Just Do It

I’ve always loved the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” It is simple. Concise. To the point. Action filled. Commandative. Commandative. I just made up that word. It means command driven. Does it make sense? I think so.

“Just Do It,” is the antidote (Big word, I know! I had to make sure I was using it properly before using it here, lol.) to laziness, procrastination, and my all time favorite talking. We talk to make plans, to discuss issues and problems, the latest easy to make recipe you made, the newest gadget, the latest game, the people that are behind the issues and problems you mentioned earlier, the latest YouTube star, the latest Tasty video recipe . . . the list goes on and on.

If we were to actually track the amount of time we spend talking to friends, family, co-workers and fellow community members, how much time would that amount to? A few minutes or a couple of hours? Or a couple of hours everyday? What have you gained at the end of all of that talking? Usually . . . nothing.

There was this famous quote I learned some time back:

Small minds discuss people.

Average minds discuss events.

Great minds discuss ideas.

I remember thinking at the time, “Oh my gosh, me and my friends only discuss people and events, what ideas will we discuss?” Recently, I found a more refined version (from this blog article), which says:

Hurting minds discuss people.

Distracted minds discuss events.

Engaged minds illustrate ideas.

And I couldn’t agree more. My ears ache from all of the talking that is done in the community about people and events when that same amount of time and energy could have been put into discussing ideas to help those same people and avoid the same events/issues from happening. If we discuss the issues long enough, our minds may think we are finding a solution to the issue, when in reality, we are not. We are just adding more details to the stories we are saying (and Allah knows if those details and stories are true or not!).

Most of the time, talking gets us no where. We talk, we discuss, we find out what happened, then we do nothing. How do we break this cycle and become people of action, as is commendable in the Qur’an?

“Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer verily, to him We will give a good life, and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).” — Qur’an, Surat Al Nahl, verse 97

Here are 3 tips to take action and “Just Do It,” when engaging in conversations:

  1.  CUT THE CONVERSATION SHORT. If the event / situation is completely out of your control, you sense it is leading to backbiting, is not adding any value to your life, ask the person that is telling you the story, one of the following:
    • How would you like me to help? – Only say this if you genuinely would like to help fix the situation. If you don’t feel like fixing the situation, that is okay, don’t offer to help!
    • What will you do about this? – Ask the person telling you the story what actions they will take to remedy the situation.
  2. Avoid Discussing Future Plans. If you discuss future plans with close friends and family, the mind will actually think it has accomplished its goal! Have you ever told numerous people about the new diet you plan to begin, the new workout regiment you plan to follow, or the new restaurant you plan to try, but never followed through with any of that? It may be because your mind already thought you have achieved that goal! Save the discussion for when you DO accomplish your goal(s)!
  3. Stay Focused on the End Goal. The end goal in any conversation should be not to backbite. If you backbite during your conversation, your actually gifting the person you are speaking about, a bunch of your good deeds. In reality, you are only hurting yourself. The Prophet (saws) said,

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.”[Related by Muslim].

In this hadeeth, the Prophet (saws) gives two options for speech:

  1. Speak Good
  2. Remain Silent

Keep this hadeeth in the forefront of your mind whenever you engage in conversation. Don’t allow your time to be spent in useless speech that won’t benefit those you are discussing or benefit you on the Day of Judgement. Don’t ever belittle the action you plan to take, Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an:

“So their Lord accepted of them (their supplication and answered them), “Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female. You are (members) one of another . . .” — Qur’an, Surat Al Imran, verse 195

Make every deed count and make every conversation count.

First Things First!

What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? Do you reach for your phone, check the time or hit the snooze button? Or do you thank Allah? Do you thank Allah for having given you a new day, a new beginning, another day to take charge of your life and write another page?

Before we start any tasks for the day, we are taught to thank Allah (swt) by reciting the following doua:

“Praise is to Allah Who gives us life after He has caused us to die and to Him is the return.”

We thank Allah, for before this wakeful moment, for we were in temporary dead state, with our souls outside of our bodies as we slept through the night. Upon awakening, our souls are restored back to our bodies, and so we thank Allah (swt) who has chosen to restore us after that death.

So tomorrow morning, before you reach for your phone, take a moment and thank Allah (swt) for having restored your soul back into your body. This day is a blessing, it is another day, another chance to continue the story of your life. What will you write about today?

