Author Archives: LillyS.Mohsen

About LillyS.Mohsen

A little bit about me.....? You know, I play this game with my clients (and readers) alllllll the time! I ask them personal questions about themselves and then stare them down till they dig deep into the pit of their souls to come up with self-defining answers. But now that it's my turn..... Okay, so my job as a therapist requires me to mute and listen; yet my job as a writer requires me to BOL (that's 'brag out loud') about all my credentials (publishers love when we brag!) and since there's obviously no middle ground between both options, I'll opt for the untraveled road. I'll break the seal and tell you the secrets I’ve been keeping from all of you…. -Lilly is not my real name; my friends came up with it a million years ago on account of a childhood trauma! -I’m a person who thinks life is wonderfully weird (and sometimes just down-right peculiar, but you know) and here’s why: Fresh out of college, I was already immersed way too deep in the field of photography. I had big ‘behind-the-camera’ dreams, until my ‘Keratoconus’ disease got out of hand, and my eye doctor said ‘If you want to keep your sight you should stay away from the studio light’ (I’m also a person who writes cheesy rhymes apparently!) Long story short, it was ‘Bye Bye Photography’ and ‘Hello Psychology’. -I never set out to be a therapist, it was my soul mate who saw a hidden talent in me, and urged me to pursue a career in Psychotherapy. (I honestly wanted to be a Hijabi fashion designer!) -I’m a single mom, a born Muslim (AlhamduAllah) and a proud Egyptian. (I’m also a chronically incurable chocolate addict and now that you know the truth, I truly hope you’ll accept me for who I am). -I LOVE my readers! I read every single comment on my articles and try as much as I can to personally reply to each one. I even have a special glittered scrapbook where I keep cutouts of my favorite ones! (I wasn’t supposed to disclose the ‘glitter’ part, was I?) -Every therapy client has changed something in me, and given me pearls of wisdom that I’ll forever cherish. And I can’t wait to share them with you in this blog. Some stories will make you grateful, others will make you wonder, and maybe some will even piss you off, but I promise you, they’ll all add something special to your life, too. We don’t necessarily have to ‘make the mistakes’ to ‘learn our lessons’. We can learn from other people’s mistakes, and build on them. Can I tell you something….? I’ve always wondered where the safest place on Earth was so I can run to it and call it home. Until I discovered it’s not something you stumble upon, it’s something you create. It’s the place where you can pour your heart out, relate to others’ heartaches and pains, share your deepest fears and most beautiful, even unrealistic dreams… Where you can just be yourself, totally undone…. If that’s what you need in your life right now, then I’d love to welcome you to this blog… It’s safe and warm and so cozy in here….. It’s a place you can call ‘home’ All my love, Lilly S. Mohsen Wanna contact me? Just holler and I'll be there as soon as I can

Episode 1: Defense Mechanisms Explained

Defense Mechanism

Self Defense Mechanisms

 

Episode One: Using Dissociation As A Self Defense Mechanism

 

 

“If you say ‘calm down’ one more time I swear I’m gonna lose it!” Her husband snapped.
“I don’t know what else to say. I looked everywhere. It’s gone! Now can we please stop fighting about this and go to bed?” Amy cried.

“This necklace is worth 400 thousand dollars. The only thing I’m sure about is I’ll never sleep again till you find it!” her husband roared. “You know what, that’s it, I’m calling the police…”

 

Three months later

His name was Mr. Mohanad Zahir, a very powerful and insanely rich businessman. We met on a Monday morning to discuss the case he had hired me to investigate and by Thursday I was at the Zahir’s posh residence all caught up on the details and ready to commence with evaluating and assessing the witnesses.

“I don’t care how long it takes or how much it’ll cost. I hear you’re one of the best forensic psychologists in the city and I’m counting on you to find out who stole my wife’s diamonds.” Mohanad arched his thick eyebrows, while smoking his expensive cigar, completely ignoring his beautiful, agitated wife.

Detectives and suspicious insurance company investigators have been all over this robbery case for weeks to no avail. Amy wore the diamond necklace to the small and cozy birthday party they had hosted for her best friend three months earlier. Halfway through dinner Amy got the hives and started itching all over. Mortified, she ran upstairs frantically, searching for her antihistamines and naturally took off her jewelry to ice down her burning skin. Careful examination showed there were traces of strawberries in Amy’s dessert; the only food she’s extremely allergic to. There were no signs of breaking and entering that night, nor were there any strange foot or fingerprints besides those of the guests.

“We were all thoroughly interrogated; our friends Sameera and Nadir, our son Hamza, and even our butler and housekeeper, who were the only people present inside the house that night.” Her husband, Mr. Mohanad Zahir added.

“Are you suspecting anyone Mrs Zahir?” I asked Amy.

“She didn’t even want to call the police.” Mohanad said in a hard-to-ignore, sharp tone. “She was as happy as a clam to let the whole thing go unreported. She obviously thinks I crap money for a living.”

A flash of heat went through Amy, tightening her shoulders and flushing her cheeks blood red, yet I could tell she was used to being on the receiving end of her husband’s insults.

“I couldn’t accuse anyone, they’re all practically family” Amy whispered.

“I understand” I nodded. “Mr. Zahir, do you mind me asking why you insisted on hiring a forensic psychologist even though the case had been closed and you already received the insurance money for the stolen jewelry?”
“That’s not the POINT!” Mohanad pounded his fist on the designer Ebony-wood coffee table. “It’s not about the money or the necklace, it’s about the principle. I need to know who would dare steal from me under my watch. Be it who it may, they must pay for their crime.” Mohanad said before getting up. “Excuse me!”

“Sorry about that” Amy apologized quickly when her husband stomped outside angrily to take a phone call. “He’s usually very pleasant. I don’t know what’s gotten into him lately”
“I can tell you think very highly of him”

“He’s a great husband. Generous and supportive, and he’s also a wonderful father” Amy replied, drawing in a long breath with a pursed smile.

She was lying. There was no doubt in my mind about it….


Last year…

“Will you stop whining? I can’t believe you’re still upset about your flower business going belly-up. Of course it did! You know nothing about running a business.” Mohanad said, stuffing another crab puff in his already full mouth.

“Dad…”

“Hamza it’s okay” Amy rested her hand on her son’s arm to stop him from arguing with his father. The three of them were at the lake house for the weekend, supposedly to strengthen the family bond, which at that point was as frail as a yellow autumn leaf.

“Let him talk. I’m sure failing school three years in a row has given him unparalleled insights on the why’s and how’s of success.” Mohanad scoffed sarcastically.

“He’ll pass this year with flying colors, watch and see” Amy smiled warmly at her teenage son.

“Unless we enroll him in a special school for pot heads, I don’t see that happening. Look at him, he’s stoned in broad day light!” Mohanad yelled.

“I’m not stoned dad, I’m just tired. I was up all night studying” Hamza mumbled.

“I don’t know what’s more infuriating, your drug abuse problem or your failure to come up with a decent lie to cover it up. Looks like he’ll take after your brother, Amy. Congratulations!”

 

 

“So tell me a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?” My question woke Amy up from her painful, silent rumination.

“I grew up in the cutest little town known for making the best cheese on the planet. Wait I’ll get you some!” She bounced on her toes.

“Thank you that’s very sweet, but maybe later” I sat her down gently. “What about your family?” I asked.

“My parents live about two hours away, but still, we talk all the time. I lived a simple life back home. My dad worked day and night to provide us with the bare necessities, yet our home was a haven, believe me. People think money brings happiness but that’s not true. Life is meaningless without those people you love and who love you back.”

“Including your brother?” I smirked.

“What? Of course.” Amy stuttered. “I haven’t seen him in years though.”

“Yeah, that’s what your husband thought, too. Except I found out you took him to Rehab two months ago. And a very expensive one if I may add”

“I do what I can to help my family” Amy whispered.

“I completely understand” I raised both hands. “Your parents must be proud”

“They are. In their eyes, marrying a rich man like Mohanad was my greatest achievement!” Amy’s ocean blue eyes glistened in the light. She fiddled with her diamond ring and then looked up at me with a smile. “Of course I must help them. God gave me so many blessings; a loving successful husband and a perfect son. It’s my way of giving back…”

“Mommmmmmmmm! Where are the stupid keys? I’m late!” Hamza walked in, yelling so loud I think the wall paint cracked.

“Sweet heart please say hello to our guest” Amy seemed a bit embarrassed.

“Yeah whatever” Hamza bobbed his head at me then turned to her. “Where’s your car keys?”

“They’re in my purse honey” Amy handed her son her limited edition Channel purse. He grabbed it rudely to fish the keys out then tossed it on the sofa.

“Umm you’re going out? Do you need some money?” Amy asked.

“No I’m good.” He said before scurrying out.

A moment of awkward silence…

“Giselle” Amy called for the housekeeper, avoiding any sort of eye contact with me.

“Yes, Mrs Zahir”

“A cheese platter for our guest here. You really must try the Chevre!” Amy changed the subject abruptly, yet the unexpressive look on her face said a thousand untold stories.

 

That same evening

“So she wants to make her family look good. Big whoop!” Jenna said. She was my office assistant, a vibrant, cheerful young woman who was very eager to learn all about Psychology.

“No Jenna, Amy is using dissociation as a defense mechanism” I contemplated.

“Dis what?”

“Dissociation. There’s over 30 different types of defense mechanisms the subconscious employs as a protective shield against the ugly truth. Dissociation is one of those types.” I explained.

“’Against the truth’? Isn’t this just a fancy terms for ‘lying’? Why do you make it sound legitimate? ” Jenna asked.

“Because we all do it. Avoiding pain is a natural, basic instinct”

“Okay, so you think Amy isn’t purposely lying, she’s just zoning out?”

“Exactly! Dissociation is separating yourself from reality. It’s a self defense mechanism to things that are too difficult or too painful to process and absorb. Like Amy; her husband is a raging Narcissist and her son is obviously disrespectful towards her, but she’s completely blinded to it.”

“Gimme another example” Jenna put both palms under her chin.

“Hmmmm we see it a lot with children who’ve been abused. Some of them grow up with no recollection of what had happened. They know they’ve been abused but they become masters at detaching from reality, they completely block the horrific incident out.”

“Wow! It’s really fascinating how the brain works”

“You’ll be surprised how many of us use dissociation in our everyday lives. Like for example, when a mom knows for sure her child is having troubles at school yet turns a blind eye or give them excuses instead of addressing the core problem.”

“Yeah like those moms who blame the teachers when their kids fail, right?”

“Or it could be mild as daydreaming. Some people just feel detached from their lives; they describe it as watching themselves in a movie. Or when a girl falls in love with the wrong guy and completely blinds herself to ALL the signs proving he’s not the right person for her. Uhmm like some people I know uhmmm” I coughed.

“Fine I get it” Jenna made a face. “Dissociation is basically like living in La La Land; believing in fairy tales and knights in shining armor. What’s so wrong with that?”

