How To Have Your Own Personal Victory Moment

Bismillahirrahmanirraheem

Yesterday I was able to have a personal victory moment and it felt so good!

My husband said something to me that hurt my feelings, but I totally understand his view. It’s just the WAY that he said it that bothered me. I had had a busy day (meetings and tutoring) and the house was kind of messy. My husband, who is the cleaner and more organized spouse (I know—that is strange—usually it’s the other way around!) became upset by the mess and expressed this to me.

I was upset because I felt that I had spent my day in very positive ways, contributing to my community. Anyway, in the past such a “spat” with my husband would bring me really down. Yesterday, I chose to remain calm and build my inner strength. I did not respond “in kind” to my husband’s upset tone of voice.

I tried to find solutions, such as respecting his feelings and trying to clean up. I excused myself from his presence when I was feeling hurt by his attitude.

Later, when I was calmer, I explained to him why the house was messier than usual.

I consider this a personal victory moment because the story could have been totally different. I could have responded back to my husband in an equally bothered tone. I could have “flipped out” as many people unfortunately do. But, Alhamdulillah, I chose to BE CALM and follow chapter 10 of my book: “Make calmness and inner peace your base feeling.”

So how can you have your own victory moment? Learn to bring yourself back to inner peace and calmness the next time you feel like “flipping out.” Train yourself to be calm as your base feeling. You will feel proud of yourself, I promise!

Here is a great quote from “Happy for No Reason” by Marci Shimoff:

“Every single time you make a choice to respond in a way that expands you and creates more peace and well-being, you’re strengthening your ability to make that same positive choice in the future. This is empowerment; it moves you from being a victim to being a victor.”

P.S. My husband is a wonderful human being and I do not mean in any way to discredit his good qualities!

How to Cope With Colds

downloadColds can be a real drain on our happiness reserves. I currently am suffering from one, and I think it is close to being the flu!

I’d like to share some tips about coping with colds. Using “coping skills” is a repeated theme of my book and blog.

As always, be self-aware. Be aware of your negative thoughts and feelings. Then remind yourself that Islam teaches us to be patient during difficult times.

“…..Surely Allah is with the patient.” (Holy Quran 8:46)

And another truth to hold on to is that you never really know if something is “good” or “bad” for you. We tend to think of getting sick as a “bad” thing–but even our illnesses can be good for us in some way! Perhaps they will purify us of our sins and bring us closer to our Lord!

“No fatigue, nor disease, nor anxiety, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”

–The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as recorded in Bukhari and Muslim

Of course, try to remember Allah (swt) as much as you can. And catch yourself if you start to have negative thoughts like, “Allah doesn’t like me” or “Why is this happening to me?” Remember that the Prophets of Allah suffered the most of all human beings!

“Whenever Allah wills good for a person, He subjects him to adversity.” (a hadith recorded in Bukhari and others)

“The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets…” (hadith recorded in Ahmad, Tirmidthi)

Along with being patient is the importance of being grateful. Try to find something to be grateful for when you are feeling sick or down. Perhaps be thankful that you are not as ill as you could be.

Another important tip is to try to improve your condition (i.e. look for solutions). When I am sick, I take a lot of Vitamin D3, a proven germ fighter. I also avoid gluten. I have observed that gluten (found in bread, flour and pasta) seems to weaken my immune system. Do what works for you. When you work on ways to improve your condition, you feel more empowered and hopeful.

Being sick gives you an opportunity to learn compassion and humility–extremely important traits of a believer.

When you are sick, don’t be afraid to seek help from others and to admit your vulnerability. You will help them to get blessings for helping you!

Remember that becoming sick is a sign that you need to take time off for yourself. Take care of yourself!

A great article about being patient during adversities can be read at: http://www.islamtomorrow.com/everything/tests.htm

 

 

 

Muslims Stay Strong

Muslims stay strong,

When evil groups like ISIS

represent Islam

so wrong.

 

Muslims don’t lose heart,

When people who claim they are Muslims

Tear our world apart.

 

A true Muslim does not fight others

Unless they are fighting him,

A true Muslim respects all people

And knows that you can’t force religion. (Holy Quran 2:256)

 

True Muslims work for the poor,

the widows and the weak,

True Muslims are full of mercy,

It is not power they seek.

 

True Muslims bring honor

To the name of our beloved Prophet,

He taught us to do good deeds

To live for God, not for profit.

 

Muslims stay strong.

Islam teaches peace.

The Quran says that if the enemy stops fighting,

Then our fighting must also cease. (Holy Quran 8:61)

 

Muslims don’t lose heart.

Murder is not part of our faith.

