Is Our Patriotism Limited to Materialism?

It is 14th August today. 70 years ago on this day our forefathers fought to have a land where Muslims can freely obey Allah and follow the Sunnah.

But unfortunately today the 14th August is the day when people go crazy on the streets. They dance on music that deafens the ears. They wear everything green and white, and drive their vehicles without silencer, and on high speed that can cause severe accidents. Every year aerial firing kills innocent people. 70 years ago these precious lives were lost to give us a peaceful life on this land. Today these precious lives are lost on the expanse of someone wanting to feel the rush of adrenaline. So hasn’t our patriotism become materialistic?

I feel 14th August should be a day of reflecting and pondering about this blessed land. I feel 14th August should be the day when you thank Allah tremendously. When you evaluate yourself as a Pakistani, as a Muslim, and as a human being. When you ask yourself this question, ‘What have I done for my country so far?’

I am not against beautifying our homes and our streets with flags on Independence Day. I am not against going all green in our attire on 14th August. But what I wish is we celebrate the day for what it is and not for what we want to do with it.

Jazakillah khairun kaseerun

This is How I Made My Feel Good Journal

A few months back I wrote a blog post, Don’t Fill Your Diary With Negative Memories which had reached a lot of views. Today I am writing this blog post on how I made my Feel Good Journal at a time when things were a bit a difficult at my end. The Feel Good Journal really helped me cope with my problems in a positive manner and since now that Allah has solved my problem I wish to share about it with my readers.

Objective of my Feel Good Journal

The reason I made this Feel Good Journal was because I wanted to create something that will keep me grateful during the darkest days of my life. When I was going through the difficult situation I ended up talking all negative and becoming ungrateful for whatever I already had. Just so you know I hate been ungrateful and I am actually afraid whenever I utter ungrateful words. So in order to stop myself and make myself look towards the brighter aspects of my life I created this Feel Good Journal.

Materials Needed:

  • A pretty notebook that says, ‘Pick me up!’ whenever you look at it.
  • Some cute stickers (optional).
  • Different coloured pens.
  • Few positive quotes.

The how?

I already have a diary where I jot down my good and bad memories. Well, not exactly bad memories but rather I write in it about my problems and that helps me see the picture more clearly. So what I did was go through the start of this diary and selected all the good memories to be compiled in my Feel Good Journal. I used different coloured pens for different memories depending on the type of memory, relationship, ambition, or a fun day out.

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For people who don’t use a diary

If you don’t have a diary where you reflect your day to day activities then you can instead go through your smart phone gallery. Using a picture from each event of your life write at least one good memory.

This Feel Good Journal will help you during times when you will feel sad and depressed. It will keep you focused on the blessings that Allah has already blessed you with. Along with that, reading through your Feel Good Journal will divert your attention towards positive matters and will help you optimistically approach the problem.

How did you like this idea? Are you willing to try it out? Do let me know in the comments section below.

Jazakillah khairun kaseerun

The Beauty of Prayer

Prayer is our lifeline.

Without prayer we are nothing but flesh and bones.

Prayer gives us a true purpose in life.

It makes us feel useful.

Prayer leads us to success, to peace, to Jannah.

Hence we must never skip our prayer.

There is no guarantee of our life.

There is no guarantee if we will be alive to pray our very next prayer.

Another beauty of prayer is the mindfulness (that is if we really focus while praying).

Focus in prayer makes us forget our worries, our sorrows, our mistakes and, our greatest fears.

Focus in prayer gives us relief.

Focus in prayer rejuvenates us.

Prayer is obligatory and is a duty towards your Creator.

Leaving prayer is like leaving the opportunity to be successful.

Hence make time for prayer because the beauty of prayer is felt nowhere but in prayer.

Increase Focus in Your Salah with These Few Simple Tips

With so much to do during the day we sometimes end up rushing through our salah. Rather than giving the utmost importance to salah in our journey towards Jannah, with give preference to the worldly activities. This in turn impacts our mind and makes us distracted during salah which we later regret about.

These few simple tips will help you develop focus in your salah.

Mentally prepare yourself a few minutes before the time of Adhaan. Keep track of the changes in the Adhaan timings for the five daily prayers. If you live in a western country where you don’t get to hear the sound of Adhaan then you can install an Adhaan app (recommended: Muslim Pro app) on your smart phone.

Don’t delay in offering salah. Delays can lead to laziness and when you will offer salah lazily, you will definitely get distracted.

Mindfully perform ablution. When performing ablution don’t get lost in thoughts or don’t day dream. Instead think about what you are going to do after getting done with your ablution.

