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Life Amidst Roses and Thorns




Recently, I started writing a blog post that I really felt strongly about. I just had to write down all the thoughts and feelings going haywire inside me. It wasn’t very pleasant because there was pain involved… the kind of burning, deep-cutting pain that results when you trust someone completely and they break your trust, knowingly or unknowingly. It made me wonder and question myself why we care for people in the first place when there’s this risk of intense pain of betrayal?

I tried to write down what I felt was the right train of thought. I wrote a couple of paragraphs but it just didn’t make sense. Even if it sounded fine in words, I wasn’t satisfied with what was before me. And that meant I did not really understand or agree with what I was writing. How could something so hurtful be so easily overlooked every time I placed my trust in someone? Was I not ready to learn from past experiences? Why did my heart not “sit still” instead of placing itself at great risk time and again?

I turned off my laptop in irritation and simmering despair. The sadness lingered on. I then did what I usually do when I need to think things out in peace and really pour my heart out to Allah(swt) – I went out on to the balcony of our apartment. It’s dark there, with a few potted plants along the low wall and there’s a clear view of the bridge that’s next to our building. Watching the traffic go by but not really seeing it, with the dark velvety expanse of the sky overheard, dotted with stars… this is where I feel free to share all my worries, hopes and fears (tears included!) with my Rabb. And, SubhanAllah, He’s always there for me.

All the sadness that was within came pouring out, sometimes in unspoken words, sometimes in tears. I write this now not to make this sound all dramatic but to share with you how calming it is to rant and cry in front of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rather than seeking sympathy from other people, who can barely lend an ear and little more. When the initial flood of emotions has come to pass, question after question is thrown out into the darkness… something might just make sense! And it does. It’s a miracle, sometimes, the answer’s right there, staring me in the face! It’s as if all the tears were hiding it from view and now it’s crystal clear.

Sometimes, the answer isn’t so readily available. What do I do then? I make dua. Lots and lots of dua’s. Whatever words come to mind, all the possible ways I can find to make my case before Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and to leave it to Him to bring the final decision…like an extended and personalized Istikharah dua. When I feel I have nothing more to say, it’s time to head back inside and wait, as long as it takes, for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to unwind the tangle I am in.

So there, that’s how I left my confusion to Allah (swt). What is a person to do? Keep hope and forever be at risk of being hurt? Or should you just give up, kill your feelings and try to go through life without expecting too much of anyone? Or should you just put your *whole* faith in Allah (swt)? The last question had an obvious answer: Yes, that’s what it should be but it’s not easy! At least I was being honest – the rest of me was all confused.

So how does this story end? Alhamdu washhukru lillah (All praise and thanks be to Allah!), all my queries were answered before I lay down to sleep that night. It was unbelievable! I had imagined I’d be carrying that ache of uncertainty well into the days ahead but it vanished completely, leaving me satisfied beyond measure. Only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows how best to answer His slaves’ dua’s and to instill the truth into the depths of their hearts!

Without going into the details of exactly how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) answered my dua, here’s what I learned…

Why do we care for people when there’s the risk of losing them or being hurt at their hands? It’s not the ignorance of pain that makes us continue to care but it’s the joy, beauty and the immense power of hope that comes from caring that we just cannot resist! The fear of betrayal is no match for the satisfaction and pleasure of solid, lasting relationships…and when you have so much to gain, you forget the risk that you might have something to lose.

If we didn’t love so sincerely and so wholly, we’d never be happy or be able to make others happy. When you do something good for someone and it makes their life that little bit better than it was before, you don’t realize it but your own life – my own life – becomes more enjoyable. If I were to hold myself back for fear of being pricked by thorns, I’d never be able to feel the velvety and delightful texture of roses.

If you’re lucky, you don’t just get roses in return… you get a whole bouquet of amazing colors and fragrances that make you wonder if a scene from heaven flashed, for the tiniest moment, in your life? It’s different for every person but that’s how exhilarating real hope and happiness is, when shared with people you care for. That’s how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) made us and that’s what keeps us going, even though bitterness and heartbreak is also a part of life.

These moments renew my faith in Allah (swt)! Why should I not put all my queries and worries to Him when He is the One who answers in the most beautiful manner, with much more than I could ever desire? He has full authority over all that is in the Heavens and the Earth and my childish desires and dreams seek their fulfillment only with Him. I pray that we all recognize our Rabb, really recognize Him as As-Samee, Al Baseer… the Always All-Hearing, the Always All-Seeing! Truly that is the source and pinnacle of all joys imaginable.

“The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted, an angel is appointed to his side, whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother, the appointed angel says ‘Ameen and may you also be blessed with the same.'”

(Sahih Muslim)

Ameera is a final-year medical student and blogger based in Karachi, Pakistan. Having been born and raised in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, her approach towards her Deen has always been rooted in a basic understanding from authentic sources, which was further polished during a three-year weekend course at Al Huda Institute. Her interests, though, seem to know no bounds and range from a passion for the culinary arts and travelling, as well as following current affairs and global happenings. She feels being able to be part of MuslimMatters is one of the major blessings of Allah(swt) upon her, for it has given her a chance to learn and grow. She also maintains her personal blog at



  1. Avatar

    Shuaib Mansoori

    April 24, 2010 at 5:44 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Very profound…brought an ayah to mind, in which Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala defends the Prophet SalAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam by stating to those who wished to harm him: ALAYSALLAHU BI KAAFIN ABDA? Surah Zumar Verse 36:

    Is not Allah sufficient for His Servant? And [yet], they threaten you with those [they worship] other than Him. And whoever Allah leaves astray – for him there is no guide.

    And then He goes further and says in Verse 37:

    And whoever Allah guides – for him there is no misleader. Is not Allah Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution?

    JazakiAllah Khairan for the sincere reflection. I ask Allah to make us from those who always turn to Him in every situation and may He protect us from the Sharr of people.

    • Avatar


      April 24, 2010 at 10:21 PM

      asSalaam alaykum,

      I was also reminded of this long yet amazing hadith:

      “Allah ‘s Apostle said, “Allah has some angels who look for those who celebrate the Praises of Allah on the roads and paths. And when they find some people celebrating the Praises of Allah, they call each other, saying, “Come to the object of your pursuit.’ ” He added, “Then the angels encircle them with their wings up to the sky of the world.” He added. “(after those people celebrated the Praises of Allah, and the angels go back), their Lord, asks them (those angels) – though He knows better than them – ‘what do my slaves say?’ The angels reply, ‘They say: Subhan Allah, Allahu Akbar, and Alham-du-lillah, Allah then says ‘Did they see Me?’ The angels reply, ‘No! By Allah, they didn’t see You.’

