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Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode Six

Office

 

“What can I do for you today Maggie?” The young nurse asked after introducing herself and checking the filled-in medical chart.

“Oh I’m just here for a routine checkup with Dr. Miller” Maggie replied.

“Very well then! Let’s get started” The nurse nodded.

“Thank you Miss ummm… I’m sorry I didn’t get your name” Maggie said.

“It’s Hannah” The nurse smiled.

 

There was something about this nurse that was very intriguing. They started talking, went out for coffee and a couple of weeks later became totally inseparable. Hannah poured out her heart about her loneliness, her failed marriage and the ache of being barren, while Maggie confided in her about the addiction and how hard it was to be a single mother. Like two faces of the same coin, they somehow completed each other. Hannah was Maggie’s soul mate. She took care of Maggie and doted on her son; she was practically his second mom. She taught Maggie the values and morals no one cared to teach her, and encouraged her to instill them in her child. The three of them shared an indescribable bond until the day Hannah got married….

 

“I don’t know how to explain it, she just changed! She became distant and paranoid.” Maggie gazed outside my office window. “It’s like she’s there but she’s not really there! Why does this always happen with everyone I love? My mom died, my husband left, my son’s aloof and my best friend changed! Every time I get attached to someone or something, I lose it! Why can’t we have just one relationship that’s comfortable and happy? Why do we always have to get hurt? Why does Allah let us find love and care after so long and then take them away and watch us suffer?” Maggie covered her face and wept on my desk for what seemed like eternity. She was ashamed of how she was questioning Allah’s will with so much bitterness, but honestly, I was relieved she did. It was time to address her doubts before they start eating her up alive.

“How’s your son doing at school?” I asked, changing the subject, completely prepared for Maggie to lift her head up and give me a ‘confused, frustrated, you’re-the-worst-therapist-ever’ look.

“His PATs are coming up and he thinks this is the perfect time to bond with his Play Station!” Maggie scoffed while wiping her tears.

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“I took it away of course! And I told him he’s not allowed to play games online or chat for hours with his friends till summer time. He can say I’m strict and mean till he’s blue in the face! It wouldn’t change a thing! I’m doing it for his own good!”

“But why can’t he have both; fun and success? Why must you be so harsh on him?” I asked.

“I’m not being harsh! Discipline is the essence of love, Lilly! If my dad had disciplined me instead of letting me do what I want maybe I wouldn’t have had the time or the chance to take drugs! It’s so easy to slip! And now that I’m sober, I’m going to protect my son, because I love him, more than words can ever say!”

“You’re not gaining anything, you just want him to succeed for him Even if right now, he can’t understand why you’re pushing so hard, one day he will, and he’ll thank you for it!” I said with an unexplainable grin.

“See? Exactly!” Maggie raised her hands. “At least someone gets it!”

“To Him belongs the greatest example, but that’s what Allah does, too! He takes away the metaphorical Play Station so we can focus on our ultimate goal! The people we love, they sometimes change, because Allah knows the real joy is in loving Him more! The friends we depend on, they eventually leave, because Allah wants us to ask Him and depend on Him alone. This life is not real Maggie; it’s only a means to a beautiful destination! Allah takes things away to redirect us to the path leading to Paradise. Yes it hurts, and we might whine about it till we are blue in the face, but without suffering we will never learn from our mistakes! Allah does not gaining anything either way! He does it for our own good, because He loves us more than words can say….”

 

Maggie smiled sadly and said, “Your words touch my heart. But I’m afraid when I go back to my life, my mind will take control again. If everything that gives us pleasure is taken away, how can we find joy in this life? Are Muslims not allowed to be happy?”

“A lot of people ask this very same question!“ I confessed. “ I think we need to define what happiness is first before we start looking for it. Take Ramadan for instance, many people wonder why it is associated with peace and gladness when it’s all about self-restraint! Prophet Muhammad said, Allah says

‘There are two (occasions) of joy for the observer of fast. He feels joy when he breaks the fast and he is happy when he meets Allah.” (http://sunnah.com/muslim/13/214)

 

It’s confusing when you look at it from the outside. Of course we’re super excited to eat and drink after waiting for hours on pins and needles for Maghreb prayer! But it’s only for a couple of seconds before we slip into a food coma, so where is the joy Allah is talking about?” I asked.

 

Maggie shrugged then held her breath for the answer.

