Questions that need answering

Why is a 9-year-old girl’s mother so concerned with her academic achievements when the girl doesn’t see a point in living?

What should we be expecting, when unfulfilled expectations are the cause of disappointments and no expectations means nothing to dream about?

Two questions I asked myself 3 years ago, just found this draft and didn’t want it to get lost 🙂


Low self-esteem vs. Arrogance


This piece was also written 3 years ago, I just edited it a little to make more sense.

I’m a person with low self-esteem, and consciously chose to be this way ever since I was a small child. In more than two decades my thoughts about myself have shown very little change, and in sha Allah I will always be like this, or have even lower self-esteem.

Because I think it’s a good thing. Why? Because there’s not a single thing that can rightly make us feel proud of ourselves. Why? Because every good thing is from Allah. Can anyone give me an example of something they find good about themselves? I will ask you where you got it from. And then, I will ask you who is worthy of your praise? Who should you hold in high esteem?

I think we all have two opposite mechanisms in us that sometimes warn us against arrogance and sometimes against humiliation. For example when we get a compliment we may find it hard to accept because we don’t want to feel arrogant. But when somebody insults us we feel threatened and try to defend ourselves. Because we neither want to be praised nor humiliated.

It’s just that these two mechanisms vary in degree for every person. Two similar incidents occurred to me as a child and an adult, but with a different outcome. In primary school, one of my classmates told me that I should become a teacher because I’m so good at explaining things. I liked hearing this compliment, but I immediately felt guilty and told myself to stop feeling good about myself because I’m no better than any other person. I was also feeling bad towards my other classmates, who might be sad because they’re struggling.

In college the same thing happened, my Spanish teacher was very proud of a story that I’d written and started praising me in front of my class. I tried to look as neutral and unaffected as I could, because again there were two thoughts running through me: I’m not good, and others may feel bad. But now she started getting angry at me for not showing my happiness, “Why aren’t you smiling?!?!?!” she shouted at me in front of my peers and I felt humiliated. I went home sad and hoped someone would tell me that I am good. I felt like she disapproved my character, which I was apparently proud of without even realising. Had I truly understood that all good comes from Allah then her comment wouldn’t have hurt, I know that there’s nothing praiseworthy about me!

Every time someone insults us or makes us feel bad about ourselves we get an insight in our weaknesses. What makes us weak is the exact same thing that makes us feel good about ourselves. So for me, it’s that I consider myself a considerate person, and when my teacher didn’t acknowledge this, or in fact humiliated me because I am like this, I felt shattered. Therefore this experience thought me that I still hold myself in high regard when it comes to certain subtleties. And as I said in the beginning, there’s not a single thing that can rightly make us feel proud of ourselves. And if I truly live up to this truth then nothing can possibly shatter me, since I’ve disassociated myself from all of my good characteristics. I’m simply a soul and the only thing that’s mine is my intentions. And these are not known to anyone, including myself as I struggle to find out what my true intentions are while so many thoughts and feelings are involved every time I intend to do something.

I can only have a problem with low self-esteem if I consider myself worthy of praise, and what other than arrogance can define such a thought? It is hard to have low self-esteem, because the majority of people have a problem accepting the true nature of humans. We are weak, sinful, ungrateful, you name it. We don’t have to view ourselves as praiseworthy to live a happy and fulfilling life. We have a Lorf who is worthy of all praise, upon whom we can depend on all times. If we can free ourselves from our need of approval from other humans we will truly be free.

I believe that to truly love ourselves and any other being we must first acknowledge the source of everything beautiful. Only then can we love without expectations from ourselves and others. And only then we can get rid of our fear of being humiliated, since loving means putting yourself in a vulnerable position open for rejection. That, in my opinion, is true love. And because I truly want to love the Creator and the creation I will keep working on my low self-esteem 🙂

Stream of consciousness I

Just using this title to justify this vague piece of writing that I’d written a long time ago..————-

I’m sitting on the train, thinking of all that came your way and my way, and the way we reacted to it all. What it did with us.. how it made you hate love and friendship, deeming it all in vain and fake. I wish to show you my love, and I know you do appreciate. But sometimes it feels like I’m swimming through waves. You hate the whole world for what some of them did to you, so they all hate you in return. I feel like one trying to fight a thousand soldiers of hate, prejudice and indifference. I want to show you that I care, but too often you’re told you’re worthless.

I wonder who is worth less?

You or they or I? You are so full of personality, you hate with passion and if you deemed anyone worthy you would love them too, like those who deceived you before and sometimes you show me love when I ask you specifically. You leave me with words whereby I can define you well, you are you and he is he and she is she. Whereas for me, I often think I don’t exist at all, I’m here to make you feel you, to make you feel real. Who will make me feel so?

Oh well, I’ve strayed too far again, I know you don’t like things that don’t make sense, things that aren’t real. Love is real, hate is real, loneliness is real. But above all that pain is real, nothing has ever felt more real to you, but..

