Connect with us

#Life

10 for 20 at 40 – Ten Pieces of Advice I’d give to my Twenty-Year Old Self Now that I’m Forty

Avatar

Published

on

Forty is a special age. It’s the quintessential age of mid-life. It’s older than ‘young’, but younger than ‘old’. It’s an age where one has typically finished jumping all the hoops that society and education and starting a family require, and where one now looks forward to thinking about the major accomplishments of life, and the legacy that one wishes to leave.

The Quran mentions forty as the age of reaching full maturity: “Until, when (man) reaches his maturity (ashudd), and reaches forty years of age, he says, ‘O My Lord! Allow me to thank the blessings that you have bestowed on me, and on my parents, and that I perform good deeds that are pleasing to you, and make my children righteous as well. Truly, I repent unto You, and are of those who submit totally to you” [Ahqāf; 15].

No wonder, then, that our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) actually began receiving inspiration and preaching his message at the age of forty. For forty years, he was merely being prepared for the real purpose of his mission: the call to Allah.

This is the year that I reach that important milestone of life. I do not know what the future holds for me, although of course I have my visions and plans. But it seems fitting for me to pause and reflect upon the last four decades of my life, and ponder over its ups and downs.

I remember vividly many of my thoughts and emotions when I was twenty. It was exactly twenty years ago that I graduated from the University of Houston, and left for the Islamic University of Madinah, beginning a new phase of my life. I began thinking, “If I could, somehow, give my younger self some advice; if I could address the young man of twenty, now that I am forty, and hope that he would listen to my advice, what would I tell him?”

These are the top ten things that came to mind. I hope those of you who are still in their twenties (and perhaps some of you who are older!) will benefit from it.

1) Don’t be so certain about your opinions and views.

Arrogance and cockiness define teenage years, and a young man (or woman) at twenty really is just a teenager, plus one. Views about how to live, about interpretations of religion, about how you would do things differently than everyone else in the world – those views typically stem from a naïve and inexperienced view of the world. You will realize that over-enthusiasm and strongly held opinions are the quintessential signs of being young. Don’t judge others who disagree with your views too harshly: you just might find yourself holding those same views a few years or decades down the line!

2) The most important source of practical knowledge is life itself.

Continuing from the last point, realize that the single greatest source of wisdom is learnt by living life itself. No matter how many lectures you attend, or books you read, or how deeply you contemplate or think, nothing substitutes the wisdom gained from simply experiencing the world around you. In order to be a good spouse, you need to learn to navigate the ups and down of a marriage. In order to be a good parent, you need to have your own children and learn to take care of them throughout their stages of childhood. In order to be a good human, you need to experience the good and bad of humanity.

‘Facts’ from books are great, but they must be shaped and seasoned and tested on the playground of life. Appreciate that you might not be in the best shape to judge everything, especially since you might not have experienced those things before. Through experience, and trial and error, one’s methods for dealing with all types of problems are refined.

A corollary of this piece of advice (and if I had more than ten in this list, this would be number eleven) is: Respect and benefit from those older than you. Perhaps you know more than an elder about a certain matter (or, to phrase it more precisely: perhaps you think you know more than them about a certain matter), but no matter how knowledgeable you are about quantum mechanics, or investigating sahih hadiths, or understanding the latest psychological theories from your textbooks, you simply cannot match the wisdom of your grandmother when it comes to navigating the intricacies of human interactions and raw emotions.

3) Friends come and go; family stays.

Many young men and women act as if their friends are more important than their family. They will show more concern about hurting their friend’s feeling than their family’s. Much of the conflict at that age, in fact, comes from the frictions of interacting with and arbitrating between family and friends. Yet, as anyone older than you can tell you, your friends are not a permanent fixture of your life. They will come and go into and out of your room of life, and every few days or months or years, you will look around that room and realize that an entirely different set of friends are standing where once another batch stood. But, lurking in the background, never actually disappearing (until death!) are your family members. These are the permanent fixtures in your room of life, not your set of friends.

True, problems with parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins and so forth are extremely painful, and all families have their internal disputes and major problems. It is absolutely normal to have intra-family fights (particularly, for some bizarre reason, during and concerning marriages!). And it is normal, although not Islamic, to go for long periods with minimal or no contact with close family members. Yet, in the end, blood is thicker than anything else, and you will always be connected with family. Time heals all wounds, and even the worse of family arguments are healed (thankfully, family tragedies or celebrations act as catalysts in that regard). So never overlook your family for the sake of friends.

Having said that, and on a more cheerful note, in all likelihood the best set of friends you’ll ever have are your college friends. College friends will always have a special status in your life, maybe because you were all young and lonely and single and naïve and at the prime of your youths, thrown together due to circumstances beyond your control, facing the ups and downs of a new environment away from home. Or maybe that special bond is the result of some type of unstudied scientific byproduct of the hundreds of times you all had to eat takeout pizza late at night and share cheap Chinese food together. Whatever the reasons – banal or mystical – no set of friends will have the status of college friends. But once again: even they will go out of your lives, some never to be seen again, others once every few decades, and a small handful with whom you’ll remain in touch with forever.

One final comment about families: make sure you soak in as many memories as you can from your family elders, because you never know how long they will be with you. One of my greatest regrets in this department is that I didn’t get to know my grandmother as well as I could have. I never met two of my grandparents; a third died when I was only ten. It was only my paternal grandmother (who lived with us until she passed away, when I was twenty-two) that I got to know somewhat. But as a teenager, I would always be irritated when she began reminiscing of the ‘old days’. I would internally cringe every time she began a story that I had already heard a hundred times, yet I would still have to pretend as if each time were new to me. I never cared to ask her for more stories, or more details. ‘When will she stop!?’ I would internally ask myself as I fretted to get back to my TV show or college homework. It was only after I matured, and she and everyone of her generation passed on, that I truly realized my loss. How I wish now that I could have learnt more about her, and her childhood. She talked to us of British soldiers in her village, of her parents and in-laws (my great-grandparents), of the ways of purdah in rural India, of distant relatives long gone from this world, of incidents that took place almost a century ago, and of the interesting customs of the time. Now that she has been gone for two decades, I vividly remember much of what she said, but I wish for so much more. How I wish I had quizzed her for more details, more incidents, more stories. Now that I reflect upon her stories, there are so many unanswered questions: questions that I never bothered to ask because at the time, I really didn’t care to know, but now, have no answers to because I didn’t care to ask them.

4) Habits developed now typically stay with you.

I have had the great fortune (or misfortune!) of studying twenty-two years continuously as a student at various universities (two undergraduate degrees and four graduate). What I found remarkable was that the habits I developed while studying for my very first degree pretty much stayed with me throughout my two decades of study (with, of course, modifications and developments). And the same went for my routines and other life-habits: how I dealt with early marital spats dictated my future navigation; how I reared my first child influenced my later habits with my other children, and so forth. True, I picked up some habits along the way (I never drank caffeine early on in my life; now, I am addicted to one freshly-brewed quality tea every morning, and one freshly-ground espresso drink every afternoon), and dropped others (I used to love sleeping on the floor, and felt it gave me a better sleep – obviously that is a habit that only single people can practice!), but by and large, my ‘routine’ and lifestyle has remained the same.

Hence, be extra vigilant of your habits at this age, and realize that the hard work and good habits that you incorporate earlier in your life will help you throughout the rest of your life. It is easier to develop good habits at a younger age than to drop bad ones later on in life.

5) Take advantage of your health and energy while you can!

Wisdom and maturity might increase as you age from twenty to forty, but alas, strength and power does not! Looking back at those years, I can’t believe how much energy I had. I could get by on small quantities of food (or even skip meals without any adverse effect); didn’t require much sleep; had no trouble falling asleep; and could rough out the worst of conditions. I took my health completely for granted.

How much energy I had! Looking at people older than me, and seeing their aches and pains and arthritis and diseases, it never occurred to me that each and every one of those elders was at one point in their lives as young and vibrant as I was. I could never imagine myself with those problems.

Yet, as the years turn into decades, slowly but inevitably time begins to catch up, and you no longer can be as vigorous, as vivacious, as energetic, as you once were. Knee joints begin to hurt, back pains become more common, sleep becomes an issue, you can no longer skip meals so easily ….and the list goes on, and continues to grow, year by year.

Indeed, it was none other than our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who reminded us to take advantage of our youth before we become old.

6) You’ve all heard of the adage ‘time flies’. Life will teach you how true that really is.

I have such vivid memories of those years, and yet they seem so far away. At times, when I recall memories from those years, I am startled to realize that fifteen or twenty or twenty five years have passed since then. How could two decades have gone by so quickly? Where did that time all go?!

And I know that as I grow older, I will also look back at these very years that I am currently living in in the same way.

Do not procrastinate what needs to be done today until tomorrow. You want to fill up your time with matters that will benefit you religiously, and worldly. Accomplish much, aim high, get things done, and you will live a full and wonderful life. Waste time, and you will end up watching the years fly you by as you stand bankrupt of any lasting good. The choice is yours.

7) Life will get tougher, not easier.