Go Fish

Bismillah.

Do you know the simplest and (in my opinion) best mechanism when someone throws you bait is? First, let me define what I mean by bait. Throughout life, bait may come in many forms, some of which may include: someone who comes and tries to stir up rivalry between you and a close friend, co-workers trying to rock the boat in the relationship between you and your manager, and my all-time favorite, a man that tries to get to know a single woman ‘unofficially.’ Before I get ahead of myself, let me define ‘unofficially.’ Unofficially in my book (and you could totally feel free to disagree with me, but this is my opinion) means a guy who tries to keep the conversation going, just to get to know you, without making it clear what he wants.

We live in a time and age that there are many forms of communication and hence many forms, shapes and sizes of bait that may come. The bait may come in the form of a casual email, a Facebook message, a text message, a comment here and there, etc. Now I am not saying a man and a woman should never communicate or that all communication is haram, but what you choose to talk about, becomes the deciding factor. I actually think it is super healthy for the mental well-being of men and women to communicate so that their sense of awareness and maturity may grow and develop by communicating with those who have complete opposite ways of thinking, feeling and processing than themselves. However, how are we communicating and what are we communicating about? Is it an intellectual conversation about the needs of our community and how we should go about solving them or are we sharing our emotional pains, with neither of us having the tools to help the other? We must always keep in mind who we are trying to please. Is it our nafs (our lower self) or is it the Creator of our nafs?

When we share with another man (in the case of woman) and share with another woman (in the case of a man) our wounds, our greatest accomplishments and our daily struggles, we are confining and connecting with that individual at a deeper level than ‘casual.’ We must monitor what we share with others because what we share with others determines the depth of our relationship with that other person. Are we going from talking about the next masjid project or last week’s MSA meeting, to how stressed you are about your upcoming two exams and how your cousin is about to get married and you don’t know how to dress because this other person is going to be there? What may start off as being a casual, “Hey what’s up? How are you doing?” conversation can very easily turn into, “This is the whole of me, my wounds and my accomplishments.”

In this case, who threw the bait? Was it the guy you were talking to? Or the girl you just stopped to say hello to? Or was it shaytan? Most definitely it was shaytan. Shaytan will take every opportunity he can get, to make you mess up. Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an:

“And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed, Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.” (Surat Al-Israa’, verse 53)

To mess with your emotions and make you dependent on someone else (a random guy you’re going to school with, a coworker, a teacher). Someone else who doesn’t have the means to help you (isn’t a therapist or a life coach) and someone who isn’t your mahram (a male relative in your family, whom you can’t marry). Hence shaytan creates this emotional relationship between you and this guy (or this girl) in a matter of minutes of having a conversation with that person.

What should a person do when they find themselves in the middle of a conversation and they noticed the conversation going from next week’s MSA event to how I’m dealing with my family issues (aka they notice the bait)? The simples and easiest way that I have found to deal with this issue is to act stupid. Yup, act stupid. What do I mean? When you notice the bait, recognize it, acknowledge it, and totally disregard it. The person you’re talking with might not get the hint that your avoiding the bait, so you continue on your way, and ignore the bait. Let me give you an example. Last week you met with a classmate and one thing led to another and you found yourself discussing with him how hard it is for you to be a Muslim going to school here and everyday it’s a struggle. You didn’t notice the bait the first time you were having the conversation so you took it once it was thrown to you, you discussed details of your struggle’s and your hopes and dreams of when you wouldn’t have to face these issues anymore. You see your classmate again in the library, he stops by to say hello, and to see how your classes are going and then asks how things are going for you on campus (since the last time you spoke, you expressed details of things with him). This is more bait. More bait from none other than shaytan. Recognize it, acknowledge it, don’t touch upon it, don’t elaborate. When your classmate asks, say things are good and smile. He/she may ask follow-up more detailed questions (which is totally understandable and it is coming from a good place, the person may genuinely care about your wellbeing), always answer in the same way, things are good/great/wonderful and smile. Basically, end the conversation as soon as you can.

