Tag Archives: dream

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode Two

Office

 

“That’s the first time you mention your parents” I said carefully. “I can tell it’s a subject you try to avoid. Are you angry at them, Hannah?”

“My dad died years ago. And my mom is also dead…. Or at least to me she is….” Hannah clenched her jaws, as she over-sugared her coffee.

Silence filled the office where I spend my hours listening to people talk. I could literally see my patient building an invisible stonewall around her to prevent me from touching a feeling she’s obviously been holding on to for way too long. Like walking into a minefield, I proceed with much needed caution…

 

“Your mom must have done something for you to shut her out of your life this way” I said.

“She’s the reason my whole world fell apart!” Hannah sneered. “I know it’s hard to believe a daughter can hate her own mom but I do! I’ve hated her for as long as I can remember….”

 

“Daddy! What’s wrong? What time is it?” Hannah asked, still half asleep.
“Nothing sweet heart. I just came to check on you. Go back to sleep” Her dad kissed her and tucked her back in.
“Were you and mom fighting again?” Hannah asked. “I heard you guys yelling. What happened?”
“It’s just… it’s grown up stuff honey. Mommy is a little bit angry at daddy, but don’t worry, everything will be okay. I promise!” Her dad whispered.

 Days, weeks, months and years passed by, and still nothing seemed to change. Her parents kept fighting. She couldn’t even count the times she heard her dad apologize, and have the door slammed in his face. Her mom was always cranky, upset and downright mean, even to her own daughter, but Hannah’s dad soothed her and gave excuses to the angry, miserable woman. It wasn’t love that held this family together anymore; it was her dad’s patience. He was the best dad in the world! And she couldn’t help but resent her mom for rejecting and emotionally abusing a husband who obviously loved her so much he went down to his knees to ask for forgiveness over and over again!

 

“Get out! I can’t even look at you!” Hannah’s mom cried.

“I can explain!” Her dad panicked. Hannah could see his face from where she was hiding behind the couch late one night, and felt her heart break for him.

“How could you do this? You have a daughter!” Her mom yelled.

“I didn’t do anything! You have to believe me! I love you both so much!” Her dad cried. “You know I can’t live without Hannah!”

“I don’t care if you love your daughter, because I hate you with every cell in my body! Get out and never come back! In fact I hope YOU DIE!” His angry wife pushed him out before locking the door.

Twenty minutes later, he did.

Hannah’s dad got into a car accident and died instantly that very same night….

 

“I never spoke to her again! We lived like strangers under one roof!” Hannah said holding the now cold cup of coffee she hardly drank from.. “Until I was about to get married and she came and warned me not to. She said, “Don’t marry for love Hannah! You’ll regret it!” But I married him against her will, and she never came to the wedding nor did I ever hear from her again. She never even came to see me when I was at the hospital! She’s heartless!“

 

“Is there a chance this isn’t the whole truth? That maybe there’s another side to the story?” I asked.

“It wouldn’t have changed anything! She was the reason my dad died! If she hadn’t been so mean, perhaps she could have embraced me and prevented me from marrying Rasheed! If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been a middle aged barren woman married to a man old enough to be my father!” Hannah cried.

“It’s the word ‘if’ that messes with our heads the most. You know why? Coz it makes us believe we could have changed destiny! If only she didn’t kick him out… if only she had said it in a different way… if he hadn’t ignored my calls I would have still been able to have children. The word ‘if’ doesn’t fit in our religion because it gives random luck so much power! It fuels our anger to blame others for what Allah had already decreed. No one has the power to do anything against His will! There’s no ‘if’ when you truly trust there’s ‘La illah ila Allah’. He decided on the exact timing of your dad’s demise even before your dad was born! Your mom isn’t powerful enough to decide otherwise!. And when your heart lives and breathes the ‘shahada’, attesting that ‘Muhammad is His messenger’, you look at things differently, and you’re eager to follow his example. The cure to any feeling, and the answer to any possible question is in the sunnah!”

 

“There are three sides to every story, Hannah. Yours, theirs and the truth! Perhaps your mom took the blame out of kindness and patience. She didn’t reveal her side because she didn’t want to deprive you of a good father figure. Maybe if your baby had lived, he or she would have ended up hiding behind the couch years later too, watching you and Rasheed fight and hating you… And you’d be in your mom’s shoes. Maybe deep down you already know that, and you’d rather cover it up with anger than go through the grief. But you can’t heal what you don’t feel! Once you accept His will, you’ll truly believe His promise when He says ‘with hardship there is ease’. (Holy Qur’an 94:6).

 

Hannah was crying hysterically at this point, and I could tell Allah had opened her heart to the truth… We put our guards up when we feel scared or insecure, but that’s not how it works with Our Lord…. The more we learn about Him, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the more we submit to His will, and the more we do that, the more sense life makes… That’s what the first pillar of Islam is all about… Trusting Allah alone and following in the footsteps of His messenger Mohammad, peace be upon him.

It’s the cure to fear, sadness and worry…

It’s the cure to anger and regret….

It takes away the need to blame and judge and revenge.

The Shahada is the belief system that purifies our souls.

It’s the golden seal that unseals our hearts.

The first pillar of Islam is simply the true meaning of ‘peace’.

 

“But do you think we can say it by words and not have that belief system tested? Oh trust me, we’ll be tested again and again! You’re scared of dying alone Hannah coz you don’t have a family, and yet you’re leaving your mom to die alone when she has one! You!” I added. “Remember, we’ll all be tested with what we fear the most!”

 

Hannah covered her face and sobbed a bit more before getting up to thank me for helping her see things differently. She hugged me tight and my eyes went back and forth, not sure how to tell her this was against the rules! But I couldn’t help but smile when she said she was gonna go to visit her mom now.

 

I thanked Allah for this blessing, and prayed for all of us to feel the light of true faith, and pass our tests with flying colors…

Now it was time to reward myself with one chocolate chip cookie….

Or five!

 

“Your next appointment is here” My assistant announced.

“Al Salam Alaykom Adam!” I greeted the grumpy teenager. “So how was your weekend?”

“Yeah, whatever!” Adam spit out. “Let’s get this over with!”

 

To be continued….

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode One

Published on Productive Muslim
9th June, 2016

 

Office

Fidgeting with her fingers, it was obvious she was very agitated. And why wouldn’t she be?

Sitting here with a complete stranger talking about your worst fears, your sordid past and shattered dreams. It takes a toll on a person. We’re trained to run away from scary things, but today, this anxious woman was asked to face and stare at her fears while sipping herbal tea with her therapist.

“So you mentioned you stayed up all night ‘googling’ your symptoms. Did your research yield any results?” I asked.

“I kept waiting for the word ‘cancer’ to flash on the screen. I’m going crazy! I’ve seen twelve different doctors so far and they all insist I’m physically healthy and should seek therapy instead!” Hannah replied. “So here I am!”

“I suppose since your scans and labs came back clean, your doctors had to explore other options to find the source of your sickness. But now the question is, do you trust they all did their best to help you?”

“I don’t trust anyone!” Hannah crossed her arms and looked away. “I learnt my lesson the hard way, a very long time ago….”

 

He was her high school sweet heart and the love of her life. They got married as soon as they both graduated and after years of feeling like a stranger in this world, Hannah was finally happy, like she had finally found a safe home. Nothing mattered as long as they were together. With no financial support from neither of their families, they both worked hard to make ends meet. But as years went by, the stress burst their beautiful love bubble and left them dangerously exposed to the sharp edges of responsibilities and frustration, especially after her husband got laid off, and Hannah had to take extra shifts waitressing at a restaurant to pay off their debts.

“Can you at least acknowledge the fact that I’m speaking to you?” Hannah sighed during dinner.

“I’m hoping if I ignore you, you’d get the point and shut up!” Rasheed scoffed. “You make it sound like I’m the lazy idiot husband who’d rather stay at home and watch TV instead of find a job! I AM trying Hannah!”

