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Building the Fortress, Finding My Beloved

بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

How amazing can people be?

They can be so kind and so good to you. They can shower you with their love and embrace you with compliments and beautiful gestures.

People can also be the opposite of amazing, that we know. Yet where my focus has been is on the divine fortress which both encompasses and protects in a way that no person could even imagine. It simultaneously surrounds you with complete acceptance while blocking out rejection. Within the walls of this fortress, you find yourself.

For me, this fortress is a metaphor for my yearning to develop a real relationship with my Creator. By real, I mean something that goes beyond meaningless utterances of reverence and soulless acts of devotion. Something raw…something ugly. Something that looks like a woman of God drenched in her shortcomings, sin and longing for the Divine.

For so long, the awareness that God knew everything about me – all of me – was something that evoked within me a deep shame. What people could never imagine, God knew. What people could never understand, God encompassed. The masks I wore, and occasionally still wear, melted into their real forms before God. Mirages that were only real to the human eye but could never fool the Divine, who saw all.

And then I decided to jump headfirst into the most loving relationship I could find. Jumping headfirst meant releasing the shame and knowing that God’s mercy encompassed my self-judgements. That my shame was rooted not in God’s inability to forgive me, but my inability to forgive myself. That my shame could never be lifted by any delight nor any man. That only God could carry me as I struggled to carry my burdens.

After the jump, I found myself swimming in a pool of light. A light that has continued to illuminate the darkest corners of my heart and the gloomiest moments in my life.

Within this fortress, I struggle not with fears of abandonment and disloyalty, but rejoice in an infinite love that both fills and completes me. With God, my insecurities are moot. What use are insecurities when your Beloved knows what distresses your soul? When your pains and fears exist only with His permission? When your faults are but a testament to the humanity in which you were created? When your most intimate thoughts and desires are known to Him before they manifest?

What better companion than the Lord of the universe and the celestial bodies which inhabit it? Of the wind and mountains and crystal-like drops of rain? Of the heavens and the laughing child? Of the pen that writes and the eyes that weep?

What better abode than the fortress of the Divine?

How amazing is the love of your Beloved?

And Allah (SWT) knows best,

~ ubah



بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

It was only fitting for me to share this beautiful piece. I pray it resonates and heals for you. Thank you to the author who wrote this.

she’s the girl who says she’s fine, even when she’s not.
the one who you turn to for advice, but never has anyone herself.
crying alone, how does she manage to conceal her hurt?
waking everyday, with
a broken heart,
a smile
still on her face.
she says “I’m fine”
but she’s not,
deep down,
in her mind she’s saying no.
the sweetest girl,
empathising with others, taking on everyone’s pain but her own.
hiding it from the world,
going crazy,
praying that it doesn’t show,
she’s not okay, but she’ll always say she is.
waiting for someone that’ll understand,
her struggles,
her pain,
everything she hides,
crying alone, how does she manage to conceal her hurt?
waking everyday, with
a broken heart,
a smile
still on her face
the strongest girl, but broken
still pretending,
still laughing, but crying inside,
praying that it doesn’t show,
she’s not okay, but she’ll always say she is
even with a room filled with people,
a world full of billions,
she still feels all alone
she says she’s fine, she needs nothing
but she’s waiting,
waiting for it all to change.

She’s not okay, but she’ll always always say she is..

* I wrote this poem because I know there are many people in this world who are sad, broken hearted, or even feeling depressed that may relate to this post.
People who feel like no one really understands them, their struggles and what they’re dealing with.
I wanted to touch up on this subject, because I know that within our communities and cultures, depression is not something many like to discuss and talk about. The topic is somewhat taboo and unspoken of which makes people feel like they can’t express themselves and their problems because they feel as if no one can realate or even understand them for that matter.
I’m here to say, to whatever lovely reader stumbles upon my page and ends up reading this post, to whoever relates to this post,
Don’t feel disheartened or as if you have no one in this world, do not despair and lose hope. 

