I want to be Special. I want to Belong.

>> Monday, November 7, 2011

Asalamualaikum Warahmatulahi Warakatuhu Little Auntie <3
Before I rediscovered the beauty is Islam in my life, I was one of those half-wit laugh-my-brain-out kind of girls. I was a huge trouble maker, and I was proud of that name. I was one of those girls who didn’t really care about what people thought of, and who always had something hilarious to say to make my friends laugh hysterically. I go to an Islamic school, so all my friends are Muslims. I was the funny one, the silly one, the one who made everyone smile. But I realized soon that though I pleased everyone, I did not please myself. So I turned to Allah.
I shifted all gears. I did it gradually, of course. But the one thing that stayed the same about me is the desire to make people smile.
And SubhanAllah, none of my friends turned away from me, even though some are not so pleased with my ‘religiousness’. Its been a little more than two years.
Being a real Muslimah <3 I guess I am one of them super excited lets-change-the-world-with-a-smile kind of Muslimah, Alhamdulilah (: I love Allah!
As this year unfolded, my friends started changing too…you know…going through those ‘teenage phases’. I realized that its becoming very hard to engage in a conversation when all they want to talk about is ‘cute boys’ and gossip. And I cant do that.
I watch my close friends as they talk about how ‘cute’ a certain boy is and when they meet my gaze they feel a little ashamed and look at me apologetically. They don’t talk to me as often, but I try my best to be nice to them still. But I don’t feel like I am among them. I feel like a stranger.
I feel like I don’t belong.
I feel like I am not special.
Or important.
I cant explain the emptiness I feel inside, I tell myself that Allah is my friend. But I cant seem to feel better. What do I do to feel better? To feel like I belong... Btw, Im soooo soorrrry that this is loooooong, but I just wanted to make sure you know my story if I want you to help me out (: Make dua for me my Little Auntie <3 i love you so much for the sake of Allah, really. Take care, Wasalamualaikum ~PrincessHugable

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatuallah wa barkatoo!

Dearest dear Princess Hugable,

Your e-mail struck a chord with me. It really did.

 I'm going to break this up into 2 parts. Part 1- not feeling special. Part 2- not 'belonging'

Part 1:

Unfortunately, we live in a world that teaches us to validate ourselves by the number of people who know our name.... or at least our Twitter name ;) We think that the only way we can change the world is by being known. So, we make Facebook status like we're breaking news headlines, we tweet where we're going, what we're doing, and why we're not tweeting (#GoingonVacation). We blog like we have an audience of a billion people.....

We want our names to mean something. We want to MATTER.

We want to be special...but few of us realize what it is that truly makes us special.

What makes you, darling Princess, so special is that you are a practicing Muslimah. You are a person who remembers Allah before you talk, walk out of your house, decide what you want to wear and etc.

From the millions of people out there who live their lives like they are their own gods, you walk on this earth with the knowledge that you are God's servant and you set out trying to please the Creator, instead of the creation.

That makes you special. That makes you unique.

Think about it. How many people do that?

You said yourself that you go to an all Islamic school and you don't feel like you belong. You know why? Because you are SPECIAL. You are Extraordinary, even among Muslims.

I know what you're thinking...."That's your advice?"

Seriously, it's true. Think about the Companions, radiya Allah anhum. Why is it that we remember them so much? What made them special? It's because of how strongly and firmly they clung to the religion...even when all the 'odds were against them'.

So, number 1: Realize that your religiousness doesn't take away your uniqueness. It makes you special.

In fact, in a Hadith Qudsi recorded by the Companion Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet Muhammad (sallah allahoo Alyhee wa salam) said speaking from his Lord:

"Allah, Exalted and Mighty is He, loves of His creation the God-fearing, the pure in the heart, those who are hidden, and those who are innocent, whose face is dusty, whose hair is unkempt, whose stomach is empty, and who, if he asks permission to enter to the rulers, is not granted it, and if he were to ask for a gentle lady in marriage, he would be refused, and when he leaves the world it does not miss him, and if he goes out, his going out is not noticed, and if he falls sick, he is not attended to, and if he dies, he is not accompanied to his grave."

2. Learn from the companions radiya Allah anhum. The companions didn't all do the same thing. They used their special abilities and talents for the sake of Islam. Hasaan bin Thabit was known for his poetry. Khalid bin al Waleed  for his military genius. Abu Hurariah  his memory and his narrations of hadith. Zaid bin Thabit learned languages quickly. Muadh ibn Jabal was said to be the most learned of the 'halal and haram' (this was said by the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam, himself!).

