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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Embracing Change

Posted by Sara at 7:45 AM
Battling with the wind is as futile as refusing change. Holding tight to our safe zones and clinging to our loved ones and precious things simply won’t stop the wheel from turning on and on. Change, the only stable fact on earth, might not be our enemy after all.

I had my own battles with the winds of change, in which, of course, I was defeated. I simply hated change. At one stage, I liked my life the way it was and I did not want it changed. At that time I was foolish enough to believe in the possibility of forever. Gradually, and after receiving many blows and knockouts, I started to believe that you do have to accept change and to expect it, in order to reduce the intensity of your fall when change knocks on your door next time. Change is bound to happen, whether you like it or not, so you better see it coming and not be blinded by a temporary triumph that life is giving you, because soon and before you know it will be taken away. However, this was also a limited vision that stems out of fear of loss, and not out of faith or resolve.

When one of my most important pillars of strength and sources of joy was taken away from me, I fought fiercely to get it back but in vain; it was time to move on. When I realized that it had really gone, I felt that I had lost everything and that I was standing in the middle of nowhere with my hands empty and my heart void. My heart was being ripped apart and I totally refused, without noticing, to accept the reality that this road ended here. At that stage, I froze completely, living in the memories of the happy past, refusing to go on, and rejecting any other source of joy. Nothing could fulfill me anymore, and I was ruining my life with my own hands. I was torturing myself with denial, feeling that I left my happiness behind and that I would never be happy again except if I were back where I used to be. Eventually I miserably started to try, not to forget how happy I was then, but to accept God’s command without understanding it. I still believed that my happiness lay there, but I was trying to tame my soul and to train myself to believe in the words we say superficially of trusting in Allaah’s judgement. My solace was that if I truly believed that the Lord would guide me to the right thing and grant me patience, if I could endure the pain and go on, if I turned out to be a good person, He would bring me back what I had lost.

I have learnt that it is not right to ask God to do you a specific thing since you know not where goodness lies like He does. I kept on supplicating to Him to either bring it back to me if that were better for me, or take it out of my heart so that I could rest and carry on. Yet, I was almost certain that my supplication's answer would lie in the first part; having it back, because naturally I still believed that my happiness was there. However, to my ultimate surprise, my supplication was indeed answered, but not the way I had expected. It was out of my heart, and I was able to have my peace of mind again.

Nothing in the world except Allaah is worth dying for or hanging to forever. When it is not meant to be, it is really not meant to be, no matter how we want to twist it, or how we block our ears or close our eyes to the truth. God indeed knows best, and loves us much more than we may think or even deserve sometimes. I felt so little, so very little when I realised how things had evolved, and how foolish I was to think that life had turned its back on me the day my life had changed. Our happiness is not hidden in one place or one person or one direction; it is divided in many paths and among many people, thoughts and commitments. Refusing the other parts of this share of happiness is the mistake we often fall into when we think, narrowly, in one direction trying to force our happiness from where we want it.

Even our attachment to such important aspects of our lives is bound to change. When everything else around is changing, we must not expect our hearts to keep looking where nothing is to be found anymore. However, when our own feelings change, we seldom question change. We do this only when we are affected by the change and not initiating it. Therefore, combing the two sides of change; of circumstances and of heart, and not allowing one to surpass or overshadow the other, may save us a lot of pain and breakdowns.

Recently, I cultivated the habit of walking everyday, to calm my soul, to walk peacefully and enjoy the air and the sun and the trees. It might seem so trivial, but it gives me great pleasure and serenity. It is a small part of the hidden bits of happiness scattered here and there along the road, and I am not intending to miss any of mine.

I have learnt that everything is precious, not just our preferred things. Everything will go, and especially our dearest things. Clinging to anything won't bring it back if it is not ours to have. Still, enjoying it when it is here and enjoying it when it is gone is how we can keep our sanity. Appreciating the bits and pieces of joy that the Lord sends our way, the small gestures and hidden signs that tell you that you are not alone and definitely not forgotten, is the remedy of loss.

I now know that it is not just about accepting change as this invincible enemy. It is not about staying alert that nothing is here to stay, for this will definitely ruin one’s appreciation of the beauty of the moment. It is about embracing change; not as the wicked thief that steals one’s happiness and ruins one’s life, but as the wise visitor who comes every once in a while to renew our lives, open new doors and close the obsolete ones. A blow is likely to happen and something very dear is always hard to lose, but God will never leave our wounds open, His healing light is always there to guide us throughout the journey. Going on and exploring the new ways the Lord is opening and leaving our area of confidence and security is very hard, but it is meant to take place so that we continue leading our way and becoming who we are; the sum of all the choices and experiences, the sum of everything that is gone and all that is to come.


