A massive Assalamualikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu (Peace and blessings of Allah SWT be upon you) to you all and prayers for abundance, prosperity and happiness to you in your lives Ameen. Today marks a very important day for me and that is the release of my official blog on my website. As it is my first blog there is yet so much I have to learn about blogging so it will probably seem like an essay but do please read it to the end it would mean a lot .
Subhan Allah I was about to release it some time over the last week but unfortunately I lost all my work. At that time I knew I couldn’t react in a negative way. If anything I had to show gratitude to Allah and try not to get too upset because if there is anything I have learnt it’s bad things happen and good things come out of it and that my friends is the story of my life.
I firstly want to thank Allah SWT for blessing me with the opportunity to play a part in serving people through my written words and I pray that they are able to benefit and bring forth the positive influence and changes that they need from something that I may have said or reminded them about. I also pray that I am able to continue to serve in the best way possible through my Coaching Programmes and services Insha’Allah. As I progress I will inform you about everything that is happening with me including my up and coming book ‘From Struggle to Sujood to Success’ Insha’Allah.
Today I can say with a high degree of confidence that I could never have achieved anything by myself. In 2006 my life told a very different story. Not for a single second did I imagine that one day I would be blessed and in a position where I can help people bring the best out of themselves despite all the challenges they may be faced with. I mean how does a woman who has little self-esteem, no vision, no outlook and no purpose ever see herself do that? If you were to ask me back then where do you see your life in ten years’ time in all honesty I could not have given you a straight answer. I was on antidepressants and had been for seven years. I was always conscious of God but not to the point where I practiced. I’d forgotten what it was like to have good quality sleep and lived a life feeling scared at the best of times. The biggest fear was of the unknown, I lived on the edge worrying about the next time my husband was going to hit me. It was not a good place to be in.
It wasn’t all bleak however. I had a beautiful baby boy who was growing up right in front of my eyes. He was only 18 months when I was accepted to do my nurse training and nearly 5 when I finished. Finishing my degree was done by the skin of my teeth and despite all the trauma I had been through and was still going through I had finished with a First Class Honours. It was literally blood, sweat and a lot of tears.
I was living a life of two extremes one where there was a multitude of new beginnings and opportunities and another full of trauma, sadness and desperation. These were two very conflicting sides to the same coin and in reality it became difficult to function at the best of times. This made me realise something very important.
It was in the month of Ramadan, I decided to go to the prayer room at University. I remember the room being very small and plain. Without doubt I was a Ramadan Muslim. Fasting but not really knowing or understanding why I was doing it. I was going through the motions like many others. On this particular day I was feeling very low. As I got up to leave something caught the corner of my eye. It was a poster that had printed on it the last sermon of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him). I remember reading in particular the part that orders the people to be kind to their women. I left that room feeling slightly perplexed by what I had read but the power of that message had not left me. I knew that the reality of my life and what I had just read were worlds apart. I often think about how much those words resonated with me and looking back I know it was because Allah SWT wanted me to want better things for myself including being in a marriage where I was not being violated. I realised I had rights too. This for me was mind blowing, powerful and extremely empowering. That day was the sewing of a new seed that would start to change my life forever.
As I carried on with life I did persevere with my marriage. However the sense of yearning for a better and different life became stronger. I did try to make my marriage work over the next few years but time and time again I was realizing that things were going nowhere. The more this was happening the more I started yearning for change on a visceral level. I also started to deeply ponder on my purpose and where my life was heading. One thing I knew for sure however was that things could not carry on the way they were going. I could not live the life I had been living and these internal voices were getting stronger.
Sometimes in the depths of the night I would sit and reflect deeply or cry. Little did I know then the power of calling out to Allah at night and just how much he was listening to me outpouring my sadness to him.
The violence did eventually stop as I got authorities to intervene. However the scars of the trauma even to this day have taken so much longer to heal. Despite my topsy turvey life though I started to look for a deeper connection and meaning to why I was living, what I was doing here and most importantly where I was heading. These were the thoughts that dominated me. I remember coming across the verse of the Quran almost by accident but in reality I needed to hear it and really it wasn’t an accident. That verse was ‘Allah does not change the condition of the people until they change what is in themselves’ (Al Raad 13:11).