“Unlike praying and giving charity, fasting is the only act that can never involve showing off (Reya’). It’s purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah alone, which is what we were created to do! So when you finally break your fast, you’re overwhelmed with the joy of finally fulfilling your real purpose in this world, purely for Allah and no one else. With that first sip of water we get an unparalleled feeling of gratitude and appreciation for His blessings! We’re in sync with our ‘fitrah’, our true nature, and that’s why we feel alive.”

 

Perhaps Allah is redefining the meaning of real happiness and joy for us because, let’s face it, we got it all wrong! The people you see dancing and smoking up at parties, who center their lives around being ‘hip’ and ‘fun’, are actually very sad deep inside. No matter what they do, they always feel lost and ‘dead’ inside. Trust me, I’m a therapist, and if these walls could talk, they’d tell you the same thing! Happiness is elusive; everyone is chasing it but no one is able to pin it down. Muslims on the other hand hold the secret to everlasting joy, in both this life and the Hereafter.

We get a crash course every Ramadan on how to be genuinely happy. We’re able to master our own minds instead of being slaves to our desires. Fasting helps us set our priorities straight, because even the simplest craving can become an addiction. When your eyes are glued to the TV then you hear the call for prayer, you’ll get up! You’ll remember how you give up basic needs in Ramadan and put Allah first, and it will strengthen your will power. When you see the drugs, or hear of the rave parties or any other ‘allegedly’ fun things in life, you’ll remember the day you were parched from thirst yet wouldn’t touch that bottle of water because you’re fasting.

 

Do you know what real happiness is? Look up any self-help book or motivational speeches by top entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers; they all agree that happiness is in achievements and real joy is in helping others be happy! Because the ‘purpose of life is a life with purpose’, and that is the essence of the forth pillar of Islam.

 

Ramadan unites us Maggie. We gather for ‘Iftar’ and walk together to the mosque and sit side by side to recite Qur’an. This is the month when we are reminded we’re not alone, the month of smiles and charity and kindness. Muslims all around the world see themselves as brothers and sisters, even if they’re far away from their families. They find happiness in helping each other. This is the love for the sake of Allah… the most joyous, most precious love of all… and trust me, once you find it, it will never be taken away…”

 

“I feel so peaceful and content…” Maggie smiled.

Two minutes later, her phone was vibrating non-stop and she politely asked me if she could take the call.

“My dad won’t stop calling. It must be urgent!” She panicked.

 

“Dad is everything okay?” I heard Maggie ask. She then stood up, and screamed “WHAT!”

She was snow-white pale when she dropped her cell phone to the ground and froze in place….

You see, it always comes as a shock even when you’ve been expecting it…

You never know when your life will completely change to a point when you hardly recognize yourself. It could happen in a heartbeat! And for Maggie…

This was it…

 

To be continued…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode Five

Office

She dragged her feet into my office and reluctantly handed me a small bag of pills.

“I must say I’m very proud of you Maggie!” I smiled.

“I’ve been clean for a year, 4 months and 26 days, and yet every time I’m feeling down I still think of drugs! Like they say ‘once an addict, always an addict’, right?” Maggie smiled sadly when I offered her a cup of water. Tears of regret flowed down her face silently, as she remembered how it all started…

 

“Umm hello? Dump him!’ Tanya said, rummaging through her fridge.
“He’s my husband! We have a child together and I love him!” Maggie replied.

She’d been staying at her friend’s house for the past three days. Maggie was trying to put pressure on her husband, hoping he would take her seriously and start realizing there were two people in this marriage.

“He hasn’t called which means he’s already made his decision! How can he possibly think I can do it alone? I can’t!!” Maggie cried.

“I told you he’d leave one day because you’re too conventional Maggie, it’s boring! You need to loosen up a bit and have some fun! You’re still too young for this heartache!” Tanya said, “Here take this!”

“What is it?” Maggie asked.

“It’s a magic pill… it will make all your problems disappear…” Tanya smiled wickedly. 

Maggie knew exactly what the pill was, but she ignored her better judgment and took it anyway! Day after day she went on the ‘drug escapade’ until pretty soon she was completely strung out! Mortified at what had become of her, Maggie’s family shipped her off to a rehab facility a couple of months later. And by the time she was released, her husband had left, her friends had abandoned her and her child was treating her like a total stranger.

