Tag Archives: islam faith

A Letter to my Former Self

Advice with the benefit of hindsight

Dear Broken Wings,

Assalaamu Alaikum. Peace be upon you. Yes, Peace with a capital ‘P’. I know you can’t even begin to fathom how that word will return to your world but return it will, insha’Allah. One day, you will begin to see it for yourself. I will say, “I told you so.” Be strong. Your ‘today’ will not always be like this, insha’Allah.

Gratitude, patience and hope. Hang on to these three tenets as they form the basis of your faith, your identity as a Muslim. Learn how to intertwine each of these threads to weave a single strong rope upon which you will climb out of your abyss of despair and sorrow. If you know you have a grip of this rope, then you have actually not lost anything in life. You will be able to face any challenge head on, with tenacity, as long as you have these three companions as your guide.

The Evil Eye and the Legend of the Nazar in Cyprus
Beware of the evil eye

Family and friends? Yes, Alhamdulillah for the blessings of people around you who will help you with a kind word, a small gesture, advice, money and moral support. However, learn to depend on Allah first. People are there to bolster you but it’s important to stand on your own two feet. After all, this is the very lesson which divorce will teach you. Take the help when it is offered but never become complacent with anything in life again. Beware of secret envy or the evil eye. It is very real. Don’t forget that this is what you suspected was the key factor in the breakdown of your own marriage even though you were so careful to keep your life out of public scrutiny. Insha’Allah, you will begin to thrive again, but some will not be able to comprehend your bravery; they will secretly expect – or wish – you to capitulate to your inner demons, not realising that your imaan is firmly rooted, no matter how much the storms of life will try to dislocate you.

Please be kind to yourself. Learn to exculpate yourself for those things in life you had no control over. Your niyyah (intention) in your marriage was to see it through to the end of your life but Allah had better plans for you. Did I say ‘better?’ Yes, better. You need to understand that whatever He wants is the best plan even though you cannot see the wood for the trees now. At this point, you can only see in myopic terms but Alhamdulillah, this seemingly chaotic juncture in your life is a means of purification for you. Take the time you need to understand that. Nobody expects you to see the true picture from behind a waterfall of tears but trust that Insha’Allah there are adventures waiting for you to grasp them. Nothing is missing in your life. It’s just upto you to set yourself onto an exciting road of discovery.

Did I mention the children? One day they too will grow up and subhanAllah, what fine young men they will be! Don’t underestimate their potential to see the pain you have suffered. They will insha’Allah continue to be a great source of comfort for you. Together, you will forge a wonderful life together and each will be as excited about the other’s goals as their own. Alhamdulillah, children are resilient and if you pour yourself into them, watch the returns on that investment. Laughter and joy will permeate the walls of your home.

Not least, there’s your own personal goals and dreams. You probably had some specific plans or ideas about where life was heading but Allah knows best. He is the best of planners. Wasn’t He always by your side? Did you say you worship Him and no other? Are you confident that He will guide you as long as you beseech him? Come closer to Allah. Get to know Him better. This is the one relationship you need to strive for, above all others. As long as you have Him by your side, nothing else matters. He is sufficient in your sorrow, your hopes, your questions and your fears. Ask Him and see how wondrous the results will be.

So, you see, inshaAllah, you are on a winning streak already. Allah put you in this situation because He knows he chose the right person for it. He will never give someone more than what they can bear. Alhamdulillah, I see you are beginning to invoke Him more already. This episode in your life has brought you to a state of absolute humility. You’ve learnt that arrogance serves no purpose. He humbled you no end so that you will bring Him back into a correctly aligned position where He is the focus of all your actions and ideas.

InshaAllah you will be soaring again in your heart. Take your broken wings and learn to fly again…….

birds flying at sunset | Sunset Bird - created by Leanord | Sunset, Bird  pictures, Bird
A wonderful vista when in full flight

Finding Zen

Look up every now and then and enjoy what you have right now

Last week I decided against posting anything as, like many situations, I needed time out to reflect. I haven’t lost the zeal to express my thoughts as I always hope someone out there will find something, however small, that resonates with them. I hope that ‘something’ will go a long way in helping them find comfort or at least bring a smile to their face.

Today, I wanted to simply mention that lately I have had overwhelming feelings of contentment wash over me. They are moments of pure joy, knowing that right now, right here, I could not wish for anything more as I feel I have found inner peace, Alhamdulillah. The most significant inaminate material possession I have in this life is my car. For many people living in the developed world, on the cusp of their twilight years, that would hardly be an achievement. However, I know the nature of human appetite for everything is insatiable. In a famous hadith, a prophetic saying, we are told that if the son of Adan were given two valleys of gold, he would want a third. The desires are endless. I don’t deny I am one of those would have loved to have owned a house, to have my own garden and to make almost flippant decisions to go on holiday when my whims got the better of me. Yet, I am not vying for these things any more. I have been constantly engaged in a silent battle within and refuse to succumb to the inherently unsatisfied condition that many of us often fall into.

The pure joy moments I have felt lately have emerged from an esoteric understanding of what matters most in life. Seeing my children progress through life, the development of their academic and intellectual capabilities, and not least their spiritual engagement with their existence, has given me the greatest pleasure, Alhamdulillah. It is priceless.

I have gauged that progress mostly with the calmness exuded my youngest son who, at the tender age of 11, went from living in one continent to another and had to contend with the new family situation we had found ourselves in – that is, without his father. The confusion, anger and frustration he exhibited had consistently manifested themselves in his school environment. Only three years ago, I recall being rung by his school on four separate days within the same week with serious concerns about his behaviour and wellbeing. I was at the end of my tether. I was not without hope.

Alhamdulillah, three years later I have witnessed a gradual calm and maturity permeating within him. Being the youngest, the state of his mental wellbeing has always been my litmus test for progress of this family as a whole. I know a chain is as strong as its weakest link and he was very much that delicate link.

The weakest link in the chain needs to be fixed first

I know we all have a long way to go still but I would argue that is moreso as individuals rather than a single entity. Alhamdulillah, we have equally come a long way to securing our footing. It is these collective thoughts that caused me to have those waves of contentment come over me lately and insha’Allah I hope to relive those moments again and again.

I must add that, as important as my children’s own trajectories in life are, I will not forget my own aspirations. I have come to realise that aspirations are not the exclusive right of young people only. We all must live with ambitions to be better versions of ourselves, to keep moving in terms of acquiring all kinds of beneficial knowledge and to never become stagnant. Alhamdulillah, I have had made modest progress in those areas and my life is filled with purpose. I haven’t stopped existing. In fact, I think I have become a more complete person now rather than living in the forgotten shadow of another.

My message to other women out there, who now find themselves picking up the pieces at the end of a marriage, is that you need to believe your Present is not a fixed and static state. Even though it is difficult to believe, the wind will pick up again and you must let it fill your sails. With an unimaginable power to propel you forward, you will find there is an adventure awaiting ahead of you still. You simply need to keep hold of the helm – as well as your faith – at all times and plough ahead.