      “Allah says, How it would have been if they saw Me?’ The angels reply, ‘If they saw You, they would worship You more devoutly and celebrate Your Glory more deeply, and declare Your freedom from any resemblance to anything more often.’ Allah says (to the angels), ‘What do they ask Me for?’ The angels reply, ‘They ask You for Paradise.’ Allah says (to the angels), ‘Did they see it?’ The angels say, ‘No! By Allah, O Lord! They did not see it.’ Allah says, How it would have been if they saw it?’ The angels say, ‘If they saw it, they would have greater covetousness for it and would seek It with greater zeal and would have greater desire for it.’ Allah says, ‘From what do they seek refuge?’ The angels reply, ‘They seek refuge from the (Hell) Fire.’ Allah says, ‘Did they see it?’ The angels say, ‘No By Allah, O Lord! They did not see it.’ Allah says, How it would have been if they saw it?’ The angels say, ‘If they saw it they would flee from it with the extreme fleeing and would have extreme fear from it.’ Then Allah says, ‘I make you witnesses that I have forgiven them.”‘ Allah’s Apostle added, “One of the angels would say, ‘There was so-and-so amongst them, and he was not one of them, but he had just come for some need.’ Allah would say, ‘These are those people whose companions will not be reduced to misery.’ ”

      (recorded in Bukhari and Muslim)

      • Avatar


        April 26, 2010 at 11:47 PM

        Jazaakillah for quoting this beautiful Hadith here! :D

      • Avatar


        May 29, 2010 at 10:03 PM


        I was desperately looking for some encouragement, and subhanallah.. there’s nothing better in life than tears of love for Allah SWT and our deen, jazakallah khayrun for the words.. may Allah help you through everything.


        Subhanallah, I never knew of this hadeeth and going through it .. I feel like I just discovered the incomparable beauty of our faith. For now, I really need to contemplate.. I think I’ll go out to some coffee place, jazakallah khayrun : )

  2. Avatar


    April 24, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    As-salamu alaikum,

    Subhanallah!!! This post comes right when I was going through the same feelings you just expressed.
    I understand everything you said and resonates with the same thoughts that were going through my head even just now!

    I just don’t understand why people do this? I always expect that others would do the same as you do to them? At the least hayaa should be stopping them?

    I still don’t know what to do regarding this person who was supposed to be a trustworthy ”friend.” I thought forgiveness is best as Allah says He loves those who forgive, yet its difficult as some thoughts come to mind like ”how could they do this?” Then I thought I would confront them, but knowing they can be argumentative and rude, I let it be.Wallahi it affects your attitude badly that you just don’t want to have anything to do with anybody.

    I felt perhaps it was a form of punishment to purify my sins or to come closer to Allah which was by the way affected this person in terms of laziness in prayer and general ‘ibadah. La Hawl wala quwata illa Billah.

    This issue you mentioned in the article is the reason why there are less people to trust because most think of their masalih or what they could benefit from a friendship/relationship instead of having it for mutual benefit and knowing each others rights as Muslims, fearing Allah with regards to them. It has happened to me with different people.

    What duas do you make exactly? lol I would say only ”Allah protect me from the evil of my hands and the people’s/donot leave me to my affairs even for a blink of an eye” because sometimes I can get myself into these situations when not picking the right friend.

    Jazakillahu Khairan ukhti for your well-written and beneficial article, May Allah guide us to what He loves best

    • Avatar


      April 24, 2010 at 10:08 AM


      It’s amazing I’m reading this right about the time I’m coming out from my own hurt.

      • Avatar

        Dominique Stephen

        March 7, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        Allah knows best – His timing is always right :) Alhamdulillah :)

  3. Pingback: Not Just A Coincidence « A Journal Of Life

  4. Adnan


    April 24, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Barakallahufeek for sharing your thoughts. I think you’re reaction to turn completely to Allah is the only one that will really give you comfort when going through any difficulties in life; whether it be a friend selling you out, or breaking your trust.

    One thing I’ve learned is that people at some point or another will always disappoint you; your friends, family, wife, husband, children will all let you down at some point or another. Even you will disappoint yourself; this is the dunya and we as human beings are fallible creatures in this dunya, so this will happen for sure.

    But Allah never lets you down. There are several names of Allah that we should all keep in mind in these situations.

    Al Wakeel & Al Kafeel – The One who we put our full trust in for all of our affairs

    Al Kaafee – He is Sufficient/Enough for us. We don’t need anything or anyone else.

    Al Qareeb – He is the One that is close to us.

    Al Wali & Al Mawla – He is our Protector and Guardian.

    An Naasir & An Naseer – He is the One that can help us.

    Al Musta’aan – He is the One who can provide aid, assistance and relief in any matter.

    And remember the saying of the sahaba… Alhamdulillah A’la Kulli Haal “All Praise is due to Allah in every situation/circumstance.”

    • Avatar


      April 27, 2010 at 12:42 AM

      JazaakAllah for your inspiring comment! :) And the quotation from the Sahaba at the end of your comment is something we need to be reminded of constantly, JazaakAllah!

      What you said…

      One thing I’ve learned is that people at some point or another will always disappoint you; your friends, family, wife, husband, children will all let you down at some point or another. Even you will disappoint yourself; this is the dunya and we as human beings are fallible creatures in this dunya, so this will happen for sure.

      … I agree with you exactly! I think the problem arises when we start thinking of people as perfect beings who can never err. We start having ridiclously high expectations from them and when they fall short of those expectations, guess who’s disappointed? That’s one reason why I now try to keep reminding myself how we’re all imperfect human beings and that, if there’s one characteristic I don’t like in someone, there are many others I do like too! Keeping that in mind, and my own flaws and shortcomings, it’s easier to interact with people and to forgive them if they ever do something wrong.

      • Adnan


        April 27, 2010 at 7:26 AM

        Barakallahufeek. That’s a very good approach to take when dealing with others. It reminds me of a saying of Confucius: “When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” Very wise advice. Keep up the writing.

