How to be a good Imam

Bismillah

Man the things that Allah swt teaches me with amazes me.  I’m thankful for all the sour people that come in my life.  It teaches me to stick up for myself, it teaches me morals, and it teaches me how to grow.

Based on a strange encounter I had with whom I had no idea was an Imam because of his lack of ethics, I decided to list out things I wish I was able to be treated with as a girl seeking help from a leader.

1) Take some counseling/ psych courses

Please learn how to approach a broken person.  Learn how to talk to someone, especially if they refuse to discuss confidential information with you.  If you want to help them, RESPECT THEIR BOUNDARIES and keep it HALAL.

If you are an Imam, learn to be professional in social work rather than to start abusing a victim and forcing them into your advice.

2)  Never insult your client

First thing they told me is that I’m bitter. Why? Because I wasn’t giggling or sweet-talking. I wasn’t smiling. I’m a survivor and trying to get my work done.  As a woman, I prefer to be straight-to-the point when talking to someone.

You don’t know your client.  You don’t know what they went through.  You don’t tell them they’re messed up for sticking to the rules and sharing their opinion

3) Never use religion as a weapon against them

This shows your lack of understanding of Islam.  Are you advising someone by threatening them?  That’s a form of abuse in itself. It’s messed up and doesn’t ever help someone.

4) Listen to what your client is saying

Truly listen to them. Emphasize with them.  Imagine what their context is. Understand them. Open your heart to them.  Be kind to them.  Look at what they’re going through.  Look at their struggles, their circumstances, give them credit for the effort they’ve put into.

5)  Believe in them.

When they tell you their crisis, don’t take it for granted.  It’s not something to be taken lightly.  Don’t slap them in their face and tell them their crisis is nothing, that people are going through worse things.  Believe in what they’re saying.  Help them get better, help them heal.

6) Allow them their freedom and options

Allow them to choose their path.  After-all, they’re the ones who are struggling, let them choose their struggles. Let them take their time in things.  There’s no time-limit or deadline on how they should progress.

DO NOT FORCE your advice on someone. YOU COULD BE WRONG.  You could be misunderstanding something. LET ALLAH CATER THEIR PATHS AND DESTINY.  NOT YOU.  YOU ARE NOT GOD.

 

HasbiyAllahu wa ni’mal wakil.

In the end, Allah swt is everyone’s Wali. Allah is everyone’s protector. Allah is the one who provides refuge. Let Allah be Allah and let you be the Imam.

JazakAllahukhairan.

 

 

Motto for Living in a Trump Era

nothing better than getting a healthy dose of the Masjid at times like this( Trump Era) This is what I have to share after listening to a lecture by some really awesome learned scholar phD dude, a brilliant educator of our young Imam.  This isnt all what the lecturer said, rather it’s my reflection and way of relating it to myself.
1) change our focus from falling for our desires, trying to get more of everything we want. more of our distractions, more of the shiny things, more of excess -basically anything -that signifies wealth for you.  the excess. the  extravagance.  the greed.   Be real with yourself and what matters
2) dont let circumstances make you take away your consideration for others. care for others, help others, ponder about others and their pains and how you can be there for them, expand unity beyond your personal borders.


3) bare through it patiently. it’s gonna be hard, scary, and ugly but we have to be our best especially in this time. no matter how much you wanna go off on someone, you gotta play it cool bc that’s what will hit the hardest if you wanna win. cuz the point of this all is that you wanna win and you cant win without controlling yourself and being humble

Jug of Milk

Adjacent vulnerability welling up my throat.

I saw in a full  clear jug of milk

fresh grass pile up and float

It was the mourning of my past

and my heart’s ill hope

that something for his future might just slope

This was the fresh grass, like a fresh cut

that polluted my jug

for my mourning and my cut would always rise up fresh

and ruin my morning drink

my afternoon drink

and my evening drink

and my night drink

to the point- that I would not think.

the sadness in my desires

for wholesome love to light my fires

spoiled my every drink

depriving me of pure happiness

and the pure willingness

to focus on God

thus leaving me flawed

 

Just like the grass in my milk

 

 

 

Angels, I whisper back

Oh angels, I’ve given in

Your guiding whispers were never misguiding

It was me who always chose my own decisions

You were always right, voice of Iman.

I wish it were easier to abide by what you’d say

But you’d only speak once- or I’d only hear you once- for my own distractions and fervor would blur your song away.

Without you, my heart would be dead

and leave no goodness to plan ahead

If only I can take your hand when you lend it

and accept the offer to see what you see

But I guess it’s a matter of a leap of faith

from my own stubborn emotions

to actually make the will to further into your world

of patience and peace

It’s my lack of courage

to escape from my confusion-

afraid to face my very own delusion,

my ego,

my arrogance.

 

So angels, I’ve given in

because all the same- it never made a difference in the pain

except that with you I actually had something to gain!

I’ve come to your doors

to give you my message

that I actually

want to listen this time.

thnx-

 

Footnotes-

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=87539#vot

Iman- Islamic term for faith and belief

 

 

 

The chandelier of my heart

 

Today, I pondered about Taqwa.  I was praying to Allah swt to increase it and help my be stable on it. To stay strong with it.  With that, I began wondering, are there times that I absolutely do not have Taqwa?  I realized I do have taqwa every now and then, but most of the time, I bury it under the blackness of my sins, mishaps, and fog of misclarity on things.