As your sister in Islam, I want to say that I am always here for anyone who needs advice or just a shoulder to cry on (a virtual one lol) I know it’s hard going through obstacles in life and not having anyone to turn to. I promise that I will always give you a sincere and honest response. As the hadeeth by the prophet ‘alayhi salaatu wa salaam goes, “I rather walk with my brother in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month.” And always remember to “love for my brother what I love myself.”

I pray for everyone happiness and contentment in all their affairs. 🌸💕

Until my next post wa salaamu alayk wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatu.

And Allah (SWT) knows best,

~ ubah

Source: She.

banksy detroit

Those Who Interrupt You

بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it” – Chinese Proverb

I often ask myself: what is it that Allah (SWT) is trying to teach me?

Lately, I’ve been asking myself this a lot, primarily because I began to realize a quality in others that I a) strive to never have in myself and b) absolutely cannot stand.

This is a quality that, for me, symbolizes a shaytanic and unproductive mindset that pulls people down instead of encouraging them. Indeed, it’s no surprise that I despise this characteristic so much considering that I have been on a journey of seeking to better myself and community for quite some time. You see, these people throw a wedge into your journey; they set up blockades, preventing you from moving forward.

Who are these people? The negative ones. The ones who are quick to judge and criticize those who are actually doing things with their lives!

SubhanAllah, you never hear from these people if you choose to live a straightforward life without much contribution to your community or the lives of other people. Yet the moment that you try to make a difference, you find these people coming out of the woodwork with their unsolicited negative advice and opinions!

You want to work on X project? Don’t bother, because they tried and were met with backlash. You want to make X change in your community? Beware, because the community is pretty doomed and you have a huge fight ahead of you. You want to work with X organization? Don’t you dare because they did and ended up clashing with them, so such a fate is only inevitable for you too – uff!

Instead of encouraging you and providing constructive criticism from a place of sincerity, they will fill your mind with doubts and an impending sense of doom and failure.

I genuinely wonder about these people; certainly, they are insecure. For a secure person with a strong sense of purpose and direction in their lives would only encourage the betterment of their community and world at large, instead of feeding off of the fears and insecurities of others. It may be that such people have serious issues; maybe jealousy, resentment, disappointment in their own shortcomings – whatever it is, seeing you succeed or at least make an effort causes them to shoot up their defences while practically lecturing you on the many ways in which you aren’t going to succeed. The scary part is that such discouragement is often masked as sincere advice and/or concern for you.

As someone who’s involved in a ton of personal and communal projects, Alhamdullilah, I’ve come across many of these types of people. Some of whom I even used to call friends. And the sad part? When it comes to the Muslim community, many of these people would be considered practicing. Yet what is brotherly/sisterly about tearing another person down? Whether it be their efforts or ideas? Just because you’ve had issues in the past, doesn’t give you the right to project your insecurities onto another  – especially if they have strengths in the areas where you were weak. Indeed, our Prophet (SAW) told us:

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother (or sister) what you love for yourself.” (Bukhari)

I’ve noticed that these type of people tend to tear the work of others down and are ruthless towards anyone. I’ve witnessed not only youth be torn down, but even respected elders who, despite their shortcomings, still deserve respect for the work they’ve put in. Once, I had an individual (who I trusted) ask for my forgiveness and admit to me that they and another person were involved in backbiting a project (which Alhamdulillah, Allah (SWT) has granted much success to) that I was involved in. Although I commend the individual for having the courage to ask for forgiveness directly and that I have forgiven them, I actually wasn’t surprised when they admitted it? Why? Because such was the nature of this person! And so when I learned that I had been on the receiving end of their criticizing tongue after witnessing them do it to so many others, it confirmed for me that this was something I could just not tolerate. Not for myself and especially not for others.

