Lubnah Abdulhalim


N.B: This article is focusing on the distressed student. However, it can be helpful in all spheres of life such as at home, work places and social life. Please read through.

We all face stress in our lives. Stress can be positive sometimes, however, it can be debilitating when it is a lot. Students are usually under a lot of pressure with both their academic and personal lives. While students have found different ways to cope with the system, sometimes it can become too much and thereafter lead to distress or even depression.

Emotional distress can be explained as a state of mental anguish which may result from a certain circumstance or mental health issue. The staff of a school have the better opportunity to notice when a student is distressed and that includes the school counsellor and fellow students too. This is because, they get to interact with them throughout the day. It is crucial for all school staff members to be familiar with, and watchful for, risk factors and warning signs of suicidal behavior. The entire school staff should work to create an environment where students feel safe sharing such information. 

Sometimes, students who are distressed may be perceived as simply ‘naughty’, or ‘bad’ by teachers and peers. This perception may in turn damage their self-esteem and make them feel shunned by those around them. It is thus important that teachers and school counsellors be on the look-out for any indications of stress or depression.

There are several matters that could cause distress to a student, including (but not limited to):

• Broken relationships/family

• Loss of a family member/friend

• Illness of a loved one

• Conflict with family or a close person

• Victim of assault

• Sudden change i.e. moving to another town/school

• Traumatic experience example rape, war, accident, floods etc

• Mental health condition

When one is faced with such difficult situations, there might be some changes in the person. The following are some of the indications of a student who is struggling.

  • Unusual Behaviour:

 • Falling asleep in class frequently

• Threatening or disruptive behavior in classroom  

• Marked changes in appearance, example hygiene and weight

• Extreme mood swings or inappropriate, excessive display of emotion

• Sudden withdrawal from others or excessive sleep

• Chronic irritability, excessive anxiety or hyperactivity

• Confusion, bizarre behaviour or disorientation

· Unusual bruises or cuts on hands or body

· Sadness, tearfulness

· Extreme loss of appetite or binge eating frequently

· Dependency, i.e. the student keeps making appointments to see you

· Lack of energy and enthusiasm about various aspects of student life

• Preoccupation with death

  • Problems with Academic Performance:

• Poor academic performance or a sudden decline in performance from previous tests.

• Request for special accommodations

• Speech or test anxiety

• Not attending classes or not doing assignments

  • Harmful Statements or Behaviours:

• Uses statements of helplessness or mentions about suicidal thoughts

• Indications of prolonged unhappiness

• Extreme risk-taking behavior

• Use of drugs or alcohol

• Getting violent or aggressive with classmates or other students

In addition to the above mentioned signs, if a student is suicidal, they show other clues of their struggle:

  • Verbal cues: a student may directly or indirectly communicate their suicidal thoughts (sometimes even using jokes) or intentions by saying things like:

· “I’m going to kill myself.”

· “Everyone would be better off without me.”

· “I just can’t take it any longer.”

· “I wish I were dead.”

“I am tired of this life.”

  • Behavioral Clues: a student may do something that may reveal self-destructive intentions, like:

· A previous suicide attempt, especially if recent

· Giving away valued possessions

· Procuring means: asking for sedatives or buying a gun

· Composing a suicide note

·  Resigning from social groups, extracurricular activities,  

· Crying spells without external triggers

· Visiting a physician for unexplained or vague symptoms

· Substance abuse

Youth who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school staff, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to ensure the student’s safety. According to Worthington (1982), the most crucial step in assisting another person, is make them believe that you understand them. This can be achieved by asking the right questions, listening attentively to their concerns and evaluating the person’s needs. When a youth gives signs that they may be considering suicide, the following actions should be taken:

• Remain calm: To be of greater assistance and to reduce the student’s agitation one needs to stay calm.

• Provide a quiet, private place (if possible) for the student to rest in the mean time

• Talk to the student clearly and in a straight forward way on whether they feel suicidal or are considering committing it.

• Listen to them and do not judge! Be kind and empathetic.

• Reassure them that there is help and they will not feel like this forever.

• Do not leave them alone

• Make arrangements for appropriate aid from other experts

• Remove means for self-harm.

Get help: No one should ever agree to keep a youth’s suicidal thoughts a secret and instead should tell an appropriate caregiving adult, such as a parent, teacher, or school psychologist/counsellor. Parents should seek help from school or community mental health resources as soon as possible. School staff should take the student to a school-employed mental health professional or administrator.

As for the students themselves, it is also important to be on the look out for any weird or unusual behaviour in yourself, your mates and friends. A lot of times nowadays, youth use social media as a way to seek help. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THEY ARE SIMPLY SEEKING ATTENTION. Don’t gamble with that. So whenever you see any posts with suicidal ideation or posts of self-harm like cutting oneself or jokes on suicide (especially when done more than once) reach out! This could be their cry for help and you could be all they need to stay alive (Okay perhaps not ALL they need but you could play an important role in preventing them from taking their life and that should count for something).

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth. These include:

  • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.
  • Peer support and close social networks.
  • School and community connectedness.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.
  • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict-resolution.
  • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, sense of purpose.
  • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.

To get assistance, here are some counselling offices that you can reach out to, not just when feeling suicidal, but whenever in distress.

  1. Taalluful Quloob: 0780 222 205/0111 222 205
  2. Noor Counselling Centre: 0739 724 234
  3. Amani Counselling Centre: 0735 744 389


Benton, S.A. & Benton, S.L, (2006). College student mental health: Effective services and strategies across campus. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Inc.

DeRosier, M. & Lloyd, S. (2010) The Impact of Children’s Social Adjustment on Academic Outcomes, Reading & Writing Quarterly, 27:1-2 DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2011.532710

Grothaus, T. (n.d.) School Counselors Serving Students with Disruptive Behavior Disorders. asca | Professional School Counseling, 16(4).

