Some Things Need to Break in Order to Work

Some things need to break in order to properly work.

Like your heart.

Don’t deny the pain or run from its inflicts. When you feel it breaking your heart, accept it as a guest that is here to give you a gift.

A gift of a powerful, unforgettable lesson.

Embrace the wound as a strict but very knowledgeable teacher.

Beg it to break your illusion into a million shattered pieces.

Only worse than a broken heart, is a broken heart with illusions still clung to.

Let the wound take the false thinking and unrealized hopes you harboured in your heart for so long – and break them.

Break them into countless grain-sized pieces of glass.

Like sand.

Let the desert wind take them away from your heart and scatter them in unreachable places.

Let your heart break when it does.

Let it bleed with the pain of unfulfilled wishes.

Let it turn all those ocean-deep illusions you swam in, into mere foam.

Or dust. Sand.

Let the desert wind blow them away from your heart and scatter them in untraceable places.

Into the wilderness of nothingness.

They were nothing. But your real potential to be is everything.

Let your heart break so that your resolve solidifies and makes you the person you were always meant to be.

False notions and disappointing expectations no longer holding you back.

These unfounded whims, these vain desires, these mere dreams never meant to be…

Know they were making you weaker.

Your heart breaking is the freedom you need to let go and reach new heights.

This may be hard to believe now.

I know your heart is broken now.

I know your whole being feels like an ache in a sea of bottomless despair.

But reality is not your enemy.

The reality is, what you thought was good for you is not.

These shattered dreams may have turned into a living nightmare.

The One who holds your precious heart chose to break it – temporarily.

So that your spirit, your fierceness, your resolve, are not broken – permanently.

My mother always says an Arabic proverb: الله يرحم من بكاني

May God have mercy on the one who made me cry.

(This is not referring to tears caused by someone abusing another.)

This refers to someone who speaks an unwelcome truth, that it ends up hurting another.

Unwelcome, but true.

A truth which breaks our carefully thought-out dreams is unwelcome to us.

But truth is not the enemy.

The truth is, some things have to break.

Some things need to break in order to properly work.

Like the heart.

When you feel your heart break, let it.

When you feel those cracks form, let them.

I promise it will get better.

Be receptive to the light that comes in through the cracks.

Let your delusions crumble.

Crumble into sand and dust.

And may the desert wind blow these particles far, far away from you.

Before you know it, your heart will become lighter again.

You will swim to the top and keep flying higher.

You are more worthy than you realise.

Your fate is in His hands. (What better hands to trust your fate!)

Let your heart break, because it must.

But grieve not over the broken dreams.

You are yourself a dream being realised.

~
“When we least expect it, what’s in the way is the way. The broken door lets in the light. The broken heart lets in the world.” (Mark Nepo)

And God knows Best.

A.S.

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Quran Reflection: On Being Pleased

*Note: I am not a scholar. This is but a self-reflective piece.

God tells us at the end of verse 58:22 of the Quran:

رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ

This part of the ayah in surat al-Mujadela catches at my throat every time.

Why?

I have yet to understand, perhaps I never fully will, why somehow my heart’s walls fracture at these words, and why my defences of all my baseless excuses crumble.

We like to think we can read other people’s thoughts, but we can barely understand our own. But here, I will try to analyse myself. I do not know why this part of the Quranic verse – translated Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – makes me want to collapse in tears. There are likely many reasons. I decided I needed to reflect on this much deeper and try to understand myself through it. I think I have found one reason why this powerfully resonates with me:

To have God pleased with you, and you pleased with Him.

Oh, to have His pleasure. Always striving to make that the end goal and the waves that transport me as I sail with the means. Yet so many times I am not grateful. I may have the appearance of patience, but wars constantly rage within: an army of thoughts remind me to be content with the state of things in my world and to trust that the future is in good hands; and an opposing army of thoughts assures my ego it is justified in wallowing in its own self-misery. Could one have His pleasure if he is not continuously pleased with His flawless plan?

Although Alhamdulileh: all praise is due to God is always on my tongue, I wonder how truthfully and effectively this reality is translated in my heart of hearts. It is a reality for sure, to this I have no doubt – but am I spiritually living this reality in an authentic way? When I grudge things beyond my control – but yet that are – is this not a form of ingratitude on my part? Is this not an indirect expression of discontentment with God’s plan? And if I am not pleased with His plan… how should I ever imagine Him to be pleased with me?

رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ

A Shephard

If He is pleased with you, what else matters? Everything pales in comparison to the pleasure of your Lord. And if He is not pleased with you… honestly… of what from all the skies and galaxies of creation will really matter?

So I pray to the One, turner of hearts, to make my heart sincere and firm. Oh Allah, the All-Merciful, allow us to be of those whom You are pleased with, and who are pleased with You.

For you, and only You alone, know, and have ever known, Best.

-A.S.

It’s Because of Hijab, Not Despite It

Yellow Roses

Once every while, in the midst of a conversation with someone newly met, I get a certain statement delivered my way. It is meant in the warmest of intentions, I know, but…

Here is that magical phrase:

“It’s really great that you are confident mingling in society and seem successful in your career, despite your hijab.

Interestingly this is usually said to me by Muslims, who feel open enough to point it out, as opposed to others who’d rather prefer Islamophobia doesn’t exist. I appreciate the sentiment, and the instinctive side of me wants to automatically nod in agreement – I mean, what is so wrong about that sentence?… It’s true, is it not? I’m apparently confident in my skin, engaged with my community, and blessed to be employed in a great environment… DESPITE my many colourful hijabs.

So why does it instead strike me the wrong way? Why does this seemingly innocent observation irritate me deeply?

Today, while daydreaming about completely different stuff, I finally figured it out. Here is the reality of my situation:

I am content and doing well not despite my hijab… but because of it. And here’s why:

  • Wearing the hijab is a constant visible reminder to myself that no one has any claim to me, my mind, or my body. Sometimes as a human being, I get insecure and wonder what others are thinking about me. But then I look at my reflection when I am out in public, and where others just see a piece of cloth, I see a reminder to myself. I am powerfully reminded that no matter how many things I might feel attached to, the only real lasting thing my heart can know is Allah. I am God’s and God’s alone, and this is liberating.

“Yet she belongs, finally and truly, only to God. The hijab is a symbol of freedom from the male regard, but also, in our time, of freedom from subjugation by the iron fist of materialism, deterministic science, and the death of meaning” (Abdal-Hakim Murad, Commentary on the Eleventh Contentions, 29).

  • Just as hijab hides certain physical aspects of a woman’s body, like her hair, curves and skin, it is a metaphor for me to guard my heart away from the harm that others can inflict on it. I protect my heart by being meditative, listening and speaking with it, and discovering who I really am without waiting for a messed up world to tell me who I am supposed to be. Hijab is not the sole means, but a helpful ingredient certainly, to reminding me that my heart is precious and full of a deep beauty that does not need to be given freely to just anyone who wants access to it. Hijab is my personal physical reminder that within lies a spiritual reality that wants to be realized, and that I have a right to this inner life.

“Hijab narrates self-efficacement for the sake of the Face of God. But it is not a cloak of invisibility, or Bilbo Baggins’ magic ring. The woman in hijab turns in, but stands out. (Commentary on the Eleventh Contentions, 82)” 

“Hijab indicates freedom from the monoculture, but also freedom from the visual theft of her beauty. It is a denial of the Other’s right of appropriation. (Commentary on the Eleventh Contentions, 95)”.

Hijabs means various things to different people, and each woman will have her own story to say.

Let’s never make the mistake of assuming that all Muslims think, act and are motivated by the same motives.

As someone in a workshop said very eloquently:

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In my case, hijab has made me more my own by connecting me more closer to God. It has made me more confident to be unapologetically me. It has made me want to excel in all that I do, whether in relationships, faith matters or career goals.

All this not despite my hijab, but because of it.

That is my story.

And Allah knows Best.

-A.S.

Protecting Your Heart

“I want to darken in the skies… Open the floodgates up… I want to change my mind… I want to be enough…

I want to let the rain come down, make a brand new ground

Let the rain come down. Let the rain come down, make a brand new ground

Let the rain come down.” (Sara Bareilles)

Around the Corner

Do you know what I think is astonishing?

Never does a “bad” life event – defined as that which gives you unpleasant feelings in the pit of your stomach or emotional injury – occur, than it is rapidly or simultaneously followed by a flurry of goodness moments. The trick to letting the happy sprinkles of delight wash away the hurt needs a bit of practice to master – but once you learn it, it stays. That “trick” is to remain focused and aware on the certainty that right now is its own special gift; it is irrelevant to a month, day or even a minute ago; you are not alive to live it simply so you can relive the past, but to use it as an opportunity to seize whatever wild awesomeness is about to hit you.

Shams Tabrizi’s Rules of Love, Rule 28:

“The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.”

Time and time again, I let “negative” experiences of disappointment, failure or heartbreak shadow the following days so darkly that I couldn’t appreciate sweet luxuries like the warmth of the sun, the soft gentle breeze, or even the blessed rain, on my face… as if I had no choice in the matter. But now, (I think) I know better.

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Over the Highway

There is a pattern, you see – a pattern I have began noticing, a pattern of merciful opposites. No sooner does a heavy burden weigh me downwards than a positive force, in the form of a success, pleasant surprise, or interaction with a kindred spirit, suddenly materializes to lift me back up. Rarely is a deep, painful ache in my heart felt than it is quickly joined by a flock of colourful butterflies, overwhelming gratitude and a resulting serenity with their peaceful coexistence. It’s all about balance.

But none of that will make a difference, really, if you are determined to believe the world is out to get you. Those conflicting emotions in you will not strike an equilibrium if you won’t let them settle; instead, they will form a tornado or chaotic hurricane within. And even if the reality is such that the world really is out to get you, you can’t succumb to the dreaded fear that He is, too. The moment you think that God can’t love you, then simply, it doesn’t matter who else does. Do not believe in what destroys you.

a lie is simply a lie.

it draws its strength from belief.

stop believing in what hurts you.

-power (Nayyirah Waheed)

On the contrary; I believe God wants us to soar above our mediocre aspirations. He makes us grow through conflicting states, so that we may learn balance with our two wings.“We are far too easily pleased. God wants better things for us. He finds our desires not too strong, but too weak” (C. S. Lewis).

Increasingly, when a disappointment befalls me, I try to be more hopeful than ever. The harder the fall, the higher the rise will be, will it not? It’s a blessing to know that my heart is in none other than God’s hands.

He is the only One Who really understands how to best protect it, and so He is the Only One Who has the right to truly hold it. In better hands, my heart can never be.

Trust that God is protecting your heart.

Even when it feels like it’s shattering in pieces.

Gush

~
And Allah knows Best.

-A.S.

Oh, Those Emotional Roller Coasters

Dedicated to anyone who likes roller coasters and metaphors.

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The function of a roller coaster is to make you forget the world for a few minutes as your body is taken on an exhilarating adventure meters higher in the air than you are accustomed to. Not only do you approach cloud #9 physically, but you do so mentally as well. The thrilling sensation created by the exciting anticipation of being suddenly rotated around a circular track with the physics of centripetal force has your emotions at maximum intensity.


Now I just described one of my favorite amusement rides: the physical roller coaster.

But what do people mean when they say they are on an emotional roller coaster? Well, I cannot speak on their behalf, but I can certainly speak on mine.

In a physical roller coaster, things are simple.

  • There is a starting location, and an end location.
  • There is a set timing for how long each ride will last.
  • Because there is a designated person controlling the ride, you can be assured that you’ll get by in one piece,
  • Get all the way through,

And all you must do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Emotional roller coasters are a little more complicated.

Whereas a flux of various emotions are experienced on the physical ride – suspense, excitement, fear, joy, and so forth – they are all validated, expected, and hence most warmly welcomed as the norm.

But life often puts you in circumstances that you cannot see what the end result looks like, situations that you do not know how long your nerves must be put to the test, and something seems to go seriously wrong along this metaphorical ride…


You see, in an emotional roller coaster, you are not taken on a complete 360 degree turn; at least not in one swift shot. No no, you are rotated at most 180 degrees from the bottom so that you are now upside down. There is no human controlling this so the “ride” is halted midway for an indefinite period of time. Here you are, just hanging upside down as the blood rushes to your head, and you simply cannot ignore what you can’t stop thinking about.

You realize you’re experiencing a range of complicated emotions, and the more you try to rationalize them, the more sophisticatedly complex they become.


In these awkward circumstances, it can be hard to know how to feel and remain in an internally balanced state. The only way to do this is to remind yourself, for your own sake, that although there isn’t a human controlling this whirlwind of a ride, this is all part of a plan from the Best of all Planners.

Once this fact is internalized, it is easier to accept the fact that you’re going to be left hanging upside down, midway on this circular metaphysical track, until you learn to trust in your Creator and His wisdom.

Brace yourself to be content for whatever is to come next.

Oh, those emotional roller coasters. Might as well learn to enjoy the ride while I’m on it.

Gears

And Allah knows best.

-A.S.

Fasting: A Mercy

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Abandoned Orange

Too often people acknowledge that man is weak & forget to point out that there are many reasons for that. One of these reasons, I believe, is so simple & obvious that I’m hesitant to even put it out there. But I shall do so:

(Wo)Man is created weak, so that he can seek the Creator, the source of all strength, and become stronger.

Note I used the term stronger & not strong, and that is deliberate… because man cannot ever be ‘strong’ in the sense that he is completely self-sufficient, completely empty of needs, and in sum, completely independent. No, man cannot be that strong on his own. Yet man may, and should, be getting stronger physically, emotionally, intellectually & spiritually all the time. It is a journey, a progress – not a final worldly destination.

Speaking of strength & weakness, C.S. Lewis has an eloquent saying in relation:

“We are far too easily pleased. God wants better things for us.

He finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.”

The truth of this quote especially strikes me at the beginning, and indeed throughout, Ramadan. As I eagerly looked forward to fasting in the blessed month of the Qur’an, the month in which the devil is chained & the gates of forgiveness are wide open – still many around me were expecting me to be in opposite spirits: dreading the 17 hours-a-day fasts. Yet I wasn’t. Why should I be?

Ramadan aside, let’s consider fasting on its own. Fasting in and of itself is not, and never was, solely limited to starving oneself. If all one gets out of a day’s fast is an empty stomach and an irritable attitude, then they haven’t really figured out what it’s all about. It would be absurd to believe that fasting is obligated on a believer simply to make him or her “suffer” for their belief.

Fasting, believe me,  is a whole other glorious level than that.

This Ramadan, I confirmed what most people would agree to be true enough –  that fasting as an activity itself, is not easy. But fasting has been a source of ease for me. And I cannot have been the only one…

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In the Qur’an, fasting and intends for you ease appear in the same verse. Allah (God) does not want to make things difficult for us, merely for us to be grateful…

I pondered on how has fasting been a source of ease for me, and surprisingly the list is very long. Here are only a few examples:

  • Easier for me to confront my flaws, with the assurance that He wants & believes that I can overcome them.
  • Easier for me to properly prioritize my responsibilities & duties to my loved ones and communities.
  • Easier for me to let go of empty attachments that has been previously eating away at my attention, which could have been much better served elsewhere.
  • Easier for me to focus on the task at hand, and give it my 100% presence.
  • Easier for me to remember that every moment not spent remembering Him is a wasted opportunity. (Oh, those prayer beads traveled every bus & metro ride with me!)
  • Easier for me to remember that I am a teacher, and whatever knowledge I have, I should definitely pass it down to the younger members of my precious family.
  • Easier for me to spend out of my pocket for others than myself.
  • Easier for me to smile, be unnaturally upbeat & optimistic. How can I not be, when my mind is containing an unusual surge of energy in my sleep-deprived & caffeine-lacking body? This can only mean He wants me awake seeking His pleasure. (How pleasant!)
  • Easier for me to implement goals and ideas I’d been putting off for way too long. Because honestly, if not now in this golden opportunity of a month, then when?

Truly, fasting is not easy…. but it is a source of ease and a means to challenge ourselves to flex our creativity & faith muscles in areas we didn’t have the guts or “time” to do all year long.

Fasting is a mercy.

To those who celebrated Ramadan: may you & I be several steps closer to God as a result. May we live to witness the next Ramadan in 2016. But until then…

Eid Mubarak!

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And God knows best.
-A.S.

البركة في القلة – Blessings Are In The Few

~

البركة في القلة

Blessings are in the few…

Few (purposeful) words,

Few (strong) minds,

Few (pious) souls,

Few (sincere) hearts,

Few (gratefully used) minutes,

Few (worldly) attachments…

Less can be more.

More clarity expressed in a succinct message,

More worthy actions sprung from cultivated minds,

More moments of soft enchantment seen from the lens of true piety,

More meaningful deeds blossomed from a sincere core,

More productivity accomplished in a shorter spam of blessed time,

More attachment to the eternal One when detached from all temporary else…

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Indeed, blessings are in the few;

Less can be more;

البركة في القلة.

