When they fall, do not turn your face and scoff. Help them up.
What is one to do when the heart is saddened and the mind is frustrated?
There are times when things do not go the way we want them to. A bad grade after studying for months, not getting a job you felt you were well qualified for, the possibilities are truly endless. When the heart is saddened, when the mind is frustrated- those are our weakest, most vulnerable moments. When we find it difficult to trek through the lows no matter how many times we have encouraged others to soldier through their storms- that is when shaytaan is by our sides, ready to take us down. The second being a Muslim, a mu’min, becomes hard, the second you’re on the “losing” side- that is when it’s most important to believe and act like victory is just up ahead. When we struggle to keep our heads up and our backs bend and our knees ache with life’s burdens- that is when we must ignore the pain and look to sun and remember Allah SWT’s mercy. When it feels like the world is crashing down on us and we’re drowning in anxiety- that is when we must be optimistic. When your eyes are surrounded by dark circles and smiling is arduous- that is the time to remind yourself that better days will come. This is only temporary. Pain and hardship are only temporary. This dunya is only temporary. Yet Allah SWT gives glad tidings to the believers of a paradise that is eternal, that will long outlast any grief or frustration felt in this life.
One time somebody told me my name doesn’t sound “American,”
but I guess that somebody doesn’t know that I’m as American as it gets.
My blood cannot be confined to the boundaries of just one country.
I am the child of a culture that is rugged, yet poetic,
unrelenting, yet yeilding.
My skin is suffused with scrolls
filled with enough stories to roll out over seas-
sagas from generations past:
epics of war and peace, loss and love, trial and triumph, defeat and honor.
Yet I am a daughter of the American dream and a dollar,
Familiar with the fact that with every hardship there is ease,
that sometimes people purposely put themselves forth to be refined
and willingly volunteer to be shattered, splintered
in hopes that they, too, can one day, someday, be purified of all vices.
I have been born into a tradition of sleepless nights and textbook print swimming behind eyelids,
of giving your all when you feel like giving up.
And despite everyone who blindly asserts that you can’t be Muslim and America, or American and Muslim,
let them know that I am a part of the revolutionary generation:
the kids who know that Allah SWT can raise prodigies from the most crumbling of foundations,
that He makes flowers grow in deserts and diamonds in dirt.
We are kaleidescopes of experiences. Our minds are mazes echoing with distant and proximate memories- like halls reverberating with the sounds of laughter and tears. And encoded between the bricks are our tales of defeat and triumph. Engrained in the most hidden chambers of our heart are our worst fears, our most ambitious hopes. Multi-faceted and intricate, we are the products of divine work, each of us instilled with unmeasurable potential. Our bodies are super machines, the harmonious results of the cooperation and integration of billions of tiny components. We have all been bestowed with brains that can think, reason, and effortlessly translate thoughts into words and action. We have been gifted hearts that beat non-stop till the day we die- never taking a rest, never ceasing, even when we feel as though we cannot go any further. The master artistry displayed in our physical beings- in everything from our eyes to our hands to our feet- is awe-inspiring. Yet, we so often unjustly and cruelly slap onto ourselves harsh categorizations: