Changing For You, Or Because of You?

Dear readers: if you are a woman, proceed to read as is. If you are a man, feel free to replace every term “woman” with “man” (and vice versa), “sisters” with “brothers”, and “she” with “he”… this post will still remain completely relevant and applicable.

As If Paint Splattered

Dear sisters:

I do not know very much, but I do know this… A man may change for two reasons: for the woman, or because of her. There is a difference, if you’ll pause to think about it.

For

When he changes for her, it implies that had he not met her, the idea of personal change would not have occurred in the first place. It means that he thinks of reform to please her, because he knows that her acceptance of him is conditional on that missing character element. But this does not necessitate that he truly believes he should be this way in any case; it is with the intention of just to appease another. And sooner or later, he can – and often does – easily unravel to return home to his former self; his real self that never actually changed on the inside, which the outside had misled her to falsely assume.

Because

Now when a man changes because of a woman… this is a man who has been electrically inspired, or positively influenced, by a woman as she is… and being who she is, her existence encourages him to strive for what he also believes he should be. His change is deep, real, and courageous, because he does it from an inner conviction and successfully conquers his inner demons that had prevented him from changing earlier. Yet with or without her, he would have sought it out anyways – this inner good that was hidden from the world – and meeting her simply acted as a catalyst for that change, and likely many more. As they grow together in age, so will they grow together in their emotional and spiritual growth, for they have a shared divine vision; a vision that she believes in, that he believes in. His change is more than trying to sweep a lady off her feet. It is firmly rooted in something genuine.

But…

Story after novel after movie, we are shown how the “good” woman falls for the “bad” guy and yet luckily for her, he willingly changes to become the dashing man of her dreams. Rarely do we see the male character as delving back to his darker mood swings, his inconsiderate behaviors in the case of a dispute or typical argument; oh no! He is changed for good. (Thanks to the damsel’s graciously beautiful self, of course.)

Due to these constant messages we are bombarded with, young women, real women seeking real relationships, can be found trying to implement this “romantic” idea in their partners. Hence, a “good” girl will be attracted to a “bad” boy not because he is everything she’s not, but because she is everything he can be; because she hopes that he will change, for her. To her, this proves he is really in love with her, and once superficially changed on the outside to win her over, she is convinced he will ever remain the new and improved changed, good fellow.

Honey.

.

Don’t let the media and music industry lull you into false security where there are clear red danger signs. Many a man full of unpleasant and terrible traits is still charmingly able to put on an act – the act of a better man, a gentleman – and charm you by saying that you changed him. This will make your heart melt a little, as he knows it will. But what you need to shed light on – did he change for you, or because of you?

For me, because of me… what’s the difference?

It’s great that you realize there is a difference to begin with. In summary:

If he changes because of you, then thank your merciful God that He has chosen you to be an illuminating light and source of beautiful ease for someone’s difficult dark path. If your heart was already in it, then don’t be afraid to go ahead and give this sincere gentleman with the right intentions the love and support only you can uniquely give.

But if he has merely changed for you, and not for himself… not for God… then be very, very cautious. He may revert to his old ways at any time, and extinguish your light as he shatters the lamp that was your heart in the confusing process. And then you’ll realize… I should’ve known. He only changed for me, not because of me.

~

So most of my posts emphasize the wisdom of the heart’s instinct, but where your heart’s security itself is at risk, you’ll need to trust that overly rational, analytical, slightly dry voice that lives in your mind more and more. If it makes it any easier, just remember:

The mind can know precisely what is the case, but the heart is usually a little behind. Be patient with yourself; eventually it’ll catch up.

Splash of Paint

And Allah knows Best.

-A.S.

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Until You Can Self-Love

Dedicated to Noor, who is simply wonderful to have long talks of love with.

Joy

“If someone loves us but we are trapped by self-hatred, their love will never reach us.” (bell hooks)

~

he wants to know her,

but he doesn’t know himself.

 

he wants to be like her,

but he doesn’t want to be unlike himself.

 

he wants to be one with her,

but he doesn’t know how to be one with his thoughts.

 

he wants to trust her,

but he doesn’t trust the One who created her.

 

he wants to please her,

but he doesn’t want to please the One who created her.

 

he fantasizes of living in her spiritual world,

but he doesn’t want to leave the material one he’s in.

 

he wants to commit to her,

but he can’t commit to his own promises.

 

he wants to love her,

but he doesn’t know how to love himself.

 

My brother…

(and this holds true for all my sisters, too)

 

you cannot fully fall in love with her,

and expect her to love you in return

until you know what it means to love 

and not just love the idea of love.

 

the One who created your beloved

has told you how to self-love

but incredibly in your confusion

you choose to self-hate.

 

love starts from the inside

and blossoms out

it does not pierce from the outside

and make its way in.

 

just as you cannot serve from an empty vessel,

so you cannot give what you do not have

if you have no love for your starving soul,

you will not know how to care for the soul of another.

 

My brother…

(and my sisters, too)

 

you must learn to self-love,

but this is not to be confused with greed and egotistical desire.

real self-love is the remedy to healing

and the formula to know how to heal another.

~

 

“Let’s not kid ourselves, we find mutual love only when we know how to love. And the best place to start practicing the art of loving is with the self – that body, mind, heart, and soul that we can most know and change.” (bell hooks)

~

And Allah knows Best.

A.S.

Apologizing & Condemning… Until When?

Until when?

Until when will I be able to wake up and just take a deep breath not tainted with sadness and distress?

Until when will the bloodthirsty savages who have their own horrifying agendas stop causing terror in the name of the faith I so visibly represent?