“But it’s been eight months! I’m exhausted! I thought it was the man’s job to take care of his wife! You’re obviously following the footsteps of your father!” Hannah yelled.

The few words they exchanged turned into another huge fight, ending with Rasheed throwing his glass cup at the wall and storming out. Hannah sat motionless in the corner staring at the floor. That’s exactly how her dreams looked like now; shattered into a million pieces like this broken glass. It wasn’t until sunrise when Rasheed came back home that she finally realized; it wasn’t love that held them together anymore. It was fear. The tremendous fear of losing him and being all alone.

 

“Didn’t we have stew yesterday?” Rasheed asked still half asleep. That’s all he seemed to do lately; out all night and asleep all day.

“Yes! I’m sorry! But until you find a job we need to tighten our belts a bit and start saving!”

“Am I in the mood for your nagging shift? Ummm no!” Rasheed said sarcastically.

“We barely buy anything yet we run out of money by mid month! Where does it all go?” Hannah asked.

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m outta here!” Rasheed got up to change and leave.  

Walking away was what he did best. This wasn’t the man she fell in love with. He even looked different! He’d become depressed, irritable and scrappy, and she had been patient for way too long and now was the time for a serious talk! Enraged by his carelessness, after a couple of hours of him ignoring her calls, Hannah grabbed her purse and rushed outside to find her husband. But she took a fall down the stairs and ended up in the hospital instead.

 

“He didn’t know I was pregnant” Hannah cried softly, as I handed her another tissue. “I lost the baby and the doctors informed me my injuries affected my reproductive system and it would be impossible for me to have anymore children. A couple of months later, Rasheed left too. I lost everything! I suffered for a long time; I almost gave up on life completely. Until I got married again a few months ago, and I can’t help but think what will happen when if he leaves. I just don’t feel safe! There’s no one in my life I can truly trust and depend on! I don’t wanna die alone! I’m scared! All the time!”

“You’re right! Trust is life! Without it we’d go insane. But it’s not something we give regardless of the circumstances; it’s very pragmatic depending on the situation. You trusted your ex-husband to take care of you, but he let you down, since he wasn’t working. You trusted him with something he wasn’t capable of doing. Now that you’re married to someone else, perhaps you trust him to take care of you, but you don’t trust you can rely on him forever. You can trust a loved one with one thing but not the other. It doesn’t make you suspicious, or paranoid, it makes you SMART and proves you possess wisdom! I mean sure your current husband can run a whole company for example, but would you trust him to fly a plane or give you a new haircut?” I asked.

That’s when Hannah finally smiled.

“Trust is the secret to life, Hannah. Without it we would all feel paralyzed. If we didn’t trust the locks on our doors, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. If we didn’t trust our coworkers, we wouldn’t be able to work as a team. If we didn’t trust the legal system, we wouldn’t follow the rules. Without trust, there would be no productivity or security or even life on this Earth. We would live in constant and utter FEAR! Trust is the essence of any healthy relationship. But before giving it, we need to build it through knowledge! You need to find out if that person is capable, honest and reliable. Without this knowledge, trust is obsolete!”

 

“That’s true” Hannah nodded.
“Why do you trust your nose won’t go missing when you fall asleep? Or that the sun will come up every day! Or that the whole planet won’t run out of water and food! Who are you trusting to keep this whole life system intact?”

“Almighty Allah of course!” Hannah replied.

“But why do you trust Him?” I asked again.

“Because I know Him. I know He is the One who created everything and He is capable of managing His creations!” Hannah said.

 

“But what if I told you that I set the alarm really early and I’m the one who commands the sun to come up every morning?” I smirked.

“Astaghfar Allah! That’s impossible!” Hannah frowned.

“Exactly! As Muslims, we all have an intact belief system based on knowledge of our Creator. The more we learn about His limitless capabilities the more we trust Him! This is why the ‘shahada’ is the first pillar of Islam, and it’s based on complete trust in Allah. The ‘shahada’ is the solid belief system we need to wash away all our negative feelings! It’s the antidote to fear, sadness and worry. But now you’ve created another belief system that you’ll die alone because the people you depend on to take care of you can’t be trusted to outlive you. And you know why they can’t be trusted? Because they’re human! They aren’t capable or reliable to be around forever! And that’s why your new belief system scares you! Your life is like the plane your husband is in charge of. You’re depending on him, even though he’s not a trained pilot! Of course your terrified ALL the time!” I explained. “Isn’t it time to depend on the One capable of managing your life, Hannah? Isn’t it time to submit to Him alone?”

 

Hannah’s tears flowed down again, but this time her tears washed away the doubts and made her see the bigger picture she was blinded to. Belief systems are what keep us grounded, and yet when built on falsehood they can take us to the darkest places. Creating a belief system based on assumptions or desires or fears is no different from creating a stone idol and worshipping it besides Allah, True and genuine faith cannot be half way. It cannot be shared or conditioned; because it’s the solid ground we need to stand on before we start the journey to Paradise.

 

“You’re not alone, Hannah. Allah is with you. Every time He takes something you want from you, He will replace it with something you need!” I said.

“That’s true… When Rasheed left, Allah sent me a friend to soothe me, and her child is like my own. I don’t know what I would have done without them!” Hannah whispered. “I’m finally able to give the love I never got from my own parents!”

“That’s the first time you mention them” I said carefully. “I can tell it’s a subject you try to avoid. Are you angry at your parents, Hannah?”

“My dad died years ago. And my mom is also dead…. Or at least to me she is….”

 

 

To be continued

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

Change Your Story… BACKWARDS!

Published on IUO Blog
31st December, 2015
This is the original version

 

Change.jpg

You’ll never believe what just came in the mail right now….

A DVD of YOUR life!

Wanna have a movie night? Yay!

I got popcorn, candy and sodas. Let’s skip the trailers and get to the good part.

Awwww here you are crawling! Oh and there you are taking your first steps! That’s SO CUTE!

Here you’re disgusted coz you don’t like your veggies…
Potty training, chicken pox, time outs…

Okay skip, skip, skip….

First day of school…
First tooth falling off…
Oops! Finding out tooth fairies don’t exist (sorry!)
First secret crush…. Long weekends, spring breaks and summers… all the way to graduation… wow those must be some really cherished memories….

You smile and tear up as you relive those moments and I just sit here munching on popcorn and watching you instead of the movie!

Okay, change of plans! Let’s skip to the beginning of Year 2015…

There we are… perfect!

It’s January 2015 and you have that determined look on your face! You have so many plans and so many dreams! “2015 is the year people!” You announce proudly. You promise to be organized, productive, positive….

You know what? You vow to just be A-MAZING!

By June, motivation pipes down and you realize most of what you had planned is still un-done, you’re falling back into old habits and well… Who cares anyway! It’s summer time so let’s just relax and enjoy it….

And it’s all fun and entertainment till the very serious month of September peeps in and you realize three quarters of the year had passed and you’re still the same… staring at your ‘I’m gonna be amazing’ list with one eye-brow up.

Hmmmmm…

And before you know it, you’re holding the little 2016 calendar that came as a gift with the too many pizzas you ordered and you’re like, “What? It’s December already?? Fine! Then 2016 is the year people!”
The screen reads “To Be Continued… (Or actually: To Be Repeated Next Year…)
You look at me, shrug, then get up to leave.

“Hey, where you going? Come back!” I momentarily stop eating popcorn. “Give me that remote!”

The Things You Wouldn’t Change

We tend to be so hard on ourselves sometimes. We tend to look at the bad and believe our worst reviews, all the while letting the good slip away. This IS NOT the story of your life. There’s so much more…. Let’s rewind…

Here! Pause this scene!

Look! You’re sleeping peacefully…. Because you didn’t hold grudges or maybe you made someone smile from the heart that day! Remember?

