Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

How do you “plan” your Faith?

Do you plan your life around your faith? Or do you plan faith around your life?

Is your salat (daily meditation) done in a last minute frenzy of rak’a (prostration) after rak’a? Or is it a time of khushoo (sincerity & focus) to meditate and recite the words of Allah (swt)?

In the university I attend, we have a Continue reading

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Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

5 Things To Remember When You Are Losing Faith

There comes a time in every persons life, regardless of what faith they are following, where they stop for a minute and think, what if what I believe is wrong? 

Though this is normal, sometimes too much of this kind of thinking creates gaps in our faith that can grow overtime and create dissatisfaction in our lives. It creates a fog of doubt in our beliefs that clouds our iman, and without iman, religion is nothing but dry worship. Here are some things I like to keep in mind when I’m in doubt. 

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1. Listen to Quran (or the specific scripture you follow)

It’s a shame how much of the beauty of Quran is stripped when it is translated and it’s verses become the output of a humans limited understanding and vocabulary. There is nothing more beautiful than the calming recitations of Quran in arabic, and sometimes that’s all you need to hear to remember why you get up at 5 in the morning to pray and recite the very verses on that very first page on the Quran. 

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2. Sit At A Public Bench

Take 5 to 15 minutes and find a bench to sit somewhere in a busy place. Take a look around and look at how everyone is scurrying, so “busy” running errands and going to work: all things that don’t really have an end and no true everlasting purpose. Everyone running around in circles in their tiny little bubbles, struggling with the same insecurities, harboring similar thoughts, all made up of the same stuff.

Don’t think this is true? Try and make a chart, think it through. Where is everyone going? Work, a friends house? Visiting a loved one at the hospital? Walking their dog? 

Inevitably, we are all headed towards the same final destination regardless of what stop we make on the way. It may seem grim to some, but it’s the truth, we will all end up it deaths arms. It really is a mad world!

 

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3. Realize That you are a Creation

There is this idea that people often forget about creation and the creator. And it’s this: the creator is the one who makes the details of the creation, and then, releases the creation, independent of any physical connection to it.  

For example, iPhone. Apple designs the iPhone, makes the software and hardware and every little aspect of the iPhone. Yet the iPhone, without the visible logo of Apple, would not know who made it. It can function, but it does not know how it functions, or what its insides entail. Yet when you swipe the lock screen, you get the homepage, when you press call, you get to call. It can function without its maker, the creation is separate from the creator, yet it doesn’t change that relationship. It doesn’t change the fact that its creator knows everything about it, while it, the creation doesn’t.

Just because we can function without our creator controlling us, and we don’t have a logo stamped on us “made by God” doesn’t mean that that relationship doesn’t exist. It exists and you need faith to feel that connection. The Quran is quite literally like a manifesto for how to best take care of yourself from your Creator. 

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 4. Pray! (Salat/Namaz)

I know your feeling of disconnection makes it hard to do this. It might even seem pointless. I’m not asking you to feel spiritual or motivated to pray; I’m asking you to pray so that you can feel spiritual and motivated again. And, I’m also asking you to know ahead of time, that not every prayer you will do will make you feel connected or spiritual. After all, not every grain of rice can tip the scale, it will take a combination of prayer, a consciousness of your Creator and many moments of contemplation before you can rekindle that feeling of connection, peace and purpose again. 

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5. Nature Walks

You don’t have to go to some fancy park for this, but you do need to step outside every once in a while and surround yourself with the lush life of this planet that we’re on. There’s something tranquil and energizing about being outdoors and surrounded by nature, and we definitely don’t get enough of that nowadays. 

Not sure where I read this, but I came across a statistic that stated that the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors. That means only 10% of our day is spent outside. If I’m not mistaken- we lock up suckers indoors as punishment for heinous crimes. And yet somehow, we’ve managed to willingly hold ourselves captive in our own homes tied to our computers and phones and TV’s- and expect to be spiritually connected and happy? Do yourself a favor, take a cup of tea and step outside for a minute- fresh air doesn’t bite. 

I know that for some people our impending mortality as humans may seem like a very dreadful thing to mention, but it’s true, who makes it out of this world alive? No one. 

I know it sounds dreadful, but it really shouldn’t be like that. For millions of years this is the only thing we’ve been promised on this earth- and yet we still don’t know how to deal with it. 