We tend to exaggerate our problems at a younger age, thinking that no one has it worse than us. Looking back, I am now amused at what I considered to be ‘huge’ problems (the first time my first car broke down, I quite literally felt as if my life had come to a halt!). For those of us who live in stable family environments, away from war zones, with adequate financial stability (meaning: we will not starve to death no matter what happens), it is a very safe bet to say that the most painful problems of our lives are yet to come.

I say this not to make our young men and women depressed, but to make them put things into perspective. One of the most painful moments of most people’s lives comes when they see their children extremely sick or in some type of threat. At that moment, nothing that has ever happened to you as a twenty-year old could ever have been a serious problem. So, when you are tense about that exam or having missed a paper assignment or going through a tough patch with someone whom you love, take a deep breath, and realize that life is not all that bad!

8) The single most important decision of your entire life will probably be made in this decade: the choice of a spouse.

I cannot imagine a decision that will have more impact on the entire rest of your life than choosing the partner whom you intend to spend the rest of your life with! Your careers may easily change, and the field that you initially studied for typically becomes a launching pad into an entirely different trajectory. However, ‘changing’ spouses is not something that anyone willingly undergoes, and choosing a life-partner will have an immediate and a long-term effect on you. It will influence your character, shape your religion, bring you untold happiness and sadness and joys and pains, affect the genes of your progeny, and dictate the nature of the rest of your life (and even afterlife).

As a person who was going into Islamic studies, I knew that I needed to find a life partner who would be willing to sacrifice much for me. I am very fortunate to have been blessed with a wife who has always supported me in my efforts, and I am extremely grateful to Allah that I have ‘my Khadija’! But I can honestly say that many, many of my friends who wanted to become students of knowledge or otherwise benefit their communities, were forced to abandon their plans because of spousal issues. And the same goes for other choices that you will have to make: spouses must sacrifice for each other, and who sacrifices what for whom will decide the both of your fates.

So, be picky, and look at the most important criterion: character. Beauty truly is skin deep, and what really counts is good manners and religion. When you are all alone with your spouse, with absolutely no one to help or support you, nothing will bring about a better relationship than the both of you fearing Allah for the consequences of your actions.

9) Your obnoxious behavior will come back to haunt you, while your love and kindness will always benefit you.

Sadly, people (especially family) don’t forget. Yes, they might forgive, but they don’t forget. If you hurt someone, or do something stupid or rude, it will always be remembered, and occasionally brought up. One harsh incident might cost you an entire relationship,

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” One incident in which you humiliated a friend, or were caustic to a family member, will always affect your future with that person. And an incident where you showed your mercy, or kindness, can win over someone as a true ally for as long as you live.

So be wise, don’t act rashly, and err on the side of mercy.

10) No one – and I mean no one – will ever love you, or care for you, or be as concerned for your welfare, as your parents. Cherish them in every way possible for as long as you have the opportunity to do so.

It is one of the saddest aspects of growing up that children, and especially teenagers, treat their parents in a rude manner. We are all familiar with the Quranic and prophetic commandments regarding good treatment of parents. Unfortunately, for many of us, those commandments do not seep into our hearts at a young age (and for a few unlucky ones, never!).

I have said many times in my talks, “You will never understand the love of your parents until you become a parent yourself, and it is only then that you will realize all that they did for you, they did out of love.” Even if you don’t have children of your own, however, try your best to give them the love and kindness that they deserve, and honor them with kindness.

It is true that all of us are at times extremely frustrated with parental expectations, or parental advice and rebukes, but our religion teaches us to control that anger and not express it verbally. ‘Zip it up!’ I advise my own teenager when I see he is about to get irritated with his mother (or me!). ‘Talk to us when you’ve calmed down. It’s okay to feel angry, it’s not okay to show it.’ (Alas, that advice doesn’t always work on him!!).

No one knows how long one’s parents will be around; take advantage of their presence, to earn your place in Paradise, and to have the best memories of serving them for as long as you live as well.

Now that I’ve passed this milestone, I ask Allah that He blesses me and my family to see many more positive milestones in my life and in theirs.

O Allah! Allow me to be thankful to you for all that you have bestowed upon me, and upon my parents! Bless me to continue to do good deeds that are pleasing to you! And make me from your righteous and beloved servants! Ameen.

 

 

[Note: for those of you forty and above, what advice would you want to give to our younger readers? And for those of you in your twenties: what advice on this list resonated most for you, and why? Leave a comment with your wisdom below!]

Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.

85 Comments

85 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hassan

    June 2, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    Salaam. May Allah give you many more 40 years on earth with health and emaan. Are you turning 40 solar calendar or lunar?

    • Avatar

      Nasra

      September 6, 2015 at 12:36 AM

      Hamdillah,this is so nice.I’m not 20,im 18,but this helps alot!best advice is the one related to family and their most important..inshAllah I’ll always keep that in mind !Jazikallahu khair for this !

  2. Avatar

    Hassan

    June 2, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    Salaam again. I firmly believe that Allah has plans for us and they play out for our benefit if we are sincere. Any change in your thinking/circumstance may not have ended you here where you are. Yes, in hindsight we regret over-zealousness of 20 year old man, but imagine if it was not there, we may have ended up having a PhD Yasir Qadhi in Chemical Engineering working at Saudi Aramco and listening to Nouman Ali Khan and regretting that he did not go into Islamic Studies.

  3. Avatar

    khatam khan

    June 2, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Salaam, your article brought me to tears both happy and sad. Many times we reminisce about what better we could have done esp when hitting or nearing forty! I only hope inshallah I can give sound advice to my children and ask Allah to guide to them in all that they do and bless my parents for their hard work and sacrifices.

  4. Avatar

    Irfan

    June 2, 2015 at 2:14 PM

    May Allah give you a blessed and long fruitful life. May Allah give us taufeeq to please him. Ameen.

  5. Avatar

    Nida

    June 2, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    I am in my twenties and I am exactly as you describe above. What resonated most with me is that I am not as grateful and gracious to my parents as I should be and I am very stubborn about my views when I should infact take what my elders advise me into serious consideration. This article was an eye opener for me.

  6. Avatar

    Maryam

    June 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    ALHAMDULILLAH ,your atticle is so inspiring . Please can I use this opportunity to ask a question. We as human are always asked to plan ahead and set a goal for the future but I observed that all through my life Allah has always set my life towards a different direction in all my endeavor . I don’t know whether to keep praying and leave everything to Allah because sometimes I feel my heart is always deceiving me. Please what advice can you give to me Dr. Yasin?

    • Avatar

      sofiat

      June 2, 2015 at 5:37 PM

      Salam alaykum.
      Jazakallah khairan ford write up.
      pls, I will like to receive reply to sis Maryam question in my inbox too. thanks.

      • Avatar

        Abdul-Hakeem

        June 3, 2015 at 6:26 AM

        I will also be grateful if I can receive an answer to sister Maryam’s question

      • Avatar

        Maryam

        October 4, 2015 at 7:42 AM

        Assalamu alaikum! Me too.

    • Avatar

      Ali

      June 4, 2015 at 4:19 PM

      Walaikum assalam warahmatullahi

      Bismillah.

      It seems to me that Allah (swt) wants you to submit to His Will. He will reward you for all your prayers, dua, and hope you have in Him inshaAllah. But if you resign to His Will, then things will all fall into place. The peace you will get from that — there is no replacement for it.

      For boys like me, that includes the kind of employment you will get. So even if I get a super prestigious degree, I should be happy with an analyst level job rather than team lead/manager.

      Similarly, sisters like you may have something that they have a goal for but there are some traditional realities that will always persist. Also, I think 25 years is a good age when a person does not look at life as “goals” but rather as “tasks”. There are multiple takes on that perspective. It’s about intentions too.

      My younger sister encourages me to do istikhara in all things, even like before going to meet someone, like a professor at school for an important meeting or an employer for an interview. Maybe you can try doing that as well.

      And Allah knows best.

    • Avatar

      sikander

      June 5, 2015 at 4:19 PM

      Ability to plan for future is also given by Allah. So plan for future and pray to Allah to keep you on right path and you get benefits through your plan.

    • Avatar

      Delphine

      June 13, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      The most important lesson to learn is that Allah (swt) knows best for everyone. If you never got what you asked means Allah withheld them for a purpose, for which could destroy us. For Allah gives at the appointed time and can’t be faulted.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous

    June 2, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    This is a great article but I think for muslim females it is different. I would tell a muslim female or any female to not be so fearful. Try things, do things. If you have a dream that you have worked hard for and poured your soul into then stick with it. Don’t let the naysayers discourage you. Believe in yourself!! I would also tell her find a good spouse when you are young otherwise you could end up like many muslim females single, childless and alone in your 40s and beyond. Its a subject that gets sweeped under the rug. Muslim men always have an easier time finding a spouse.

    • Avatar

      Sadeqa

      June 4, 2015 at 1:39 AM

      I was surprised and pleased to see someone express the point of view of a Muslim woman. I totally agree that this issue is always swept under the rug. The above article is good but it is clearly written from a male perspective (# 8). Looks like Muslims females should limit themselves to be the ‘sacrifice’ for someone else’s life. Why she could not seek the same from her spouse? Or why they can’t support each other? I wonder why Muslim females get some form of respect only as ‘old mothers’ and not as young promising individuals. I also wonder why marriage has taken the form an unequal business deal instead of a loving human relationship. This prevalent attitude in the Muslim society makes it difficult for Muslim females to find a supportive spouse. They are between a rock and a hard place and no one dares to speak about it.

