Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Noob Husband (Year 1) - Getting Used To Things

One year has passed.

One year ago, hours before my wedding, I wrote a letter to myself to remind myself of the things that I need to remember for the rest of my marriage life.

One year after that moment, I am still trying to keep true to the contents of my letter. There are, however, a few things that I would like to add to the letter. Obviously that letter is incomplete and it needs to be reviewed from time to time.

This past year has been a totally new experience for me. Even the common things become new again, because now I have someone to share those things with. With this new experience, there will be new lessons and I want to put some in writing.

Because I am human and humans forget.

1. Change

I hear it from some single people who feel like they are going to lose many things once they’re married, and that they might regret it. To be fair, the life after marriage will be different than the single life. That is part of the experience – things will change.

But it doesn’t have to be a bad change. The things that you lose during your single life will most probably be replaced with better things.

For example, time. Yes, when you’re single you are freer with your time. But once you get married, your time won’t be exclusively your time anymore. Your time will become lesser since you have to divide it between yourself and your wife. On top of that, you have three families now – the family you grew up with, your wife’s family, and your own family. That will significantly reduce your time.

That could be good or bad, depending on how you choose to see it.

2. Emotional maturity

How you feel about certain things is mostly the result of how you interpret those things. Two people could be experiencing exactly the same thing but with two very different emotional outcomes.

For example, say two people took a test in a class and the professor gave back the test results. Both of them failed the test. One person could not believe it and was devastated. The other person felt sad, but he accepted what he got and moved on.

Why? Because each of them interpreted that experience different. One thought that it is the end of the world for him and the other thought that this is just another obstacle that he needed to face in the journey to success.

What does this have to do with marriage? Easy answer: everything.

Bad assumption is the mother of all bad relationships. When something that you interpret as bad happens, don’t immediately assume that it is your spouse’s fault. We should always, always, always think good of people, especially when we have no conclusive evidence to say otherwise.

When we have little to no information about what the reality is, we should always assume the best for the person, especially if that person is our lawfully-wedded husband or wife, whom you have chosen to be with for the rest of your life.

If she’s late, maybe she’s in a traffic jam. If she’s angry, maybe she had a rough day at work. If she didn’t cook that day, maybe she’s tired.

All it takes is a change in perspective. Seek to understand before making conclusions. Let the relationship stands on the basis of mutual understanding and not on the basis of bad assumptions because even when you are living with your wife, you don’t know all the things that have happened or are happening her life.

In the end, it might not be her fault. We shouldn’t always point the finger outward, but we should always point the finger inward. However, even if it was her fault, then you should learn to forgive.

3. Forgiveness

A person’s imperfections become more and more obvious when you become more and more intimate with the person. The person whom you are most intimate with is your husband or your wife.

You will see flaws in each other and you know you will, because you didn’t marry an angel. When you accepted her hand in marriage, you should know that you are accepting her in her best state and also in her worst state. Same thing can be said for a woman who is accepting a man as her husband.

The best thing to do is to overlook the flaws and focus on the good in the person you married, especially in those times when the flaw is very obvious. In those times, you should really, really hold on to the good.

If she made you angry for a moment, just try to remember why she made you happy for a lifetime. Learn to just let it go. You have to learn to let things go because it’s just not worth it. Let it go and never, never, never bring it up again.

Don’t hold on to your wife’s flaws and mistakes like they’re weapons that you plan to use in the future.

However, that doesn’t mean that you overlook all the bad. When the bad quality in a person affects the person’s relationship with God, then we should do our best to intervene, especially when we are talking about our spouse.

Why? Because the promise was to enter into Paradise together.

4. Self-development

A married couple should help each other to attain the ultimate goal – to enter Paradise and meet Allah in the best form. That can only happen if both of them have that same ultimate goal, but that is something that you probably should figure out before marriage.

When she falls down, you should help her get back up. When you fall down, she should help you get back up. This is a long journey and there will be stumbles along the road.

There is an African saying that goes, “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.”

We should support each other in good things. At the same time, we should compete with each other in good things too. That’ll make the relationship much more exciting.

