Tag Archives: truth

Episode 1: Defense Mechanisms Explained

Defense Mechanism

Self Defense Mechanisms

 

Episode One: Using Dissociation As A Self Defense Mechanism

 

 

“If you say ‘calm down’ one more time I swear I’m gonna lose it!” Her husband snapped.
“I don’t know what else to say. I looked everywhere. It’s gone! Now can we please stop fighting about this and go to bed?” Amy cried.

“This necklace is worth 400 thousand dollars. The only thing I’m sure about is I’ll never sleep again till you find it!” her husband roared. “You know what, that’s it, I’m calling the police…”

 

Three months later

His name was Mr. Mohanad Zahir, a very powerful and insanely rich businessman. We met on a Monday morning to discuss the case he had hired me to investigate and by Thursday I was at the Zahir’s posh residence all caught up on the details and ready to commence with evaluating and assessing the witnesses.

“I don’t care how long it takes or how much it’ll cost. I hear you’re one of the best forensic psychologists in the city and I’m counting on you to find out who stole my wife’s diamonds.” Mohanad arched his thick eyebrows, while smoking his expensive cigar, completely ignoring his beautiful, agitated wife.

Detectives and suspicious insurance company investigators have been all over this robbery case for weeks to no avail. Amy wore the diamond necklace to the small and cozy birthday party they had hosted for her best friend three months earlier. Halfway through dinner Amy got the hives and started itching all over. Mortified, she ran upstairs frantically, searching for her antihistamines and naturally took off her jewelry to ice down her burning skin. Careful examination showed there were traces of strawberries in Amy’s dessert; the only food she’s extremely allergic to. There were no signs of breaking and entering that night, nor were there any strange foot or fingerprints besides those of the guests.

“We were all thoroughly interrogated; our friends Sameera and Nadir, our son Hamza, and even our butler and housekeeper, who were the only people present inside the house that night.” Her husband, Mr. Mohanad Zahir added.

“Are you suspecting anyone Mrs Zahir?” I asked Amy.

“She didn’t even want to call the police.” Mohanad said in a hard-to-ignore, sharp tone. “She was as happy as a clam to let the whole thing go unreported. She obviously thinks I crap money for a living.”

A flash of heat went through Amy, tightening her shoulders and flushing her cheeks blood red, yet I could tell she was used to being on the receiving end of her husband’s insults.

“I couldn’t accuse anyone, they’re all practically family” Amy whispered.

“I understand” I nodded. “Mr. Zahir, do you mind me asking why you insisted on hiring a forensic psychologist even though the case had been closed and you already received the insurance money for the stolen jewelry?”
“That’s not the POINT!” Mohanad pounded his fist on the designer Ebony-wood coffee table. “It’s not about the money or the necklace, it’s about the principle. I need to know who would dare steal from me under my watch. Be it who it may, they must pay for their crime.” Mohanad said before getting up. “Excuse me!”

“Sorry about that” Amy apologized quickly when her husband stomped outside angrily to take a phone call. “He’s usually very pleasant. I don’t know what’s gotten into him lately”
“I can tell you think very highly of him”

“He’s a great husband. Generous and supportive, and he’s also a wonderful father” Amy replied, drawing in a long breath with a pursed smile.

She was lying. There was no doubt in my mind about it….


Last year…

“Will you stop whining? I can’t believe you’re still upset about your flower business going belly-up. Of course it did! You know nothing about running a business.” Mohanad said, stuffing another crab puff in his already full mouth.

“Dad…”

“Hamza it’s okay” Amy rested her hand on her son’s arm to stop him from arguing with his father. The three of them were at the lake house for the weekend, supposedly to strengthen the family bond, which at that point was as frail as a yellow autumn leaf.

“Let him talk. I’m sure failing school three years in a row has given him unparalleled insights on the why’s and how’s of success.” Mohanad scoffed sarcastically.

“He’ll pass this year with flying colors, watch and see” Amy smiled warmly at her teenage son.

“Unless we enroll him in a special school for pot heads, I don’t see that happening. Look at him, he’s stoned in broad day light!” Mohanad yelled.

“I’m not stoned dad, I’m just tired. I was up all night studying” Hamza mumbled.

“I don’t know what’s more infuriating, your drug abuse problem or your failure to come up with a decent lie to cover it up. Looks like he’ll take after your brother, Amy. Congratulations!”

