Paua Series: It is Written.

“No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s decree.

If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from it you cannot flee.” – ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab

Last year I thought I had lost my MAC Velvet Teddy lipstick at the zoo but a year later while I was on holiday doing my makeup at a hotel in Indonesia, I found it, or more like it just somehow appeared right in front of me. And a couple years before that, my gold bracelet had somehow broke and I searched high and low to find the small missing pieces and it was only when I said ‘bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm’ (“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful”) the pieces appeared right in front of me. Stuff like this always happens to me. And it makes me really believe that if something is meant for me, it will come back to me or that nothing in this world can stop something from coming my way.

In Islam, we call fate or Allah’s decree, Qadr. Our fate was already written for us even before we were born, however, our prayers or the duas we make are always fighting with our fate. It is said that our prayers will be answered or granted in three ways: in this life, in a better form or in heaven. Nonetheless, we as humans have plans but God has bigger plans for us. And we need to have full tawakkul or trust in God’s plan.

I have to admit that I have gone through a lot of hardships in my life, however, God will never burden a soul in which they cannot bear. And it’s true because, with every hardship that I have gone through, I always end up okay or even better at the end. It might have taken a lot of time to heal but through the process of healing I learnt how to be more patient, to let go, to forgive, to be stronger and to move on with life. And so whatever comes my way, either good or bad I have trust that there is underlying wisdom that I can learn from or grow from.

Even when you tear its petals off one after another, 

the rose keeps laughing and doesn’t bend in pain. 

“Why should I be afflicted because of a thorn? 

It is the thorn which taught me how to laugh.” 

Whatever you lost through fate, 

be certain that it saved you from pain.

~ Rumi, Petals

To be honest, my previous boyfriend had always accused me of wanting to break up so easily. And it is true because it has always been that way. If I am honest with myself, the idea of breaking up is easy. It is because I love God more than I can ever love another human being and also because I believe in His plan and the destiny he has for me. Therefore, letting go is easy for me once I remind and convince myself that if something is meant for me, never in a million years will it be for someone else and nothing in this world can stop it from happening. If it is good for me in this life and for my religion, it will be easy and it will always be meant for me. However, if it is bad for me and for my religion, I pray to God to turn my back from it and let my heart be at ease once I let go.

Nonetheless, I still have no idea what God has in store for me. Looking back at my past, it feels like anything can happen. I have no idea if I am prepared for things that might happen or how I will respond but what I do know is that all the things that have happened in my life were meant to happen. In ways, I am really excited as well as optimistic with the plans written for me. No matter what happens, I will keep smiling through the good or the bad and I will keep having faith and hope because God knows a lot better than I do.

“No matter what you’ve been through, it is written. No matter what you know, it is written. No matter what you do, it is written. Put your trust in Allāh ﷻ” -Unknown

And so the person I will end up with or who you will end up with is already written.

Paua Series: ’Cause I’m a woman, Phenomenally.

The very first post I did for the Paua Series was called Phenomenal Woman and although this is not the last post for the series, the poem is very relevant to this blog post. You see, no matter if you are single or in a relationship, every woman is phenomenal and should be treated phenomenally.

In recent blog posts, I talk about being in a relationship where I realised that I deserve much better. I did not write them to call the person out and make him seem like a bad person as only you can make your own judgement about the person. I wrote those blog posts because I wanted readers, especially the younger girls to be aware that you should never be treated badly by someone and that they need to have the courage to leave something that no longer serves them right. I wanted to make people aware that no one has the right to validate your worth, only you yourself can do so. I wanted to remind myself and all the other girls out there, who are in the same situation, that taking care of yourself and loving yourself should always be your number one priority.

And if you are like me, who has recently broken up with someone, just know that you will be okay and that you will continue living life but this time, it is better, because now you have more of an idea on the type of relationship you want next.

However, right now I am exhausted from dating and hopefully I won’t break the “No boys” rule for a while. It’s funny because the other day my friend said this statement to me: “You say ‘no boys’, but you turn around the corner and there is some guy waiting for you.”

So this leads me to the number one question that I get asked the most: “Yantie, how do you pull so many guys?”

Easy. Think of yourself as phenomenal. Just know that any guy should be lucky to have you. But don’t let it go to your head. However, in my Standards post I talk essentially about being the person that you would want to date. So, check yourself first and make sure you have worked on yourself and loved yourself first before dating someone else. That way you are ready for a mature relationship.

Nonetheless, here are some tips on how I (think I might) ‘pull’ guys. Cliché but so true, just be yourself. Let your uniqueness and sincerity shine through you. People can tell when you are being fake and like I have said previously, it’s so hard to keep up with being someone you are not and the other person deserves to know who you really are as a person. Stay real. Smile, but like genuinely smile to everyone and not just to your crush and greet people and just be friendly. Walk and talk with confidence. Keep your head up high, your back straight and walk graciously. When I say talk with confidence, I don’t mean be cocky or up yourself but don’t mumble or be shy, speak clearly and nicely. Have self-respect for yourself and have morals that you live to. Speak to people genuinely and be interested in talking with them. Try to talk about something relevant that both of you guys could relate to. Be interesting to talk to. Be intelligent. Also, I think that it is always good to be witty or show your sense of humour. And to be honest, most times I am aloof to everything but in a cool and detached way.

Attractiveness is another big factor in ‘pulling’ guys but just remember another cliché that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ And again, it is so true. Everywhere around the world they have different standards of beauty and everyone has their own preferences. However, I think that every girl should take care of their body by eating healthy food and exercising. With good sleep and a beautiful smile, you will surely be glowing. Feel good about yourself and people will feel good about you as well. It is always good to have good hygiene and a spritz of perfume wouldn’t hurt either. Wear makeup if you want but please don’t look too cakey; have fun and play with it and try to figure out ways on how you can bring out your best features. Before I started using hijab, I would still dress modestly and tried to dress nicely for myself where I only wore what I felt was comfortable. With that being said, I try to look structured with style but also relaxed. So, in all honesty, you don’t need to dress sexy or hot to get attention, a guy will see and most likely stare at a beautiful girl when he sees one.

So how do you know if a guy likes you? Well for starters he will keep looking at you or just stares at you (hopefully in a non-creepy way). He tries to talk to you and always have excuses to see you. Or he tries to help you all the time. Most importantly, if a guy does like you, he will make all the effort to be with you. Period. However, don’t be fooled too easily, make sure that he has been making an effort for a long enough period of time to convince you that he is being sincere. If a guy really wants something, he will try to go for it until he has succeeded. So give them a chance but use your time wisely, ask the opinions of those closest to you, remember your standards and keep asking yourself if this is what you really want. If he isn’t what you want, then don’t waste anymore of your time or his time and let him down gently. Never play around with people’s feelings.

For those girls freaking out and wanting to be in a relationship, just stay cool, calm and collected. Looking desperate is not pretty and with time and fate, the right one will come your way. I believe so and you should too. This doesn’t mean you just stand and wait, you need to go searching but don’t get too invested to the point where you are left disappointed. Again, the right one will come at the right time. So don’t give up hope, you will love or you will love again. And I promise that it will be amazing when you do.

Just always remind yourself that you are a phenomenal woman and you deserve nothing but the best and to be treated phenomenally.

Phenomenal Woman

BY MAYA ANGELOU

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,

They say they still can’t see.

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Appreciation Post: My Tribe

“Be with those who help your being.” -Rumi

This year all my close friends surprised me at my house with chocolates where they asked me to be their Valentine. And it was the cutest and sweetest thing ever.

Words cannot describe how grateful I am to be blessed with the true friends that I have. Most of us has been friends ever since meeting each other at our tiny rural primary school and I guess two genuine people have been added into the tribe since high school. Actually, all of them are the most genuine and down to earth people that I have ever met. And the reason why I feel so blessed to have them in my life, is that it is so hard to find real people in today’s superficial world.

We never ever gossip about each other or stab each other in the back and although it has been a decade since we have all been friends, we never fought or had any intense arguments. I love the fact how we are all so nice and kind to each other but give tough love when one of us needs it. I love how we can talk about anything and everything without being judged and we always lift each other up to be better people. We share some similarities but we all have our own good judgements and when we see one of us is going through a difficult time or going off track in life, they are always there to guide the way by reminding each other of who they are and the potential they have or they just give the best advice.

I also love how they are never mean to anyone and are non-judgmental so we never gossip about people. They are the type of people that you can always trust, rely on and they are so helpful and caring where they give but never expect anything in return. Just being with them makes you want to be a better person.

I think that in high school some people might have thought of us as a serious group since we all really tried our best throughout school and all but I guess it was because we were and still are mature. We knew what we wanted to achieve and we helped each other to reach the goals that we had. And we still do.

However, we still have our fun, we go out or do road trips but we never needed alcohol or drugs to have fun. It’s funny how my dad always tells me that having Muslim friends are better. But with all honesty, my non-Muslim friends (who are the closest friends that I have) hold to the values of Islam better than most Muslims that I know. And that shows a lot about my friends. They don’t really need religion to have morals or be good people. They just do and they are the best people that I know. To me, they truly are angels with the purest hearts.

I must admit that these past couple of years, it has been difficult to see all of them at the same time as some have moved to different places and we all started at different universities. Sometimes we don’t talk for months. But when we do get together we always pick up from where we left off and we are still really good and close friends. And it’s great because I know that no matter what happens, they will always be there.

I really believe that the people that you surround yourself with is a reflection of who you are. So choose your friends wisely. If you are ever uncomfortable or pressured by certain people then it is best to not associate with them. Real friends are supposed to make you feel happy and better where they encourage you to do good things and never sad or down about yourself or makes you do bad things. I know that most of us has that small bit within us that wants to be popular or ‘cool’ but being fake and not staying true to yourself is not cool at all. Being real is cool. It’s hard work and tiring pretending all the time and being something you are not. Sometimes (especially in our adolescent years), we think that being popular will bring us happiness but in reality, having more friends does not mean you have good or close friends you can turn to in good or bad times. Therefore, it is so important to find your tribe of close friends that you know will always be there for you and are good for you.

I am ever so grateful for my lovely and beautiful girls that I have where I am proud to call them my friends. And I know that we will all be close friends for a really long time because as they say, if you have been friends for more than seven years, you will be friends for a lifetime. No matter what happens between us, I know for now that we have a lot of love for each other and I hope that love and friendship will always remain. Nonetheless, I pray to God that if and when I have my own daughter, she will have amazing friends like I do because I know that no matter what happens, she will be okay and will blossom into an amazing woman as well.

Shams of Tabriz’s 40 Rules of Love

Hopefully they inspire you, like how they inspire me.

 

The Vision

Rule 1

How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.

Rule 2

The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

Rule 3

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true…

View original post 2,572 more words

How I Learned to Love Again: The Forty Rules of Love

*This article was originally written by my good friend Shahirah and it is about one of my all time favourite book.*

Read the full article here: How I Learned to Love Again: The Forty Rules of Love

{Sparks}

What I enjoyed about this book is learning about Rumi and Sham’s journey as individuals and companions. I also liked the way it challenged me to look at people and situations with a different perspective. For instance, even though Rumi was quite happily married he still felt like he had not met his soulmate. It made me realize that a soulmate (or love) can come in various forms. Another is in the account written about Desert Rose, a woman who was forced into a life of prostitution but strongly desired to free herself from it and seek God.

One day, she sneaked out of the brothel to attend one of Rumi’s sermons only to be taunted by a police officer who had recognised her and managed to rally a crowd of other people there to drive her out of the mosque before Shams Tabriz comes to save the day. Shams is quite the superhero figure as he often comes to the rescue when those who are often looked down upon in society are mistreated. He once visited the brothel to check on Desert Rose’s well-being and when confronted by a harlot he defended Desert Rose’s pure intentions.

Rule #18:“Every man is an open book, each and everyone one of us a waking Qur’an. The quest for God is ingrained in the hearts for all, be it a prostitute or a saint. Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on. That is what one of the forty rules is all about: The whole universe is contained within a single human being—you. Everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright sides, you will arrive at a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.” – Forty Rules of Love: A Story of Rumi, Elif Shafak

{Epiphany}
If you are not familiar with Rumi you may be quick to dismiss his work because you might feel uncomfortable about a Muslim scholar who appeared to write endearingly about wine and intoxication in his poems. The “wine” that Rumi spoke of is about a love for Allah that allows us to transcend our ego, the nafs, which is the part of us that goes, “Me, me, me!” or “Look at me! Listen to me! Obey me!”. When our hearts have been neglected or misguided we begin to worship ourselves or more accurately, our hedonistic and carnal desires.

Ideally, our hearts should be so attached and enamoured by our love for God that everything we do is with God-consciousness. This is not to say we should completely abandon all worldly pursuits and start neglecting our wants and needs. Islam that is practiced with ehsan (excellence) will ultimately result in a balanced and healthy human being who leads a fulfilling and meaningful life.

 Rule #32: “Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imams, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. “Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.” – Forty Rules of Love: A Story of Rumi, Elif Shafak

{Love}
We may not understand God’s plans for us sometimes and why we are blessed with certain gifts or why we have to endure certain challenges but it is important to remember that everything has its time and purpose. The way He responds to our prayers, whether hastens or delays, it is not to make us feel proud or despair, but to remind us that ultimately, we were created to love and serve Him and His creations in the best ways possible. So if He tests you with with loss and pain remember that they are from the one Who loves us more than our own mothers do: Allah who is ar-Rahman (the Lord of Mercy) and ar-Raheem (the Giver of Mercy). When I learned to increase my good opinion of Allah I began to remember what it meant to love Him sincerely.

Rule #9:“Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never runs out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.” – Forty Rules of Love: A Story of Rumi, Elif Shafak

(This article was originally published on ZilzarLife.com)”

Read more quotes from the book here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2016/03/30-powerful-quotes-from-the-forty-rules-of-love-that-could-potentially-transform-your-life/

Be Kind, If Anything.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” -Dalai Lama

A couple of days ago I said something really horrible and mean to someone that I have never met before. And to this day I am shocked to what I have said and I still can’t believe that it came from me. Never in my life have I said or did anything mean to anyone and I still do not know what had gotten into me at that point. But at that time I was in a state where I had never been so angry and so upset and so confused in my life before. However, that still did not give me a reason or right to be mean to someone who had nothing to do with the state I was in. Nonetheless, I was definitely not thinking straight and so I said things without even thinking twice or even thinking at all.

Even though that person had responded by saying mean things to me as well, I was aware of what I had done and admitted that I had no right to say what I had said and so I continued to formally apologise to the person. Rather than retaliating back, I just forgave that person in my heart without them asking for forgiveness and I was still sincere with my apology without trying to convince that person that I am actually a good person. This is because everyone will make their own judgements to whether you are a good person or not. Therefore, you need to be the example of the person you want to be known or seen as through your words and your actions. However, be genuine with whatever you say or do to everyone and not just to certain people. Because being good to everyone makes you a genuinely good person.

And as a person, you are human where humans are imperfect and it’s something I think that we need to be reminded of. We can try to look perfect with our looks or perfect with our character or what we do or life in general, but in reality and in all honesty, no one could truly ever reach the point of perfection. Because we as humans make mistakes or had things happen to us and everyone has a different idea to what beauty is. And because of this idea of perfection, we need to be kind to each other. We need to be kind because everyone is trying in some way and we don’t know what they have been through or who they really are as a person.

And because we are human we are quick to make judgements. But our judgements may not necessarily be the truth. Therefore, it is okay to make judgements in your mind but don’t say anything unless you had thought twice to see if your judgement could hurt someone or you know for sure what you are thinking is true. If not, find out if it is correct and don’t say anything at all if you think it is mean.

Lastly, in a society where there is a lot of racism and bigotry we need to be kind to everyone for the sake of humanity. There is no need to go around shaming or labelling people or gossip about others, make rude judgements or make people feel less. There is no need to hurt people, emotionally or physically. Instead, we should try to make people feel good about themselves and lift them up. Be kind to people and be kind to yourself. Always try to do what is right, or try to make things right. Treat people how you would want to be treated by speaking nicely, by being gracious in your actions, by being genuine and by being respectful.

Just be kind, if anything.

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” -Mother Teresa

(Also, check out this short and inspiring article for researched based reasons to be kind: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-field/kindness-research_b_7054652.html)

What Is The Next Right Move?

“Your life is bigger than any one experience.” -Oprah Winfrey

It’s crazy to think how things change over time. One minute you’re in love and the next minute it could all disappear. A lot of people have come into my life and sadly some have left-even the ones I thought would always be there for me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’m trying to learn from them but it’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept things and it has always been a struggle for me to let go. But life goes on and so should I. What’s meant to be, will be. I think I just need to focus on being a better me.

But how do I become a better me? Maybe I should start by asking myself: ‘What is the next right move?’ Or ‘Who do I want to be?’ And maybe along the way life will be challenging, or it isn’t how I first planned things to be, but I know that God is with me and I will pray for his guidance.