Embrace the fact that you’re not promised tomorrow. You have this moment and that’s all you need, connect with your Lord, let this moment and every moment be one of peace. And know with conviction, that there’s nothing for you to worry about. On earth you’ll have a peaceful existence, and in the after you’ll be amongst your Creator in shaa Allah. 


Hey there! I worked pretty hard on this post and hope that it has benefitted you in some way. If you liked it, please send it to your brother or sister, or anyone else you know. It helps me out tremendously when my work is shared 🙂 -JZK

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

How could God exist and let such terrible things happen?

“Worship none other than God, for I fear for you the punishment of a momentous day.” – Quran 46:21

I wonder how people can deny the existence of God when there is less evidence to prove that, than the latter.

The physical absence of something does not mean it does not exist. The most meaningful themes in our lives are not physical- in fact- they are the most physically absent. Such as love and happiness and joy and growth. Their physical absence doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Furthermore, it irks me when people claim that “how could a god exist and let such terrible things happen on this earth?”

Which I understand where that argument stems from. There is a lot of pain and suffering on this earth, and there are a lot of unfair things. There are plenty of really messed up twisted unfair things that make you want to scream yourself to death, because it’s just not fair and it’s infuriating that you can’t do anything to change it. I get that, I really do. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s a logical argument to then believe that:

1. God doesn’t exist because terrible things on earth are happening

2. Terrible things continue to happen on earth even though “God” doesn’t exist

If God is out of the picture, and terrible things are still happening— who is to blame then? Who is making these problems? God doesn’t exist. You can’t put the blame on God. You don’t believe he exists. So why are there still problems?

Could it be that maybe there is enough abundance of food and goods for everyone- but that maybe people aren’t distributing it right because of our greed? Could it be that the bloodshed and genocides are fueled and caused and fought by people. Who created the concept of money? Wasn’t it people- who worships money? Isn’t it people? Who kills and steals and lies and belittles and humiliates for money? Isn’t people? People like you and me?

What about hurricanes, natural disasters? As if we don’t have the knowledge and the tools to know what’s coming at us and why. Look at the way we’re dealing with things like global warming. Have you seen those pictures of animals whose throats are wrapped with plastic bags and plastic bottle holders? Who made these? And who ignorantly tossed them into the sea to cause this? Wasn’t it humans? People like you and me. Who do certain behaviors without giving them another thought, without thinking what consequence our actions inch us towards on a personal and global level? Isn’t it people like you and me. Tell me. Am I wrong? Is it something else? Is the world just wrong because this “creator being” designed it to be painful and wrong and messed up? Do you not have a choice? Do you not have power over your actions? Or do you want to blame everyone but yourself?

And let’s go back to that. Let’s go back to the blaming part.

So you’re telling me, you don’t believe that God exists- but you’re going to go ahead and blame everything wrong in the world on God anyway. That’s like blaming your problems on an imaginary friend who you don’t even think exists. How in the world does that even make any logical sense.

You don’t want to believe in God, fine. That’s your call.

But please support it with a better argument than blame.

  • Authors note: This is my personal opinion. Please don’t go off assuming all sorts of things from this one post. I’m simply stating my problem with the logic of this one argument. I don’t believe that blame is a legitimate claim for the disbelief in God that some people have. I don’t have any issues or problems with peoples differing opinions and views on the matter. I wrote it simply for the purposes of having a dialogue on the topic, and not to point any fingers, or judge anyone.

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    Blog Post, Questions, Spiritual Matters

    Your Cultural Practices aren’t Islam

    Somewhere in my spiritual journey a few years ago, I began questioning so many of the things I, and the other muslims around me did. Mistreatment of gays/lesbians, calling certain races superior or inferior to others, not mixing with people of different muslim sects, etc.

    Why, I wondered, did we do all this? Continue reading

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    Spiritual Matters

    STOP Telling me Jinns are EVERYWHERE.

    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

    As a religious person, I am often perceived as brainwashed, illogical, and a second-class thinker; mostly because of the superstitions and old age cultural beliefs that are often integrated into religious culture. And partly, because most people can’t distinguish between religious culture and actual religious beliefs.

    Non-religious people will often group me with the same people who will swear to you that there are ghosts, that they totally saw a jinn, have a friend possessed by a demon, and swear on everything that they value that somebody did some black magic juju to ruin their life last week.