      • Avatar

        Anon

        June 4, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        “And the same goes for other choices that you will have to make: spouses must sacrifice for each other, and who sacrifices what for whom will decide the both of your fates.” He clearly stated that all spouses must do the same. Just because he mentions the sacrifices of his wife, does not mean that he did not sacrifice for her, or that their case is the same for all marriages.

      • Avatar

        Zahra

        June 4, 2015 at 2:08 PM

        You need to go out and do what you want. You can not expect others to change or sympathize with you. I picked-up the pieces. All you need to do is believe in yourself and forget what other think of you. You have Jannah ahead of you inshaaAllah and I know this might not be what you or other sisters want to hear, but remember Allah is there hearing your every call. Allah has the power to accept you dua, but if he did not it is, because of his knowledge of you. Hope for the very best and do not despair in the hope of Allah. :)

      • Avatar

        Rasyad

        July 30, 2019 at 12:35 AM

        Please don’t bring your own ego into Syeikh’s topic. He clearly said both parties should make sacrifice. Salaam.

  8. Avatar

    Abubakar

    June 2, 2015 at 5:48 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum. I will like to start by saying ALHAMDULILLAH WAS SALATU WAS SALAMU ALA RASULILLAH. After that I will like to express my appreciation for this effort of yours JAZAKALLAHU KHAIRAN. I am currently in my 20s and since my early teenage years I have always had a goal to bring change to the system and process of life we muslims live by. I happened to be opportuned by the will of ALLAH to attend your last Lecture at Leeds grand masjid and it was very motivational. After reading this article I come to realize two points(point 1 and point 2) you stated are countering my view. I just want to ask if I am being just an overzealous kid for thinking and hoping to bring change or that my view of life will eventually change as time goes on? May Allah accept and reward your efforts. Aamiin

    • Avatar

      Ali

      June 4, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      Walaikum assalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

      Alhamdulillah wassalaatu wassalam ‘ala Rasulillah.

      MashaAllah it’s good to always have Hope in Allah. I think there just needs to be a balance between idealism and reality. I would never recommend to not be ideal, but I would never recommend to ignore the ground facts.

      And more importantly, the condition of the heart needs to be sound. In other words, can you “feel” your heart and are you spiritual? If not, maybe you need to do istikhara for each task and try to leave things to Allah (swt) than relying on your own ability alone to do things.

      And Allah knows best.

  9. Avatar

    Syeda

    June 2, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    MashaAllah.. Alhumdulilah such a nice article I have read..May Allah guide us, our children and our relatives..Jazakallahu khairan brother Yasir Qadhi for writing this article…It is really inspire me and I will show it to my son , when he will be his twenty In Sha Allah..Now my son is 8 months..May Allah bless you and your family brother Yasir

  10. Avatar

    Numan

    June 2, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    The last 2 points resonated very deeply with me. I ask Allah to preserve sheikh.

  11. Avatar

    Miriam

    June 2, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    Asalamualaykum the entire article was relevant and extremely useful.

  12. Avatar

    Kawthar

    June 2, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    Salam! Each point is exactly what someone in their 20’s needs to hear. The advice that resonated with me the most is 2) The most important source of practical knowledge is life itself. I tend to believe that I am good at certain things I have never experienced, such as being a parent or a wife. Your advice really puts me in my place :) and makes me realize that I should never believe that I am good at something I have yet to experience. I should humble myself, educate myself in preparation, and pray that I will insha’Allah play the role one day in the manner that pleases Allah SWT. Jazzak Allah khair, Sheikh!

  13. Avatar

    Daniel

    June 2, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    asalam alaykum…maa shaa ALLAH every single point of the above ten is remarkable more especially about getting a spouse, family, parents and people’ feelings as a result of ur deed…may ALLAH reward u enormously..ameen

  14. Avatar

    Aaron

    June 2, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    Salaam,

    The parts you said concerning parents struck me. Please make du’a for me that my parents would be pleased with me before Allah calls them unto Him. And that we would all be gathered in Jannah with Rasulullah (S.A.W), the shahabah and all of the righteous. Aamiin.

    As for any addition of advice, I’d say that a combination between youth and experience is the best and unbeatable in shaa Allah.

    I’m gonna give you an example of two soccer teams (I’m not gonna name them). Both intitially had youth and experience in their ranks.

    One of the team, decides to move on and let go of the older players who have experience, and decided to stick with the youth instead.

    The other team decided to stick with ‘the youth and experience policy’. The result?

    The one who decided to stick with the youth and experience policy continues to win trophies and the one who got rid of the older players with expereience had a trophyless drought for around nine years.

    The drought finally ended ( with Allah’s permission of course) after that team decided to bring players with great mentality and experience.

    The practical knowledge for us (IMO) is as youth, we should always reach out to our wiser elders for counsels. Being close to wiser elders will in shaa Allah increase our wisdom, strengthen our mentality, and hold us back from the things we could regret doing in the future.

    I regret some parts of my life where I distanced myself from the elders. When I look back, I guess I was really stupid and gullible back then. And I have yet to achieve anything that I can be proud of by distancing myself from them.

    Only after I try to open myself to them and listen to them, some sense finally returned to me.

    For example, one of the advice they gave me is about discipline. In everything you do you have to be discipline. Skills are useless if u have no discipline to train them etc (that’s how I remember it I think).

    So yes. I would really advise this to any people who are still in teens and twenties.

    When you are young, look to older people for experience. The benefits would be like the things I have said before (and possibly even more in shaa Allah).

    Not doing this, however, you could end up ‘trophyless’ i.e achieving nothing like the team who decided to get rid of experience (unless Allah wills otherwise).

    P.S: Actuallyyy, if we as youth could start to reaaallyy listen to our wise parents when we were kids and consistently do that throughout our lives, we would be spared from a looooooot of trouble in shaa Allah.

    P.S.S: I dare not give examples from the time of the Prophet (S.A.W) or even Qur’anic on this combination of youth and experience because I’m not a scholar. But maybe Shaykh Yasir could do so? :)

    Wallahu a’lam.

  15. Avatar

    Airan Nassir

    June 2, 2015 at 8:44 PM

    First and foremost allow me to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your hard work brother Yasir ,May Allah (swt) shower you and your family with his mercy and his blessing ,I am so grateful that we have scholars like you,i can’t thank you enough.Every article or every subject that you post i read , enjoy and cherish so much.every piece of advice from you it is a whole world of knowledge to me and to my family and i thank you for that.May Allah (swt) guide us all and protect us all as one unite ummah .we are always looking forward to listen to your advice and guidance thank you thank you and thank you.
    Airan.

  16. Avatar

    Mohammed Jahed Hossain

    June 2, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    I think point 5 was sort of a reminder for me to be more productive with my time, I feel like I waste too much time in social media. I have a question sheikh, when did you how did you and how long did you stay and complete your studies in Medina University? I’m thinking of going there to study, maybe after high school.

    • Avatar

      Alif_haa

      June 4, 2015 at 6:50 AM

      Sheikh talked about it in the program Witness With Waheed. I believe it is on youtube.

  17. Avatar

    N

    June 3, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Assalamualikum w,
    MashaaAllah Beautiful artical so much to learn from it, I would make dua as I always do for all my teachers that may Allah accept your efforts and may you see the fruit of it in this world and the hereafter abundantly, may Allah bless your kids and spouse and give them the same reward for supporting you, and may Allah make us and our children like you to strive and work hard for our religion solely for His sake. Indeed the acceptance of our actions only depends upon the level of our sincerity towards our maker, may Allah give you more tawfeeq and strength to please your creator, may Allah keep you steadfast until you meet him and us as well.
    جزاك الله خيرا في الدنيا والآخرة

    • Avatar

      Zuhra Ali

      June 3, 2015 at 2:04 AM

      you said it all brother Yasir! haven’t gotten to 40 yet but exactly what you said is what I would have said. I look up to you so much in many things in life. you are my inspiration and mentor. may Allah preserve you increase in knowledge and wisdom, bless you, your family and honor you with the highest station in jannah. Ameen. jazakallahu kheyran brother

  18. Avatar

    Abdulrahman

    June 3, 2015 at 1:42 AM

    Assalamu Alaekum
    Number 10 realy reasons with my current life, My dad passed away 2 months prior my birth and my mother had to bear all the pain & struggle to make my life straight forward Alhamdulillah she managed as i have a strong Islamic background but that came with a cost as my mom did all she could . Now that am 22yrs old am starting to reflect on my past and the love my mam had for me although sometimes i could throw back words at her and feel irritated but now i’m coming to understand why.
    May Allah give her long life and forgiveness and jannah in Akhira in sha Allah.

  19. Avatar

    FaSi SyEd

    June 3, 2015 at 4:14 AM

    Assalamualaikum.
    Brother it was something incredible from you and I believe it’s the best I have learned from you.
    JazakAllahu khairan.

    May Allah swt bless you with more and more true knowledge and wisdom eachday.

  20. Avatar

    yusof

    June 3, 2015 at 5:39 AM

    Salam Sheikh, your advises makes a lot of sense even for me being 33 this year. I will try my best to carry the points to my daughter and hopefully she will learn from them too.