 

 

“So tell me a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?” My question woke Amy up from her painful, silent rumination.

“I grew up in the cutest little town known for making the best cheese on the planet. Wait I’ll get you some!” She bounced on her toes.

“Thank you that’s very sweet, but maybe later” I sat her down gently. “What about your family?” I asked.

“My parents live about two hours away, but still, we talk all the time. I lived a simple life back home. My dad worked day and night to provide us with the bare necessities, yet our home was a haven, believe me. People think money brings happiness but that’s not true. Life is meaningless without those people you love and who love you back.”

“Including your brother?” I smirked.

“What? Of course.” Amy stuttered. “I haven’t seen him in years though.”

“Yeah, that’s what your husband thought, too. Except I found out you took him to Rehab two months ago. And a very expensive one if I may add”

“I do what I can to help my family” Amy whispered.

“I completely understand” I raised both hands. “Your parents must be proud”

“They are. In their eyes, marrying a rich man like Mohanad was my greatest achievement!” Amy’s ocean blue eyes glistened in the light. She fiddled with her diamond ring and then looked up at me with a smile. “Of course I must help them. God gave me so many blessings; a loving successful husband and a perfect son. It’s my way of giving back…”

“Mommmmmmmmm! Where are the stupid keys? I’m late!” Hamza walked in, yelling so loud I think the wall paint cracked.

“Sweet heart please say hello to our guest” Amy seemed a bit embarrassed.

“Yeah whatever” Hamza bobbed his head at me then turned to her. “Where’s your car keys?”

“They’re in my purse honey” Amy handed her son her limited edition Channel purse. He grabbed it rudely to fish the keys out then tossed it on the sofa.

“Umm you’re going out? Do you need some money?” Amy asked.

“No I’m good.” He said before scurrying out.

A moment of awkward silence…

“Giselle” Amy called for the housekeeper, avoiding any sort of eye contact with me.

“Yes, Mrs Zahir”

“A cheese platter for our guest here. You really must try the Chevre!” Amy changed the subject abruptly, yet the unexpressive look on her face said a thousand untold stories.

 

That same evening

“So she wants to make her family look good. Big whoop!” Jenna said. She was my office assistant, a vibrant, cheerful young woman who was very eager to learn all about Psychology.

“No Jenna, Amy is using dissociation as a defense mechanism” I contemplated.

“Dis what?”

“Dissociation. There’s over 30 different types of defense mechanisms the subconscious employs as a protective shield against the ugly truth. Dissociation is one of those types.” I explained.

“’Against the truth’? Isn’t this just a fancy terms for ‘lying’? Why do you make it sound legitimate? ” Jenna asked.

“Because we all do it. Avoiding pain is a natural, basic instinct”

“Okay, so you think Amy isn’t purposely lying, she’s just zoning out?”

“Exactly! Dissociation is separating yourself from reality. It’s a self defense mechanism to things that are too difficult or too painful to process and absorb. Like Amy; her husband is a raging Narcissist and her son is obviously disrespectful towards her, but she’s completely blinded to it.”

“Gimme another example” Jenna put both palms under her chin.

“Hmmmm we see it a lot with children who’ve been abused. Some of them grow up with no recollection of what had happened. They know they’ve been abused but they become masters at detaching from reality, they completely block the horrific incident out.”

“Wow! It’s really fascinating how the brain works”

“You’ll be surprised how many of us use dissociation in our everyday lives. Like for example, when a mom knows for sure her child is having troubles at school yet turns a blind eye or give them excuses instead of addressing the core problem.”

“Yeah like those moms who blame the teachers when their kids fail, right?”

“Or it could be mild as daydreaming. Some people just feel detached from their lives; they describe it as watching themselves in a movie. Or when a girl falls in love with the wrong guy and completely blinds herself to ALL the signs proving he’s not the right person for her. Uhmm like some people I know uhmmm” I coughed.

“Fine I get it” Jenna made a face. “Dissociation is basically like living in La La Land; believing in fairy tales and knights in shining armor. What’s so wrong with that?”

“Nothing if you use it properly. Like it’s okay to zombie out during a root canal for example. Trying to focus on things that don’t bring us pain is actually therapeutic. But when you refuse to deal with reality and run away from your problems all together to go live in a perfect, dream world that’s when you’re in trouble. You can’t solve the problem if you don’t see it to start with”

“So how do you cure ‘dissociators’?”

