How to Dance in Your Rain

Life somehow feels harder at times than it did before. Does anyone else feel it? The good still feels good, but the hard feels harder. I wondered why that was. Social media highlighting much of what we don’t have? Tragedies around the world subconsciously disturbing us? A shallowness internally based on an “instant-click” society? Perhaps some combination of all three?

I’ve noticed that I’ve repeatedly sat through various storms in my life recently and just waited for them to pass. After one storm left, another followed with only brief moments of sunshine – if any at all. It’s felt like a pretty miserable way to live life. All the while I lay curled up waiting for a particular storm to pass, I’m watching people around me bask in their sun. It’s made the raindrops heavier.

Here’s some advice:

Firstly, realize that a picture of someone’s sunshine is just that – a picture. A snap of their reality at a moment in time their storm briefly left. I think part of the reason the hard feels harder now is because we are wrapped up in everyone else’s sunshine (via social media) in the midst of our storms.

Secondly, interact with more people. Connect with them. Have conversations with them.  Some only interact with the world around them via social media, some just quick cliché conversations, and some just enjoy being in the company of people but not actually interacting. Before the dawn of texting and social media, people would create deep and meaningful relationships with people around them which was an important step in creating a deep and meaningful relationship with ones self.

Thirdly, realize that everything happens for a reason. The rain falls and the sun shines and both are equally important in your growth. Don’t lose site of that.

Whatever way you decide to do, make a decision to not sit curled up through any more of your storms. Just be you and find transcendence in the being that you are. Find depth in your life. Don’t just stand through your storms, walk tall through them. Do things that make you, you. Strengthen yourself from the inside out so that your life doesn’t become an amalgamation of various shallow connections. Don’t imbue into your life someone else’s sunshine – create something beautiful out of your storm.

My contention is this: before the dawn of texting, social media, and the internet – we harnessed a strength that allowed us endure our life. We thought more, felt more, interacted more, and saw things with a deeper sense of intuition. We can’t fight societies norms, so don’t. Instead, discipline your intake. Intake less of that which draws attention to what doesn’t fill you, and intake more of what fills you.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”



Couch Potato

If one thing can describe modern day society, it’s speed. Life is constantly in motion around us and aspects of our life are catalyzed so that we can move through it even faster. When we need to talk to someone, we call them, while we are typing an email and stirring the 1 dollar macaroni shaped like starships. Our mind never really sits down because just when it feels like it can, something else comes up for it to handle.

So I sat today and literally did nothing for 3 hours. I let my mind simmer. Yeah, simmer. I turned the chula (stove) on low and watched me cook. I stirred a little bit, but really only to get food ironically.

People strive for external peace so much only because they are too busy to realize they can obtain peace within themselves. We are constantly worrying ourselves with things that for the most part won’t be worthy of even a memory in a week. A test, a quiz, a deadline, a conversation, anything. We find it boring to just sit and think because we equate that to not being productive. I think it’s incredibly productive to sit and reflect and make sure you strive to be a better person tomorrow. Not just being better at school, or work, or what you have chosen to busy your life with, but a better person all around.

Needless to say, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the show I was watching – instead I thought about different events, emotions, goals, desires. I thought about the promises I made to people, the people I let down, the people who I wish I could talk to. I remembered specific instances where I brought myself to feel like I did in a particular memory. Experiences go away, but memories are gifts.

It’s not coincidence that  Islam was revealed divinely to the Prophet (SAW) when he separated himself from society for a bit to reflect. We think we don’t have the opportunity to sit and reflect because we need to constantly be busy but constantly being busy makes you a robot, not a person. Sit. Cry. Laugh. Talk to yourself. .

Allah created us not needing to be dependent on people, jobs, degrees, or anything to be happy or successful in His eyes.

If you’re in a frantic state of mind or wish things were differently in your life right now, relax yourself a bit and remember that a week from now, new “frantics” will consume your life.

Be happy, be free, and most of all, think about you. Nothing teaches you about you more than yourself. Think about it

Hide and Seek

This week I wanted to recirculate one of my first pieces I wrote years ago that I sometimes read every now and again. I pray it benefits people the way it’s  benefitted me through the years.

I think the hardest part about duniya sometimes is the fact that we ourselves get in the way of our own paths. Obstacles don’t come before us, we do. We have diluted our lives with so many things that concern us that we aren’t able to reflect and internalize the many blessings from Allah (SWT). Baraqah is everywhere, we just aren’t looking for it.

Instead we are seeking other things. Love, passion, obsession, something you can’t live without. Whether it be political love, sports love, or the love you feel for someone you truly care about, something usually gets in the way of our reflection. It’s incredibly difficult to stop life today. There is no way that one of us can sit in a room for an hour and do nothing but sit. Just sit. There will be an email or a text or an assignment or a phone call or dishes or a show – anything – but there will be something to restrict you from just sitting with yourself. Unfortunately for us, it’s from those times we mostly realize where Allah’s blessings have been.

It’s unfortunate because we are on this difficult path and it’s that much more difficult the more we put more obstacles in it. That time spent realizing Allah’s blessings all around you is time spent energizing yourself to successfully tread this path. Allah (SWT) has carefully calculated your every move. Doesn’t that make you wonder?

Is it all just arbitrary facets of a meaningless day? No, it’s all carefully calculated. In an hour, will I be able to answer those questions? Probably not but I will definitely stumble upon something that I can find Allah’s baraqah in. There is baraqah in the time we spend seeking His baraqah in our actions. SubhanAllah what a cycle.

Our life is like one big Magic Eye Book. At first glance, it seems fuzzy but if you take the time to concentrate, things will make more sense. Things will pop out and a picture that seemed inexplicable will be perfectly in vision.

When you reflect, you’ll start asking yourself the right questions.

You’ll start expanding your own horizons to a level where you never thought you could.

You’ll get smarter

Reflection isn’t just a nice way to pass time, its necessary. Duniya does a good job confusing you. It does a splendid job taking what you love and hurting you with it. And the day you stop being upset over it hurting you is the day you’ll learn that there is more to it than the pain. Life doesn’t hurt you, Allah protects you. Life isn’t confusing, it’s just fuzzy. Life isn’t terrible, it’s beautiful.

If you believe that all the dots in your life are carefully calculated and connect by Allah (SWT), you’ll stop life sometimes and try to connect them yourselves. Sometimes you’ll get it and sometimes you won’t but your time is better invested in playing that game rather than life’s games. Allah (SWT) is constantly doing things for you and I bet if you looked, you’d be surprised at how much you found. Don’t let yourself be the one stopping you from seeing Allah’s baraqah in your actions because when you do find it, there is nothing more motivating for you to be better.

It’s a game of hide and seek. His baraqah is hidden, go seek it.

The God-less World

“If you don’t believe in God, you will live in a God-less world and everything around you will be a justification that God doesn’t exist. If you believe in God and fulfill your obligations to Him, you will live in a world where you find God in everything around you and everything will be a justification of God’s existence.”

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the level of faith I have at any given moment. Last week I talked about fluctuations in faith and the quote above applies to fluctuations as well. When I don’t feel close to God, I lose Him. I don’t see Him in the things that I do and I get lost very quickly. When I do feel close to God, I see Him in even the most inexplicable of places. We can see in the below,

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”

It seems clear that coming to Allah and mentioning Him is the perfect way to live life. So what’s stops us?

We do. What sometimes clouds our ability to come closer to Allah is the perception of what we want our life to be and what it actually is. Subconsciously, we wait to see Allah (in the sense of attaining some semblance of the life we want) before we “come to Him walking.”

That’s backwards.

It’s difficult to process the concept of not having our duaa answered in the way that we asked it. Ironically, it’s more difficult to process that fact the farther we feel from faith. Our natural disposition is to seek the things we want that will make us happy. But this world isn’t about getting what you want but understanding what you get. That understanding comes from Allah and through Allah. When we make duaa for something and we don’t find it’s answer right away, coming closer to Allah will reveal not only why it wasn’t given to you at that time, but what was given to you instead which was much better.

Faith will fluctuate but let our relationship with Allah be stable and become stronger. Only then will the gift of understanding sooth our heart.


Peace that Found Me

Each of my posts are personal on varying levels but this one will be a bit more than usual. I grew up with an interesting relationship with my faith. I prayed and made duaa but I viewed prayer as something I had to do the same way a student comes into school otherwise they would get expelled. In my mind, if I wasn’t praying, I was going to get “kicked out”. Duaa was a way to ask God for things that I wanted in life but didn’t know how to get. Interestingly enough, I got a lot of things I made duaa for which was great.

As I got older, my faith matured. I made duaa for more meaningful things and I prayed with purer intentions. Interestingly, I felt that my duaa wasn’t being answered as much as I grew older. I learned that duaa can be answered in a few ways. You could get exactly what you want; you could get something better; or you avoid some harm. Truthfully, when I first learned this I didn’t like it. My ego saw that as a one third chance that I would get what I asked for.

The older I got, I found that my duaa matured more and more but it was not often in the category of “making duaa and getting it the way I asked.” I was confused but not completely disheartened because I knew the other two categories were better. Then I started to notice something rather interesting. We all know that our faith tends to rise and dip at times. During one of these dips in my faith, something really amazing happened in my life. As exciting and much awaited as the news was, it didn’t really give me a deep sense of fulfillment the way I thought it would. I really tried to be happy about it, but it felt inorganic.

Alhamdullilah, when the dip ended, I was praying and making duaa more regularly. One day I couldn’t help but feel a very restricting feeling in my mind that permeated into my heart. I was distracted in a very deep sense. During the next prayer, I decided to let it all out in duaa. I was feeling deeply deprived of something I really wanted and I couldn’t see a way out. I couldn’t understand or comprehend how to overcome this particular issue in my life and it felt really intense to submerge myself in those emotions. I ended my duaa and continued my day but I distinctly remember feeling such a deep sense of fulfillment in my heart some time after. It wasn’t just a pleasant feeling, it was a fulfilling one on the deepest level.

On one hand, I got something I really wanted and it didn’t move me much internally and on the other, I begged Allah for what I really wanted and was moved to internal peace. I didn’t actually get what I wanted, but I found peace.

The only difference was how much I involved Allah in my life.

More than what our hearts desire, I became acutely aware that simply the conversation with Allah is the door to peace. Our mind naturally associates tranquility with the attainment of certain deeply rooted desires – but that’s actually not the case. Ironically enough, keeping Allah distant from my life did feel like getting expelled the way I thought of as a child. But it was an emotional expulsion from a peace and understanding so deeply yearned for by any soul.

Where there is Allah, there is a barakah. And where there is barakah, there is tranquility.

Peace finds you when you find Allah.


Strength in Honesty

“You are as good as your word”

Honesty is important – not just for the truths that you convey to the people around you that make them trust you – but for the honesty you have with yourself. You, surprisingly, create and submit to stories you create. When something doesn’t make sense, we often create a reality within ourselves to make sense of things. Granted that everything happens for a reason, being truly honest with what happens in your life and how you feel about them is your sole path to understanding those reasons.

Sometimes, we avoid being honest with ourselves because we become alone with painful emotions. So we cushion our internal realities with stories. We blame everyone around us and it all makes perfect sense to us. The more we trust these realities, the farther we get from understanding our presence in our own difficulties.

It’s okay to feel what you do about something. We don’t let ourselves feel enough. It’s okay to stop filling in the many roles you have in your life and let yourself be with your own realities. We all have and will fail at something. Own it. Embrace it. Let it color your life. Be honest with what and how you feel about anything.

Being honest with yourself doesn’t suddenly solve your internal equation. Most of the time, being honest with yourself uncovers more painful sentiments. However, being honest with yourself gives you an organic ability to solve the problems around you and eventually the problems deepest within you. It gives your heart and mind strength. When there is trust between two friends, there is strength in how they feel about each other. When one is faced with a calamity, they call upon the other for strength. When one is blessed, they call upon the other to spread their strength. Likewise, when there is trust and honesty within your internal, there is strength. When you are faced with a calamity, your internal faces it with strength. When you are blessed, you feel it more and your internal is strengthen.

You are stronger and smarter than you think. Honesty will uncover great truths about your abilities. The next time the world spins faster than you’re ready for, look within. Everything you need is there. It always has been and always will be.




Building a Life of Meaning

I find structuring different parts of your life critical to your own success. Take academics for example. The vast majority of successful students that I have interacted with implement some version of planning and structuring within their study system. Different personalities will create different structures but overall, their structure is vital for their success. Employees that plan their days and implement strategies are often more successful than ones who attempt to keep everything in their brain. The list of examples goes on.

Our minds and our hearts are no different from the need of structure in similar ways. Without structure, we tend to go off kilter and either forget the basics or fill our minds with useless things. When we let our minds wander and our hearts yearn, we often lose perspective. We begin to “lose our minds” and/or submerge our hearts in negativity. It’s not so much a negative trait as it is natural.

The same way the student has a planner or structures their study schedule, our minds and hearts need structure too. We need to be centered metaphysically which requires us to give time to reflect on who we are as individuals and what impact we want to leave on society. Additionally, our minds and hearts need a separate reflective space to make sense of everything that bombards us intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally on a daily basis. Structuring our mind and hearts happens in deep reflection. Without this, we will lose our minds to our own internal disorder. Praying is the focal point of most religions because if correctly done, it provides a space to strengthen the structure of your internal life. Sadness is overcome with hope, confusion is overcome with perspective, and negativity in your heart is overcome with love.

Reflection is a patient process that takes time away from your everyday life. It requires you to untangle yourself internally from the weights of your own natural inclinations. The fruits of your internal structure can only be tasted by you. Our power and character isn’t the product of our intellect and hearts as much as it is the product of the structure by which we use our intellect and our hearts. In other words, anyone can think, seek knowledge, and feel deep emotions – but without structure and a plan of implementation which is rendered from reflection, that information can become dead weight. You can have a pile of logs, or structure those logs into something greater.

Structure your internal, build your life, and find strength in meaning.

How to Make Sense of the Elements

“Taking your time is from God and rushing is from the Devil”

This quote struck me as the Achilles heel of how our society is structured today. Rushing to complete tasks and multi-tasking are parts of everyday life on different levels. Reading emails while completing work, reading texts while completing assignments, checking social media while watching TV, etc.

Yet, as rushed as our society has become, we as individuals still seek a sustenance only found in taking time to ourselves. In other words, we can’t process certain levels of intellectual or emotional information very quickly at times. On top of that, we feel pressured to rush our souls into positions based on what we see others post on social media because our natural inclination is to believe their social reality is their full reality.

Our sustenance is reflection. And reflection takes time. There’s a quote, “Everything is written, just keep reading.” Reflection gives you time to understand your life that you’re reading. I think everyone has read a page of a book in their life and had no idea what they just read (I do that a lot and then have to reread the page). Similarly, you can go through life in the same way. What’s difficult about reflection is your mind’s natural inclination to draw an enormous gap between where you perceive yourself to be and where you want to be. We are really hard on ourselves and we shouldn’t be. Once our mind is weighed down by this, we stop reflecting and fill our time with something else.

So what to do?

Firstly, I think we need to realize that everyone’s social presence is a highlight real. Internalizing that will help us find where we truly want to be rather than where we think we want to be based on everyone else’s “perfect” reality.

Secondly, realize that everything is truly written. We are following a script which means the gap I mentioned before doesn’t actually exist. We are where we are supposed to be at any given moment and the more we reflect, the more the words on the pages are going to make sense. The more they make sense, the more we understand about our own lives. Understanding what happens in our life is one of the best ways to find peace in ones heart.

Lastly, reflect on the good before the bad. There is a bunch of stuff we can improve on but there is a bunch of good we have done too. The order by which you reflect upon those things really makes a big difference. PEMDAS

Slow your life down, reflect, and make sense of the elements.




For anyone that knows me, they knew this post was coming. I apologize for any of my readers that didn’t want a sports related post. Read on though, maybe something will resonate.

Twenty four years ago I walked into a hat shop. I was looking for a particular hat that the store didn’t have so I settled for a midnight green Philadelphia Eagles hat. It certainly wasn’t a life changing decision by any means, but what the Eagles ended up meaning to me was much more than just a hat.

I know how meaningless football is in the grand scheme of things. I get it. Honestly I do. But for me, the Philadelphia Eagles were something that greatly affected me. Call it what you will but it was my reality that I’m not ashamed of. This week, after the Eagles officially won the Super Bowl for the first time in history, has brought such a unique joy to me that feels impossible to describe. Yes, I love an inanimate object — no not even an object – I love an idea – a figment of society. But I couldn’t be happier right now.

Its been 24 years of having a dream which was truly a dream because I had no bearing over the outcome. I never “chased” this dream as we all should chase our dreams because I couldn’t. I never once dreamt of actually becoming a football player or coach to help the Eagles win; it was just a dream that never found an exit in my heart.

When the clock hit 0 and the Eagles officially won, it didn’t sink in. I looked across the table at my wife who informed me that the Eagles had WON because the look of bewilderment on my face didn’t seem like I had processed that fact. All I could see were visions of all the disappointment over this team I had for years suddenly vanish. As if every negative Eagles memory was a bubble that popped as soon as the clock officially expired and the Eagles were Super Bowl Champions.

Football, especially watching football means nothing. It really does and this post doesn’t take away from that reality. But things that bring your heart peace can often be unique to just you. There may be something that happens that can literally only bring you peace and happiness. Embrace it.

This was it for me. I’ve come back down from cloud 9 but I’m taking the bliss with me. Fly Eagles Fly.

You’re Not Alone

Do you feel alone in the way that you feel?

I have before and sometimes still do. How can anyone understand what I’m feeling? How can they possibly see how tangled I am in my own emotions? I can’t even make sense of my emotions myself, let alone have to explain them so that I don’t feel so alone. And then there is social media. Superficial realities that often alienate ourselves even more. We feel guilty for feeling anything negative because it doesn’t fit within this overtly positive social reality. Thus we distance ourselves even more thinking we are wrong to feel the way that we do because everyone else feels so right.

Walls are often built highest to guard the most broken.

But you actually aren’t alone. Everyone’s story is certainly different but people still resonate to the same relief. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen strong figures break down and weak figures rise up. People are going through a whole different world inside of them. Just think about how you feel and what you think about on a day to day basis compared to what you portray to the world. You weren’t created as a unique breed for only you to do that. Yet we get caught up so easily in thinking that people’s natural display is their complete reality. It’s not.

I want you to know that anything you feel is perfectly justified because you have the honor of feeling it. The Honor. You can’t surf your emotions by fighting to feel them – you’ll drown. Forget about everyone’s “reality” no matter how perfect it may seem. Your journey, your pain, your blessings, your life is your own ultimate reality. And everyone’s reality has a path similar to yours. It’s one mountain we all are climbing on different paths.

The point of this isn’t to push you to uncomfortably express yourself to anyone. The point is the realize that you aren’t alone. And sometimes company is more valuable than relief.