Afshan Khan has been serving the community for 27 years in Islamic counselling and Mediation service for Muslim women. It was an honour for Nour to get hold of her as she shared her expertise in this field. The workshop proved effective through its interactive nature. Many sisters were able to engage with sister Afshan and disclose their personal feelings hoping to take something positive back home.
So the question is who controls you?
The question was thrown at the sisters who responded with answers such as emotions, lack of confidence, other people, the negatives, and the positives. Not one single person responded with ‘I AM IN CONTROL OF MYSELF’ Islam is so beautiful that it has wisdom for every little thing; the Muslim’s affair is always a win win situation. Our thoughts, actions, personality, and characteristics are all influences of TAQWA. Living between fear and hope we all know that Allah ultimately controls us, but we ourselves control that level of Taqwa that we attain and it is up to our Taqwa how we utilise it when faced with hardships.
Hardships are often what puts us at the bottom of the pile, we find ourselves making excuses, a vicious cycle that becomes hard to recognise as a drowning ship. We lack the confidence to say NO. To be in control one must EMBRACE the situation, not FEAR it, know that it is in your own hands and you are the only one that can confront the situation in order for it to become better. Accepting means to come to terms with reality and to accept this as part of your life, whereas embracing means you see this as a challenge, you have accepted it but you will also overcome it by dealing with it through necessary actions.
The only way we can accept there is an issue that needs to be dealt with is to REFLECT. There is a difference between SABR and SUFFERING. Reflecting is the stage when you understand that you do not have to ENDURE the suffering rather you EXPLORE your options.
To be able to accept and deal with the hardship it is important to differentiate exploring and dwelling. Dwelling is when you are in a fixated state and nothing progresses as you are still holding a sense of fear of confronting the hardship. However once we have accepted, we have to realise as humans that alongside certain situations we may feel a certain way, so it is alright to feel sad, it is completely normal. Upon reflecting it is when you explore through constructive thoughts as to what can be done to deal with the hardship.
So you eliminate the fears of expectations, sadness, regret, guilt, all that is eating you up because you have now come to know that you do are in control, you have explored the options which gives you that courage to fight and be control again of your life. Your own mind is a powerful tool, if you fear it you will not be able to control which doors to open and which doors to close. Remove the fear factor by accepting, embracing, reflecting and exploring.
We had a good discussion about loving ourselves and how we deserve to respect ourselves, as a wife and a mother the woman needs at least time for herself. A scenario of how a mother demands 15 minutes to herself and tells her children to not disturb, as this time is used to help her recharge her battery. Here she is demanding her self-respect, and saying no to putting others before her. This is not a selfish demand, it is what she has a right to and it is okay to have some alone time. She is in control, she is communicating her demands as others can’t read her mind and she is teaching her children to have strong self-esteem as low self-esteem can rub off onto children.
To conclude here is a beautiful quote by Abu ‘All Rowzbari who has said:
“Fear and hope are like the two wings of a bird. If they are well balanced, the flight will be well balanced. But, If one is stunted, the Right would also be stunted. And, to be sure, if the two are lost, the bird will soon be in the throes of death.”