Whenever I get questions about Islam from non-practicing Muslims, I always begin the answer with the word “faith”. Many, I’ve realized, who are born in Muslim families, see Islam as nothing but a set of strict rules. They don’t understand what the rules are there for. They ask why they aren’t happy, living their “restricted” lives, whilst non-believers live long happy lives in what for us are haram relationships. These people, because they haven’t digged into the subject of faith, seem to believe that happiness is some sort of goal in life (or actually do have happiness as goal in their lives).

It isn’t. Not if you’re a believer. And I’m only talking about Islam here because that’s the religion I know most about, but I’m pretty sure the other two Abrahamic religions state similar things.

This whole life, this seemingly very long life, is a test. And it isn’t a long life either. Our lives are eternal. Even the longest period of time in eternity is not even a drop in the water. Think about that for a minute. And then look at this tweet.

I can’t verify the authenticity of this, but as far as I know Islam this is true. And it was a great reminder for me who faltered recently.

Our feelings, which we often follow and most often want to follow, tend to lead us astray. And why should we make decisions depended on something that changes by the day, sometimes by the hour – which is unreliable? If all of us always followed our emotions, many of us wouldn’t wake up early Monday morning to go to work. If we care that much about our worldly lives, that we need to have an income etc etc, why do we disregard the life that is to come – the eternal life in the Hereafter?

The life of the believer is supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be like a prison.

For the believing soul, it’s different. The believer is in prison – not paradise. Why?… The worldly body is a prison for the believer, not because this life is miserable for the believing soul, but because the soul yearns to be somewhere greater. It yearns to be Home. 

– Yasmin Mogahed, Reclaim Your Heart (emphasis mine)

I am a very spoiled person because I slip and Allah sends me reminders. And then I slip again. And again I return. God forbid, if there comes a day when I don’t return, a day when I think I’ve committed too many sins or too great a sins and am ashamed to return, that’s the day I won’t be tested anymore because I failed.

So if you, like me, sometimes feel sorry for yourself and look at others and wonder why they have what you don’t, despite leading the kind of lives they do, think again. Think about how many times you’ve seen how messed up people’s lives are under a perfect surface. Think about how lost their souls are, without them being aware of it. But most importantly, when you’re not grateful for what you have in your life, you’re going to think that even a tree stump is more fortunate than you. It’s all about perspective. And as I fail maybe more than most of you, let me start and at least attempt to be an example… at least for a day like this when the sun is shining and my mind is relatively clear.

Today, I’m grateful for the following things:

  • That we’re moving soon and I’ll get a room of my own.
  • That I am the aunt to those three adorable boys.
  • That I got a gift card from my friend with which I can finally get something I’ve been looking for for a while, without having to waste any money of my own on it 😛 .