I couldn’t make these changes on my own though I needed help and I needed it big time. Little did I know how much Allah SWT was helping me because he sent it in the form of a revert who I knew. She started talking to me about Islam. Some of what she told me I had no idea about. I also remember feeling a sense of shame as I felt that I as a born Muslim I was not as good as her because of her knowledge and because she used to pray regularly. She would often encourage me to join her but I used to resist until she blatantly told me it will be too late when I die. I think this propelled me into some form of action so I agreed to make a concerted effort.
My friend put out the prayer mat. She fixed her scarf and encouraged me to do the same. She then asked me to align my ankle with hers. She then instructed that I follow her actions by copying what she does but doing it slightly after. I think I must have been a bit confused because I remember that at times I was slightly ahead of her. Nevertheless I followed. She started reciting Surah Al Fatiha. I must say at this point I was in complete awe. Her recitation was amazing. It was at another level you see it sounded very Arabic. That may sound strange but the way she was reciting was just so different it was ‘proper’ not at all like I had learnt it as a child. It sounded very beautiful and very Arabic whereas my personal recitation of Al Fatiha was well very Pakistani, bordering on an Arabic wannabe.
Jokes aside however I feel that again Allah imprinted something on my heart. At that point it was an inspiration to help me reach another level of betterment and again as time has gone on I have realised that the only way to achieve a higher level of betterment was through salah. I have since learnt that Salah is actually dua and that if anything can change a person’s outcome or fate it is the act of dua.
In all honesty although my life was changing before my eyes this became even more cemented since I started bowing my head to the Allah to the point that when I reflect backwards the hairs on my body stand up. Salah was the thing that I feared the most but single act that has been the most powerful. It has been the difference in me giving value to myself and realising that I mattered and that I am important and that I need to be grateful to my creator by expressing it through my actions of which, salah is the single most important action.
I know at one point I was in a position where I knew I should be praying but in reality I didn’t understand why it was important. I also understand that sometimes you don’t always understand why something is important because you don’t always have the knowledge. I also understand that sometimes you may possess the knowledge but you don’t always follow through with it because you haven’t resonated or connected with the knowledge. I also understand that even when you have resonated with the knowledge your practice of that action may be weak because of your lack of competence and confidence with the matter.
You see I feel that I have been at all these stages and by no means am I saying I am completely proficient in this great act of worship, what I am saying however is that if you want to make changes this is the single most important act of worship that you need to undertake. If you don’t well let’s just say you will never know positive change until you undertake it and in reality you need to do it because without it you have the potential of every other act being null and void and Allah knows best.
I’m am so grateful to Allah that on the day my friend blatantly told me it would be too late when I die. I knew I had to yet again change and step up. By no means has even becoming remotely good at salah been easy. I have spent the last few years trying to perfect many different aspects of my salah including my understanding and knowledge, my Quran and tajweed, achieving five times a day status, my consistency and also my concentration. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight it’s a process you have to learn and develop and like I said it is a very powerful tool.
In fact it is the only tool you need to bring the massive changes that you may so deeply be yearning for and you only realise this, the more knowledge you start to gain about it. I can honestly say that the pace of change and personal development I have seen has only come because of putting my head down in sujood (prostration) such is its power. It is the point where you are closest to Allah as is mentioned in the hadith where the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) said “The closest a person is to his Lord is when he is prostrating so make a great deal of dua then” (Muslim). My friend used to tell me make lots of dua in my sujood as it gets answered quickly. In all honesty I did and wasn’t too sure but I went ahead and asked Allah to bless me with one shahada and Alhumdulilah I have been blessed with five to date. So not only do you get, sometimes you get more than you could have ever hoped for. I don’t question it anymore because I know it’s going to happen, that is my dua will get answered.
When I look back to where I was and how far I have come I know that I could not have achieved anything without my salah and at this point there are two profound sayings that resonate very deeply with me the first is when Allah tells us whoever takes one step to Allah, Allah takes ten to him. I can wholeheartedly say that this is what has happened, correction is happening to me. In the last 10 years I have been through immense mind blowing changes and the single most powerful empowering tool that I have been able to achieve this through is my salah. The second saying is whoever bows down to Allah in prostration can stand up to anything. Alhumdulilah as you can see my life is a depiction of that in many ways all thanks to Allah’s guidance. What I also know is that I never want to revert back to how things were before I have come too far. So if you’re already praying renew your intention and improve your salah do extras if you can and if you’re not, well you know what you need to do. What are you waiting for? You will never know if you don’t try.