“Nothing if you use it properly. Like it’s okay to zombie out during a root canal for example. Trying to focus on things that don’t bring us pain is actually therapeutic. But when you refuse to deal with reality and run away from your problems all together to go live in a perfect, dream world that’s when you’re in trouble. You can’t solve the problem if you don’t see it to start with”

“So how do you cure ‘dissociators’?”

“Therapy works for patients with dissociative disorders. They need help focusing and acknowledging the very painful feelings they’re avoiding. It’s no walk in the park, but without treatment, they’ll spend the rest of their lives carrying the past on their shoulders, getting themselves in more trouble, or accumulating more sins. They eventually suffer from depression, low self-esteem and memory loss.” I explained. “Like Amy, she lives in two separate worlds. She’s created a beautiful bubble to live safely inside, but I have a feeling she’s hiding something. Something awful…”

“You think she stole her own necklace and then convinced herself she didn’t do it?” Jenna gasped.

“It’s too early to say….”

The next day I went to question Hamza, Mr. and Mrs. Zahir’s teenage son.

“Of course! Make yourself at home. ” Amy greeted me cheerfully as if I was an old friend dropping by for a cup of tea, not a crime investigator.

Hamza walked in a few minutes later. A typical teenager in sneakers and a solid black T-shirt. He had his hands in his pockets, with his ripped blue jeans sagging below his waist, and his long wavy hair framing his pale face.

“Remember what your uncle taught you.” Amy whispered in his ear. “How does a fish get caught?”

“He opens his mouth” Hamza whispered back.

 

To be continued….

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

The Author’s Commentary

A certain ‘Dissociator’ popped up in your head, right?

Or perhaps right now you’re in the middle of an ‘out of body’ experience being a spectator and you realize ‘Oh my God, I’m a DISSOCIATORRRRRR!’

You know, Psychology is closely integrated within Islam. Allah did not leave us to our own devices, for even the most complicated, unresolved psychological issues have been discussed in either the Qur’an or the Sunnah. Like for example, fathers who buried their daughters alive in times of ‘Jahiliyya’ must have been dissociating! They must have completely blocked out the horrendous magnitude of this sickening custom.

Let’s say you’ve committed a sin, and because you have a good heart, you just can’t face the fact you’ve upset Allah. It’s just too painful! So you refuse to feel it and completely block it out. Sometimes dissociation is the reason thieves keep stealing, adulterers keep ‘adultering’ and cheaters keep cheating. They don’t feel guilty about it because they’re detached from their ugly reality. But the angels on our shoulders aren’t detached. Granted the one of the right might get bored sometimes, but the angel on our left is on full gear, writing down everything we’re in denial about. And then we’ll be completely dumbfounded on Judgment Day.
I know it’s unimaginably difficult to accept you’ve sinned, but that’s part of the healing process. Stop running away from your mistakes because sooner or later you’ll collapse. The antidote to dissociation is repentance. And if you know a disscoiator who insists on sinning, make duaa for him or her. These people are not stubborn, they’re not bad people, they’re just weak….
May Allah help us see the truth and guide us to the
right path. Amen

Lilly S. Mohsen

Self Defense Mechanisms Explained

‘Who Are You Defending?’
Prologue

 

August 29th, 2017
Originally Published on Productive Muslim

 

I’ve missed you all soooooooooo much!
Ahh it feels good to be back!

 

Defense Mechanism

Self Defense Mechanisms Explained

Now, before diving into this upcoming thriller series dealing with the psychology of ‘Self Defense Mechanisms’, let me ask you this; what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Psychotherapy’?

 

Crazy ‘psycho-babbling’ nerds with thick reading glasses and big hair?

A clinic with a ‘Chaise Longue’ for patients to lie on?
Paying someone to dictate the ‘common sense’ you already know?

 

I hate to burst the stereotype bubble we’ve all lived in at one point or another, but there’s so much more to psychology and some of it has nothing to do with common sense….

 

For example, it’s common sense to think people who sleep a lot are lazy bums, right? But therapists will tell you they’re obviously sad..

People who laugh at silly things are lonely deep inside…
Those who seem selfish are only seeking more love and acceptance…

There’s a lot of things about the human nature that don’t make sense, and one of those is the bizarre way we all use ‘self defense mechanisms’ to guard ourselves from hurtful feelings:

Someone criticizes the way you dress and instead of acknowledging you’re hurt, you retaliate with giving him or her the silent treatment for a good week and a half.

Your husband’s boss yells at him for no reason, and instead of admitting he feels humiliated he comes home and snaps at you coz the chicken isn’t ‘crispy’ enough!

We lose someone we love, and instead of grieving properly, we go into hibernation mode away from the world.

You see, we all want to shield ourselves from pain, but as this series will demonstrate, sometimes those same defense mechanisms we use for protection are in fact what cause us the most pain in the long run. Through the coming episodes, you’ll see yourself or someone you care about in one of the characters, and realize that perhaps it’s us who cage ourselves in a loop of endless suffering.

But now what does learning about ‘Defense Mechanisms’ have to do with Islam or Productivity?

Good question! You should come backstage where all the action takes place. The PM Team works overtime to make sure the writers stay focused on the website goals, and for that we are very grateful. (Why? You think writers give editors a hard time? No! We’re lovely easygoing people, and not at all stubborn loool).

Throughout my years of being a therapist I’ve come to realize there’s two types of people:

  • Those who are in therapy to learn how to deal with the past
  • Those who are in therapy to learn how to deal with those who need to be in therapy!

 

The bottom line is, deep down, we all want to change someone or something. We have this perfect colorful image of what life should be like and our expectations are feeding our frustration. We forget that life is supposed to be difficult, and this excruciating inner struggle is part of our journey.