Make niyyah for salah. Silently say it in your mind which salah (Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha) you are performing.

Focus on what you are reciting. When praying, focus on the words of the surah or du’a you are reciting instead of mindlessly reciting whatever you have learnt. Through this way you will not get distracted because since you will be concentrating on the words your mid will not have any space to think of anything else.

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Learn new surahs from time to time. Reciting the same surahs over and over again will make you well versed and so you won’t make efforts to focus on the words. This is why from time to time learn a new surah so that you will be careful about reciting it and there will be no room for distractions.

Learn the translation of the surahs and du’a you recite during your salah. When you will know what you are exactly saying in your salah, when you will be able to understand the meaning of the surahs and duas that you are reciting during your salah, you won’t lose focus.

Make du’a for being able to concentrate in salah and also make tawbah for anytime you get distracted. Du’a is a powerful tool of a believer. If you are facing difficulty in concentrating during your salah ask for Allah’s help. Also, at any time you find yourself distracted in prayer, ask for Allah’s forgiveness after finishing with your prayer because He is the most forgiving to His servants.

I pray that we all find peace in our ibad’ah. Ameen.

Jazakillah khairun kaseerun

10 Ways To Build Your Self-esteem

Last week I had published a blog post on 10 Signs To Know If You Are Suffering From Low Self-esteem. If those points applied to you then this blog post will help you build your self-esteem. Even if you are not suffering from low self-esteem it is essential that you look after yourself by doing these activities.

  • Start with giving attention to yourself. Instead of making your needs secondary or totally forgetting about your likes and dislikes, make yourself the focus. Remember that no one can take care of you better than yourself. Others treat you the way they see you treating yourself. If you are going to put your needs after other people they too will do the same with you.
  • Take some time out to look after your physical appearance. Take proper long showers, most of the people who treat themselves as unworthy, simply rush with their shower ritual just so they can serve others. Get yourself some nice scented shower gel and shampoo. Select your outfit for each day and match them with accessories. Men can take time in ironing their clothes and polishing their shoes.
  • Find the purpose of your life. We all have a purpose to live, we all have dreams to attain. Was there anything you wanted to accomplish in your life? Think about it. Better discuss it with a loved one. There is still time to achieve your dreams.
  • Do some creative work. Once every week do some creative work that will turn out therapeutic for you. It can be anything related to your interests. Write a funny poem, record some funny voices, do art work or simply come up with a silly game to have fun.
  • Dedicate some time of your day to do what you like. This will make you feel important and discover your worth.
  • Go back to developing a good bond with your loved ones. If your relationship with your spouse, parents or siblings has been damaged, try to develop that bond again. The support we get from our loved ones play a vital role in building our self-esteem and confidence.
  • Demand your right to get recognition. If you like getting praised for what you do, ask people to comment on your work. Ask people what they like about you. There is nothing wrong in seeking compliments for yourself once every while.
  • Ponder upon your surroundings, the place where you live, your work space. What do you like about the place you live in? What is the best part about the area you live in? What do you enjoy the most about your work? If there is anything you dislike, what can you do to make it right?
  • At least once a day eat what you like. It can be as small as your favourite brand of chips or chocolate.
  • Count and cherish your small successes and only the small successes. This is a reminder for you that you don’t always need to achieve something big to appreciate yourself. Every small step towards success, towards the right path, towards your purpose counts as an achievement.

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I really hope these tips help you build your self-esteem. You can always reach me at aisha2aboo@gmail.com.

 

10 Signs to Know If You Are Suffering From Low Self-esteem

So in the past few months I was having discussions with some women at different times with each of them individually and I came across a similar pattern in all of their problems. Each one were suffering through a different problem such as, problems with spouse, anger management issues, difficulty looking after their children, feeling unsatisfied with their lives. And the one underlying cause for those problems was low self-esteem. All these women that shared their experiences were in some way or the other suffering through low self-esteem.

I decided to write this article because I know that there are many people who barely even speak about their problems. So I thought why not help people give a warning signal through these 10 signs that show that they might be suffering from low self-esteem. Also, these signs are not just for women but also for men so this blog post generally applies to everyone.