There… It’s Ramadan and your tears are falling down during prayer… you prostrate and make Du’a… coz you know Allah is listening and you suddenly feel so close to Him… You know He’s there watching over you… Would you even trade that serene moment for the world?

Pause these scenes: You’re focused on your studies, swallowing your anger, holding the door for a stranger, hugging a scared child, smiling with so much love at your spouse or kids, kissing your mom’s hand, running an errand for someone in need… this is all you! You’ve done so much good this year…. You just forgot….

Go backwards and relive your story…
All this pain you’ve endured…
All the times you thought you failed and decided not to give up….
All the problems you’ve managed to solve…
All the lessons you learnt through people who walked into your life to teach you something new…
All the laughter, the heartache, the surprises, the celebrations, the disappointments, and the stress…. So much has happened…

And you know how I know you’re already amazing? It’s coz you’re reading this now…. And let’s face it, all my readers are amazing… (Yeah, I’m just biased that way J)

But the main reason you’re a success is coz you’ve been through all of this. You’ve fallen and gotten back up and you’re ready to start again….

You’re amazing because you’ve survived….

 

The Things You Can’t Change

I’m confused. Your life-movie is suddenly a sob-fest. What did I miss?

You’ve heard bad news. Things didn’t go your way. You’ve lost a loved one. There was an accident, or a downfall, or an unexpected detour….

Was it something that you did wrong? If yes, then yeah beat yourself up a little bit and then go fix it! Deal with the damage. Apologize. Seek Allah’s forgiveness. Start over and do it right this time.

But if it’s something you can’t change, if it’s not a mistake or something you can control then I’m telling you, it’s destiny… it’s meant to be. It’s an integral part of the script… that scary or sad scene that turns events around before the happy ending.

Maybe you don’t know it now… but you will find out soon. God does everything for a good reason. You just need to trust in His choices and accept them.

(And then when you see the blessing behind it eventually, you’ll come back and tell us, coz we’re dying of curiosity here, okay!)

 

The Things You Really Want To Change

If this year was just a dress rehearsal, and next year is the real thing, what would you change?

If you could go to bed right now, wake up and all your problems have suddenly disappeared. What would your life be like?

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently…?

Big questions, huh? And we rarely think of the answers coz we simply save last year’s file on the desktop and open a new window.

New promises. New plans. New resolutions!

Wake up and smell the promotional calendars people! It’s a trap!!
You can’t navigate to a better place if you don’t know where you are now.

You need to look back, see what you did wrong before you can ever try to make it right.

Look back at all the good you did, and repeat the pattern that worked best for you. Maintain the habits, attitudes, and the little things you did to pile up a cherished treasure of amazing memories.

Look back and accept the things you can’t change. Make room for them in your life. Switch stuff around and adjust to your reality peacefully.

Look back and find the courage to change the things you can. It won’t happen overnight, but at least there’s a starting point on your map.

Your life is not scattered notes. It’s all connected, flowing and perfectly managed by the One Merciful Allah. It’s a beautiful book that tells your unique story… and how you’ve touched and changed so many lives around you.

Look back; give yourself credit for reaching this far and embrace who you are…

Coz sometimes it’s the new things you learn about your past that can totally change your future…

See the bigger picture and realize the truth of this present moment… It’s not what you did, or what you will do…

It’s what’s in your heart right now that makes you amazing….

 

Happy New Years!

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

Tell us about something good you did this year in the comments box below. Inspire others with your story…. Sometimes one word can change someone’s world…

 

 

 

 

Where Does Your ‘But’ Come In?

But

Published on The Daily Crisp
October 7th, 2015

 

The Key To A Magnetic Personality

When I was a little girl, my dad told me a story that stayed engraved in my memory till this day. He said a wife once sat down and listed all the negative things that bothered her…

‘Our daughter had a horrible car accident..”

“Our son failed his midterms..”

“My husband hates my cooking..”

The woman went to sleep with a heavy heart. In the morning, her husband found that piece of paper and decided to add a set of ‘buts’ to the list…

‘Our daughter had a horrible car accident, but she bounced back and drives safely now.”

“Our son failed his midterms but he didn’t give up. He studies harder now and will surely ace his finals!”

“My husband hates my cooking, but he really loves me….”

I learnt three things from this simple story:

  • The problem is not in having problems. It’s how we choose to deal with the problem that can create a bigger problem. (Read this part again. It sounds like blabbering but I promise it makes sense!)
  • There are three sides to every story: Yours, mine and the truth.
  • What we learn in childhood greatly affects our adulthood. So make sure you choose your words carefully when speaking to your kids. (Thank you for always applying that rule daddy! I love you!)

Anyways….

It turns out this story is a manifestation of the secret identity that lies deep within each and every one of us. Perspective is a powerful tool! Like a magnet, it ultimately pulls you towards one of these two categories:

The ‘But’ People

I wanna say ‘pun intended’, but no, that would be mean and highly inappropriate. Plus it really shatters the mature image I promised myself to portray in this writing. Actually the ‘but’ people aren’t so bad, they just confuse ‘realism’ with ‘pessimism’ and it goes something like this…

“I had a good time at the party, BUT the food was horrible and the table settings were hideous!” or “My husband got me flowers, a diamond ring and took me out for my birthday, BUT he spent half an hour on the phone with his mom! He’s so cold and inconsiderate!”

These people will acknowledge the positive things in their lives, but once they say them out loud, their teeth hurt and they quickly dump the negatives on you before you start thinking they’re happy and content. They’ll find a problem for every solution, a flaw in every blessing and bitterness in every sweet memory. ‘Hope’ is a foreign, dangerous enemy in their eyes, and ‘nit-picking sarcasm’ is synonym with ‘funny’. Their ‘buts’ come in after every positive, which of course brings out their nagging side to the open and it’s us who have to pay the price for both their blessings and misfortune by listening to them complain about BOTH! I mean for the love of God!

Okay, all done ranting! (Sheeeeshhhhh)

The ‘But-tered Up’ People

Consider yourself very lucky if you’re in contact with one of those, I know I am! Oh these people butter you up with the sweetest, most soothing words, it’s hard to tell if they’re complaining about life or praising it!

“I lost my job and my house burnt down, BUT thank God I have some money saved! I’m so blessed!”

They’ll acknowledge the problems just fine, but they’re so blinded to the difficulties it actually makes your jaws drop. Their ‘buts’ come after the negatives trailing hope and positivism. They just know it in their hearts that everything will be okay. That’s the only option on their table…

Which One Are You?

There’s no pessimist or optimist gene! Being cynical is a choice, and so is being hopeful. Take it from someone who’s been both, and knows the magnitude of each. You don’t have to be ‘over-the-moon, riding-a-unicorn-on-a-chocolate-fountain’ kind of happy to see the positive side of life. You only need this key…
Acceptance…

Accepting reality instead of expecting it to become the fairytale you imagined it to be! Coz let’s face it, the grumpy, cranky attitude won’t change anything, except perhaps change you into the human version of a headache and repel everyone around you. Accept that life was never tailored to be perfect, and that whatever cards you’ve been dealt, about 90% of the world’s population doesn’t even have cards to play with!

But….

Even if your life is a complete and total nightmare… One thing in it brings you and I immense joy and will always be the main reason why people become addicted to being around you…

And that is… Your smile…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode Three

Published On OnIslam.net
On July 7th, 2015
This is the original version

MAGNET

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan
Episode Three: The Magnet

I know you guys are busy sprinting to win and have no time to stop. We’re almost done with the ultimate race and some of you must be both drained and anxious. So let’s jog and talk people. Jog and talk.
And now here’s a vivid image of me running backwards to face the contestants all serious and involved then I fall flat on my back. Ouch. (Hey! Don’t laugh.)

The People You Meet Are Your Key

At any point in time, you’ll find two kinds of good people:
Those with tribulations seeking help, and those in good situations willing to offer help.
Those who are eager to teach and those who are willing to learn.
Rich and poor, sick and healthy, clueless and knowledgeable….The list goes on.

