Sweet escape

It’s that time of year. Where everything seems to be everywhere and to be quite frank, you’d rather just go to a place far away, absorb some sunshine, and escape the world as you know it. Who’s with me?!

But this probably, almost natural mechanism of thought had me thinking…. what if there is something out there, some higher power, that no matter what will ALWAYS be there when you call for help. What if this higher power has a pre destined plan for you, and what you’re currently dealing with, is what’s going to shape you?

what if the desire for escapism is what’s naturally put within us to make us strive for paradise? What if being calm, being kind, being gentle, being genuine, being faithful is the key to sanity? What if simply eliminating toxicity from our lives is the key to happiness.. no matter where it may come from… work, uni, school, social groups, people…. if it’s ruining you, come away from it.

What if we’re forgetting that there’s a higher purpose? That there’s a God up there waiting for your every call, and that remembering him is the key to inner peace. Not just remembering him by praying or by doing your religious routines. But remembering him with full spiritual awareness in everything you do. Actually acknowledging gods existence. Have full faith over religiosity. Having a conscious, following your god given instincts. Being a human.

Perhaps we’ve lost sight of that. We’ve lost trust in ourselves, and we’ve lost the idea that we’re in control of us, but there’s always a plan that we can’t comprehend. Everything falls into place, everything happens for a reason, everything is pre decided for you, everything that is happening is happening because your way of dealing with it makes you YOU. You just have to do your duties as a human and you’ll find your faith. Find your sanity and your peace.

What’s being human? It’s following your instincts, it’s being loving, it’s consideration, it’s kindness, it’s embracing your emotions and dealing with them, it’s being strong, because sometimes you’re the only one who can help yourself. You can receive advice, you can read every Cosmo article that deals with your issues, but until you’ve decided to help yourself, you can’t be helped. Some self thought, self consideration isn’t a bad thing. Reflect. Make dua. Find your instincts. Find your connection to god. Within that you will find your peace.

We need to stop forgetting that this world is temporary. Stop acting as if our bank accounts and our image define us. Stop worrying about what’s negative. We need to be positive, united, as one human race. Not as groups of Asians, White , Black, Gujarati, Memon, Pakistanis, and every other category we label ourselves with. We need to remember, reflect, realise that everyone has a bumpy perhaps rocky path and a journey of their own, but it always leads to their destination.

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Ever thought of thinking?

Where do we choose to place thought? Where do we choose to put our priority? What to we occupy our emotional and mental state with? What drives you through your day? What fuel do you use?

Have we forgotten our own nature? It seems as if we’ve stopped using our own inclinations, initiatives, and thoughts, and replaced them with what we think we’re told to do. Replaced what essentially makes us US, with what we think we should be like. What we think will make us look the best or seem to be valued by others.

It’s time we stop thinking about what others see, and start valuing our own consciousness. Start to value your thoughts, your inclinations, your feelings. God gave us common sense, he gave us the ability to reason. Yet we’ve become unreasonable. Are we forgetting and ignoring our abilities? Stop doing something if it feels wrong. Stop following what you’re told to follow, and start thinking. Questioning. Don’t be afraid of thinking because you’re scared of the answers. Explore. Use what god has given you.

Stress will always be there, we can’t keep up with people’s ever-changing expectations, you can’t always please the world. But you can please yourself. Find peace of mind in yourself, through reason, thinking, understanding, praying, developing. Then you’ll find the piece of peace that sails you through any storm. My faith to me isn’t a set of rules. It’s not a one hat fits all. It’s a way of life, a way of reasoning with respect, kindness, and value. It’s a word that enables me, and encourages me to think about decisions and evaluate things before I decide what’s right and wrong for me. It’s a constant spiritual journey of self development, it’s trusting my lord to put what’s right in my heart and follow what’s in my head. It’s a beautiful, personal experience, and everything that may seem to be a bunch of rules has reasoning behind it. It has context, it has purpose, it has thought. So stop treating it like a restrictive, imprisoned faith. It’s a way of life.

Yet, there are a bunch who refuse to think, to reflect, to reason. Let’s not lose the essence of the human, that makes us so powerful. Let’s be thoughtful in all the right ways. We’re not judges. We’re to be judged.

Love yourself before you take anything else on, and to love yourself is to love the one to whom which all love belongs… Boona Mohammed

Let’s talk about …

As it has been a while since I’ve written I’d like to discuss a hot topic, that is ever up and coming. It may seem sensitive, so readers be warned.