Worthington, E.L.. (1982). When someone asks for help: A practical guide for counseling. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

National Association of School Psychologists:

Human beings are like jagged pieces of a puzzle. Everyone has a different shape with different edges and different shades. That naturally makes us dissimilar. It also makes us unable to fit in positions that can’t accommodate us. Sometimes we break entirely for being pressured to fit into spaces that can’t hold the weight of our value or the sharpness of our edges. The problem is, most times we get so absorbed into the idea of belonging that we forget our own worth. We forget that in this beautiful, wide world, there is something for each one of us too.

In life, there’s always going to be people who won’t agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re the smartest individual in the globe, the prettiest, the kindest, the most ambitious…someone will always have something to differ from you. Differences are okay, but more often than not, people do not take them graciously. Someone might be displeased with how anti-social you are despite your excellent grades in school. Another will consider you vain just because you inherited great wealth from your ancestors. Someone else will dislike you for how you dress, or how you work out every day. You’re either lazy or too aggressive. Anorexic or too fat. Dumb or too nerdy. Stingy or too wasteful. It doesn’t matter whether what you’re doing is extremely positive or not, someone out there will always have an opinion about it, about how you should live your life, and most often than not, it will be negative.

The reality, however, is that life is not simply black and white. It is a mixture of so many colours, some that we don’t even have names for yet. Just because your path or choices is different, it doesn’t make you any less valuable. It doesn’t make what you’re doing worthless. In fact, how do you think this world would be if we ALL thought the same way, did the same things, took the same exact paths? How dull and boring would it be then?!

Remember when the Quraysh plotted to kill the prophet due to his faith and call to Islam. The animosity and bitterness they had was simply because the prophet had taken a different path from theirs and he was succeeding at it. The prophet and his closest friend Abubakr Assidiq escaped to Madina and on the way, they took refuge in cave Thawr. The Quraysh had set a prize of 100 camels upon the head of each one so the two friends stayed in the cave for three nights. Horsemen, infantry and tracers of tracks searched the country for them. But once the Quraysh reached the mouth of the cave, Allah prevented them from being seen. A spider had spun a web from a bush across the entrance of the cave. When the pursuers reached close to the cave’s entrance they thought it was impossible that someone could have entered the cave without ruining the spider web. It is recorded that Abubakr had said to the prophet: “O prophet of Allah! If some of them lower their sight they will see us.” The prophet replied: “Silence Abubakr. What do you think of those two with whom Allah is the third?”

Allah Subhanahu Wataala says in surat Tawba, verse 40 concerning this event: “If you help him (Muhammad SAW) not (it does not matter), for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of two, when they (Muhammad SAW and Abu Bakr) were in the cave, and he (SAW) said to his companion (Abu Bakr): “Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us.” Then Allah sent down His Sakinah (calmness, tranquillity, peace, etc.) upon him, and strengthened him with forces (angels) which you saw not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while it was the Word of Allah that became the uppermost, and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” And this doesn’t only apply to the prophet peace be upon him, it applies to each one of us. Even if the entire world decides to break you apart, they could never do it while Allah is on your side.

People will plot against you. They will slander you. They will throw you under the bus. People will be utterly ruthless sometimes, whether with words or actions or hidden malice in their hearts. They will always feel entitled to an opinion about your life. The important thing is that you never let their doings drown you in sorrow. Every time something is thrown at you, keep picking yourself up over and over again. Do your thing. Work on being a better version of yourself rather than trying to fit in or impress other people. The reality is that you will never please everyone. Try to impress ten people, another hundred will have something else to say against you.

Whatever is done/said to or about you, never let it shake your faith. Or make you think less of yourself. There is a place for everyone. There is a space that is meant for you, good people who are meant specifically to be in your life, things that will suit you. Your thoughts matter, your existence matter, YOU matter. The universe is too large, too diverse and there’s definitely a place for your existence. Choose your battles just as you choose your people. Not everyone is worth fighting for and not every fight is worth your energy. Allah Subhanahu Wataala states in surat Muzaamil, verse 10: “And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance.”

I’ll end this with a quote from my book ‘The Striving Soul’ that I go back to always: They try to bring me down. Do they forget who my Lord is?


Dear Reader,

*Insert random YouTuber’s voice* Welcome back to my chanoooolll 😀 I pray that this year has brought greater opportunities and moments in your life than the previous. I would like to take a moment to appreciate you and thank you for taking the time to read my write-ups. I never take that for granted.

May God protect you and bless you in ways you never imagined. Ameen! Please stay safe!!

Warm Wishes,,

Strokes of my pen 🙂

Nobody teaches you

how to love

a narcissistic son

How to wrap your arms

around the grand ego

engulfing his tiny body

Willing to snatch the pride

off the tip of his tongue,

to swallow it on his behalf.

And in the rushing cold that fills his soul,

show him how to


with the agony

of the world

To bow

low enough

so he can see through

the lenses of humility.

Nobody teaches you

how to strip off

the clothes of vanity

that he adorns himself with,

burning away

any remnants

of decency in himself

for the world to applaud


like a sun

with whole worlds revolving

around him.

Nobody teaches you

how to embrace him

when his hugs bear

the softness of cactus thorns

tearing your heart apart.

A bitter lump

rising in your throat

when his venom words are spat out

to humiliate

and intimidate

and demean.

Nobody teaches you

how to mould a son

that stands tall

to compete with the might of mountains

Stamping his feet

on every living creature

like a dirty rug




Nobody teaches you

how to love a son

who believes

in the godliness of his self.


This poem reached the semi-finals (top 8% among the over 3,500 poems submitted) in the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize alhamdulilah!! Immense gratitude to my poetry teacher and inspiration, Finch (Ahmed Shayo) for constantly pushing me to improve my art. Been staring at my name y’all, still can’t believe it 😀 Anyway, here’s the link to the semi-finalists so you can enjoy the moment with me 🙂 : (Winners have already been announced by the way 🙂 ) Thank you for your constant support!