    In case you haven’t guessed it already- I’m not a fan of this stuff. In fact, when I hear other muslims talking about this stuff, I feel them lacking in their religious conviction rather than finding it a support for it. Human beings can convince themselves of anything if they think about it too much, and I believe that’s what happens in these cases.

    Not convinced? I’m going to use a simple, everyday example that I’m sure many of you have experienced to illustrate this point.

    Let’s imagine Fatima is on her phone texting a friend when her mother walks into the living room where she is sat, fully-engrossed in her conversation, and asks her to go get the salt from the cupboard. Her mom is preparing dinner for guests and due to their health restrictions, she decided to make all the food without salt so that all the guests can enjoy her dishes with the amount that they desire. She’d forgotten to set the salt on the table before heading out of the kitchen, and would really appreciate it if Fatima would get up and at least help her with that.

    Fatima is annoyed, not because her mom asked her to do something, but because her mom asked her to do something while she was in the middle of a serious argument with one of her friends. She’d rather stay on her phone.

    Regardless, she walks over to the kitchen still typing away, once she reaches the cupboard she scans the contents, not finding the salt, she closes the doors and opens the next set of cupboards. Maybe her mom placed is somewhere else in her rush to get everything done?

    She’s impatient with the annoying salt by now, when again, the second cupboard doesn’t hold any salt. Her phone rings with another text alert as she furiously opens the next cupboard, then the next, then she even starts opening the cupboards on the bottom, and then checks the fridge just in case her mother had absentmindedly put it there for some reason. Maybe she already placed it on the table?

    She enters the dining room, where the table is filled with steaming dishes that her mother had just set. In that moment, her mom comes back, dressed to greet the guests which should be arriving soon.

    “Fatima did you get the salt?”

    “It’s not there ma.”

    They both walk to the kitchen together where Fatima’s mom opens the very first cupboard Fatima had opened just moments ago; the jar of salt sitting clear as the sun in its midst.

    “Not there huh?” Fatima’s mom jokes, as they both laugh it off and head out of the kitchen.

    So, could it possibly be that Fatima hadn’t seen the salt because she simply didn’t want to? That what she convinces her mind to do, her mind in return mirrors back to her. That maybe she didn’t want to do something (getting the salt) so much that it became a subconscious thing, so that even when she unwillingly went to do it, her mind still refused to do it.

    I think that many things in life work that same way. And this isn’t some all-enveloping story which you should take to heart, but it is food for thought. And it’s not the first thing to suggest to you that what you let yourself believe mentally, can materialize into reality.

    Think about all the buildings you drive by, they were all in somebody’s head before they came to be, the same with your clothes, your phone, the screen you’re reading this on, paintings, political agendas, people who have achieved their dreams; all thought, then turned real.

    On a more spiritual note, doesn’t the Holy Quran remind us of the wisdom Allah swt has blessed us with in the following quote:

    Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves..jpg

    And this goes for the bad as well as for the good, and yes, I understand that this quote is more commonly used for people who want to change their situation, and not necessarily their belief, but it’s just a reminder for those living in poor and struggling communities where they let these ideas take a hold of them. Who am I to say what’s going to happen in the future and what’s not, but isn’t likely that if they busy themselves with magic spells, and who put a spell on who, and how the challenges in their life are so-and-so’s doing, that nothing much is going to change? This magic juju nonsense is used to escape, a scapegoat, from dealing with our realities.

    Maybe you didn’t get divorced because some woman put a spell on your husband, maybe your “jealous” neighbor didn’t visit someone to make sure they ruin your son’s college acceptance and get their son in, maybe these things happen after a series of little things finally snowball them into effect.

    And maybe your kitchen isn’t always messy because some crazy jinn likes to party there all the time, or maybe that item which you could’ve sworn you put on the table, didn’t get moved by a jinn playing jokes on you and placing it somewhere else. Maybe it was due to your own absentminded doing.

    Do I believe that Jinn’s are real? Absolutely. The same way I believe that the Quran is real but it will not take a hold of me and control me.

    “… Verily he [Shaytaan] and his qabeeluhu [his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe] see you from where you cannot see them…” [al-A’raaf 7:27]  Source.

    The world of the jinn is an independent and separate world, with its own distinct nature and features that are hidden from the world of humans. Jinns and humans have some things in common, such as the possession of understanding and the choice between the way of good and the way of evil. The word jinn comes from an Arabic root meaning “hidden from sight”.

