The Reality of Failure

Throughout life, there will be countless instances where you will want to be successful in what you do or want. You will mold your personality in order to become someone great, in order to obtain certain things, and in order to be prosperous. You will take certain actions to get what you need and what you want. They may be materialistic items. They may be goals. They may be people. Some results will be great while others may not end the way you had hoped. You will succeed, but you will also fail. And in those moments of failure, you will forget all the moments of success. Don’t ever let that happen.

Often times, we become so consumed with the damaging thoughts of failure. Our mind becomes flooded with feelings of distress, grief, and regret. “If only I had done this. If only I tried harder. If only I knew better.” If and buts will never be powerful enough to change the past, but they will inevitably make matters worse.

Failure can either build you or break you. However, we are so quick to forget who we are: humans, perfectly flawed.  Along with being flawed, we are insensible. We don’t want to admit the fact that Allah has made us imperfect, blemished, and inconsistent. That’s why when we experience failure, it causes panic because it destroys the perfect image and depiction of ourselves and our lives implanted in our minds, that false depiction that has been instilled by the unrealistic norms of society, social media, and the entertainment industry. It looks so good online and in the movies where everything happens perfectly. How quickly we forget that is unrealistic and we are only seeing the highlights of everyone around us. Our life isn’t a movie; its reality where we cannot always get what we want nor can we always succeed the very first time we try.

Failure

{ What happens after we fail? }

We begin to THINK we are powerless in front of our failures. Losing a job, failing a class, being rejected, the list goes on. Certain experiences will make us FEEL like failures, but feelings change all the time. Feeling like a failure doesn’t truly make one a failure. Using that “feeling”, we gradually build a shell around us being pitiful on ourselves without even realizing.

{ Overcoming: Breaking through the shell: }

Once that shell has been built, how do you break through it? Failure is powerful, but the kind of power you give it is entirely up to you. Failure can either affect you positively or negatively, depending only on how you approach and manage it.

First of all, never forget Who your creator is. If Allah (SWT) brings you to it, He will get you through it in ways we cannot imagine. Our failures and mistakes can reach the heavens, but that immense mound of negativity can shatter and come crumbling down with only one sincere dua. Have a little faith, if not in yourself, at least in Allah (SWT).

Secondly, there is something quite fulfilling about experiencing failure. If approached positively, failure helps us to appreciate and recognize success. This requires a balance of good and bad or in this case, success and failure. Consider the way a rainbow forms. When light from the sun is reflected and dispersed in the water from the storm, we see an array of beautiful colors. It’s impossible for a rainbow to appear without a little sun and a little rain. The same way, our life is comprised of moments of success and failure. In order to develop into a beautiful soul, we cannot only have success all the time nor can we have failure all the time.

Thirdly, go easy on yourself. Don’t get me wrong, it’s never okay to become absolutely numb towards the bad experience of failing. But, it is wrong to let it linger longer than it should. We are not perfect and never will be, at least not in this dunya (The Earth). Be happy when you succeed but don’t let it overtake you. Be sad when you fail but don’t let it crush you.

Last but not least, allow yourself to fail and make mistakes sometimes but don’t allow them to define you, negatively. Allow these failures, experiences and mistakes to teach you lessons. There is no human being who isn’t flawed. Do not strive for perfection, for you will always be disappointed. But strive to be better, grow stronger, and become wiser. Next time you feel like a failure, know it is for a reason and it will pass with time only to be replaced with success in shaa Allah 🙂

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Welcoming Fall and Understanding Its Hidden Message

One of my favorite seasons has finally approached us Alhumdulillah (Praise be to Allah). (Spring is my other favorite). It’s finally time to pull out those cute, comfy burgundy sweaters and long boots you kept under the bed for months. Now its perfectly acceptable to sip down on a pumpkin spice latte or frappe without being judged by the barista at Starbucks. The slightly chilly mornings add a soothing comfort while driving to school or work.

I personally love sweater weather because it’s not too cold but also not too hot which is perfect hijabi friendly weather! Being a perpetually cold person, the advantages of fall are boundless. Nevertheless, the best part is yet to be mentioned…leaves! Lots and lots of beautifully colored leaves adding a crunch to your every step. SubhanAllah (All Praise is due to Allah), there are endless shades of red, yellow, and orange leaves about.

Fall_image

However, there is more to the picture than just the outward beauty of this magnificent season. Let’s take a look at one of the hidden messages of fall:

Every leaf on a tree represents a second of your worldly life. A tree is planted, just as you are born. Its seeds are watered, just as you are nurtured. Its roots rip through the ground, just as you begin to crawl, and then walk, and then run. Some grow tall, while others grow strong. Some grow thin, while others grow wide.  Every tree grows in its own shape and size and so do you but don’t be fooled, this growth will end. The leaves begin to change color, and you sight the first wrinkle on your face.