It’s like a magnet really. God puts people on your path for a reason. We are all somehow attracted to our designated roles in other people’s lives, whether by giving or taking. And it’s through the love in our hearts that we help with passion.. Fasting, praying and reading Qur’an are all keys to genuine faith, but what’s more than that is having good manners, spreading peace and kindness and wishing others well. Without that kind of true love, giving would make us arrogant and taking would make us feel humiliated Think about it for a second while I search for a relevant Hadith….

The Messenger of Allah () said, “By Him in Whose Hand is my life! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another….” (Sahih Darussalam Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 68)

It’s those people who love each other for the sake of Allah who will stand in His shade on the Day of Judgment, will have the gates of Heaven opened for them and will be envied by Prophets and martyrs! (Al-Tirmidhi, Book One, Hadith 381) And what better than the Holy month to intensify our chances, when Satan and the rest of the ugly, ‘hate-inducing’ devils are tied up like silly idiots!

So without further ado, let’s demonstrate how to win people over and spread the love this Ramadan….

The Five Rules Of Attraction:

1- Greetings, Names and Smiles (GNS)

The rest of the above Hadith says it all…
“….. Shall I inform you of something which, if you do, you will love one another? Spread the greetings of peace amongst yourselves.”
Personalized, polite and cheerful approaches make people feel acknowledged. From garbage cleaner to king, treat them equally, remember their names and say the ‘salam’ first with a genuine smile. You’ll win over thousands of hearts.

2- Expect The Un-Expected (Which is Nothing)

“We live in a world where kindness is misconstrued as flirting”. I remember reading that somewhere and thinking ‘that is SO TRUE!’. We find it hard to believe people can be nice for no reason. But that’s exactly the point of love for the sake of God: asking for nothing back except for Allah’s pleasure. So when we find those rare gems who do good and expect zero from us in return, we hold on to them for dear life. Be one of those this month and you’ll be surprised with all the blessings God will shower you with. Trust me.

3- Make Room For Us
We love our personal space, but we’ll never forget those who make room for us, be it in the mosque, on a bus or in their hearts. Make people feel welcomed and follow the words of the beloved when he said, ‘The best assemblies are those in which people make room for one another’. (Abu Dawud, Book 5, Hadith 18)

So come on, be nice and quit hogging and shoving. We all wanna pray Taraweeh too you know!

4- Gifts With Love

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 594)

Like Oh my God just listing these rules I’m completely baffled by this religion I swear! Everything psychologists teach nowadays about influencing people and the laws of attraction was all already revealed 1400 years ago! Duh, why do non-Muslim professors pretend they’ve made a scientific discovery?

So remember to give little gifts to people for no reason. It makes them feel loved, appreciated and they’ll always be looking forward to reciprocate with another kind gesture.

By the way, I like chocolates, purple Lilies, and nice comments. Thanks! LOL

5- Return Negative With A Positive

Now that’s a tough one, sheeeeesh!

Imagine someone hurts you really bad and instead of slapping them back (on the face with a chair!) you understand, forgive and give them a warm hug instead. We say pain changes people and makes them bitter and shielded, but it doesn’t. Response and reaction are two very different things. A moment of anger can swerve you into a dark place, but responding with mercy and compassion will only put you on a pedestal and turn your enemies into lifelong friends!

Check this out….

“….Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. (Holy Qur’an, 41:34)

My sister-in-law was talking to me the other day about how there’s no tolerance in our society anymore. The trending posts are now “If you wanna walk out of my life I’ll hold open the door!” or “Haters make me famous!”

Seriously what’s up with that?
You know what would make you famous?
Being a role model.
Being great and amazing, that everyone around you would dream of becoming like you.
Having a solid identity as a representative of our peaceful Islam that you make people fall in love with it. That’s your job. It takes commitment, humility and putting your ego on the side to reach that level of supremacy.

Treating people the way you want to be treated is the ultimate law of attraction. Let your magnetism shine brighter and spread the love we’re aching for….

Become a magnet today!
(That sounded like a cheesy commercial didn’t it? LOL)

Okay don’t give up on me yet! The final episode will knock your socks off I promise! (InshAllah)

See you at the finish line…. Stay tuned.

Lilly S. Mohsen

Lilly S. Mohsen is the author of the “Prophets To Islam” series for kids. She is a Psychologist who works as a part-time therapist besides being a spiritual speaker and a contributing writer to a number of renowned Islamic and educational websites. For more about Lilly, please check her new blog: lillymohsen.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @Lillymohsen.

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode Two

Published on OnIslam.net
On July 2nd, 2015
This is the original version

Episode Two: Joy Is A Six Letter Word

Family

The race has commenced and the clock is ticking.
Tick Tock Tick Tock
We are super excited as the camera zooms in on a random house:

Dad is glued to Twitter
Mom is glued to Facebook
Son is glued to Play Station
Daughter is glued to Instagram

My eyes dart back and forth and I quickly cover the camera lens with my hand.
“Psssstttttt guys! The angels are waiting to record your good deeds, and frankly I think they’re getting a little bored! Come on people, look alive!”

Looks like times have changed. The most we think of family members now is a bunch of people who share our DNA and last name. Most of us live in the same house yet are worlds apart, too occupied with focusing on how, our mentalities are growing in different directions, but forgetting that always and forever, like a beautiful tree, our roots will remain one.

Home is not just a place to eat and sleep guys… Home is a feeling…
Come here and hold your parents’ and siblings’ hands. Together we’ll start a new beginning this Ramadan.

Lost In A Safe Haven? Take The Vertical Road.

I don’t live on Jupiter! I know kids can drive you up the walls, siblings can be annoying and parents are ancient beings who don’t understand that the word ‘sick’ can also mean ‘cool’. But when your friends become more important than your own family then I think we have a problem here. And it’s not fair either, coz we save the ‘sparkle’ for the outer world and dim out the minute we get back home. Our family deserves some of our attention and time and the Holy month is the perfect opportunity to get back in ‘sync’. The best way to start is to pray together. Go to the mosque and learn the Qur’an and Hadiths with your parents, siblings and kids to re-create that special bond again. If you feel like you don’t belong in the safe haven of your home, start by taking the vertical road and worship Allah together as a family.
(Okay I was expecting a little applause here for the brilliant metaphor but whatever LOL)

Frame the Circle Of Trust with Kindness

Anyone you know can become a stranger overnight except for your family members, they’re stuck on you. Your parents will always be your parents. There are no ‘coupons’ to exchange siblings and kids. They’re your ‘Circle of Trust’ coz they’re constant, and deep inside they always want the best for you. So doesn’t it make sense to put the most effort in those ‘for-life’ relationships?

Deposit some ‘positive’ credit in the family bank account. I know life pulls us in all directions like work, school, friends, and obligations, and each pull requires time and effort. But Ramadan is the month of kindness, mercy and forgiveness. Let’s start at home people.

Dads: We know you work hard to provide financial security to the kids. But without taking the time to instill those Islamic ethics and principles, they’ll misuse that money you’re so busy saving. Be a lenient teacher and a loving friend to your kids this Ramadan. And yes, the cliché is truer than ever, the best thing you can do for your children is to love and respect their mom.

Moms: Over here! Hi! This is just a friendly reminder: Your smile makes the world shine bright. So be the cheerful sun in the morning and the serene comforting moon at night. Your kids need to hear that you love them, regardless of their whining and bad grades. Use the Holy month for fun charitable projects and Islamic bedtime stories. We know you need your private worship time, but your kids need your wisdom and love even more. So turn their electronic devices off and switch on the light of faith in their hearts. Use that time to reconnect with your husband and children before Satan is out on the loose again!