    The only place Jinn is real in your life is in your head, where you can let it take place and fester and control your life. Please stop obsessing over it. Stop wasting your life on nonsense, and stop blaming, yes blaming things in your life on Jinns, and ghosts and the devil when Allah swt has given you the ability to choose otherwise. Lead your life.

     

     

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    Blog Post, Spiritual Matters

    How I started Praying Everyday.

     

    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

    How I started Praying Everyday and how you can too.

    I’m putting this story out there knowing fully well what people’s opinions are like when their identity is concealed and their judgements are wild and free. I’m not going to sit here and pretend a mean comment isn’t going to hurt my feelings, or that they’re all hypocrites, because neither is true. But what I do know to be true, and what I’m more concerned with- is that one person who will connect with this story and change because of it- even if just a little.

    It all started on some random afternoon in January of 2009, I’m not exactly sure what I’d done differently on that day, but what I do remember is that I was 14. I’d known how to pray since I was five, possibly six, but I never learned how to maintain it on a daily basis, and here I was at 14, fully able to pray but not doing so.

    In fact, I clearly remember that at some point when I was nine, I used to always be the first one to pray and did so for a while until one day, out of the blue, my mom went on vacation and somehow that translated into my nine year old brain as “no need to pray anymore” and since then it’s been an on and off thing. Most days, it would go down like this;

    My sister and I doing something together in the basement.

    Parent from the upper floor yells: “Have you guys prayed yet??”

    In which we would have only the two following options:

    A) pretend like we didn’t hear and stay silent 

    B) the sibling that did pray, would reply saying “yes” and we’d get on with life- until we’re caught for it later

    And when we were caught, we’d be told to go pray and we’d go pray, getting up sluggishly, lazily, complaining as if our parents were telling us to do a most horrid thing imaginable to a child.

    As children, we knew that prayer-salat- was right, and good and we should do it. Yet, for some reason, my attempts at doing it daily never held up. I would stick with it for a week or two, and then there would be slip ups, and sometimes the slip ups would last for days, maybe even a week.

    For some reason, I couldn’t take my prayers seriously. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. That was always my excuse, and somewhere in my mind I’d buried the fact that I should be praying regularly by now at age 14 and that tomorrow was actually yesterday for me and that there is no time, was no time left to leave anything for tomorrow.

    And yet, there was still this sluggishness, the 100 pound boulder that would seem to sit ontop of me whenever I remember that it was time to pray, and on that afternoon in January, my sister and I started a seemingly innocent chat about how we should commit more to our prayers, and then somehow that turned into a battle between the two of us and who would be able to do it longer.

    In that moment, against the snow-glow against our window, we sketched boxes on a blank sheet of paper; the lines were crooked and uneven and we only made enough for a couple of weeks. We didn’t even think to think that we could pray daily for longer than a couple of weeks.

    It was supposed to be a finite- a limited– number of days that we would keep our commitment to this strange-daily-praying-thing. We didn’t even have that intention or thought- it was too ambitious of a goal for us to even consider. Praying every day? How preposterous! 21 days is more than enough!

    So 21 boxes we made.

    And that’s how it started- somehow between that first day of crossing off the first box I haven’t stopped crossing off boxes.

    By the time my sister and I had reached the end of the uneven chart we’d made at the end of that January, we realized that this “praying thing wasn’t so hard” after all. It suddenly wove itself into our daily lives and it became something that we just did, regardless of what went on in our lives. It became effortless and there were no boulders sitting atop my shoulders. Obviously I still get lazy about praying sometimes, but it’s a different kind of laziness. It used to be I was too lazy to pray, now it’s more like I’m too lazy to pray now, but I know with a deep conviction that I won’t be going to bed until I do.

    And that’s how it happened. It started with crossing a box each day. It was unintentional. It was part conversation, part argument, and part bet with my eleven year old sister.

    That’s how I pray everyday. I just do.

    I don’t think about tomorrow. I don’t think about yesterday. I just think there is a prayer that I need to do today, when can I fit it in, and then I just do. It takes a couple of minutes and when I’m done I have lost so much. I lose so much of my self-centeredness, I lose my ego, my selfishness, my greed, my jealousy. I lose all the junk in my head. I feel like I’ve just taken a shower. And if that’s not what you’re getting from salah then that’s even more reason to keep going at it, even when you feel like nothing is happening.

    There’s a great quote by Zig Ziglar as to why that is;

    “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing- that’s why we recommend it daily.”