The thousands of trees that were once thriving with rich green leaves, covering every inch of its branches are suddenly looking so frail. When the first leaf falls, it’s impossible to notice. The tree remains unaffected. But another leaf falls and then another until the tree starts losing hundreds of leaves in a matter of days. As it loses more and more, the tree becomes vulnerable and some of its branches break off by the merciless, cold winds. Though, we have experienced this recurring transformation for several years now, we haven’t noticed that along with the trees, we too are slowly dying.

Life-Stages

Allah (SWT) doesn’t give us anything to see without giving it meaning. It’s our choice to open our eyes and recognize these hidden messages or disregard them and view everything merely from the surface. Imagine looking at a beautiful painting in an art gallery which lacks an author’s name or even a title for the painting. You will probably be amazed but that will be all you acquire from the painting. Unless you go the extra mile to find out who painted it, their purpose for painting it, and the meaning behind the painting, just looking at a painting would be equivalent to understanding almost nothing about it. Consequently, when we look at the beauty of this world with admiration, we only see the surface of the “painting” with our eyes but don’t understand its meaning and purpose.

Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Anbya (Chapter 21: The Prophets), Ayah (Verse) 35:

m

Every soul shall taste death, and We will test you with good and ill by way of test, and to Us you will be brought back. [21:35]

It is not wrong to admire Allah’s creations, but that mustn’t be all we do. Along with capturing the beauty of this season with our eyes, we must also understand its purpose with our mind and accept it with out heart. This beautiful season along with this ayah is a reminder for us that all things come to an end and that end is death. In order to take the most advantage of the unspecified time we have left, it’s crucial to remind ourselves and the people around us that no matter how far we go in this life, how successful we become, or how many years we live, it will come to an end. May Allah (SWT) give us the guidance and knowledge to properly prepare for it. Ameen.

Getting to Know Me {An Introduction}

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu (May the Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be with you)

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, and the Most Beneficient)

I have always been taught by my wonderful parents to start everything I do with Allah’s name, whether it may be something as simple as eating or something as difficult as deciding to become a doctor. With Allah’s name on your tongue and His magnificence instilled in your mind, every task we do becomes accompanied by the one and only God, Allah.

With that being said, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Abeerah Younus, Abeera which is Arabic for rose and sandal saffron mixed together in fragrance. My parents decided to go the extra mile and add an “h” at the end, just for people who have a hard time with pronunciation to suffer a little more :D. (I have had countless people switch “r” and “h” and call me Abeehar). Younus is derived directly from the Holy Book as one of the beloved Prophet’s (May Peace be Upon him) mentioned in the Quran.

I’m from Pakistan but moved here at the age of 7. Barely been outside of Maryland, my small world consists of an amazing support system of family and friends who have been nothing but motivating, supportive and loving. My biggest strength is Allah and I try to carry and represent Islam wherever I go. I started University two years ago and am currently a junior studying Cell and Molecular Biology (like the rest of the South Asian world :D). Jokes aside, it’s quite fulfilling because I do enjoy and understand what I study. However, this major has made my parents happier than myself, which is a great addition to the fulfillment it already gives me.

Being in my early twenties and probably at one of the highest peaks of my life, there’s quite some stress that comes along with university and a part time retail job. One of the biggest struggles I have had, especially in today’s society, is learning to balance Duniya (The world, Earth) and Akhirah (The afterlife). It often becomes difficult to incorporate and stay along with what Islam teaches us while trying to fit into the world around us. We cannot simply put ourselves in a bubble getting away from all the people around us and get through life. That is both unrealistic and impossible.

By no means am I a scholar or anyone even close to one, but in the last several years I have learned and experienced quite a bit which has served as a stepping stone to learning Islam. I am not here to be a teacher to anyone (considering I am and will always be in a learning process myself) but this is my attempt to share my thoughts/experiences and reach out to anyone who may come across my posts to connect in ways they may be not be able to with the people around them.

I’d like to welcome everyone and thank anyone who took the time to read my first blog post. In shaa Allah (if Allah wills), I will be posting, not only about Islamic topics which are especially popular in the younger generation, but everyday themes, struggles, and questions we sometimes cannot grasp and put into words. I look forward to hearing and reading your comments, questions, suggestions and feedback!

JazakAllah Khair (May Allah reward you with the best)

First official post: Welcoming Fall and Understanding Its Hidden Message {Coming Soon}