  21. Avatar

    alrayyes

    June 3, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    Just thought I’d throw this quote in here:

    “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”

  22. Avatar

    Sameer

    June 3, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Assalamu alaikum, I sincerely find the entire article ‘a pearl of wisdom’. Now that I’m turning 25, I’ve had few experiences and a bit of learning which allowed me to realize many things (infact each one of the points 1-7). 8,9&10 – wise words indeed..those are the ones I need to concentrate on. But habit developing, parental care and respect, caring more for grandparents -those would resonate in my mind, because I’m already concerned much about that!
    May Allah bless u sheikh in all your endeavours and keep u in the straight path, Assalamu alaikum

  23. Avatar

    Hamze yassin

    June 3, 2015 at 4:40 PM

    M around twenties, I need an advice from the Dr

  24. Avatar

    Malieka

    June 3, 2015 at 6:24 PM

    Assalamu Alaykum

    I was deeply moved by the article. I am 23 and I have realised a few of the points mentioned. Alhumdullilah.

    Firstly, what touched me the most was the advice regarding our parents. I have been blessed with truly amazing parents and I try my best to honour them.:-) Alhumdullilah. I want my parents to be pleased with me so ultimately Allah is pleased with me. And if there is one thing I regret the most is hurting my parents.

    Secondly it is easy for us to judge people from afar, but if we were in that same situation would we do the same thing or something worse… Having the book knowledge and having to put what you learnt into practice is two very different things. Sometimes we need to learn the hard way in order to become learn and stronger.

    Thirdly, life does become harder the older you become. I always thought once I left school my life would become easier. I definitely thought wrong, but Allah gives us the strength to overcome obstacles we never even imagined.

    Lastly, I really do need to work on my habits and other aspects mentioned in the article as well inshaa Allah. I also feel as youth sometimes we are soo scared and obsessed what other people will think about us, we might miss a golden opportunity. Sometimes we need to be brave and take chances. If it was a mistake we need to learn from it. We are human after all and it’s in our nature to make mistakes, but the key is to learn from those mistakes.

    Jazakallah for writing this article. :-) I feel that I really benefitted from it.

    • Avatar

      Umm Arafat

      June 23, 2015 at 6:44 AM

      @Malieka,
      Learning from experience: There is a saying that we all learn from mistakes,
      The smart learn from OTHERS mistakes and the fools learn from their OWN mistakes.

  25. Avatar

    Muhammad Fahreza

    June 3, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Salaam. Jazakallah khayr for sharing your thought. May Allah rewards you and bless you by Jannah

  26. Avatar

    Atiqul

    June 3, 2015 at 10:46 PM

    Assalamualaikum,

    I would like to express my gratitude, for your valuable advices on life. I am in my thirties and was in need for guidance in life. Without any doubt, your suggestions and advices will be helpful in this regard.

    May the Almighty Allah grants you eternal Blessing and Jannah.

  27. Avatar

    Nusrat

    June 4, 2015 at 12:05 AM

    Salaam Sheikh,
    I would also like to thank you for sharing your wisdom in a humble and loving way. What struck me was your comment about habits. Being recently married, I’m trying to nip some bad habits in the bud — it’s so hard, but I’m really trying, and your words inspire me to keep trying. Jazakallah khair fidunya wal akhirah.

  28. Avatar

    Moeez Ahmed

    June 4, 2015 at 12:49 AM

    As a 22 year old; 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 at this point in my life have really resonated with me. To an extent, where I almost cried because of how much sense they make. I’m really glad that I stumbled upon. Whether it was through divine intervention that I come about this on my own or through mere chance, this was wisdom I really needed to hear. There are tons of self help books that give advice about various predicaments and at this moment I believe the advice Dr. Qadhi has given seems quite fundamental.

  29. Avatar

    Rafi Malik

    June 4, 2015 at 2:50 AM

    Asalamualykum brother in forty ?
    . Masterpiece write up, the line ” a young man (or woman) at twenty really is just a teenager, plus one. ” I found this to be the heart of the write up.

    May Allah swt bless you and me….ameen

    Rafi malik
    Srinagar Kashmir

  30. Avatar

    azimullah ansari

    June 4, 2015 at 3:50 AM

    assalam o alikum. your writ up opens up my past pages of life again. i do not know the exact date and year of birth as i belong to a rural simple society where date hardly matters. but roughly calculated with the major incidents of my parents lives it seems that this year or last year i might have passed this age. but this year many things happened in my life which is unique in many senses. the difficulties i fount next to unbearable which steered me toward finding solution on net and luckily i found a article which suggested seven strategies viz namaz, dua, repentance, etc. this article arouse interest on net an alhamdollilah i found you, mufti ment, green, dr bilal philips and my life changed. though born in muslim family but hardly i had been muslim. i redefined my life and found that i have wasted my almost forty years of life. now i try to find a company of people like you all around which is very hard. i acknowledge that i thrive on the lectures of yours and pray to allah and his mercies. in my youth i considered that i know islam better since i have attended jammia millia islamia, aligarh muslim university and jawaharlal nehru university and faced a lot of religious intricasies. but with the interaction of a new world i found i know nothing about islam. i desire that islam should be made available all the adolescents so that they could realise their potentials. please remember me too in your dua. allah hafiz

  31. Avatar

    Maryam

    June 4, 2015 at 4:31 AM

    Assalamu alaikum. Very insightful article. I would to also have an answer to Maryam’s question (above). May Almighty ALLAH continue to guide you and increase you in knowledge.

  32. Avatar

    Faiza

    June 4, 2015 at 5:44 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum. This is a great advice. I really understood your meaning of ” Your life is not all that bad”. I believe it is always important to truly appreciate all that we have. A warm bed, clothes on our back and a hot meal is something most people do not appreciate. A broken an iphone can cause us to be hysterical by thinking our lives cannot operate well without such things. But coming from a nation where families can barely afford to feed or clothe their children, I always say Alhamdulillah, my life is better than billions of others. The true struggle is to work and improve my relation with Allah swt. I pray that when I turn 40, I wouldn’t look back to 24 and not regret how I spent my years. My struggle at this age is to pray and choose my spouse wisely. As you said, that person will influence and shape my future. May Allah guide us, protect and forgive us. Amin. Thank you Dr Qadhi.

  33. Avatar

    Hawah Ali

    June 4, 2015 at 5:47 AM

    thank you Dr.Yasin I was impressed when you said that you can never know the love of your parents until you become one because I have seen it since am also a parent now . may Allah bless you

  34. Avatar

    Tijjani Rabe

    June 4, 2015 at 7:10 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum.
    Your article is interesting. It reminds me of my younger years, albeit without my parents. You reminded me of my late grand ma who nurtured me from childhood and brought me up after the demise of my parents. may Allah have mercy on them all. I remembered how I considered what I felt was her overbearing attitude. It was when I got married and have my children grew up that I came to terms with her expectations and desire to model my life. By Allah I have noticed all my reactions to her from my child when I am making similar attempts to mould him. May Allah grant her, my parents, and all other Muslim faithfuls Jannatul firdaus. Jazakallah.

  35. Avatar

    Moona

    June 4, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    This was one of the best from you, for the younger ones. You have engraved the words of most parents hearts for their children. This is the norm these days that the children think they know it all. And their attitude towards the adults, they think the older people are from another planet. They hardly want to sit with you & share experiences. What points hit me are 1,3, 4,& 8. The 11 point is also that would benefit the younger generation the most, so to save themselves before loss. Learning from other people’s mistake & experience gives one an edge for the future out come. Blessings.

  36. Avatar

    Dil

    June 4, 2015 at 7:49 AM

    Assalam alaikum, very inspiring article. It got my eyes watery.
    P.s- Since you already got ur ‘Khadija’ seek Aisha and Zainab ☺?(jokes)

  37. Avatar

    Zainab

    June 4, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    Almost each point is so true and practical , but 1st and 8th point are the one I have learned from my life so far. Jazak Allah khair fid duniya wal Akhirah, ustadh for this amazing article.

  38. Avatar

    Anees Hafeez

    June 4, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Assalamualikum, I really agree with Br. Yasir’s advice, only
    Problem is , it takes us forty years to see the truth. As a grandmother, I still can hear my mother say, you will understand it when you are a mother. The adventurous nature of youth is what gives vibrancy to the world, but this has to be tamed and moulded by advice like Br. Yasir’s. Our youth, our future, listen and follow.

  39. Avatar

    Benjamin Tan

    June 4, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Salam to you, the blessed author : used your article to reply to my daughter, Salam to you. see http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.tan.33671 – tks a lot.

  40. Avatar

    brother

    June 4, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    Salam,

    I apologise. I’m not always “into” your work (may Allah forgive me). But, with that said, when you grab me, you really grab me & take my heart on a ride – Ma sha Allah.

    May Allah reward you.

  41. Avatar

    hilal

    June 4, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    Nyc article but I really loved the 8th point

  42. Avatar

    Mahamoud

    June 4, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    Thank you very very much brother Yasir for this useful article. May Allah reward you better than it.

  43. Avatar

    Ramona

    June 4, 2015 at 9:25 PM

    Salaams.

    This is one of the most beneficial articles I have ever read. I literally fit under every single point that you have made and it has brought me to tears. I’m going to make a promise to myself about changing my behavior towards my family. Enough is enough, I’ve come way too far with my disobedient ways and now it’s time to turn back. Inshallah with the help of Allah, anything is possible. Jazak’Allah khairun for this amazing article.

  44. Avatar

    Muhammad

    June 5, 2015 at 5:20 AM

    This article resonates so much with me (I’m in my twenties now), i prefer the floor to my mattress and so on… but if i might ask sheihk how can having “two undergraduate degrees and four graduate degree” be a fortune/misfortune ? Because I presently have a B Sc. Computer Sci with two certifications and looking forward to my graduate degree (computing) and another undergraduate (in Islamic Studies) if Allah permits. May Allah increase you in knowledge, wisdom and age Ameen

  45. Avatar

    Abubeker

    June 5, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    I’m 23 now (I feel so old saying it out loud!) and studying in college. For me number 4 ( Habits developed
    now typically stay
    with you.) is the one that really hit home with me. Because, sometimes I feel like I’m being too lazy and when I read your article the idea that I might grow to old age( i.e. forty!)with this habit scared me to death; so jezakellah sheikh for the wakeup call.

  46. Avatar

    Mariam

    June 6, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    Salaams, im 20 and I have to say the bit about the parents and grandparents really hit me hard.
    Im going to visit my grandma right now inshallah!!!

  47. Avatar

    Stephanie Ali

    June 8, 2015 at 6:28 PM

    For the older readers:
    The article is a wonderful tool for those who take advantage of its wisdom. I admire the author of the article and may Allah (SWT) continue to allow us to gain knowledge through him. However, I must comment on my reflections after reading the article. Some of us, as myself are over 40. In my case, I am a few weeks away from forty- four. I found myself feeling like the “different” one because the events and accomplishments on my timeline are not what is considered normal. I started a family and have had 7 children along with 2 failed marriages. If I knew now what I knew then! I have struggled daily with my life choices and continue struggling. But, I am raising Muslim children with beautiful characters, and practicing Islam. I went back to college at the age of 38 and just graduated with a Bachelor’s this May. I have now been accepted to GRAD school. If your time line is not like the article. Don’t give up. Pursue your plans in life. There are road stops and obstacles along the way, (I had a major car accident) but there is room for the “older” student in the classroom or whatever your challenge might be. I have to remind myself that even though over 40, life does not stop; goals are possible, and perseverance must persevere! The Qu’ran states:
    O ye who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that ye may prosper. 3:200
    So, for those who feel they have detoured from their aspirations or goals, my advise is to continue and put effort into what is meaningful to you. The timeline of life is diverse, so continue your legacy! Don’t feel you have nothing to offer because you are nearing 40 or past 40. There is much you can offer our community. May Allah’s (SWT) blessing be upon you all!

  48. Avatar

    YVARSEE

    June 8, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    Assalam alaykum! Right on the mark, haha XD Very practical indeed MaShaAllah.

  49. Avatar

    Liza

    June 9, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    Salaam,

    This was a very good read. Being in my twenties, two things called out to me. 1. picking one’s spouse and 2. cherishing our parents. As a person looking to get married I am grateful for this advice. Furthermore, thank you for pointing out the significance of our parents and that we may not always understand them but we are required to be by their sides.

    Jazak Allah Khair

  50. Avatar

    Mohammed Rafiq

    June 10, 2015 at 7:14 AM

    As salaam o alaikum, Jazak Allah for the wonderful article. While reading I was feeling the run of the 40 year right in front of me. The irony is the truth is revealed it is just only convincing self to accept it, but alas each one of us fail if not to the same extent. It is only the hidayah of Allah karim can saw one and all from the falsehood. May Allah grant best of both the world to all his creation.

  51. Avatar

    Zubeida Malik

    June 13, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    You TOTALLY hit all the nails on the heads!!!!! Brilliant! I feel exactly the same way. Jazakumullahu khayra. Hope my kids read it with open minds.

  52. Avatar

    Hassan Mahfooz

    June 14, 2015 at 4:25 AM

    Your article brought me to tears

  53. Avatar

    AbuIbraheem

    June 15, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    my 2 cents:
    To younger readers:
    Learn to listen to the wisdom of your parents and elders. If you think you are smart, then smart means you would want to know whats coming in life. The only way to know that (be smart) is to listen to your parents very carefully and rationally. Make your own decisions but take as many advises from your elders as possible. Trust me, you will not regret.

    If you are a parent:
    Make sure you have a relationship with your children as a friend, not as a parent or the boss. It will not work. Only when you have a friendly relation with your own children will they listen to you and trust you. If you act like a boss all the time, they will keep their distance. To earn the respect of your children you must be their friend, not their boss.

    Spouse Selection:
    Couldnt agree more with the Sheikh here. Spouse is the partner that makes or breaks the life.

    My advise to myself when i was 20:
    Fear only Allah, and be fearless.

    Most important thing you can achieve in your life:
    Trust in Allah swt. If you have not achieved this you have failed your life. How to achieve it: DUA, frequent, for everything you want in your life. DUA is your navigation in this life to reach your destination. If you are Dua less you have no navigation.

    jazakAllahukhair

  54. Avatar

    Rabeeya

    June 20, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    May ALLAH reward you with good :)
    it brought me tears
    and gave me a chance to introspect and
    in shaa Allah reform :)

  55. Avatar

    Zainulabideen

    July 2, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    MashaaAllah what a great post !
    May Allah SWT bless Dr Yasir Qadhi and give us the taufeeq to benefit from this advice.
    Ameen suma Ameen

  56. Avatar

    Asma

    July 11, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    Asalam u alaikum….I am about to reach my mid-twenties and I can exactly relate where this is going. I absolutely loved this article. A sincere advise from a grown up which I will cherish forever.

  57. Avatar

    Erim

    July 13, 2015 at 6:25 AM

    Assalam Walekum.I
    This is the first time I have come across a truly inspiring article.I will skype my mother right now.Inshallah.Also quote about family and friends to my older brother and sister.I have not spoken to them for 7 months.Your article has inspired me to take them to Old India and meet all of Our Dear Deceased Father’s living relatives.This will ignite in our hearts trust once again.I see the habit I need to break.I will leave it to Allah willing.Jazakallah.

  58. Avatar

    Hawa

    July 13, 2015 at 5:17 PM

    I once told a sister that she needed to spend more time with her daughter and I will never forget the look on her face -the saddest look. I immediately apologized when I saw how hurt she looked and even went home and baked her a cake but she’s never been as open or close to me as before. If instead, I would of said how smart her daughter was and how much I loved spending time with her, then that would of made our relationship much better and she would of saw the good in spending more time with her daughter. So don’t tell someone something bad about themselves -even though it’s true- unless they ask you or are talking to you about it. Rather, be an example for the good of that bad behavior. You never know what someone is going through.

  59. Avatar

    hmm

    August 30, 2015 at 2:36 AM

    Salam
    how is everybody doing
    just wondering what time is jalsa
    jazakallah
    -brother habibullah

  60. Avatar

    Asif

    October 3, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    JazakAllah khair for this article.

    I’m a 35 you physician and find lots of wisdom in your list. One thing that I would add is below,

    Whenever given the choice between two things, both being apparently permissable, and you are unsure which to choose, choose that which would be most pleasing to Allah (swt).

  61. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 4, 2015 at 2:29 AM

    Jazakal Allahu khair. What an inspiring article. I am forty but I found it benefitial as I read this loudly to my children who are below thirteen to inspire them. We all enjoy it and thank you so much.

  62. Avatar

    Hannah

    October 12, 2015 at 4:48 PM

    This is a very eloquently and wisely worded post. As I move deeper into my twenties, I find myself collecting different pieces of wisdom from people older than me who have lived and experienced more. Your advice that rings most relevant with me is that of creating good habits now rather than trying to get rid of bad ones later. While it certainly takes practice, I find that being conscious and acknowledging that I need to create stronger habits is a step in the right direction. Thanks for posting such insightful thoughts!

  63. Avatar

    Kamaldeen

    November 18, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    SALLAM alaykum. alhamdullilah for not missing the reflection on this article

  64. Avatar

    Keumala Fadhiela

    November 29, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Alhamdulillah I am 23 years old. I am very pleased that Allah gives me opportunity to enjoy this life. Spending quality time with family, gathering with friends and beloved person, discussing with lecturer, making interactions with society, and breathing freely are great blessing. Alhamdulillah. I read this article as like as “fire” for my in this early morning. May Allah blesses us everywhere, everytime. Have a fascinating Monday :)

  65. Avatar

    Rose Taylor

    January 3, 2016 at 4:33 AM

    What a beautiful piece. I’m 60 plus now and remember, from the time I became a parent, thinking that had I listened to everything my mum had said, I’d be a better and more successful person now. God bless

  66. Avatar

    Saeed Purcell

    January 5, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    Salaamun ‘Alaykum wa-Rahmatullaah,

    May Allaah preserve you my dear Shaykh, and little brother. At almost 47 years of age I have mulled over many of these same thoughts. If there was one additional point I would add to this list of beneficial advices, it would be SLOW DOWN — patience is truly a magnificent gift, and in this ever quickening world it becomes more and more valuable due to its endangered nature. In all my years, the one thing I feel would have benefitted me most in my ‘youth’ would have been a greater and more essential quality of patience. The Chinese have a saying that runs something like this; the hasty word said in a moment, can having effects which last a thousand years. As always, Allaah knows best.