 

“Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves”

(Surat Ar Rad, Verse 1, Holy Qur’an)

Yet we use ‘self-defense’ mechanisms like denial, isolation and aggression to avoid the attacks of a guilty conscious. To steer away from uncertainty, loneliness, shame, fear, doubt, anxiety or any other kind of emotional pain inflicted upon us by others or by our own doings. And the more we resist and run away from these ugly feelings, the more we suffer, because change in itself isn’t painful, it’s the resistance to change that hurts the most.
And the first step is to acknowledge the problem. Throughout the upcoming series, locate which ‘self-defense mechanism’ is hindering you (or your loved ones) from growing, and instead of ignoring it, purify it. Don’t shove the dirt under the couch and pretend it’s gone. Clean it out.

“And by the soul and He who proportioned it
And inspired it with discernment of its wickedness and its righteousness
He has succeeded who purifies it
And he has failed who instills it with corruption”

(Surat Ash-Shams, Verses 7-10, Holy Qur’an)

Our Most Merciful Lord doesn’t expect perfection. He expects progress. He expects us to try harder, to learn from our mistakes and supplicate for His help. But when we defend our faults and always give excuses for our slipups, how will we ever change? We’ll keep falling, sinning, and fighting back in vain. We will keep judging, criticizing and hating others if we refuse to understand their dark sides and take their hands towards the light.

‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’.

We’ll keep seeing Muslims trolling each other, best friends becoming enemies, marriages falling apart, teenagers talking back to their parents, and a ton of toxic relationships every where we go.

We all want to change someone or something. Some of us even dream of changing the world. But here’s the thing…

We must stop escaping…

If we’re ever going to change or put an end to this inner struggle

We need to stop attacking and defending…

You’re one series away from finding the peace you’re looking for

The minute you figure out which mechanisms help you reach your goals…

Your journey will make more sense
The minute you stop fearing the darkness…

You’ll find a way to shine a light from within…

 

Who Are You Defending…?

Stay tuned…..

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 30: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY THIRTY: Happy Eiddddddddddddddddddddd

 

 

Ahhhhhhhhh Ramadan passed by so quickly
We hardly even felt any tiredness
Look at us….
Funny

 

 

(Loooool someone sent me this meme and it made me laugh so much I just had to share it.)

 

 

I hope you guys are out shopping for new outfits and lots of presents for your kids.
And planning outings, gatherings, surprises, fun activities and the whole shebang!
Go all out, you’ve earned it.

It’s such a beautiful time to get our kids excited about Ramadan, and a great opportunity to boost their Islamic identity even more.

 

So we’re done?
That’s it?
I’m going home?

Awwwwhhhhhhh

 

I’m really gonna miss you guys!
I’m gonna miss our late night chats…..
You’ve all become a huge part of my life and now I don’t know what I’m gonna do without you….

 

Well, until I figure it out let me say…

Eid Fitr Mubarak…

Wishing you all the AWESOMEST Eid ever!

 

Happy Eid.jpg

 

 

All my love to you and all your loved ones…

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day 29: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-NINE: Zakat Al Fitr (Eid Charity)

 

Ramadan is coming to an end….
Wait a minute, so does that mean in a day or two, we’ll drink coffee in the morning, no problem?

We’ll have breakfast instead of ‘break-our-fast’

For real??
Oh my God! Did you guys ever try the Eggs Benedict on a muffin topped with smoked salmon? Served with cherry tomatoes and roasted potatoes on the side? Oh yummmm

And fresh pineapple juice…
And grilled cheese sandwiches
Frittatas, bagels and Pita bread with white cheese and olive oil

Red velvet pancakes and Nutella waffles

And our Egyptian Feteer (layered pastry)

And all the other mouth watering foods we love so much
I would like to thank all the items on the food menu for bringing so much joy to our family gatherings, so much love to our hearts and for making our taste buds alive with amazing flavors.
We have missed you so much!
And even though we’ve had our differences before since some of you make us gain weight, we’d like you to know that on days like Eid, you’re completely forgiven because it’s totally 100% worth it. And I promise we’ll try our best not to take you for granted again.

Give it up to all our favorite foods! Let’s have one more round of applause loool.

 
You know, at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) ‘Zakat Al Fitr’ (Ordained charity given at the end of Ramadan) used to be one saa’ of food, or one saa’ of dates, or one saa’ of barley, or one saa’ of raisins. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Given your drooling reactions to the breakfast menu I listed a few seconds ago, it kind of makes sense to give out food to the poor and needy at the end of Ramadan, no?
Yes, you. Did you have a question?

 

What’s a Saa’?

Well, it’s an ancient measuring unit equivalent to about 3 liters

 

Can I give any other type of food? Or even money?

Of course you can give other types of food depending on availability and quality.
Giving food is the ‘sunnah’ and it is the most correct form of charity in this case, but many ‘modern-time’ scholars have agreed that Zakat Al Fitr can also be given out in money and ‘Allah knows best’ (I’ve always wanted to say that but never had a chance! Thank you loool)

 

On whose behalf should a man (or woman) pay Zakat Al Fitr?

Zakaat al-fitr must be given on behalf of all Muslims under your care, young and old, male and female, free and slave. With regard to a fetus, it is not obligatory to give it on his/her behalf according to scholarly consensus, but it would be nice of you to do so, since ‘Uthman Ibn Afan (may Allah be pleased with him) did that.

When should Zakat Al Fitr be given?

Like right  NOW loool!