I mean, you shouldn’t excel all on your own. When you get married, the word “I” is being replaced more and more with the word “we”. Marriage helps you to silence the ego. You start to think less about what’s best for you and more about what’s best for your family.

But that doesn’t mean that you completely erase what makes you you. Getting married doesn’t mean that one person becomes the exact copy of the other person. There will be individual differences.

5. Differences

You can’t expect your significant other to be exactly like you.

You both are two people from two different sets of parents, two different families, two different life experiences, two different groups of friends, probably two different personalities, two different tastes in certain things, and lets not forget – you are a man and she is a woman. You both think differently and perceive things differently.

Try to understand your significant other through how she sees things, because if you think that your wife thinks like you i.e. a man, then you will be in a heap of trouble.

Despite all the differences, you do share some essential things in common. Both of you agreed to marry each other, both of you agreed to live with each other for the rest of your life, both of you agreed to face every challenge that come your way together, both of you agreed to help each other attain the pleasure of Allah, and both of you agreed to enter Paradise together.

Those similarities are worth more than all the petty differences combined.

When things get rough and when you drive each other crazy, which you will, remember one more thing that you both share: you both agreed to accept each other.

When you find someone who accepts you for who you really are; the good, the bad, and the ugly; there is nothing better than that.

In return, you should hold on to her, cherish her, and love her as best as you can.


To Amira, my wife:

Thank you. For choosing me.

Happy 1st anniversary. 


Next post: Noob Husband (Year 2) - Daddy!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Community: If We Are United, Then Why Do We Have Multiple Jemaahs?


I am really hoping that you wouldn't mind answering my question. I tried asking a few people about this but I didn't get a clear answer.

I am studying overseas. From my first day here, I have been hearing a lot about different jemaahs (religious groups). One person tried to persuade me to join one jemaah and another persuaded me to join another jemaah.

Though I did join one jemaah, I am kind of confused to be honest. Almost all of friends feel the same way too. I keep asking myself, "Why do we need multiple jemaahs? If we have the same goal, then shouldn't there be only one jemaah?"

To be honest, because of these multiple jemaahs, many are hesitant to join usrah (small religious circle). It confuses people. Many think that these jemaahs have their own different agendas. That led to my friends thinking negatively about jemaah and usrah.

I want to stay within my usrah, but this question bothers me.

So if you wouldn't mind, I really hope you can help me with an answer. 

May Allah bless you. Ameen.


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah.

Thank you for your question.

The concept of jemaah is this to accomplish a goal together rather than doing it alone. When you are in a group, it is easier because you have the help and support of your peers. A jemaah shouldn't be an enemy to another jemaah, despite having some differences of opinions.

Differences of opinions is a normal part of a healthy community and it doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing if we can gather our collective intellectual maturity to live peacefully. I mean, we have the same goal for God's sake.

Our goal is to attain the pleasure of Allah. One of the things that will help us attain the pleasure of Allah is unity. So anything or anyone that causes disunity will go against the goal of attaining the pleasure of Allah. A jemaah is just a platform for us to do our work and to accomplish our goal.

A jemaah is not (or should not) be a cult-like group where you have an us-versus-them mentality, where the leader can't be questioned, where you can't be critical of the group, and where you are commanded to abandon your life for the sake of the group (e.g. quit your studies, quit your job, etc.).

Think of charity organizations for example. They all have a similar goal, but they are plenty of them out there. They are not out there to compete with one another, but they are out there to complement one another. There are too much problems, each with its own specific and unique complexities, for one organization to handle it all.

A jemaah is a beautiful thing. It is a concerted effort of a group of individuals for a noble goal for the betterment of humanity. One jemaah complements another jemaah to attain this goal, despite their differences.

To understand more, I highly recommend you reading the book by Dr. Maszlee Malik entitled "Risalah Pemuda Muslim".

I hope that helps.

May Allah grant us much wisdom. Ameen.

Thank you.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Relationship: We Broke Up, But I Can't Stop Thinking About Him


I had a boyfriend. We were together for many years. Recently, I thought that the relationship that we had was not good for my faith. I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be doing all these things, so I ended the relationship. I wanted to change for the better.

But after we broke up, I can’t stop thinking about him. Sometimes he would text me and I would reply back. Though I know that my decision to end the relationship was the right decision, I can’t simply forget all those years we’ve been together. It is not easy.