“Therapy works for patients with dissociative disorders. They need help focusing and acknowledging the very painful feelings they’re avoiding. It’s no walk in the park, but without treatment, they’ll spend the rest of their lives carrying the past on their shoulders, getting themselves in more trouble, or accumulating more sins. They eventually suffer from depression, low self-esteem and memory loss.” I explained. “Like Amy, she lives in two separate worlds. She’s created a beautiful bubble to live safely inside, but I have a feeling she’s hiding something. Something awful…”

“You think she stole her own necklace and then convinced herself she didn’t do it?” Jenna gasped.

“It’s too early to say….”

The next day I went to question Hamza, Mr. and Mrs. Zahir’s teenage son.

“Of course! Make yourself at home. ” Amy greeted me cheerfully as if I was an old friend dropping by for a cup of tea, not a crime investigator.

Hamza walked in a few minutes later. A typical teenager in sneakers and a solid black T-shirt. He had his hands in his pockets, with his ripped blue jeans sagging below his waist, and his long wavy hair framing his pale face.

“Remember what your uncle taught you.” Amy whispered in his ear. “How does a fish get caught?”

“He opens his mouth” Hamza whispered back.

 

To be continued….

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

The Author’s Commentary

A certain ‘Dissociator’ popped up in your head, right?

Or perhaps right now you’re in the middle of an ‘out of body’ experience being a spectator and you realize ‘Oh my God, I’m a DISSOCIATORRRRRR!’

You know, Psychology is closely integrated within Islam. Allah did not leave us to our own devices, for even the most complicated, unresolved psychological issues have been discussed in either the Qur’an or the Sunnah. Like for example, fathers who buried their daughters alive in times of ‘Jahiliyya’ must have been dissociating! They must have completely blocked out the horrendous magnitude of this sickening custom.

Let’s say you’ve committed a sin, and because you have a good heart, you just can’t face the fact you’ve upset Allah. It’s just too painful! So you refuse to feel it and completely block it out. Sometimes dissociation is the reason thieves keep stealing, adulterers keep ‘adultering’ and cheaters keep cheating. They don’t feel guilty about it because they’re detached from their ugly reality. But the angels on our shoulders aren’t detached. Granted the one of the right might get bored sometimes, but the angel on our left is on full gear, writing down everything we’re in denial about. And then we’ll be completely dumbfounded on Judgment Day.
I know it’s unimaginably difficult to accept you’ve sinned, but that’s part of the healing process. Stop running away from your mistakes because sooner or later you’ll collapse. The antidote to dissociation is repentance. And if you know a disscoiator who insists on sinning, make duaa for him or her. These people are not stubborn, they’re not bad people, they’re just weak….
May Allah help us see the truth and guide us to the
right path. Amen

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day 29: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-NINE: Zakat Al Fitr (Eid Charity)

 

Ramadan is coming to an end….
Wait a minute, so does that mean in a day or two, we’ll drink coffee in the morning, no problem?

We’ll have breakfast instead of ‘break-our-fast’

For real??
Oh my God! Did you guys ever try the Eggs Benedict on a muffin topped with smoked salmon? Served with cherry tomatoes and roasted potatoes on the side? Oh yummmm

And fresh pineapple juice…
And grilled cheese sandwiches
Frittatas, bagels and Pita bread with white cheese and olive oil

Red velvet pancakes and Nutella waffles

And our Egyptian Feteer (layered pastry)

And all the other mouth watering foods we love so much
I would like to thank all the items on the food menu for bringing so much joy to our family gatherings, so much love to our hearts and for making our taste buds alive with amazing flavors.
We have missed you so much!
And even though we’ve had our differences before since some of you make us gain weight, we’d like you to know that on days like Eid, you’re completely forgiven because it’s totally 100% worth it. And I promise we’ll try our best not to take you for granted again.

Give it up to all our favorite foods! Let’s have one more round of applause loool.

 
You know, at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) ‘Zakat Al Fitr’ (Ordained charity given at the end of Ramadan) used to be one saa’ of food, or one saa’ of dates, or one saa’ of barley, or one saa’ of raisins. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Given your drooling reactions to the breakfast menu I listed a few seconds ago, it kind of makes sense to give out food to the poor and needy at the end of Ramadan, no?
Yes, you. Did you have a question?

