I recently had a conversation with a brilliant relative about anxiety and the dire need to be in control of everything going on around us. That frustrating fight with the unknown and uncertainty. That burning urge to be prepared for anything and everything that comes next. Then she humbly advised me, “Frequently say, ‘Hasbiyallah waneemal wakeel’ i.e. ‘Sufficient for me is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.’ Then she went on and said, ‘But don’t just say it. Mean it. When you say sufficient for me is Allah then that is total submission to Him. It is surrendering to the Almighty; acknowledging His power, acknowledging your own weakness as a human being and acknowledging that whatever Allah has bestowed upon you is truly best for you. He is the best disposer of affairs. Whatever you plan for yourself will always be limited in contrast to what He has in store for you. So be content. Be grateful. Have faith in Him and His plans for you. So live by it. Live by ‘Hasbiyallah waneemal wakeel’.”

In this precise moment, her words struck me. I have heard and said the statement so many times in my life, but did I truly, deeply believe in it’s meaning?!

Despite being a believer in Allah, there have been many times where I questioned His plans for me. Maybe not loudly, maybe not openly, but just that small feeling in the heart like ‘This could have gone better. Should have gone better. What’s the point of this chaos right now?’ It is like saying, ‘I trust that you have my best interests at heart, but I should also have a say in how my life unrolls.’ But that’s just from our ignorance and naivety as human beings; we say we trust that Allah is the best planner, but do we really?!

For a period of over ten years, Allah tested me with the same test thrice, just different versions of it. And I remember many nights in my sajjadah begging Allah to remove me out of those situations. But the test dragged on and on and on. I felt so helpless and I kept saying to Allah, ‘But I have learned the lesson. Please Ya Allah. I have already learned the lesson. Get me out of here. Why am I still here?!!’ Those were such desperate moments for me because sometimes I did believe that so long as Allah was still testing me then there must be a very good reason for it. But sometimes I was just so helpless I kept asking, ‘What’s the point here? Am I being punished or something?’ I didn’t have that yaqeen, that surety, that unshakeable faith that Allah wouldn’t put be through pain just for the sake of it.

Then during one of the last nights of last Ramadhan, I stayed for long crying to Allah to grant me clarity on the matter because I thought I had already learned what I was meant to learn. If there was something more to it, I was not seeing it. I need help to see it. I desperately need clarity. As I finished my crying/dua session I lazily entered into Instagram to distract my mind and wallahy the moment I logged in, there it was- my answer. It was just one video but it led me to another and another and another and lots of reading that made it make all the sense. And subhanallah to date, I still have very random conversations and something is said and is still part of my answer. Like, every single day, Allah is opening my eyes to what I hadn’t realized in over ten years.

Of course it was such a deeply painful experience but the amount of knowledge I learned throughout that period made me take better choices for myself. Made me a better person. A wiser person. In retrospect, I don’t think I would have learned all the lessons that I have if I was listening to someone’s story or reading it from a book. I truly had to go through it all to realize what was expected from me and what I truly needed. Several times I failed to trust in Allah fully and yet He had a plan all along. The journey is obviously not over but I am at the point in my life where I am like, ‘Oh so this is why that happened…’ It wasn’t a punishment. It wasn’t for no reason. He had a good reason for it…

There is a famous quote that I have seen so many times. It goes like, ‘It will keep happening until you learn the lesson.’ Seems pretty straight forward until you are the one in the endless cycle of the ‘seeming’ doom and the depth of it won’t truly make sense until it does.

I have met people with unshakable faith. People who literally live by ‘Hasbiyallah waneemal wakeel’. People who when they don’t get what they want they genuinely say ‘Alhamdulilah’ and when something bad happens to them they say قَدَّرَ اللَّهُ وَمَا شَاءَ فَعَلَ (Allah has decreed and whatever he wills, He does).. They don’t ask ‘what ifs’ or say ‘buts’.They don’t fret. They don’t worry unnecessarily. They know that Allah is in control and wholeheartedly leave their affairs to Him. They know FOR SURE that Allah will come through for them regardless of how big a mountain their problems are. They remind me of the hadith: Suhaib reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” I love these people. I look up to them. And I pray to be like them someday.

To end this, here’s a hadith to give you comfort about Allah’s mercy upon us.