Currently, I’ve found no other solution in terms of dealing with such individuals other than avoiding them. I refuse to give them a platform for projecting their insecurities onto me. I know my mission, and only my Lord knows what’s in my heart. Let it be known: their words are falling on deaf ears, and are only a detriment to their own spirits. For I truly believe that an individual who is sincere about the facilitation of peace, healing and growth within a person or a community will support any person, group or organization that seeks to reach such a point. Any form of unjustified critique that leaves their mouths is a testament to their lack of self-awareness and says more about the state of their hearts than the hearts of people who are striving to make positive change.

May Allah (SWT) purify our intentions and protect us from those who divert us from our journeys of seeking to better through their careless critiques and unending negativity and skepticism. May Allah (SWT) protect us from such people, and prevent us from becoming the same way! Ameen!

Tell me, have you had experiences with these type of people? What was your experience like and how have you dealt with them?

And Allah (SWT) knows best,

~ ubah


a (haiku) poem: next stop, procrastination station

بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

On this beautiful day of ‘Arafah, I sit in the company of my Mac, research journal articles, text books and a wish to be finished already. But I am grateful! Such is the life of a grad student – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My paper is on the intersections of my racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and the implications on my professional ethical practice as a therapist. Pretty neat stuff!

On another note, here’s a haiku:

I make a stop at

“Procrastination Station”.

Now, back to this essay.

And Allah (SWT) knows best,

~ ubah ;)


Every Muslim (and Non-Muslim) Struggling With Their Desires Needs to Read This!

بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

Although it was a while ago, I was listening to one of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s lectures wherein he mentioned that he had once written an essay on desires, sin and modesty. I had made a mental note to read it, and today I did! I swear, this was the most profound resource I have come across so far pertaining to the issue. And this is even after watching Nouman Ali Khan’s “Shame” series (another fantastic and comprehensive resource!). I think, for me, it was Sh. Yusuf’s incorporation of a myriad of various religious and philosophical traditions when discussing desires. MashaAllah, the way he intertwined everything with Islam was simply…incredible!

Anyone, whether Muslim or not, struggling with various desires, especially those related to sexuality and modesty, has GOT to read this essay. It is absolutely superb, mashAllah. You will NOT regret it (although you may make multiple visits to as I did… :) )

Here’s the link to the PDF:

After reading the essay, please do share your thoughts in the comments section!

And Allah (SWT) knows best.

~ ubah


Thanking God for Giving Me the Grace and Strength…

بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

…to show those who no longer deserve a space in my life the door. Especially if they were bringing me down.

Alhamdulillah for the realization that an individual’s presence is a present to be cherished and grateful for.

Those quickest to return to gift may be those quickest to have never deserved it in the first place.

Alhamdulillah for the strength to recognize the gift, and when it needs to be returned.

I am stronger and better for these realizations for not a tear sheds at separation, but instead a smile of gratitude emerges. Alhamdulillah.

Some quotes that hit the mark:








And Allah (SWT) knows best.

~ ubah


25 Current Thoughts on Relationships

بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

This post has been a long-time coming.

It seems that each year, Allah (SWT) has a particular theme or lesson for me to focus on. I’m starting to find it quite amazing; I consider it a blessing that these lessons and tests are being delivered to me in a the way that makes the most sense: categorized and clear. Indeed, Allah (SWT) certainly beautifully customizes the messages He sends to us in a way most befitting to our abilities to comprehend and understand.

If anything has become clear to me this year so far, it is not just the importance and significance of the relationships you keep in your life – including that with Allah (SWT) – but the role that you play in each relationship. Indeed, I believe that to be the most important thing for us to focus on: the way we are in the relationships we keep.

Often, we are so quick to make it about other people. It makes sense. It’s the defensive, human thing to do. But the people that are in your lives and the ways in which you relate to them speak the most about only one person: YOU.

And so, I would like to share some lessons I have learned and continue to learn in regards to relationships:

*Please note that the following points apply to all relationships in general. This could included familial, spousal, friendships, acquaintances, work-related, etc. 