 

What’s a Saa’?

Well, it’s an ancient measuring unit equivalent to about 3 liters

 

Can I give any other type of food? Or even money?

Of course you can give other types of food depending on availability and quality.
Giving food is the ‘sunnah’ and it is the most correct form of charity in this case, but many ‘modern-time’ scholars have agreed that Zakat Al Fitr can also be given out in money and ‘Allah knows best’ (I’ve always wanted to say that but never had a chance! Thank you loool)

 

On whose behalf should a man (or woman) pay Zakat Al Fitr?

Zakaat al-fitr must be given on behalf of all Muslims under your care, young and old, male and female, free and slave. With regard to a fetus, it is not obligatory to give it on his/her behalf according to scholarly consensus, but it would be nice of you to do so, since ‘Uthman Ibn Afan (may Allah be pleased with him) did that.

When should Zakat Al Fitr be given?

Like right  NOW loool!

It’s essential to give the charity before Eid so people would have time to make good use of it.
You don’t have to finish reading this post if you haven’t given out your zakat yet. Go do it like right now please.
(Final deadline? Morning of the first day of Eid, but you better have like a REALLY good excuse!)

 

Who is eligible for Zakat Al Fitr?

  1. The poor
  2. The needy,
  3. Collectors of Zakah,
  4. Reconciliation of hearts (new reverts or people this close to embracing Islam)
  5. Freeing captives / slaves
  6. Debtors
  7. Those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of Allah
  8. The traveler.

 

Why do we pay Zakat Al Fitr anyway?

It’s a blessing for us if you’d like to know.
In the past month, there’s no doubt we’ve slipped a couple of times. A little gossiping here, a semi-curse word there.
Rolling your eyes at someone here, and raising your voice during an argument there.
Sheeeshhh some ugly memories are flashing before me loool.

Zakat Al Fitr serves as an eraser. It purifies those who fast in Ramadan from those little sins we hardly notice or can’t control.

 

And oh don’t we all need to be accepted and forgiven…?
Don’t we all need to be heard and loved…?

My dear Greatest Lord…
You’re the One who knows what’s inside our hearts…
and You know we have nothing to purify our souls with…
We own nothing..
Please my Lord…
Don’t believe our moments of despair or anger..
Please don’t believe our arrogance or selfishness..
It’s not who we are..
So please forgive us when we slip..
and love us despite the ugliness and resistance You see from us…

We don’t have anyone else to run to..
We really don’t..

We don’t know anyone who’ll accept us with all our flaws and imperfections and still give us limitless chances..
And still forgive, care and shower us with blessings
No one but You..

My Lord…
Can I ask You a question…?
Have You accepted us…?
Are You proud of us…?
Is there anything we can do or say to gain Your love and pleasure?

Allah…?
Are You happy with us this Ramadan?

I’m begging You…
Don’t let the month go by until You have loved and accepted us…
Until You’ve looked at us with a smile…
Until You’ve made a place for us in the Highest Levels of Jannah, where we get to see Your face…
Amen

 

All my love,

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 24: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Let’s Open Old Wounds, Shall We?

 

This might seem random (and a bit nosy) but I gotta ask…
Who’s that one person who has hurt you the most….?

Who has caused you unimaginable heartache and pain?

Has hurt you so much that you started to hate yourself..
To the point that if they knew how horrible you felt inside, they’d never be able to look you in the eyes again…?

It’s ironic, but I’m pretty sure that same person was once very near and dear to your heart.
Maybe an ex best friend?

A family member?

A man you once loved more than words could say?

A woman who proved monsters were real..?

 

And it doesn’t end there..
Because not only did they hurt you beyond repair; they’ve also changed you..
into someone you don’t recognize…
into a person who doesn’t believe in love anymore
into a woman who has to spend the rest of her life wondering why she wasn’t good enough
into a sister who can’t trust her own siblings or friends or even her own parents
into a man who runs away from affection
Or pretends to be whole when he’s all broken inside..

 

They didn’t just give you immense pain..
They took a precious part away
A part you’ll spend the rest of your life looking for…
And when you do find it…
You’ll suddenly be too scared
and too scarred to touch it
The people who hurt us steal something on their way out of our lives..
Our innocence…
Our security…
And our hopes..

