I recently conducted a poll on Instagram asking followers a set of questions regarding their eating habits and the results were not what I expected.
Gratitude is akin to the lock in the door of a birdcage. You know, that tiny bit that is embodied between the door and the outer structure. A pitiful click can unleash everything. Just like that, when gratitude is unlocked within you, it can set you free. It is the difference between being caged and being liberated.
Only when gratitude is practised is this difference realised. Furthermore, it does not take much to practise it either.
Iftiin la’aan waa aqoon la’aan
“To lack in light is to lack in knowledge”
اطلبوا العلم من المهد إلى اللحد
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
To live a fulfiling life, one must always be learning. A big part of self-development is to constantly learn new things.
As a bit of background; I have completed my high school education (GCSE’s), A-levels, Masters degree in Pharmacy and I am currently studying for my qualifying exam in order to register and practice as a pharmacist in the UK. You can say that I am well acquainted with studying for examinations (maybe a little too much).
Nothing ever worth pursuing was easy.
It has to knock you over a few times, incite an emotional breakdown, frighten you and then (and only then) will it come to fruition. People like to use the phrase “hard work pays off” which I agree with, to a certain extent. But I like to reflect on this from a different angle. Why are we surprised by the difficulty we often endure to achieve great things. We know, “for indeed with hardship [will be] ease”.
However, no-one wants the hardship. No-one wants to bear the patience. This is the blunt reality. Along our various journeys in life, we will come across difficult situations, some of which may shake us to the core. It appears as if our tolerance levels have decreased over generations and many of us in this day and age simply do not want to go through any toil or struggle to get to our destination. In fact, we expect to reach our destination smoothly. Many problems arise from expectations and disappointments.
Are you a budding graphic designer?
Are you a skilled photoshop user?
Do you want to use your talents to benefit the ummah?
MuslimahMinds is looking for volunteers to design and create material for the blog.
This role includes designing blog photos, posters, cover photos and social media images.
A commitment of 1-2 hours per week or less is required depending on blogging schedule. The perfect opportunity to gain some reward whilst doing something you enjoy (insha’Allah!)
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May Allah bless you always,
Assalaamu ‘alaikum readers,
So, I have a 5000-word report on Adverse Drug Events due in a very short amount of time. As I was sitting through it, 3847 words in I had an idea- I decided that a blog-post is not only well overdue but also way more appealing to write right now. Procrastination much?
I wanted to write a post about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT because although it is so widely acclaimed in the psychology world, I feel it is still somewhat misunderstood or not really known.
In one sentence, CBT is amazing.
It is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and it’s something that is obligatory upon muslims to carry out 5 times per day. On average each prayer takes a couple of minutes to complete, let’s say 5-10 minutes. So that is a total of 25-50 minutes of your day spent in prayer.
But metaphorically speaking, it is also a pillar that holds your whole day together. In fact, I believe it holds your life together. Reasons why? I will explain below.
On any given day you may have a million and one things to do; whether you go to uni, go to work or even if you are a stay-at-home mum, there will be many tasks to complete each day. Some days it can even feel like you are drowning in tasks. But salah provides a break, even just for 5 minutes, to focus on something of higher purpose. To escape the world and to clearly your mind of all worldly responsibilities and duties.
So the prayer is a form of relief. When the time for prayer came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to address Bilal saying, “Give us relief by announcing the Salaat, O Bilal.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Duaa is often overlooked as a powerful and viable way out of distress. I think a lot of us fall into this because we feel as if we can handle ourselves and ‘we got this’. We forget to rely on our Creator.
On Friday, I did a very foolish thing and I left my handbag on a train as I headed to a London hospital where I am conducting a research project. As I stepped off the train, I noticed that the right side of my body felt unusually light and as I glanced to my empty right shoulder I realised that I had left my bag, which contained some very important belongings, on the now departing train. My reaction? Of course it was one of panic and then utter regret as I tried to figure out what I can do to retrieve it.
Speaking to the station staff, I was advised to report it lost and to hope that the lost property department receive it. This can take 3-10 working days- if it ever gets to them.
But I didn’t give up hope. I knew that by calling on Allah, the All-Mighty, I would definitely receive a response. Even if it wasn’t the response I wanted at that very moment. So I made lots of duaa for Allah to reunite me with my bag. I called upon Him with all the names I could think of and I sent salutations on His final messenger (saw).
Duaa is answered in three ways;
- Allah gives you what you want.
- Allah doesn’t give you what you want but something bad is removed from your path equivalent to what you asked for.
- Allah gives you the reward of that duaa on the Day of Judgement. 1
I decided to travel to the last stop of the train that I was on to ask that station if they had found a handbag. After a half an hour train ride there, I was informed that nothing had been found and so I travelled to university to pray jummah and to figure out how I am going to retrieve my work for the semester and other lost things.
Amidst all of this, I still did not despair. Upset, yes of course I was, and this is a natural reaction. I had so many things planned to do that day for my research project and I wasn’t able to complete any of them. But I held on to the fact that Allah will answer my duaa.
So what happened shortly afterwards? I receive a phone call and an email from lost property at my university informing me that my bag is being held at a station nearby. And by nearby I mean the next stop on the train from where my university is situated. That bag must have travelled on the same train for 2 journeys back and forth to the end of the line and yet I was able to receive it, on the same day, in tact and just how I left it. Everything was inside.
So what was the purpose of this story? Other than reminding you all to “please take care of your possessions when travelling on the London overground” (Londoners see what I did there? 😉 No? Not funny?) Well the purpose of the story was to highlight that with duaa nothing is impossible. Someone told me I was ‘so lucky’ when I had found my bag. Luck has nothing to do with it. We need to believe that Allah will respond to us and to sincerely call out to Allah. Call out to Him believing that He is the controller of the heavens and the earth. When He says Be, it is. Call out to your Lord with full conviction and you will never be let down bi’idhnillah.
Wish you all a great week.
May Allah bless you always,
Everyone has that little voice inside their head that tells them that they aren’t good enough. But I am starting a challenge this week and I would love for you all to join me. I’m going to #StartThinkingYes.
So what does this hashtag involve?
As you guys are probably aware by now, with the theme of many of my posts, I like to reflect a lot- you can say I’m a very reflective person. I like to focus on the internal and use that to shape the way our external presents. I believe that we have a lot of control within ourselves to shape our surroundings. For the next week or so, I will scrutinize my thoughts and I will critically analyse my doubts and fears. If I can be bothered (lol) I will go as far as writing them down to keep track.
The thoughts I am referring to, specifically, include those in which I question my capabilities. You can do this with me and choose to share your progress or you can keep it anonymous. Either way join in with the hashtag to keep this moving.
So what are the benefits of this exercise?
I think that this is a good way to get to know yourself a bit better. We know that up to 70% of our daily thoughts can be negative (shocker I know!) but what if you decided to take some steps to change that?
A lot of our initial reactions to things can be negative, for example the reasons why it’s best you don’t do something as opposed to the reasons why you should. But in this challenge, for all the people who can resonate with the aforementioned point, we are going to try and actively reverse this. And then we will observe the results, in how we feel but also in our environement, be it the things we do or the opportunities we come across. In the hope that this will not only help you to be more sure of yourself and your decisions but it will also allow your confidence to grow.
These are a few practical ways in which I am going to make sure that I start thinking yes.
- When you doubt yourself, there are 3 questions that you need to ask yourself.
- Is there any evidence to support your doubt e.g. to say that you will fail.
- Have your doubts been a reality in the past, have you experienced what you are doubting?
- What is the worst that can happen?
These 3 questions should be on repeat for the next 7 days. In these 3 ways, we are rationally assessing our doubts.
- If it were your friend who was asking you for advice on a matter they are struggling with, how would you reassure them?
- Following on with the above point, most friends would remind their friend of all the wonderful qualities they possess to make them overcome their doubts. So this time, apply this to yourself (let’s show ourselves a bit of self-love 🙂 )
Join my challenge and #StartThinkingYes. You can find MuslimahMinds on Facebook and Instagram (links are on the side of this page) so follow me on these spaces and be a part of this muslimah revolution! 🙂
May Allah bless you always,
Assalaamu ‘alaikum everyone, I hope you are doing well.
Have you ever read something and had that lightbulb moment, that moment when you are left in awe of how much what you are reading can apply to you? That’s what I experienced when I started reading this book; The Mental Fitness Guide- Manage Your Mind and I thought it would make a good blog-post for me to share my thoughts on it- but not in a review kind of way.
I have previously mentioned this in my about section but as a little reminder, I am not a qualified therapist, psychologist or any other ‘ist’ for that matter. Well not yet anyway (pharmacist in training!). But I am a big fan of self-care, and I think there are so many things that we can do ourselves to make us healthier and more resilient both mentally and even spiritually. Don’t get me wrong, I think therapists are great and I completely endorse therapists but it’s important to be self-motivated too because you won’t have a therapist around 24/7.
So to get into it ,this post was adapted from The Mental Fitness Guide, with my own commentary and interpretations.
Be honest, we have all done this. Predicting the worst outcome and dissipating that in an end-of-the-world style description. I can see why this point is included in this list. If you blow things out of proportion all of the time then you will find yourself with negative emotions and an increased level of stress- for no reason!
A key word when explaining this point is “always”. So, problematic phrases include “I always get things wrong” or “I always blow it last minute”. This is essentially assuming that because something happened once it will always happen, leaving you with feelings of apprehension and/or anxiety which can manifest into more serious issues down the line.
Exaggeration is just unnecessary. Especially when it comes to how you view different events in your life. Typically, giving negative events more importance than they deserve and positive events less importance.
4. Discounting the positive
Being balanced is part of the characteristics of being fair to yourself. Discounting the positive and always focusing on the negative can cloud your judgement and leave you blinded to all the positive things.
5. Mind Reading
We always want to do this, to know what other people are thinking. But there’s no way to know. So. Just. Give. Up.
6. Predicting the future or fortune-telling
I don’t really need to explain why this one is problematic…
On a serious note, we really don’t have any idea about what the future holds. So the best thing to do is here is to leave it with Al-Aleem.
7. Black and White thinking
Very very few things are actually black or white. So when you apply black and white thinking to situations, there is a large chance that you are inaccurate.
8. Taking things personally
Someone once told me a very interesting point, you are just one of many people that someone will interact with in a given day. And most of the time, it’s not all about you. Someone may have had a bad day, or they may be going through some issues- a lot of the time people don’t mean to offend you. If someone decides to intentionally treat you in an inappropriate or rude manner, always keep in mind that this is more of a reflection of them as a person and not you.
Some of the other points mentioned were 9. Taking the blame (being unfair to yourself and taking the blame even when you are not in the wrong), 10. Emotional reasoning (mistaking feelings for facts), 11. Name calling (“I’m so stupid”), 12. Scare mongering (“Why is she late, what if she got into a car crash?”) and finally 13. which I have elaborated on below.
13. Wishful thinking
The book gives examples of wishful thinking and they often start with phrases like “If only I was….younger, prettier, more successful [insert whatever]”.
In my opinion, wishful thinking is a complete waste of time. Unless, you are actively working for your wishes/dreams. And if you are doing that, then you are unlikely to be starting off sentences with “If only….”. So scrap wishful thinking and feeling helpless, focus on action.
Well, I really enjoyed writing this post- did you enjoy reading it? What are your thoughts? Comment below!
May Allah bless you always,