Five Ways to Cleanse Your Thoughts

11775The Quran contains details of the previous nations so that we may take heed and not repeat their mistakes. Allah (swt) mentions the tales of both the obedient and the disobedient, giving us a choice as to which group we want to be from.

When the obedient people received a command from Allah (swt), they surrendered before Him and accepted it right away. For example, when Prophet Ibrahim (as) was asked to submit: “He said: I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131) No further questions.

When the other group was commanded to do something- they transgressed, rejected and ridiculed the message. For example: “And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow. They said: Do you make fun of us? He said: I take Allah’s Refuge from being among Al-Jahilun (the ignorant or the foolish).” (Al-Baqarah 2:67) A prophet does not make fun of others. He is sincere to his cause and wishes the best for everyone.

Why did they deduce a different meaning than the one intended?

The problem was in their thinking. They did not give due respect to their messenger; they always undermined his sincerity and harmed themselves.

Often in life, we make the same mistakes. Without understanding the intentions of others, we engage in arguments, risk relationships, and see only one side of the coin. This is called mental slavery. Generally, people fashion their thoughts based on their experiences and not the truth. This promotes racism, hatred, and other evils. But, we do not need to live in this slavery – we can change it.

And here is how:

1. Study Your Thoughts
Before you react to a conversation or any event, pause and think. What makes me think what I am thinking right now? Is that really the truth or am I being biased? Recognize your biasness. And throw it out.

2. Restrict the Ego from Taking Over
Social media threads and political talk shows often end up in arguments and severed ties because each participant allows his or her ego to take over. Allow other people to have their opinions. The way your thoughts were shaped by your environment and experiences, the other person went through a similar process. He is entitled to think differently. Give respect. Do not abuse.

3. Broaden Your Information Sources
Diversify your information bank. Do not always read or follow opinions that match yours. Pick up a book or listen to someone who thinks differently. Similarly, improve your company. Seek learned, truthful, respectful, and positive thinkers. Seek the truth, not attention.

4. Stay Busy
Knowing that every word spilling off our tongues is being recorded should encourage us to speak only when spoken to. Speak a good word, and do not always be opinionated.

5. Study the Seerah of the Prophets
Learn from the best. Allah (swt) chose and shaped the prophets to overcome life’s challenges and carry forward His message. The Companions adopted their teachings and moulded themselves. Study their lives. How did they live in this world while focusing on the hereafter?

Discovering Your Middle Child

MiddleChildAs I was sitting on my prayer mat with hands lifted in Dua, tears were rolling on my cheeks. After performing my Isha prayer, I was begging to Allah (swt) for Sanya! My daughter Sanya (10) is the second of three siblings.

What is wrong with her? Your query is just! Have you ever come across the picture, in which a happy newborn is in the lap of her happy eldest brother, while the middle child is angrily ignoring both siblings? The caption reads: “The moment he realized, he was now the middle child!”

This middle child of mine is a problem for me. Sanya – a problem child. Should I say it for my talented daughter? Let me share my feeling about her!

Maria is twelve and Yasir is six. The eldest and youngest are quite reasonable, while Sanya always creates a problem for me. She disapproves of what is favourable to all of us. When I have to accommodate my offspring for any program, a refusal by her disturbs me, for then I have to revise my suggestion. Her argument in each matter creates a dispute. She is harsh in commenting. What and why goes wrong with her? Let me share some incidences.

Both the girls went with their aunt to a neighbour, who served fruits to eat. Maria tasted all of them pleasantly, while Sanya coiled and declined. The daughter of the host, who was a professional doctor and mother of a girl, exclaimed “That is why her (Maria’s) skin is glowing – she eats fruits.” I felt the toxicity of her remark that resulted in disturbing Sanya for weeks; but I must say she didn’t forget that negative response.

She went with me to a social gathering and was standing beside me. A girl from the guests pointed towards her eyes and said to her companion, “Look! Such beautiful eyes!” I noticed anger on Sanya’s face, which she later expressed as follows: “Look at this girl! She didn’t notice my poor health, just my eyes… the only good thing I have… she has a devil eye on them.”

I didn’t know that girl, but felt sorry about Sanya’s gesture on her comment. However, soon after that incident, Sanya’s eyesight got weak and doctor suggested wearing glasses. I am afraid she would relate it to that remark she got.

She is cross when her fellows are joyfully excited over a matter – either going on a picnic, getting the news of a teacher’s absence or getting a free period; whatever makes all laugh and enjoy, she over-reacts about it. The noise in the class makes her unhappy. When her siblings get any advantage by breaking any rule, she teases them. All these acts depict discipline in her nature, of course; but her isolation makes her more frustrated.

Surprisingly, all near and dear ones are concerned about her. What is she doing? What is her plan/schedule? Everybody wants to follow her. This concern makes her angry or maybe a little proud, I don’t understand. Being a child, she should like being cared about – why does she react negatively to all this care? It leaves me puzzled and worried. I get especially embarrassed during social interaction.

It does not mean that she has no good qualities. She is the most obedient child of mine. She gets up in the morning at my one call! She helps me with such domestic chores as washing dishes, spreading the cover, answering the calls, teaching younger brother and more. She is sharper and more confident than her sister, which satisfies me, as she can defend herself in any situation. May Allah (swt) save my children!

She has a good sense of humour. I enjoy her wittiness! She is definitely an extrovert. Then why pretend as an introvert? It confuses me! I know she has leadership qualities, because her friends and cousins try to follow her. I wish she would turn into a polite, contented girl; an expressive and determined girl, who didn’t like the society and termed its people as hypocrites. I feel helpless. I think she needs some counseling.

I was sitting on a prayer mat, thinking about how my life started with kids. Maria, the first born in both families (maternal and paternal) was a beautiful and adorable child. She gained so much love and care along with many gifts from grandparents, uncles and aunties!

Sanya, born just 18-eighteen months after Maria, was totally different from her sister. As she grew up, everybody noticed she was more active, expressive and creative. Her learning was pronounced. She started reciting poems at a very early stage.

At the age of four, she was admitted to school. It is a big change for a child, but for her it was harder, as she missed her first week of school because of her sickness. Plus I was in hospital, as my son was born. Although I am not a psychologist, but as a mom I realized that her absence in the first week of school did not allow her to interact properly with teacher and fellows. My assumption could be wrong, but the reality is that she had a class of nearly forty hyper students; when they cried, she coiled.

Today, at each PTM (parent-teacher meeting), teachers complain about her lack of interest in class. But the fact is that she is never given a chance in co-curricular activities. She is a good writer. She expresses her thoughts eloquently through her writing. In the last PTM, I complained to the teacher about her ignorance towards Sanya: “Many of her compositions have been published in different magazines.” In a lighter mode, I told her that “in future, when she becomes a famous writer, you would say she was your student; but now, you do not even acknowledge her for her skill. This is her last year with you – she will be moving on to secondary class. Kindly, take notice and cooperate.” The teacher was surprised and promised to look into the matter. But unfortunately, when next day she was shown the magazines, she remarked, “These are published due to her grandfather!” It dimmed Sanya’s delight, and the worst was that teacher lost all the magazines having the record of her compositions! Due to all this, Sanya got upset, which affected her health.

Recently, she misbehaved with me at the time of supper. I was hurt, so was praying about her. I know she has a remarkable personality, but how can I make an ease for her? I cry and feel that Allah (swt) is answering me:

“I gifted you a unique creature of mine! Would you thank me?” Oh yes, I take the challenge, trying to stand up. Then somebody came and put her head on my lap: “Mama, sorry – I have taken bread with curd.” She was crying. I hugged her. She was Sanya, my little angel. I kissed her shining eyes and wet cheeks. I have to handle her with the care she deserves.