2020 hit me like a train. From the word go, from the very beginning of the year, even before Corona, everything seemed to be falling apart. I have a feeling it has been like that for most people, and on my side, I was holding by the thread. I remember when I was young, my mother would often tell me ‘don’t carry those mountains on your shoulders’. I was the cesspit of every worry. Every sadness. Every wound. I would carry it all, the scars evident all over my soul. Sometimes I look at my nephew (my happy place 1, remember?) and I see how intense his emotions are. As a highly sensitive child, he cries too passionately, you can literally feel the sob come from the deepest part of his soul, and my heart breaks a little, or maybe a lot. I want to tell him, ‘oh baby, this world is cruel, it will ruin you’ and I want to hug him so tight. I want to protect him from the world. And God, it worries me a lot. But then I do know that I have to let him have his journey like I’m having mine. Let him live, do mistakes, fall, stand up again, perhaps get his heart broken,feel all the emotions in his heart and live with it. Such is life I guess.

Then amidst all the Corona chaos, several family members got affected. Not the first time when Mombasa was allegedly a hotspot for the virus. During that period almost none of the Mombasa residents knew anyone who’d been affected. It is now that we are seeing people dying right, left and center, and everyday, more people are succumbing to the virus. And you know, with these things, even when you are taking precautions with the virus, you never really realize how bad it is until it hits directly home.

One of my favourite humans died then. Just three days after he informed us that he was ill, he was gone. At first I seemed okay. I cried as any bereaved would but I was mostly okay. I talked to my friends about his death. I prayed for him. I remembered him. But grief for me, comes like a trickle of blood. Thick, heavy and very slow. A week after his death, we were remniscing about good memories of him, and we laughed and smiled and joked about him. Then that night, it all came down with a thud. Curling up in bed, I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t stop. I was trying really hard to suppress my weeping so no one would hear me. But it was too much. I was crumbling and I felt like I was falling apart. I desperately needed someone to hold me. To just hug me tight. To hold my pieces together. So I went to my mother and cried to her. She and my elder sister talked to me for a while before my mother led me to her bed to sleep with her. For hours, she held me in her arms, patting my hair, encouraging me to sleep yet all my eyes could do was wander around the room. I had lost someone so important to me. We all did. But no one prepares you for such a sudden death.

A day before he died, he called me, and funny enough, he was the one asking me how I was. It was such a short conversation. He seemed to be struggling to talk, so I made a dua for him and that was it. I wish I had told him I loved him. I think he knew, but I wished I had said it. I can barely even remember the last time seeing him or what we talked about that time when he was healthy. But I have all these many memories of his inspirational advice, his oozing, extremely sweet kindness, his laughter, oh his laughter! When I was a teenager, he would do this loud, funky laughter that I just found to be too hilarious so sometimes I would try to imitate it and my family would burst into laughter too. He had this good sense of humour that I will forever miss, his magical, mind-blowing, creative ideas, his beautiful smile, his many many jokes, his pride of me-and us all-I can still see him in front of me. His voice still rings in my head. More than once I have dreamt of him and sometimes,thoughts of him keep me awake at night. Out of blue, I’d notice tears coming down my cheeks, so randomly, so easily, I can literally feel the emptiness in my heart.

Just two years ago, it used to be the four of us around the small dining. There were two phenomenal women; the storyteller, the heart of the family and several times, whenever he was free, he would join us too; the tree lover. I was there frequently; in between meetings, waiting for someone, resting before going for another errand, a place to pray, or eat, sometimes with my friends…I got too comfortable I even started taking naps in the bedroom when I was tired. It felt like home. Sometimes I was there as early as for breakfast meal or brunch or lunch, on lazy afternoons, sometimes even dinner. 2018, the story teller left us. Then last year, the heart did. This year it was him. And now, whenever I think of that table, my heart sinks. Their faces still so vivid in my memory, and our conversations, moments, jokes, the meals we shared, still so fresh. There are people who die and we mourn them and we move on, and there are people who leave this earth and the world shifts a bit. It will never be the same. Never.

My favourite human was very passionate about trees. He was extra-ordinary and phenomenal and no words could ever suffice to describe him. I pray that his grave is a garden from the most beautiful gardens of Jannah, with trees and flowers so beautiful he has never seen, and that we get to meet again, the four of us, and all our loved ones in a bigger table, with more laughter, zero worries and absolute bliss. Ameen.

I won’t curse the year. After all, whatever Allah wills for us is the best for us. This year has been life-changing for me and so many of us. I pray for ease, patience and better days for us all. Ameen.

Please do take care of yourself. You have the information on Corona please act responsibly. As the prophet said: ‘Tie your camel then pray to Allah’ So do the necessary to protect yourself and your families. I met a friend who told me they buried four people from their family and friends within a week and on the day we talked, there was one more, all Corona deaths. Doctors keep sharing even worse news on Twitter that they have run out of beds and there are many Corona patients walking around. Please take care. May Allah protect us all. Ameen.

P.S: Please do remember to make a dua for my person. Thank you 🙂


As you might have realized, I haven’t written in a long while. I have probably lost my ‘mojo’ but please bear with me.

Thank you for taking the time with my blog. I appreciate it 🙂

Once, I was at the reception of a hospital and I kept on insisting that I wanted to see a specific doctor. There were two nurses right there and one of them mentioned a different doctor. I wasn’t even listening to what they were saying but I requested for the third time that I want to see this specific doctor. The nurse then assured me they’d heard me. However, I was taken aback by my own insistence and thought, ‘It must suck for the other doctor doesn’t it? Always being ‘the other’? The second option?’ Perhaps he doesn’t even care one bit about that. Probably never even crossed his mind. I mean, he’s still getting his checks at the end of the month, doesn’t he? Fat, huge checks. But then, I know what it feels like to be overshadowed by someone else. Be an extension of who someone else is, rather than being a complete human on your own. Be a separate figure yourself without necessarily being associated with another human being.

