The Joy of Putting Others Down

By Ferdousy Akhter Tani

bullying

He smirked, feeling a sense of vicious satisfaction. That must have been the umpteenth time he managed to intimidate the weird boy – the weird, weak boy.

Bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, and younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully.

Bullying is real.

Most of us, if not all, have witnessed or heard about someone getting bullied. As the word ‘bullying’ may seem rather nasty, we often inadvertently label it elsehow while overlooking the dangers it poses towards the people actually being bullied. It may happen around us while we turn a blind eye to it – either because it’s easy to ignore, or because the bully is our relative, a friend, sibling, or maybe even one’s boss.

It does feel good to win an argument, to defeat rather than being defeated. But we need to understand that bullying is much more than just winning an argument. It is the urge to put others down, emotionally or physically, and enjoying ourselves while at it. It is a badly-masked attempt to hide one’s insecurity; an insecurity which stems from poor control over one’s mind and actions. A bully somehow feels worthier after preying on his victim. However, close inspection reveals that the need to devalue others actually leads back to his depraved sense of self-worth. He feels the drive to increase his value by lowering someone else’s. He feels victorious as he sees his victim overpowered. But is it really a victory?

When you put someone down by using intimidation, snide remarks or any other misconduct, you are causing great harm to the person’s mental health. The one being bullied may become increasingly less confident, anxious and eventually fall into depression. A moment of joy for you may become the cause for prolonged agony for someone else. What may have been an excuse for entertainment for you may be a cause of anguish for another. An attack on someone’s physical appearance, financial status or racial background may leave a mark deeper than what you see. You cause fear, hurt and humiliation, all in one go! So is it really worth it? Is it worth inflicting pain on others just because you can? Is it worth seeing someone withering away mentally for a few seconds of amusement for yourself?

With instances of bullying, it is not only the victim who is affected but also the bully himself who brings about his own harm. His incessant need to control and put others down affects his relationship with others; he may become increasingly abusive to those around him; verbal abuse may follow physical abuse in no time; and all of this would lead to cause a greater harm for himself in the long run. Before he knows it, it could be his tranquility – and not just the victim’s – that will be destroyed. The momentary feeling of victory may lead to a greater and permanent loss for himself when his abusive nature pushes him towards violence, and he ends up doing something atrocious and irreversible.

From an Islamic viewpoint, bullying can be easily rebuked if we look at the statement of the Prophet ﷺ:

‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe;… “.

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

If people had followed just this one hadith, most of society’s problems would disappear overnight. Rasulullah ﷺ put a qualifier for those who wish to be Muslims. They are those who will try their best not to harm another Muslim, neither by words nor actions.

Even though the hadith mentions only Muslims, Islam teaches us to not wrong the non-Muslims as well.

The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If anyone wrongs a mu‘aahid (a non-Muslim living under Muslim rule), detracts from his rights, burdens him with more work than he is able to do or takes something from him without his consent, I will plead for him (the mu‘aahid) on the Day of Resurrection.” [Abu Dawood; authentic]

One can clearly see that bullying has no place in Islam. There is no room for it in our deen to make others feel inferior just to show one’s superiority. It is deplorable to hurt one’s feelings only because he seems in some way weaker than oneself.

 

What to do to stop bullying?

 

  1. Recognize

Recognize bullying for what it is. When you see someone being put down, do not take it lightly. Make a mental note of doing something about the situation.

  1. Help

Get involved (depending on the scope you have) and offer help. Talk to the person being bullied. Highlight some positive things about them. Try to make them feel more confident about themselves. Take help from the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ.

Ibn Mas`ud climbed a tree and they started laughing at the thinness of his legs, whereupon the Prophet ﷺsaid: “I swear that they shall be heavier in the Balance than Mount Uhud.”(Ahmad; authentic)

  1. Stop it

Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by hating it] – and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim)

A teacher may stop his students, a parent may stop his children, and a friend may stop his friends from engaging in bullying.

  1. Talk to the bully

Anas reported: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed.’ A man asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I (know how to) help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?’ He said: ‘You can restrain him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Tell them that their actions are wrong and let them know about the consequences of their actions; it could be that they are unaware of the damage they are causing to their victims.

A bully should know that it is a loss to let one’s emotions and actions go unchecked to the point that it leaves a permanent scar on the people who become prey to his bullying. It is a loss to send someone crying to bed. It is a loss greater for himself than those whom he thinks he has defeated.