  1. Our relationships to Allah (SWT) are fluid. Just like any family member or friend, we will have our ups and downs. Our good times and bad. However, with Allah (SWT) you will never be let down. Nor abandoned. Instead, you will be fully accepted as who you are, and for who you are. The divine connection is the true and complete definition of unconditional love. When you feel distant from Allah (SWT), ask yourself who moved. The answers will reveal everything you need to know about yourself and what you need to do to get back on track.
  2. Blood often is thicker than water. Your family are the only ones you can so consistently hurt and yet, they will be there to have your back. No matter what.
  3. As such, being merciless and unbecoming to your family members, especially your parents, is often to your own detriment.
  4. Your family will hurt you, indeed. And possibly, you will have been the one who was wronged, abused, neglected and so forth. It’s important to accept this reality in order for you to heal and decide the ways in which you want to respond to the hurt you’ve been dealt by the ones closest to you.
  5. Letting go of expectations is key. Expectations are often at the root of your suffering. When you expect your parents, siblings, distant relatives, friends, kids, significant others, etc. to treat you in precisely the way in which you deserve, you are setting yourself up for hurt instantly. I’m learning that true love expresses itself after the storm. That is, expect the storm to come and when it does, forgive those who have wronged you out of their shortcomings, not yours. That is love.
  6. At the same time, reasonable expectations and healthy boundaries aren’t a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with asserting yourself in your relationships by asking for what you need or stating the ways in which you’ve been hurt. That’s actually a very healthy way of communicating yourself to others. However, remember that the way you approach others or react to their confrontation is key. The way they react to you, however, is on them and not you.
  7. You control the gates to your life. What that means is that you have total power over who you let into your life. Besides direct family, of course, it is healthy to filter out those who you may think will be a drain on you emotionally and spiritually, while letting in those you know will do the opposite.
  8. As such, the people you keep in your life are a direct reflection of the type of person you are. This is clear because we keep people in our lives to fill certain needs. The people you keep, then, are representative of the needs you harbour inside. This can be healthy, such as companionship. Or unhealthy, such as filling the void left behind by a past hurt or abandonment without actually healing from it.
  9. When it comes to family, things get tricky. What our deen teaches is to be honourable even to those who have been dishonourable to us – especially if they are family. You can’t get rid of your family, but you can control the amount you allow them to influence your life. How?
  10. Define yourself not by what the people tell you, but what you know to be true about yourself in the sight of Allah (SWT). That is, take both praise and criticism from others with a grain of salt. Indeed, there is a lesson to be learned from both. For instance, I just listened to a lecture by Br. Nouman Ali Khan who mentioned that Allah (SWT) may be sending you a message through a person’s criticism of you. Placing the relationship you have with Allah (SWT) above all else will help free you from the shackles of other’s comments and opinions of you.
  11. Don’t hold your feelings in. Someone with whom you have a genuine relationship will accept that you are upset with them and strive to rectify the conflict. Harbouring difficult feelings leads to internal turmoil. But measuredly letting a person know the ways you have felt wronged by them frees you.
  12. The way in which they react to your emotional honesty, however, tells you about them. Someone who values you will not get overly defensive or cold after having wronged you. They will acknowledge their shortcoming and/or how they have hurt you.
  13. Those who don’t acknowledge their shortcomings tell you everything you need to know about your relationship. Don’t take it too hard when you realize your relationship was built on a brittle foundation. Thank Allah (SWT) for opening your eyes instead.
  14. Indeed, make constant dua that Allah (SWT) sends people who are sincere and genuine into your life. What might amaze you is that as you keep making such duas, you’ll find certain people dropping out of your life like flies. Rejoice!
  15. Be prepared to let others in. Relationships, whatever kind they are, have the potential to flourish and lead to so much goodness. Don’t let the scars of the past cause your heart to surrender to the pain. Be open-hearted and genuine. Allah (SWT) will certainly send you those who are as well.