It’s essential to give the charity before Eid so people would have time to make good use of it.
You don’t have to finish reading this post if you haven’t given out your zakat yet. Go do it like right now please.
(Final deadline? Morning of the first day of Eid, but you better have like a REALLY good excuse!)

 

Who is eligible for Zakat Al Fitr?

  1. The poor
  2. The needy,
  3. Collectors of Zakah,
  4. Reconciliation of hearts (new reverts or people this close to embracing Islam)
  5. Freeing captives / slaves
  6. Debtors
  7. Those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of Allah
  8. The traveler.

 

Why do we pay Zakat Al Fitr anyway?

It’s a blessing for us if you’d like to know.
In the past month, there’s no doubt we’ve slipped a couple of times. A little gossiping here, a semi-curse word there.
Rolling your eyes at someone here, and raising your voice during an argument there.
Sheeeshhh some ugly memories are flashing before me loool.

Zakat Al Fitr serves as an eraser. It purifies those who fast in Ramadan from those little sins we hardly notice or can’t control.

 

And oh don’t we all need to be accepted and forgiven…?
Don’t we all need to be heard and loved…?

My dear Greatest Lord…
You’re the One who knows what’s inside our hearts…
and You know we have nothing to purify our souls with…
We own nothing..
Please my Lord…
Don’t believe our moments of despair or anger..
Please don’t believe our arrogance or selfishness..
It’s not who we are..
So please forgive us when we slip..
and love us despite the ugliness and resistance You see from us…

We don’t have anyone else to run to..
We really don’t..

We don’t know anyone who’ll accept us with all our flaws and imperfections and still give us limitless chances..
And still forgive, care and shower us with blessings
No one but You..

My Lord…
Can I ask You a question…?
Have You accepted us…?
Are You proud of us…?
Is there anything we can do or say to gain Your love and pleasure?

Allah…?
Are You happy with us this Ramadan?

I’m begging You…
Don’t let the month go by until You have loved and accepted us…
Until You’ve looked at us with a smile…
Until You’ve made a place for us in the Highest Levels of Jannah, where we get to see Your face…
Amen

 

All my love,

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 28: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: Take Us With You

 

Soooooooooo

About last night….
(Enunciation at its best, mind you loool)

 

Actually you know what, let’s not talk about last night coz that will probably take up all day
and bring so many emotions back to the surface
And then you’ll cry
and when you cry I cry

And I wouldn’t be able to tell you about your choices for the good deed of the day.

 

Oh my God, you guys!! Who would have thought we’d still have options by Day 28? I was running out of ideas and energy I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to Day 12!

(None of my friends and family did either loool)
Anyways, so let’s talk options.
Level One:

You should have seen the huge difference at the mosque.
Last night it was FULLY packed.
And tonight
well,
Meh..

 

Maybe those same people are praying at home, only Allah knows.
And there are a number of Hadiths discouraging women from praying outside her house. I’m aware of that, too.
And perhaps people get busy or sick or I dunno
I’m just worried that….
Sometimes, the minute we get what we want, we kind of move on and don’t look back.
Like they say, ‘You see a person’s true colors when you are no longer beneficial to their life’

 

I wouldn’t dare compare the greatest Lord to that (God forbid)
Allah is always beneficial to us. That’s not what I mean. It’s only a metaphor!
(Okay I feel I’m treading on dangerous territory so please understand and forgive me if I start acting up loool)

 

All I’m trying to say is, please….

Even if you’re 100% sure Laylat Al Qadr was last night
Even if tonight isn’t an odd night
And even if you’re tired, busy or just downright drained…

Make sure you’re polite with Allah…
Make sure you thank Him for letting you reach this far…
Make sure you show up when others drop and disappear

Only the genuine hearts will keep the worship alive tonight…

 

Level Two:
Unfortunately, some of the people we know, have missed out on the beauty, serenity and submission in this blessed month.
They wasted their nights socializing and staring at the TV till their eyeballs fell out and bounced on the ground like YoYo’s loool

 

This is your chance to give them a glimpse of guidance.
Ramadan isn’t over yet. There’s still time
So drag one of those friends or family members with you to prayers tonight (I don’t mean literally drag them but if they refuse and go into zombie mode, then yeah drag them no problem loool)

 

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “If Allah guides only one person through you, it will be better for you than all that the sun has risen or set over”

 
OOOOORRRRRRR

Since Ramadan is almost over
You can do both 😉

 

What do you mean you don’t remember both deeds?
Continuous fasting is taking its toll, isn’t it? Loool

Muslims are true heroes I swear to Allah!
You know science has proven the health benefits of fasting over and over
But hardly anyone does it. Perhaps many non-Muslims don’t have the discipline for it but we do.
Because we do it for Allah, and Allah alone…
 

All my love,

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 27: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Is Tonight The Night?

 

No don’t worry, my biological clock isn’t that messed up yet loool
I’m meaning to post this a bit earlier than usual today coz this one is a deed of the heart, and who knows, perhaps tonight is ‘Laylat Al Qadr’ (The Night Of Power).
If it is, you’ll be so happy you read this today, I think you’ll be making cartwheels in Jannah loool

 

A little bit about Laylat Al Qadr?

Okay sure…

 

You know, centuries ago, people lived up to a 1000 years. I remember reading a story about a man who died in his 500s and his mom stood over his grave crying hysterically because he ‘died young’ looool (I know it’s not funny but I’m sorry it kind of is)

When that mother heard about the likes of us, whose averages lifespans is 80 years, her jaws dropped and she said ‘Why would they even come to the world? There’s no time to do anything”

 

“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was shown the lifespans of the people (who had gone) before him, or what Allah willed of that, and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had been able to do with their long lives, so Allah gave him Laylat al- Qadr, which is better than a thousand months.” (https://sunnah.com/urn/407130)

 

The word ‘Qadr’ has multiple meanings, ones of which are:
Decree:
The night of great ‘decision-making’ by Allah, entailing mercy and love from Him to His slaves.
Honor:
The most honorable of angels (Jibreel) came with the most honorable of books (Qur’an) to give to the most honorable of messengers (Mohammad) on the most honored month (Ramadan).

Power:
Allah endowed this night with unusual power. This is the night we should have complete faith in the power of Allah to change things…
To change our destinies to the better…
To change our flaws and fate and behavior…
We ask Him to accept us, forgive us and love us…

 

And yet every year, even when we try to get so close to Him…
Some of us still feel so far away…

You’ll hear others cry during prayers, and see their blessed tears roll down their faces at the mention of Allah’s name

And then you’ll look yourself up and down, stare at your dry tearless eyes, and shake your head with disappointment

 

You might think you didn’t put enough effort…
You were too distracted or too flawed or just not spiritual or soft….

You’ll look at those who worship Him with reverence and silently start wondering if you’re good enough..
You’ll witness this blessed night and then start telling yourself
‘I tried… I tried so many times, but I don’t feel anything.. I’m not tearing up or getting shivers down my back or even feeling serene…maybe Allah doesn’t want me…”

 

Are you crazy? How can you ever think that?

 

You’re right there at the mosque, in His house!
I mean would you allow anyone to stay at your place against your will?

No one forced Allah to allow you to enter His house…
The mere fact that you’re there, wherever you are, on your knees before your Lord, begging Him to accept you, means He already did!

Allah is the Most Generous….
He will never say ‘Hey, what brought you here!’
No… He will actually bring you closer, like a loving mother warmly embracing her child, and He will say: just “Call upon Me; I will respond to you”

We don’t change suddenly…
We don’t become pious, righteous and have faces glowing with the light of faith at the press of a button.

It’s a build up
Of little random acts of kindness and good deeds…

When you sit alone and think of how Great and Magnificent your Lord is….

When you play with an orphan or feed a poor family…

When you put your family first, and help them out with chores, even when they don’t even notice it…

When you emulate the beloved Prophet (just because he’s so awesome)

When you feed a bird or help a homeless dogs on the street
Or take the time to absorb a verse from the Qur’an or learn a Hadith and get your questions answered…

When you make your parents smile…
Or do things from the heart for Allah’s sake…
When you give good advice
Or volunteer to help others
When you teach a child to be a proud Muslim
Or when you silently praise the beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him)
When you remember the deceased in your prayers, even though they’re not here to thank you…
Or when you’re grateful for Allah’s simplest blessings…

 

When you give compliments to gladden people’s hearts…
Or when you spend from what you love the most…

 

When you forgive others for His sake…
Or when you forgive yourself and promise to start anew…

 

When you visit your grandparents and listen to their repetitive stories…
Or when you make a du’aa for someone you don’t like, in an attempt to please your Lord…

 

When you take time out of your day to read a post like this one, hoping it might bring you even an inch closer to Allah…
Or when you realize that I just listed all the acts of kindness we did this Ramadan and keep it to yourself instead of yell out “You’re SO BUSTED!’ looool

 

So be patient with your Lord…
Be patient in worshipping Him….

The change doesn’t happen suddenly…

The tears don’t flow abruptly…

The goodness doesn’t come unnaturally…

It’s the outcome of building a relationship with Allah throughout the years…

So if you don’t feel anything tonight, it’s okay…
Keep investing, keep trying, and keep coming….
You’re still on the same path with all the other people you look up to…

Some are walking
Some are jogging
And some are running with amazing speed

But in the end they’re all on the same journey, heading towards the same destination…
Pleasing Allah

 

If tonight is Laylat Al Qadr, then smile and open your heart to the love, peace and angels surrounding you….

Just talk to Allah they way you’d talk to a close friend…
And don’t doubt it even for a second…
Because you are more than enough…
You’re accepted and sheltered in His mercy and care…

So tell Him all your secrets tonight…
Ask for everything you wish for…

And don’t forget to remember me and my family in your duaa please (maybe you’ll be the reason we do cartwheels in Jannah too)

 

May Allah bless you all
And since you’ll be supplicating to the Most Compassionate and Most Generous

May the most you ask for
be the least you get….
All my love,

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 26: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY-SIX: Help Her Out

 

You don’t know how much gets done until someone doesn’t do it.

 

Like when you throw your sweatpants on the floor, you’re not aware of the logistics involved to make them magically end up in your closet, washed and folded.

 

Your food is ‘shopped’, washed, peeled, cut, shredded, diced, fried, baked, cooked, and served hot, delicious and right on time.

 

Bills are paid.
Broken things are suddenly fixed (including hems!)

Bathrooms and windows are cleaned.
Lunch boxes are packed.

Oh the list goes on….

And usually the superhero behind all the action is the woman of the house, a.k.a not just ‘Mom’ but ‘Mom, mom, mommmmmmmm, mommy, mom, mommmmm’

 

Now don’t get me wrong…

Oh my God we love unloading the dishwasher 20 times a day coz you guys do it all wrong. It’s one of life’s special treats.

 

And it’s hilariously fun to vacuum and mop for hours, only to have you all stomp in with your dirty shoes. It’s like the highlight of our day, we relive it in our heads all night and smile with satisfaction loool.

 

And spending 95% of our time putting things back where they belong, ohhhh that’s just icing on the cake! It’s not tedious it’s actually the meaning of joy.

