When They Make You Feel Like a Burden

You're stuck between a rock and a hard place. And for some reason everyone who you typically rely on simply can't help you, maybe because they too are going through something. Or maybe they can't handle being around someone who is going through hardship, and so they dip. Or maybe because, according to their tally, you have been asking for help too much. And maybe your source of pain is that no one is standing up for you, to protect and defend you.

Not too long ago, I was enduring severe trials. A very dear friend who knew of my struggle brought me a unique dua book with her from her travels. She promised me that this dua book was very special, and that I was going to love it.

I started reading the duas, and started getting into it, and the more I read, the more the world disappeared and it was just my Lord and my broken self. And then I came across a few lines, and I couldn't get passed them. My tears would not allow me to read them out loud, as I choked on my overflowing emotions. I read them again, through my tears. And again. And again. These lines were:

حَسْبِي اللهُ وَ كَفَى، سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَن دعا، لَيسَ وَراءَ اللهُ مُنتَهى

Allah is sufficient for me, and He is enough [I don't need anyone/thing else]. Allah hears the person who asks of Him. There is no limit/barrier/end behind Allah.

حَسْبِي اللهُ وَ كَفَى
Allah is sufficient: in every single sense. This encompasses every attribute of our Master. He is the All-Seeing, so when someone belittles your pain because they don't know what you're going through, remember this name. He is All-Hearing, so we don't need to worry if someone twists your words around to get you in trouble at work or to create discord in your family. He is All-Knowing, which means if someone doubts your intentions behind your actions or words, that despite their questioning and lack of trust, He knows. He is the Most Forgiving, so if you wronged someone, and they are holding a grudge against you after you have genuinely tried to make amends and apologized, He is enough for that.

سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَن دعا
"سَمِعَ" here is not just hearing, but more like "hearing you out." It's more than listening, it implies answering of the prayer, meaning He "heard you out so much" that He is going to answer your dua. He won't misunderstand you, or ignore you, or abandon you. So pray. And ask.

لَيسَ وَراءَ اللهُ مُنتَهى
And with Allah,there is no "مُنتَهى", there is no limit, there is no end to His provisions, there is literally no barrier behind Allah. His Mercy is limitless, and so are His capabilities. So when you pray to Allah, and you say this particular dua, simultaneously remember how many times humans have failed you, how many times people considered you a burden, took you for granted, put you to the side, and even downright ignored you. Allah is capable of taking care of every need you have, without it affecting His bounty even an ounce. You can start understanding this better by listing the things He has already given you. Example: the ability to see, to read this article, and to have a brain that allows you to understand these words. You didn't create your brain, nor did you choose your level of intelligence. So how can the One Who gave this to you without you even asking for it, NOT give you something you did ask for? He will. And there is no limit to what and how much He can give.

Why are these last two lines coupled? They are one invitation. It's as if the message is: Allah will listen to you and give you all you need based on what you say, and don't worry,He can fullfill that promise because there is no limit to His bounty. And bringing in the first line, this is enough for you. So pray, and ask, and keep praying and asking, even when you think you don't need to, or when you feel like you have asked too many times, keep asking, again and again.

Allah will never fail you. He is The only Truth (الحق), and He the Always Living (الحي), and therefore He can never fail you. Just reach out. And depend only on Him.

And when He does answer your prayer, and He certainly will, remember to be grateful to Him by recognizing that He is The Provider (الرزاق).

Oh Allah send Your blessings on our beloved Prophet Mohammad.

[Anything good in this article is from Him, any mistakes are due to my shortcomings.]


The Golden Ax

It was Him.

Negligent and mindless, she insanely continued to attempt to break the stone with her breath. She exhaled from the deepest part of her body, with the intention to destroy this insurmountable impediment. She blew. And nothing.

She blew it.

And nothing happened. And of course nothing happened. But she pursued, and tactlessly strategized to ignore all her needs, to ignore the Golden Ax on the ground behind her, the one she dropped because it was too heavy, and to focus on using her breath on the 100-foot high stone.

Logically, it would never happen. But logic is a luxury for the insane. For the disconnected, for the voluntarily deadened at heart.

The stone only grew. And with it her destructive despair. Losing hope. While no hope can be found in her own breath.

She even tried to get the advice of others. They all gave her tips on how to purse her lips and how to belt it out. No one pointed to the Ax. In fact, some of these others stood with her to blow on the rock. And the rock grew. And it started to shake, to move, slowly rolling towards her, promising a devastating doom.

The rock rolled. Her immobile state remained. And just when the rock began to roll over her outstretched legs, The Help came.

Without a call, without asking, He reminded her of His existence. It was a simple reminder. The Ax lifted itself from the ground and hovered near her hand. The rock stopped. For those who have no connection to Him, it might appear to be too late for her. That she had already lost two limbs. But for those that know, and for her, it was her Awakening.

With broken limbs and a shattered soul, she began to swing ever so slightly at the rock. And her muscles began to kick in. And she made contact. And she tried again, and this time harder. And then she began to hack at the rock. The Ax growing as her faith.

He helped her, despite her negligence.

He answered, without her even asking.

He came close to her, despite her distance.

And she vowed to revive, to replant, to flourish in His love. A love given when undeserved. Given when all else fails. Given when all else is perfect. Given. Given. Given.

There is no "Why me, God?" There is "You chose me, God. Thank you."

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي هَدَانَا لِهَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَهْتَدِيَ لَوْلا أَنْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ 
| All praise to Allah, Who has guided us to this. We could not truly have been led aright if Allah had not guided us|

[Al-Araf: 43]



The insistent tide lifts and drowns
Me higher and lower into unknown suffering
I feel the gravity longing for food
As if starved for all of eternity

Heaved and pushed and pulled and scratched
I flail in the wind like a piece of soaked paper

Wretched, lost, alone, and searching
For some clarity in the tensioned fog

I know not what comes after this war
Ease? Danger? Love? Regret?

But what I need above all else
is the serenity that accompanies the legendary hearts of brave women and men who undertake mountainous burdens to uplift and survive. The drive they have is deprived of weakness, meekness and gloom. Soon, I will, soon, I’ll kill, the pain and gain all that was lost. For once, again, the first time, and always, I will be clawing at the surface of the concrete around me, to dig myself out of the cave I am captured in.

And then
I will stop my clawing, and I will rest with the wind, and await its settlement on soft sands that brush against my skin. I will wait for time to bring me my answer, and make me, once again, an unstoppable dancer.


Dear Earth,

You have taught me that you will give me nothing, no matter how much I siphon from your oceans.

You have taught me that love can be removed from a heart like I can remove a weed from the ground.

You have taught me that despite my preparation, I have no control over the tides of calamity.

You have taught me that as much as I can do to counter injustice, the roots of truth can always be soiled.

You have taught me that betrayal is more real than your greenery.

You have taught me that the love of those who are closest to me is as certain as political stability.

You have taught me that living a life disconnected from my Lord is like searching for water in a famined dessert.

You have taught me so much, but I know I have much more to grow.

With Love,
Made From You



Gather my diamonds
And build me a mountain
High enough to kiss the sun
And let its brilliance rain



Some people are living a lie.
Some people are living a truth.
It's really hard to tell
The difference and who is who.

Some smile in your face
While their soul is shattering inside
Some have an expression solemn
But are accustomed to a heart that flies.

Some put up a front
To appear to be in control.
Some cry their eyes out
Trying to grasp what has been torn.

The underlying theme of being human
Should never adjust to your emotional state.
No matter how insecure, weak or hurt
You should always move and elevate.


I Took Off My Hijab

By adding more layers. A knit hat and scarf around my neck to be exact.

I didn't understand what was happening at first. People started talking to me more. Women would speak to me like I knew them since forever. Men looked at me like I was actually approachable. And I was made to feel like I was actually from this planet.

Maybe I was finally fitting in? Maybe I was no longer self conscious about my unique dress code and a face lacking makeup?

But then it became fishy. The Muslim taxi drivers who would almost always say "Assalamu Alaikum," ask me where I'm from or if I'm single, or not allow me to pay for the fare became cold and dry. I would simply give the address, and the only dialog thereafter was at time of payment. It was puzzling.

I started to reevaluate my character. Have I become unfriendly? Arrogant? But other people had become even nicer. I couldn't figure it out.

Until I started passing by hijabis on my walk to work who wouldn't acknowledge my existence. Here is the unspoken code: one stares until the other notices and then they exchange Salams. But it's as if I was just another passer by, with no significance to the wrap around my head.

The wrap around my head. Then it hit me. My knit hat and winter scarf covered my hijab (the head scarf part) entirely and all that was visible were my eyes behind my wannabe hipster glasses while my skinny jeans tucked themselves into my boots. They didn't even *know* I was Muslim.

I found this realization absolutely hilarious. And entertaining. I started paying more attention to the difference in the way people treated me. It was fun feeling like everyone around me believed I belonged in their culture by default, and not as part of the begrudgingly adopted diversity piece of the pie. It was a good feeling. I secretly started looking forward to venturing out into the cold to further explore what it meant to be "normal."

I became even more confident walking in my city. My city. All the stares were not racially related anymore. I was addressed as "lady" and "little lady," something I had never heard before. Men would hold doors for me. Women would crack jokes with me. I became respectable, lovable, and accepted.

But did that mean that *with* hijab I am not as respectable? I am not as lovable? I cannot be accepted? I immediately began to despise the inequality, and it dawned on me that I acted like someone who was bullied for years, and finally was accepted by the mean girls, having been alluded that the mean girls became nice to everyone. I was duped. When in fact nothing had changed, and I had simply crossed over to another world for one season.

The power of this experience lies in the fact that it was not an intentional experiment. It happened simply because of the Chiberian weather which required me to cover as much of by body with warm pieces of cloth. Apparently, the type of cloth you place or wrap around your head defines how you will be treated.

I never questioned that I was being given less respect and love, or that I was not as accepted. I always thought that the type of treatment I was exposed to was just how the world was. I didn't know people could be nicer.

Thank you winter. Thank you subzero temperatures.

I pray one day, and soon, that people will be familiar enough with all other cultures and beliefs that they are not afraid or have reservations, and that the thing that stands out to them is not the wrap around my head, but the smile on my face.