Please help me.


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah.

Thank you for your email.

First of all, I congratulate you for having a noble intention: wanting to get closer to the halal and wanting to get further away from the haram. May Allah reward you for your intention. Ameen.

Second of all, 7 years is a long time and I can understand why it is difficult to forget him. But you made taubah and insha Allah, Allah will accept it. Just remember to continue making taubah and to remind yourself why you decided to change.

I don't think Allah expects you to forget him overnight. What I do think is that Allah expects you to let go of your past sins. What I mean by that is for you to try your best to stay away from the actions that will cause you to be further away from Allah. Allah expects you to try and never give up.

Let Allah be your motivation. You know how your relationship with the guy will affect your relationship with Allah. That is why you decided to end the relationship with the guy - to save your relationship with Allah. Do remind yourself of that every day.

Busy yourself with beneficial things. Don't allow yourself free time for your mind to wander and to remember him. Do volunteer work, study with your friends, do part-time job, attend weekend courses, take up a new hobby, help your parents in the house, hang out with your friends, etc. Do whatever that is beneficial to fill up your time.

Lastly, I think it's best if you reduce or cut off your interaction with him. Try to remove whatever that reminds you of him: his phone number, his picture, his gifts, his Facebook, etc. It is not that we should think of as the bad guy. It is just that we want to get closer to Allah and in doing so, we should distance ourselves from anything or anyone that will make that journey more difficult for us.

It goes without saying that we should ask Allah to help the guy mend his ways. Just pray for the best for him and let him go. Of course, it is easier said than done. But you have to try your best and never give up - that is the only thing that Allah expects from you.

Don't be afraid if he meets another woman. You ended the relationship for a reason. You have convinced yourself that you want a different type of man in your life, the kind of man that can assist you in getting closer to Allah and not otherwise.

Have faith in Allah. When you let go of someone that may harm your relationship with Allah, Allah will replace him with someone better.

May Allah grant you what is best for you in this life and in the next life. Ameen.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Your Effort Matters More

One of my teachers whom I attended his halaqa is also a Psychology professor, with a PhD. He’s a licensed Psychologist. One time we were talking about a topic that is very popular amongst students – the topic of stress.

Now, just as an aside, stress is not inherently bad. For example, you might have heard of the fight-or-flight response. You need stress to trigger the danger alarm in your head, to trigger the fight-or-flight response. You need stress to survive. But just like cholesterol, there is good stress and there is bad stress.

Here, I am referring to bad stress specifically.

Back to the story, my teacher and I were talking about stress. He told me that one of the main reasons that students are stressed out is because they are worried about things that they cannot control. They preoccupy themselves with things that are beyond their capacity.

Let me give you an example.

One time I visited my previous high school. I met my juniors there and one of them came to me for some advice. She told me how stressed out she was. This girl was scared out of her mind. She had this big exam coming up and she’s already scared of the results. The exam was months away, but she was already worried sick that she might not get the results that she wanted. She cried, in front of me. Her reaction is understandable because that exam is very important.

Though I understand why she reacted that way, but her reaction was not necessary.

Why? Because we can’t control the outcome. She was worried about the outcome, the exam results – the grade that she’s gonna get at the end of it all. That is something beyond our control.

What is within our control is the effort that we put in right now, and we should focus more on that than the end results.

Worrying about something that we can’t control is what our Prophet advised us not to do. You know the “if” attitude? For example, worrying about things that have passed. “Oh, if only I hadn’t done that.” Or “if only I had done this.” And so on. That is something that the Prophet discouraged. Similarly, worrying about the outcome – “what if I don’t get that result?” “what if I don’t get the job?”

The Prophet said this “if” is the door that Shaytan opens. It’s one of his tricks – preoccupying us with things that we can’t do anything about.

What the Prophet taught us is that, we focus on now. What are you doing now? What are the efforts that you’re putting in now?

That doesn’t mean that we can’t have a vision for the future. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have high aspirations. No. The Prophet also teaches us that when you ask for Jannah, ask for the highest one – Jannatul Firdaus. So yes, have high hopes and aspirations. Aim high.

