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Bismillah (In Allah's Name)
Despair comes purely from Shaitan (Satan) because he is on a mission to blind us from Allah SWT's Graciousness. In addition to despair tiny triggers like stress, illness, anxiety, and dilemmas which bring our hope quota down. In all these circumstances, we need to identify the powerhouses of hope that Allah SWT has embedded in our systems as Muslim women.
THE BLESSED EXAMPLES
Muslim women (or Believing women, since some examples are from pre-Prophet Muhammad SAW's era) have lived such blessed lives, powered by hope amidst darkness. They stood tall - often alone - like fortresses of hope and belief in Allah SWT. Paradise was announced for these women. There was Aasiyah (wife of Fir'aun) who took physical torture and then gave up her life but did not leave the right path. There was the blessed Maryam (Mary) (mother of Prophet Isa (Jesus) AS) who fought the world when it attacked her reputation but stood gracefully in service to Allah SWT. There was Prophet Muhammad SAW's wife Khadija RA who was his companion through the toughest times of torture and atrocities that early Muslims had to face. And finally there was the blessed Fatimah (the beloved daughter of Prophet Muhammad SAW) who did the same and beyond. Both of these women could have lived like queens of the time but they were content to live challenging lives with minimal means.
Each time we are running low on hope we must remember the legacy they left for us and say Alhamdulillah.
MIND OVER BODY
Us ladies are at a bigger risk of losing hope because we are weak (as compared to men) in absorbing minor blows that come from the social spheres. We are also challenged by the way our bodies have been made. For example, we are influenced by mood lows during our monthly cycles. Allah SWT has made us emotionally more powerful than men and we are magnificent shock absorbers that way. Our levels of pain tolerance (physical) also deserve a standing ovation. But we tend to lose hope - or let the hope levels down - pretty easily.
Sometimes counting blessings does not break a PMS spell, or a serious low time in life. This is where we must find salvation in prayers, or perhaps some alone time. Hope can sometimes be found in the most unexpected of places. For me, hope comes from a hug from my sister, from a friend who manages to make me laugh through everything, or from a tiny little trigger Allah SWT sends my way.
ALLAH IS MY ALPHA
Women are conditioned to live in a patriarchal society where by default men are boss. All the ladies are accustomed to turn to an alpha male for decision making, social support, and life in general. So if we are functioning as single, or are under pressures of leading because the men of the house are least bothered or missing in action, or absent, we tend to buckle because we don't know who (which man?) to turn to? That happens! This is where I say a woman is to make Allah her alpha. He is the only One who can guide and protect. When I am facing a tough one and I feel nobody is around to help or direct me I turn to Istikhara. It has never failed me, not once.
REMEMBER, SOMEONE ELSE'S DARKNESS MAY BE GREATER
I felt like I was pretty 'devastated' last week - of course an overly dramatic frame of mind considering my mood low. It was mostly emotional because Alhamdulillah I have been blessed in so many ways. The spell was so strong it brought me to tears. And then, heart-shaking appeals of people of Aleppo dying showed up on my social media feeds. There are people in the world holding tiny, bloodied and covered-in-rubble dead bodies and they have nobody to turn to but Allah SWT. I realized I had no right to cry. My problems may be huge but they don't matter considering the pitch black darkness some people are in at the same time somewhere else in the world.
Alhamdulillah For Hope Amidst Darkness