 

Oh come on people.
I just poked and prodded at some really deep old wounds. What more do I have to do to stir up a whole commotion?
I mean I don’t see fumes coming out of your ears or fire coming out of your mouths or even the classic jaw clenching?

Where did I go wrong? loool

Seriously..
You can tell me…
Has the anger settled into ashes of sadness and disappointed..?
Are you pretending like you don’t care when deep inside you really do?

Or have you given up completely?

Are you waiting for karma to take its course of absolute revenge?

 

It’s not that I can read your mind loool.
It’s just that I feel you..
Because I’ve been hurt before too
By those I loved and trusted the most..
But as I’ve grown older and more mature I’ve come to realize….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s so hard to see the good in people who have LITERALLY MADE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE!
Ohhhh that felt good
Okay, rant time’s over
Ready for some good deeds? Loool

 

Beginners Level:

Not sure how ‘beginner’ this one’s gonna be because in reality it’s a really difficult task.
Your act of kindness for the day is to make du’aa for someone who has hurt you badly or someone you don’t really like.

Yes, you heard that right.

And no, no negotiation

And yes, you have to forgive them before making du’aa for them

And no, it’s not an impossible task

Listen to this…
 “…and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

This verse came down to compel Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) to forgive…
Forgive who exactly?

The man who slandered his daughter Aisha

His daughter who?! AISHA!

Who is Aisha again? The Prophet’s wife!

The mother of all believers!!

He said horrible things about her that weren’t even true
And not only that! Mustah Ibn Athatha, the man who gossiped about Aisha, was Abu Bakr’s cousin
A very poor cousin
and Abu Bakr financially support him
And Allah asked him to forgive and go back to spending money on him like nothing happened!

Guys, seriously,

I don’t feel like you’re getting how huge this is!
Someone speaks about my daughter and the first thing I’ll start planning is how to take out all his organs and bury each body part in a different country!!

But now Allah doesn’t like that, you know why?
Because the bitterness will eat us alive

The ‘hate’ is such a huge burden to carry.. It’s poisonous and exhausting..
And it blinds us from seeing the goodness in ourselves and other people.

 

So if you want Allah to forgive you, do yourself a favor and forgive those who have hurt you…
You loved them once…
I’m sure you loved them for a reason…
Besides, maybe they’re hurting ten times over
And maybe your du’aa tonight will take both your pains away..
Advanced Level?

Just getting this one done from the heart deserves a medal!
I wouldn’t ask for more…
I’ll just sit here and admire your strength from far
and ask Allah to give us this kindness, purity and nobility…
And to fill our lives with so much joy and love that we don’t even notice the pain anymore

Say Amen : )

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 22: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY-TWO: It’s What You Love The Most

 

Here’s a random conversation with one of them ‘cool’ teenagers
“So what’s your plan for being successful?”
“Become famous”
“Famous for doing what?”
“I dunno”  Icon Face

 

To be fair, probably most of us have shared this ‘becoming-a-success-story’ dream at some point in our lives. We probably hunted down any ‘easy’ tips or ‘fast-track’ tools that could get us a step closer to realizing our goal. I remember I was only 10 when I asked my mom,

“So what’s the BEST thing I can do to be the BEST?”
“Spend from what you love the most”
“Huh?”

 

I SO didn’t see that one coming. I thought she’d use this opportunity to guilt me into keeping my stuff organized or to make me quit teasing my siblings. But no, she quoted this verse:

Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:92)

Of course at that time, ‘that which I loved’ was chocolate.
(Still is, but you know). And I remember kicking myself, like WHY? Why did I have to ask? looool

Your turn.
What is it that you love the most?
It should be something other than money, because hello, money is a given in most scenarios, since it’s what we use to buy the things we love.

Is it food? (Probably an automatic answer by those of us still fasting loool)
Flowers? Cars? Perfume? Books? Puppies?
That expensive watch or laptop or Play Station ‘number OMG-newly-released-yet-exactly-the-same-as-the-one-before-it?’
That family-heirloom Meringue Pie recipe you keep in a fireproof vault?
That beautiful pearl necklace that goes with everything you wear?