Why do I suggest you do this? For your own, internal, well-being. You deserve to share your feelings, hopes, aspirations and everyday struggles, but with certain people only. Those who have proven they genuinely care and are part of your life for the long term. All these short term emotional attachments are not healthy for your internal well-being. You deserve to share these details with people in your life, but those whom are there, your family, close friends of the same gender, and of course your spouse. The relationship between a husband and wife is so special, so deep and so intimate that Allah (swt) describes it in the Qur’an as both of them being clothes for the other! What is the closest thing to your physical body? It is your clothes, your garments, that which adorns you and hides your faults and weaknesses! Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” (Surat Al-Baqarah, verse 187)

I can go on and on about spouses, so let’s leave that discussion for another day. For now, my only suggestion is, don’t take the bait. Remember who is throwing it!

Love in Cancun

Before I tell you about the book, let me tell you how I found out about the book! I was on a visit to meet an old co-worker in New York City because she had recently undergone surgery and I hadn’t seen her in years (practically). She is such a sweet and kind soul, she invited all of her younger friends that same day. She knew I would enjoy their company and she wanted me to meet them. There I met Bisma.

It always amazes me how I meet someone for the first time and the conversation just rolls. We spoke about so many different things that day, from our struggles to our hopes and then (my all-time favorite topic) the power of doua. She then pointed out to me, Love in Cancun. She said she had just went to a “meet the author” type of event in New York and there she met Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi the author of Love in Cancun. Ganiyah spoke about the parts of her book that were based on actual events and which parts were based on events that happened later. I remember vividly Bisma sharing the story of how Ganiyah actually met her future husband and how it was exactly how she wanted it to happen and exactly what she had been making doua for it to happen.

Fast forward a few months later, I start working for ICNA Relief, a domestic relief organization focused on building transitional houses, food pantries and free health clinics all throughout the country. I reached out to Bisma to ask her for the name of the name of the book, because we were having our annual fundraising banquet themed “The Power of the Pen,” and I wanted to reach out to Ganiyah to support our cause by providing us signed copies of her book. A few weeks later, we received five copies of the book mashaAllah.

Finally getting the book and being able to read it, I was excited to have my own personal (signed!) copy! The poem entitled Life, which Ganiyah used to open up the book with, just spoke to me. I didn’t just relate to what she said, but was actually coming to the same conclusions she stated so beautifully in the poem, I knew I would totally relate to her six-days in Cancun vacation.

From her thoughts on what ‘others’ thought of her fully dressed in over 90-degree weather, to her enjoying the fresh ocean breeze from her balcony, to her night time walks on the beach, I related to her every move, her every reflection and it almost felt like I went on the trip with her! Through the book I learned the importance of hitting the pause button in life and to gather one’s thoughts, dreams and hopes for the future, no matter how unconventional it seems to others.

My favorite part, was of course related to the title of the book Love in Cancun. It happened at the most unexpected place and at the most unexpected moment, but she embraced the idea with an open mind and of course an open heart. Even though the moment she found love was expected, it was the most perfect timing for her and for him. That is exactly how doua works. It comes at the most unexpected moments but it always comes in the most perfect moment. That is the power of Allah’s planning if we trust His plan.

The way Ganiyah ended the book was like icing on the cake. It not only spoke to me, but it reaffirmed to me and it was almost like an affirmation that I am on the right track and I have the support of Ganiyah herself. She says, “I pray that Love in Cancun inspires you to connect with your soul. And I hope it inspires you to speak greatness, love and success into your existence because, as I found out after writing this book, your biggest dreams can and will come true if you believe.” Then she states the most liberating (yet scariest) thing, “Thank you so much for reading my story, it’s now time to write yours.”

Will I respond to her request? Only time will tell. For now, I will doua it.

Route 80

PART I

Earlier this week, I was conducting an interview with a psychologist (I must say it was a very interesting interview, the study of the human mind / brain always fascinates me), for work, and I was about thirty minutes from home. After the interview I was debating whether to head back to the office or head back home and work from home. It would be an hour drive to the office and only half an hour back home. I really preferred going back to the office because I would get more work done there than I would at home (too many distractions!). On the way to the interview, my car was giving me problems…nothing new. So my mind kept going back and forth, office or home, office or home. I hate being indecisive because I feel like I put more energy in the decision than in the action!

Can you remember a time of complete indecisiveness? Maybe you were getting ready to go out with a group of friends and you couldn’t decide if you wanted to go with a “BAM, I just arrived” all out look or with a more mellow, “Hey I’m here, what’s up?” kinda look? At the end, did you just wish you just made a quicker decision?