Especially in a religious community where it seems still to kept quiet, under the carpet, tucked under the blanket and hushed away from all ears. I want to talk about the way the Muslim community in the locality I live in deals with sexual violence, harassment and relations…

The young women who find themselves drawn to a guy who claims that she owes him at least this. Claims that she needs to give him the one thing he’s after in exchange for his ‘love’, safety and admiration. And should she refuse, he’ll become verbally aggressive, possibly taunting her into thinking it’s her fault. Perhaps he’s older. Perhaps she’s lost all process of rational thought and fights the uncomfortability of her situation to avoid the mental distress of not conforming. She’s scared. She’s silenced. Shes tricked into believing she’s the happiest she will be when she’s with him, yet he destroys every part of hope and light in her.

And when it all comes out she’s told she’s shameful. She’s giving up her dignity. She’s harmful to all good because she is blamed for being naive. She’s blamed for being stupid. She fails to seek comfort from anyone because it’s frowned upon. She fails to find any self respect left within, and cries herself to sleep silently asking god to pick her up again. He’s her only hope in a dark spiralling situation. She’s broken all trust and her small memory of what happened sinks into her consciousness scarring her ability to speak. Only god can hear and only he can help her out. So she calls to him. Kneels before the only one who created her because only he knows the hurt behind her shame. Only he knows the feelings too strong for words to fill. She wants light.

The people that love her, help her rise and her strong firm faith in god helps her stand up tall. She’s strong. She’s not to blame. She was tricked and mistaken but she’s the fighter. She’ll fight the self hate and push it away, only delving into those who can understand. The select few people in her life who truly love her. She finds herself, she accepts herself. Loves herself because the god who she loves most made her. She is muslim. She is young but strong and she won’t let anybody take away her courage because she deserves to be truly loved and respected. She is open and understanding and nobody needs to know it because she does.

Yet she wishes she was taught that it’s not okay. That he can’t talk to you like that. That it’s wrong for anybody to push you to do something that you don’t want to do. That he could be arrested for his ways with you…. but have we taught our young people??

Yet everyday another case slips under the mat. Another story is left untold because she’s too scared to admit it. Because our ”muslim” society won’t let her live it down. She’s vulnerable and at that point she needs cover, guidance, help and most importantly love. She’s scared. She needs god. She needs people with open doors and arms. Are we those people? Without open arms the matter can only get worse.

We need to talk more to our young people about sex and gender mixing. We need to teach them to respect one another, rather than shutting them off from each other so they can’t understand what interaction is ‘okay’. We need to take off our blinkers and start realising that there’s a crisis in our community that is being ignored. We need to reach out and teach our young people. We need to talk about sex.

Please note that this may be a sensitive topic to some but I believe it must be spoken about. Anything I’ve addressed here is from reading on the subject for sexual abuse and violence awareness week. I strongly believe our young people need teaching religiously on how to interact with the opposite genders safely, and respectfully.

Our faith teaches us respect for others, and respect for ourselves. It teaches us to be compassionate and open to ALL. So we should be doing just that. We can’t ignore and eliminate. Only help.

Religious masquerade

CAUTION TO READERS WHO MAY BE SENSITIVE TO THINK ABOUT THIS…

I want to pose a question of thought that I’ve come across through my academic readings.. that question of if religion does REALLY exist? GASP SHOCK HORROR! How can a person who claims to believe in a religion ask such a thing? Well I’d like to think a bit further about the idea of religion, faith, and belief. What is faith? What is belief? What is religion?

I don’t claim to know the answers to these questions but I want to shed light on my thoughts. But just a disclaimer to those who may think I’m doubting my faith. I am not. I am simply thinking about what my faith may have become. Perhaps there’s a possibility that my faith has been masked by religion. A name that’s been given a label, an image, a stereotype if you like. Perhaps if you scramble up some images of ‘muslims’ (taking out the wrongly assumed terrorist inclination) you’ll find a girl in a hijab and a long abaya. Or even in a niqaab. You may find a bearded man in Arab dress or a traditional Pakistani piece of clothing. You may even find that the most ‘religious’ have to abide to these images, otherwise they simply can’t be of the standing that we see them…

…or perhaps we’ve lost sight of what we should be seeing. Perhaps the person under the hijab isn’t the perfect muslimah. Perhaps the imam that everyone shamed for wearing jeans and a jumper had a better connection to god than the one who was in full Arab clothing. Perhaps the girl who’s fully covered head to toe has more of a struggle fulfilling her daily duties to god than the girl who’s hair falls free.