Teenage Boys: Seriously guys. I know you think it’s your birthright to be rebellious at this age but for the love of God have some mercy on your parents this month. Remind them why they dreamed of having you by being perfect these 30 days. Help out with the chores (yes including taking out the garbage and babysitting while you’re fasting. Life is unfair that way LOL). Once you gain your parents’ ‘Reda’, everything else will fall in place.

Teenage Girls: You probably think it’s your birthright to be dramatic too. Ummm not this month! So quit rolling your eyes and pretending you didn’t hear your mom calling. Instead, offer a helping hand with a smile. Us moms were 99% sure we were carrying royal princesses in our tummies, so be one this Ramadan. (I’m actually on my knees begging at this point).

And now is the time I remind all Muslims (including myself) of how to cherish their parents, whether you’re 6 or 60 it doesn’t really matter….

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” (Holy Qur’an 17:23-24)

The Family Tree: Make Amends With Your Branches.

My son is a soccer fanatic so I happen to know a lot about sports. When you’re one of the players, you don’t complain to the press about the club’s drawbacks; instead you shield them and take one for the team when necessary. Family is the most important group you’ll ever be part of, they’re your roots. But you can’t expect a tree to grow if you don’t water it. Sit by your parents’ feet and kiss their hands every chance you get. Open your homes and hearts for your siblings and relatives. Help the needy and visit the sick ones. Love your family and forgive their mistakes this Ramadan. Please!

“Why is she talking about relationships in the month of Qur’an and spirituality? Did ‘On Islam’ even approve this article for publishing?”

Hey I heard that! Okay I didn’t want to do this but you guys leave me no choice.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Kinship (Rahim) is derived from Allah. If anyone maintains ties of kinship Allah maintains ties with him. If anyone cuts them off, Allah cuts him off.” (Sahih. Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 55)

You wanna win the Race to the highest levels of Paradise, don’t you?

So pick up that phone and make amends with your loved ones today. Call your estranged aunt or your ‘banned’ uncle and tell them whatever happened to drift you guys apart is water under the bridge now. Support your family and mend the cut ropes for Allah’s sake this Ramadan. And then come back and tell us how peaceful and enriched your life has become….

Because Joy is a six-letter word: ‘FAMILY’
May Allah make your homes mini-heavens on Earth….
Please send my Salam to all your loved ones….

Lilly S. Mohsen

Look out for ‘The Magnet’ Episode Three from the ‘Amazing Race’
Coming to a website near you this Ramadan.
Stay tuned….

Are You A Pushover? (Why Small Equals To HUGE!)

Published On Productive Muslim
June 30th, 2015
This is the original version

Are You A Pushover?
Why Small Equals To HUGE

Pushover

“You’ve become a doormat Lilly! You let people walk all over you, drain you and use you! And because you have the memory of a tiny gold fish, you never know when enough is really ENOUGH! Think of yourself and stop being such a pushover!”

Oops I’m sorry you had to hear that. Don’t mind my friend, she’s been a little cranky lately. Believe me that kind of anger usually stems from an insane amount of pain. Sometimes when people repeatedly get hurt by their loved ones, they end up shielding their hearts, terrified of getting hurt again, and refuse to submit to their compassionate natures. Slowly they become numb. They convince themselves that ‘strength’ is synonymous with ‘not caring’, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. A wise man once said, “Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

I understand why my friend steamed out like that, I actually hugged her instead of getting upset. Plus she makes the best chocolate desserts in the entire universe, so I really can’t afford to lose her LOL. (Yeah, newsflash: I’m obsessed with chocolates!)

I’m also obsessed with quotes, especially the ones based on Islamic teachings. Squeezing a relevant quote in the middle of a conversation makes me feel smart for some reason, I don’t know! Here’s another life-changing quote by a man named ‘unknown’ (See how smart I am?)

Watch your thoughts for they become words

Watch your words for they become actions

Watch your actions for they become habits

Watch your habits for they become character

Watch your character for it becomes your destiny

This statement is pure psychology, proven, tested, dissected and written about in hundreds of books. Come, I’ll show you…

The Definite Pattern:

“How can caring for others give me joy if no one cares about me? This theory is NOT true!”
A disapproving thought quickly turns to doubt or denial.
Thoughts turn to words.

“I’ve got my own mess to deal with so get out of my face!”
The negative thought is voiced out with anger to attack or repel others.
Words turn to action.

“You need to be selfish to survive in this jungle! Toughen up like the rest of us or you’ll be eaten alive!”
Justifications are given till discouraging yourself and others from helping the needy becomes effortless.
Actions become habits.

“Let others figure out how to get by, their problems can’t be our problems!”.
Loss of compassion changes a person. It leads to neglectfulness of our pure and kind inner beings.
Habit becomes character.

“A charity event? Man that’s good publicity! Make sure you take a picture of me hugging the sick kids and those sad wrinkly old people!”

Sometimes the only interest in kindness is shown  is under the spotlight, where it’s time to show off how great and loving we are. Fakeness tarnishes genuine bonds of love and leads to a gruesome destiny.

Everything becomes about ‘you’, while you withhold the chance to put a smile on someone else’s face, even if it cost you nothing at all, thinking:
Why should I? I’m not a pushover!”

 One Thing Leads To The Other:

Denial of truth à Repulsion à Discouraging people from helping othersà Negligence of our purity and inner goodnessà Showing Off à Selfishness to the point of withholding costless kindness à A miserable woeful life.
Hmmmmmmm interesting theory….

It’s not just the quotes. Take a look at the teachings of all the best-selling self-help books circulating millions of copies around the world. Their authors are celebrated professors, doctors and scientists. They spent years researching, studying and observing before cracking the code: The source of your happiness stems from making others happy. That’s pretty much the gist of it. But 1400 years ago, a blessed prophet who wasn’t a psychologist or a neurologist or a sociologist or any kind of ‘-ologist’ conveyed the Holy words of Allah, describing the same pattern that defines us till this day….

“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense?

That is he who repulses the orphan (harshly),

And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.

So woe to those who pray

Who are neglectful of their prayers,

Those who make show [of their deeds]

And withhold [simple] assistance.”

(Surat Al Ma’un, Chapter 107, Holy Qur’an)

Don’t Underestimate Those Simple Acts

Just like abuse and bullying can have negative long-term effects on the society, where those in pain ‘pay it back’ with more hurt and anger, kindness can and will do the opposite of that if you ‘pay it forward’. We all have the humanity and compassion ‘gene’, and I just love the word ‘withhold’ in this Holy chapter because it perfectly describes how we suppress our kind-hearted natures when we deny the reality of this life. We forget we are all connected, and that the joy you spread will eventually find its way back to you. Life is a chain reaction. You and me have the power to conquer poverty, hunger, disease and wars by causing a ripple effect with one good selfless deed.

So the next time you pass by a poor homeless woman on the street and avoid eye-contact because it’s ‘awkward’; try pausing your busy life for a minute to ask “How can I help?”. We are the slaves of Allah and we have an important job to do people! We gotta help one another. And now is the best time to start coz guess who’s coming to town? The Holy Month Of Ramadan! SURPRISE! (I was gonna keep it as a secret but I couldn’t hold it in any longer LOL)

The 30-Day Kindness Challenge:

We plant trees to overcome pollution, take vitamins to beat fatigue, vacuum the house to clean the dust… it makes sense to conquer the negative with a positive, and what’s more beautiful than a fresh batch of hope to revive this Ummah? Investing in small acts of kindness this Ramadan should be our ultimate goal. Let’s show the world what Islam is and defeat the hate with love and mercy. It’s effortless, simple and free. You make someone happy which makes you feel better and makes the world a better place. Win. Win Win. This isn’t just about the mega bonus of Ramadan’s multiplied rewards! (Actually it SO is, who are we kidding?)

Here’s a list to get you started:

For Your Lovely Parents:

  • Thank your mom every day for the food she cooked and make yummy noises! (Cooking while you’re fasting is not easy! Trust me)
  • Ask your dad daily “What can I do to make your day better?”