First I decided office, then when I realized how much time I would spend commuting, I decided home. I set the GPS to take me home. Two minutes later, I pulled over and reset the GPS to take me to work, all I could think of was all the distractions I would face when I got home, and I didn’t want to deal with them. After about five minutes I found myself on Route 80 and my car was starting to slow down, even as I hit the acceleration. I quickly decided to pull over and see why my car was doing that. As soon as I pulled over, my car completely shut down. I turned off the ignition and turned it on, a muffled sound and nothing more. Again I turned off the ignition and turned it back on, again, a muffled sound and nothing more. All I could think of was, Alhamdulillah this happened on the shoulder and not twelve feet over to my left, on the right lane of the highway!

I called my mechanic and I decided the best thing to do was to tow it, it probably wasn’t an easy fix. I looked up the nearest towing company to where I was in the middle of the highway on Route 80, and I found a towing company about 3 miles from where I was, Alhamdulillah. I decided to go with them. It was cold, the heat in my car wasn’t working, and I was not dressed warm enough to withstand all of this cold air. As I waited in my car for the tow truck to arrive, the car would sway towards the right from the effects of the wind of the passing cars and trucks. I decided, let me read a few pages of Qur’an, something I aim to accomplish daily, as I wait for the tow truck to arrive. The office mentioned it would not take more than thirty minutes, but from my experience, those thirty minutes could very easily be an hour.

In less than 15 minutes I heard the beep beep beep sound of the tow truck backing up in front of me. I was so thankful because I was sitting in my cold car trying not to be upset at my heat not working. Instead, I tried to be thankful for all of the times it was working. I took this moment to reflect, sometimes Allah (swt) takes something away so we could remember the value of it. We get sick, so we become more thankful for our health. Remember the last time you had a stuffy / congested nose? After you got over it, were you not more thankful for all the days you were not congested? Or even worse, a runny nose! After one day exactly, when I have a runny nose, my nose gets super red and it pains me when I use a tissue. SubhanaAllah, after every congestion, runny nose, or cold, I become more thankful for my nose (something I never even think about on a regular basis!).

Enough about runny noses, back to my “stranded on Route 80 story.” As the tow truck driver is getting his truck ready to lift my car, I get out of the car to say hello, I’m thinking of how to make the oncoming awkward car ride back home, less awkward by at least saying hello. He asks what happened, I reiterate the story to him, and he asks, “So it’s not turning on?” I respond, “Nope.” He nods okay. I ask if he needs me to do anything, because now its colder outside on the side of the highway (and the cold wind of the passing cars is really getting to me now), and he says, no “You could take a seat in the truck.” As I was walking to the truck, I decided, I don’t want this to be an awkward thirty-minute car ride home, I have to try to make conversation with this guy. For an introvert like me, I plan my “extroverted” moments so that it is less awkward and comes off more natural. (Maybe I can write a post in the future about the secret life of introverts.)

This will be my first time riding in a tow truck.

I’ll let you know in my Route 80 – Part II post how the car ride goes!

Inspiration from Du’a

Coming soon…a list of inspirational sayings about the power of du’a.

Share your story!

Bismillah! Would you like the opportunity to get published and contribute to a sadaqah jariyah (ongoing charity)? Here is your opportunity to contribute to the My Beloved series!

The My Beloved series is a set of 3 books, each book relating Allah’s Names and Attributes to everyday life. The book series is very unique in that it uses stories (from everyday life!) to relate to and tie it into and explain a Name(s) of Allah. A hadeeth or ayah is also referenced and explained, however the main focus for each chapter is the story. The story will inshAllah help the reader relate to the Name of Allah and understand how to apply it. Each book will only have a set number of chapters which will be contributions from the community. The stories are very simple and to the point and best of all, you don’t need to worry about editing!

At the end of each story there is a “Self-Reflection” section, in which readers are guided on a way to self-reflect on their own personal life. The self-reflection is connected to the Name of Allah mentioned in the chapter. There is also a “I Want to Soar” section in which an action item is suggested to apply the Name of Allah in their everyday life.

If you’re interested in contributing, please review the guidelines for submission below, a list of Names of Allah to choose from, and details of compensation for your time if your story is selected to be featured in the My Beloved book series.