See? It’s not so easy.
And that’s why it’s the biggest test of faith, because putting Allah first is the surest path to goodness and success in both this world and the Hereafter

When Abu Talha (one of the Ansari companions) heard the above verse, he gave up his ‘Bairuha’ Garden to charity, which everyone knew and he also admitted was the most beloved garden to his heart. (Bukhari)

When Prophet Solomon sensed his beloved horses were distracting him from worship, he got rid of them all. And they were a vision! They were gorgeous, purebred, Arabian horses if you’d like to know.

Prophet Abraham was willing to give up what he loves the most for the sake of Allah… When asked, he was willing to sacrifice his only beloved child Ismail…

 

If you had to…
And if the One who holds your life in His hands wills it, would you give up your desires, dreams, wealth, pleasures or loved ones…?

Would you sacrifice your Ismail…?

 

Your Merciful Lord did not ask you to do all of that. He doesn’t want to break your heart, He just wants to make you stronger.
He wants to empower you instead of letting you get desperately attached to material things.
And He never asked you to give up everything you love. Just a small portion of it.
Would you do that for His sake?
Beginners Level:

Ho-ho don’t start down playing or suddenly rearranging the list of ‘your most beloved things’ now. There’s something you own and cherish so much you’d rather not give it up, and that’s exactly what you need to share and spend from. No cheating loool
It could even be your time!
Advanced Level:

Use the ‘Ripple Effect’ theory, because 28 years later, I’m pretty sure, since it was my mom who taught me it, she’s getting double the rewards for every time I spend from what I love (You’re welcome mommy, any time! Just please don’t pretend like you don’t know me when you reach the highest levels of Paradise loool. InshAllah)
Guys, be smart! Teach this to as many people as possible. Instill it in your kids. When you get them Eid presents, get an extra one (just as good), and then ask them to pick one to give away for charity.
The sound of their brains going 100 miles an hour and their obvious predicament will break your heart.
But it will also make you super proud.
Muslims don’t just give away their left overs or ugly, unkempt belongings and call it a day!

We are people who love for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves.
Even if it feels like you’re giving a piece of your heart away when you share your last KitKat.
(Or anything you love for that matter)
It’ll open your heart…
It’ll teach you what ‘true love’ really means…
And it will be the BEST thing that ever happened to you…
Simply the best…

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

Day 21: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-ONE: Forgive Yourself

Ladies and gentlemen…

We have reached the most important part of the month
The stage we’ve all been preparing for…
The master scene of the whole year…
The last ten nights of Ramadan, where the Prophet himself (may peace and blessings be upon him) would stay up all night and wake up his whole household to strive hard in worship (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Now I’ll relate a little scenario and you guys tell me if it sounds familiar, okay?

Last ten days. I can’t afford to miss on them I really CAN’T!
If I read three chapters a day, I’ll finish the whole Qur’an in these ten days! Not a biggie, ha?”

Two days later…

“Oops I’ve wasted so much time I’m still on chapter four!” Eyes dart left and right “You know what, it’s really the odd nights that count. Yup, I’ll pray hard and worship Allah every second of every minute on those odd nights!
Two days later…

Fine, I’ve wasted more precious time but really, who are we kidding, we both know Laylat Al Qadr is probably on the night of the 27th, right? I’m acing it, watch and see…”

And then the most amazing thing happens…
You sit in worship for the whole night till sunrise.
You finish reading the whole Qur’an, all 604 pages in two hours, and pray 77 Raka’s then go to sleep and get a vivid sign in your dreams, that yes it was Laylat Al Qadr and yes you’ve definitely gotten the reward of 1000 months of worship…. And yes….
You’ve been reborn.
(Probably not what happens at all but I just wanted you guys to have this amazing feeling for a couple of seconds loool)

Because it is an amazing feeling…

For 355 days we’re out and about, unfocused and perhaps living our lives mindlessly.
And then come those ten nights, we find the will and power within us to invest in our eternal lives.

To focus on the unseen part of reality.
To realize these ten nights are precious gifts.
Our prayers won’t make Allah more Magnificent or more Dominant.
It’s us who need them the most. It’s US who need to gather as much good as possible before we check out and pay for our bad deeds. (Oh I just remembered something about bad deeds, but I don’t wanna lose my train of thoughts. Can you please remind me to write about it later? Thanks lool)
Maybe we don’t know it now, but we trust our beloved when he insisted over and over and explained how priceless these last ten nights are.