For Your Precious Grandparents

  • Umm hello! Call and visit them! Make them feel special before they’re gone.

For Your Spouse and Children

  • Hide a note with a funny joke or compliment in your kids’ backpacks or clothes.
  • Text your husband or wife saying ‘I Love You’.
  • A minimum of three hugs a day for each member of the family (I’m serious! Sometimes all we need is a warm embrace)

For Relatives, Neighbors and Friends

  • Send flowers (or Konafa) to a distant relative with a card saying “Just a little something to make you smile”
  • Mown your neighbor’s lawn or wash their cars.
  • Tell your friends how much they mean to you and make du’aa for them.

For Co-workers and Other Professions

  • Bring homemade cookies to work (with chocolate chips please!) Don’t worry, we will save them till after Iftar!
  • Praise clerks, assistants and workers and thank them for their hard work.
  • Leave a nice comment on articles you enjoyed (Uhmm Hint Hint)

For Absolute Strangers

  • Greet people with a smile (It’s a sunnah for God’s sake!)
  • Give up your seat for an elderly or a pregnant woman.
  • Hand out balloons to kids on the street

For God’s Beautiful Creations

  • Leave a bowl of water outside for the birds. (That’s when I had to explain to my son why animals don’t fast)
  • Make Tasbih (glorifying Allah) outdoors. Trees, insects, even the mountains and soil will join and bloom. (Does that sound weird?)

For Those In Dire Need of Ma’oun:

  • Leave a couple of colors and coloring books in the waiting room of a public hospital.
  • Do some fun story telling at an orphanage and bring them toys or snacks.
  • Share a meal with a homeless person and sit with them on the ground.
  • Listen to someone who is sad or lonely.

The ideas are endless. Just doing one simple act of kindness a day without expecting anything in return can truly change the world, and is beyond joyful and fulfilling. It’s in fact the number one reason behind success, inner peace and sound sleep! Helping others feel better is simply the meaning of happiness because…

“Is there any reward for good other than good?” (Surat Ar Rahman 55:60, Holy Qur’an)

So believe in your Lord’s promise, have compassion, pray from the heart and invest in those simple acts of kindness during this blessed Holy month.

And if that makes you a pushover, well….

Consider yourself the luckiest person on Earth for being one!

Lilly S. Mohsen

The “Ex” Factor: Welcome To The Single Moms Club

Published On OnIslam.com
April 2015

single mom


The ‘Ex’ Factor:
Welcome To The Single Moms Club

Ringggggg Ringggggggggg
“Hello, welcome to the ‘Single Moms’ club, how can I help?
Yes that’s correct. We work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for the rest of our lives.
No, I’m sorry, there are no support groups or training courses available at the moment.
No, I’m afraid there’s no monetary compensation either. No social life, no holidays, no bonuses and no extra perks are included in our package.
What’s the upside you ask? Hmmmm we are still trying to figure that out. But on the bright side, we do get a lot of criticism, judgmental looks and some down right humiliating sympathy! Would you like to fill an application to join the club?
Umm hello?”

I remember as a little girl, the word ‘divorce’ caused more of a shock than finding out tooth fairies don’t exist! But at this day and age, marriages reaching a sudden halt are as common as car crashes on highways; we hear about it one minute and go back to munching on chips the next. Families are falling apart left and right, and it’s no secret that the most popular assumption always puts the wife at fault. That’s exactly the moment when these divorced single mothers start feeling like they’re ‘alone’ alone, suddenly left to pick up the pieces, and walk the walk of shame amongst a society that mostly tends to assume these women must have done something horrible to deserve such a gloomy fate.

The Start Of An Inevitable Ending:

Ending it all is hardly ever an easy decision. A husband and wife don’t just wake up on a beautiful morning and say, “You know what sounds like so much fun? A divorce!”. In fact it’s a gruesomely difficult step that leaves them both scarred for a long time. No one is excited about failing, but sometimes you’re left with no other option than to let go and walk away. And as much as a wife is expected to stuff her feelings down her throat and suffer silently for the sake of the kids, sometimes she just can’t do it. Sometimes the divorce isn’t even her choice to start with! No one knows the battles and struggles that happen behind closed doors except for God, the husband and the wife.

And maybe the mother in law.
And yes probably the best friends, too.
The neighbors also since they stick their ears to the doors and listen to the fights.
But other than that no one really knows LOL

It’s so NOT a joking matter. Being a single mom myself, I know how people treat and judge divorced women. They’re practically viewed as outcasts, vultures trying to steal husbands or just vulnerable easy targets. The news sets off a danger sign flashing on their foreheads, as if they’ve become a different species ready to attack planet Earth! But does anyone really understand what these women have been through before it all happened? Is there perhaps a book named “The Upside Of Divorce’ that we can learn the rules from? Whether it’s because the husband is abusive or because the wife can’t cook or the families don’t get along, who are we to judge if the reasons are valid or not? In one instance, our beloved Prophet himself did not even ask questions….

Narrated by Ibn `Abbas: The wife of Thabit bin Qais came to the Prophet () and said, “O Allah’s Messenger ()! I do not blame Thabit for defects in his character or his religion, but I, being a Muslim, dislike to behave in un-Islamic manner (if I remain with him).” On that Allah’s Messenger () said (to her), “Will you give back the garden which your husband has given you (as Mahr)?” She said, “Yes.” Then the Prophet () said to Thabit, “O Thabit! Accept your garden, and divorce her once.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5273)

 The Ugly Truth:

So am I saying every unhappy woman should ask for a divorce and feel good about it? No! ABSOLUTELY NOT! Divorce is permissible in Islam but you know what else? It’s ‘detestable’ and for very good reasons, too. It’s the kids who pay the price, and the grandparents who drown in sorrow and the mother who is left with an even bigger burden to carry. She is faced with the ugly truth that no one could portray except those who have been down that same path; the realization that facing the world alone with a family to take care of is no walk in the park. It’s excruciatingly difficult in a way that’s just indescribable. A woman feels lost and unshielded, even if she has her family’s support. She is expected to be both the ‘strict dad’ and the ‘soft mom’ at the same time, which really confuses the kids. She spends her mornings anxious to make ends meet, her evenings listening to the kids’ demands and complaints, ‘mom, mommy, mommmm, mommy’ and then spends most of her nights scared something bad might happen or just exhausted from playing too many roles at once. It takes unimaginable strength to be able to survive that without breaking down.

Try living in the West and explaining to the handyman it’s un-Islamic to be alone with him while he’s doing his job. We aren’t allowed to date potential grooms, let alone the mess caused by anxious parents, ex-husbands and ex-wives. All the options are downright agonizing:

  • Raise the kids alone.
  • Marry someone else and hope the kids won’t resent him.
  • Go back to the ‘Ex’ and risk failing again

Don’t Join Just Don’t Judge:

A part of me hopes this article would deter anyone contemplating divorce. Another part wishes that people would see the truth; single moms did not call the quits to find ‘happiness’, many of them just wanted to escape the ‘unhappiness’. Let’s stop digging for dirt and offer a helping hand instead. It’s high time Muslims all around the world started embracing their sisters who didn’t ‘fail’ but rather faced downfalls like everyone else. It’s time for fathers to step out of their ‘honorary guest’ roles of either spoiling the kids out of guilt or moving on and forgetting they exist all together. Things need to change. Let’s stop punishing each other for our choices and misfortunes, and be there for one another, the way God intended us to….

To all the members of the ‘Single Moms’ club, I’m sorry you had to join….

Some of us are doing the time without doing the crime and no it’s not easy. In my heart I believe we survive through the strength God gives us. So don’t worry about the children, Lady Mary raised Prophet Jesus alone. Don’t worry about ending up alone, Lady Khadija was married twice before she ended up with our beloved Prophet (PBUH). Don’t worry about the gossip, Lady Aisha went through the worst trial of all before she was exonerated. We don’t compare ourselves to these blessed women but we certainly find hope in their stories. So stand tall and stay on the right path. Raise devout Muslim kids who respect their fathers and understand just how Merciful Islam is. Take care of your loved ones’ hearts and don’t worry… Allah will take care of yours…

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

BUSTED AGAIN: Why Some Women Can’t Stand Their Men!

Published On inkoffaith.com
March 30th, 2015

busted again

BUSTED AGAIN: Why Some Women Can’t Stand Their Men!

I hear sounds of printers beeping all around the city… Women getting dressed in a rush, one right shoe and one wrong shoe…. Tripping down the stairs in a frantic hurry, driving like maniacs and honking at other cars to move along, and then finally, with no introductions, each woman barges into her husband’s office in the middle of a staff meeting and shoves this article in his face.

“It’s payback time big guy!” The wife crosses her arms with triumph.

“I’m in the middle of a meeting honey!” The husband’s face turns blood red.

“I don’t care! Last month you rubbed that “Why Men Need Four Women” article thing in my face! Well, guess what? Men aren’t perfect either!” She snaps.

“Is that by the same author? Ahhhhhh see? That’s an obvious typo. The author meant to say “Why Some Women Can’t UNDERSTAND Their Men!” The husband explains knowingly.

The wife grabs the paper to check again, and the staff members all rise to applaud their genius boss, and before you know it, the all-male business meeting turns to a marriage support group, sharing stories of how wives misunderstand everything, and are too blind to see how PERFECT their men are!

On her way home, the berated wife decides to leave this embarrassing incident on the Q.T, so she only calls her best friend, her neighbor and a couple of her colleagues at work to subtly voice out her anger.
“I can’t stand him! He thinks he’s always right! I swear behind that Mr. Perfect façade he’s really mean! But no one believes me!”

Of course only a few will sympathize because most of us don’t know what happens behind closed doors…

 What Do Women Want?

“It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it!”

That’s one of the classic statements that drive men up the wall. Many men find women very complicated they’re actually compiling a book to help them crack the female code:

“Yes” means “No”

“I’m sorry” means “You’ll be sorry!”
“Do what you want” means “Don’t you dare!”

So naturally when wives attempt to describe what they need from their husbands, some men are both cynical and confused. They have come to the conviction that they do a great job but nothing is good enough for women. So let’s take a sneak peak at what men are silently thinking when women voice out their complaints…

Shhhhhhhhh come with me….

Wife: “I don’t care about money. All I want is to be loved and respected”

Husband: And yet she wants me to show that love with diamond rings, trips to Hawaii and expensive dinners! Do you know what that requires, honey? A LOT OF MONEY!

Wife: “He doesn’t need to spend the whole day with me to make me happy. I’m looking for quality time together even if it’s just an hour a day!”

Husband: And that is why she gives me grief when I meet up with the guys once a week, even though I take her out every night!

Wife: “I just need a man I can trust and depend on. Someone who understands me!”

Husband: And when I’m all there listening and helping, she resists any solutions I give and insists I don’t understand her! Why are women so DIFFICULT?

The truth is, women aren’t complicated, they just speak a different language that is quite foreign to men. There’s a lot of miscommunication in marriages because while men operate through logical thinking, women work on pure feelings. Men have the urge to solve problems in a practical efficient way, while women just need to talk it out without being judged or impelled to make sudden changes. Wives tend to generalize and are more imaginative, while husbands are literal and very specific.

When a woman says she doesn’t care about money, she means it’s not her top priority but of course it still is important! She’s not looking forward to living in a dumpster, but will stand by her man either way if she really loves him. When a woman expresses her anger or frustration it doesn’t mean she’s blaming the husband for everything that went wrong, she just needs to let out some steam! We use figures of speech and metaphors too, you know!

A woman’s ‘five minutes’ does not literally mean 300 seconds!
Why is that so hard for men to understand?!

The Vicious Circle Couples Twirl In

Ever wondered why men are so obsessed with watching soccer matches?

Besides the fact that yelling and swearing at the TV is not a punishable crime as opposed to say, roaring at the kids, men generally like to keep score. And they relate to the rules that are clear and simple…

Win-Lose

Black-White

Yes-No

Whatever lies between the two options is a grey area that doesn’t really register in male brains as significant. So if you’re having a conversation with a man and you don’t adamantly and deliberately stress on the fact that he’s RIGHT, don’t be surprised if he gets offended. I mean, in a black and white world, if you don’t think he’s right then you obviously think he’s wrong! Which means the score is 1 to nothing! It’s not that men are arrogant or in denial, they just need to win, and they work more efficiently through encouragement. They need their wives’ approval and appreciation because it motivates them to be better and give more! On the other hand, if men are constantly criticized or are being told what to do and how to do it, they start feeling blamed, rejected and eventually give up, even when that’s not the intention of women at all!

Oh my God! There she goes again giving excuses to the men! You’d think a female author would support her own kind every once in a while! Holy!

 Time For Men To Step Up!

(Girls you’ll need to cover your ears now. This section is strictly for men!)

Even though women are emotionally stronger and have great powers at their disposal (two beliefs supported by Islam and psychology), it still doesn’t take the heat off husbands. It takes two to make a marriage work or fall apart. There’s a reason why many wives are frustrated these days, and it’s not because they’re drama queens. Women have needs that some men obviously don’t understand. Many husbands already spend time at home and make big deals of special occasions and are very much willing to help but their wives are still unhappy. It’s not what you do but rather it’s how you make your woman feel.

As years go by, the rush in a marriage settles down and is replaced with a sacred bond of understanding. A husband needs to remember that his wife isn’t out there to make his life miserable; she’s actually on his side! With days filled with commitments, responsibilities and distractions, women need to feel acknowledged. They need to feel loved and appreciated even if it’s with little daily gestures like a warm hug. If you really want to score big with your woman, give importance to those simple acts of love like getting her a rose for no reason at all or giving her a compliment when she looks tired. Try to maintain scoring one virtual point everyday instead of doing a big gesture every six months and then say ‘Hey, I sat through an entire musical for you last summer, that should earn me enough points for a whole year!”

Yeah it doesn’t work that way.

You can take the space you need and do the things you love with your guy friends and all but in return leave your wife with a reassuring feeling that you love her and miss her. Women are strong and capable and independent but deep inside they’re also soft and sensitive…. All they need is a genuine feeling to keep them going.

The beloved Prophet (PBUH) was a very busy man. Not the normal ‘I have a business meeting’ or ‘Come on it’s the Champion’s League’ kind of busy, no he was literally the one man carrying the hugest burden of ‘changing the world’ on his shoulders. Yet he was the softest, most loving and most tender husband of all times. He gave time and attention to his wives, helped with the housework, mended his own clothes and actually listened when his wife had a problem. One time Lady Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) lost her necklace on the way back from one of the battles and our beloved Prophet (PBUH) asked the whole army to stop and look for it. How considerate was that?

In his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad dedicated a whole part of his speech to remind men to show love and respect to their wives and give them their rights. He continued saying, “Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers….”

That said, let’s pause and watch husbands today….

Most wives carry the burden of raising the kids, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, driving the kids’ to soccer practices and art classes, besides having careers of their own, keeping up with a busy social life and maintaining their figures and beauty. Yes we are strong but we can’t be super women all the time! What happened to husbands that some of them won’t even bother taking the initiative to lighten that burden? Of course some men help out but others do it condescendingly as a favor. Women are overwhelmed, anxious and tired from the expectations that perhaps they put upon themselves, but it would certainly be nice to feel appreciated for their tremendous efforts. Why does it seem to us that some men’s teeth hurt when they give their wives compliments?

To every husband who had the self-control and open-mind to reach this sentence 🙂

Look at that woman sleeping beside you… Remember who she is…?

