Event Review: Seeking Solace by Yasmin Mogahed
[box_dark]What: Seeking Solace
Where: Max Atria, Singapore Expo
Who: Yasmin Mogahed
When: Sunday, 14th April 2013
By: Youth aLIVE, Canact Pte Ltd[/box_dark]
The tickets for this event at the Max Atria with an approximate capacity of 1000 people were sold out within 4 hours of the ticket sales window. It’s no surprise as to why this was so as the speaker was none other than the author of “Reclaim Your Heart”, Yasmin Mogahed. Many of her readers, myself included, have been touched by her eloquence in helping us deal with the turmoil in our hearts.
In an age where so many things are affecting us; the recurring experience of hardship, pain and loss, we all yearn to find peace. Not just externally but internally as well. The topic “Seeking Solace” aptly states that. Why does Allah test us so? How do find solace?
Why do we seek solace?
We are constantly faced with hardships, tests or adversities. We experience anxiety because of the uncertainty that comes with our endeavours. We could have put a lot of effort into something but still not get the results we want. The feeling of bliss comes and goes sporadically. This seemingly unending wave of trials and glimpses of serenity takes a toll on us. We want to remove ourselves from the trials of dunya and just be in a state where all is well.
The nature of Dunya
We need to realize that dunya and everything in it is imperfect. This isn’t our true home. Our real home is the life that comes after this one. Here, we’re only getting a sample of it. It gives us an idea of what awaits. Sister Yasmin used a perfume metaphor to illustrate this; it’s like getting to smell a drop of perfume and it makes us want to get the whole bottle. The suffering or the happiness that we’re experiencing are previews of what Jahannam and Jannah have in store so that we strive to avoid going to the former and attaining a place in the latter.
Why are we tested?
Allah’s most emphasized attribute is that He is Most Merciful. He does not test His servants to destroy them but to purify them instead. Just as how gold in its raw form is put through intense heat to remove its impurities, we are purified after being put through trials. The “impurities” that exists within us are that we are used to feeling safe but when we are in trouble, we go to the creations for help. Only when all else fails do we seek His help.
The trials teaches us humility. They teach us to go to Him for help. Tests from a students’ perspective is that he or she needs to rely on him or herself to get through it and asking the teacher or professor for help would be considered cheating. Such is not the case with Allah. When Allah gives us tests, He wants us to ask Him; He’s always waiting for us to.
Sometimes He keeps closing us off from the aid of His creations until He becomes the only option left just so that we would humble ourselves in the realization that nothing can help us, not even ourselves without His aid. This removes our dependence on the creations and rely solely on the Creator.
“To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.”
This isn’t just something that we say when people pass away, it is a worldview. Everything is owned by Allah; our wealth, health, possessions, our very bodies and even the people we love. When He takes it back, we are comforted by the fact that they weren’t truly ours to begin with; we were only borrowing them.
- Be patient
The only constant is Allah. Everything else comes and goes. Finding that inner peace we’re all looking for lies in holding on to that constant. Have patience when facing adversities because they too will eventually disappear. Being patient however, does not mean we be passive; just accepting things as they are while hoping that it will end. On the contrary, we should take action to get ourselves out of the situation with the faith that Allah will show the way.
Instead of complaining of Allah, complain to Him. Cry to him if we feel like it’s too much. Doing these things doesn’t mean that we’re not being patient. We’re not being patient when break the connection to Allah. With patience comes something that is priceless; the blessings and mercy of Allah.
- Know that no one is free from being tested Not a single servant of Allah has never been tested. It comes with the territory of having faith in Him. In Surah Al-Ankabut, the 2nd ayah it states: “Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?” There is no exception to this, not even the prophets. All of us have and will be tested just as the people who came before us. Nabi Yunus was swallowed by a whale, Nabi Ayub lost everything; his wealth, his family and Nabi Nuh spent over 950 years doing da’wah. The trials that we are afflicted with is actually a prerequisite to attaining Jannah. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 214 it states: “Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, “When is the help of Allah?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” Though this is a reality, Allah comforts us by telling us in Surah Ash-Sharh, ayat 5-6 that: “Verily, with hardship there is ease. Indeed, with hardship there is ease.”
- Redefine “good” and “bad”
For most of us, good and bad are defined by how we view something in relation to how it directly affects us. For example, obtaining wealth and possessions are “good” because they make our lives easier and losing them is “bad” because our lives would become more difficult. We need to change our perception of those two concepts so that they are in relation to our relationship with Allah.
Whatever that makes us closer to Him is ultimately good; even if we are saddened by the loss of something or someone dear to us. We can have all the riches in the world but if they distract us from Him to the point that we become myopic in the sense that wealth is all that we see then it is bad for us.
For a believer, when we realize that all the trials along with the pain and suffering that comes with it is ultimately for our own benefit, the trials then become gifts.
- Give the heart back to Allah
This was the theme of Yasmin Mogahed’s book and was reiterated in this discourse. We give our hearts to the creations; imperfect and temporary. It is our attachments to them that causes us such pain because we’ve put them in a place where Allah should be. We need to make Allah the basis of our love; loving what lies in dunyathrough Him. Therein lies solace.
Below are what some an attendee had to say about the discourse:
Shiffa Khumaira, 22, student:[quote]
“It is really an eye opener for me. Especially on the aspect of loss.That talk literally braced my mind, body and soul for what’s to come in the coming days and it definitely proved itself useful with the passing of my grandma two days later.
In a way, it brought me to a whole new perspective of loss. Alhamdulillah, the talk from yasmin gave me the strength to go through such an ordeal in the midst of my examination.”[/quote]
Bio of Speaker:
Yasmin Mogahed is currently a freelance writer and international speaker. She has a in B.S. Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught Islamic Studies and worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and was a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News as well as host of “Serenity” at the now defunct One Legacy Radio.
Fadhuli is an aspiring writer and believes in putting in the time and effort into meaningful causes. He strives to improve himself as a person and as a Muslim.