So, you see, each of the Sahabah used their talents sincerely for the sake of Islam and this made them each remembered.

You can do the same thing! Whether it's your verbal or analytic skills, your smile, whatever.... You can use it.

 In fact, you said that you used to be one of those girls who didn't care what people thought and you would crack hilarious jokes. You can still utilize that 'not caring about what people think' attitude- that's something really special. Use that ability and enjoin the right and forbid the evil. That would make you super special.

I mean, seriously. How many of us can look a person, straight in the eye, and tell them "You know, that song isn't really appropriate. Please turn it off." That truly needs someone who doesn't care what others think. That needs someone with major guts. [And someone who can care enough about others to care about their Hereafter :)]

Realize also that to "matter" doesn't mean that you have to come up with some great invention/ change the world in some dramatic way. Let me put the rest of the hadith I put above:

The Companions asked the Prophet: They asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, how can we find someone like that?" He, (sallah allahoo alyhee wa salam), said, "Uwais al-Qarani is such a one."

They asked him, "and who is Uwais al-Qarani?" He, (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam), answered, "He is dark skinned, wide shoulder, and of average height. His complexion is close to the color of earth. His beard touches his chest. His eyes are always looking downwards to the place of prostration, and his right hand is on his left hand. He weeps about himself with such a flow of tears that his lips are swollen. He wears a woolen garment and is known to the people of the heavens. If he makes a promise in the Name of Allah, he keeps it. Under his left shoulder there is a white spot. When the Day of Resurrection comes and it is announced to the slaves, "Enter the Garden," it will be said to Uwais, 'Stop and intercede.' Allah, Mighty and Exalted is He, will then forgive them to the same number as are the people of Rabi'a and Mudhar. (These are the two tribes that Uwais,  belonged to). So, O Umar and O Ali, if you can find him, ask him to ask Allah for forgiveness. Then Allah will forgive you."

Uwais was given this status not because he was famous. He was given this status because he was the best at something many of us 'belittle'. He was the best person to his mother.

He was given the station of interceding for people on the Day of Judgment because of that.

And the incredible thing is that the people around him had no idea who Uwais was. He was someone 'nobody noticed'....but somebody loved by Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala!

You see, this is what Islam teaches us:

"If you can be unknown, do so. It doesn’t matter if you are not known and it doesn’t matter if you are not praised. It doesn’t matter if you are blameworthy according to people if you are praiseworthy with Allaah, Mighty and Majestic."

It is reported from Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayyaad ....Al-Bayhaqi, Az-Zuhd Al-Kabeer p.100

Part 2:

Well...what about the fact that you feel like you don't belong?

That's tough. The reality is that as practicing Muslims we are "strangers" in this world. The fact that you feel like a stranger....Well, that's a good thing, inshaAllah. The prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said:

“Indeed Islaam began as something strange. And it will return as something strange the way it began. So give glad tidings to the strangers”.

So, yes, you are a stranger...but you can make it easier for yourself by befriending other practicing Muslims. Keep an open mind and get to know other sisters!

Personally, I had friends from school that were good people, but I didn't have too many that encouraged me to really be better (pray sunnah prayers, read Quran, etc).I had to look outside of school for that. The truth is, most of the encouragement that I got came from online friends. That's right. I joined forums like "The Sister's Majlis": http://z13.invisionfree.com/The_Sisters_Majlis/index.php? (but at the time I joined, it was Muslimas Oasis). I started reading blogs and doing that kinda thing. You can even check Facebook groups.

I know what you're thinking- but I want friends I can actually see and visit.

That is the downside of forums, but the up side is that you can log on at any moment and I find an interesting post/ story/ and get a hug ;) Besides, I found from experience that sometimes you can even be 'more you' online than offline. I also did end up finding a few sisters living in 'relatively near' areas (okay, same countries :P).

Okay, okay, you're not into that idea...

The next place to look for is the mosque. Go to the Friday prayer. Say salaams. Look around for anyone your age. Try visiting different mosques, too.

It's important that you also look for halaqahs in your area. Also, if you ever have an Islamic convention/ have an important Sheikh/ famous daee come to your area, go and MAKE friends with the sisters there.
Ask for their e-mail/ facebook/ promise each other that you will share good lectures and reminders with each other.

Well, Princess hugable, I know this isn't too much, but I hope it helps you a bit.

Hope you had a great and super Eid and all our readers, too. 

Lots of love,

22 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Fida Islaih November 7, 2011 at 7:33 AM  

Thanks so much for this post! I can really relate. Even about those gazes, I have non-Muslim accqantices and if they say or do something bad and meet my gaze, they apologize and try to not do it for the rest of the day... I just wish lots of people notice their own bad and pray to Allah.

Thanks again for this post! (:

PrincessHugable,  November 7, 2011 at 10:05 AM  

Asalamualaikum little Auntie <3

jazakAllahukaiirrruun soo supperr much! :)
i couldnt help but smile the whole time i read this, it really did help me. And i feel really good, Alhamdulilah ^_^

SubhanAllah...all this time i didnt realize that being a real Muslimah was super special. the "Islam began as somthing strange, and it will return to being somthing strange, so give glad tidngs to the strangers" Hadith really touched me. This is the first time i saw this Hadith and it made me cry happy tears :') Alhamdulilah

inshaAllah ill try my best to be with good company..just make dua for me please ^_^

and let me give you a big HUG :D i love you little Auntie <3 :D

Anonymous,  November 7, 2011 at 6:08 PM  

@ anonymous : T_T
seriously? if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all!

I'm sure that you can find a variety of ways to spend your time (other than posting not so nice comments of course)
how about painting or something
or you could read a book
lightbulb-read the quran

anyways, princesshugable is a cute and happy name; if you can't appreciate that, then don't...but no need to go hating either

Anonymous,  November 7, 2011 at 9:28 PM  

Assalam alykum. Thank you for sending wonderful questions:) It really helps.

Some converted muslims also hear from non-muslim friends that "You became a boring person".

I was also indirectly told so. Once I felt a bit sad, but soon realized we should please Allah rather than people around us.
(and Allah gave me better surroundings.)

As you know Allah doesn't care how popular/funny we are, but He cares how sincere we are in Islam.

I think boring people are those who limit their interests to Looking good,TV program, guys, celebrities etc.
See these religious sisters here(or in other blogs) who are full of wit and creative ideas.

PotentialHijabi November 8, 2011 at 2:36 AM  

@Pricess hugable

Listen to this lecture, by Khalid Yasini .. on being strangers! Alhumdulillah, it's one I always love listening to, when I feel like a stranger even amongst a crowd who know me!


Download it from keepvid.com and keep it with you, so you can listen to it whenever you feel like, Insha'allah! :)

Hawwa November 8, 2011 at 3:15 AM  

Salaam Alaikum! :D
The whole time o read this question I kept contemplating whether I was the one who sent it cos it's exactly what I'm going through. And as always masha Allah the replies are very wonderful! Jazakillah khairan :)

RevertMuslimah November 9, 2011 at 5:02 AM  

Awesome post sisters, like many I can also relate.
It's true, when someone reverts, or starts pracitsing the Deen, they are usually shunned.

I remember when my long time "bestfriend" sent me a message on facebook telling me "I don't want to be your friend anymore.blahblahblah. You're boring, and need to CHILL ON THE MUSLIM THING"
Funny thing is, she's Muslim.

Alhamdulillah I've met many nice sisters via the internet, and even some nearby. Sometimes, even if you've been with those people for the longest of time, if they aren't getting you closer to ALLAH ( Helping you do good, and not bad ) then you don't need them. Harsh truth :)

And always remember, when you feel alove you've ALWAYS got ALLAH. and inshaALLAH these aunties, myself and many sisters around the globe are willing to stick it out with you.

Love you all fesabilillah :)

PrincessHugable,  November 9, 2011 at 9:02 AM  

Asalamualaikum Warahmatulahi Wabarakatuhu my loving sisters :)

you guys are so sweet mashaAllah, i really love you all :)...its funny how that one rude comment disapeared ;)

Potential Hijabi, jazakAllahukaiirunnn for the video :) i love it, Alhamdulilah

RevertMuslimah, i know exactly what you mean. SubhanAllah...how ppl leave you becuz you are doing sumthing good. And you're thought of as 'cheesy' when you want to talk about Allah. Those arent real friends.

Alhamdulilah, i didnt realize there are so many ppl with the same situation as me. My loving sisters are all right here...online :)BarakAllahufeekum!

little Auntie, should i stay away from my not-so-practising friends? i'm with them everyday at school...when i talk to them i feel like im throwing stones at myself. And when i dont i feel lonely. So sumtimes at lunch, i walk to a near by musjid and read quran...but im not alowed to do it everyday...what should i do?