Maggie was shaking when she looked up at me. “I stayed in rehab for three months! It was a nightmare, but at least I was getting better! Now that I’m out in the real world, it’s a constant struggle to stay strong! It’s so hard to stay away from that ‘high’ especially at times when you feel so ‘low’ ” She said.

 

“I love how you summed up the three types of adversities in life;

1-Staying steady in times of turbulence,

2-Staying away from sinful pleasures in times of weakness

3-Staying sane enough to see the light during our darkest times.

 

It’s not easy, Maggie! Whoever says otherwise is either lying or is not human! Think of drugs as all kinds of sinful desires people yearn for and you’ll see how every one of us is struggling too!” I said. “It starts with an instinctual alarm sound, like the one you disregarded when you took that first pill. At times of weakness, we go against our own belief systems because of a strong ‘pull’; be it forbidden pleasure or passion, peer pressure, loneliness, temptation… whatever the trap is, we’re drawn into it through either doubts or desires. The doubtful thoughts are hopefully cured with Islamic knowledge, but the desires, those need special training, like boot camp!” I smiled.

“What do you mean?” Maggie asked.

“Patience doesn’t just come naturally, Maggie; it needs practice and training!

For the three hardships in life we spoke about, we desperately need three shields:

  • Patience to stay on Allah’s path
  • Patience to restrain ourselves from sins
  • Patience during the hard times..

 

Lose one of those three guards and you’re a prime target for Satan to lead you astray! Without extensive training, you’re literally a sitting duck!” I joked.
“Where can I find this ‘Patience Boot Camp then’?” Maggie asked.
“It’s in your mind, body and soul. And your heart is the strict coach keeping everyone in line. The forth pillar of Islam is all the training we need. Every Ramadan we practice the three types of patience and win the battle against our weaknesses and desires! The fact that we can stop ourselves from ‘halal’ acts like eating and drinking, is enough proof we can surely restrain ourselves from doing ‘haram’. We’re a lot stronger than we think Maggie!” I said. “So no, once an addict is not always an addict! Allah is more Merciful and Kinder than to put us amidst temptations without the proper tools to fight them! Now, if you don’t want to change, no one can help you, but if you do want to change, nothing and no one can stop you! Don’t tag or label yourself. Allah forgives all our past sins in Ramadan so we can get a chance to start anew after 30 days of vigorous self-discipline and training.” I said.

 

“I remember now. Every time I would ask my nanny why she was always fasting, she would relate this hadith.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said.

“Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins.”(http://sunnah.com/bukhari/30/14)” Maggie reminisced. “I was a spoiled child and a trouble maker sometimes, but my nanny…. She never gave up on me! She loved and took care of me. Even after my dad kicked her out, she didn’t treat me differently! Perhaps you’re right, some people do master the art of patience…. Those are the people who change lives, for last year she had surely changed mine….”

 

“Eat something sweet heart! You look like a ghost!” Her nanny said. She served her a bowl of soup and stared lovingly at the daughter she never had.

Maggie had never stopped visiting, making sure she brought groceries and meds and anything else she thought her former nanny might need. She couldn’t imagine her life without this old woman who came to replace her late mother. She only babysat her on weekends, yet had given Maggie more care and softness than she’d ever known.

“When are you coming back?” Maggie asked. “The house is not the same without you! It’s like a morbid grave!”

“Aren’t you a bit too old to have a nanny?” The old woman joked.

“Don’t change the subject. I know exactly why you left, and I’ll never forgive my dad for what he has done to you! He’s horrible!”

“Manners Maggie! You must respect your parents no matter what they do!” Her nanny scolded.

“I’m sorry. I just feel so lonely now. My dad has been miserable lately, my son hates me, my husband is gone and my friends are scared of me! I wish I had a ‘person’ you know? Someone who can be there for me and lift me up when I’m down…Like a sister or something.” Maggie said sadly.

Her nanny was silent for a long time; her mind had obviously drifted far away. When the old woman finally woke up from her temporary haze, she took Maggie’s hand and headed to the door.

“I’m not going to watch you wither away! You need to get checked by a real doctor! You’ve lost so much weight you look like Popeye’s wife!” Her nanny said.

“God you’re old!” Maggie laughed.

 

The old woman took her to the clinic to see Dr. Miller, and then made a lame excuse for why she couldn’t accompany her inside, which was weird, given it was her nanny’s idea to come see this doctor in the first place.

 “What can I do for you today?” The young nurse asked after introducing herself and checking the filled-in medical chart.