Without ever meeting this other doctor, without knowing what he is capable of, or what his experience is, I just decided that he wouldn’t be as helpful as the other one. Based on what? Simply because the other one is reknown for his abilities and he isn’t. Instead of giving him the opportunity to be himself, I automatically placed him adjacent to his colleague; who he is (unfairly so because he has never treated me) compared to this reknown doctor. Yet, if this specific doctor wasn’t available, I would still see the other one, wouldn’t I? The other doctor…For a moment there, I felt bad for the other doctor. He really doesn’t need it but I couldn’t help but think about him. That small thought grew into a stream of other, sometimes unrelated, thoughts. About us humans, beings shadows and extensions of other people or things or even events. For example, how we refer to a lady as ‘So and so’s second wife’ even when the first wife was long divorced or dead instead of just calling them by their name. How are we minimizing someone’s existence to simply being an extension of the first wife? Or you know how we would keep referring to someone as ‘the one who was raped’ or ‘the one whose mother drowned’ rather than who they really are? Someone with traits and dreams and lots of magic.

It made me think, if someday I stopped being strokes of my pen, stopped being friends with the people I am friends with, stopped being thee professional beggar, stopped being someone’s daughter, teacher, student, helper…what am I then? If all these connections, relationships, titles, achievements, events were stripped off me, who will SEE me? If my face became disfigured and my cheek muscles wouldn’t let me smile anymore…If I stepped out of the shadow I have always been engulfed in, when I stop being what everyone knows and expects from me, when my glory and youthful days are gone, will I be pleased with what I will see? Only skeletons and soul, how good am I then?

I was reading the trending story of Stephanie (Tanqueray) on ‘Humans of New York’ page and there’s this particular bit that really struck me: “I can’t tell you the last time I danced burlesque. It wasn’t some big thing. They don’t throw a retirement party at the Sheraton. The phone just stops ringing. It gets quieter and quieter until one week it’s so quiet that you sorta decide you can make more money doing something else…” It moved me because I realized we’ll all get here someday, one way or another, whichever profession you are in or whichever way you live your life. Someday, your beauty will be gone, your profession that you worked so hard for will be gone, most people you knew or cared about will be mere memories and even when you’re surrounded by loved ones and family, you feel lonely (no new information here really but do we really understand the depth of it all?). All your life you held onto this identity of who you are; a writer, a doctor, a mother, a student, a friend, a baker…whatever it is that you are. Or you stayed under the shadow of one event that changed the entire course of your life; an accident, abuse, a major success, a child, love, a friendship, a career, and once that is gone, once you detach yourself from this event or person, you realize you don’t know who you are without it.

Stephanie’s story was really a survival story of a girl who ran away from home at the age of 18 (now 76) and became a very famous dancer. She eventually gained the fame, the glory and the money. She was and is without a doubt, beautiful, yet at some point she says: “Everything was fine when the music was playing. When people were laughing and clapping and shouting for more. But I knew I was tanking. Even when I was on the stage, and having fun- I was tanking. Some nights I’d go back to the dressing room, and look in the mirror, and I’d realize that I don’t even exist. Nobody’s clapping for Stephanie. They’re clapping for Tanqueray (her stage name). And sometimes I’d get so depressed thinking like that, I’d just start crying. I’d feel like running away and hiding from everyone. At least when I was a kid, I could crawl under the card table with my dolls. But that pretend s*** wasn’t working anymore. I was too old to fake like someone cared for me. But whenever I started to fall apart, I’d pull myself together and think about how lucky I was to be Tanqueray. At least I was successful. At least I had a career. At least when I’m Tanqueray, and I’m around people, I make them smile. I make them laugh with my stupid jokes. They’re not trying to hurt me. But Tanqueray never came home with me. She always stayed out on the stage. It was Stephanie that walked out the back door, and nobody cared about her…” (You can read the very intriguing story ‘Tattletales from Tanqueray’ on ‘Humans of NY’ Instagram page)

When you’ve lost it all in life, when you can no longer afford fancy lunches and expensive getaways with friends, when you’re too tired your feet hurt, when conversations exhaust you, when words can no longer suffice, when the romance with your spouse has died, when your children have grown to have families of their own, when your career is but a cherished memory, who will SEE you then? When all is said and done, when you’re frail and helpless, when all you have remaining is memories of the past, will someone still care about you? Who will love you; this bare, naked soul of yours then? As Rumi once said, “I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.”

Mitch, Stephanie’s son says at the end of her story: “At all times, people are doing one of two things. They’re showing love. Or they’re crying out for it.” He is right. We just want to be SEEN.

Image Courtesy:

We’ve all been in some sort of drama in our lives, haven’t we? Not necessarily pulling someone’s hair and scratching their face or fist-fighting in the middle of the conference room. But you get the gist, don’t you? At some point, we willingly or unwillingly got into conflict with someone else. It could be a small confrontation once upon a time or a grudge that’s been going on for ages, either way, we’ve been there. However, most often than not, we are unaware of our roles in the whole drama and how we affect our relationships with other people.

A psychologist by the name Stephen Karpman came up with a social model of human interaction, which maps conflicted or intense-dramatic relationships. He called it ‘The Drama Triangle’.

The Drama Triangle consists of three players: The victim, The Rescuer and The Prosecutor.

The Victim: The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” or “why is this happening to me?” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, Shameful, Guilty. The Victim sees life as happening to them and feels powerless to change their circumstances. Victims place blame on a Persecutor who can be a person or a situation. Feeling helpless, the victim seeks a rescuer to save them or solve their problems.

The Rescuer:The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” The rescuer is an Enabler, Pain reliever, takes the responsibility of others’ problems. They feel guilty when they don’t rescue someone else. He/she keeps the victim dependent on him to always help and save him. The rescuer focuses their energy in helping other people in order to ignore their own anxiety and issues and feel good about themselves.

The Persecutor: The Persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault” or“They’re wrong I’m right. They need to do as I say.”  The Persecutor is critical, oppressive, frustrated, angry, critical, controlling, superior, blaming.

Image Courtesy:

We, as human beings, tend to switch around the three different roles in our lives. Sometimes we’re the victims, sometimes we’re the rescuers and sometimes we’re the persecutors. Each one of us has a starting gate, which is the dominant role we play i.e when a conflict arises, there’s the role we automatically take. For example, when a misunderstanding happens at work, you could automatically start blaming the other person for the mistake, which makes you the persecutor. Maybe a little while later, when summoned by your boss to explain the conflict, you turn to be a victim. And in case there was a third party involved who was not at fault, you become a rescuer, you stand up for them and fight for them even when they didn’t ask you to.

Rescuers most of the time have low self-worth and they tend to take part in destructive helping i.e. they do what they don’t want to. They say yes when they mean no and they fix other people’s problems and feelings, sometimes even when not asked. Rescuers typically feel unlovable so they settle for being needed. Caretaking provides them with a temporary hit of good feelings, self-worth, and power.  However, caretaking is also martyrdom and people-pleasing behaviour (not healthy AT ALL!).

Sometimes, rescuers use religious beliefs to justify their destructive helping. Religion does encourage us to help people but not at the expense of our own destruction. A rescuer needs to understand that there’s a difference between supporting someone and rescuing them. All that is expected from us is to support people, be there for them without necessarily sacrificing ourselves or our own lives for the sake of other people. Caretaking breeds anger: Unsatisfied, frustrated, confused and this is because ultimately, you will get tired of trying to save everyone. And this frustration and exhaustion is what typically makes one turn to be a prosecutor; you start getting angry that people don’t appreciate you enough and that’s when the cliche lines comes in (when the one helped tells the rescuer): “Did I ask you to do this for me?” Or you feel hurt when people don’t reciprocate the amount of energy you invest in them which could turn you into a victim: “People always mistreat me or under-value me.” It is noted that self-destructive behaviours like chemical abuse, sexual and eating disorders are developed through the victim role.

Now on the flip side, we have ‘The Empowerment Dynamic’ (TED) which is made up of three roles that stand as antidotes to (or escapes from) the Drama Triangle Roles:
1. The Creator: (previous victim): In this case, the victim asks themselves questions like “what creative ways can I deal with this problem?” “what are my goals?” “what is my passion?” They take charge of their own lives and have self-awareness.
2. The Coach: (previous rescuer): In this case, the rescuer is no longer an enabler but a supporter. They listen and hold your hand, they support and they want you to be the best version of yourself.
3. The Challenger: (previous persecutor): In this case, the persecutor asks themself questions like “Don’t you think you’re doing this because you want this?” They challenge you to grow.

Image Courtesy:

How To Save Yourself From The Drama Triangle:

1. Being aware of the toxic patterns: “what am I seeking when I play out the victim/rescuer/persecutor role?” “Am I seeking attention? Do I crave love? Do I yearn for power? Am I trying to hide my insecurities? Am I helping people to run away from my own problems?”

2. Honest communication: Say exactly what you need or seek from the other person or what you’re feeling. e.g. If you feel insecure whenever your husband goes out with his friends during weekends, then tell him you feel insecure and need reassurance. If your wife wants to go on a trip with her friends and you think they’re a bad influence, talk to her about it instead of just trying to sabotage the trip. Save everyone the drama and the conflict. Silent treatment doesn’t do anyone any good. Honest communication goes a VERY long way in building better connections (It can be very difficult to really be vulnerable and speak your heart out, but that’s exactly what is needed for healthier relationships)

3. Say no when you want to say no.

4. Do the things YOU want to do, not to please other people, not to rescue someone, but because you literally want to do the thing.

5. Refuse to guess people’s needs/wants i.e. If someone hasn’t directly asked you for something don’t do it (of course it depends on the situation. If someone is stabbed, please help them without them asking?). Sometimes your intention could be to help yet end up making matters worse or spoon-feeding the victim who should stand up for themselves.

6. Insist that others ask you directly for what they want or need from you. i.e. when someone is telling you their problem, ask them nicely what they need from you or how you can support them (if you are in a position to help that is, if not, don’t kill yourself with guilt over it).

7. Refuse to assume others’ responsibilities. Refuse to rescue and refuse that other people rescue you. At the end of the day, each human being should deal with their own lives. Not unless someone is disabled or mentally challenged, very ill, or very elderly, (even this depends on context), don’t be anyone’s saviour or persecutor. If your child does wrong, let him/her face the consequences of their actions. Saving sometimes leads to more terrible damage than we intended.

I honestly believe we’ve all been here, but some more than others. Accept your mistakes, take charge of your life and work on being better, build better connections and have healthier relationships!

P.S. We see these triangles a lot in soap operas movies and shows, (fairy tales too!) but that is why they are called ‘drama series/shows’. They are NOT healthy and there’s nothing romantic about it! Drama makes a good book, a good show or movie, but it doesn’t make a good life. Let’s please leave those for entertainment only.


Thank you for reading! How about you subscribe below too? 😉 Thank you!

Young people are rebellious. Hot-headed. Insubordinate. Secondary school teachers have especially a difficult time dealing with adolescents. Universities are sometimes over-powered by angry youth during riots. They have their demands. They want freedom.

We could never deny the challenges the youth bring into educational institutions. However, one crucial matter that is sometimes overlooked, especially in Kenya, is the kind of influence the teachers have on their students.

It doesn’t matter if one is a secondary teacher, a university lecturer, a home teacher, a trainer, all those in a position to educate young people from the teenage years to adulthood play a very crucial role. They spend most of the time with the youth. They are the ones who get to spot when one is going astray, hanging out with the wrong group, or slacking around.  They are the ones to notice when a child is being discriminated against or picked on or depressed. They are the ones who either become role models to the youth or crush them entirely according to how they deal with them.

The youth are fragile. They are still trying to contemplate what life is all about. They are still shaping their identities. Yet how many times do we see educators being the nightmare to the youth? How many times have we seen educators call students failures or give them embarrassing nicknames or harass them or call out on them for their looks or tribe or their body weight? How many times have we seen educators abuse the youth; emotionally, physically, mentally? How many times have university students failed their exams because they refused to be sexually manipulated by their lecturers? How many youths have been scarred permanently by their educators?