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  6. Avatar


    April 24, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    I’m sorry that you went through that yet.. aren’t those moments the essence of life? It sucks to be betrayed.. especially by a friend or someone close. But it makes you wiser and sharpens your instinct. A believer doesn’t get bit from the same hole twice.

    The human experience is worthless without Allah. Making our relationship with Allah the center and backdrop of everyday is the best way to find balance and perspective during the journey. May Allah make it easy on you and us.

    • Avatar


      April 27, 2010 at 12:48 AM

      Jazaakillah for your care, Sally! Alhumdolillah, I didn’t have to go through much… it was more of a misunderstanding on my part that soon cleared up…but it did teach me a lot about expectations and forgiving people for erring. :) Besides, joy after pain… it’s somehow sweeter!

    • Avatar

      Dominique Stephen

      March 7, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      insha-Allah, Ameen, Sallly … shukran :)

  7. Amad


    April 24, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    This is a beautiful post Dr. Ameera… keep it up!

  8. Avatar


    April 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Ibn taymiyah once :
    What can my enemies do to me?
    I have in my breast both my Heaven and my garden.
    If I travel they are with me, and they never leave me.
    Imprisonment for me is a religious retreat [khalwa].
    To be slain for me is martyrdom [shahâda]
    and to be exiled from my land is a spiritual journey [siyaha].

  9. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    April 24, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Very touching article, Ameera. :) Baarak Allahu feeki.
    I wish I had such a balcony. Hehehe!

    • Avatar


      April 27, 2010 at 12:33 AM

      Jazakillah Sadaf baji! :D

      I’ve put up a (grainy) picture of the view from my balcony on my Twitter ( for you…

      • Avatar

        Sadaf Farooqi

        April 29, 2010 at 12:07 AM

        Ah, the bridge in Clifton! Such familiar territory. Nice. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Avatar


    April 25, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    Not only an inspiring post, but the ripple effect of the responses. Equally inspiring. May it’s effects continue on into the akhira. :)

  11. Avatar


    April 25, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    Just last week I had a similar experience as you did. For the first 24 hours I was in a state of shock. Not only were the words and attitude of my friend reverberating in my head but I was not able to give my self any reason to be consoled.
    Its been a week now and time has served to be a great healer. I usually turn to Allah for all matters of my life and had been contemplating of what went wrong and what could have been done to heal the matter or what net learning I could draw from the whole incident.
    Its a matter of coincidence or more likely a guidance from Allah that I came across this website that I have never visited through a source that I had never imagined and at a time when this topic would have been of most importance to me. Thanks to the writer and all the people who have posted their comments. It has really helped me justify a lot of the unexplained and bring peace to my heart.

    Events are difficult to connect to when you are going through them. But through time you get to see how these sour events shape your thoughts to make other things more meaningful in life and probably make you a better person in the future. Allah has his own ways of testing us through good and bad and He has a special way of lifting us up when we are down and fallen. Only that we should never lose hope and faith in Him to guide us.

    Ovais, Khi.

    • Avatar


      April 27, 2010 at 12:29 AM

      JazaakAllah Ovais! Your comment was like much the same way I’d comment on a blog post like this one if I ever came across it. It happens so many times that you’re looking for a specific kind of answer, to deal with a certain kind of pain… and you find! Alhumdolillah! It is certainly no coincidence! :)

      Events are difficult to connect to when you are going through them. But through time you get to see how these sour events shape your thoughts to make other things more meaningful in life and probably make you a better person in the future. Allah has his own ways of testing us through good and bad and He has a special way of lifting us up when we are down and fallen. Only that we should never lose hope and faith in Him to guide us.

      This is exactly what I keep reminding myself and was thinking of when I wrote my piece above. My own experience was pretty hurtful for a while, untill it got better but that duration of time were bleak, I realize later on it was actually good for me. You learn a lot through life’s ups and downs.

      Br Nouman Ali Khan, a student of knowledge and founder of the awesome Bayyinah Institute (Maashaa’Allah) recently said in one of his podcasts something along the lines that… if we didn’t see difficulties in life, how would we ever learn to do Sabr? If we only saw good in life, we wouldn’t know what Sabr was.

      I hope that Allah(swt) will ease your situation too and continue to guide us! Ameen.

  12. Avatar


    April 25, 2010 at 8:19 AM

    Assaliam Aleikum
    Wonderful post. Everyone I think had passed this kind of trial, yet alhamdulillah whenever I am hurt I just remember Allah, my God, Who is always with me, and I know that He understand me the most and He will never disappoint me and always will love me, inshaAllah. And Alhamdulillah the Love of Allah is enough. And when Allah love you, you feel this love true different ways. Most of the time when some close to you hurt you this means that you made a mistake concerning your God, in another words, Allah is angry to you. For this reason always analyze your deeds and first surch the mistake in you. Allah to guide all of us and always to Love us!

    • Avatar


      April 27, 2010 at 12:22 AM

      …and I know that He understand me the most and He will never disappoint me and always will love me, inshaAllah.

      *SIGH* That’s what I love most… whenever I feel lonely or sad, I find so much comfort in the thought that, even if the whole world betrayed me or turned against me, I would still have the Love of Allah(Swt) as He created me! It’s so comforting that most of the sadness kind of evaporates. Of course there is lingering hurt, we’re human after all, but putting things in perspective eases it.

  13. Avatar


    April 25, 2010 at 10:58 AM


    Jazakillahu khairaa for sharing.Mashaallah.This is one of my favorite ayah

    وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ [ But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else)]surah 2 ayah 165.

    May Allah include all of us among the people who love Allah more.

    To recover from a hurt caused by someone you love-

    Imraan-(159. And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).)


  14. Avatar


    April 26, 2010 at 3:41 AM


    Nice post, personally I have been looking to settle down for over 7 years but each time I think i have come close it all goes wrong. Reflecting on the kind of person I am, I am straight forward, do not hide anything yet this is the same quality which seems to break thigns up for me.

    I have turned to allah several times and think things are improving but the situation i have been put is from allah, I have no idea why i am being tested so much but it is now beginging to affect my faith.

    Everyone keeps saying have sabar/faith but it is easy for them to say when everything they do/ask for comes true.

    All I have wanted for as long as I can remember is to get married to a muslim, be in love and have a family – but this is the one thing which is escaping me.

    Before i was too young, not established enough and now the excuses are I am too old, too independent, set in my ways. so does that mean my window of opportunity has gone?

    I have been told numerous times that allah only tests you to your limits.. But my limits have been crossed and if i am honest my faith is now very weak and I really dont care about being with a muslim anymore as i find them the most hypocritical, two faced, judgemental, narrow minded people out there.

    • Avatar


      April 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

      I couldn’t ignore your post and not comment as I sort of understand what you said. The last bit of your post was what I used to especially. I went through this phase of not knowing why i have decreased and moved further away from the higher spiritual state I was in and the closeness that I had with Allah(swt).

      I would start saying why would this or that happen to me, and this impatience was due to the decrease in Iman. Before, that, I could take anything, any pain and just smile. I had Allah in my mind and knew it was He who gave me this and that most importantly He was on my side no matter what. It was so peaceful.I would see it as an opportunity to get closer to Him.

      Sabr is easy with eman, but with no eman its difficult, thats what I learned.

      On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Allah the Almighty said:

      I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assemble better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.
      al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

      Think good of Him and that He CAN give you what you want without a doubt, but is it good for you?
      It could be that from His Mercy he stops that which we want to reach us from reaching us.

      A wife and kids could distract you from Him or the good deeds that you performed or from gaining knowledge. You never know.

      {Indeed among your wives and your children are enemies} (At-Taghaabun 64:14)
      Ibn Kathir said: “Allah states that some wives and children are enemies to their husbands and fathers, in that they might be busied with them, rather than with performing the good deeds.”

      It was narrated from Simak bin Harb, from `Ikrimah, that Ibn `Abbas was asked about this ayah
      (Indeed among your wives and your children are enemies) (At-Taghaabun 64:14)

      And he said: “There were men who embraced Islam in Makkah and wanted to emigrate to Allah’s Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam). However, their wives and children reused to allow them. Later when they joined Allah’s Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam), they found that those who were with him have gained knowledge in the religion, so they were about to punish their wives and children. So Allah revealed….” And he mentioned the ayah.

      Sorry for this long post, but hope it helps a little. Just stay strong and make yourself busy so that you donot keep thinking about the dua…sometimes they are answered when we least expect at the perfect of timings by His Wisdom. May Allah guide us to what He loves Best.

    • Avatar

      Middle Ground

      April 26, 2010 at 2:52 PM

      Salam Usman

      Don’t depair bro. I am actually acting as the wali of a sister right now, and it sounds like she might be right for you. If interested, contact me at **. This is not spam, I just want to help my muslim brother. Moderators, forgive me if this is unsuitable and delete it.

      -Edited. We’ll send your email to him i/a

  15. Avatar


    April 26, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    Jazaakillah everyone for your inspiring and heart-warming comments! I had no idea my scribblings, which I strung together for a blog post here, would strike a chord with so many other people, especially those who were looking for such advice. I know how it feels to find just what you were looking for because it’s happened with me as well, so, so many times.

    I want to respond to several comments personally and I will, Inshaa’Allah, one by one. Together, by sharing our experiences, we can learn and grow Inshaa’Allah. There are some things I might know and some other you may know and explain better to me in return. Relationships are complex things, there’s often no clear black and white when it comes to dealing with human emotions and issues of trust. May Allah(swt) show us the clear guidance to live our lives in such a way that we do the least harm to others, rather we are able to give good to others and receive His reward and goodness in return! Ameen.

    Now that I’ve commented here once, I will Inshaa’Allah respond to the queries and thoughts some people have shared in the comments above. Jazaak’Allah for your patience! :)

  16. Avatar


    April 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    okay i posted something really long and it disappeared.. Magic? Jinn?…

  17. Avatar

    Ayesha A.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    MashaAllah ….well written article sister….everybody goes through this bitter feeling one time or the other…we all are human beings..everybody is afflicted with calamities,no one is spared…
    even i went thru something in life for which i cried a lot and i used to say it to myself “its so painful,why its happening with me,oh Allah remove me from such state of utmost confusion n make me strong…oh Allah help me to make good choices in life,”…i spend lots of tears and realised that i should be patient and place all my trust in Allah..for He can remove all the difficulties….
    so having the strongest iman makes u better in dealing with any difficult situations in life…

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Raising A Child Between Ages 2-7 | Dr Hatem Al Haj

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D



children drawing crayons

This is called a pre-operational period by Jean Piaget who was focused on cognitive development.

Children this age have difficulty reconciling between different dimensions or seemingly contradictory concepts. One dimension will dominate and the other will be ignored. This applies in the physical and abstract realms. For example, the water in the longer cup must be more than that in the shorter one, no matter how wide each cup is. Length dominates over width in his/her mind.

Throughout most of this stage, a child’s thinking is self-centered (egocentric). This is why preschool children have a problem with sharing.

In this stage, language develops very quickly, and by two years of age, kids should be combining words, and by three years, they should be speaking in sentences.

Erik Erikson, who looked at development from a social perspective, felt that the child finishes the period of autonomy vs. shame by 3 years of age and moves on to the period of initiative vs. guilt which will dominate the psycho-social development until age 6. In this period, children assert themselves as leaders and initiative takers. They plan and initiate activities with others. If encouraged, they will become leaders and initiative takers.

Based on the above, here are some recommendations:

In this stage, faith would be more caught than taught and felt than understood. The serene, compassionate home environment and the warm and welcoming masjid environment are vital.

Recognition through association: The best way of raising your kid’s love of Allah and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is by association. If you buy him ice cream, take the opportunity to tell them it is Allah who provided for you; the same applies to seeing a beautiful rose that s/he likes, tell them it is Allah who made it. Tell them stories about Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Statements like: “Prophet Muhammad was kinder to kids than all of us”; “Prophet Muhammad was kind to animals”; ” Prophet Muhammad loved sweets”; ” Prophet Muhammad helped the weak and old,” etc. will increase your child’s love for our most beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Faith through affiliation: The child will think, “This is what WE do, and how WE pray, and where WE go for worship.” In other words, it is a time of connecting with a religious fraternity, which is why the more positive the child’s interactions with that fraternity are, the more attached to it and its faith he/she will become.

Teach these 2-7 kids in simple terms. You may be able to firmly insert in them non-controversial concepts of right and wrong (categorical imperatives) in simple one-dimensional language. Smoking is ḥarâm. No opinions. NO NUANCES. No “even though.” They ate not ready yet for “in them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people.”

Promote their language development by speaking to them a lot and reading them books, particularly such books that provoke curiosity and open discussions to enhance their expressive language. Encourage them to be bilingual as learning two languages at once does not harm a child’s cognitive abilities, rather it enhances them.

This is despite an initial stage of confusion and mixing that will resolve by 24 to 30 months of age. By 36 months of age, they will be fluent bilingual speakers. Introduce Islamic vocabulary, such as Allah, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), masjid, Muslim, brothers, salaat, in-sha’a-Allah, al-Hamdulillah, subhana-Allah, etc. (Don’t underestimate the effect of language; it does a lot more than simply denoting and identifying things.)

In this pre-operational period, their ability of understanding problem solving and analysis is limited. They can memorize though. However, the focus on memorization should still be moderate. The better age for finishing the memorization of the Quran is 10-15.

Use illustrated books and field trips.

Encourage creativity and initiative-taking but set reasonable limits for their safety. They should also realize that their freedom is not without limits.

Between 3-6 years, kids have a focus on their private parts, according to Freud. Don’t get frustrated; tell them gently it is not appropriate to touch them in public.

Don’t get frustrated with their selfishness; help them gently to overcome this tendency, which is part of this stage.

Parenting: Raising a Child from Age 0 to 2 | Dr. Hatem Al Haj

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Advice To Students Starting A New School Year

Ammar Al Shukry




I remember driving to college orientation over the summer with my father, may Allah have mercy on him. I was going to be going to school out of state, and at the age of eighteen, this was the first time that I would be living away from home. 

We talked about a lot of things, and nothing in particular but one of the stories he shared stayed with me. There was an Imam who had a close circle of students and one of them became absent for an extended period. Upon that student’s return, the Imam asked him where he had been, to which the student replied, 

“Egypt!” The imam said to him, “well how was Egypt!” 

The student replied, “Egypt is where knowledge resides.” 

The Imam responded, “You’ve spoken the truth.” 

Sometime later, the imam had another student who also was absent and upon his return, the Imam asked him where he had gone to which the student replied, “Egypt!” The imam said to him, “Well, how was Egypt?”

The student said, “Egypt is nothing but amusement and play!” 

The Imam responded, ‘You’ve spoken the truth!” 

There were students who had witnessed both conversations and asked the Imam later why he had borne witness to the truth of two antithetical statements to which the imam replied,

“They both found what they were looking for.” 

I got the message. University could be a place of incredible learning, engagement with ideas, and can push you and challenge you in the best of ways. It can also be a non-stop party. A blur of heedlessness and hedonism that will bring about remorse and regret for that individual in the Dunya and Akhira. 

I think back to that car ride fondly, and I appreciate the predicament of parting advice. A person who will be bidding farewell to someone so dear to them and wanting to give them something powerful that they can hold onto or wisdom that will guide them. Many students in the past weeks have been receiving similar parting advice from their families, and so in this article I wanted to share one of the advice of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that he gave to a companion that he loved so much. 

عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ جُنْدَبِ بْنِ جُنَادَةَ، وَأَبِي عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: “اتَّقِ اللَّهَ حَيْثُمَا كُنْت، وَأَتْبِعْ السَّيِّئَةَ الْحَسَنَةَ تَمْحُهَا، وَخَالِقْ النَّاسَ بِخُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ”

رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ [رقم:1987] وَقَالَ: حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ، وَفِي بَعْضِ النُّسَخِ: حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ. 

On the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junadah, and Abu Abdur-Rahman Muadh bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said

“Have Taqwa of Allah wherever you are, and follow a bad deed with a good deed it will erase it, and treat people with good character.” (Tirmidhi)

The advice is comprised of three components

  1. Fear Allah wherever you are 
  2. Follow a bad deed with a good deed it will erase it 
  3. Treat people with good character 

Have Taqwa of Allah wherever you are 

Taqwa is the crown of the believer. And it is the best thing that a person can carry with them on the journey of this life, and the journey to meet their Lord. Allah says, 

“And take provision, and the best provision is Taqwa.” 

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ سُئِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنْ أَكْثَرِ مَا يُدْخِلُ النَّاسَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ تَقْوَى اللَّهِ وَحُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ ‏”‏ ‏

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was asked as to what admits people into Paradise the most and he said, “Taqwa and good character.” (Tirmidhi) 

And so what is Taqwa?

Talq ibn Habeeb gave a beautiful definition and description of Taqwa when he said, 

“Taqwa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, seeking the reward of Allah. And it is to avoid the disobedience of Allah, upon a light from Allah, fearing the punishment of Allah.” 

And so he describes taqwa as having three components; the action, the source for that action, and the motivation for that action.”

To act in the obedience of Allah..

To do the things that Allah commands you to do and to stay away from what Allah prohibits you from doing 

Upon a light from Allah..

The source for the action or inaction must come from revelation, a light from Allah. And this should stir us to seek knowledge so that our actions are onem guided by a light from Allah. You’ve made it to University, you are bright, gifted, intelligent and committed to education.  Do not let be the one thing that you remain uneducated about be your religion. 

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says, 

يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِراً مِّنَ ٱلْحَيَاةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ ٱلآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ

They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware. (Al-Room v. 7)  

The prophet (S) said, “Allah hates every expert in the Dunya who is ignorant of the hereafter.” (Saheeh Al-Jaami’)

Make sure that you carve out time to attend halaqas on campus, seek out teachers and mentors who will guide you in learning about your religion even as you are pursuing your secular studies..

Seeking the reward of Allah..

The third component of Taqwa is the motivation:  that these actions that are being performed and that are sourced authentically in revelation must be performed for the sake of Allah, seeking His reward, and not for any other audience. That they not be done for shares, or likes or retweets. That a person does what they do of worship, that they abstain from what they abstain from of sin, seeking the reward of Allah and fearing His punishment. 

Fear Allah wherever you are..

Meaning in public and in private, online or offline, and when in the company of the righteous as well as when in the company of the wicked, in all circumstances a person must be mindful of the presence of Allah..

 عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهُ قَالَ : ( لأَعْلَمَنَّ أَقْوَامًا مِنْ أُمَّتِي يَأْتُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِحَسَنَاتٍ أَمْثَالِ جِبَالِ تِهَامَةَ بِيضًا فَيَجْعَلُهَا اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ هَبَاءً مَنْثُورًا ) قَالَ ثَوْبَانُ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صِفْهُمْ لَنَا ، جَلِّهِمْ لَنَا أَنْ لاَ نَكُونَ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لاَ نَعْلَمُ ، قَالَ : ( أَمَا إِنَّهُمْ إِخْوَانُكُمْ وَمِنْ جِلْدَتِكُمْ وَيَأْخُذُونَ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ كَمَا تَأْخُذُونَ وَلَكِنَّهُمْ أَقْوَامٌ إِذَا خَلَوْا بِمَحَارِمِ اللَّهِ انْتَهَكُوهَا

It was narrated from Thawban that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“I certainly know people of my nation who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains of Tihaamah, but Allah will make them like scattered dust.” Thawban said: “O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become of them unknowingly.” He said: “They are your brothers and from your race, worshipping at night as you do, but they are people who, when they are alone with what Allah has prohibited, they violate it.” 

This hadeeth is a warning for the person who is quick, eager and ready to violate the limits of Allah as soon as the door is locked, or the curtains or drawn, or as soon as they have arrived in a new place where no one knows them. We will sin, but let our sins be sins of weakness or lapses of taqwa and not sins of predetermination and design. There is a big difference between someone who sins in a moment’s temptation and the one who is planning to sin for hours, days or weeks! 

And follow a good deed with a bad deed it will erase it..

When we fall, as we must inevitably due to our being human, the prophet (S) instructed us to follow a sin with a good deed to erase it. 

Commit a sin, give charity. 

Commit a sin, perform wudhu as beautifully as you can and pray two rak’ahs. 

Commit a sin, seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent…

Our sins should not suffocate us from doing good deeds, they should fuel us to doing good deeds. 

Allah says,

وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلاَةَ طَرَفَيِ ٱلنَّهَارِ وَزُلَفاً مِّنَ ٱلَّيْلِ إِنَّ ٱلْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ ٱلسَّـيِّئَاتِ ذٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّاكِرِينَ

And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. (Surat Hood v. 114) 

A man from the Ansar was alone with a woman and he did everything with her short of fornication. In remorse, he went to the prophet (S) and confessed to him. Umar said to the man, “Allah had concealed your sins, why didn’t you conceal it yourself!” The prophet (S) however was silent.

The man eventually left and the prophet (S) had a messenger go to him to recite the aforementioned verse.  A man said, “Oh Messenger of Allah is it for him alone?”

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “No for all people.” 

And so for all people, sin plus good deed equals the sin is erased. That is a formula to be inscribed in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

Al-Hassan Al-Basri, the master preacher of the Tabi’een was asked,

“Should one of us not be ashamed of our Lord, we seek forgiveness from our Lord and then return to sin, and then seek forgiveness and then return!” 

He said,

“Shaytan would love to conquer you with that (notion), do not grow tired of seeking forgiveness”

But know that these sins that are erased by good deeds are the minor sins, as for the major sins they require repentance for the many verses in which Allah threatens punishment for those who commit major sins if they do not repent, and so repentance is a condition for the erasing of the effect of major sins. 

And treat people with good character 

And if Taqwa is the crown of the believer, then good character is the crown of Taqwa, for many people think that taqwa is to fulfill the rights of Allah without fulfilling the rights of His creation! The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in many hadith highlights the lofty stations that a believer attains with good character, for example: 

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، رَحِمَهَا اللَّهُ قَالَتْ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيُدْرِكُ بِحُسْنِ خُلُقِهِ دَرَجَةَ الصَّائِمِ الْقَائِمِ

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day. (Tirmidhi)

عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ يُوضَعُ فِي الْمِيزَانِ أَثْقَلُ مِنْ حُسْنِ الْخُلُقِ وَإِنَّ صَاحِبَ حُسْنِ الْخُلُقِ لَيَبْلُغُ بِهِ دَرَجَةَ صَاحِبِ الصَّوْمِ وَالصَّلاَةِ 

Abu Ad-Darda narrated that the Messenger of Allah  ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)said:

“Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.” (Tirmidhi)

Let no one beat you to the taqwa of Allah and let no one beat you to beautiful character. 

You’ve come of age at a time in which the majority of our interactions are online, and in that world harshness and cruelty are low hanging fruit seemingly devoid of consequences. 

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Whoever lives in the deserts becomes harsh.” (Abu Dawood) 

And social media is a desert, it is an experience where we are all alone, together. 

So choose gentleness over harshness, choose forgiveness over vindictiveness, choose truth over falsehood and protect people from your harm. 

For the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “I am a guarantor of a house in the highest part of Jannah for whoever makes their character good.” 

May Allah make us from them. 

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On Divine Gifts And Tribulations: Reflections on Ustadh Nabeel al-Azami

Reflections on Ustadh Nabeel al-Azami

Dr H. A. Hellyer, Guest Contributor



Nabeel Al Azami

In the early hours of the 14th of August 2019, corresponding to the first day following the ‘Eid al-Adha’ of the Muslim community, my friend Nabeel, son of Mamoon al-Azami, passed away peacefully in London. He was 39 years old. He honoured me by considering me a teacher to ask counsel of – but in truth, he himself was an educator par excellence by his words, his actions and his state of being.

I have nothing but good memories of this man. He was generous and kind, and personified good manners. A year ago, we were together when he was giving a presentation on his work, and we had lunch together beforehand. He was speaking to me about the subject of the presentation, and as we were speaking privately, I told him about my unease around a bit of the approach on a few points.

Nabeel was not only warm in private in response, but when we were sat in the public arena for his presentation thereafter, he, unprompted, insisted on giving me the floor, though I had no speaking role that day. He did so after addressing me and introducing me in a deeply respectful manner, so that I could offer my thoughts, even though he knew of my stance.

I no longer even remember what I said – I only remember the generosity of spirit he had. In this day and age, that kind of magnanimity is rare, usually absent, and evidence of something beautiful.

(You can see more of Nabeel’s work here — his final book, which he wrote on the Prophet and Leadership, with leadership professor John Adair writing the forward).

A few months ago, I asked if I might visit him, while he was in the hospital. He was in the midst of various obligations but knew my travel schedule would make it difficult to find an opportunity to allow me the privilege of his company, and he had some things he wanted to discreetly discuss. We had spoken a few times on the phone after he had learned of his illness, but we had not met since. We found a common time of 15 minutes to speak privately. It turned into an hour.