 

Of course dads help out too. They take out the trash twice a year. And you know, we beg them not to. We grab onto the trash bags and plead with them not to steal this happy job away from us, but they just won’t listen loool

 

Don’t even ask about ironing, folding, clearing away the dinner table, sweeping and cleaning inside the microwave every time someone uses it, because we both know it’s just another day in paradise!

 

And yes, before I forget, can you guys please ask us to run more errands? Pretty please with a cherry on top!

It’s the best feeling ever to drop every thing you’re doing, no matter how urgent it is, just to drive your teen daughter across the city because she ‘forgot’ her cellphone with her friend.

 

Oops, that’s my alert. I’ve reached my allowed sarcasm limit for the day loool.

 

Beginners Level:

 

This is mostly for teens:
Guys seriously, help out!

Helping your parents in the house (and by that I mean your moms loool) is a neglected Sunnah, don’t you think?

The Prophet himself (may peace and blessings be upon him) kept himself busy serving his family. He milked his goats, patched up and sewed garments and mended his own sandals.

And he taught us, “The best of you is the one who is best to his family” (Tirmidhi)

 

And you know he was busy spreading the word of Allah, with a mission that would last till the end of time, not busy with ‘which-snap-chat-filter-looks-better-on-me-today’

 

Okay that was uncalled for.

 

All I’m trying to say is out of all the days in the year, this is the best time to help with chores around the house. Help you parents, your siblings and help the help if you have any.

They’re definitely exhausted by now.

You’ll be reaping a lot of good rewards if you show them some kindness.

And hey, I’m sure you guys look great with any filter : )

 

Advanced Level:

 

This is strictly for parents.
I know you love your kids and they’re fasting and stuff, but if you really love them, you’ll give them chores and responsibilities.
It’s not your job to prepare life for them
It’s your job to prepare them for life and all its tough blows.

Let them share the housework.

Let them feel the value of time and effort.

Let them learn to appreciate the little things and build their self confidence.

It’s really the best act of kindness you can do…. Raise them right in a world where ‘wrong’ is synonymous with ‘normal’

 

Good luck (we all need it)

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone

See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 25: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Let It Out Of The Nest!

Not sure where I’m getting this feeling from, but I have this weird hunch you have a confession to make…
Like you’ve been hallucinating about ‘Barbie Dolls’ and ‘Remote Controlled Cars’.
The dolls are cutting their hair (worst nightmare EVER) and screaming at you, while the cars try to run you over.
And then you see yourself covered in multicolored Lego pieces, gasping for air, trying to explain why you’ve kept all those unused toys at home when they could have made so many poor kids ecstatically happy.
You try to justify but no words come out….

 

Okay fine, maybe that’s my ‘very-specific’ terror. But I’m sure you guys can relate to similar nightmares, no?
So in the name of sound sleep, I present to you this day’s act of goodness.

 

All Levels:

 

Even if you don’t have any extra toys to give, you’ll certainly find a lot of items lying around in the house with no goal in life other than taking up much needed space.

 

Need a hint?

 

Those washed jeans from the 80s you know you’ll never wear but, for some mysterious reason, you’re just not ready to part with.
Those outdated antique cell phones? The chargers, gadgets and wires so old you don’t even know what they’re used for anymore?
The books you swear you’ll re-read even though it’s been five years since you’ve actually had time to read a whole book.
Those stuffed animals you cuddled with in 6th Grade! (Seriously? Loool)

 

Someone out there is wishing for the things you don’t use.
Do your yearly nesting now. Give them away and save your souls before the nightmares come creeping in at night and you’re scarred for life loool.

 

Not sure who to give them to?

Well here are some ideas:

 

United Kingdom: http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/what-happens-to-the-clothes-you-donate/
India: http://irusa.org/india/

 

Singapore: https://www.pergas.org.sg/donate.html

 

USA: http://irusa.org/
https://www.iazf.org/

 

Canada: https://www.charityintelligence.ca/charity-details/501-islamic-relief-canada

 

Egypt: http://resala.org/

 

South Africa: http://www.islamic-relief.org.za/?gclid=CjwKEAjw7J3KBRCxv93Q3KSukXQSJADzFzVSWxrAn2fsoE8hx9_4EbYu3SS4kmwkJN8Ncfwo2434khoC9aLw_wcB

 

China: http://irusa.org/china/

 

Worldwide: http://www.islamic-relief.org/category/appeals/emergencies/syria-crisis-appeal/

 

 

Or you can contact your local mosque. They’ll probably help you out with all the resources and information you need.

 

May you always be a reason to put a smile on some else’s face…
Ramadan Kareem everyone

All my love,

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 24: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Let’s Open Old Wounds, Shall We?

 

This might seem random (and a bit nosy) but I gotta ask…
Who’s that one person who has hurt you the most….?

Who has caused you unimaginable heartache and pain?

Has hurt you so much that you started to hate yourself..
To the point that if they knew how horrible you felt inside, they’d never be able to look you in the eyes again…?

It’s ironic, but I’m pretty sure that same person was once very near and dear to your heart.
Maybe an ex best friend?

A family member?

A man you once loved more than words could say?

A woman who proved monsters were real..?

 

And it doesn’t end there..
Because not only did they hurt you beyond repair; they’ve also changed you..
into someone you don’t recognize…
into a person who doesn’t believe in love anymore
into a woman who has to spend the rest of her life wondering why she wasn’t good enough
into a sister who can’t trust her own siblings or friends or even her own parents
into a man who runs away from affection
Or pretends to be whole when he’s all broken inside..