“Oh I’m just here for a routine checkup with Dr. Miller” Maggie replied.

“Very well then! Let’s get started” The nurse nodded.

“Thank you Miss ummm… I’m sorry I didn’t get your name” Maggie said.

“It’s Hannah…”

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out!

Uncovered2

Published On Ink Of Faith, March 9th, 2015

Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out!

Standing behind bars in prison uniform it suddenly occurs to me that ‘orange’ is so NOT my color! Prosecutors and defendants exchange witness lists, while the judge slams that golden gavel and yells “SILENCE IN THE COURT ROOM!”.

Here come the opening statements. This isn’t going to be pleasant people.
Oh my God, what have I done?

“Ms. Mohsen is the new kid on the block, your honor. She had no right to judge ‘uncovered’ women in her last article. A life sentence in jail is what this so called Islamic writer deserves!” The Prosecutor argues.

“Life sentence? Dramatic much?!” I mumble to myself.

“Your honor, with all due respect, my client did not mean to offend or judge anyone. If anything, the whole reason behind this writing was to celebrate the ‘true icons’ like she mentioned. After all, Hijab is an Islamic obligation, according to chapter 24, verse 31 of the Holy Qur’an.” My lawyer explains.
Way to go girl!

My wild imagination aside, the feedback on the article “Uncovered: Why More Women Are Taking Off Their Hijab” was overwhelmingly vast I literally had to lock myself up and stare at the wall for a while. Gratefully, most of the comments were extremely positive and uplifting, and I humbly take this opportunity to thank our readers for this overpoweringly huge boost. Even so, still some people perceived the writing (or perhaps me) as judgmental, superficial, narrow-minded, and one reader basically asked me to shut up!

Rejection and criticism can be great tools in helping us develop thicker skin. One of my greatest teachers once said: “Let no praise make you arrogant and let no condemnation drag you down.” While it gave me utmost joy to celebrate those beautiful strangers who still continue to wear the Hijab, I think it’s only respectful to reveal the other side of the story, about the Muslim women who decided to take it off… The ones who felt judged, criticized and, most of all, misunderstood…

Who Are We Judge?

But is that what my article sounded like to non-Hijabis? Like I’m judging them? If the answer is yes then I’m beyond mortified, and I truly apologize. Only Allah knows that wasn’t my intention.

Islam is the true reflection of humility, compassion, peace and love. As much as I respect veiled women, as much as it would break my heart to see them looking down on others who chose to take it off or not put it on. My own sister and many of my best friends aren’t wearing the Hijab, yet they probably do more good than I do. We are all slaves of the Great Lord, and none of us is perfect.

“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them……” (Surat Al-Ĥujurāt, Verse 11, Holy Qur’an)

Confusion Is Messing Us Up!

“OBJECTION! Your honor she’s obviously swaying from the main subject. The issue of Hijab is argued to be debatable and Ms. Mohsen is still assuming her opinion of it being an obligation is the definite one! She even had the audacity to call any other view ‘nauseating’ ” The Prosecutor turns red with anger at this point. “She’s interpreting the Holy Qur’an according to her own understanding! Why isn’t she giving uncovered women the same rights to interpret it differently?”

Why is my lawyer silent? Like HELLO! Say something!
She’s disappointed at my choice of words, isn’t she? I described the act of women spreading their doubts about Hijab as ‘appalling’ and ‘absurd’… Yes that wasn’t very nice. My mom was disappointed too! Well, that just proves my point that none of us is perfect. I admit I should have been more eloquent in expressing my disagreement. Now please allow me to elaborate on why I disagree in a more logical way.

Okay. So you’re on a plane and the flight attendant says “Ladies and gentlemen, please contact the airline manufacturing department to provide you with seatbelts, and once they’re delivered, please fasten them so we can finally take off!”

No that’s not what happens, simply because the seatbelts are already there, you just need to fasten them, that’s it, right?

What about the head covers? Allah did NOT say “Oh Mohamed, tell the women to go buy a piece of cloth, and call it a headscarf, veil, khimar or hijab and then cover their hair and necks with it.” No that’s not what happened either, simply because women at that time already wore head covers, they were just asked to wrap them tightly so their ears, necks and chests don’t show. No wonder there were no riots or debates about the obligation of wearing the hijab at that time.

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women….”. (Surat An-Nūr, 24:31, Holy Qur’an)

To those who argue that Hijab isn’t an Islamic obligation and that I’m only sharing my personal understanding of the Qur’an, the above verses are not my words, they’re Allah Almighty’s words, and they’re pretty straight forward. It is for this very same reason that females cover their hair and bodies when they pray, even though it’s not mentioned anywhere in the Holy Qur’an. That is basically because proper Hijab is our Islamic attire till this day, and it wasn’t just bounded to the times of the blessed Prophet (PBUH). Why else would God explain in details the specific men we are allowed to show our adornment to, if everyone is allowed to see us with no head covers to begin with?

One of the greatest trials we are facing in the modern world are the alterations of certain matters in Islam into uncertain ones. Some skeptics explain that Riba is lawful and that drinking certain kinds of alcohol is permissible and that Hijab is not at all an obligation. Of course we are all allowed the freedom of speech, but it’s the confusion that is messing us up, and it’s somehow making Muslims abide by the beliefs that are convenient to their lives only. If uncovered women are okay with standing before Almighty Allah on the Day of Judgment and testifying they’re not convinced of Hijab, then by all means let them share their doubts and I’ll stay out of it! (Hey, where’s my mute button?)

Are You Up For A Big Surprise?

Time to blow this story wide-open girls! Because it’s not only in Islam that women are required to cover up. It’s also in all the Holy Books.

“Excuse me Miss. Do you have a copy of the Holy Bible? Yes there it is!”

“For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man” (Corinthians 11:6-7, Holy Bible) 

In Judaism, head or hair covering is known as ‘Kisui rosh’. It’s mentioned in the Torah. In fact, some interpretations of the verses explain it as form of adultery for women not to cover their hair.

…”then, that head or hair covering was law for the daughters of Israel” (Sifrei Bamidbar 11)

So I’m ‘Uncovered’! Shoot Me!

I’m not here to defend the women who took off their headscarves, but certainly no one is allowed to shoot them down either! It’s our obligation to remind ourselves and others to do the right thing, and it’s also our choice to take the advice or leave it. Again it’s not the veil, it’s the ‘Taqwa’, faith and good manners that count the most. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sums it up beautifully in one of his hadiths…

Abu Hurayra said, “The Prophet (PBUH) was asked,
“Messenger of Allah! A certain woman prays in the night, fasts in the day, acts and gives ‘sadaqa’ (charity), but injures her neighbors with her tongue.”
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, ‘There is no good in her. She is one of the people of the Fire.”They said, “Another woman prays the prescribed prayers and gives bits of curd as sadaqa and does not injure anyone.”The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH) said, ‘She is one of the people of the Garden.'” (Sahih (Al-Albani) Al Adab Al Mufrad 119)

I know non-Hijabi women who spend their time helping the needy and memorizing the Qur’an, and other Hijabis who wear skin-tight outfits and are the biggest gossipmongers ever! Some women posted comments saying they took off their Hijab because they’re being assaulted by non-Muslims in the West. I honestly understand their fear, and only God knows what they’re going through to hold on to their Islam. It’s time we face the ultimate truth, we are not here to judge. we are all only here to worship the Great Lord and help each other stay on the right track.

If we were all sentenced because of our personal choices, then there wouldn’t be not one innocent human being living on this planet. I remind myself before anyone else that I’m a weak sinner. The temptations of this world get to us, and God knows we are only human. We silence that voice inside reminding us of the Hereafter because it’s so difficult to resist our cravings. It’s beyond difficult! We don’t wanna be reminded to eat healthy while we’re enjoying a delicious Nutella covered piece of cake. We don’t wanna think of Judgment Day when we wear tight or revealing dresses and get showered with compliments and admiring looks. We just wanna scream at the top of our lungs ‘STOP! Stop telling me I don’t pray enough or I should read more Qur’an! Stop reminding me of my shortcomings! Don’t you think they’re already killing me?!”

Every person giving you advice is already struggling with a sin of his or her own to start with. We are all scared and insecure. But what else can we do except be there for each other…? The wrong has become so common; it’s a miracle some people are still holding on to what’s right…. It’s at times like this that I need you and you need me….

To all our readers, in this trial I ask you to be the jury coming up with the final verdict. I hope you’ll speak your mind and tell the rest of us how you truly feel…. And may the ones who judge you for your honesty be silenced.