She is the same women you dreamt of day and night, cherishing the thought of making her happy and loving her forever. She is the one who stood by you through thick and thin… gave you children whom she dedicates her life to raise well and fills your home with love and tenderness. This is the young woman who left her parent’s protective bubble to come live in your arms… She is the one her dad trusted you with, just like one day you’ll give your daughter to a stranger and hope he will treasure her every day till the end of time. She is the princess that walked into your life to help you, love you and face the obstacles of the unknown with you, hand in hand. Perhaps she’s flawed, yes, but so are you. Perhaps she nags and whines and acts up sometimes. True. But if only you knew that it takes just a warm hug to make her heart melt and tame even her wildest temper. This woman needs you… she needs your love, support and attention. You don’t have to give her solutions or turn the world upside down to make her happy…

All you need to do is look at her…

Really look at her, absorb her and acknowledge her…
Take that extra minute to reassure her you’ll always be there to cherish and love her no matter what happens…

In the end, it’s making her feel like she’s the best wife ever is really what makes you…

The greatest man alive…

Lilly S. Mohsen

Are Your Dreams BIG Enough?

Published on Productive Muslim
Feb 25th, 2015
This is the original uncut version

Are Your Dreams Big Enough?

Surat Al Kahf Series- Part Four
The Finale

Ladies and gentlemen we are approaching the end of this series. Please fasten your seatbelts and make sure your seats are in the upright position. On behalf of the cabin crew I would like to thank you for taking this journey with us and hope to see you here again soon….

Okay fine, I use humor to hide my true feelings, and today I have a tiny heartache because I’m really going to miss talking about Surat Al Kahf. But on a lighter note, while researching the final story, which is about a king named ‘Dhul Qarnayn’ (The man of the two horns) I found out that a possible reason for his title is his hairdo; two ponytails that looked like horns (That cheered me up honestly!)

Others say it’s because he reached the two ‘horns’ of the sun; east and west. In fact there are many interpretations of his title and Allah knows best which is the true one. It’s his fascinating story that concerns us most since we are asked to read it every single Friday for the rest of our lives.

Dhul Qarnayn was a legendary righteous king whom Allah had given immense power. He used his gift to travel around the globe, encountering on his journey a number of different nations whom he helped reform. One of his greatest achievements is building a dam to protect the entire world from the terror of two monster tribes named Gog and Magog, whose penetration through that solid wall will one of the ten major signs of Judgment Day. His story ends abruptly but I know is that Allah mentioned Dhul Qarnayn’s story in about sixteen holy verses from the Qur’an for us to learn something crucial. So here it goes….

Dreams Are The Seeds Of Power

Now this is just a speculation on my part so please don’t quote me on it. I can’t help but imagine this amazing king’s childhood and in my mind there was an incident that went something like this:

“Mommy when I grow up I’m going to change the world!”

“That’s so sweet honey. Now finish your vegetables please!”

“I mean it… My dream is to go on the most magnificent adventure of all time. I want to travel around the world and change it to the better…”

“I am so proud of you my son! You are destined for greatness my son. Never give up on that beautiful dream.”

Perhaps that wasn’t the exact conversation but one thing I’m sure of is that this worldwide journey did not happen by chance. Once Allah gave him the means and the power, Dhul Qarnayn did not waste any time. He used his passion for adventures to help people left and right, and followed his dreams. It’s that kind of aspiration that can conquer the unimaginable! This is what legendary leaders are made out of; heroic missions, consuming passion and a dream too big for the human mind to absorb. So tell me, how do you react to your children’s unrealistic dreams? More importantly, which of your ambitions makes you jump out of bed in the morning? Dhul Qarnayn’s story is both an inspiration for those who have a goal, and a big slap on the face for those who don’t. If your dream falls short of pursuing the impossible for the sake of Allah, then… well… good luck and have a nice boring life! The ultimate dream is not tangled within this life, it’s to reach the highest Heavens and by God, don’t let anything stop you from working hard to get there. That’s what makes Muslims oh so special… We have an end in mind.

Justice Is The Essence Of Power

Dhul Qarnayn’s first visit mentioned in the Qur’an was to a group of people living in the far west. His massively gigantic army and the features of his superiority were simply indescribable. Allah said,

Indeed We established him upon the earth, and We gave him to everything a way.” (16:84)

The word ‘everything’ in this ayah leaves me speechless. This king was, by far, the most powerful man on earth! So what did he do when he first arrived? You’d think he would confiscate the city’s treasures and set his military generals up in fancy castles. He would have a huge ceremony and command the big heads to bow to him just to show who is boss! Surprisingly, the only demonstration of his power came in the form of establishing justice and enforcing a new constitution that treated everyone the same. No matter what your status was, if you did good you’d be rewarded and if you did wrong you’d be punished. Clear and simple.

Anyone who ever became successful like a president or any other authority figure started the path with a big dream, but without fairness and integrity, no one can withhold power for long. Once your dream of having children of your own for example comes true, if you don’t treat them justly, that dream will turn into a nightmare when you lose your kids’ love and respect. Reaching a higher rank needs taking consistent steps towards success, and the most eminent one of those is justice.

Abu Musa reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “It is out of reverence to Allah in respecting an aged Muslim, and the one who commits the Qur’an to memory and does not exaggerate pronouncing its letters nor forgets it after memorizing, and to respect the just ruler“.

 And yet which of today’s leaders truly deserve our respect…?

 When There’s ‘Will’ There A Way

On another trip, Dhul Qarnayn came in contact with a terrified nation where he was offered payment in return for protection from the tribes of Gog and Magog, who were relentlessly corrupting their land. This king’s reputation and global power had obviously exceeded him, for these people knew him by name. Him being honorable, Dhul Qarnayn refused to take their money to build the huge wall and asked to be aided by their manpower instead. Now these people knew exactly what needed to be done, they were rich, strong and capable, they had solutions, natural resources and workers, and even though they were dying every day, they did nothing about it. What they lacked was the will and determination…. Two things we need to instill in our children if we ever hope for a brighter future. Dhul Qarnayn urged these people to work and literally saved the world, he put most of today’s leaders to shame, the presidents who celebrate their power with drinks and extravagant parties while other nations like Palestine and Syria are suffering and withering away. How is this king’s story not making the blood race in our veins? How are we still snuggling on our coaches all day watching TV and eating chips when each and every one of us is an authority figure somewhere whether at work or at home or even at school?! I swear to Allah there is NO time for free time! So tell me, are your dreams big enough?

With even minimum knowledge of the one-eyed Dajjal (Anti-Christ) you’ll easily figure out that the stage is already being set for his arrival. The wrong has become so normal that people are ashamed of doing what’s right. We’ve become so self involved to the point that the closest relationships we have are not with our families but with our IPhones and IPods and IPads, the keyword being ‘I’ or ‘eye’, whichever way you want to look at it. This hideous being will come to test our faith, blind us with wealth, confuse us with his knowledge and assume power over the whole world, starting with taking control of our own minds. Instead of making every minute count, we are counting the minutes till the day is over…. We are wasting precious time that we will NEVER get back!

Yes this sounds like a reprimanding lecture, but we are all in the same boat here, myself included. How do we get out of this rut? I’m glad you asked (Finally!)

 You And Me: We Can Make A Difference

Revolve your life around a dream that pleases Allah and lifts up this beautiful ummah. Don’t be scared. Dream BIG! And as you take each step forward remember to stay humble, for that’s the only way you’ll ever learn and succeed. Hold on to your principles and your faith, because no matter how common wrong has become, it still doesn’t make it right. Fight for justice. Speak up and make a difference. Step out into this world with a zest that will overwhelm people around you. Take pride in applying our beloved Prophet’s advice and show the world how truly amazing you are.

To all the Muslims around the world, this is the final wake up call.

Dream…. The most enchantingly marvelous dreams… and then wake up and be the proud powerful leaders you are meant to be.

Guide and lead the way….
You can do it.

I know you can…

Lilly S. Mohsen