Guidelines for Submission for to the My Beloved book series:

  • A story from My Beloved is a true story from your own personal life in which you relate a Name or Attribute of Allah to a real life incident or moment. It can be inspirational, reflective, courageous or funny.
  • The story must fall into one of the following topics: high school/college years, loss/death, drugs/fitnah, opposite gender, hijab, love/marriage, or rizq/money/career.
  • The story must explain the Name of Allah and tie it back to an ayah or hadeeth in which the Name of Allah is mentioned. You may include one to two names of Allah within the same chapter. If the Name of Allah that you would like to use has an opposite, it would be a great idea to include it in the same chapter. i.e. Al-Fattah (The Opener) and Al-Qabid (The Withholder). If the Name of Allah has another name that is frequently mentioned together in the Qur’an you may choose to include that name as well. But each name must be explained in detail and follow the same guidelines.
  • Each chapter should be between 1200 and 1600 words total (including the “Self-Reflection” and “I Want to Soar”).
  • The beginning of the chapter will have an opening quote. This could be any quote that is related to your story. (If you would like us to choose a quote, we can do that!)
  • The “Self-Reflection” sections: Choose a way for the readers to self-reflect on their own life with regards to the Name of Allah that you chose in your chapter.
  • The “I Want to Soar” section: Choose an action item for your readers to take. Suggest a time frame in which they should get it done. This action item should also be related to the Name of Allah that you chose to explain in your chapter.
  • Include a paragraph description of your background. This description will be included in the book when it is published.
  • After your submission is selected to be included in the book series, we will have it reviewed by an editor. You will be notified of the changes made and will have a chance to review the final version of the story before the book gets published.

Compensation for Published Submissions

  • For each publication, every contributor will be compensated with $250 and 5 printed copies of the book. Both the monetary compensation and printed copy of the books shall be given to the contributors after the first year of publication. 
  • You will become part of the My Beloved contributors and part of the “Project Illumination” tribe. Project Illumination is a group of ordinary people who choose to give back (even if it’s just a little bit) to the overall community. Remember the saying of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): “Convey from me, even if it be an Ayah…” We may not be scholars or immensely knowledgeable people, but each person has some knowledge which they can share. James Keller once said, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” Each of us is a candle that holds some light which can be shared with another person. We believe you have a beautiful light waiting to be shared with the world.
  • Submissions must be received by December 31, 2020. Please email word documents to: projectillumination1.0@gmail.com

Available List of Names and Attributes to Choose from:

