Written by Khushboo Jamal
“Living in America with my girls going to public school, what can I do to make sure they stay close to their faith and don’t fall into sin?” My elder friend asked, “You grew up here, you’ve been through everything they’re going through in high school and college, but you managed to stay close to Allah, how?”
I laughed. Growing up as a Muslim in a non-Muslim country is difficult and that is the understatement of the year. The fitnah is real and we are on a rollercoaster ride with our nafs, our soul to overcome our impulses and desires. As human, we are prone to fall into sin but our ability to pull ourselves back out of the deep end is what differentiates us as believers. Throughout the years, I would often catch myself asking questions like, why do we have so many restrictions?
But, let’s take a step back. Why do our parents put restrictions on us? They’ll give us a curfew, not allow us to hang out with certain folks, and so on. Regardless of how much we may resent them, at the end of the day, these restraints are put in place for our protection and out of their love for us. Unfortunately, this realization tends to come years down the line, sometimes by the time we fall into their shoes ourselves.
The very same way, every single thing that God has forbidden, it really is a means of protection out His love for us, for Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala is Al-Hafeeth, the Protector and the Guardian and Al-Wadud, the Most Loving.
- Drinking? Intoxication will impair your ability to think and function properly.
- Restriction of eating specific animals? Think what started COVID-19!
- Gambling? Can lead to addiction, fights, loss of wealth, and damaged relationships
- Pre-marital sexual relationships? How painful is it when your heart breaks? God created us in pairs, 50,000 years before the world was created, He wrote our name with our partner, so why put ourselves in situations where we become vulnerable?
- Lying, backbiting, cheating, theft, etc.? Pretty self-explanatory right?
Once we rid ourselves of any feelings of resentment, read the Qur’an and pray with an open-heart seeking guidance from Allah swt, we will realize how simple our deen really is and will acquire the ability to let go of what is displeasing to Him with less difficulty. When we put ourselves in bad environments whether it’s what we are watching or doing, we become desensitized to what is haram; it becomes our norm, damaging our imaan. To avoid this, we need frequent reminders because we are constantly exposed to questionable situations.
So, what are some things we can do to remain close to Allah, the Lord of the Universe?
- Know that Allah swt loves you. How can we disobey the One who loves us 70 times more than our own mothers?
- Begin everything in the name of Allah, reciting Basmalah, in order to attain taqwa, God-consciousness.
- Ask Allah swt for guidance and sincerity in your duas, prayers and actions. Only He can help us.
- Engage in dhikr and astighfar throughout the day.
- Treat salah as a conversation with Allah because that is precisely what it is.
- Understand what you recite and incorporate Qur’an in your daily life, even if you just reflect on one ayah a day.
May Allah swt guide us on the straight path and protect us from going astray. Ameen.