to say ” You’re doing great and I know that everything will work out for you soon insha’Allah, because why would it not? Allah’s promise is always true!” instead of them relaying their whole life’s experience and making the whole conversation based around them and their own experience. Sometimes, people don’t want to hear about your experience because, well, everyone’s experience is conducive to themselves and not many people can really relate to you – duh. 

Sometimes, we need to make it about them, and not about us. 

When someone is going through hardships, offering them generic advice like “don’t worry, it will get better insha’Allah,” or ” have patience,” or “it is what it is, at least you have this and that and you are this and that” can only reach less than skin deep. YES, these are great and they are the obvious things that we should say but we need to figure out how to help their wounds, not add salt to them. 

Nu’man b. Bashir reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever. Book 032, Number 6258: (Sahih Muslim)

Being empathetic and sympathetic is the medicine to their open wounds. Feeling their pain as if it were your own and offering sincere advice that comes from within your soul is something that will help others. When you feel what they feel, that is when you will help their wounds heal rather than making them worse. 

I decided to write this post because it was not until recently when I went through my own hardships and realized some of the advice some sisters would give me would often leave me feeling worse off than if I hadn’t spoken to them in the first place. They put more salt on my wounds. That is why I am a very private person. A lot of people can actually make you feel worse rather than better and that is why I am so selective with friends and with who I go to for advice. Thus, I want to write this post and address how important it is to be sensitive and empathetic to the one who comes to us for advice. It was not until I realized how I didn’t want to be treated that I realized how I should treat others. When people come to you for advice, they want comfort and affirmation that everything WILL BE OK. They are not coming to you so you can disregard their feelings and make them feel worse. If you help them, Allah will help you. Isn’t that convincing enough?

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his hardship on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever helps ease someone in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever covers the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps the servant as long as he helps his brother. Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise, for a people do not gather together in the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying together, except that tranquility will descend upon them, mercy will cover them, angels will surround them, and Allah will mention them to those with Him. Whoever is slow to good deeds will not be hastened by his lineage.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2699 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

When we offer advice to others, it should be about them and not us.