  • Do you find yourself feeling anxious among people? One of the signs of low self-esteem could be that you feel nervous when you are with a lot of people. You don’t feel like attending parties or going to places where you will have to interact with a lot of people. Also, we are talking about people whom you already know and you have interacted with them in the past and no argument has taken place between you people to make you feel anxious. When asked why you don’t feel like to be among them you just don’t have any explanation.
  • Do you simply follow the crowd? When you have to get there in the public you simply follow everyone else. You don’t want to be identified or want eyes on you. So you try your best to be like other people when stepping out of your home.
  • Are you feeling inadequate all the time? Feelings of inadequacy are something common among people who are suffering from low self-esteem. They constantly feel like they are not doing enough. They feel that they haven’t done justice to their responsibilities and feel emptiness in their life.
  • Do you have difficulty in accepting compliments? Each time someone compliments you, you feel like they are lying. You find difficulty in believing that you are good enough in terms of looks or at certain skills.
  • Do you end up neglecting your rights? Another sign of low self-esteem could be that you treat yourself to be the last in everything or sometimes don’t even consider yourself rightful enough to fulfill your needs. When other people ask for your assistance you agree to them without looking at your ease because their approval means more to you than your peace.
  • Are you constantly having negative thoughts? When someone is suffering from low self-esteem they tend to think negatively. If the husband is late from work they start assuming about another woman in their life. If wife doesn’t answer their call, husbands assume that there is something wrong with them. Whenever they do certain work they feel that it has not being done properly and wants to do them again. When the boss calls to speak to them privately the first thought is always a negative one that maybe they have done something wrong.
  • Do you find yourself confused at all times? You are confused and have a hard time making a decision. You wait for others approval before making up your mind. You can’t singlehandedly decide your life course. Even something as simple as looking from a menu and ordering food makes you look at your loved ones for advice and you repeatedly confirm your decision before finally opting for it.
  • You are afraid of challenges? Taking up something new and challenging is usually avoided. You feel like you won’t be able to do it and even if you agree to do it you find yourself in a lot of distress.
  • Do you expect bad to happen to yourself? You might think of yourself as unworthy and start expecting bad things to happen to yourself. It could be people’s words or your own thoughts that might make you feel that way.
  • Have stopped eating your favourite food? One of the last signs that I would like to state is the disinterest in your favourite food. If you are single and your mother is still cooking you might just eat what is on the plate without thinking much of what you like. If you are a wife or a mother, you might be cooking your family’s favourite meals while skipping cooking for yourself. If anyone even suggests to you, you simply shrug off the idea.

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There can be more signs but these are the basic 10 signs of people who are suffering from low self-esteem. If you find these signs visible in yourself then just don’t stay back. Talk to a loved one, discuss your problems. You can also write to me at aisha2aboo@gmail.com.

Jazakallah khairun kaseerun

Article coming up next week: 10 Ways to Build Your Self-esteem

The Struggle Of Finding The Right Job

After university ends life starts to feel like a big empty hole. When you are in university or college there is always a push that makes you keep going even if you don’t want to. But as soon as you step out of university it feels like you have stepped on a deserted island where your first goal is to look for water but exactly in which direction, becomes the big question.

During my last month in the university I was having mixed feelings. I already had some ideas in mind but they weren’t yet ripe enough to implement. Then the final exams began and ended all too soon. The first 2 months I enjoyed, Alhumdulilah and I am still enjoying. I have gone to a few job interviews but something just didn’t feel right. I am a person who adjusts quite easily but certain times I just don’t feel like settling for anything less.

With 5 years of experience in freelance writing and 4 years of experience in blogging I can easily get a full time writing job (was also offered from a few places) but that is not what my life goal is. I know some of you reading this might think that I am being ungrateful but honestly I don’t want to settle for something that is not going to give me the satisfaction even if it brings in a lot of cash. I love writing but working as a full time writer is not what I would enjoy doing hence I am still in search of that right job.

I have always wanted to work in a field where I could bring positive change in the lives of people. My blogging allows me to do that and so does the book that I finished writing several months ago. Now I wish to work in an organization where I can actively do this. People have told me that I should just settle with whatever offer I am getting but once again I want to follow my heart just like how I did when I was confused between choosing to become a doctor or a psychologist. I believe in doing something that I enjoy so I can give my best to whatever I am doing.

I don’t mean to rant in this blog post but I thought this piece of my feelings can be a source of inspiration for those who are struggling to follow their dreams rather than the crowd. If you are not ready to settle for something that doesn’t excites you then it is totally okay. If you are still lost and not able to decide what you want to do in life, it is still okay. If you believe that despite all the hopelessness you will still find the job that you want, then it is totally fine. If you are not running after money but rather expertise, then that is wonderful. If you are not ready to follow the herd and want to make your own path, then that is great!

Just know that Allah is closer to you than the jugular vein. He will answer your prayers and He knows your good intentions. Stay strong, keep praying and don’t stop striking over and over again.

Life is not just about earning money,

It’s about doing the thing that defines you.

Jazakillah khairun kaseerun.