Until when can I stop feeling the pressure to constantly clarify to the world wide web, by the way guys, all Muslims aren’t like this, we’re actually normal people… like you! Normal and safe, don’tcha worry about a thing?

Until when can we, Muslims, stop apologizing for the damage caused by others, simply because they choose to use the banner of Islam as their false source of motivation? (Note that condemning is one thing, apologizing is another.)

Until when can the very same Muslims who apologize and condemn acts of terror, not also be recipients of attacks themselves from their own neighbors and citizens moments later?

BREAKING NEWS:

These murderous imbeciles, if you take the time to read up on their backgrounds, are never actually religious Muslims. So you know those Muslims you stumble on in the restroom washing their arms because they’re making ablution to pray during their work day? They’re not the enemies. Those Muslims fasting sweltering hot long days in the summer without drinking water? They’re not the enemies. Those Muslims reading out of their little Arabic Quran book on public transport? They’re not the enemies. Those hijab-donning, long-sleeved, even face-veiled women you see at the malls? Not the enemies. Those brown-skinned men with the long beards who carry prayer beads as they stroll out of a masjid? They’re not the enemies.

But, but, most people protest exactly as the sensationalized media trained them well to, what else is motivating ISIS (Da’esh) to blow up people in the West if it’s not Islam?

My dear, dear readers,

what motivates Da’esh (ISIS) to kill people who don’t believe in Islam

is the same thing that motivates them to kill hundreds of fasting, praying, faithful Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, and

it is the same reason that they see no issue with bombing inside the holy city of Medina, Saudi Arabia, close to where the Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammed , rests.

How can you even think for a moment these cowards have any true intrinsic motivation remotely inspired by Islam? Even the most backwards and ignorant fools who completely misinterpret the Quranic text couldn’t draw the same conclusions – to bomb the tomb of the Messenger of that faith! So in whose name do they dare claim to be while they drown the streets with blood?

حسبن الله ونعمل وكيل

Now as a human being (and I can’t believe I have to remind people this is first and foremost what I am, and clearly I do because Muslims are being attacked left and right because they’re lumped in the same category as the terrorists)

as a human being who happens to be Muslim, every time I hear the grave news, I feel the silent pressure from all sides to denounce something. Like a box that squeezes to you closer and closer, trying to suffocate you. When headlines have to specify that the attacker(s) claimed faith is Islam, I feel like it is ridiculously obvious to all that this “fact” has no logical correlation with the actual motives of the cruel actions taken. I rather prefer not giving the criminals any further spotlight, fame, and space on my social media platforms in my condemnation of them.

If this seems like an insensitive thing on my part, then please consider this: I am a human being who also happens to be a Palestinian Canadian. My people in Palestine have been getting killed and abused for over half a century, just about daily. My heart is in turmoil always, bearing also in mind that human beings have been dying everyday in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Syria, for as long as I can remember, and in so many other places around the world that it’s hard to breathe just thinking about it. But if I have to condemn every single death around the world as it happens, I will spend the rest of my days condemning verbally but not actually helping anyone. You’ll just have to take my word that whether I post a condemnation status for an attack or not, my heart bleeds with the pain of it all, for the pitiful state our humanity has sunk to.

Despite my preference to not shine the spotlight on the terrorists – because for sure it was one of the results they wanted – I am finding myself doing more condemning than ever these days anyways. Like it has been for a lot of Muslims – a long painful journey – I have learned the difference between being a Muslim who condemns acts of terrorism, and between being an apologetic Muslim who shrinks whenever some madman claims his faith (which is also her faith) inspired him to blow himself up around civilians. The former is good, the latter is not.

Perhaps it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but I find it agonizing even when people say things like, “as a Muslim, I condemn terrorism!” But why do we need to clarify that it is because we are Muslim?

Can’t we just embrace our humanity and say “as a human being, I condemn inhumane acts?” There’s that lingering notion that Muslims somehow secretly support these acts, and we have to be very specific in pointing out that this Muslim does not!

There is a fine, fine line between being a Muslim who condemns, and being an apologetic Muslim; and I am tired of trying to balance myself on it so as not to fall into the apologetic Muslim pit. 

I will never apologize for the actions of people like Da’esh (ISIS) because I do not associate myself with them in any way, shape or form. (Be assured that no truly believing and mentally sound Muslim actually buys ISIS’s shitload of ideas.) But I condemn their actions with every fibre I have.

Nor will I constantly be watching the news, scanning the newspaper or anxiously searching my Twitter newsfeed to learn immediately whatever horrific acts terrorists take “in the name of Islam” so I can publicly announce to the world, “you guys! I’m NOT like them!”

So as a non-apologetic practicing Muslim woman, know this about me:

I will proudly continue wearing the hijab,

Proudly continue praying and prostrating in public spaces,

Proudly continue reading from my tiny-sized Arabic Quran on the subways,

Proudly continue wearing my Palestinian kuffiyah scarf as a symbol of justice and resilience,

While I continue to

curse the likes of Da’esh (ISIS) and other death cults, and

implore Allah (God) to send His wrath on them, destroy their plans of mass destruction, sow the seeds of doubt and painful uncertainty in their hearts in this life and may they suffer for their actions in the eternal hereafter.

I  simply do not have the patience to pray for their guidance, when they have so clearly chosen the path of woeful misguidance. There are others around the world who need my thoughts more than they.

So to the world, I ask once more:

Until when will we be able to wake up and just take a deep breath not tainted with sadness and distress?

Until when?

Crisp Memory

 

Only Allah knows, for He knows Best.

-A.S.