Abu Razin reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah laughs for the despair of His servant, as He will soon relieve him.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah, does the Lord laugh?” The Prophet said, “Yes.” I said, “We will never be deprived of goodness by a Lord who laughs!” (Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah)

Indeed Allah doesn’t test us in order to make us miserable and unhappy. He doesn’t test us just for the sake of it for He is not a sadist. We may not see it, we may never comprehend it but there is always, ALWAYS a reason for every small and big thing that happens in our lives. We thus should always strive to have unshakeable faith in Him, have good doubt in Him and surrender all our affairs to Him as well. This is a big reminder to myself first before anyone else.

Dear reader, here’s your reminder to lay down your burdens to Him so that He can take care of all your affairs. Let go and let God. Never forget that Allah will never forsake you.

As you and I continue taking this endless journey to Allah, I pray that He grants us that kind of submission to Him and that He makes us among His most beloved ones, ameen.


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There you are…silent, withdrawn…a wall covering you from the outside world.

Beloved…I know this world has been cruel to you. You’ve been mishandled, mistreated and abused in a way that the world is not the same in your eyes. You’ve been shown in more ways than you thought possible, how more ruthless life can be- people can be. You’ve been hurt so much you find no other way to survive but slide back into your shell, your own bubble, your safety net. Somehow along the way, you came to a conclusion that the only way to make it through is by separating yourself from the world. That way, circumstances and people have little chance to hurt you. But they still do, don’t they?

Life and people have this ability to make things worse. They invade spaces. Turn the world upside down. Make your life more miserable. More detestable. Make you question whether you really should be here.

I know that you barely came across kindness, even when you needed it the most. Even when you gave it out the most. So you sit in your silence and take in whatever silence has to offer. Whether it is dark memoirs of the past, distressing thoughts of the present or the anxiety-inducing possibilities of the future. You don’t really want to let anyone into your bubble because well, they never will get it, will they? What are the chances that someone will see the battle scene that your soul is and still choose to sit with you until you’re ready to stand up once again? Be gentle with you, and your scarred soul. Be patient with you as you lick your wounds and find yourself once again. Seems impossible right?

Yet I am here to tell you that it is quite possible to find good, pure souls, with no strings attached, no ulterior motives whatsoever, who’d be willing to hold your hand and be there for you. Help you, guide you, be there for you. Where are they, you ask? Well, perhaps you need to first break that wall surrounding you don’t you think? Open the door, and allow people to be there for you. Accept help when it is offered. Ask for help when you need it. Embrace vulnerability- don’t stick to the thought that independence is what will protect you from the cruelty of this world. It just causes burnout most of the time.

I understand that shutting down and being in your bubble is your only protection-your coping mechanism, but you’ll never understand the beauty of deep friendship and love and intimacy unless you break that wall. See yourself from the eyes of those who care about you. Allow yourself to learn and grow from your own experiences and the experiences of the people around you. Accept that the trauma you faced has affected how you view the world and perhaps be open to view it from the lenses of others.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you forget the hard-learnt lessons you’ve gained thus far, but rather, making the choice to not allow yourself to drown in the what-ifs, could-haves and would-haves. No one can take away your story, and what impact it had on you. No one can underestimate what life did to you. It remains to be your story, yet you’re the one to decide what to do with it.

One of my favourite quotes in my book ‘The Striving Soul’ is, ‘Everyone has a struggle. Make yours count.’ And I like it because I do believe that regardless of the obstacles we face in life, we do have some choice on which way to handle the present and the future. Your struggle could be greater than a lot of other people yet that only means you have a greater ability to shine and thrive. Greater resilience. Greater strength. Because if anyone else was in your shoes, perhaps they wouldn’t have made it to where you are right now. All you have to do now is use that pain to create something wonderful for yourself.

I know this life has not been easy on you. But please take the risk. Don’t allow the fear to cripple you. Sometimes the only thing separating you from greater greatness is you stepping out of your bubble. Perhaps it will be better than you ever imagined. Perhaps it will be all you will ever need to become the best version of YOU.

Beloved, I pray you heal. I pray the world becomes kinder and gentler with you.

At our home, we have a wooden door that has two stickers. The words on it are: ‘Father means you are taking care of your children. Husband means you are taking care of your wife. You are accepting the responsibilities of manhood. -Malcolm X’ Both stickers have the same words; one sticker at the top of the door and the other at the middle. You know, in case the man walking in is short or tall, we have you sorted. The words are for you. Coming from a family blessed with daughters, this set the bar for all of us. Our father taught us what being a good father and husband means and our mother taught us to never settle for less than what we truly deserve or make us happy.