  • Al Ahad – The One and Only
  • Al Wahid – The One
  • Al-Malik – The King, The Owner
  • Al-Quddus – The Pure of Defects Possessor of Barakah
  • Al Salaam – The Source of Peace
  • Al-Qahhar – The Perpetual One that Overcomes All
  • Al-Raqib – The Ever Watchful
  • Al-Shahid – The Witness
  • Al-Khabir – The All Aware
  • Al-Sami – The Hearing
  • Al-Basir – The Seeing
  • Al-Wasi – The Boundless / The All Embracing
  • Al-Muhaymin – The Guardian / The One Who is entrusted
  • Al-Muhsi – The Knower of Each Thing Separately
  • Al Hakim – The Wise, The Judge, The Ruler
  • Al-Kabir – The Great
  • Al-Mutakabbir – The Supreme
  • Dhu al-Jalal wa al-Ikram – The Lord of Bounty and Honor
  • Al-Jalil – The Majestic
  • Muta’ali – The Exalted
  • Al-Maajid – The All-Noble One
  • Malik al-Mulk – The Possessor of Absolute Sovereignty
  • Al-Mughni – The Enricher
  • Al-Nafi – He Who Benefits
  • Al-Muqsit – The Just One
  • Al-Adl – The Embodiment of Justice
  • Al-Hasib – The Reckoner, the Sufficer
  • Al-Wajid – The Resourceful
  • Al-Nur – The Light
  • Ar-Rasheed – The Guide to Path of Rectitude
  • Al-Nasir – The Helper
  • Al-Qabid – The Withholder
  • Al-Basit – The Giver of Abundance
  • Al-Khafidh – The Abaser
  • Al-Rafi – The Exalter
  • Al-Mu’izz – The Honourer
  • Al Muzil – The Abaser
  • Al-Muhyi – The Giver of LIfe
  • Al Mumit – The Slayer
  • Al Muqaddim – The Expediter
  • Al-Mu’akhkhir – The Deferrer
  • Al-Muntaqim – The Retaliator
  • Al-Jaami’ – The Assembler of Scattered Creations
  • Al-Maani’ – The Preventer
  • Ad-Daar – The Distressor
  • Al-Haqq – The Truth
  • Al-Mo’min -The Faithful
  • Al-Shafi – The Healer
  • Al-Hayyiyy – The Possessor of Modesty
  • Al-Warith – The Inheritor
  • Al-Ghaniyy – Free of Need & Want
  • Al-Zahir –  The Manifest
  • Al-Batin – The Hidden
  • Al-Hayy – The Ever Living
  • Al-Qayyum – The Sustainer & Maintainer of every soul
  • Al-Awwal – The First
  • Al-Akhir – The Last
  • Al-Baqi – The Everlasting
  • Al-Fattah – The Opener
  • Al-Khafidh – The Abaser
  • Al-Tayyib – The Pure / The Good
  • Al-‘Adhim – The Great
  • Al Khallaq – The Perpetual Creator
  • Al-Mubin – The Evident
  • Al-Witr – The Indivisible
  • Rafi’ al-Darajat – The Exalter of Status
  • Al-Mannan – The Benefactor
  • Dhu al-Tul – The Possessor of Munificence
  • Al-Muhit – The All Encompassing
  • Al-Jawad – The Magnanimous
  • Dhu al Fadl – The Possessor of Grace
  • Dhu al-Ma’arij – The Lord of the Ways of Ascent
  • Al-Subbuh – The Most Glorified
  • Al-Sayyid – The Noble One
  • Al-Waali – The Holder of Supreme Authority
  • Al Samad – The Self Sufficient
  • Al-Hafi – The Most Gracious
  • Al-Sammad – The Eternal
  • Al-Mudhill – He Who Humbles
  • Al-Mu’min – The Giver of Security
  • Al-Fatir – The Bringer into Existence
  • Al-Badi – The Originator
  • Al-Hafiz or Al-Mani – The Preserver or The Protector
  • Al-Rafiq – The Gentle

The Morning Miracle

My first critique of the book is its title. I would suggest that they rename it, “The Morning Warrior.”

I stumbled upon this book when I was looking to get my time (and essentially my life) more organized and to start to really begin to become a morning person. Now I know what you will most likely say right now, “I am not a morning person!” I know, I know, neither was I. There was nothing more enjoyable than jumping right back into bed after praying fajr. The day that I would attempt to stay up after fajr I was always groggy, tired and essentially miserable.

Almost all of the personal development books and lectures I listened to always iterated the same thing, all successful people are early risers, so I eventually accepted that I need to get this “morning routine” idea down. So my quest led me to look up books about becoming a morning person, and hence how I stumbled upon “The Morning Miracle.”

Hal Elrod had me sold at the tagline: “The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM).” That was exactly what I was looking for.

From the very first chapter, it was like this book was written specifically for me. Hal starts off by talking about the effects of the mindset you have before you even start. If you think this routine will work, it will work. If you think you can never get this morning routine down, then you will never get a morning routine down. Then he prescribes a remedy for the snooze syndrome, which we are all guilty of having.

Then he speaks about the importance of having a purpose and a drive to waking up. A drive that is stronger and more desirous than sleeping in for another few hours. A drive that would make you want to jump out of bed in the morning! If you have one, then great, if you don’t, it is highly recommended to take some time and think about what your talents are and what goals you want to set for yourself.

Then he gives you his secret formula to creating and maintaining a thrilling morning routine that will literally transform your life and most importantly your productivity, all before 8 am! As Hal says, “Not all hours of the day are the same.” The morning routine touches upon the following aspects: silence, affirmations, visualizations, exercise, reading, and scribing.

After testing his morning routine out for the past two weeks, he is 100% correct. Not all hours of the day are the same. The morning times are much more clearer and easier to get a lot more work done in.

Most importantly, we have the dua of our Prophet (saws),

It was narrated from Sakhr Al-Ghamidi that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:”O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e., what they do early in the morning).”

so imagine every morning having the blessings of The Prophets dua for whatever you do in those early hours. How productive will your mornings be? There is only one way to find out, try it out yourself!

If your already a morning person, what drives you to wake up early? If you’ve read the book, what were thoughts on it?

Welcome! Ahlan Wa Sahlan!

Welcome to my page!