Putting others down is not what he considers to be a victory. It’s a loss.

Mending Myself

By Khalida Jalili

mending_myself.png

 

Let me tell you a short story about a teenage boy whose early life is possibly very similar to many of our own teenage lives:

Spoiled and wealthy, this young teen was the center of his mother’s attention and adoration. He lived a life of ample luxury because of his mother. He made one decision in his life, however, that completely overturned his mother’s affection towards him. She would tell him to give up the new change he had brought about in his life. She would even threaten to never eat or drink if he did not listen to her! And when he refused to concede, she too decided to make dramatic changes: she quit spoiling her son, thus depriving him of the luxurious life he once enjoyed. He was forced out of the house onto the streets in only one garment and left to figure out how to live life all on his own!

 

Before I let you know who this young man is, let me introduce you to another gentleman:

This young man loved his dad dearly and also cared a lot about his community. However, he too, like the teenager, was not treated well by his parent because of the lifestyle that he had adopted. His dad even threatened to stone him, demanding that he leave to somewhere far away from him, and the community he had well-wished for almost burned him alive! 

You might have already guessed that this young man was Ibrahim (peace be upon him). And the teenager mentioned earlier was none other than a sahabah named Mus’ab Ibn ‘Umayr (may Allah be pleased with him).

 

Anyone who knows what it means to be spoiled and then deprived, or to be dearly attached to people and then hurt by them, could relate (at least to some extent) to these two cases. Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and Mus’ab Ibn ‘Umayr (may Allah be pleased with him) were both emotionally and physically abused by their loved ones just because they chose Islam as their lifestyle.

Allah knows best if these experiences were traumatizing for either of them, since the validity of such an assertion will depend on various determinants such as whether they felt emotionally overwhelmed or if they felt “a threat to life, bodily integrity, or sanity” (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995, p. 60). Nevertheless, these experiences would definitely prove to be traumatic for many.

Yes, Mus’ab Ibn ‘Umayr (may Allah be pleased with him) was forced to leave his mom despite his love for her; but he found another family whom he loved just as much – if not more – and who loved him back as one of their own: Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all). And yes, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was driven out by his father and community; but not only did he find a different home and community,  he was also blessed with a family of his own along with a legacy his descendants remember until this day (Surah Maryam; 19: 41-50). SubhanAllah.

 

Regrettably, if you have ever experienced emotional trauma, you will know that it can be difficult to talk about your traumatic experience and to seek support, or even believe that you need support! Understand that you do not have to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable; however, it is important to know that there are people out there whom you can trust. Of course, it is good to be cautious about whom you trust and to take necessary precautions, so do not think you are being paranoid if you find it difficult to trust others; but know that there are people who want the best for you. If you do not feel comfortable trusting a friend, family member, or teacher, try finding a counselor who is bound by law to keep your case information confidential (although, there are specific exceptions for safety and medical reasons, which they will explain to you).

Learning how to effectively deal with your fears, insecurities, and anxieties is important in maintaining your mental health. You cannot move past emotional trauma if you do not act. As tempting as it may be to stay within your own company, you need to connect with people who have the experience and knowledge to support you.

 

Ask yourself this: If you had a friend who was undergoing a rough time, how would you comfort him/her? What would you say to him/her? Would you be harsh with them, or gentle? You’d know that being harsh will only make the situation worse for them. Instead, you’d let them know that you are there for him/her. You would be compassionate to them and assist them in whatever way you can. Likewise, be compassionate to yourself.

In order to realize how best you can treat your mental and emotional illness, consider the physical illnesses that you face. When you have a cold, for instance, would you hope to get better just by lying in bed all day? Or would you get moving? Chances are you’d do the latter. You’d go to the pharmacy for medication and may even go the extra mile to try home-remedies or anything else that could cure you. This is how we should view our emotional health as well. The medicine is out there in the forms of counseling, joining a trauma support group, attending self-development workshops, and further educating ourselves on healing. Our medicine is there in the form of endeavoring to live a more productive lifestyle through salah, du’a, dhikr, exercise, healthy diet, and wholesome sleep.

 

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There is no one who is afflicted by distress and grief, and says:

اللِّهُمَّ إنِّي عَبْدُكَ ، ابْنُ عَبْدِكَ ، ابْنُ أَمَتِكَ ، نَاصِيَتِي بِيَدِكَ ، مَاضِ فِيَّ حُكْمُكَ ، عَدْلٌ فِيَّ قَضَاؤُكَ ، أَسْأَلُكَ بِكُلِّ اسْمٍ هُوَ لَكَ ، سَمَّيْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ ، أَوْ أنْزَلْتَهُ فِي كِتَاَبِكَ ، أَوْ عَلَّمْتَهُ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ ، أَوِ اسْتَأْثَرْتَ بِهِ فِي عِلْمِ الْغَيْبِ عِنْدَكَ ، أنْ تَجْعَلَ الْقُرْآنَ رَبِيعَ قَلْبِي ، وَ نُورَ صَدْرِي ، وَ جَلاءَ حُزْنِي ، وَ ذَهَابَ هَمِّي

Allaahumma innee ‘abduka ibn ‘abdika ibn amatika naasyati bi yadika, maadin fiyya hukmuka, ‘adlun fiyya qadaa’uk. As’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw ‘allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw ista’tharta bihi fi ‘ilmil-ghayb ‘indaka an taj’al al-Qur’aana rabee’ qalbi wa noor sadri wa jalaa’ huzni wa dhahaaba hammee

Oh Allah, I am Your Slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant; my forelock is in Your Hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me if just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or taught to any one of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Quran the life of my heart and the light of my chest, and a departure of my sorrow and a release of my anxiety.

except that Allaah will take away his distress and grief, and replace it with joy.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

 

Healing takes time, so be patient with yourself and the process. While we take all the means to heal, we should never forget that healing – whether physical or psychological – is ultimately in Allah’s Hands. He is Al-Shaafi, The Healer. And among Allah’s Most Beautiful names is Al-Jabbaar. The name Al-Jabbaar encompasses a very comprehensive definition, one of which is The Mender. Al-Jabbaar is the One Who can heal that bone fracture. Al-Jabbaar is the One Who can heal your heart when you feel hurt because of a bully, parent, child, friend, teacher, or stranger. He is the One Who is capable of healing your physical and psychological wounds.

 

May Al-Jabbaar mend you and your heart, dear reader.

Ameen.

Dealing with Envy

By Naila Naiyyar

green_with_envy_0

Envy is a feeling of displeasure that sets in upon knowing of another person’s achievement, success, fame, influence or possession, all the while feeling discontent and inferior about one’s own self. The envier may even wish that the blessing be removed from the envied.

Side notes:

 

Envy is a disease of the heart which can ruin one’s peace. Envying indicates low self-esteem and a sense of inferiority, as the envier feels unable to achieve what the envied has achieved.

Envy has no positive or constructive influence on the envier. In fact it causes resentment, bitterness, and if not controlled, then eventually, depression, anxiety and possibly even suicide – May Allah protect us. The envier may even go a step further and harm the envied as he can’t stand seeing him enjoying his milestones.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Envy consumes good deeds just as fire consumes wood, and charity extinguishes bad deeds just as water extinguishes fire. Prayer is the light of the believer and fasting is a shield against the Fire.” (Ibn Majah)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Beware of envy because envy consumes (destroys) the virtues just as the fire consumes the firewood,” or he said “grass.” (Abu Dawud)

Due to the competitive world we live in where we are programmed to compare and compete with others. And so the envier wonders how the envied has managed to achieve a milestone when he/she has not, despite taking several efforts.

However, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has encouraged envy (ghibtah). But only in the following cases:

He said, “Envy is justified in regard to two types of persons only: a man whom Allah has given knowledge of the Qur’an, and so he recites it during the night and during the day; and a man whom Allah has given wealth and so he spends from it during the night and during the day.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Feeling envious (without wishing for the other to lose his blessing) in these cases is encouraged in Islam due to its noble nature of pleasing Allah using the blessings provided Him.

As for the impressible type of envy, here are some coping strategies that we can employ:

 

Coping Strategies

 

  1. Count your Blessings

You are gifted in ways different than others and are blessed with a life worth celebrating. You are unique and don’t have to live life like everyone else. Sit down in a quiet and comfortable place and think of all that you have been bestowed upon by Allah Almighty; do not ignore even the smallest of things. This activity will make you realize that you are indeed valuable; and will question yourself, “why am I sulking over this (envy) and making my life miserable when I already have so much!”

 

  1. Stop comparing

You must realize that there will be people who will always have it better than you. And then, there will be people who don’t have what you do. Why not compare yourself to them?!

If you compare yourself with those who have what you don’t, you will feel as if you don’t have anything at all. Amazingly, the people who you envy might in turn, be wishing for things that you have! You see, everyone can’t have everything.

Have a look at this hadith and ponder over it. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah. (Ibn Majah)

 

The only time you should look above you is when you see people attaining authentic knowledge of deen and doing good deeds to Please Allah.

 

  1. Avoid people who value the wrong things

Stay away from those who are ‘obsessed’ with and gauge their success with nothing but the latest gadgets, branded clothes, or eating at high-end restaurants, valuing neither time, morals, etiquettes, nor good manners. Instead, choose people who are always grateful to Allah with whatever they have.

 

  1. Beware the consumer culture and materialism

No matter where you look, the marketers will tell you that if you don’t have what your neighbor has then you are the biggest loser. It’s not wrong to be ambitious or struggle to make yourself better and enjoy the blessings of Allah in this world, but it should not be at the expense of your peace of mind and soul.

 

  1. Learn to be happy for people

People enjoy their blessings because Allah planned to give them those blessings in the first place. By not being happy for them, we are actually complaining to Allah of His Will! Instead, congratulate them and give them gifts.

Conversely, ask yourself: How would you feel if people envy you for your blessings?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Another time, he said, “…Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and enter the garden should die with faith in Allah and the Last Day and should treat the people as he wishes to be treated by them…” (Muslim)

 

  1. Identify the trigger points

Analyze what’s making you envy and feeling insecure. Is it something that you greatly value, something you have been working on too long but haven’t been successful in? Try to work even harder to achieve it and leave the rest to Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Do not envy one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another; do not hate one another; do not harbor malice against one another; and do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him nor does he look down upon him, nor does he humiliate him. Piety is here, (and he pointed to his chest three times). It is enough evil for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother-in-faith: his blood, his property and his honor”. (Muslim)

 

  1. Make Dua when you hear good news about others

Ask Allah to bless them even more and Protect form from evil eye. Ask Allah to make you content of all His Decisions and bless you with even better than what they have. And the best part is when you make dua for anyone, the angels say Aameen too!

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: Aameen! May it be for you too.” (Muslim)

 

  1. Examine your intention and goals

What is it that is making you envy? In what way, will achieving it, make you feel enriched, happy and successful? Why not work on what you already have and excel in it? What can you do, the halal way, to achieve what others have? Does your success truly depend on it? Are you sure you will be ‘happy’ once you achieve what the other person has or enjoys.

Work on these questions so that you can manage these emotions in a positive and productive manner.

 

  1. Belief in Qadr/Allah’s Decree

Allah is the one who blesses everyone with what they are destined for and that which is in their best interest.

“Do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is We who have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world and have raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank] that they may make use of one another for service. But the mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf; 43:32)

“And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing.” (Surah An-Nisa; 4:32)

 

  1. Build up your self confidence

Envy is usually a result of low self-esteem. Be confident of who you are, your achievements and your talents. Work on them to achieve greater heights.

 

  1. Life is a Test

Everything in this dunya is a test; difficult times as well as the blessings. If Allah can Give, He can take it back too. Generally, we humans start boasting about our achievements and forget to thank Allah. So thank Allah and succeed in your tests. As Allah mentions in the Holy Quran, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]”. (Surah Ibrahim; 14:7)

 

Bonus: Envy & Social Media

With the increased trend of people updating statuses and sharing posts about each and everything going on in their life, it’s very easy to fall in the trap of feeling inferior to others.

Topper at the university, landing the dream job, marriage, best wedding coverage, best spouse, latest car, huge mansion, branded clothes, baby shower, birthday parties, outings, check-ins, holiday trips, etc. Everything seems so beautiful and complete for such people, doesn’t it?

Know that no one in this dunya is without issues or problems, and such people have their own set of problems too (conversely, due to this self-advertising and over-exposure they may in fact, be inviting the evil eye towards themselves).  So do not worry too much looking at their status and picture updates. They have just as normal a life as anyone else.

 

Recommended Reading:

Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures

“I Am Muslim & I want To Die” Part 2 – Being Your Own Hero

By Khalida Jalili

speak_up_reach_out

Have an action plan ready for whenever suicidal thoughts cross your mind. Since suicidal thoughts are triggered by various reasons and everyone’s situation is unique, there is no “one solution for all”. So write your own plan on a sticky note and place it on the fridge, the wall, your work desk, computer desktop, or anywhere you’ll notice it.

Action tips include:

Seeking Emergency Help

Always remember: Seeking help isn’t a weakness; it is a courageous act. In case you are about to commit suicide, immediately ring the emergency number in your country. If you are in the U.S., call 911. Or you may call the (USA) national confidential, toll-free suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You may also visit your nearest emergency room at a local hospital. Someone will be there to help you.

Informing Family, Friends, and Teachers

Family, friends, and teachers can make a huge difference. Even if you believe otherwise, truth is that they care about you. So ask them to help you save yourself from yourself.

Seeking Professional Help

It is very important to consult with your doctor to find a suitable therapist, social worker, or a counselor. Muhammad (ﷺ) sought advice from others, so we must not shy from doing so too. Just as medical doctors are a means to curing physical illnesses such as cancer, mental health professionals are a means to curing psychological (and even spiritual) illnesses such as depression. This individual can also help you with your action plan.

Making Wudu

Wudu not only washes our sins, it refreshes our mood too (Try it!).

Hearing What Allah Has to Say to You

The Quran was sent to address everyone – including you and me – so read it to find solutions and comfort. The Quran is also a cure, so recite, recite, and recite until you feel better.

Finding Tranquility in Salah

Never miss your Salah because not only does it define us as Muslims, it is also the first means to finding solace and receiving answers to our supplications. Allah says: “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Al-Baqarah; 2:153)

 

Embracing Healthy Energy

Go to the park for a walk (Physical exercise is a great way to reduce stress!), take deep breathes (inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth), enjoy the weather (even if it’s “bad” weather), focus on nature’s beauty, and eat your favorite healthy food.

 

Writing Your Thoughts Down

Sometimes, simply penning your feelings onto paper and thereby releasing negative emotions can be a great relief!

 

Ensuring Protection

When you really don’t know what to do except cry, recite supplications for seeking refuge from shaitan and for forgiveness. Morning and evening supplications are also a great shield, so don’t forget at least a few of them. Two of my favorites include:

Bismillahil-ladhi laa yadurru ma’asmihee shay-un fel-ardhi wa laa fes-samaa’ wa huwas-samee’ul-‘aleem – “In the name of Allah with whose name nothing is harmed on earth nor in the heavens and He is The All-Seeing, The All-Knowing” (Hisnul-Muslim).

HasbiyAllahu ‘alaiihi tawakkaltu wa huwa rabbul-‘arshil-‘azheem – “Allah is Sufficient for me, none has the right to be worshipped except Him, upon Him I rely and He is Lord of the exalted throne” (Hisnul-Muslim).

 

Setting Goals

Our ultimate purpose in life is to worship our Creator. Set a few goals with the intention to please Allah by improving yourself and your community. Help others so that Allah may help you.

 

Eliminating Means

Make sure you have extremely reduced access to any lethal means (this should be the first step, really).

Although suicide may seem like the only solution for you, I assure you it is not. Why choose to end your life in exchange for misery when you can make your hardships a means to elevating yourself so high in Jannah that you end up in Al-Firdous, where you can have whatever your heart wishes and much more, in shaa Allah! May Allah grant us all a good ending. Ameen.

Great Suicide Survivor Stories:

  1. http://muslimmatters.org/2015/01/28/walking-away-from-suicide-part-1-of-3/
  2. How I stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me – One Person’s Guide To Suicide Prevention (Susan Rose Blauner)

Helpful Resources:

  1. Free 24/7 Life-line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  2. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
  3. https://arrajaathehope.wordpress.com/
  4. http://naseeha.org/
  5. http://nisahelpline.com/

Visit our blog to read the first part of this series.

Dealing with Difficult People – Part 1

By Naila Naiyyar

dealing_with_difficult_people

 

It’s common to face difficult people in life, be it at work, school, in the family, random people in the lift, at shops, while standing in a queue or even in the same house. These situations cannot be avoided because we are different people with different temperaments, backgrounds and perspectives seeing things from varying angles.

The best way to deal with such people is to identify their characteristics, know how to cope with, and learn how to deal with them.

 

Signs of Difficult People

The difficult people that you encounter in your life may have at least one of the following signs:

  • Attention-seeking
  • Negative and Pessimistic
  • Snubbing
  • Flying into a rage
  • Always right; want to win every argument
  • Unreasonable; illogical
  • Finding faults; blaming others for their problems
  • Not accepting mistakes; lying
  • Playing victim
  • Stubborn; don’t want to change or improve; not open to suggestions
  • Know-it-all; don’t like their authority to be challenged

 

Coping Strategies

 

1) Remain calm:

Once you recognize any of these signs in someone, the most important thing then is to maintain your composure and not react to him. The moment you lose your calm, full-blown conflict will ensue. When the opposing party is already in a negative state of mind, you do not want to get engulfed in their negativity. Remaining calm and walking away from the situation tactfully without letting the negative vibe affect you is the best option at such a time.

Remember that you do not want to stoop to their level in reacting rashly. Always be aware of your actions. You are not responsible for the way they behave but you have total control over your OWN behavior. Constantly remind yourself even in times of peace that you will not indulge in any rash action. Make loads of dua and ask Allah to make things easy.

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest I misguide others , or I am misguided by others , lest I cause others to err or I am caused to err , lest I abuse others or be abused, and lest I behave foolishly or meet with the foolishness of others.” (Abu Dawud)

 

2) Identify the trigger buttons

Avoid topics that you know would trigger them. State the facts in a way other than being very direct or curt.

Also, what is it exactly that triggers YOU off? Not everyone will act or behave in the way we want them to; maybe that ticks you off. If you know the person very well, you would know what to expect. Being prepared to expect a certain behavior from the other person will help in letting it pass you without getting annoyed.

 

3) Beware of the temptation of being right

Avoid getting sucked in arguing or defending yourself. Even if they perceive you to be wrong, it is not the end of the world. An adamant person may not change his opinion anyway so it is better that you stay out of it. Being quiet is superior to winning.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever gives up telling lies in support of a false claim, a palace will be built for him in the outskirts of Paradise. Whoever gives up argument when he is in the right, a palace will be built from him in the middle (of Paradise). And whoever had good behavior, a palace will be built for him in the highest reaches (of Paradise).” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Be tactful in your dealings. Sometimes it is better that you stay to work towards maintaining peace than being right.

 

4) Limit interactions:

Set boundaries and limit interaction. With time you will realize that it’s alright to keep a certain level of distance without being impolite even if you live in the same house with that person. It’s not necessary to engage in a full conversation with them each time you see them especially when you know it will lead to conflict. Your happiness and peace is more important.

Let him have his say, and leave the conversation there. Keep your cool. Don’t let the negativity of the other person affect your mind, emotions, actions and words.

 

5) Identify your response pattern:

We all want to have ideal relationships with others but we need to realize that some things cannot and just would not change; we have to take it as it is. We need to analyze the situation and ask ourselves: Why is this happening? Could there be an angle to this situation besides what I am seeing and interpreting? What if it is me who is aggravating the situation? What is the best way I can use to deal this situation with? Surely, it is not that the other turns good, before suddenly turning nasty again!  Rather, it is highly likely that it is us who gets comfortable with them, only to be completely thrown off when there is an unexpected outburst from them, leading us again into shock, pain, grief and anger.

So identify the response pattern, because unless you change the way you respond and react to stressors, this cycle of stress and anger will be repeated over and over again.

 

6) Look at the positive aspect

Those you perceive to be ‘difficult’ might have within them other qualities that are good. Focus on those merits. Do not ignore the good things they do, nor avoid appreciating them.

 

Coping strategies to be continued in the next part, insha Allah

“I Am Muslim & I Want To Die” Part 1 – Shedding Light on Suicide

By Khalida Jalili

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It is okay to talk about suicide. Yes, I said it. Talking about suicide or individuals who killed themselves is taboo in many societies. Ironically, based on the book Building Bridges by the U.S.A. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), open dialogues and education on suicide prevention can save lives.

According to the article Attempters’ Long-term Survival, 70% suicide attempters who were accompanied by medical care did not later die from suicide. However, the article further mentions that a previous suicide attempt is still a very strong risk factor for a future suicide; so addressing this issue is extremely important.

Handling Tough Times 

You may find yourself at a point in your life where you feel as if you cannot go on anymore, as if the only solution to all the problems you’re drowning in is your disappearance.

No matter how lonely, depressed, anxious, agitated, misunderstood, and enraged you feel, there are many ways to surmount your problems. Suicide is not one of them. In fact, it’ll make your situation worse, not better.

You must first believe that you can and will go on with life. Allah knows you can definitely handle whatever is going on in your life right now:

“Allah does not bear a soul more than it can bear” (Al-Baqarah; 2: 286)

Always Having Hope No Matter What

Two very powerful ahaadith to always keep in mind when feeling suicidal are:

“Let none of you die unless he has good expectations from Allah.” (Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “None of you should wish for death because of a calamity befalling him; but if he has to wish for death, he should say: ‘O Allah! Keep me alive as long as life is better for me, and let me die if death is better for me’.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

There is always hope. Have good expectations that Allah will make your situation better and facilitate the means to give you whatever is good for you. Allah is to His slaves as they assume Him to be. If we believe He will give us the best in both worlds, then He will because He is capable of doing that.

Asking For What You Want

Turn your despairing moments into earnest du’aas in which you ask Allah to alleviate your difficulties. Ask Him whatever you want, and He will give it to you – as long as it is good for you (as what we think is good for us may not always be good for us!). Allah is Al-Kareem, The Extremely Generous, so He will definitely bless you with the best and more – if you ask.

“And When My servants ask you concerning Me – Indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me (by obedience) and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided.” (Al-Baqarah; 2: 186)

Seeking Wisdom In The Darkness

Many times, our hearts ache when we don’t understand why certain occurrences ensued against our wishes. We may feel frustrated about the present and hopeless about the future. In order to rectify this, ask Allah to show you the wisdom and ease within your difficulties. Ask Him to improve your situation.

Understanding Yourself

Without understanding the cause, it’s not easy to eliminate the effect (i.e. suicidal thoughts). Ask yourself, “How often do I have suicidal thoughts and why? What triggers my thoughts? What can I do to protect myself?”

To better answer these questions, continue on to the second part of this article.

Allow your Heart to Heal

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By Bint Salman

You were in a long-term relationship with this person, you had always fantasized him/her as your life partner but things went the other way around estranging you two for a life time.It left a broken, miserable you. You kept crying and weeping end on but nothing improved for you and  you felt trapped in your situation.
A great deal of time has passed by yet you still aren’t able to wipe out his/her memories, you simply need to ask yourself  WHY?


Is it because:

– you stalk his/her facebook/ twitter profile daily?
-You try to find innocent reasons to communicate with him/her?
-You visit the same place where you know you could  bump into him/her?
-You are curious to know about his/her whereabouts and inquire about him from his/her close ones?
-You deliberately dwell on the old pleasant memories? That’s a bad idea, try to get rid of the thoughts by getting yourself engaged in some interesting work.
– You want so badly to be with him/her that you show your displeasure with fate.Remember just because you are missing someone or want to be with someone doesn’t mean you can live together.
-You aren’t grateful to Allah for taking you out of the haraam relationship and being your Savior.
-You haven’t yet filled your heart completely with love of Allah that it’s weak and still possesses a large area , occupied by your past love.

So avoid all of these things, MOVE ON, and STRIVE to make Allah your only True Love…

Ibn Taymiyah (Rahimahullaah) said:

If the heart loves Allaah alone and is sincerely devoted to Him, it will not even think of loving anyone else in the first place, let alone falling in love. When a heart falls in love, that is due to the lack of love for Allaah alone. Hence because Yoosuf loved Allaah and was sincerely devoted to Him, he did not fall into the trap of love, rather Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, (guided) slaves.” [Yoosuf 12:24]

-Set aims for yourself and busy yourself in pursuing those so you don’t get time to entertain the old memories of the time you spent together.

-Look up for a prospective spouse and fix your marriage if you are capable of doing so because marriage brings blessings from Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala).

Getting over a loss is not difficult for  humans because over a period of time we forget things and we simply stop caring about the past. However one definitely needs to exert constant effort against the factors which stop him  from letting go of those memories and work towards a better, healthier future free from taints of the past.