There is this intriguing and thought-provoking story about the Solomon Islands which is in the South Pacific Ocean. The people in the village use quite a unique way of logging; ‘yelling and felling’. So how this goes is that whenever the villagers want to cut down a huge, thick tree, they’d curse and yell at the tree powerfully for thirty days. After this period, the tree surrenders and dies. The villagers believe this method has always worked. When the villagers curse, their whole intent to break the tree’s spirit is so strong that they successfully make it die. While there is no scientific validity to this story, it should make us ponder. Think about this: how powerful are words then that they are able to kill a tree? And if it can kill a tree, what about the spirit of a human that is filled with hopes, dreams, goals, and fears? (The story of Solomon Islands was first mentioned in Bruce H. Lipton’s ‘The Biology of Life’. Read more at

Without a doubt, teaching is a very noble profession. These are the individuals who make us grow and strive for greatness. They are the ones who push us to dream and explore. We could never downplay their very important role in our lives. Yet sometimes, these are the same people who bring us down entirely. Make us detest ourselves. Make us hate the idea of seeking education and want to drop out entirely.

It is indeed high time that our educators, whether in institutions or even in workplaces, are properly evaluated and properly trained on how to deal with human beings using diplomacy rather than abuse. The young people, from teenage years to pre-adulthood are like clay that is still being molded. The clay is in their hands. They have the power to shape it into something extra-ordinary or over-water it till becomes lifeless dirty water.


As you may have noticed, the above does apply to parents as well because they too are educators; the most important ones! It can also apply to each one of us and how we interact with other human beings, sometimes very carelessly. May we always be conscious of how we talk and deal with other people. Ameen.

To every teacher doing their job whole-heartedly and striving to make a difference, however small, we salute you and appreciate you!

Image Courtesy:

Whenever I miss you,
which is as often
as the sun rising from the East,
the dawn of your thoughts
take possession
of my brittle mind
penetrating through the cracked, glass window
of my soul
like the early sun rays
ready to conquer my heart
yet one more time.
The adhan is but a symbol
of the timelessness
of my love
waking me up from
the depths of my fantasy
The wudhu’s cold touch
hauls me back to reality
washing off me
the residues
of yesterday’s ache.

Whenever I remember you,
a strong tide
of sorrow
takes over the
ocean of emotions
within my soul
pulling me further out
into the embrace of distance.
In absolute agony,
I lay down my mswallah
that you once gave me
and make i’tikaf on it
talking to My Most Beloved
of you,
my beloved.
There is only one pure way
to love
so I raise my hands
to the Almighty
and place you
in His loving hands.
A testament of love
that none can dare
come between.

My tongue is wet,
heavy on the
Allahu Must3an
because God knows
only He can extinguish
the turmoil engulfing the
heart of a lover
with flames
of grief.
I call on the Lord of Ibrahim
to save me
from the blaze set on my being
I call on the Lord of Ayub, and the Lord of Ya’qub
to grant me
a beautiful patience
I call on the Lord of Yunus
to rescue me from
the hollowness of the darkness.

The hadith says,
‘The guider towards good
is like the doer’
so I recite every letter of the Qur’an
with reflection
with deliberation
hoping that for every 10 rewards,
you get a share of it.
With every mention and longing,
during the wee hours of the night
you are raised in status
With every dua
that I beg Allah
to grant you,
the angels can say
‘And for you is the same’.

If we’re not meant to be
in this world
then I am content
cherishing your very existence
in the same universe as I do
loving you at a distance,
through my prolonged sujood.
Let the ground that I prostrate on
be a witness
of all the times
I ask Allah
of His Mercy
Upon you.


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Please do subscribe if you haven’t 🙂

There is that moment before everything changes. That one long second before everything turns sour. That one long second of total oblivion. You, at one of the beach stalls, laughing with your friend at how ridiculous you look with the sunglasses you want to purchase. The vendor looking at you amusingly. The old mirror reflecting your big grin and a huge pimple that just won’t go away. Your friend makes a silly joke about your indecisiveness while you make funny faces, still staring at the mirror. The sea waves are almost touching your feet. The fresh breeze is brushing on your face. You are fully absorbed at this moment; at this nothingness, or perhaps ‘somethingness’. See this moment, hold onto it for a second longer. Freeze. Pause. Take it all in.

Before you know it, you’re out of breath. Your hand on your chest. Your knees touching the white sand. The old mirror is shattered beneath you; thousands and thousands of broken pieces. Like your heart. Like this moment. You are sweating. You are shivering. Your heart is palpitating. You are losing control. Your friend is nudging you vehemently, she asks what is wrong. The vendor is p.e.t.r.i.f.i.e.d. He probably thinks you have a jinn. Maybe a sea jinn even. He takes a step back, slowly, while still asking you whether you are okay. Of course, he doesn’t want to seem like a coward. He cares. He is empathetic. But then, *insert Kenyan accent* ‘weuh! bravery for who?!’ People start to notice. Someone is asking someone to call for an ambulance. Who is someone though?

There is that moment before everything changes. Loud sirens. Silent weeping of your friend holding your hand. A machine beeping beside you. Constricted space. You.cannot.breathe.

You’re wheeled into the hospital. There is a lot of movement. A lot of whispers. A blurred sight of your friend talking to the doctor while tearing a lot. Darkness. Blurred sight. More beeping machines. Blurred sight again. Total darkness.

There is that moment before everything changes. You sleeping in your hospital bed, your parents by your side, your friends around you. The doctor then breaks it to you. You have just a couple of months to live. Everyone is crying loudly now. There are only a few times you are ‘let’ to cry in front of a dying patient. In fact, there are only a few times where you can ‘comfortably’ cry in front of anyone. This is one of those times. So everyone is probably making the best of it. Some are crying more than expected; they’ve probably been holding too many suppressed emotions. Some are too silent; they’re too loud.