But don’t busy ourselves daydreaming about it. Instead, busy ourselves with working towards it.
Busy ourselves with the effort and not the results. The effort is what we can control but not the results. It’s a good thing too because Allah doesn’t judge us based on the outcome, but He judges us based on our efforts.

Allah said in the Quran:

[And it will be said to the inhabitants of Paradise], "Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated." 

(Surah al-Insan 76: 22)


To learn more about the true value of your effort and to break the walls that stops you from getting to self-confidence, do join us for our upcoming SPEAK UP! English Speaking Seminar.

Details can be found here.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Do Not Underestimate People

Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad Hanbal, said that he used to frequently hear his father said, “May God have mercy upon Abu al-Haytham and may God forgive the sins of Abu al-Haytham.” Abdullah would hear about him so frequently that he asked his father who the man was. So Imam Ahmad narrated to him the story.

There was a time of great fitna in Imam Ahmad’s life where some of the core beliefs of Islam were questioned and some of the rulers in the Muslim lands succumbed to these incorrect beliefs. These rulers started to enforce these beliefs unto the people.

The scholars lined up to debate them and oppose these beliefs. They ended up imprisoning, torturing, and even killing these scholars until only Imam Ahmad was left standing. Imam Ahmad successfully debated their intellectuals and left them speechless.

One day, the ruler had enough and ordered that Imam Ahmad be chained up like a criminal and walked through the middle of the town so that he was humiliated. Finally, the ruler wanted to bring Imam Ahmad to him and torture him until he denounce his stand.

As Imam Ahmad was dragged through the streets, people were surprised and gave him unpleasant looks. At that moment, he started to question himself, “Why am I doing this to myself?” He could’ve agreed with the ruler in his speech but not in his heart, and it would be okay. The Prophet gave a person in such a circumstance leeway.

At that point, he thought to himself that he can handle imprisonment but he was unsure whether he could handle physical torture. He started to reconsider his stance. As he was thinking that, he felt a tug on his shirt. It was Abu al-Haytham.

Abu al-Haytham was widely known as a criminal. He tugged Imam Ahmad’s shirt and said to the Imam, “I rob people for a living. It is written in the court records that I have been lashed 18,000 times because of my crimes. But I haven’t stopped doing what I do. I obey Shaytan for the sake of the dunya, but I haven’t quit just because of a few lashes.”

He continued, “You obey Allah for the sake of the Deen and the Hereafter. Don’t you dare ease up on your stance because of a few lashes. I didn’t give up on bad things because of a few lashes. Don’t you dare give up on good things because of a few lashes.”

He said those words to Imam Ahmad and let his shirt go. The soldiers dragged Imam Ahmad on, and that was the last time he ever saw Abu al-Haytham. Abu al-Haytham’s words had lit a fire in his heart and he didn’t budge from his stance no matter what the ruler did to him.

Imam Ahmad became one of the reasons of the preservation of correct Islamic beliefs and the reason for the defeat of the incorrect beliefs of the time, thanks to Abu al-Haytham who ignited that fire within Imam Ahmad. That is why, for the rest of Imam Ahmad’s life, he would make du’a for Abu al-Haytham.

People who met Abu al-Haytham later on might never knew the good that he did. They might never knew that Abu al-Haytham, a notorious criminal of the time, was the man who inspired Imam Ahmad in preserving the correct Islamic beliefs and we see the fruits of Imam Ahmad’s contributions until this very day.

You can probably extract many lessons from this story, but I intend to leave you with this specific lesson: do not underestimate the potential of an individual, any individual. It might be that from the outside, he or she doesn’t look like they can do much for the Ummah but in reality you never know.

Is it possible that Allah answered Imam Ahmad’s du’a for Abu al-Haytham? Is it possible that because of that one deed that Abu al-Haytham did, Allah forgave his sins and enter him into Jannah?

We know about the life of Abu al-Haytham and what he did. We know how he lived his life. But, we have no idea how he ended his life and we have no where he will end up in the Afterlife.

If we truly are the followers of the mercy to all the worlds (Prophet Muhammad), then we have to recognize that everyone has potential for good. Even the most unlikely of individuals, he or she has potential for good. So do not underestimate anyone.