So do your best.
Do the best you can…

And if you find yourself running away from Allah, instead of running to Him with your fears, hopes and pains, then maybe there’s a reason..
Probably the same reason why many of us don’t make the best out of the best of nights..

Some of us don’t know how to face the Qiblah and stand before Allah, when we can’t even face ourselves with all our faults.

Some of us can’t get closer to Allah, because deep inside, there’s a barrier between our souls and our minds…

Some of us refuse to reap the rewards of those precious nights because we’re so disappointed at our own failures; we feel we deserve nothing in return…

Some of us have an inner anger, like this rage towards the world, and it’s blinding us from reaching out to Allah…

And some of just are just drained and lost…
We don’t know how to move on with the future, when deep down we know we could have done better in the past..
We drag our mistakes with us every where we go; and have no earthly idea of how to put the burden of guilt down on the ground

Some of us can’t make Du’aa..
Can’t focus in prayer and can’t absorb the words of the Holy Qur’an.
And it’s not because we’re shallow
It’s because we’re too immersed in the guilt and pain of the past

There’s no levels here, for you’ll always be a beginner when you’re trying to heal…
It’s time to make peace with your broken pieces…

Promise me…
When you stand before your Lord asking for His forgiveness..
Know for sure that He has already forgiven you there and then
Your past doesn’t define you. It really doesn’t…
Promise you’ll start the special ten nights with renewed hope
It’s the first step to get closer to Almighty Allah
Start a new page with your Lord
And do what He has already done
Forgive….
‘You’….

 

Tonight… all you need to do
Is forgive yourself…
 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Day 20: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY: The Power Of Advice

“Let her eat something sweet”
“No something salty”
“Let her lie down”
“No let her sit up”
“Give her some space to breathe”
“No let her go home!”

In case your wondering, those are all the contradicting pieces of advice women yell out at the mosque whenever one of us poor girls gets dizzy and drops to the ground in the middle of ‘Taraweeh’ prayers.
I gotta tell you, we’re one opinionated bunch loool.
Women seem to know everything there is to know about everything one can ever know anything about!

They’re great dentists:
“Your teeth hurt? Chew some cloves!”

Great Orthopedic Surgeons:
“You broke your toe? Tie a potato around it!”

Great problem solvers:
“You missed the deadline? Have some chocolate cake!”

Women will give and apply unsolicited advice, any chance they get. While men, the extreme opposite of course, will strictly reject any sort of advice unless they openly, lucidly and clearly ask for it, after signing a consent form allowing you to express a different opinion and getting it certified at one of the legal institutes loool.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the things that matter, like the ‘real’ important issues, some people are too reluctant to help, only to face horrible consequences like failure or blame.
While others are obviously not ‘God-conscious’ or honest enough with the advice they give, because they don’t really wish others the best.
I’ve had clients tell me their friends are all advocating divorce.
“Why what’s the problem?”
“My husband forgot my birthday two years in a row!”

Seriously?!

Sincere advice is so critical because you know what? People take it.
Some people will actually consider your words and in many cases apply them, because they believe and trust you.
They’ll think it’s okay to let the kids go on social media unsupervised.
It’s okay to get divorced because your husband snores!
It’s okay to get married without parents’ approval
They’ll think they do look better with short hair! (My obsession with long hair aside, any insinuation that cutting hair is better is probably not genuine, trust me!)

Giving advice is an ‘amanah’ (Translator please! I can’t seem to find mine)
It’s an obligation, an entrustment and an absolute privilege.
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “The Deen (religion) is Naseehah (advice, sincerity).”
The companions asked, “To whom?”
He (ﷺ) said, “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim)

Remember when Prophet Muhammad summed up Hajj saying it’s “Arafah’?
Now he’s summing up Islam in two words (actually one Arabic word: Naseehah) or ‘Sincere Advice’.

So where am I going with this?
Let’s find out

Beginners Level:

No one expects you to go around bombarding people with advice they never asked for.
But please don’t let shyness, fear of consequences, jealousy or a need to be ‘cool’, deter you from standing up for the truth or helping people in need of guidance.
If someone is spreading false information, correct him or her with kindness.
If your kids start crumbling under social pressure, be there to lift them up.