There is that moment before everything changes. That one long second. That oblivion. Unfreeze the moment now. Can you see it? The pure joy? The hearty smile? The friendly touch? The silly actions? That one annoying pimple on your face that won’t just go away? Wouldn’t you do anything to experience it again? Wouldn’t you do everything to just pause that moment and take it all in? Feel the bliss? Appreciate the ocean? Laugh a little louder? Hug your friend tighter?

There is that moment before everything changes. It could be this one long second right now. Maybe, just maybe, you should take it aalll in.


It’s been a while my good people. Thank you for staying tuned always. Thank you for your time 🙂 Please subscribe!

To read the third part of this series, click on the following link:

#The love and compassion between father and daughter

Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her was only 5 years old when the first revelation occurred. She therefore grew up in Islam. She was the 5th child of the prophet and his last daughter (according to some narrations). There was once, when Fatima was still very young, the prophet peace be upon him was praying in front of the Kaabah and Abu Jahl, Shaybah and Uqba Ibn Abi Mu’ayt were nearby watching him. Abu Jahl then asked one to volunteer to pick the guts of a camel and all of its filth and dump it on the prophet’s back while praying, just to humiliate him. Uqba ibn Abi Mu’ayt volunteered and brought all that filth and dumped it on the prophet’s back while in sujood. Fatima, this very young, tender girl, seeing her father in this state while the people around laughed and cursed him, goes to him. She starts scraping all of the filth on his back while crying. The prophet peace be upon him then said to her: ‘Do not cry oh my daughter. Allah will help your father and give him victory.’ And this is when the prophet started cursing the individuals who had taken part in the humiliating action. It is narrated that these same individuals were among the first to be killed during the battle of badr.

The love and compassion between father and daughter was so vivid that Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her was nicknamed ‘Umm Abeeha’ which means ‘The mother to her father’. This was due to how much she took care of her father, as if she was his mother rather than his daughter.

When Khadija peace be upon her died, Fatima was the one who comforted him and handled the home affairs. Fatima was also nicknamed ‘Al Zahraa’ to mean ‘the illuminated one’ or ‘the shining one’ due to her radiant face as the prophet’s was. In fact it was well known how the two resembled each other so much, even in the manner of speaking and walking. And the prophet peace be upon him was never hesitant to show his love for her. Whenever Fatima came to him, he stood up, welcomed her, kissed her hand and made her sit in his place. And when the prophet peace be upon him went to her, she would do the same for him.

Whenever the prophet came back from a journey, he would pray two rakaahs in the masjid as is the Sunnah then go to Fatima’s house before going to see his wives.

How beautiful is this kind of relationship? Don’t we all wish we had such connections with our fathers? Unfortunately very few men adopt the prophet’s way of living with his women, and some feel it makes them seem weak if they showed affection to their children publicly or even privately. But here was the prophet, treated his daughter like real royalty despite the jahiliya culture of the Quraysh to belittle their women.

#Jannah is the goal

Now despite the prophet treating Fatima, may Allah be pleased with them both, as royalty, she and her husband Ali may peace be upon them lived a very simple life.

When he first wanted to come to propose to the prophet for Fatima’s hand, he came while being very nervous. He sat by the prophet but couldn’t say a word, so the prophet asked him if he had come to propose for Fatima’s hand and Ali said yes.

At that time Ali had nothing apart from a shield. So the prophet asked him to sell the shield and give the amount as dowry to Fatima. The prophet could have chosen any wealthy sahaba to marry him off to his most beloved daughter. Yet he accepted Ali’s proposal for he knew him to be a great man and an appropriate husband for his daughter. Their home was so humble and they slept on sheepskin.

“In another occasion, it is reported on the authority of Ali that Fatima had corns in her hand because of working at the hand-mill. There had fallen to the lot of Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) some prisoners of war. She (Fatima) came to the Prophet (ﷺ) but she did not find him (in the house). She met A’isha and informed her (about her hardship and wanting a servant). When Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) came, she (A’isha) informed him about the visit of Fatima. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to them (Fatima and her family). They had gone to their beds. ‘Ali further (reported):

We tried to stand up (as a mark of respect) but Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Keep to your beds, and he sat amongst us and I felt the coldness of his feet upon my chest. He then said: May I not direct you to something better than what you have asked for? When you go to your bed, you should recite Takbir (Allah-o-Akbar) thirty-four times and Tasbih (Subhan Allah) thirty-three times and Tahmid (al-Hamdu li-Allah) thirty-three times, and that is better than the servant for you.” (Sahih Muslim)

From this narration, we also see that despite the prophet’s ability to provide for Fatima a servant and make her live like real royalty with great comfort, he chose to teach them what is better i.e. what will be of benefit to them in the hereafter. In these several occasions, we see that the prophet, despite his grand love for his daughter, still chose to nurture the love for the akhera within her rather than for this dunya. And this is definitely something worth pondering for us. It is not impermissible to want to be wealthy and comfortable in life, but remember not to seek the dunya so much, instead, let Jannah be the goal.

#Standing for one another

So in different occasions whilst the prophet was at Aisha’s house (it was her turn to be with him), the sahabas would bring gifts to her house more than any other wife’s house. The other wives of the prophet were not happy about this so they sent Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her, to talk to the prophet on their behalf. In short, the wives wanted the prophet to put a stop to this matter for it seemed unfair. But this was not the prophet’s fault or any injustice from him. The people themselves preferred to do that. So when Fatima went to the prophet while he was with Aisha, she said to him: “Your wives have sent me to you in order to ask you to observe equity in case of the daughter of Abu Quhafa (Aisha).’ Aisha kept quiet and the prophet then said to Fatima, ‘Oh my daughter, don’t you love whom I love?’ She said: ‘I do.’ The prophet said: ‘I love this one’ (meaning Aisha). So Fatima stood up and went back to the other wives and told them what had ensued. They told Fatima: ‘We think that you have been of no avail to us. You may again go to Allah’s Messenger and tell him that his wives seek equity in case of the daughter of Abu Quhafa.’ Fatima said: ‘By Allah, I will never talk to him about this matter.’ (Sahih Muslim)

From her love for her father, Fatima decided not to pursue anything that would go against him and we can see the prophet doing the same for his daughter in another occasion when Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him when he wanted to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl.

Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, wanted to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl. When Fatima heard about this, she went to the prophet saying: “Your people think that you do not become angry for the sake of your daughters as `Ali is now going to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl.” When she said that, the prophet stood up, said the shahadah then said, “I married one of my daughters to Abu Al-`As bin Al- Rabi` (the husband of Zainab, the daughter of the Prophet before Islam and he proved truthful in whatever he said to me. No doubt, Fatima is a part of me, and whoever makes her angry, makes me angry. By Allah, the daughter of Allah’s Messenger and the daughter of Allah’s Enemy cannot be the wives of one man.” So `Ali gave up that engagement. (Sahih Bukhari)

It should be noted that the prophet didn’t just stop Ali from marrying another wife alongside his daughter. This was the daughter of the enemy of the prophet and the enemy of Islam and it wouldn’t befit that Fatima, be in such a situation (of co-wifing the daughter of an enemy of Islam) so please don’t use this hadith to prevent polygamy 😀

#Piety and Modesty

Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her was known for her piety and modesty like her mother. This is the woman that the prophet peace be upon him named, ‘sayyidat nisaa’ al-jannah’ to mean, ‘the queen, the leader of the women of paradise’. Fatima is among the four women who perfected their faith alongside her mother (as we mentioned in the previous parts of this series). She was held in high esteem due to her character and imaan.

According to some opinions is that surat Insan was revealed concerning Fatima and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them. The family had fasted for 3 days to fulfill a vow they had made. In each evening, during iftar, someone knocked on their door asking for food. Once it was a prisoner of war, then an orphan then a poor person. In all three occasions, they gave out their food and were left with barely anything for themselves. And it is because of this selfless act that Allah subhanahu wataala revealed surat insan and He says:

“And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. [Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.” So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness. And will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments]….” (Surat Insan: verse 8-12) And Allah goes on to give an in-depth description of jannah and what will be available for them therein.

In another narration is that, when Fatima was on her death bed, she looked up in the heavens and smiled. She then called for Asmaa bint Umays who was the one going to wash her body. Fatima then requested Asmaa that after doing her ghusl upon her death, that her janazah be done at night so that there aren’t many people and also, she will be concealed. In another narration, Asmaa had mentioned of a tradition she had seen in Abyssinia where the dead are covered in a bier with a cloth on it whereby the body is concealed and cannot be seen. So Fatima requested that this same bier is used for her burial so that people will not see her body curves.

# ‘After You’

“Narrated `Aisha: Mother of the Believers: We, the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) were all sitting with the Prophet (ﷺ) and none of us had left when Fatima came walking, and by Allah, her gait was very similar to that of Allah’s Messenger.’ When he saw her, he welcomed her, saying, “Welcome, O my daughter!” Then he made her sit on his right or his left, confided something to her, whereupon she wept bitterly. When he noticed her sorrow, he confided something else to her for the second time, and she started laughing.

Only I from among the Prophet’s wives said to her, “(O Fatima), Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) selected you from among us for the secret talk and still you weep?” When Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) got up (and went away), I asked her, “What did he confide to you?” She said, “I wouldn’t disclose the secrets of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)” But when he died I asked her, “I beseech you earnestly by what right I have on you, to tell me (that secret talk which the Prophet had with you)” She said, “As you ask me now, yes, (I will tell you).”

She informed me, saying, “When he talked to me secretly the first time, he said that Gabriel used to review the Qur’an with him once every year. He added, ‘But this year he reviewed it with me twice, and therefore I think that my time of death has approached. So, be afraid of Allah, and be patient, for I am the best predecessor for you (in the Hereafter).’ “Fatima added, “So I wept as you (`Aisha) witnessed. And when the Prophet (ﷺ) saw me in this sorrowful state, he confided the second secret to me saying, ‘O Fatima! Will you not be pleased that you will be chief of all the believing women (or chief of the women of this nation i.e. my followers?”) (Sahih al-Bukhari) It is also at this point that he confided in her that she would be the next companion to die right after him, which is what made Fatima laugh from joy, knowing that she would join him soon enough.

On her death bed, Fatima shared some moments with her husband Ali and asked him to marry Umamah after her death, the daughter of her sister Zaynab to take care of her children. Fatima is said to have died in the month of Ramadhan, 6 months or less after the prophet’s death. She was just 29 years old and left behind 4 children; Hassan, Hussein, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum. According to some narrations, her fifth child Muhsin had died before her. All in all, Fatima was known for her purity, piety and chastity. Moreover she was known as being the Prophet’s big supporter and caretaker.

#Ahlul Bayt

“Many came to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, asking whom he loved the most, including Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra). He had the most eloquent answer, while maintaining his character of honesty. Even though Fatima was very dear to him and his heart was very attached to her, he didn’t want to answer in a way that would hurt Ali, whom he loved as his own son. He looked at Ali and said, ‘She is more beloved to me than you, but you are more precious to me than her’, making them both very happy.”

‘A’isha reported that Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel’s hair that there came Hasan b. ‘Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came ‘Ali and he also took him under it and then said:

“Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household, and purify you (thorough purifying).”

(Sahih Muslim 2424)

And indeed, Allah purified them and elevated their status.

May Allah grant us an opportunity to be with them in Jannah. Ameen.


Alhamdulilah this brings us to the end of our Ramadhan series, ‘The women of Jannah’, the four women who perfected their faith (May Allah be pleased with them). Thank you so much for joining me for the entire month and for taking your time to read. May Allah accept our fasts, our ibadah, our duas and our tawbah. Ameen. Taqabala Llahu minna wa minkum. Eid Mubarak my good people 🙂


Women Around The Prophet ﷺ‎/Part 14/ Fatima Bint Muhammad, Daughter of Prophet ﷺ‎- Assim al hakeem:

Role Model for Modesty (Fatima bint Muhammad) – Women of Paradise – Omar Suleiman:

Fatima Bint Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) ᴴᴰ ┇ Must Watch ┇ by Sheikh Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury :