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Self Development

With Umm 'Umar

Bettering ourselves in the spiritual, social, and self-care spheres



الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

Those who, when misfortune befalls them, say, We belong to God and to Him we shall return

(Surah Baqarah, Ayah 156)

This beautiful duaa teaches us how to respond to calamities and incidents wherein things don't go our way. Alhamdulillah, this duaa is ubiquitous in our society when a death occurs, and better still is to conscientize ourselves whilst we recite the duaa, to the fact that we are submitting to Allah, and realizing once more, the temporary nature of all the things of this Dunya and the inevitability of death.

This duaa, however, should not be reserved for death, but recited when anything we own or use or like is taken away from our possession.

This month, let us conscientize ourselves to the temporary nature of everything in this world, and the true ownership of all that we deem our own.



So often, we hear people speaking disdainfully about the place another person comes from. Sometimes, this comes from a place of pride based on the wealth associated with a certain place. Sometimes this comes from the sense of community a certain place is associated with. Irrespective, there is never a valid basis for pride and disdainfulness. Pros and cons can be weighed when assessing places to live, but there is never an excuse for pride.

We must realize that we see the place we grew up in through the lens of our childhood: a time of innocence, growth, and a carefree approach in life. It is the backdrop to our first friendships, the context in which we had our first achievements. It is the place we first called home. This brings about loyalty to the place which we come from.

This skews the objectivity with which we view different places in comparison, and this must be borne in mind.

The attitude of division and petty pride based on where people come from must end. It is a form of tribalism and a feature of the period of ignorance.

We must bear in mind the folly of pride. A suburb may feel superior because they are more wealthy. Another city may feel superior to all those from that city because it is more urbanized. Another country may be equally disdainful towards all those from all cities within that country based on the degree of development as a nation. Yet we are neighbours on this planet, interconnected by nature and equally affected by the larger issues that prevail in all circumstances.

We must recognize pride and tribalism for what it is and endeavour to rise up above it.

This month, ask yourself how ironic it is that we find the previous generations illogical when they segregate society based on "ghaams" in India, whilst we do the same by creating striations based on suburbs in South Africa (or whichever place we reside in.)



A sunset is beautiful whether it is witnessed by someone or not.

We are worthy whether or not it is recognized by the majority.

The things we do may be brilliant even though their worth is not immediately appreciated. Vincent Van Gogh was never celebrated in his lifetime, but his art inspires many now.

People not appreciating our talents is no reason to stop trying. People not appreciating our abilities is no reason to feel that we aren't enough.

In life, many have opinions on how we should be living and what decisions we should make.

People are quick to accuse and label whereas they have never and will never experience the day to day life we go through.

It is easy to deem illogical why someone quit a financially lucrative job when you aren't doing their work and feeling their stress.

It is easy to label a home as "broken" when you don't realize the pain of children living and witnessing unhappiness and argument is far worse than the difficult decision to part ways.

It is easy to find a fault with the weight and appearance of the next person when you haven't tried their lifestyle changes and experienced the difficulty.

It is easy to be the moral police on people's choices without knowing the options they had.

This month, remember the iceberg. Remember the surface of the river. Remember icing on the cake. Remember that what's beneath isn't known and we have no right to judge.

Remember the sunset, remember van Gogh, and keep Going.


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