A Time of Polar Opposites

~

It is a time of things old,

A time of things new;

It is a time of grey skies,

And a time of skies blue.

~

It is a time of gradual beginnings,

A time of abrupt endings;

It is a time of knowing to be bold

And a time of self-surrendering.

~

It is a time of dreams come true,

A time of hopes and lives destroyed;

It is a time of scientific admiration,

And a time of environment annoyed.

~

It is a time of spontaneous bursts of love,

A time of inexplicable impulsive hate;

It is a time of refusing to submit to reality,

And a time of embracing what brings fate.

f19 funky tree

It is a time of promising failures,

A time of unfortunate successes;

It is a time of lack of resources,

And a time of cruel excesses.

~

It is a time of needless luxuries,

A time of great need;

It is a time of loving charity,

And a time of ruthless greed.

~

It is a time of deep fulfillment,

A time of endless longing;

It is a time of painful alienation,

And a time of finally belonging.

~

It is a time of times light,

A time of times dark;

It is a time of deadened hearts,

And a time of souls sparked.

~

It is, alas,

A time of polar opposites;

And we must strive to grow, love and flourish,

Somehow, inside of it.

And God knows Best.

-A.S.

Life’s Plot Twists

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I read an amusing quote this morning that made the writer in me smile:

“When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, “Plot twist!” and move on.”

I really liked it. As I had just completed reading Pride and Prejudice this morning, it all rang more in my mind. Upon editing some photographs I took over the weekend, it occurred to me that the combination above of the two photos can visually summarize the ‘life is full of plot twists’ notion…

Sometimes you think you’re at the top of the world – internal Superman – with your facts, smugness, and attitude; only for some concealed points to be revealed. Suddenly your situation is flipped upside down on its head so abruptly in a dramatic “plot twist”. Somehow you’re still standing, but you’re confused where you now stand and it all seems a bit absurd. Your prejudices are made apparent to you, and maybe even your pride.

Your life story is a plot, and whenever your expectations or assumptions are shunned, a plot twist of some sort occurs. Good or bad, they are worth living. And besides – they were always meant to live. Ali Ibn Abi Talib said,

“Oh God, when I lose my hopes and plans, help me remember that Your love is greater than my disappointments, and Your plans for my life are better than my dreams.”

I await to see what the next chapter of my life holds.

And God knows Best.

🙂

-A.S.

Before You Say “I Love You”

~

I’ve been meaning to write about this for almost a year. Dedicated to my fabulous cheerleader of a sister, Rwan, who patiently allows me to spill all my thoughts beforehand to her so that I can actually write something coherent.

———

“Being sappy isn’t love.  Telling someone you love them doesn’t mean that you do.” [1]

Let’s talk about love.

 crumbling into

  • I am Palestinian; thus almost by default, I love dabka. The adrenaline, the synchronized choreography, the artistically-expressed resistance, all contribute to my love (as opposed to simple appreciation) of dabka.

I feel love to the ancestor who invented dabka. There is nothing I can do about this love, no way to express it, except through dance and poetry. My name is Aya, and I love dabka.

 

  • I am a woman of God under construction, and I love sunrises. The hope that the dawn brought, His Glory to behold, punctuating the time of the morning prayer, all contribute to my love (rather than neutral observation) of sunrises.

I feel a closeness and silent gratitude in my chest to the Creator of the sunrise. There is nothing I can do about this love, no way to express it, but to internalize its wonder and evaluate the level of sincerity in my deeds. My name is Aya, and I love sunrises.

 

Above are only a couple of examples of things I love. In both cases, this love forces me to act out to best express these joyful feelings. I can’t love dabka the way I do without participating in it, and I can’t love sunrises the way I do without contemplation on how this dazzling phenomenon could bring me closer to my Lord.

 

It therefore goes without saying that I can’t love a human being without actually loving.

 

(Say what?) No, you read it correctly; there were no typos. Literally,

I can’t love a human being without actually loving.

Photography by Aya Salah.

 

Here, pay attention to this:

 

I cry.

   I laugh.

      I smile.

         I breathe.

                 I jump.

                      I love.

 

What do all those statements have in common? They all begin with “I” and end with a verb.

 

A VERB. Did you know LOVE is a VERB?

A verb is an action, something you do… not just something you feel.