First of all, do not underestimate yourself. Do not think that you are too broken to be fixed or that you are a good for nothing person. There is no such thing. Allah didn’t created anyone to be useless. Allah recognizes the potential in us when He created us and when we messed up, Allah is always ready to accept us if we choose to return back to Him.

Next, do not underestimate other people because you’ll never know what good that can come out of them or what good that they had already done but you don’t know about. Nobody would know what Abu al-Haytham did if Imam Ahmad hadn’t narrated this story. But whether we know about him or not, Allah knows.

Do not underestimate anyone. Islam is not the religion of doom and gloom. Yes, it does carry a warning to those who do bad things. But, it also carries hope and Islam never runs out of hope to give out to people.

"Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated – Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful."

(Surah al-Furqan: 69-70)

We have in our tradition a sahih narration about a mass murderer who killed 100 people. But then he decided to repent and in the effort to repent, he decided to move to a new place where he can start a new life. But, on the way to the new place, he died.

Both the Angel of Hellfire and the Angel of Paradise came down to claim his soul. They argued about who will take him. The Angel of Hellfire argued that the man killed 100 people. He should be in the Hellfire. The Angel of Paradise argued that he had repented and Allah forgave Him.

To settle the argument, they decided to measure the distance between the man and the old place where he came, and the distance between the man and the new place where he wanted to go. If he is closer to the old place, he will go to the Hellfire. But, if he is closer to the new place, he will go to Paradise.
By the Will of Allah, the man was closer to the new place hence he’s taken to Paradise.

If Allah can forgive a mass murderer, don’t you think He can forgive us? If there is hope for a mass murderer, then don’t you think that there’s hope for us? No matter how big our sins are, Allah’s Mercy is always bigger.

So do not lose hope for ourselves and for other people, and do not lose sight of the potential in every single human being we come across. Value yourself and value other people – value them for what they can, have, and will offer to the betterment of humanity.

“You will find that people are mines of gold and silver. The best of you in the time of ignorance before Islam will be the best of you in Islam if they gain understanding of the religion.” (Sahih Bukhari)

People have untapped potentials that, if polished and guided, will do wonders to the world.

Reference: Don't Underestimate Yourself - Abdul Nasir Jangda

Monday, December 01, 2014

Relationship: I Think My Roommate Doesn't Pray. What Should I Do?


I actually don't know how to start this but I really need someone to share this with.

I am a student and I just began my studies at a university. The problem now is since I was here I have never seen my roommate perform Solat (prayer), except for one time.

I wanted to ask my roommate about the whole prayer thing but I just can't imagine what might happen if I do so. If things go wrong, it might get awkward since we have to share the same room for another semester. 

I hope you can help me with this. I don't know who else to ask. 

What should I do?


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah.

Thank you for your question.

If we don't know for sure, then we shouldn't assume anything bad. We always assume good, if we don't have any strong evidence for the contrary. In your case, do you know for sure that she is not praying? That is the first thing that you should ask yourself. The good thing here is that you at least seen her pray once. That is a good sign that she hasn't abandon her prayer. So you should really consider your perception of her very seriously.

I am not saying you should spy on your friend. Whatever a person does in private is his/her business and we shouldn't intrude on a person's privacy. If a person sins in private, that is between the person and Allah. It is only when the person enters the public sphere (i.e. not private anymore but known to others) that we start to consider an intervention. Even in that situation, we should proceed with little to no bad judgment because it is not our job to judge.

I know this might be hard to swallow, but this is the reality: our job is not to change people's hearts, but our job is to convey the message as best as we can, with much patience and wisdom.

Beyond that, it is out of our control so we leave it to Allah. He is the only One who control the hearts. In your case, offer advice in a manner that you find most suitable within your capability. Try to find the best way to approach your friend. If one way doesn't work, then try a different approach. Don't be harsh and don't be hasty. Use wisdom and not emotions. Remember, this is not about our ego. This is about possibly becoming an assistance for a person to get closer to Allah.

Other than that, leave it to Allah. Make lots of du'a.

Allah knows best.

I hope that helps. Thank you again for your question.

I pray that Allah grant us wisdom. Ameen.