Anonymous,  November 10, 2011 at 3:10 PM  

woah. -_-

i think you should'nt be a loner and you shud hang out with your friends. That wud be mean and loser-like if you just left like that...the profet (saw) wud hang out a be nice to all kinds of ppl. im just being honest.

and who deleted my comment?

PrincessHugable,  November 10, 2011 at 3:26 PM  

Asalamualaikum Anonymous sister...
im sorry if you dont like my name ;)

anyways, the reason i dont want to stay with them much is becuz they dont like it wen i talk abt islam...and i love to talk abt islam..i can only talk abt what i really love :)but your right..the prophet (SAW) would talk to all kinds of ppl...am i being narrow minded...shud i give them another chance?

Aziza November 10, 2011 at 6:25 PM  

Dear PrincessHugable, can I just say that I love you for the sake of Allah? *hugs* MashAllah I can totally relate to your situation and I want you to remember that you are never alone cuz you've got all your sisters who want the best for you, your dear little aunties, and of course your true best friend....ALLAH!!! :) <3
My dear, I have the same problem with my buddies....except mine are not Muslim. It a difficult situation no doubt and I know that I could do a lot better, but when the conversations start to get a bit "iffy" I usually hush up and make dua or dhikr and just talk to Allah. After a while, they started to be more cautious when speaking to me. And of course since your friends are Muslim, perhaps you can tell them how you feel? They would definitely understand and you would be helping not only yourself, but them in the process. Now that's some true sisterly love! :) I pray that Allah will make it easy for you and all of us to do the right thing.
I also pray that He will help you to change the world with the beautiful smile that He has blessed you with. :)

Little Auntie November 10, 2011 at 11:17 PM  

Anonymous- your comment was deleted because it contained nothing whatsoever beneficial in it. The Quran says:

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (49:11)

As for the idea of 'just being friends with people' to avoid being loser-like- that's not really Islamic thinking. The prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam did deal with many different kinds of people but it was never for the sake of looking 'cool'.

We also have to keep in mind that it was THE prophet who warned us:

“A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” (reported by Abu Dāwūd & Tirmidhi).

Our friends have the biggest influence on us. And as a good friend of mine said, bad friends are a lot like gravity. They pull you down.

I'm not saying you have to give up your friends...I don't want to give an Islamic ruling but I am saying that if you want to be a better Muslimah, it is important to have good, practicing friends, too.

Little Auntie November 10, 2011 at 11:32 PM  

Back with some more!

You might want to read this post of ours:

And, I know we all grow up with the notion of 'friends forever', but sometimes, we do move in different directions and no longer share the same values anymore. When you can hardly recognize why you guys were friends, I think then, it's time to just keep to 'salams' ...

I also want to clarify what I meant in the above comment:
Wen it comes to who we befriend, it really depends on 'your personality' and your friend's personalities..

1. ARE you influenced easily? Will your religion and your heart be influenced by them? OR will you be able to influence them?
2. Do they encourage you to do things you're trying to give up- say for example, listen to inappropriate music? Watch inappropriate videos?

Remember, though - it doesn't mean that you necessarily 'forget your friends'- you can appreciate all the good times you had together and how they were there for you, how they supported you...but you also accept that you yourself have changed and that you have different directions to go. You just make dua for them, too, that they become better Muslimahs, inshaAllah.

Little Auntie November 10, 2011 at 11:39 PM  

Fida- ma'shaAllah! I remember I also had a non-Muslim friend who would apologize whenever they cussed around me.

Anonymous, I'm sorry to hear that when you reverted you got the whole 'now you're boring comments'. I know I've also had that problem even though I'm not a revert. But SubhanAllah, like you said, it's boring to just limit your mind to 'following celebrities's lifestyles'!

revertMuslimah, la hawla wa la quwata illah biallah! I did NOT expect to read that she was also a Muslim. :(

Hawwa, that's the thing! Half the time somebody sends in an e-mail, I'm like "wow"...I have the same problem or had the same problem, too ;)

PrincessHugable, HUGS!!
Aziza, <3
Just want to say that sometimes the toughest crowds are fellow Muslims. Unfortunately, they think "Hey,I'm Muslim, too, but you don't need to be that Muslim." It can be really discouraging when your muslim friends ask you why you wore hijaab......but that goes back to what we said earlier, WE are the strangers <3

Grey Abaya Girl,  November 13, 2011 at 11:52 PM  

Princess Huggable, I must say the same thing, I never thought there are so many people who felt the same way as me! In fact, your question describes my feelings exactly, after I started college without any of my religious friends who I'd had since school. I still keep in touch with them and we get together every now and then, but I have eight hours of college five times a week with not-so-religious Muslim friends. That made me sad, lonely and frustrated for a long time. Every day at breaktime I got up to pray zuhur and left them behind at the lunch table (they didn't pray). I got tired of all the time I spent sitting silently beside them because I was bored by/didn't approve of their conversation (e.g. crushes, one of them has a boyfriend), also I was frustrated because they talk to boys (it's a co-ed college) and I don't. At first I was drawn into their jokey-giggly talks with boys but then I evaluated myself and thought, "If I was not with them, would I be doing the same thing on my own?" No! So I started looking intently at my mobile phone/textbook/something in silence while they had those conversations, or even walking away to do whatever I was originally going to do when my friends stopped to chat with those boys. Of course this led to a gradual "drifting away" process, like you said you talk less with your friends now, but I didn't completely sever ties with them. Now I spend practically 90% of my time "alone" (counting when I'm sitting next to them and doing something else). One thing that really helped me was discussing this issue with my religious school friend who is in another college now. She said that she had decided to keep in touch with her not-so-religious friends with the intention of inviting them towards good, and at the same time depended on her interaction with religious girls and women to be led towards good herself. It's really tiring saying "no, I don't do this, I don't do that either, sorry, I'm not going there with you" over and over to not-so-religious friends, that's why it's easier to limit your interaction with them for your own sanity. That said, one shouldn't go overboard with the "intention of leading them towards good" either, because that happens very S-L-O-W-L-Y, the opportunities to say something religious are very rare with these people, and sometimes they show interest but agree with you but don't act on it, or only act on it for a little while. The point is just to show them a picture of what a practicing Muslimah looks like, BUT not get tricked into getting their acceptance by compromising on your principles, AND find severa sources, online/relatives/friends/mosque/Islamic videos/blogs or whatever works, to keep your own fuel tank full. It's a very delicate balancing act and I've slipped several times, honestly (like I mentioned in talking to boys). So staying at a comfortable, safe distance is easier. Drifting away is more permanent than cutting it off abruptly, actually. After awhile they just get used to talking to each other instead of to you.

And you know, your responsibility ends at just telling them nicely what is right and what is wrong. Once. That's all. We just have to teach ourselves not to get involved beyond this point (unless they show interest in knowing more about the issue, and not just for the sake of argument, of course.)

I often see LONG comment posts on this blog and what do you know! Now I'm guilty of one of them.

Grey Abaya Girl,  November 13, 2011 at 11:58 PM  

And Princess Huggable, you said they are not interested in listening about Islam. I gave general comments, of course, but only you know exactly what kind of people your friends are. If you know that there's hardly any chance to discuss the thing you love with them, then Little Auntie's advice about keeping it to nice greetings sounds better than "hitting yourself with stones". You don't want to get hurt!

Little Auntie November 14, 2011 at 11:07 PM  

Grey Abaya Girl!
First of all, I'm very happy to 'meet' you! Second, do not apologize for long comments. I love long comments. Then I feel like we're having a huge slumber party and we're all talking with each other and it's not just me going blah blah blah ;)

As for your comment, I couldn't have said it better, myself =)

Grey Abaya Girl,  November 15, 2011 at 1:42 AM  

Aww, thanks Little Auntie!

Yeah, it does feel like a slumber party. A slumber party where everyone can take as much room and time to say something (and everyone can pay good attention to everything everyone says), so it's better than a real one in that way.

PrincessHugable,  November 24, 2011 at 10:05 AM  

yea, it does feel like a slumber party :) Little Auntie, Aziza, Grey Abaya Girl, jazakAllahuakkriun for the advice! i really, really, really love you guys for the sake of Allah <3

SubhanAllah, I've been trying to be more..alone with Allah..and i really love it. It's actually so much more comforting than to be amonst ppl who make me feel alone. Im never alone when I'm with Allah..Alhamdulilah :)

you guys are always in my dua, inshaAllah.

Anonymous,  November 25, 2011 at 6:51 PM  

i apologize for my rude comments earlier...im sorry. :/ ... :)

Princesshugable,  November 26, 2011 at 8:28 AM  

May Allah bless you sis... :)

Anonymous,  December 21, 2011 at 5:53 PM  

Aww, I am experiencing the same situation. My old high school friends don't accept the new 'me' anymore... it's hurtful. But Allah has replaced them with new true friends I found in MSA through college :)) I so like them, MashaAllah! plus the hadith and hadith Qudsi also made me feel better :) thumbs up 100x!
Jazakillahu Khayr :)

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
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