Your probably like, what is this blog about? Well let me tell you. It’s how our lives are so intricately ingrained in doua and how if we can perfect our douas we can live a life we only dreamed of.

Why Once Upon a Wish?

Well first you need to understand the meaning of my name. Amaney means wishes in Arabic. I’ve always loved my name and the meaning behind my name. Only recently have I made the connection between my name wishes, and why I love to dream big.

I’ve realized everything that I currently have in my life was once a wish, then a dream, which I then turned into a doua, which then became, by the will of Allah, a reality.  I would love to share my wishes and dreams with you…and would love for you to share yours with me!

I’m a stickler for the saying, “everything is possible.” I wholeheartedly believe that the only thing standing between me and my biggest dreams is an accepted doua.

Everything is possible, if we truly believe it to be.

My Purpose

I believe in purpose. That everyone and everything is in your life for a purpose. That I have a purpose and that you have a purpose. And that there is a purpose to you coming to my page. That there is a purpose to you reading these words off the screen right now.

What is my purpose? For now, it is to share my reflections on life with you and to learn from you. I believe that everyone has something amazing to contribute to society, that everyone has a purpose, that the only reason you may not be contributing right now is because you haven’t discovered your uniqueness yet. But trust me, you have something beautiful to give!

August 27th, 2015

Thursday, August 27th, 2015 is when I walked away. I walked away from my career, my job, my steady form of income; to what? To nothing. No plans, but a break.

Two weeks prior I had walked into my big bosses office (yeah the BIG boss, not my regular boss, but the big boss that hired me, yup that one) and told him of my plans of not coming into work after 2 weeks. It was mid-August on a Thursday (I made sure I gave them their 2-weeks notice that is standard in corporate America), and told him, I am quitting, I need time for myself, I need to figure my life out…and hey you never know…maybe in December I might come in again and ask for a job, because right now I have no plan, but to get out!

I had reached a point in my life (after 7.5 years of the corporate engineering world) where all I knew was that I wanted OUT. It was interesting to see different people’s reactions to my decision. My parents of course weren’t too happy…but they still allowed me to make it (take note parents . . . or future parents!). My siblings reaction was kinda like, “okay, let’s see what happens after 3-4 months with Amaney.” My extended family, were kinda like, “O.K.” You know that weird, one eye-brow up, “O.K.”, yup, that one. My friends, they were supportive. My co-workers, they were supportive, but couldn’t understand. How can I NOT have a plan? How will I survive? But Allah (swt) has and always will be Al-Razaq (the One that Provides), right? Or do we secretly rely on our jobs and careers to provide for us?

June 2018 I had just received the news that I passed my PE, a great milestone in any engineers career (more on the feeling of failure when I did not pass the first time I sat for the test, in another post!). But it didn’t matter as much because I had already made the decision I was going to leave the company (another reason people thought I was crazy!).

Fast forward a few months after making my decision to leave, I knew I had made the right decision. How? I did not regret it one bit. Not one day did I wake up and say, man, I miss going into the office and working on those projects. The people, the insider jokes of engineers (as geeky as they were) were cute and fun, so yes I missed that. But the actual work and the projects, nope not for one-minute.

Fast forward two years after making the decision, I realized I was a good engineer (I mean I was able to keep the job for years, right?). I was living an “okay” life. Is that enough tho? I mean I would go out for dinner with friends about once a week, always kept my weekends full with either outings with friends or family, and then showed up to work again on Monday morning. Isn’t that enough? I mean I had a good paycheck coming in every two weeks.

How do I know that a good paycheck is not enough? That a panned out career is not enough? Because I took the other crazy decision in my life to work for a non-profit (who leaves a job in corporate to work in a non-profit, right?). And I could not have been happier, Alhamdulillah. It’s been 10 months, and when I compare my first 10 months in the engineering world and the non-profit world, two completely different experiences! Half the time I forget that this is work. That helping people and planning events that bring resources to people is work. That work can be fun (most of the time!), that work can entail going to the masjid to pray, to having meetings to discuss big ideas on how to bring programs to communities in need.

Now, on my third anniversary of making my decision, it has all come clear to me (it came clear to me a few months ago, but that’s okay, we’ll make believe it became clear to me now). I can be “good” at a lot of things in life, at math, at reading, writing, speaking, organizing, etc. Do I have to go work for the highest paid position? Or do I pursue a career in something that I am passionate about? Something I am good at, but I also absolutely love doing!?

