Dream in the Face of Fear

“Allah tests those whom He loves.”

It takes faith and a good amount of inner work to understand what this really means. We all have those moments, when tough times seem impossible to escape, work through or recover from. I wonder if that’s just because we lost our sense of what patience truly is, from the natural inclination we had as children. Learning to walk, practicing swinging on monkey bars, falling off a bike, over and over again until we learned and even still we will fall again, sometimes just as hard or harder.  A man who learned to bike marathons could get swept away in a gust of wind, hitting the pavement or worse, and through no error of his own. And it may have been his error, perhaps when some evil he engaged in came back his way.

More likely however, he needs that time in the hospital, as a test from Allah to prove himself as a faithful servant who would never abandon hope for Allah’s Mercy. The way Allah designed reality is that no reward can be had without opportunity to earn it. You can’t expect reward for claiming to choose patience. Truthfully, you only know you are patient when you need to be — and you are, and you only get to seek reward for a calamity if you are given the calamity — and you live in patience and perseverance. The Prophet pbuh went through some of the greatest trials, in fear for his life, in starvation, and in loss. But his gain was in trusting Allah, in being aware of the good that came from these experiences, as subtle as they were.

And actually, it’s the subtle things that make the biggest difference. The sensations and gifts we don’t notice right away are seeds for stronger foundations. That which comes and fades has little equilibrium and cannot be trusted to last as a support. When we learn a lesson about patience through a post like this, it is a good reminder, but it is nowhere near the level of going through test after test and staying well and patient to the best of one’s ability.

There’s really nothing like it.

Patience that is Dreaming in the Face of Fear

There is another, more nuanced idea about patience that is vital to grasp, and while we may not recognize it, we all grapple with it every day.

The man who fell off his bike was overworking himself at the office. With life-threatening injuries after getting hit by a car, he was awakened and began to ponder his current mission in life. Coping wasn’t about being patient in the conventionally understood way, he realized. It was purely about the perspective that his patience gave him, patience that Allah gave him to inherently possess, if he would only take heed and listen.

Allah wanted him to believe, but to believe is the bottom line, and deep down none of us enjoy settling for that.

Patience manifests itself even in how we pursue joy in our vocation of choice. It takes effort and courage to acknowledge that the choices we made to set up our lives when seeking Allah’s provision (think of the famous “tie your camel, and trust in Allah, both” hadith), aren’t satisfying. To look at your wife and say that you need to move away near a place where you can restart, when there is no need except an overwhelming drive to find and pursue what Allah created you to do, is unfathomable for most. Some people are blessed with spouses, parents and other family that support them in whatever they do, and this is a generous bounty from Allah ‘azza wa jal.

No one knows what is coming next. Tomorrow, you could return to God. You might be diagnosed with a debilitating disease, or with a brain tumor, wa-Allahu Musta’aan. It could be the loss of a loved one who was providing financial support in a time of need.

How can you, O forgetful human being, come to think that all you had to do was hope things would get better, go the extra mile briefly just to get by and think you would be happy? The worst I fear most for myself and my readers, is that we come to believe that Allah is not on our side.

Allah wants for you what you think you don’t want for yourself.

What does this have to do with patience? Allah may give what we think is bad for us due to the pain we experience. And yet, there are dreams we don’t pursue because we assume we wouldn’t find the heartache of failure before success to be worth it. Only because that is what we have done all our lives. As the saying goes, there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to try.

I know you’re scared. I know you have a lot on your plate. But give yourself that importance. Do you truly believe that you matter and that your existence was not purposeless? Join the few who have meant what they said when they looked in the mirror and silently said it. Join those who found Paradise here in the dunya, who found inner bliss and calm. And not only that, but adventure and the gift of having something to contribute.

To say that it is not possible to even consider dreaming big because of your circumstances, and that you are okay with that is simply lethargic and not true. And most definitely, it is not patience; rather, it is the height of dishonesty with oneself and shows that fear is taking over. We all have things we aspire to, goals we want to reach. But we put ourselves down, and the greatest critic that drags our Fitrah with it pulling at the ground, trying to hold on with its face in the dust, is ourselves, and we put it there.

It is a tragedy to lose one’s value for their own fulfillment. What good can come of stagnancy, when all our souls want to do is soar past what we have allowed to bound us, chained to our inhibitions–what greater cause for grief? Patience is chasing your dreams, but being okay with knowing it doesn’t happen overnight.

Patience is believing that if tomorrow comes, it brings light to guide a second, hundredth, or even thousandth chance at success. It is also believing that there is no way you will live to complete their mission, so you must never give up, and never tire of dreaming big, but planning small.

Whatever comes our way, there is in it what can be used to facilitate our way to Jannah.

It is our choice. A tortured existence without ever knowing why we feel so rotten, only because we gave up too easily — and only because failed to dream that we could succeed, or experience inner paradise.

Stuck

I stay in the path of my fears

I ventured forth

A barrier to my every chance’s door

I came to a pond in the field

Dreamed that inside I would go

Wet my feet and purify

Feeling the water; delight

And yet I

 

Stayed back

Worried my mother would find the mud stains

But I always sat frozen in that hail and rain

 

Knowing where I wanted to be

Caring for all but me

Abandoning my right to be free

To feel the grass under my feet

The birds are friends I used to meet

Oh! A child I used to be

Now look what maturity has done to me

 

I am aimless, wandering, how uncanny

They told me I’d be a doctor and that would make me happy

Nature continues to beckon me

But I chain myself to this chair.

Heaven

One day I’ll see eleven

My homes, all of them

One day I’ll meet you in heaven

Family

All accompany

Everything I have known

I will never be alone.

See this is how much I’ve grown.