“It’s time that we changed the conversation about love.  It’s time that we redefine it.” [1]

Now, love can be used as an emotion, of course, yes (who am I to say otherwise). Love can be something felt within your heart, an instinctive compassionate knowledge you have about something or someone else.

  • Sure, you feel love for your mother. But is feeling it enough? Can you honestly say you love your mother if your inner love is never translated to exterior, physical acts of love? Do you constantly kiss your mother’s cheek, do the dishes without being asked, share intimate stories with her, surprise her with spontaneous calls while you’re on break at work – in other words, while no one doubts you feel love for your mother… are you acting on this love? Are you being loving? Have you turned the emotion into a verb?

Until you do, you should never say “I love you.” Actions speak louder than words.

The love you have inside is of no value until it’s expressed outside. The best time to express it is when one’s actions have already declared it and the receiver of that sweet phrase is delighted, and not necessarily stunned into perplexed shock, to hear it.

 

Now on behalf of the many girls I know who are sick and tired of being emotionally manipulated because they hold that phrase in such high esteem… to the gentlemen on the metros or university hallways, that want to tell a girl “I love you” –

DON’T.

 

You fool yourself before you lie to her. Because you don’t love her.

  • Now perhaps you are interested to know her better; “I am interested to get to know you” –
  • Maybe you are curious about her hopes and dreams, with all genuine intentions; “I would love to talk about this over some coffee” –
  • You may even find her so beautiful that it’s killing you to find out if that beauty resonates in her heart and intellect as well…

That is normal, that is wonderful, and that is heartwarming. It is not blameworthy to feel as though you are starting to “fall in love”. But that is only the emotional aspect of it; you have not lived the verb of loving, and therefore, by default, you do not ‘love’ her.

So don’t say “I love you” when you don’t even know her. You can love strangers for the sake of God, but do you want to live with them all under the same roof for the rest of your life? Please don’t be rash.

We live in a world where “I love you” completes its meaning at the emotion. As a result, we have a bunch of adults in dysfunctional relationships because the magical feeling has worn off and has been unable to be renewed because no one is acting the love out. Love is a feeling that, once gone, cannot be recaptured. Oh, is it really?

Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do, the sacrifices you make, the giving of self… Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Proactive people subordinate feelings to values. Love, the feeling, can be recaptured.” [2]

 

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I cannot tell who will be reading this, and thus cannot anticipate whether you are currently nodding your head in agreement, or feeling like you are repeatedly getting slapped in the face. If you are the latter, don’t worry; you’re not the only one who’s been living a lie.

Now you’re probably wondering: when do you say “I love you”? I mean, it is kind of a big deal in our modern world. Every girl and every boy, every man and every woman, wants someone to say it to them; it’s only human nature. The problem is, people are freely throwing that phrase around left and right, and we’re losing the ability to actually understand what love even means.

 

  • I am a Muslim, and I love the Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him). His courage, unshakeable belief and heartmelting mercy to God’s creation, all contribute to my love (love as a feeling) for him. But I begin to doubt this love if I don’t find ways to express it (love as a verb).

 

Am I being a cold-hearted unemotional robot about all this? On the contrary; my heart is often quite a complicated mess and tends to fight to overpower the rational part of me. Which is why, more and more, I am learning to use my emotions to think, and not let the emotions do the thinking for me. 

So when DO you say “I love you”?

 

You don’t… yet.

Simply, it’s all about timing. Until your actions express it as a foreshadowing of the words, one should not be obliged to hear it. And even when you say the words, they won’t mean a thing if you don’t keep expressing it.

 

Actions speak louder than words. We need to learn to define love as a verb and show love to our friends, family, neighbors, and fellow brothers and sisters in humanity. You want love and peace for all, do you? Then be loving and peaceful! Turn the values you believe in into a part of who you are.

 

“Learning to love takes practice and time, especially in an era that focuses so intensely on romantic love.” [3]

Practice makes perfect. Loving is a process, not a destination.

It is only then that “I love you” will have meaning again.

Photograph by Aya Salah.

And al-Wadud (the All-Loving) knows best.

-A.S.

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REFERENCES:

[1] –  Article: I Didn’t Love My Wife When We Got Married (Pop Chassid)

[2] – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, p.80

[3] –  Initiating & Upholding an Islamic Marriage (Hedaya Hartford), p.29