And to my dearest Allah, the Most Merciful Lord, I’m down on my knees asking Your forgiveness… If my writing has hurt any of Your slaves or has pushed women away instead of bringing them closer to You, then it’s my fault not theirs. I plead guilty and I hope you’ll pardon me for not delivering the message in a way that touches people’s hearts. Islam is perfect but we aren’t, and only You know how imperfect and flawed I am, so please help me… and help us…

Because without Your guidance we are all….
Nothing at all….

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

When Money Talks, Shut It UP!

Published by ProductiveMuslim.com on Feb 11th, 2015
Below is the original uncut version

When Money Talks
Shut it UP!

Surat Al Kahf Series- Part Two

“No I’m just a normal person like everyone else! Granted `I live in a 17 floor mansion, but you know, it’s very simple. The walls are gold plated and the fireplaces and crystal lights are all voice activated. I got my bedroom suite for only 250,000 pounds! Pretty good deal, huh? But anyways, enough about me! Now tell me something about you”

You probably met one of those before; the kind of people who don’t necessarily brag out loud, but instead work it into the conversation to let everyone know how ‘well’ they’re doing. They feign that shocked look when they hear that not every person in the world owns a private jet or summers in Cannes with all the celebrities. Then they’ll pout as they try to make you feel better about your miserable life, all the while adding more insult to injury, with details about how they spend lonely nights on their 20 feet yachts and light their cancerous cigars with hundred dollar bills, rubbing their riches in your face till your teeth hurt.

Well, on second thought, I really hope you’ve never met anyone like that. I must say it’s not a very pleasant experience.

And even though these people might brag about modern day luxuries, their three-step technique is as old as time itself, and is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an more than 1400 years ago in a chapter Muslims are required to read every single Friday. It’s the story of the man with two gardens in Surat Al Kahf, and yes, we read it weekly for a reason!

So let’s quickly recap the events of the story. Two men have a conversation in which the richer one boasts about his wealth, denies Judgment Day and lets arrogance overcome him. The less fortunate man reminds him it can all perish in an instant, and soon enough, the wealthy man’s estate falls to pieces before his eyes. The End!

STEP ONE: Pretentiousness Turns To Conceit

Perhaps they were neighbors, but companionship was all those two men had in common. One’s resources were scarce to the point of negligible, while the other man, oh my, he had it all! Endless palm trees surrounded his vast acres of lush grapevines and huge field of crops. A river gushed between his two heaven-like gardens to eliminate the problem of irrigation. His estate didn’t manage itself obviously, which is how we know he probably had hundreds of employees working for him. This man’s empire produced crops and fruits at full capacity, with 0% probability of lost or damaged goods. The money rolled in endlessly and well, this man was evidently one of those ‘if you got it flaunt it’ kind of guy!

Yet the wealthy man did not go up to his poor companion and boast out of nowhere!

It wasn’t like:

“Knock knock”

“Who is there?”

“Rich!”

“Rich who?”

“Richer than you are! Bye”

No, Allah specifically explains that he let it slip in a conversation both men were already engaged in. And what was the poor man’s response? Nothing! I mean what would you say when someone adamantly tries to make you feel less of a person because you’re not rich enough? Planting a seed of inadequacy in other people’s hearts is the first step downhill. You can’t drag someone down unless you’re lower than they are, and that’s what showing off turns us into; conceited, mean and low.

STEP TWO: Conceit Turns To Violation

For some reason, arrogant people with high statuses hear stories of disasters around the world and brush it off completely as if they’re not susceptible to any of that. Their wealth blinds them into thinking they’re superior in this world, and consequently the first runner ups for bigger treasures in the Hereafter. That’s arrogance on top of arrogance! At this point, they become unfair not only to people, but to themselves, for they forget everything they own was ‘given’ to them with Allah’s will. The poor man reminds his rich neighbor that his arrogant attitude is a form of ‘disbelief’ in the Lord, and explains that all his wealth can disappear in the blink of an eye.

(Confession: I have to say every time I read this part of Surat Al Kahf, I thought the poor man was asking Allah to take the rich man’s wealth away, and it really confused me why a believer would do that. I would read that part quickly and block out my disappointment in the poor man. For years I never thought of digging deeper and finding out the real meaning of this verse. I guess that was lack of humility on my part, thinking my interpretation was all there is to know! Now that I did my homework, I realize I was so wrong it’s ridiculous. Sorry Allah)

Wow, that was hard to admit!

Conceit abuses others, but before it does, it violates our own souls; the pure loving hearts we once possessed become tarnished with self-importance. A true believer understands that poverty is a test from Allah, but so is wealth! It’s your humble attitude that counts, not your bank account.

STEP THREE: Violation Turns To Destruction

This poor man did not ask Allah to terminate the wealthy man’s kingdom, but let’s face it, most people would feel violated by the insinuations that they’re not ‘good enough’, and those negative feelings will definitely yield negative vibes. Take for a example a poor woman, who can barely pay school tuition, listening to her rich cousin go into excruciating detail about how tiring it was to throw such a lavish party for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday. She complains the tulips flown all the way from Holland were not the right color, and the giveaways were not engraved with each guest’s name, like Oh My GOD, how embarrassing?!! Let’s pause here for a second, how do you think that poor woman listening to this would feel? She would probably start harboring anger and hatred towards all rich people, wouldn’t she?

The wealthy man’s empire tumbled to the ground, and in my humble opinion, that is also a symbol of destruction in general, whether in material things or in society as a whole. This poor woman will probably feel pressured to throw her own daughter a party too, with money she doesn’t have! Violating people’s meager lives poisons their thoughts with the need to compete; to live up to shallow expectations and that only creates hatred and jealousy.

Golden Tip:

One of my beloved Islamic scholars became so popular that when he visited one country the people were so excited to meet him they gathered around his car when he arrived and lifted the whole car up, chanting his name! When he came back home, he was found on his knees cleaning the floors of a public bathroom. When his followers gasped he cried and said, “Leave me be! I’m terrified of becoming arrogant. I’m here to remind myself that I’m just a mere slave of Allah.”

What about us? How do we remain humble in a society that shoves competition and immodesty down our throats?

Well, our beautiful Islam left no questions unanswered, and our beloved Prophet’s teachings (PBUH) are overwhelmingly and beautifully profound. Amongst the ways to remain humble is to feed the hungry, visit the sick and have patience when others disagree with you. But two of the most characteristics I have personally found very effective and are truly humbling are RESPECT and MERCY.

 

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al-‘As:

The Prophet () said: Those who do not show mercy to our young ones and do not realize (respect) the right of our elders are not from us.”

 

The Anti-Christ (Dajjal) will come with four ultimate and extremely difficult challenges. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah, used to seek refuge (with Allah) from the torment of Hell, the torment of the grave, and Al-Masih Al-Dajjal.”

We are up for some huge trials people! The first challenge is FAITH and the second one is WEALTH!

(No I’m not telling you what the other two are yet!)

The treasures will follow the Dajjal like ‘swarms of bees’, so if wealth impresses or blinds us now, guess how much trouble we will be in at that time! But Allah is kind, He gave us all the aid we need in Surat Al Kahf, and gave us the key to the trial of wealth in the verses after the story; it’s remembering that all of this is temporary, for we will all stand before Him soon and testify to our deeds.

Seventy or eighty years on Earth are nothing compared to eternity in jannah inshAllah…

So if you want to be productive instead of destructive, whenever you hear that voice in your head of money talking, do yourself a favor and shut it up! Money comes and goes…. But the best is still ahead of us, and will last forever…..

Just hang in there…

Lilly S. Mohsen

The Productive Sleepers. (Seriously?)

Published By ProductiveMuslim.com (4th Feb. 2015)
Below is the original uncut version.

THE PRODUCTIVE SLEEPERS!
(SERIOUSLY?)

Surat Al Kahf Series- Part One

Yeah right! A story about SLEEPING for hundreds of years teaches Muslims all about PRODUCTIVITY! Are you okay, Lilly?

Let’s recap the events together, shall we? A number of young men are guided to believe in the One and Only Lord and because they lived in a city of disbelievers they decide to escape to the cave, fearing execution after calling people to monotheism. Allah Almighty makes the boys fall asleep for 309 years (300 solar and 9 lunar years), and then they wake up to a new society filled with faith. It’s a miracle and it’s amazing but hey, as far as the story goes THAT IS IT! We learn so many lessons from it but ‘productivity’ isn’t one of them, since ummm HELLO, the boys were SLEEPING! So don’t you dare make things up! Repent to Allah sister, I’m sure He will forgive you for trying to distort such SIMPLE facts!

Isn’t that what most readers would think?