"All that (exists) upon it (i.e., the earth) is vanishing. And there (still) remains (forever) The Face of your Lord,The Owner of Majesty and Munificence." 1.
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1. Qur'aan: Ar-Rahmaan 55: verses 26 - 27.

1 comments on "Embracing Change"

Anonymous said...

"So that you may not feel sad for what eluded you nor exult with what He has brought you. And Allah does not love anyone (Literally: every one) who is conceited (and) constantly boastful"

Qur'aan: Al-Hadeed 57:23

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2009 THEME: Islam in the West and Our Children (Discussion & Resources regularly updated)

There is increasing concern that second and third generation Muslims in the West are mostly no longer Muslims so they actually end up adding to the Christian or Atheist population of the West, albeit racially from a non-Western origin. Accordingly, the ratios mentioned in the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU) would be correct in regards to race or ethnicity but not necessarily to religion.

It is a grave danger facing our children and grand children from a real life stand point as statistically only 1/5 of the second generation stay really Muslims when they grow up and are independent and almost non from the third generation are Muslims. And that is why the Western authorities are still permitting the immigration of Muslims inspite of the figures provided in the above video. They know that on the long term the descendants of Muslims in the West leave Islam because their parents raised them up with an Eastern mentality in a Western society instead of an Islamic mentality that encompasses all cultures.

You can see more about that by Jeffrey Lang; an ex-atheist American Mathematics University Professor who reverted to Islam in 1982. He has also written 3 books that I highly recommend; "Struggling to Surrender", "Even Angels Ask" and "Losing my Religion; A Call for Help".
Now I will leave you to enjoy 2 short excerpts from one of his lectures followed by links to his most important full presentation regarding our children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmqN75NI0xg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT1KGyxBXC0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMANKaX8khw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgivQJKtQME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga2rIUWcPPs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYb2v3Yx1LY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhMN_TZavW0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHeM0H0EMAw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD-YefJH9x0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVOKjOqHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBQp7aZjxjc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4_xxQVGU44

Here is a solution that is yet to be implemented.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geRM4AlFBOU&NR=1

Raising children here is not an easy task ofcourse but if we do it the right way they will be true Muslims in shaa Allaah who are "Informed Muslims" rather than "Muslims by inheritance" like their counterparts in the East. Hopefully they will then be a much better generation than ours.

Quickly, I do believe that the best 4 authors (for example, there are many others but these are my favorite) who could guide us through this difficult process are Yahiya Emerick, Jeffrey Lang, Jamal Badawi and Dalia Mogahed.

Here are some links for future reference and for an ongoing learning process that I have started collecting slowly.
Please spread the below information to all your Muslim contacts in the West.

Jeffrey Lang:
http://meccacentric.com/jeffrey_lang.html I highly recommend the lecture titled "The Purpose of Life". It has true meanings that I have not come across in any Arabic literature.

Yahiya Emerick:
Articles:
http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/articles/articles.htm
http://www.islamfortoday.com/yahiyaemerick.htm I highly recommend reading and spreading the last article in this link by the name of "The Confusion of the Scholars"
Books:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?search-alias=stripbooks&unfiltered=1&field-keywords=&field-author=Yahiya+Emerick&field-title=&field-isbn=&field-publisher=&node=&url=&field-feature_browse-bin=&field-binding_browse-bin=&field-subject=&field-language=&field-dateop=&field-datemod=&field-dateyear=&sort=relevancerank&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=29&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=8 There are only 14 books, about half for adults and the other half for kids. The extra are just repetitions.

Jamal Badawi:
Many products including books, articles and lectures mostly for adults. You can find them by searching his name online. My favorite is;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMfWURGcvBI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HXGRYaUy6g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyMD_tE6U68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AixgiXpAFTY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WUgbgLgMXM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3VLRoQ3qUw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5UvvkCDrm4

Dalia Mogahed: (Obama's adviser)
Has one book so far but has a great potential. "Who Speaks for Islam".
You can watch her debate with Irshad Manji (an openly Lesbian Canadian Muslim who is distorting the picture of Islam in the name of "Progressive Islam")http://fora.tv/2008/07/01/Irshad_Manji_and_Dalia_Mogahed_-_Who_Speaks_for_Islam

Finally here is a website for a store that sells lots of Islamic products including Islamic cartoon DVDs in English and Arabic for kids.
http://www.astrolabe.com/category/17/Cartoons_and_KidVid.html?sid=ceb7c5cf8de15b8f1cb92ad29e183a44
 

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