  16. Notice the type of people that you attract into your life. This will tell you a lot about yourself. For instance, I have noticed that I tend to attract individuals who are emotionally unavailable, going through harsh conflicts in their lives, are very insecure, or are victims (or just have very strong victim mentalities). Basically, people who clearly need some type of therapeutic healing. As such, it is no coincidence that I am working on my way to becoming a therapist, iA. It actually makes so much sense. My personal psychologist (a journey which I’ll detail in the future), opened my eyes to the fact that I often wear my therapist hat everywhere I go. I’m a natural healer – I want people to be okay. In the process, however, I’ve realized that in many of my relationships, my needs were no longer being met. The relationships became very one-sided, with me spending most of our get-togethers fighting another person’s problems. By realizing the type of people I tend to attract, I’ve also…
  17. …realized the type of people I avoid. These tend to be those who have dominant, strong and sometimes domineering personalities. By letting such people in my life, however, I’ve been able to see the human behind the personality quirks. Not all boisterous individuals are terrible (draining to be around though? Definitely), and not all quiet individuals are genuine.
  18. Indeed, people will often surprise you. Never, EVER, judge a book by its cover.
  19. When you are in hardship, or having a bad day, you will see people’s true colours. Some will repel you, while others will treat you gently and possibly even seek what’s troubling you.
  20. People are in your life for BOTH a season and a reason. One of the most empowering things for me has been coming to complete acceptance that every, and I mean every, relationship in my life will come to an end, whether it be through death, conflict, separation, or the movement in different directions. If we have healthy and fruitful relationships with the same people throughout our life, then all praise and thanks is due to our Lord for such a blessing. If we don’t, then we praise and thank our Lord again. I am absolutely convinced that every individual, whether you are related to them or not, whether you like them or not, enters your life to teach you something about YOURSELF. What to do, what not to do. How to be, how not to be. You name it. So take the lesson they offer you and do not despair too much, especially if your stakes in the relationship are not that high. Alhamdulillah for the season and the reason.
  21. The love of your parents for you is a unique love. It is the only love that comes closest to the Divine love for you. You will never find anyone on this Earth who will stand by your side during both your worst and best moments in the way that your parents will. Alhamdulillah. May Allah (SWT) truly have mercy on them as they have had mercy on us.
  22. Recognize when it’s time to let go. I used to suffer greatly from attachments. Especially attachments to other people.  Reading work on detachment, especially that of Sr. Yasmin Mogahed, as well as referring to the Islamic tradition which teaches detachment from the worldly life has really freed me from attaching myself to others. I find complete joy and peace in letting others go. I do not fret or regret. Instead, I understand that some people aren’t ready for a relationship with me or no longer deserve it. Or, distance between us would be the best way to go. Either way, I’m not afraid to let go.
  23. Not everyone deserves you. Not your time, nor your presence. You are a gift. As is your time. Be wise when deciding who to share yourself with, as not everyone deserves it nor will appreciate the present (yourself) you are offering them.
  24. Be careful about who you keep as company and how they affect your iman. Lately, I have found myself surrounded by individuals with super low iman. Now, I understand that their affair lies with Allah (SWT), and my duty is to be supportive, kind and accepting. However, without a doubt I have noticed that these individuals will inevitably rub off on you. That is, negative, pessimistic, and individuals struggling with their deen will somehow, intentionally or not, rub off on you. You will find yourself with lower iman and overall, a lower mood. As much as I’d love to be there for everyone, I’ve realized that my iman just isn’t worth it. Keeping a healthy distance and cordial behaviour is sometimes a must.
  25. Finally, know that there will be people who won’t be able to bear your success and good fortune. Beware of such people; many may be wolves masked in sheep’s clothing. Be very weary of who you share your good news with – if at all – and keep your tongue moist with the mu’awathain (last three surahs of the Qur’an) and other adkhaar prescribed for the evil eye. If you are persistent, be sure that Allah (SWT) will expose those who are insincere towards you. You may find yourself shocked, but have faith that you have been guided away from such individuals to something better.

And Allah (SWT) knows best.

~ ubah