Trustworthy?

Bismillah.

I’ve had some enlightening epiphanies in the past few weeks. Some slightly painful ones as well.

Trust.

Advice.

These are things that are so profound, to me at least. These are two things that I don’t take lightly, and up till now, I assumed that this was the norm. You do not go around offering advice without weighing out how it will impact the receiver’s life.

I get a lot of advice from people all the time, but I usually take it with a grain of salt. Unless it comes from a person I trust, in which case I take it acceptingly, and openly.

People tend to ask me for advice, and I’m so scared of misguiding others that I try to weigh things out, ponder upon them before I share them.

Recently, I’ve been shocked to know that people don’t do this, they just advice you with whatever comes to them in the moment without any prior thought put into it. Then they change their mind and tell you something completely opposite of the initial advice leaving you in shock.

Recently I was speaking to a prospect for marriage, and I decided to meet him. I went to see him with a friend. I thought the meeting went well except for a few hiccups (normal, I guess considering it was our first meeting). I took my friend with me because I trusted her, and thought it would help me gain objective advice from her.

After the meeting, she spent a substantial amount of time convincing me this person isn’t worth my time, and I “deserve better”. I think she was very focused on looks, which I’m shocked by, considering she’s also 30 years old. Not only did she tell me that she thinks he’s not that great, she even talked to my brother about it.

I don’t like leaving people hanging, so I prayed istikhara again that night and declined the proposal.

A few weeks later I got a text from my friend asking me how things were going with the prospect. I told her that based on her advice I had declined.

What she responded with shocked me. She told me that she had thought we would be good for each other, and that I shouldn’t be so picky as no one is perfect.

I was so dumbstruck, I honestly didn’t know how to deal with this situation. Later, I spoke to my brother and he said that I should confront her. I haven’t done that yet.

I believe that things just weren’t meant to be with this person for me. I prayed istikhara and God allowed things to fall over, so alhamdulilah. However, I’ve just really been shocked by my friend’s behavior and will not trust her with anything of this sort again.

I’ve another friend who was married to someone younger than her, and she would always ask me why I don’t consider men younger than me. I just find them a bit immature, and upon sharing this with her, she’d say “Oh common, look at me, I married someone younger”.

This friend is sadly currently going through a divorce. I met up with her for a coffee, and she was asking me about my search. She totally stunned me that day as she said: “M, you should consider someone who’s 10 years older or more, I would never go for a younger man again”.

SubhanAllah.

All of these things have really pushed me to contemplate things. Hereon I think I will be very skeptical of advice people offer me. People’s advice is so shallow, there is no depth in it.

May Allah swt bless us with the best of advice from the most trustworthy of people, and may we be of those who offer valuable advice to others, ameen.

What’s your take on this?

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Mirrored

Bismillah.

He is my top student. He and his partner have aced every single lab report that I’ve handed back with top marks. Lately, he’s been acting out of character. He seems lost, unfocused. He’s misplaced his lab manual. He’s stopped handing in his reports. I assume he’s overwhelmed. It’s his first semester of college, exams are around the corner, it’s normal I guess. I brush it off.

The day of the lab exam approaches.

Students are expected to successfully re-perform an experiment they’ve previously done. We don’t have enough equipment for everyone to do the same thing, so students are randomly assigned different experiments. Some get the harder ones, like acid-base titration. Some end up getting the easier ones like spectrophotometry.

He comes in late. Unusual, considering it’s a lab exam. Luckily enough he draws out the card labeled spectrophotometry. I watch over the students as they do their work, walk around and answer any questions they have. He’s just sitting there. Staring at the papers.  Really confused.

I’m shocked. Not only is this an easy experiment, but he’s also aced it earlier in the semester, and very well versed with it. I try to guide him in terms of what’s required. His processing seems so unusually slow. I don’t think he understands what I’m saying. He’s a domestic student, with English being his first language, so I don’t understand his lack of comprehension.