    And that goes for spirituality too. Now that I’ve rambled enough, I want to give you this free 30 Day Prayer Challenge!

    It’s a pdf to keep track of your prayers. Stick it in your planner, in your binder, put it on your fridge, on your desk, on your wall, under your pillow- I really don’t care. Just have some way to get started and hold yourself accountable for your prayers. Salat is a great way to feel centered and content with life, and coming from a female I will tell you this-

    When I get my period and I don’t have to pray, as relieved as I am that I don’t have to stop wherever I am and pray, after two, three days I feel… mucky. I don’t even know how to describe it…restless? I think restless is a better word. I just feel like I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I don’t feel centered. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling, but that’s my experience with prayer. That’s my story and all that I can share. I hope this benefited you. I hope this helped shed some new light for you.

    ~Have a great rest of your day guys, and happy anniversary to MuslimGurl, I think it’s either my second or third year of blogging now. It’s kind of sad that I don’t know xD

    Also, just so you all know- the prayer pdf costs $1.29 on my Etsy store, so take advantage of it being free on here and if you have a cousin or friend who’s going to buy it don’t tell them it’s free on here and just shhhh- just kidding. Feel free to share, and I’d love to hear your stories about how you began to pray/ where you’re at in your prayer journey at this moment.

    Salams,

    ~MuslimGurl

     

     

     

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    Blog Post, Hijab Life, Spiritual Matters

    WTF Are Muslim Guys Googling??

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    First off, I couldn’t decide whether to title this post “The Embarrassing Muslim” or just plain “WTF are Muslim Guys Googling?”

    Before I go on ranting, let me show you these pictures from my Blog Stats.

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    Let me explain. What you just saw are phrases that people have found my blog through. They are things people have searched. These are not the only ones, they are just several, and keep in mind my blog is small.

    Now, my problem with this, isn’t that there are some muslim guys, or girls spending their time on the internet searching for this stuff, it’s the fact that I know, in some twisted way, a brother out there has convinced himself that trading the word “hijab” for “girls” would somehow make it okay to look this up.

    That it’s less haram somehow, and maybe even justified and halal in his mind to look at pictures of Hijabi girls and not girls. And let me just straight up say no to this. No, no, no. This is embarrassing for our muslim community. If you want to do something wrong, go do it wrong, but don’t try to twist the religion into it. That’s unacceptable.

    Furthermore, in Islam the deal was for women to be modest and chaste and for men to lower their gaze and cover from the navel to the knees. Why is it that lowering “the gaze” part is often under scrutinized, while the hijab is put under the microscope and overly judged? Additionally, and this is a bit off-topic, why is it that when at a beach or a resort, muslim guys rush to strip to their shorts as to not be a covered obscenity in a beach, but the wife or sister wouldn’t budge to take off her hijab, because she knows a deal is a deal and Allah’s word is Allah’s word.

    How can such a guy expect the woman next to him to look different in her chastity while he couldn’t even bear to keep his t-shirt on his chest not because it’s hot outside- but because he looks too different covered like that. And then he dares to judge her if a hair is out of her hijab, or if her sleeves are too short- all without realizing that he shouldn’t have been looking so intently at her like that in the first place! Revive your part of the chastity deal men!

    And let me take a moment to say that not all guys are like this, and many of our muslim men are nothing but supportive and respectful and truly chaste on their part, but we could use more men like them in our community and it doesn’t hurt to point out some things that need fixing, especially when it’s a cultural issue rather than a theological one.

    Bottom line, fellas if you want some hijab ass I’ll be your Google and answer the question for you; you won’t find any. Briefly put, hijab is a chaste woman, and not everything wrapped in a scarf qualifies as one. Better luck dropping that first word out of your search words next time; you’ll get the real results you’re looking for.


    Thank you for taking the time to read my rant, I deeply appreciate it and truly hope you enjoyed reading this, even if I was being so extra in it! If you would like to read more stuff like this, you can follow my blog by clicking the follow button on the side bar, or you can simply add my site to your bookmarks (even though I feel like no one even checks their bookmarks?) Furthermore, it helps me out tremendously when people share my posts via Facebook, so if it’s not too much trouble please share it? 🙂
    Photo Source: https://68.media.tumblr.com/0fb3b7242fc9910707672f88496c93a4/tumblr_inline_n7j5rlo1D41se604a.jpg
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    Also, a huge thanks to this person who used my URL to come visit my blog again! It means a lot, you rock! 😉

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