 

I don’t really know

What the world holds

In its entirety

All I can is sincerity

And my heart is not pristine

And I’m the first to admit

Only cause I can I’m a human being

Oh but I have just begun.

 

My eyes are finally starting to see

This sea is slowly parting for me

And I am grateful as much as I know how

And no one can understand.

 

My life, a fingerprint

Who I am, my experiences

Alone I will always be

Alone my soul will stand

In front of God, so I won’t lie

Cause tomorrow I won’t get to decide

Because the truth will be the only thing that’s real

Anything we have known

Any life we will live

I don’t even know how to forgive

But I will always move to learn to move on

 

And I know it’s time

Because I finally understand

Because I can finally hear sirens

Because I can finally feel it in my nerves

That send signals jolting me into motion!

 

I am too awake to be awake,

Too engrossed to be of focus..

I’ve been taken in,

I’ve been taken in!

 

 I’ve been ruined for some time

I’ll be established for eternity

I choose not to escape

I choose to be here in every moment

Exploring it all within

I don’t need music or man-made heaven,

Cause I’m not truly alone

When with every moment, I’m with Him.

This Road

I’ve been down this road before
It leads to one hundred different doors
Only one is the right one
That’ll​ take me home
What choices do I have?
The noises distract from the truth

Can we take the high road
To a safe place that’s not here
To our own Wonderland
Family safe and unfound
All highways lead to signs unwritten
I don’t know where I’m going

I hope it’s beautiful, tranquil
Where I’ll have a home

Chorus
That is the place
We call Jannah, Paradise
Worried I’m not worthy, paradise
But i believe
God created something in me
And if he can see a better future for me
Then i certainly can

It’s hard
When you want something so bad
But its barely out of reach
Teasing as you beseech
Almost there
Not quite where
You need to be

But I want to get home
This is not it
Dunya
I need a good future
Even if I lose this world
There’s something better
Out there
I can’t see it
I can’t sense it
In any scent, sight or form
But the belief alone
Knowing there’s more than this
There’s more than this

Chorus
That is the place
We call Jannah, Paradise
Worried I’m not worthy, paradise
But i believe
God created something in me
And if he can see a better future for me
Then I certainly can

Can we take the high road
To a safe place that’s not here
To our own Wonderland
Family safe and unfound
All highways lead to signs unwritten
I don’t know where I’m going

I hope it’s beautiful, tranquil
Where I’ll have a home

Chorus
That is the place
We call Jannah, Paradise
I know I’m not worthy, but Allah is kind

So I believe
God created something in me
And if he can see a better future for me
Then I certainly can

Returning Home

Oh Allah
You’ve been there for me all along
I let you go
And you helped me go on
I was weak
I couldn’t seek
You out

(And) now I take back
All those words I said
All those doubts I held
You can always tell
What I’m thinking
You know
What despair I’m taking
You have
Everything I’m seeking

I was scared
I was fallen
The words I couldn’t control
Came always to haunt me
Oh no please just help hope, peace please
But I felt
That there had been a better day
And Allah you can bring it back
It’s not easy to turn back
But the pain
Doesn’t have to be forever
So I pray to you

Now I take back
All those words I said
All those doubts I held
You can always tell
What I’m thinking
You know
What despair I’m taking
You have
Everything I’m seeking

To live
I’ll be at peace
If I just believe
If I can remember
You and your grace
I hope to see it in Your Face,

That’s why I’m here.

Illusion of Independence

What I did not know
As my hope when it started to go
Is Allah’s love never loses its flow
In times I would not believe
He still really truly never left my need

For a time I couldn’t see
Simply belief wasn’t enough to me
She was by my side
She was from my soul where love resides
Tamed my in black and white

This bleak, awful self-hate
Lose those miserable weights
I need to gain heart muscle
But how if I don’t exercise love?

I need more than a figure of calming speech
After a while it sounds like it’s stuck on repeat
What can I say, these aren’t your deeds
You can’t help me, fellow person

I mustn’t assume I always need
A human being
To help me be
Maybe I don’t even need myself
And thoughts like “I am independent,”
Should be left to gather dust
In shelves way back in the closet
Until I can do an audit

Maybe I’ve finally got it
That if my heart is done for
It is God whose got it – who can cure it

For me only Allah is sufficient.

Poetry: Genuine

I said, I finally
Felt like this
Could be real
Now I wish
It really was me

How can I lie
To say it stays the same
I guess I kinda sorta
Fell along the way
Felt a wrong thing to say
To do was right
And now look at me
Is this what upright feels like

Truth is I’m only human
I can cry I can be sad
I can think I can be mad
But does it give me permission
I think I’m in remission
But I keep pushing on the ignition
Too soon but it
Seems like gratitude is what I’m missing
Maybe it’ll help me be a little bit more patient

Oh God help me I’ve been skipping
Hopscotch to avoid tripping
On my inner cracks
I’m just so scared of hitting them
Worried the ground will give way
But instead it’s my soul that gives away
The ugly, broken that
I don’t want to face within me
Brave face, keep up the pace
Don’t fault, don’t call
For help, just save face

They can’t take my heart
But I took it too far
A little more time
A little more, I say, I beg
But the choice was never mine
Only the life I live can be defined
All the way up go my deeds to the Divine
All the rest are but future’s seeds
These are up to Him, the One,
the Only.

I am the bird.

The bird sings before the dawn

Cause the darkness lasts long before the morn

I thought it would never come

Thought they were going to blow the horn

Thought it was now the end, my end

 

But now I see a light

And that light had always been there

It’s how I can see at all

But I, at that time

Lost sight

I have regained it, I–

–don’t want to be afraid anymore

I’ve had it now.

 

And don’t you know, it’s better to take it slow

And go, on your way to internal home,

Take your time, in Jannah you won’t

Worry about being alone, eternal joy.