Everyone starts finishing up. He’s still there, I tell him he can have extra time. He finishes up half an hour later than everyone else. I’m supervising another class now with their experiments.

He thanks me, hands me his papers and steps outside the lab door.

“C, can I talk to you for a minute”, I ask, glancing over my shoulders to ensure students in the lab room aren’t talking to each other.

“Sure,” C says.

“Are you alright, C? You’re such a good student, and this is so unusual for you.”

I wasn’t expecting what happens next.

His chin starts to tremble and his eyes start to glaze over, “I’m not okay, I’m going through a really difficult breakup right now”.

Wow. SubhanAllah. At that moment I see my younger brother in him, and I feel so incapable of doing anything, except consoling him through kind words and making dua for him.

“You’re an amazing student, C, you’re handsome, you’re kind, you’re capable, God will bless you with someone better.”

Gratitude emanates from his face as he thanks me and leaves.

It’s amazing how Allah swt works. C doesn’t know that these past weeks have been brutal for me. C doesn’t know that I’ve cried on my prayer mat almost every day lately until I thought I’d pass out. C doesn’t know that things just ended between me and a potential spouse, I was really hoping things work out with. But Allah swt knows, and that’s why I’m here, in this moment, the one to learn this about C, and offer some consoling words. Or maybe Allah swt is consoling me through C.

So many of us think we’re the only ones going through a trial or test because we choose not to share it with others but the truth is everyone is going through their own tests, no matter how put-together their life looks.

Sometimes, you just need that mirror to be held up to you so you can reflect on your own tests through other people.

*Please note this is a reflection from 5 months ago. Also, interestingly enough I was inspired to finally put this into writing (though it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for ages) because I’ve had a second circumstance of “Mirroring” happen to me last week. Maybe I’ll write about it too sometime soon.*

 

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Male-domineering behavior

I’m in a lab of 24 adult college students. They work in pairs on their experimental work. One of them spills some bacterial culture, wipes it up and throws it into the regular garbage. I tell him how wrong that is, and it’s supposed to be disinfected and placed into an autoclave bag.

He is an Indian student, working with an Indian girl. The girl starts to say something, he tells her in his own language, “tu chup kar [you shut up]” in a very demeaning way. And turns around and apologizes as if I wasn’t a Lab Instructor but some sort of God.

This behavior is so disgusting. Men, being domineering, and rude. The girl is a better student than him, respectful, kind, and knowledgeable. He treats her like dirt. He treats me (a figure or authority) with the utmost respect.

Why do men do this? Why the double standards. Why do they think they can get away with it?

Over and over and over again, I’ve seen these behaviors around me. In all sorts of relationships.  Why can we not respect others? Why do men struggle with this so much?

They’ve got to do things their way or they’re out. I’m sorry but I demand respect. I value myself, and if you refuse to do the same, then the doors open, you’re free to walk out.

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The Book Which Reads You …

Dear Quran,

How do you do this?

Every single time, I open you up, with an issue on my mind, and you answer it, and you blow me away. It’s like I don’t read you, its like you read me.

You shatter each doubt, you break each barrier, you wipe away each tear, and you comfort like no one else. Sometimes I’m terrified to open you up, and set my eyes upon your lines, because I know, I know it’ll be like uncovering my soul, I know it’ll be out of my control, I know my heart will melt, and my eyes overflow, so I fear opening you, until, until I’m completely alone, just you, and I and my Rabb.

It’s like you read me,
You see right through the facade,
You address each subconscious thoughts,
You answer each unanswered questions,
You shatter each doubt, and break each barrier,
You wipe away each tear,
You uncover the soul and heal each wound,
Every single time.
Sometimes it’s too intense to bear,
Sometimes the uncovering of the faults and flaws hurt,
Sometimes you advice with words that I don’t want to hear,
But you’re never wrong.
And although before I open up to you,
Sometimes I feel scared,
It’s always worth it in the end,
Dear Quran, how do you always know what I need to hear?
Dear Quran, how do you console so beautifully? So completely?
You leave me so intrigued.