When I saw him, what are called the ‘signs of sainthood’ (wilaya) were deeply upon him. His riḍā (contentment) was evident to anyone who saw him, and his concern was not for himself. Rather, it was first and foremost for his family. Whenever people ask me about him, I immediately think of that word: riḍā.


I left his company with a sense I cannot easily put into words – he was a paragon of strength and fortitude, while simultaneously being a person of charity and concern for his wider community. The presence of contentment, harmony, self-composure, and quiet trust in the working of the Divine. In this are signs for the ones who are aware, for they represent the rising of station (maqam) according to the sages.

There will be others who will no doubt write about Nabeel’s professional accomplishments, of which there are many, not least the book he wrote and completed while he battled his illness. These are inspiring, and a testament to Nabeel’s deep commitment to the work he devoted himself to (his last work on Prophetic leadership can be purchased here from the publisher) – a work that all about serving the community which he so loved and cared for.

I knew about Nabeel’s work, but most of our interactions showed another side to him – a facet of his personality that will forever be instructive to me. It was the aspect of him that I mentioned to my students as we read through tracts of spirituality. It was the aspect of him that asked for prayers that God might allow him to see and meet the Prophet in his dreams. It was the aspect of him that sought out to understand and comprehend the meaning of what was happening in a deeply metaphysical manner, which was admirable in such an advanced way.

“But it is as though, Allah has given me this tribulation, as an unworthy servant, as a gift. And then He has given me some challenges, that I didn’t think I would cope with. And then He somehow gave me the resources as a gift…

And I feel as though I am being taken among individuals who must have taken this journey, who are much more worthy; I am left very confused as to why I am being given this privilege. Maybe you can help explain this confusion to me.

But that aside: I hope if it is benefiting brothers, to be able to talk about our conversations, then hopefully if there is any ajr (reward) for me there, that may be something I can hold onto in the next life, as a source of salvation.”

(Nabeel al-Azami)

In the hours that followed his passing, as his family and friends prepared to bid him farewell at the funeral service, I went through my recent correspondences with Nabeel, following and preceding conversations we had. There were perhaps three recurring themes I can mention. The first was the most pre-eminent, which I’ve alluded to above, in terms of his spiritual journey and path. His instructive comments reflected a serenity of soul, a strength of spirit, and a constancy of commitment.

The second theme was the concern he had particularly for his family. His father, his wife, his children, but really the entire family – his concern for them was touching, moving, and genuinely thought-provoking to any of us who get wrapped up in the mundane nature of this world. The very last message he sent to me was an ‘ameen’ to a du’a I sent him in response to his request I pray for his wife, children and family.

Finally, the third theme was care he had for his community, and that watchfulness was something he spoke to me about in his one of his very final messages to me – the rifts within the Muslim community more generally, especially among the ‘ulama, and how their differences needed to be bridged.

In all of these, Nabeel al-Azami’s considerations were deeply important. One of the final things he said to me was his hope that if his tribulation could serve as a lesson to others, may he partake in the reward for that, and maybe it would be something he could hold onto in the next life for his salvation.

It never occurred to me to share Nabeel’s thoughts while he was still with us. When we met and discussed, we did so privately. But after he passed to the mercy of his Lord, I remembered what he said about our conversations benefiting others – and thus took pen to paper, transcribing some of the notes he sent.

There was a message that related to knowing God, and spirituality more generally, which indicated one of the priorities he thought this community needed – this is where our relationship actually began, in a way. It is fitting that be the first tract. About half-way in, Nabeel responded to a message I sent him, where I had let him know I’d used his character as an example of how to respond to tribulations in a class I teach. That class was and is based on the works of one of my teachers, the Malaysian polymath, Professor Sayyid Naquib al-Attas. In response to Nabeel’s message, I told him the title of the work, at which point he expressed great joy, saying he had used the work as a reference in his last book.

That message was followed by a concern for the community writ large, particularly vis-à-vis the partisanship and conflicts the community had been riven by in recent years. We had discussed this in person, and he re-emphasised his point in this message – it’s a rare message indeed at this time, and important to share. He knew about my apprehension I had about partisanship driving our community apart, but he excelled me in focusing on the need to bring hearts together, rather than simply analysing the problem.

I close the below with two tracts that in particular related to trials and tribulations, to which I appended a short excerpt from the writings of Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani, the Persian saint of early Muslim history, and this represented the last of the transcriptions I chose. I believe I mentioned this tract to Nabeel himself, and it formed the basis of some of our discussions.

I pray the reader benefits from Nabeel’s thoughts and prays for him. For those who knew him, they should know that Sayyid Nabeel passed away in one of the four sacred months mentioned in the Qur’an – Dhu al-Hijjah. This is the month of the Hajj; it is the month the Great ‘Id, ‘Id al-Adha; it is the month of the passing of Sayyidina ‘Umar, Sayyidina ‘Uthman, and Imam Muhammad al-Baqir.

May we all benefit through Ustadh Nabeel al-Azami for a very long time to come.

I know I will.

On Spirituality

“Thank you for your message and thank you for the du’a (supplication) that you shared. SubhanAllah, the dua’ that you shared about Allah opening up the gates so that I may know Him better; it has been a part of my tahhajud (night vigil prayers) since you mentioned it.

And you know; these many small du’as that you hear and those that you end up memorising: this is one that I wish [had been] in my system. Because I knew the du’a – but it is so simple and beautiful – but insha’Allah, Allah will give you the ajr (reward) that you reminded me of the du’a which I memorised and now it has been normalised.

And it’s wonderful: because the ability to know your Creator and discover Him is that life-long journey. We try to learn about the 99 attributes to be able to understand the incredible nature of our Creator, whom we are blessed to be created from. And the quality of my prayers have been impacted as a result of this process of ibtila’ (tribulation).

Which is, in a sense, the only way you can really achieve and access the unveiling needed to know a little bit more about your creator. So, I feel I need to be in this ibtila’ longer! There is so much I can learn now that I have unlocked a few things, you know, through the wasila (means) around me, including yourself.”

“And it is wonderful to hear that you are teaching a text on taṣawwuf; I’d love to know which one it is. The need for teaching, tarbiyat al-iman, tazkiyat al-nafs, and the sciences of taṣawwuf; it is so, so urgent and so neglected. So, if it is a public class that I can promote, let me know: I’d love to send it in the network, because there are just too far and few between.