If you’re put on the spot, speak proudly of Islam, and don’t bend your principles for anyone, whoever it might be.
And when asked for advice, for God’s sake, give it (but you know… nicely)
Advanced Level:
It’s hard to listen to those who don’t practice what they preach

It’s time we started investing in our own reputations
Our honesty…
Our truthfulness and integrity…
Oh how I wish all these beautiful morals could make a comeback!
Religion is sincere advice because it encompasses genuineness, authenticity, and loving for others what we love for ourselves.
So don’t be stingy looool. Share your beautiful knowledge about Islam with others, even if it’s one verse or hadith.
And do it eloquently, in a soft, smart and lenient manner to attract people to the truth instead of turn them off.

Maybe, just maybe…
You’ll end up in the highest levels of Paradise (and take me with you inshAllah coz otherwise that’s just mean loool)

And it might not be because you spent hours praying or days fasting or went to Hajj 26 times
But because you gave one person some really good advice
Because you shared and made a difference…

 

Ramadan Kareem guys
See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Day 15: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY FIFTEEN: Remember Those Who Have Left

 

I really don’t want this to be a sad post..
But let’s be honest, losing loved ones is sad.
It’s probably the first thing that comes to our mind when we try to define ‘grief’

I don’t wanna open old wounds or trigger the pain of loss again. But I don’t see a way around it, especially since today’s act of kindness is directed towards the ones who couldn’t be here with us this Ramadan.
The ones who have passed away, leaving so many memories behind that are still very much alive.

 

In my mind, death is like this dark ghost lurking the hallways, looking for lives to steal.

And even though we know it’s inevitable

We KNOW our time on this Earth is limited

And that sooner and later we’re all gonna die

It STILL feels farfetched and probably improbable (were you able to pronounce that without involuntary ‘eye-crossing’ loool?)

 

It still comes as a surprise when one of us goes
It still feels so ‘unexpected’
So ‘no-that-can’t-be-true’

Confession: I consistently ask Allah to take me first before all my loved ones. My mom thinks I’m selfish, but maybe some people are okay with being selfish in this specific scenario!

Allah knows some of us can’t even discuss the concept of losing a loved one forever..

And it’s not because our faith isn’t strong..

It’s because are hearts are so weak..

 

And no, it’s not the loss that tears us apart the most..
It’s the love for that person…
The love that stays ‘unfinished’, with so many things left unsaid.

It’s not them passing away, but us letting all this time pass by without weaving the best memories out of it.
Without telling them how much they’re needed, loved and missed..

Maybe grief is a different form of love..
Maybe this intense, hollow sadness is actually the love you wish to give to someone who has ceased to exist in this world..

And today, there’s a way to give it. I promise…

Beginners Level:

Make heartfelt du’aa for your deceased loved ones, because you know what happens next?

Your prayers will be wrapped up like special gifts (with a big bow and a little card and everything) then delivered to those who have passed. Allah is Kind and Merciful enough to make our sincere du’aa bring joy to our departed loved ones, raise them in status or ease their pain.

 

Advanced level:

Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) cried when he visited his mom’s grave. He wept so much till everyone else around him wept too..

Go visit your loved ones’ graves, for it’s the best reminder of the reality of this temporary world.. and make du’aa for them. I’m sure they’ll be surprised with your beautiful gifts.

 

May Allah bless the souls of our loved ones who passed away..
And help us love, embrace and appreciate the ones who are alive

While we still can…

 

If you guys have a minute, please allow me to whisper a special prayer….

Oh my Dear Allah, only You know what’s in our hearts…
Only You understand the pain of separation from those who took a part of us with them and left..
Our loved ones are under Your care and protection so protect them please..

Forgive and have mercy upon them, for You are the the Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful

Oh Allah, please forgive them….

Excuse them and pardon them and make honorable their reception
Expand their entry and cleanse them with water, snow and ice
And purify them of sins, the way a white robe is washed and purified from filth and dirt
Exchange their homes here in this life for better homes close to You
Protect them from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Hellfire
And admit them with Your mercy into the Gardens of Paradise

My dear, Most Merciful Allah..
We beg You before we go to soothe this pain in our hearts

To send them our duaa in beautifully wrapped presents, and let them know they’ll always be in our hearts till we meet them again.

My Lord, You are the Most Loving, and the Most Compassionate
Do not leave us to ourselves not even for a split second…

And please…
Take care of our broken hearts…

 

Amen

Lilly S. Mohsen