(Diary excerpt June 2016)

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Intuition

Bismillah.

I’ve been thinking of the following verses of Surah Yusuf/Joseph lately. The first set of verses are:

So when they took him [out] and agreed to put him into the bottom of the well… But We inspired to him, “You will surely inform them [someday] about this affair of theirs while they do not perceive [your identity].” And they came to their father at night, weeping. They said, “O our father, indeed we went racing each other and left Joseph with our possessions, and a wolf ate him. But you would not believe us, even if we were truthful.” And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Jacob] said, “Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe.” [12:15-18]

Yaqub as felt that his sons were lying to him. His intuition told him so, and he was right. His sons were lying, Yusuf had not died from a wolf attack but instead was thrown into a well by his own brothers. The language Yusuf’s brothers use already suggests that they aren’t being honest. They say, “you would not believe us, even if we were truthful”. I was awed by Yaqub as intuition. But then again, he already feared something bad would happen to Yusuf if his brothers took him out. His fears came true.

The next set of verses talk about when Yusuf’s brothers take Benyamin/Benjamin to see the Minister (Yusuf), and Yusuf as takes his brother with him by accusing him of stealing his cup. Here are the verses:

Return to your father and say, “O our father, indeed your son has stolen, and we did not testify except to what we knew. And we were not witnesses of the unseen, And ask the city in which we were and the caravan in which we came – and indeed, we are truthful,” [Jacob] said, “Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. Perhaps Allah will bring them to me all together. Indeed it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise.” [12:81-83]

Look at the language here. The brothers say “indeed, we are truthful”, there isn’t any speculation being done here. They are actually speaking the truth this time, and yet … Yaqub as doesn’t believe them at all. Just like the first time. The same words are used here. This time his intuition is wrong.

SubhanAllah. I’m reflecting on these verses because of my current situation. I’ve spoken to quite a few prospects for marriage by now. At this point, I’m just super cautious. I’ve stopped basing my opinions on people’s words. I’m waiting for their actions to show me the truth. I call it intuition, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m just judging. But I’m just so emotionally exhausted at this point. I’m going to still trust my intuition, and if it’s proven wrong, I’ll happily accept my mistake.

The beautiful thing about both set of verses is how they end. They both end in immense amounts of hope. Because sometimes that all you have to hang onto.

Hope.

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Death?

Have you ever wished for death? Not the “I want to kill myself” sort. But the sort where you just feel like it isn’t worth existing? Please be honest.  It’s not about one issue you’re facing. And no one can really relate or understand. Did you ever make dua for death? At some point in life, you must have. Even Maryam (Mary), the mother of Eesa (Jesus), wished for death when she was going through the pains of childbirth.

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A Word

Bismillah.

Recently I was listening to the Quran, and the verse that I heard, made goosebumps rise upon my arms. Did I hear that right?

“And we thought that humans and jinn would never utter lies about God.” [72:5]

This blew me away. I had to go back and read this verse just to see if I had heard it right.

I am almost 30 years old, and I still cannot grasp how easy it is for people to lie. How can people make false promises, say things that they just don’t mean, or intend to fulfill? I just cannot fathom it. Just don’t say things you don’t mean. I feel like it’s become so habitual, that people lie without even realizing it.

“I’ll be there for you”

“You’re like a sister to me”

“I promise not to hurt you”

“I respect your time and I won’t waste it”

All these words, mere cheap words. Don’t people know the value of a word? A word that can land you in the deepest parts of hell? Or a word that can raise your levels into Jannah? Just one word.

It feels so good to have my thoughts mirrored in the Quran. Because the world tells me I’m a fool to expect people to be honest. I am the “naive” one.

It’s sad we live in a world where quite often, people’s actions don’t match their words. This is truly heartbreaking.

Remind’s me of my post “Staying True”, which I wrote about 2 years ago.

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