So, thank you for sharing: but the only thing I would say here is that I certainly wouldn’t be the precise example. But good brothers around me and my shayukh and my learned friends like your good self: with your help I am trying to be an acceptable example, insha’Allah.

But it is as though, Allah has given me this tribulation, as an unworthy servant, as a gift. And then He has given me some challenges, that I didn’t think I would cope with. And then He somehow gave me the resources as a gift; and then I feel the raising of maqam (spiritual station). Not because of anything from myself, but that Allah is just gifting.

Because I thought I just had to take one step towards Allah, and he would take ten steps for me. I think I managed to just think about one step. I don’t know what little iota of indication I gave to Allah that I am interested in guidance; and that was enough. That was enough, and Allah is just raising me.

And I feel as though I am being taken among individuals who must have taken this journey, who are much more worthy; I am left very confused as to why I am being given this privilege. Maybe you can help explain this confusion to me.

But that aside: I hope if it is benefiting brothers, to be able to talk about our conversations, then hopefully if there is any ajr for me there, that may be something I can hold onto in the next life, as a source of salvation.”

On Bringing Hearts Together, in a world where lines have been drawn

“In our community, the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets: that we know. And amongst them, we need to build bridges, and we do know that for various reasons amongst the difficulties of the world, a broken world that we’re facing, there are lines being drawn even amongst the ulama (scholastic) community. And differences of strategy and direction, and differences in trying to say this is how we can serve the ummah (Muslim community) better can and will arise.

But all I can hope for is people like yourself, in a small way myself, if I can, and others, try to at least make hearts stay together…

There should never be an instance where people amongst the ulama, who are the inheritors of the prophets, who are at the heights of those who represent the prophets in their absence today —- at least the hearts and their brotherhood should remain there.

And I think that is the case anyway amongst the most senior ulama that we know. And without naming names, I think their hearts are clear in their interaction, but they may be operating in different platforms and structures.

But I think we need bridge builders, so we keep the ukhuwwa (brotherhood) and the conversation going, as we try to navigate ourselves across common challenges in the world and navigate our community towards a direction. Which is ultimately the same direction anyway, seeking the pleasure of Allah, and following in the footsteps of al-Habib al-Mustafa salAllahu ‘alayhi wa salam.

And that’s about it, in order to be worshippers who are keen only to seek Allah’s pleasure and have that kind of connection and rida (contentment).”

On Tribulations and Trials

“Al-salam ‘alaykum, shaykh Hisham: and thank you for your ongoing affection, care, concern and spiritual advice which I really, really value, and it does help me. At some point, it would be good to talk or see you just to share the seriousness of my condition.

But, alhamdulillah (praise be to God), this ibtila’ (tribulation) is a blessing, it has given me so much khayr, by God, so much khayr – and I am full of shukr (gratefulness). I have sabr (patience) when the pain is happening, but I have shukr for what Allah is doing for me spiritually. And as one of my teachers once said: when you are suffering from a physical illness, be grateful you are not suffering from a spiritual illness. And I am really feeling the benefits of that right now.

Alhamdulillah: jazakAllah khayr for sending me all the Prophetic supplications and invocations, and alhamdulillah most of them I have been doing already, but I haven’t actually been doing [certain elements of spiritual practice I recommended], so I will immediately add this into my practice on your advice; so, thank you for that.

And although I am in a wonderful spiritual place, you are absolutely right that the hardest thing is often for the family and for the wife and the children. They are struggling a little bit and I do try to give them strength, so please make du’a for my wife and my three young children: that Allah gives them strength in the midst of this ibtila’ that we are all facing. And insha’Allah I am confident that Allah will take care of us, and take care of our affairs insha’Allah.”

“Al-salam ‘alaykum, Shaykh Hisham – I hope you are well. Thank you for your ongoing enquiry and concerns about my health and your du’a. In terms of how I am, alhamdulillah, spiritually and mentally, I am in a really good place – I have this wonderful connection and relationship built with our Lord, subhanhu wa ta’ala. My tahajjuds (night vigil prayers) are beautiful, and I am just loving the experience of this ibtila’, taking as much benefit of it as possible.

In terms of the jasad, the body: unfortunately, that is choosing to go in a different direction…Suffice it to say my physical condition is extremely serious, and I need lots of your du’a.

But my spiritual condition, by Allah’s will, is in the best place I have ever experienced, and long may Allah keep that. So, I ask for your continued dua’ and insha’Allah I will update you more next week.”


Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him, and may He grant him contentment) said:

“As for one who suffers tribulation, he will sometimes be tried as a punishment and retribution for an offense he has perpetrated or a sin he has committed, at another time as an expiation and purification, and finally, for the sake of elevation in spiritual degrees and advancement to high stages, to join those versed in knowledge, people with experience of all states and stations. This they have received through the providence of the Lord of creation and of mankind.

Their Lord has sent them to ride the fields of misfortune on the mounts of friendliness and kindness and refreshed them with the breeze of loving looks and glances while in movement or at rest, because their trial was not intended to destroy them and hurl them into the abyss. Rather did He put them to these tests for the sake of choice and selection, so drawing from them the reality of faith, which He purified and separated from polytheistic association [shirk], pretensions and hypocrisy [nifaq], and presenting them with all kinds of knowledge, secrets and enlightenment. Then He made special favourites of them, entrusted them with His secrets, and granted them the pleasure of His company.

… For those trials have the effect of making their hearts pure and free from sinful association, and from attachment to creatures, worldly means, wishes, and self-willed desires. They are instrumental in melting them and smelting out the pretensions and passions, and the expectation of returns for obedient behaviour, in the form of high degrees and stations in the hereafter, in paradise and its gardens…

The sign that the trials are for the sake of spiritual progress is the presence of contentment, harmony, self-composure, quiet trust in the working of the God of the earth and the heavens, and annihilation within them until their eventual removal with the passage of time.”


Anyone who saw Nabeel knows what signs were most prominent upon him. I consider it my honour that I knew Nabeel al-Azami, and my loss that I did not know him longer and better.

May God have mercy on the soul of Sayyid Nabeel al-Azami; grant him the highest stations of Paradise; and give his family strength.

إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون

“And that’s about it, in order to be worshippers who are keen only to seek Allah’s pleasure and have that kind of connection and rida (contentment).” (Nabeel al-Azami).

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