I’d like to quickly address any parents that may be reading this. I understand and respect that you want the best for your child, that you may see their strengths better than they do, but please understand, that your child would be their best self, when they are working in a field that they love. So please allow them the leeway to explore the career that would make them happy.

For the students that may be reading this, don’t ever forget, this is your life. You bear the fruits of your decisions and the consequences of it as well. Nobody can make you do anything, you always allow them to make decisions on your behalf. Take responsibility for your actions and your life’s decision. After all you will be the one that will be living it, no one else.

Final thoughts, I regret no decisions I have made. Alhamdulillah I am in a place where I believe everything that has come, was what was the absolute best for me at that time, and what is yet to come will be what is best for me at that time. If you continuously ask of the Most Merciful, then be firm that the Most Merciful has always been giving you that which is best for you!

“O Allah, there is no ease…”

“O Allah, there is no ease other than what You make easy. If You please, You ease sorrow.”

Our happiest moments are gifts from Al-Wahab (the Perpetual Gift Giver) and our saddest moments are tests from Al-Latif (the Subtly Acquainted), and in each is a sign to turn us back to Allah (swt). Our happiest moments are there to remind us to be grateful for all that Allah (swt) has given us and remember that everything comes from Him. That we will always be indebted to all of the favors and blessings He has bestowed on us. Our saddest moments are there so we can turn more earnestly to Him, to Al-Latif (the Subtly Acquainted), the One who knows the details of our situation better than we do.

In those sad moments, it is He, Allah (swt), who can take away your sadness. It is He who can ease your pains. It is He who is Al-Jabbar, the Mender of Broken Hearts, that we turn to rebuild that which was broken. And that which is rebuilt by Al-Rahman Al-Raheem is restored stronger than before. So for those times of pain, call out to Allah, “O Allah, there is no ease other than what You make easy. If You please, You ease sorrow.”

Ya Jabbar, ya Rahman, ya Raheem, ya Lateef, mend, restore and rebuild every heart that is broken, ease the pain of this ummah, forgive the ummah’s sins through the trials that is it is going through and allow us to come back stronger than before. Ameen.

“Rabi inny lima anzaltu illaya faker!”

“My Lord, whatever good you may bestow on me, indeed I am in need.”

This beautiful douas comes from the Qur’an. It is the doua of Musa (as) and it was made at a time when he was fled from his homeland and was with no job and no family. No financial support and no emotional support, yet he understood that everything comes in our lives is from One source and what is taken is also taken from One source. And so, Musa (as) made this doua, acknowledging Allah as his Lord and that all source of goodness comes from Him. So Musa (as) seeks from his Lord and his Lord alone, saying, “Whatever good you may bestow on me, indeed I am in need.”

So within the same day, Allah (swt), the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth responds with a job offer and a marriage proposal. Allahu Akbar!

“Rabi Zidney ‘ilma”

“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (20:114)

This doua is very unique in that it is the only doua in the Qur’an which asks Allah (swt) an increase in something, and that something that we are taught to seek an increase in is knowledge. Why knowledge? It seems like it’s the last thing a person would ask Allah (swt) to increase them in. Because through knowledge so many doors and gates can be opened for a person that may have otherwise been shut. A very simple example is that of a person seeking a job that would bring in a good monthly income in which a person can spend easily on themselves and others. In order to secure a good paying job a person needs a very fine skill set or a higher educational degree, both of which “knowledge” based.

There is a beautiful hadeeth the shows the superiority of the person that seeks knowledge and the blessings that come with that:

Abud-Darda (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Jannah easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.”

[Abu Dawud and At- Tirmidhi].

No Calamities!

We are taught to recite this doua three times in the morning and three times in the evening. The Prophet (saws) has said, that whoever recites it in the morning will not be afflicted by any calamity before evening, and whoever recites it in the evening will not be afflicted by any calamity before morning! What a powerful doua!

The doua says:

“In the Name of Allah, Who with His name nothing can cause harm in the earth nor in the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”

As you recite this doua, reflect on who you are seeking protection from the calamities of everyday life. It is none other than the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in between them! So then, it is very easy for Him to protect you, for you are seeking for the sole source. Seek and be firm in your seeking, because of Who you are seeking from!