Perhaps we’ve become so used to the mask of religiousness that we hide behind, that we’ve forgotten the faith that builds the image. I am in no way saying that those who cover or have a beard are masking themselves. I too cover my hair. In fact I am questioning why individuals may do those things. Im questioning purpose and I’m suggesting that faith can’t have a look. It can’t be seen. Once you have built faith you’ll want to do certain things, but at the same time have we become so obsessed with the image of our religion that we’ve forgotten the faith that builds the motives for the way we do things?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that dressing in a certain way is wrong. I’m picking at the thought that we perceive peoples faith from the way they dress or look or stage themselves perhaps too easily. We judge their ‘religiousness’ on an outer scale without even speaking them.. and it almost makes it seem like a facade.

I know it’s pretty dense to think that religion is a construct, but perhaps we’ve constructed it too rigidly for it to be faithful. We need to stop teaching our young people how to look like a muslim first thing. First we need to teach them manners, good character, love for god, love and respect for others. Then they’ll discover all the little things that characterise their faith. We need to teach them that the outer self forms from the inner self. We need to teach them faith, not outer religion. We’ve become so focused on the outer that we’ve forgotten what we’re really doing it for…

But like I say… these are just my thoughts, but I think we all need to start thinking. God is all hearing, all seeing. He knows what’s in every single heart and only he truly knows who carries faith. Even if their outer may perceive they’re of a certain standing. think of the guy/girl who is declined by religious society but somehow keeps trying. Think about the one who people look down on instantly because they’re not looking a certain way…

Next time you go into the prayer room or into the isoc or into the place of worship, look around. Identify everyone. They’re there, but did they ever question why? What makes you go back and pray? Is it your faith? Or is it the religion you follow? Let’s start looking beyond the image we’ve been taught to see as ‘religious‘. Let’s start accepting EVERYONE as people of faith. Encouraging love, kindness and oneness of god. Then surely everything else will follow Insha’Allah. Only God knows what truly lies in our hearts.

I’d like to poke the final thought that faith is the fundamental foundation for any action that we do – religion is a title that’s been put forward to group faith. Perhaps we’ve become so focused on the title that we’ve forgotten the foundations…

May we be forgiven for anything we may have done knowingly and unknowingly. Ameen.

A piece of peace 

We worry and sit and scroll and sip, whilst we check our bank balances, and worry about the name of our car, or the typography on our tops, we flick through feeds filled with designer labels and wish we could have more…

But what are we actually in hope for, there will always be someone richer than you, a house bigger than yours, a new make or model will always come out, but do you actually want it or is what you have sufficient? Are we chasing materialistic items to fill a space that needs much more than a Louis Vuitton bag or a red sole shoe? Are we always going to treasure it? Does having a 6 digit bank balance truly make us happy? 

Don’t get me wrong, we can all buy nice things and enjoy them if God has given us the means to do so…. but it shouldn’t be our aim, our worry, our goal. Work hard, yes. But if you’re doing your best and you have a loving family, a house over your head, food to eat, be GREATFUL. You can have all the money in the world but if your child or partner or parent was killed or was severely injured would the look of your bank account make any difference to you? Would anything be able to fill such a hole in your life? I doubt it. 

Same way, we need to learn to fill the holes in our hearts with rememberance of the one who has control over all things. It’s so so easy to forget that we don’t ALWAYS have control over the things in our life. You can only do the best you can do. God deals with the rest. God fills the gaps because he is the one who knows they’re there without you having to even say that they’re there. 

Now we have parents worrying about their 16 year olds antics. How they have no control. But we forget that we don’t always have control. We forget that there’s a supreme being who takes these things out of our hands simply so we can turn to him and trust him. So we can talk to him. Believe in him. 

With all the physical conflicts of today’s climate, we forget to deal with our inner conflicts. With all the distractions placed around us we start to chase the wrong things. We start to get blinded by the flashy lights that we forget what we’re given. We need to be more open hearted, open minded, engaging, loving, and trusting. We need to remember that god controls all things, and we just have to do our bit and trust him. No matter how hard that may be. Try it. You’ll feel the piece of peace you’ve been searching for, even when the situation couldn’t get any worse. Allah will hold your worries and replace them with divine comforts of knowing that he is in control. Just turn to him. 

Find the missing piece of peace, it’s just a step away….

Changes 

I haven’t written for some time due to the busy summer that occupied me (getting married, holiday, settling in to the life of a newly wed). But I’d like to start getting back into routine with a blog post-Dedicated to results day, change and new starts! 