Now, before we start, allow me to take a moment to make a Du’aa. I know you’re all busy people but trust me its EXREMELY urgent! “My Dearest Most Merciful Lord… I already told everyone the sleepers of Surat Al Kahf were productive, including sister Zaynab Chinoy! She’s the chief editor You know! So as You can see, this is a very embarrassing situation! I’m begging You Allah please help me and bestow upon me some brilliance to prove my point…”

Okay here it goes….

Lesson One: Productivity Is Using Your Time Wisely

Roughly explained, productivity is the ability to efficiently yield positive and useful results in an allotted amount of time. We tend to relate this aptitude to grownups. We don’t really expect the younger generation to naturally be productive, unless we actually pin them down to the floor and make them do something useful with their time. We have this connotation in our heads that teenagers are up to no good. That’s the age where they go wild and get together to ‘live it up’ before real responsibilities kick in, and even though us parents try to restrain them, somehow deep inside we think it’s okay to cut them some slack. I mean, they’re TEENAGERS, their hormones are literally holding their brains hostages! The sleepers of the cave were also teenagers, and Allah specified that explicitly in the Holy Qur’an. They lived in a city with no rules and there’s no mention of any strict parents with unwavering curfews, is there? Imagine what boys their age would get together to do? They didn’t live in a fairytale; they lived in a real corrupt environment with half naked girls, partying, booze and the whole shebang! But instead they chose to get together in the remembrance of Allah. They used their time wisely, learning their religion and planning on how to spread the true word of Allah. If that isn’t productivity, I don’t know what is!

Lesson Two: Have a Solid Objective:

The boys were an integral part of the community up until their lives were in danger. They never fled the scene just because they were different. They invested in themselves and had a clear-cut mission of reviving their immoral society. It makes me wonder about the stories we hear today; girls taking off their hijab because they couldn’t ‘fit in’, and boys drinking alcohol and smoking up because otherwise they won’t be ‘cool’! The wannabes of today have no mission and no goals and that’s not Islam. We are a unique ummah because we have an obligation to benefit ourselves and others, and we have an ‘end’ in mind, which is the jannah inshAllah. Yes we want to be successful and wealthy and popular, but we don’t stop there like others do. Stand up and remember who you are! A true Muslim is a leader, someone who can make a change in this world and isn’t selfish or scared or embarrassed of his or her identity. There’s no time for free time people! If these teenagers could do it, so can we! Get up, start working, learning and teaching and always keep your eyes on the ultimate goal… Pleasing Allah.

Lesson Three: Dead Ends Don’t Exist!

We tried, it didn’t work, no one is listening so that’s it! Who is up for a steamy game of PlayStation?

Unless your life is on the line, it’s NOT over! The boys tried delivering their message until they ran out of options, but did they stop there? Did they eventually conclude: “Hey, let’s go to the cave and nap for 309 years!”. No, they chose the discomfort of living in a scary secluded cave, and as far as they were concerned, it was a temporary pause before coming up with a new plan. When they woke up, thinking they slept for a day or so, they said… “Indeed, if they come to know of you, they will stone you or return you to their religion. And never would you succeed, then – ever.” (Surat Al Kahf, verse 20, Holy Qur’an) You bet they were still on their mission to ‘succeed’! The threat of death didn’t deter them. These young men were smart! They decided to proceed with caution, so as not to blow their covers. Having faith in Allah and a goal towards pleasing Him are the first steps, but an essential part of being productive is to calculate the risks and never quit. Lesson Four: You Need Your Vision To Hit The Target! So were the boys wearing shoes or sandals? What was their dog’s name? How many were they exactly? What difference does it make?! How will these questions help you reach your goal more efficiently? Focus on what’s importance and don’t distract yourself with minute details that Allah Himself did not bother mentioning! Instead He dedicated a whole verse to people’s speculations about the real number of the sleepers, whether they’re 3 or 5 or 7 and guess what? He never gives an answer because it doesn’t matter. That’s not the point of the story! You want to be productive? Stop ‘guessing the unknown’, for it will be like trying to hit a target when you can’t even see it. Distractions will only blind you from acing your test. Allah honored the sleepers by mentioning in the Qur’an and for us to be reminded every Friday of how they guarded their faith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said this chapter protects us from the ultimate trial of the Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) who will come with four challenges; one of them is testing our faith….

Hey, wait a second, what about the other three?

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Oops! Rain check?

Lilly S. Mohsen