  67. Pingback: » Makings of an American Muslim Expedition of Love and Mercy

  68. Avatar

    Harun

    May 13, 2016 at 2:46 AM

    I am pleased and have truly learnt something. Thanks Sheik. May Allah continues to bestow His Abundance in all ramifications to you and your entire family. Amin

  69. Avatar

    Abdul-Gafar

    January 9, 2017 at 3:51 AM

    Ma shaa Allah!
    These are priceless words of wisdom!!!

  70. Avatar

    Hindia

    November 30, 2017 at 4:24 PM

    Aselam aleykum werahmetulah weberekatuhu. This is GOLD. 2,3,4&7 spoke to my soul directly. May Allah bless you and muslimmatters.org team many more successful years so we can learn from you. ??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Life

Who Can We Trust?

Danish Qasim

Published

on

trust

Spiritual abusers are con-artists, and if they were easy to spot then they would be far less successful. That is why you must exercise vigilance and your own judgment above that of public opinion. Never let the person’s position make you trust them more than you would without it.

Spiritual abusers work covertly, present themselves well, and use their service as a cover beneath which to operate. The way to avoid them is to recognize their tactics and avoid being caught by them.

Blurring Lines

Spiritual abuse often begins with hard-to-spot precursors, with manipulators exploiting grey areas and blurring boundaries to confuse targets. For example, when setting someone up for illicit relations or secret marriage, teachers may begin with inappropriate jokes that lower boundaries.

They may touch others in ways that confuse the person touched as to permissibility, for example, men touching women on their hijabs rather than direct skin. They may inappropriately touch someone in ways that leave him/her wondering whether or not it was intentional.

There may be frivolous texting while the premise of engagement is ‘work only’. Boundaries may be blurred by adding flirtatious content, sending articles praising polygamy, or mentioning dreams about getting married. The recipient may struggle to pinpoint what’s wrong with any of this, but the bottom line is that they don’t have to.

While these tactics may be hard to prove, you don’t need to prove that you don’t want to be communicated with in this way and that you will not tolerate it. You can withdraw from the situation on the basis of your own boundaries.

One of the key challenges in standing up to spiritual abuse is the lack of confidence in calling out bad behavior or the need for validation for wrongs. We may be afraid to a question a teacher who is more knowledgeable than us when he is doing clear haram. However, halal and haram are defined by Allah and no human has the right to amend them. If a religious leader claims exemption to the rules for themselves or their students, that’s a big, bright, red flag.

Beware of Bullying

When you witness or experience bullying, understand that a Muslim’s dignity is sacred and don’t accept justifications of ‘tarbiyah’ (spiritual edification/character reformation) or breaking someone’s nafs (ego). If you didn’t sign up for spiritual edification, don’t accept any volunteer spiritual guides.

If you did sign up, pay attention as to whether these harsh rebukes are having a positive or negative effect. If they are having a negative emotional, mental, or physical effect on you, then this is clearly not tarbiyah, which is meant to build you up.

When abuse in the name of tarbiyah happens, it is the shaykh himself or the shaykha herself who needs character reformation. When such behavior goes unchecked, students become outlets of unchecked anger and are left with trauma and PTSD. This type of bullying is very common in women’s groups.

Trust Built and Trust Destroyed

There are different levels of trust, and as it relates to religious leaders, one does not need to investigate individuals or build trust for a perfunctory relationship. You do not need a high degree of trust if you are just attending someone’s general lectures and not establishing any personal relationship.

If you want to study something with an Islamic teacher, do so as you would with a school-teacher, understanding that their position does not make that person either exceptionally safe nor exceptionally harmful. Treat religious figures as religious consultants who are there to answer questions based on their knowledge. Give every teacher a clean slate, don’t have baseless suspicions, but if behavior becomes manipulative, exploitative, cultish, or otherwise abusive, don’t justify it either.

Personal accountability is a cornerstone of the Islamic faith and we have to take responsibility for our own faith and actions. There is no need to be suspicious without reason, but nor is there a justification for blind trust in someone you don’t know, just because they lead prayers or have a degree of religious education.

It is natural to ask ourselves whether people can be trusted after experiencing or learning about spiritual abuse. The answer is yes – you can trust yourself. You can also trust others in ways that are appropriate for the relationship. If you know someone well and they have proven over a long period of time to be trustworthy, keep secrets, and do not use you or take advantage of you, then it makes sense to trust that person more than a stranger or someone who has outward uprightness that you do not know well. That level of trust is earned through long-time demonstration of its characteristics.

Seeing someone on stage for years or relying on testimony of people impressed by someone should not convince you to lower your guard. Even if you do believe someone is pious, you still never drop your better judgment, because even saints are fallible.

Don’t Fall for Reputation

Never take other respected leaders praising or working alongside an individual as proof of his or her trustworthiness. It is possible that the teachers you trust are unaware of any wrongdoing. It’s not a reasonable expectation, nor is it a responsibility for them to boycott or disassociate themselves from another religious figure even if they are aware of them being abusive.

Furthermore, skilled manipulators often gain favor from respected teachers both overseas and domestically to gain credibility.

If one shaykh praises another shaykh, but you witness abusive behavior, don’t doubt yourself based on this praise. The praise may have been true at one time or may have been true in the experience of the one giving the praise, but no one knows another person’s current spiritual state as spiritual states can change.

Even if the abusive individual was previously recognized to be a great wali (saint), understand that there are saints who have lost their sainthood as they do not have isma (divine protection from sin or leaving Islam) like the prophets (upon them be peace) do. What was true yesterday, may not be true today.

Often praises of integrity, courage, and inclusiveness are heaped on men who support influential female figures. However, men who are praised as ‘allies,’ and thanked for ‘using their privilege’ to support female scholarship and the participation of women in religious organizations and events are no more trustworthy than those who don’t.

Abusers are often very image-conscious and may be acting to improve their own image and brand strength. Influential male and female religious figures also help one another with mutual praising and social-proofing. That is how the misdoings of men who are supportive of women are ignored, as long as they support the right politicized causes such as inclusive spaces and diverse panels.

Don’t be tricked into trust through a person’s credentials. An ijazah (license) to be a shaykh of a tariqa is purportedly the highest credential. It’s a credential that allegedly has a chain that goes all the way back to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), but that does not impart any of the Prophet’s character or trustworthiness in and of itself. A shaykh has to continuously live up to the ijaza and position. The position does not justify behavior outside of the sharia or any form of abuse. Scholars are inheritors of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) only to the degree to which they embody his character.

When a teacher who hasn’t spent adequate time with righteous shayukh abuses, they are said to lack suhba (companionship of the pious), and that is why they are abusive.

The truth is many of the worst abusers in traditional circles are highly certified, have spent adequate time with shayukh, are valid representatives of them, and are able to abuse because the previously mentioned credentials lead to blind trust.

Don’t let certifications about spiritual abuse, ethical leadership, or the like mean anything to you. Skilled narcissists will be the first to get such certifications and take courses because they know this will make people trust them more. You will see courses on ‘healthy leadership’ and ‘spiritual abuse prevention’ being taught and designed by them. There is a false premise behind such certifications that if religious leaders knew how abuse occurs and the damage it causes victims they wouldn’t do it. The fact is they know how abuse works, know how damaging it is, and don’t care. In a way, it’s good to have lessons on spiritual abuse from purveyors of abuse, just as learning theft prevention from a thief might be the most beneficial.

Don’t judge by rhetoric

Don’t look at the rhetoric of groups or individuals to see how seriously they take abuse. Spiritual abuse occurs in all groups. It is common for members of one group to call out abuse that they see in another group while ignoring abuse occurring within their own group.

Sufis who will talk about the importance of sharia, label others as ‘goofy-Sufis,’ and insist that real Sufis follow sharia, will very often abuse in private and use the same justifications as the other Sufi groups they publicly deride.

Many imams and religious leaders will talk publicly about the importance of justice, having zero-tolerance for abuse, and the importance of building safe spaces, while they themselves are participating in the abuse.

Furthermore, female religious leaders will often cover up secret marriages, and other abuses for such men and help them to ostracize and destroy the credibility of their victims as long as their political views align. Muslim mental health providers often incorporate religious figures when they do programs, and in some cases they involve known abusers if it helps their cause.

In some cases, the organization does not know of any abuse. Abusive individuals use partnerships with Muslim mental health organizations to enhance their image as a “safe person.” This is especially dangerous due to the vulnerability of those struggling with mental illness and spiritual issues, who may then be exploited by the abuser. It is a community responsibility to ensure the safety of these vulnerable individuals and to ensure that they do have access to resources that can actually help them.

Don’t judge by fame

One false assumption is that the local-unknown teacher is sincere while the famous preacher is insincere and just wants to amass followers. This contrast is baseless although rhetorically catchy.

The fact is, many unknown teachers desire fame and work towards it more than those who are famous. Other times the unknown and famous teacher may have the same love of leadership, but one is more skilled than the other. They both may also be incredibly sincere.

Ultimately, we cannot judge what is in someone’s heart but must look at their actions, and if their actions are abusive, they are a danger to the community. Both famous and non-famous teachers are equally capable of spiritual abuse.

Look for a procedure

Before being involved in an organization, look for a code of conduct. There is no accountability without one in non-criminal matters. Never depend on people, look at the procedures and ensure that the procedure calls for transparency, such as the one we at In Shaykh’s Clothing published and made free for the public to use.

Procedure also applies to an organizations’ financials. Do not donate money to organizations based on personalities, instead demand financial transparency and accountability for the money spent. There is great incentive for spiritual abusers to win the trust of crowds when it means they can raise money without any financial accountability.

But what about Husne-Zann? Thinking well of others?

Allah tells us يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

O You who believe, leave much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sinful” (Quran 49:12).

From this verse, we see that some – not all negative opinions are sinful. The prohibition is partitive, meaning some bad opinions are permissible.

If someone punches you, it is not hunse-zann to assume that person just happened to stretch with a closed fist and did not see your face was in the way. This kind of delusion will lead to you getting punched more. To be wary of their fist isn’t a sinful level of suspicion.

Part of why spiritual abuse is difficult to detect is that its purveyors have a reputation for outright uprightness. They are thought well of in the community, and in many cases they are its pillars and have decades of positive service to their defense. Assuming that someone cannot be abusive simply because they have been a teacher or leader for a long time is not husne-zann. When facts are brought to light- like a fist to the face – it is delusional to assume they didn’t mean it that way.

If someone does something that warrants suspicion, then put your guard up and don’t make excuses for those actions. Start with a general guard and be procedural about things which require a procedure.  For example, if you are going to loan someone money, don’t just take their word that they will pay you back but insist on a written record. If they say they are offended, just say “it’s my standard procedure to avoid any confusion later on.” A reasonable person won’t have an issue with that. If someone mentions on the phone they will pay you $100 for your work, write an email to confirm what was said on the phone so there’s a record for it.

Lastly, and most importantly, never leave your child alone with a teacher where you or others cannot see them. Many cases of child sexual assault can be prevented if we never allow children to study alone with adults. There should never be an exception to this, and parents much uphold this as a matter of policy. Precaution is not an accusation, and this is a professional and standard no one should reject.

Continue Reading

Featured Home

OpEd: Why We Must Reconsider Moonsighting

Avatar

Published

on

Ed. Note: We understand that this is a matter of debate in many communities, MM welcomes op-eds of differing points of view. Please use this form.

When the Crescent Committee was founded in 2013, the Muslim community of Toronto was hopeful that this new initiative might resolve the long-standing problem of mosques declaring Eid on different days. This moonsighting organization was to follow global moonsighting as a methodology – if the crescent were to be sighted anywhere in the world, they would declare Eid. Global moonsighting was seen as a potential way of solving the yearly moonsighting debate which local sighting had been unable to solve thus far. It was hoped that this approach would also ensure congruence with Fiqh Council of North America’s (FCNA) lunar calendar which determines the Eid day in advance based on astronomical calculations.

This year, however, all those hopes were put to the test. Early afternoon on June 3rd, the 29th of Ramadan, the Crescent Committee (CC) started receiving reports that the moon was sighted in Saudi Arabia. Given that it was not possible for it to be seen there based on visibility charts, the committee required corroboration from another country in order to declare Eid. As the day progressed, they got reports from Iraq, Nigeria, Brazil, Mali and even from Maryland in the US. All those reports could not be relied upon because either the committee was unable to get in touch with their contacts in those countries or because the reports did not satisfy the criterion they laid out.

As they were sifting through the reports, the CC was shocked to learn that one of its founding members, the Islamic Foundation of Toronto (IFT), had already declared Eid! IFT is one of Toronto’s oldest and biggest mosques and their leadership decided to declare Eid based on the announcement from Mauritania. Mosques following FCNA’s calendar were already celebrating Eid the next day, so IFT thought it best to join with them with hopes of preserving unity.

With one of its own members having declared Eid and mounting pressure from the community given it was past 10 pm, the CC decided to wait to receive the final (hopefully positive) reports from California. This meant having to wait till sunset on the West Coast which would mean midnight on the East Coast. Unfortunately, even from California, there were no confirmed reports. Finally, at midnight, the Committee declared that they would complete 30 days of Ramadan and celebrate Eid on the 5th of June.

Alas, after spending a frustrating day waiting for an announcement till midnight, Toronto Muslims were told that this was going to be another year with two Eids in the city. This year, however, the split was not between proponents of astronomical calculations and moonsighting, but been proponents of the exact same moonsighting methodology!

Solving a 50-year old problem

This year’s debacle in Toronto represents nothing new. There have been numerous failed attempts to unite the moonsighting community. In 1995, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Ministry of Warith Deen Muhammad joined hands to form the ‘Islamic Shura Council of North America’ with hopes of having a unified Eid declaration. Just like the Crescent Committee, this too was eventually disbanded due to dissenting voices. Other examples to unite and better organize moonsighting include the 2007 National Moonsighting Conference in California and the 2009 National Hilal Sighting Conference in New York. These attempts simply haven’t worked because there are far too many independent mosques and far too many moonsighting methodologies – uniting everyone in the absence of a governing authority is nearly impossible.

The story also highlights the three main problems that proponents of moonsighting have struggled to solve for nearly half a century in North America and other parts of the Western world. These can be summarized as follows:

1) Mosques declaring Eid on different days based on differing moonsighting methodologies. This has created notorious divisions within the community and has led to the awkward situation of families, often living in the same city, not being able to celebrate together. It can also lead to endless argumentation within families as to which mosque to follow with regards to this issue.

2) The unpredictability of the Eid date means that Muslims continue to have difficulty taking time off from work and planning family vacations. This problem is particularly challenging for the hourly-waged working-class individuals who work in organizations with little flexibility. The process of having to explain to an employer the complications surrounding Eid declarations can be a source of unnecessary hardship for many. It is not uncommon for many to take off a day which ends up being the ‘wrong day’.

3) Delayed announcements, especially during the summer months, due to process of receiving and verifying reports after sunset. Not knowing whether or not the next day will be a holiday, often until the late evening, has been a continued source of distress for families every year.

It was the desire the solve these very problems that brought together a group of visionary Muslim jurists and astronomers in Herndon, Virginia in 1987. Organized by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Lunar Calendar Conference was one of the first attempts to find an innovative solution to the problems posed by traditional moonsighting. A detailed history of the events leading up to the conference and its aftermath have been documented before. In short, Muslim scholars and mathematicians continued work on the astronomical lunar calendar for nearly two decades after the conference and it was finally adopted by FCNA and ISNA in 2006.

A valid methodology from the Shariah

While opposition to FCNA’s lunar calendar was quite strong when it was first introduced, there has been growing acceptance of astronomical calculations over the past 15 years as a result of continued research and education on this subject.

The use of calculations to determine the dates of Ramadan is something which numerous reputable scholars have allowed throughout Islam’s history [1]. While this has always been the view of a small minority, championed mainly by scholars in the Shafa’i legal school, it is still based on a sound interpretation of religious texts. The difference of opinion on this issue arises from hadith of the Prophet where he stated,  “If [the crescent moon] is obscured from you, then estimate it” (فإن غم عليكم فاقدروا له ). A detailed exposition in support of calculations from a classical perspective was recently presented by Shaykh Salahuddin Barkat.

Shaykh Musa Furber, one of America’s leading Shafa’i jurists, also comments on the towering figures from our tradition who supported calculations: “Since the time of Imām al-Nawawī, there has been an evident trend within the Shāfiʿī school of law for acceptance for the personal use of calculations for fasting. While a small number of earlier Shāfiʿī scholars did accept it, it seems to have been confined to a small minority within the school. It was not until the time of Imam al-Nawawī (may Allah grant him His mercy) that the opinion amongst scholars of the school started to shift towards accepting calculations as valid and even binding — even if limited to the calculator and whoever believed him. Although al-Subkī (may Allah grant him His mercy) is usually accredited with causing this shift, some scholars credit Imam al-Nawawī’s himself with starting this trend. The opinion was accepted by both Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyā al-Anṣārī and Imām al-Ramlī, though not by Imam Ibn Ḥajar (may Allah grant all of them from His mercy). These imams form the basis for reliable opinions in the late Shāfiʿī madhhab.”

Understandably, this opinion was considered weak and ignored through much of Islamic history. Some limited its scope and allowed it only when the moon was obstructed or for use by experts in astronomy. There really is no need for calculations in Muslim lands where there exists a centralized authority to sight the crescent and there are public holidays for the entire populace. However, in secular countries with Muslim minorities, this position must be revisited as it offers a very practical solution to the crises we find ourselves in.

Only one way forward

According to a 2011 survey of over 600 mosques in the US, the adoption rate of FCNA’s calendar stood at 40%. At the writing of this article nearly 8 years later, this number has likely increased to over 50%. The survey indicated that about 40% of the mosques followed local sighting while the remainder followed global sighting. Given the recent shift towards global moonsighting, it is likely that the moonsighting community is evenly split between the two positions at this time.

These statistics represent the only logical way forward to solve this decades-old problem: the most efficient way of achieving unity is by converging behind FCNA’s lunar calendar. This methodology is the only real solution to the crises we currently find ourselves in. Not only does it address all our needs, but this approach has also shown to provide immense ease and facilitation for Muslim communities that have followed it in the past 15 years.

The moonsighting leadership has failed to unite despite a half-century of effort; it is inconceivable at this point that this would ever happen. Even if it did miraculously happen, 50% of the community would still be following FCNA’s calendar and all three of our main problems will remain unaddressed. Additionally, with the current trend of uniting behind the approach of global sighting, ‘moonsighting’ has largely become an administrative exercise. It involves the hilal committee simply waiting for reports from abroad and trying to ascertain their veracity. Only a handful of communities go out looking for the moon and establish the sunnah of moon sighting in a bonafide sense.

In large communities where differing Eid dates is a reoccurring problem, advocating for the adoption of the lunar calendar must come from the grass-roots level. Muslims most affected by this problem should lobby their local mosques to change their positions and unite behind FCNA’s lunar calendar.

While it may seem impossible to get the leadership of mosques to abandon an old position, it has already been done. In 2015, nine major mosques in the Chicago area set aside their differences and put their support behind the lunar calendar. This is an incredible feat and has created ease in the lives of thousands of people. If similar initiatives are taken in other cities split along lines of lunar dogmatism, it is conceivable that the moonsighting issue could be resolved in North America within the next five to ten years.

The Prophet told us to calculate the moon if it is obscured by clouds. Today, the moon is not obscured by physical clouds but it is clouded by poor judgment, distrust, egotism, disunity, and pride. We must resort to calculations to determine the birth of the new moon, not because it is the strongest legal position or a superior approach, but because our status as minorities in a secular land necessitates it.

References:

[1]  From SeekersGuidance: Scholars upholding this can be traced all the way back to the first Islamic century. The textual basis for this opinion is the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, “When you see it [the new moon of Ramadan] then fast; and when you see it [the new moon of Shawwal], then break the fast. If it is hidden from you (ghumma ‘alaykum) [i.e. if the sky is overcast] then estimate it (fa-qdiru lahu);” (al-Bukhari, hadith no. 1900). The last verb, fa-qdiru, can be validly understood to mean calculation. Of the scholars who held this, are Abu al-‘Abbas b. Surayj (d. 306/918), one of the leading founders of the classical Shafi‘i school, the Shafi‘i scholar and renowned mystic Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072), the leading Shafi‘i judge Taqi al-Din al-Subki (d. 756/1355), the Shafi‘i legal theorist al-Zarkashi (d. 794/1392), the renowned Maliki legal theorist al-Qarafi (d. 684/1285), and some Hanafi scholars. The late Shafi‘i commentator al-Qalyubi (d. 1069/1659) held that all sighting-claims must be rejected if calculations show that a sighting was impossible, stating, “This is manifestly obvious. In such a case, a person may not fast. Opposing this is obstinacy and stubbornness.” See al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, pp. 31-4. The leading scholar of the late Shāfi‘ī school Muhammad al-Ramli (d. 1004/1596) held that the expert astronomer was obliged to follow his own calculation as was the non-astronomer who believed him; this position has been used by some contemporary Shafi’i scholars to state that in the modern world, with its precise calculations, the strongest opinion of the Shafi’i school should be that everyone must follow calculations; see ‘Umar b. al-Habib al-Husayni, Fath al-‘ali fi jam‘ al-khilaf bayna Ibn Hajar wa-Ibn al-Ramli, ed. Shifa’ Hitu (Jeddah: Dar al-Minhaj, 2010), pp. 819-22. See also the fatwa of the Hanafi scholar Dr Salah Abu al-Hajj (http://www.anwarcenter.com/fatwa/معنى-حديث-لا-تصوموا-حتى-تروا-الهلال-ول) last accessed 9/5/2016) which states, after arguing against relying on calculations, “However, the position of [following] calculations is the position of a considerable group of jurists, so it is a respected disagreement in Islamic law, whereby, if a state were to adopt it, it is not rejected, because the judgment of a judge removes disagreement, and the adoption of a state is [as] the judgment of a judge.

Continue Reading

#Society

Eid Lameness Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, Cure

Avatar

Published

on

How many of you have gone to work on Eid because you felt there was no point in taking off? No Eid fun. Have you ever found Eid boring, no different from any other day?

If so, you may suffer from ELS (Eid Lameness Syndrome). Growing up, I did too.

My family would wake up, go to salah, go out to breakfast, come home, take a 4+ hour nap and then go out to dinner. I didn’t have friends to celebrate with and even if I did, I wouldn’t see them because we stuck to our own immediate family just as they did.

On the occasion that we went to a park or convention center, we would sort of have fun. Being with other people was certainly better than breakfast-nap-dinner in isolation, but calling that a memorable, satisfying, or genuinely fun Eid would be a stretch.

I don’t blame my parents for the ELS though. They came from a country where Eid celebration was the norm; everyone was celebrating with everyone and you didn’t have to exert any effort. When they moved to the US, where Muslims were a minority, it was uncharted territory. They did the best they could with the limited resources they had.

When I grew up, I did about the same too. When I hear friends or acquaintances tell me that they’re working, doing laundry or whatever other mundane things on Eid, I understand.  Eid has been lame for so long that some people have given up trying to see it any other way. Why take personal time off to sit at home and do nothing?

I stuck to whatever my parents did for Eid because “Eid was a time for family.” In doing so, I was honoring their cultural ideas of honoring family, but not Eid. It wasn’t until I moved away that I decided to rebel and spend Eid with convert friends (versus family) who didn’t have Muslim families to celebrate with on Eid, rather than drive for hours to get home for another lame salah-breakfast-nap-dinner.

That was a game-changing Eid for me. It was the first non-lame Eid I ever had, not because we did anything extraordinary or amazing, but because we made the day special by doing things that we wouldn’t normally do on a weekday together. It was then that I made a determination to never have a lame Eid ever again InshaAllah.

I’m not the only one fighting ELS. Mosques and organizations are creating events for people to attend and enjoy together, and families are opting to spend Eid with other families. There is still much more than can be done, as converts, students, single people, couples without children and couples with very small children, are hard-hit by the isolation and sadness that ELS brings. Here are a few suggestions for helping treat ELS in your community:

Host an open house

Opening up your home to a large group of people is a monumental task that takes a lot of planning and strength. But it comes with a lot of baraka and reward. Imagine the smiling faces of people who would have had nowhere to go on Eid, but suddenly find themselves in your home being hosted. If you have a big home, hosting an open house is an opportunity to express your gratitude to Allah for blessing you with it.

Expand your circle

Eid is about commUNITY. Many people spend Eid alone when potential hosts stick to their own race/class/social status. Invite and welcome others to spend Eid with you in whatever capacity you can.

Delegate

You can enlist the help of close friends and family to help so it’s not all on you. Delegate food, setup, and clean-up across your family and social network so that no one person will be burdened by the effort InshaAllah.

Squeeze in

Don’t worry if you don’t have a big house, you’ll find out how much barakah your home has by how many people are able to fit in it. I’ve been to iftars in teeny tiny apartments where there’s little space but lots of love. If you manage to squeeze in even two or three extra guests, you’ve saved two or three people from ELS for that year.

Outsource Eid Fun

If you have the financial means or know enough friends who can pool together, rent a house. Some housing share sites have homes that can be rented specifically for events, giving you the space to consolidate many, smaller efforts into one larger, more streamlined party.

Flock together

It can be a challenge to find Eid buddies to spend the day with. Try looking for people in similar circumstances as you. I’m a single woman and have hosted a ladies game night for the last few Eids where both married and single women attend.  If you are a couple with young kids, find a few families with children of similar age groups. If you’re a student, start collecting classmates. Don’t wait for other people to invite you, make a list in advance and get working to fend off ELS together.

Give gifts

The Prophet ﷺ said: تَهَادُوا تَحَابُّوا‏ “Give gifts to increase love for each other”. One of my siblings started a tradition of getting a gift for each person in the family. If that’s too much, pick one friend or family member and give them a gift. If you can’t afford gifts, give something that doesn’t require much money like a card or just your time. You never know how much a card with kind, caring words can brighten a person’s Eid.

Get out of your comfort zone

If you have ELS, chances are there is someone else out there who has it too. The only way to find out if someone is sad and alone on Eid is by admitting that we are first, and asking if they are too.

Try, try, try again…

Maybe you’ve taken off work only to find that going would have been less of a waste of time. Maybe you tried giving gifts and it didn’t go well. Maybe you threw an open house and are still cleaning up/dealing with the aftermath until now. It’s understandable to want to quit and say never again, to relent and accept that you have ELS and always will but please, keep trying. The Ummah needs to believe that Eid can and should be fun and special for everyone.

While it is hard to be vulnerable and we may be afraid of rejection or judgment, the risk is worth it. As a survivor and recoverer of ELS, I know how hard it can be and also how rewarding it is to be free of it. May Allah bless us all with the best Eids and to make the most of the blessed days before and after, Ameen.

Continue Reading

Trending