To kill one innocent person

Is like killing the entire human race. (Holy Quran 5:32)

 

Islam gave rights to women

That they did not have before.

It ended the murder of baby girls

And marriages done by force.

 

Muslims we have to stay strong,

Our religion is being attacked,

By people who call themselves “Muslims”

But whose hearts are blacker than black.

 

Islam was not spread by the sword,

It was spread by kindness and love,

It says do good to all people (Quran 4:36)

And seek the pleasure of God above. (Quran 2:207).

Today is the Blessed day of ‘Arafah and Is Also the Anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s Final Sermon

imagesKR2M3H6RI would like to post the Last Sermon of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Today is the anniversary of this famous speech. Let us pray that we Muslims follow his words.

The Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon (pbuh) (courtesy of Islamicity.com)

This sermon was delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H.
in the ‘Uranah valley of Mount Arafat’ (in Mecca).

After praising, and thanking Allah he said:

“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib (Prophet’s uncle) shall henceforth be waived…

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people”.

Happy “Best 10 Days for Doing Good Deeds”!

images“There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.”
–The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as recorded in Bukhari

Happy first 10 days of the month of Dhul Hijjah! September 25 (today) to October 4, 2014 mark the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.

Maximize your blessings and your eternal happiness by taking advantage of these blessed days!

Here are the recommended actions:

*Fasting, especially on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah (The Day of Arafah, Friday Oct. 3 of this year)

“Fasting on the Day of Arafah brings forgiveness for the sins of this year and the year before” (Hadith of our Prophet pbuh recorded in Muslim)

*Reciting SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Laa ilaaha illAllah, Allahuakbar as much as possible, whenever and wherever (they mean: Glory be to God, Praise be to God, There is no god except for God, God is the Greatest)

*Do more good deeds than usual (giving charity, reading the Holy Quran, etc.)

*Make many duaas (asking of God Almighty) and perform more optional prayers/acts of worship

For more details please visit the website www.ProductiveMuslim.com

One Lesson From the Movie, “A Beautiful Mind”

download“A Beautiful Mind” is an award-winning movie starring Russell Crowe about the Nobel-Prize winning economist John Nash.

This movie illustrates a fabulous lesson for the average person, even though its main character suffers from hallucinations of seeing non-existent people.

The lesson that this movie inspired in me is that of developing your own personalized coping skills for problems in your life.

Nash decides to handle his hallucinations by totally ignoring them, even though they never actually go away. Even though the problem of seeing imaginary people is not solved, Nash finds a way to cope, and his life is transformed for the better.

This is a lesson for all of us in that sometimes, we cannot erase certain problems in our lives. Sometimes we don’t know what to do, but at least we can explore ideas to cope with those problems.

For example, I am not a huge fan of washing dishes and spending time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning. However, I don’t have a personal cook and my family needs to eat. Eating out is not a daily option. Therefore, I have developed the coping skill of listening to something interesting on Youtube while working in the kitchen. This has helped me immensely in coping with the boredom I had felt when working in the kitchen.

Thanks be to God, most of us do not have to deal with hallucinations like Professor Nash did, but we all face personal challenges in life. Rather than only focusing on erasing those challenges, try finding ways to cope with those challenges. And sometimes, life becomes more enjoyable than it was before.

7 REASONS WHY I AM HAPPY LIVING IN NORTHERN IRAQ

imagesThanks be to God, the part of Iraq I live in is very safe and peaceful. It is the Northern part in a city called Sulaimaniah. Here are some reasons why I am happy here:

1. I hear the call to prayer multiple times per day, which is beautiful and makes me feel good.

2. My kids play outside everyday because it’s very safe and there are other kids in the same building.

3. I walk more here–we don’t have a car and we don’t need one! We can walk to stores!

4. We live in an apartment building where all of my friends are just an elevator’s ride away.

5. A peaceful view of mountains is just outside my window.

6. The pace of life is slower here and I have more time to think and reflect and do activities that feed my soul.

7. I cook my own food more, partly because I have to and partly because I have the time to do so. Consequently, I am eating more healthier, non-processed foods.

You don’t need to move to Northern Iraq to experience “happiness boosters”. Try to find ways to build more happiness into your life, such as planning for more quiet time for yourself.

Dealing with the Stress of Negative Media Coverage about Muslims

imagesNegative media coverage about Islam and Muslims is an unfortunate reality of our current era. Such news stories can cause emotional stress on Muslims, especially Muslims who are active in combating stereotypes about Islam and more obviously Muslim people, such as women who wear the headscarf.

Many Muslims may feel intimidated, discouraged and frightened by the continuous negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims. The media is certainly not always to blame, but for many Muslims it seems that the media does not give a care if what or how they portray a story will create a harmful backlash against tolerant, moderate Muslims who are trying to be positive members of their communities.

Here are some ways that I have found useful in dealing with the stress of negative news stories about Muslims:

1. Acknowledge your stress and negative feelings, such as hopelessness, sadness, confusion, fear, etc. Denying that these feelings exist will prevent you from actually overcoming them. Be honest with yourself, and then work through those feelings in order to replace them with more helpful feelings (such as a determination to do something constructive/helpful).

2. Along that line, look for helpful and constructive actions to take, such as posting a facebook article about Islam or about Muslims who are working for positive causes. (Example: when a certain terrorist attack takes place, post a condemnation of this attack by a prominent Muslim group, such as the Council for American Islamic Relations or the Islamic Society of North America).

3. Discover coping skills that work for you. Talk to someone about your feelings, go for a walk, write in a journal, and of course, the number one action to take is to talk to Allah (swt) and pray that He helps you and the ummah in this stressful time.

4. Remember that Allah (swt) is Wise and All-Knowing and that He will reward you for your patience and hardships. Allah is also the Most Kind and Most Merciful; He hears all of your duaas/prayers and He is the source of all help. Whatever happens will happen by His Divine Decree, and we must remember to accept His decree and be patient, while at the same time do our best to improve our situations.

5. Remember that it is normal to feel down sometimes and to feel disheartened by the negative portrayals of Muslims in the media. Just try to find ways to feel better and give yourself hope.

6. Use these stressful times as an opportunity to train yourself to be calm during stressful situations (Chapter 10 of my book).

7. A useful statement I once heard a Shaykh say was something like, “We cannot stop the media from reporting the way they choose to report stories about Muslims, but we can try to be the best examples of Islam that we can be to whoever we meet and interact with.”

May Allah (swt) help us to represent our faith in the best way possible and to please Him, Ameen.

Empathy!!!

An amazing way to promote your happiness is to develop the skill of “empathy.”

Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

One reason that empathy is so important is that the act of empathy brings healing to our world and to ourselves.

When you truly seek to understand the inner world of another person, you learn compassion, and when the other person truly feels understood by you, this feeling of being “understood” is extremely therapeutic.

In counseling, some theorists believe that “empathy” is a helper’s greatest tool to bring healing to a person in pain.

The way that you communicate empathy is that you simply reflect back/say what the other person is truly feeling.

For example, if a person has just lost his job, and he is talking about this to you, you should actively listen to what he is saying in order to accurately empathize with him.

If he says, “I am afraid that I will not find another job,” then you can reflect his feeling by saying, “You feel scared about your ability to find a job and perhaps you feel worried about having enough money.”

Then you would wait for the other person to indicate whether what you reflected is really what he is feeling or not.

Sometimes empathy and “reflection of feeling” (a counseling technique) provide all of the healing a person needs, because that person feels understood and truly cared about.

Rather than jumping to give advice to people in pain, try just actually “standing in their shoes” and reflecting their inner worlds back to them. Let them know that another person can understand what they are really going through. Take time to listen for the underlying feelings in their words–perhaps the feelings that they are not fully aware of.

When we understand our feelings, we are more aware of ourselves, and this awareness gives us a better chance of discovering the right course of action.

Try feeling and practicing empathy in your relationships–and then see how amazing your relationships become!

“Most Compassionate” vs. “Most Gracious”

Most Muslims are aware that every surah (chapter) of the Holy Quran begins with the verse, “In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate (or Most Gracious), Most Merciful.”

Well, I’ve been thinking of the various translations of Ar-Rahmaan (Compassionate vs. Gracious; I’ve also seen the word “Beneficent” used).

I’ve been contemplating this because the feeling that you feel when you read “Compassionate” vs. “Gracious” is quite different.

Personally, I prefer “Compassionate” because I think we as an Ummah (Muslim community) don’t contemplate on Allah’s Compassion enough.

Compassionate means that Allah (swt) truly cares about us and is actually sharing in our life’s struggles and He wants good for us.

Gracious is a nice word, but its meaning is less “close” and makes me think of Allah’s generosity more than His Compassion.

But I think the beauty of Islam is illustrated in this simple reflection on how to translate Allah’s names.

As Muslims, we should be aware of Allah’s nearness and compassion and love for us, and at the same time we should not forget His Greatness and Transcendence and Glory. Yes, Allah (swt) does love us, but at the same time He is Just and does expect us to WORK for His nearness. He is not equally near to everyone.

So the goal of Muslims is to balance our hope and fear. We hope in Allah’s mercy and compassion; we fear His justice and majesty.

I still prefer “Most Compassionate” though!