Say “I’m Fine, Alhamdulillah.”

I’ve recently signed up for classes titled ‘Lessons from the Big Screen’ with Safinah Institute with Ustaz Mizi Wahid. We’ve had 4 sessions now, although I’ve only attended two because of work commitments. Anyhows, at the end of each lesson, he assigns us some questions to ponder over the next week before we meet again. Last Friday’s session was a bit painful, so I decided I should write my thoughts out. After all, writing will always be my first love.

The class structure is such that we watch a movie that relates to the particular topic Ustaz has chosen, then we have a short discussion about it. Not really to critique the movie but more to absorb what we have learnt from it. So last week, we were watching Everybody’s Fine, featuring Robert De Niro. I knew I fell in love with the film at first scene. You know how artsy-fartsy I can get with my shots and all, and the film was shot exactly the way I would do it. Sigh. I really need to starting writing and making films again… but that shall be for another post.

Basically the story evolves around Frank (Robert De Niro) who is a recently widowed man having lost his wife a few months back just after Christmas. One day, after all his four kids cancelled on him for dinner, he decides to pay them a visit instead of waiting for them to come over to his place. The synopsis from iMDB is as follows:

A widower who realized his only connection to his family was through his wife sets off on an impromptu road trip to reunite with each of his grown children.

Pretty much a shorter version of what I wrote. Damn. I won’t spoil the story for you but I would suggest you watch the film yourselves. It’s emotional, touching and so real. I was crying even we were discussing the film (yeah right Sham you cry during every movie you watch *rolls eyes*).

Ustaz asked us if we are ever really ‘fine’. Challenges and problems will always be a part of being a true believer. We can never run away from problems. In fact, being tested is all part of being Muslim.

“Do the people think that they will be left to say ‘We believe’ and they will not be tried?”

[29:2]

We often hide our problems, some of us using that as an escape. Don’t think about the problem, and it won’t be there. But what is ironic is that we usually hide them from those who are closest to us. We fear for unnecessary concerns or worry from those closest to us. It is necessary, though, to have a confidante, someone to hear you out.

The thing is, our problems and challenges are a sign of love from God. He wants us to remain in faith even through the most turbulent times. In facing and handling the challenge, we earn God’s pleasure (mardhatillah) which is the key to Jannah.

“The greatest reward comes from the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accept it gains the pleasure of Allah and whoever complains earns His wrath.”

– Narrated by Tirmizi and Ibnu Majah

We don’t realise it but God gives you the current problem to remove you from eternal sorrow. You know how fitspo blogs say ‘pain in temporary’ when they motivate you to exercise? It’s pretty much the same thing!

“When Allah wills good for His slave, He hastens his punishment in this world, and when He wills bad for His slave, He withholds his sins until he comes with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

– Narrated by Tirmizi and Albanee

How we deal with our problems will reveal our true character, and indeed, God only wants the best for us. The more pressure and problems He puts us through, the better we become. Rihanna sang Bright Like a Diamond, right? So should we! True loss happens when a man faces a trial and he turns away from God.

“Whoever Allah wants good for him, He puts them to test. He puts them through difficulties. Like a diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then that which is bad from it is removed so that you have that which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever. Put them to tests, trials and difficulties.”

– Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim

So there you have it, some of the takeaways from last week’s lesson. I hope I am disciplined enough to make this a weekly entry so everyone can benefit.

InshaAllah Kheir 🙂

A Man of Politics

It’s too early in the morning for a blog update, but I figured I needed to let my frustration out.

When my relationship ended, there were so many questions in my head – mainly why did it have to end. Then I realized it wasn’t him or me that ended it. It was the will of God that saved me from a possibly disastrous relationship. Sure, tears kept rolling down my cheeks and for weeks I kept to myself, holding up strong only when I went out with my friends. Now, my conscious has showed me why it couldn’t work.

We were just too different on so many pages. One of those pages is politics. I’m a student of politics. He shies away from ever talking about politics. Whenever I let out my opinions on Obama, or the local government not doing anything about foreign talent/labour, he would simply curtly smile and nod his head. I could never get an opinion out of him without erupting into a heated argument.

Last night, I watched the US presidential debate between Obama and Romney. I wanted to discuss it so badly with someone, only to resort to twitter and my colleagues for some opinions. The sudden need for an intellectual debate or conversation brought me to realize that I need a man who could tell me what he thinks of a given issue. I cannot be with an Always Yes Man. I need a man who would fight for a cause.

Inasmuch as a man who is pious is luring, I cannot demand a spouse like that when I myself am struggling with my faith. I understand that God has willed for me a man who is compatible and completes me, both emotionally and in my faith. For now, I would be contented with someone who thinks like me, someone who is always a page ahead of me and helping me to catch up.

I won’t go looking for him, but I know he’s out there waiting for the right time to approach me. I need to have patience, and keep myself occupied mentally and physically. I can always rely on Him to keep myself in check emotionally.