Being a naturally observant person, I came to realize how appealing this theory of ‘All men are the same’ is. We do have some significant characteristics that you’d find in men; most men or all men but there’s still a difference. And sometimes the differences are so big you’d think some are men from different clay. Perhaps one lot is made from clay blue marble and another from soft clay and maybe another from kaolin? Only God knows. Like you know, the easiest example is say ‘All men like football’ or cars or even play station. While significantly many of them do, several others don’t. A lady will most probably assume this man she just met likes football because well that’s the norm, until she realizes he doesn’t. So when men mess up and then another messes up, its so easy to put the pieces as one and put them into the same basket. As we say in Kiswahili, ‘yai moja likioza yote yaoza’ and that’s how we just take it.

There is a fairly elderly man that I know, who twenty years after his marriage, still treats his wife like a queen. When it gets to 12 noon, you’d see him drop everything to go pick his wife for lunch and when he is running late, he would literally panic. In your mind you’s think perhaps his wife is the dominant, intimidating kind but no. His wife is so quiet, so reserved. So it has nothing to do with a woman ‘kumkalia chapati’. The man just loves and respects his wife. This is twenty years later my friend, not within one or two years or within the honeymoon period. I also know of another man who lets his wife run all the financial matters in the house, investments and all the projects that they handle together. It is not a matter of control or a competition on who is man enough or a feminist. It’s all a matter of the respect two people decide to give each other and how far their trust goes. These are just two examples but there are several good men out there; responsible husbands, great fathers and role models for their children. Men who know how to be kind and compassionate to their families. Well, where does this brand of men come from? Different type of clay?

Some time back this one man married the woman he loved. She was beautiful. You know the modern society ‘beautiful’? That high bar classification of modern beauty? Yes she was that beautiful. She is from a noble family with hair to her waist. You’d think love and beauty will be enough to keep a marriage together but it rarely does. Years down the line, the man is seated across the room from where I am seated, praising his third wife after divorcing the other two. Speaking of how his current loves him and spends on him as he shows off the gifts. I then remember his first wife. The woman tried. God knows she did all she could to ensure he never looks or marries another woman. Yet she didn’t succeed. Despite all her strengths and her good traits. I am not being judgmental because only God and them know why the previous marriages didn’t work but I just think of this poor lady rejoicing over her new catch and probably doing all she can to ensure he doesn’t go anywhere else. But we all know the truth don’t we? That a man can’t be kept. He chooses to stay. A man can’t be changed. He chooses to change himself. I do sincerely wish this lady and this man that their happiness lasts but them aside, we know that the reality is more cruel than that. We know there’s only so much a woman can do to make her husband love her and stay with her.

A man can’t be bought into settling down. A man can’t be seduced by beauty if he decides not to care about that specific beauty. You could be the most humble human being, best manners and the ideal wife. You could do all the tricks they mention on the internet and relationship books. Yet if this man decides not to look at you or care about you and your children then that’s just it. If he ever changes then it is because it was his personal choice to appreciate what you do for him. You could have the curves all men crave for but he could still decide to cheat on you. So no honey. Men are not the same. Another kind of man, another breed, the one made from the other special kind of clay wouldn’t make you feel inferior or mock you in any way even if your face is full of pimples and acne or you gained a little more weight this month. He wouldn’t humiliate you in front of your children just because you aren’t such a good cook. He would strive to be better so both of you can both grow financially, spiritually and mentally. If a man truly loves his wife, he’d go out of his way to ensure things work. You think this is too fairy taley? No its not. Our society has just put the wrong idea of marriage and love and family in our heads, when a man acts right, it is so unusual for us, we think the woman has done something to him.

There are many kinds of men out there. Some who are hard like rocks and stern like robots. They wouldn’t even ask your opinion on which school to take your own child. And there are men whose compassion fluctuates like their mood swings. Today they decide to be kind and treat their wives like queens and the next day they decide spending time at home is unmanly so he’d rather go at the baraza to sit idly with friends. And there are men who make their wives their partners and they communicate efficiently and work to build their marriages just like they build their careers. And there are those who live like bachelors despite having a wife waiting for them at home. And some are just dead beat fathers. Those who are joyful and charming to the entire world except his wife and children. And there are those who are like the butterflies; they fly to the flower for pollination and once its done, they go for more attractive flowers. Others just marry to have someone cook and wash their clothes and take care of their needs. And there are those who trust their wives to the extent of handing them their passwords and bank pins and allow them to have a say in everything. It goes on and on. All you could ever do as a woman is pray to have a proper man who will raise proper children who in turn will be proper sons and future fathers.

The world is not just black and white. Its the same with men.