As a young soon-to-be-wedded muslimah living in a predominantly Asian community I heard a lot of ‘it’ll all start once you’re married’, ‘wait till you’re married and it’ll hit you’, ‘enjoy the honeymoon period whilst it lasts’ and many more remarks that I couldn’t help but feel carried negative connotations. I have alhamdulillah only been married 5-6 weeks but they have been wonderful. I miss my mums hearty casserole and my dads comments that make me giggle, my grandmas one of a kind akni and my loud siblings, but they’re ALL still there for me. The difference is I’ve now started a life with my better half who I’ll start a family with some day. Marriage seems to have a ‘life-stop’ stigma to it and it’s frustrating to hear when you’re looking forward to taking your next step as a married couple. Yes there are moments of stress or anxiety when you’re settling in to a new house and I’m certain there’ll always be things to learn and compromise on. But having a new start in life with someone you love is a beautiful experience. There’s more love than annoyance, more happiness than frustration. Little negative moments last no longer than 10 minutes because your love for your spouse takes over the little thing you were annoyed about. You learn, you compromise, you move on, you love. LOVE being the main glue that holds you together. There’s no reason to argue when you remember you’re rewarded every time you look at eachother with love. SubhanAllah. Respect eachother and work together.  

My point in explaining my first reflections as a newly wed being that we’re going to always make new changes in our lives.  Some big, some small, but they’re going to be changes that affect our routine. We’ve become so attatched to little worries and listening to other people’s experiences that we forget to make our own. Especially as a Leicester girl living in an Asian Muslim society. It’s ridiculous that we can’t take a minute to step out the little box we’ve put ourselves in and look at the bigger picture, of loving and living for the sake of god. For doing everything to please him and to please yourself. To gain happiness.

So yes, you may have failed your a levels, or maybe you’re moving out to uni, or maybe you’re getting married, or you are married and are having difficulty, whatever your change is, it’s happening for a reason. Allah has put you there for a reason- find it. It’s up to YOU to be the result you want to see. Even if it feels impossible, move forward. Keep moving forward and along the way people will try to discourage you. But it’s up to YOU not to listen. Believe in yourself, believe in love, and most importantly have belief in God. He’ll get you there. You just have to take the first step. 

Don’t let any negativity discourage you from being the best you can be. Consider the possibilities, use your initiative, and follow your heart AND mind. Every change is a new beginning. 

May we have the best success in this world and in the hereafter. May we find love and happiness in all we do. May we be granted with ease and patience in times of worry and difficulty, and may Allah bring us closer to the ones we love. Ameen. 

For the sake of peace 

Every day I hear, read or watch a piece of news that upsets me. A rape, a murder, a brutal fight, a hate crime, war threats or another terror attack. They’re all highly upsetting and angering, but the latter scares me most.

When I hear a terror attack on the news it’s almost predictable as to who it’s linked to. This who that seems to claim to be an Islamic group. A group that use my religion as a signpost for their identity. Yet this group share NO similarity to what I believe. I’ve not a clue what they believe as I can’t possibly find, think or comprehend as to what they’re in belief of. 

I get particularly scared of hearing of a terror attack because I feel the heightened threat of being shouted at or attacked when I’m walking in the street for simply being Muslim. I feel threatened of being a victim of hate crime, for something I have no connection or association with. I believe in peace, love, sharing, welcoming, and God. I believe in forgiveness, support, and strength, and not even a minuscule of my religion teaches me to harm. I believe in not even harming a fly, so how is it that these attacks are linked to my religion? I feel upset for those who lost loved ones, I pray for those who are hurt. I question how can I help?  

I feel just as upset, angered and threatened as every other person who stands for peace. Except more so because the attack may have the name of Islam attatched to it, and that’s what upsets me most. That to some, that’s all they may know of Islam. Yet none of it even comes close to what I believe, and none of these acts can be put under the umbrella of what my religion teaches. I’m a Muslim and I believe in peace never hate. 

It’s touching to see people coming up and standing together against all the hate. It’s the little hope that keeps us going. For all those killed, in all types of attacks and wars -I pray for you. I pray you rest in heaven and I pray that God grants the families and loved ones of the victims patience. I am Muslim and I condemn terror and acts of violence. I am Muslim and I believe in peace ✌🏼️ 

I am a person and I know that love will always rise above hate. We stand together as people; humans standing for humanity. For the sake of peace; Assalamu’alaykum Warahmatullah wabarakatu (May the peace, mercy and blessing of god be upon you). 

Finding beauty in the beautiful 

There’s everything around us. Telling us our thighs should be slimmer whilst our bums should be rounder. That our waists should be smaller with our chests out bigger. That our skin should be flawless, free of any scar, spot, or stretch mark. 

Everything around us tells the man to be muscular and taller. To be free of flaws. To be the emotional support to but free of emotion. 

What about  Someone isn’t the perfect size (whatever that might be) but they have a strong conviction within themselves that they have been made by something much greater than everything you could ever imagine. Someone who knows that the standards set by models won’t define who they are or what their self worth is. 

We’re constantly being fed ideas that we should look or be a certain way, which for some leads to depression, anxiety, and health issues. We’re not a product set out to meet standards of society. We’re not pieces of plastic that can be moulded. We’re people. We’re made for a greater higher purpose. 

Yes we should be the best version of ourselves, we should be healthy, we should be confident in ourselves. But the size of our jeans or our height doesn’t define us as beautiful. Beauty isn’t skin deep, beauty isn’t considered by the number of scars you have, beauty is much deeper. 

We need to look at people for what’s within. Not what’s on the outside. A heart that’s connected to Allah, that is kind, that is generous, loving, and strong, is beautiful. If you have Allah, if you have love, if you have strength,  you have the tools to be beautiful – you’re far beyond what society can define, so don’t try and be what you’re not. Allah made YOU. That should be special enough. 

If the whole world was blind how many people would you impress? – Boona Mohammed 

Our world 

We’re living in a world where all hope seems lost. We’re in a place where people are killing innocent others, where violence has become prime, where young people are throwing their lives away for the sake of living the ‘street life’. Where families are being torn apart, where young children are being killed without any understanding as to why. Where children are recording violent fights to post online. 

It’s a place where the bare necessities of humanity are lost. Where we’ve become money orientated, power consumed. Each individual being has their own struggles and challenges to face, yet we forget that Allah never gives the soul a burden that it can’t bare. That he, the writer of our destiny is always in control. All you have to do is call to him. Not that we should give up. We need to work hard, we need to battle our trials with full faith that Allah will get us through, because he will. 

There’s nothing in existence without Allah, and this we seem to forget. That he controls everything. He tests us with wealth with power with hardship with trials. Things that humans are made to trip up on but we have to be strong. To make the ummah great again each person needs to stop thinking that they’re insignificant. Each individual has a gift or a talent that they can use. Whether it’s academic, or not. Embrace it, and use it to play your part in the ummah. To make your difference. You may not change the world but playing your part makes all the difference. 

We need to look far beyond titles and labels in the age we live in we need to look at people as people. Yes he may be racist, but holding a door open for him may change his mind on your race. Kill them with kindness. 

The world we live in has consumed love with materialistic matters and power. We need to strip back on the titles and labels and strip back on who’s got what and start to love for the sake of loving. Love because you care, because you’re a believer. Love because Allah loves you, and never stop praying. 

Dua is a way of directly telling Allah what you want, and how you feel. Its a way of opening up to him and asking him for help and guidance, and things that we want to gain. He ALWAYS hears us, and even though it may feel like its taking time for your dua to be accepted, know that he is still listening. He is closer to you than your jugular vein. Turn to him first not as your last resort. 

May Allah grant us the ability to be a strong ummah again. May Allah help us in all we do. May he protect us from all evil. May he guide us and our loved ones and bring us closer to him. May he give us the ability to be strong and work hard and ultimately love each other for his sake. Ameen. 

How do I choose between my head and heart? 

As months, days, hours, minutes go by we experience. Some experiences will be better than others, but either way, we’ve experienced aspects of life that others may or may not have. These experiences and the difficulties we face are what shape us as people. Our experiences, no matter how small, have the power to change our personalities to mould us into something we may not even see ourselves as. 

They’re so exceptionally powerful yet how often do we think about them? How amazingly beautiful it is that Allah puts us in certain positions to push us to where we are. We’re made to go through these experiences to bring us to the place we’re meant to be. Wherever that place is, itll come to you at the right time, not only to bring you a new experience, but perhaps to teach you, help you, guide you, or make you stronger. 

Allah loves the ones who love him. If you’re faith is strong, if you’re a ‘good muslim’ no matter where you find yourself, it’ll be the experience you need to move forward. So believe in that. Even if it’s not always the most positive experience, have faith in Allah that you’re there for purpose. Make your decisions using your HEAD AND HEART. How?- think about what would be right, do what feels right, think about how you’d move forward to be the best you can be with the help of Allah. Never act on anger or upset. Never feel that Allah isn’t on your side. There are always lows of faith, even the prophet (the greatest of man) had lows in faith. You just have to believe and carry on. 

You’ll get there with the help of your lord. Wherever ‘there’  might be. You’re on your way. Your experiences shape you so embrace them, and allow yourself to make the best decisions based on them. 

Be strong. Be powerful. Use your words wisely. Be kind. Be happy. Be faithful. 

Love Allah and he will allow you to feel his love. 

We plan but Allah is the best of planners.