When a difficulty in my life comes in, my little nafs inside my heart frantically digs out  Taqwa, hangs it up like a chandelier and lights it with the light of iman. Thus enlightening my vision to make decisions and think accordingly to surah fatiha. (ihdina assiraatal mustaqeem)

And so my chandelier is lit, and I can see all that lies inside my heart. Or at least whatever is apparent amongst the buried memories, aspirations, secrets, prayers, personal contracts claiming I won’t do this again, promisesand past accounts of repentance.

My nafs looks to see what it can dig out to fit the puzzle in decision making. Unfortunately, the nafs is entirely self-centered and selfish.  It only desires what benefits it NOW.  Immaturity is my nafs’ bestfriend, because Immaturity is kind of obsessed with emotions and feelings. Inexperience is lazy and  is always sleeping in the back, but my nafs knows how to take advantage of it. It uses it as an excuse to shape the puzzle in such a way so that I depend on surprises and earn the currency of new experience, whether it be good or bad. Cuz that’s what nafs does.  It bribes Inexperience with the currency of Experience so it can meal on fudge brownie sundaes and be fat, lazy, and hide under the bed from Courage.

Now that my hearts lit with Iman and Taqwa is hanging tight and securely, nafs ravages through my heart, looking for the perfect pieces that make it seem like the decision is 100% for the akhira, despite whatever instant gratification or schemes it’s trying to get by.  However, it’s always a challenge for Nafs because the light that Iman gives doesn’t show what black lights show.  Black lights show the clever whispers scribed in invisible ink by the ever so well-meaning shaytan.

Iman highlights all that is good, guiding me to what I’ve learned before and how to take control of my emotions, steer them into the right direction and make the niyyat of serving Allah swt.

My nafs however, cherry picks through the different options and tries to trick me into taking the rigid path rather than the straight path.  Sometimes it’s a war inside that vesicle and Courage and Hope come to the rescue.  They stun nafs with the image of Jannah just enough to get by with making the perfect decision, helping my win.

I have no idea on how I’m going with this and I feel like I can go on and on because these daily occurrences are always so unique and rich and always provide new seeds for growth and self-development.

Footnotes-

Taqwa is arabic for god-consciousness and love and humility towards Him

Iman- adamant faith in God for His justice, love, recompense, 
and the Unseen that is under His control.  
It's something so overbearing that it affects everything you do 
and becomes your goal, your conscience, and your purpose.

Nafs- conscience, ego

 

 

11th day of Ramadan 1437 The Intention

alright.. باسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

I was supposed to make daily reflections this Ramadan so I can get back on track to the way I used to be 3 years ago ( very punctual and timely  and spiritual etc)

Because now I’m barely gettin that spiritual iman-high back that I used to have like all the time…  especially in High school since I was always so upset over going to school. being a shy muslim n all.

But I think my problem really is the fact that I’m trying to be something from the past.

I’m somebody different now.  I’ve grown. I’ve seen marriage, gotten some college done, taken Islamic courses, learned a little bit of basic arabic.  I’m able to think more and reach better conclusions… (thinking positive, right?)

What I need to do is make a new picture of how I want myself to be.  To stop relating myself back to my 16 year old self.

I’ve gone through 2 years of serious learning (through marriage and diploma courses) and it’s taken a toll on me, but for the better.

My bestfreind grandpa sheikh-imam tells me I’ve matured and that I need to focus on further growing myself.

Now to grow myself spiritually again… I think I need to analyze something. What is spirituality? What is nearness to Allah swt?

 

It’s all about the intention. 

and my heart cries for it.  to be able to cry and make serious duas after every prayer the…(way I used to -shoot i referred to my past again)  to be in constant dhikr… to read a ton of Quran and listen to a ton of youtube lectures, etc.  I used to be able to recite on full volume 2 juz and be totally fine.  I mean I can still do that if I wanted to, but i’d get really tired if I did now..

The fact is that I’m trying and I want it.  though I may not feel it, I’ve learned that sometimes Allah tests us by Not having a sense of spirituality, but our jihad in trying is the faith itself.

that’s satisfying. I can only hope that that is how I’m doing.

my goals for Ramadan were to read lots of Quran but I don’t like reading plain Quran without understanding it. but It makes me feel bad when I spend nearly an hour trying to understand both by translation and grammar, and with meaning and reflection, and I get through 2 pages.. single sides.

but in sha Allah, I do hope that it’ll get better as time goes on.

cuz my new personal motto is to be AUTHENTIC.

I think I’ll write about that in another post…

but anyway.

so conclusion for tonights reflection and some last notes

-let go of how I used to be and focus on how I will be

– it’s all a matter of intention

-we can only keep trying

-everyone is different and their spiritual nearness to God and achieving that is unique and special.

  • simple goal of the night- since I can’t pray for now.. focus on doing lots of istighfar

be alive and connect to God the way you are today.  not by tryin to be the way you were yesterday . you will be a better person and your intention promises you that.