 

They didn’t just give you immense pain..
They took a precious part away
A part you’ll spend the rest of your life looking for…
And when you do find it…
You’ll suddenly be too scared
and too scarred to touch it
The people who hurt us steal something on their way out of our lives..
Our innocence…
Our security…
And our hopes..

 

Oh come on people.
I just poked and prodded at some really deep old wounds. What more do I have to do to stir up a whole commotion?
I mean I don’t see fumes coming out of your ears or fire coming out of your mouths or even the classic jaw clenching?

Where did I go wrong? loool

Seriously..
You can tell me…
Has the anger settled into ashes of sadness and disappointed..?
Are you pretending like you don’t care when deep inside you really do?

Or have you given up completely?

Are you waiting for karma to take its course of absolute revenge?

 

It’s not that I can read your mind loool.
It’s just that I feel you..
Because I’ve been hurt before too
By those I loved and trusted the most..
But as I’ve grown older and more mature I’ve come to realize….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s so hard to see the good in people who have LITERALLY MADE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE!
Ohhhh that felt good
Okay, rant time’s over
Ready for some good deeds? Loool

 

Beginners Level:

Not sure how ‘beginner’ this one’s gonna be because in reality it’s a really difficult task.
Your act of kindness for the day is to make du’aa for someone who has hurt you badly or someone you don’t really like.

Yes, you heard that right.

And no, no negotiation

And yes, you have to forgive them before making du’aa for them

And no, it’s not an impossible task

Listen to this…
 “…and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

This verse came down to compel Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) to forgive…
Forgive who exactly?

The man who slandered his daughter Aisha

His daughter who?! AISHA!

Who is Aisha again? The Prophet’s wife!

The mother of all believers!!

He said horrible things about her that weren’t even true
And not only that! Mustah Ibn Athatha, the man who gossiped about Aisha, was Abu Bakr’s cousin
A very poor cousin
and Abu Bakr financially support him
And Allah asked him to forgive and go back to spending money on him like nothing happened!

Guys, seriously,

I don’t feel like you’re getting how huge this is!
Someone speaks about my daughter and the first thing I’ll start planning is how to take out all his organs and bury each body part in a different country!!

But now Allah doesn’t like that, you know why?
Because the bitterness will eat us alive

The ‘hate’ is such a huge burden to carry.. It’s poisonous and exhausting..
And it blinds us from seeing the goodness in ourselves and other people.

 

So if you want Allah to forgive you, do yourself a favor and forgive those who have hurt you…
You loved them once…
I’m sure you loved them for a reason…
Besides, maybe they’re hurting ten times over
And maybe your du’aa tonight will take both your pains away..
Advanced Level?

Just getting this one done from the heart deserves a medal!
I wouldn’t ask for more…
I’ll just sit here and admire your strength from far
and ask Allah to give us this kindness, purity and nobility…
And to fill our lives with so much joy and love that we don’t even notice the pain anymore

Say Amen : )

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 23: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-THREE: The Best Parents Are Promoted To Grandparents.

For some of us, grandparents are like the fun version of parents, without the whole ‘if you live under my roof you gotta follow my rules’ kind of thing.
They’re the ones who spoil and pamper you.
And they totally believed you when you pretended to be sick just to skip school.
They’re the ones who, if they hear you haven’t had lunch yet, will bring out food enough to feed a whole village.
Three times a day.
For five years.
And there will still be leftovers looool

 

Food

 

Besides, kids know grandparents are awesome, mainly because their own parents can’t go over their word, so they’ll abuse the system without an ounce of guilt. I remember one time I was very stern about depriving my daughter of her favorite things during her time out. By mid day she was like “Okay THAT’S IT! I’m calling Granma!”

I don’t know what your relationship with your grandparents is like.
If they’re still alive or have passed away.
If you’re estranged or living in the same building.
If you talk every day or once a year
I only know one thing…
Those who have managed to stay close to their grandparents, have found the key to better health, wealth and joy…
Listen to this

Anas reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying :
“Anyone who is pleased that his sustenance is expanded and his age extended should do kindness to his near relatives.” (Sahih)
Today’s act of kindness is towards those who have raised the people who’ve raised you.
The wise gems whose memory you’ll never forget…
Your grandparents…

 

Beginners Level:

Don’t be a tagalong.
Take the initiative to call your grandparents just to ask about them and show them you care.
What’s wrong?

You have nothing to say?
They’ll keep you on the phone for hours?

They’re awkward? Short Tempered? Tell the same story over and over again?
They tease you in front of the whole family about the time when you were still a toddler and ran outside with no diapers?

Whatever it is, they deserve your love and care. They deserve the courtesy of being highly regarded and appreciated.

Hey, hey… don’t make a face!
I’m serious.
This isn’t textbook talk or playback lecturing

Listen to this:

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly” (Al- Tirmidhi)

And you’re one of us….
We’re on the same team. So go call your grandparents
NOW!
(Sorry that came out louder than I intended looool)

Advanced Level:

You know the drill
We go a step higher, which means instead of calling you should go visit.
Alone!
Let them know you mean it and give them some quality time
Because amidst the repetitive stories, there’s a lot of wisdom and treasures of life long experiences. There’s laughter and jokes and nostalgic beautiful memories…
Amidst the awkwardness, there’s lots of duas from the heart and warm hugs…
And amidst the age gaps, there are showers of blessings pouring down on you because of your pure intention to please Allah…

And don’t forget the food.
Ahhhhhh the food looool

 

Ramadan Kareem
Are you guys as tired as I am?
I need the ‘hang in there’ motivational speech loool
Anyways, see you tomorrow inshAllah (I hope!)

 

Lilly S. Mohsen