Do you think that one can exist without pain?

That one would be allowed to? No way. If it isn’t love pain, then it will be hate or loneliness or you name it. Some choose for non-existence over pain, like you wish and wish you had the courage every day. Don’t be deceived, souls do not die. Do you think a soul does not feel pain? Or did you make yourself believe that souls die along with the body?

Do not be deceived.

While you may kill your body who can kill your soul? Who blew from His soul into the body of your forefather? Do you think He will allow it to be destroyed by the hands of a creature made from earth? He will never allow that to happen.

I wish I could show you the way, spare you from all this pain. My heart cries for you, and for all of your likes who think they’re alone. But pain is the only way to guidance, if love can’t bring you back,pain will. And if you hate it, I’m sorry to say that there’s no other way.

I sold my macbook today, after five years of owning it. It wasn’t  very difficult to say goodbye, as we kept having internal arguments every day because of its speed. Next in line is my smartphone, and this too will not be a difficult ending. What will be is rather saying goodbye to whatsapp and taking pictures. From now on I will have to look up how to get somewhere before I leave the house and check my emails max two times a day. I can’t wait. Simple, natural lifestyle, here I come!

One hour before 2014


A new year has as much meaning in my eyes as a new day, week or month. Not all that special in other words, and I wasn’t planning to write anything but somehow it turned out to be a quite special last day of the year.

A sister picked me up to attend our weekly class in another town nearby. As she was driving we noticed how dark it was, and started to talk about how nature affects one’s mood and general way of thinking. When we entered the town we realised that the electricity was down in the whole town and after a half an hour wait our teacher decided that we would still have class, without lights, speakers and a microphone (for the sisters). I loved this idea as I love everything that’s done the old way 🙂 The teacher started talking about the importance of knowledge. The salaf used to say that knowledge has pride and honour, and doesn’t give itself to anyone just like that. They used to sleep on the doorstep of the scholars, so as to not miss any goodness that comes from them. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas told his friend, when they were still young, let us seek knowledge. His friend didn’t understand the importance of this, so he left his friend and went to seek knowledge on his own, and after all the time that passed between him and us we can all testify to the vastness of his knowledge and wisdom. So that was quite an inspiring beginning of the lesson.

From fiqh we just reached the book of prayer and so we started with learning the timings of the prayers. And this was simply the perfect topic for tonight, since the lights were off and we were much more aware of the laws of nature than we would have been with a bright artificial light above us. Actually it never occurred to me that I didn’t have electricity for more than 5 minutes (except in our village in Turkey).

It was as if every prayer time had a different feel to it. Starting with dhuhr, when the sun has just passed its highest point, I longed for a place where there’s actually a clear sun and shadows even during winter, because I have been deprived of it for too long!! Same for salat al-‘asr, when the shadow has the same length as an object. The end of ‘asr is actually at two times, first when the sun is about to turn orange, that’s when you should stop praying. But in emergency cases you can pray till maghrib, which is when the sun has went down, and you see a red gleam in the sky. That’s all those beautiful pictures of sunset. When this red gleam disappears isha time starts. ‘Isha has two times as well, the first is the half of the night, and the second the start of fajr. I started to calculate the length of the night to know when half of it is over, and that’s roughly from 5 pm to 7 am, 14 hours of darkness every day :O that’s like more than half of every day! No wonder why everyone seems so gloomy. As I was thinking these ungrateful thoughts my teacher said he met brothers from Norway who came from a place where it’s light during day and night for three months and then dark for three months. So shocking subhanAllah, they are praying dhuhr in the dark and isha during what seems day time. See, things can always be worse. And then, fajr time. After darkness comes light, yes, very dim over here but undeniable. I wish to live in a place where I’m closer to nature, since it reminds me of Allah and gives a different experience to prayer. Imagine reading the prayer times directly off from the sun, being reminded that Allah should be worshipped at all times, not just at 7 a, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm 😀 and that the day and night belong to Him. Until that time it might be a good idea to disconnect from technology every now and then, and realise there’s still life, and a beautiful one as well, away from artificial things.

It’s 11:30 pm now, and I either fall asleep within 15 minutes, or after two hours when people finally realise how much money they wasted on fireworks. So see you next year in sha Allah 😀

Why I don’t want to do a masters degree (yet)..


The title of this post could as well be “why I’m not what you think I am”. But more on that later.

Since there’s only 6 months left of my undergraduate life (in sha Allah!!!) people have started to ask me if I’m going to do a masters degree and which one. And every time I tell them I’m not thinking of doing a masters degree any time soon I get reactions of surprise, unbelief and sometimes even clear disapproval. Especially my classmates tell me that I must be crazy for choosing not to continue my studies while I have the capability to do so. They think I’m not making a wise choice, that I’m wasting my intellect. Sometimes I feel bad about me not being motivated to do any more studying and consider a masters degree. But this is not a decision I made overnight, it’s actually got to do with my view on life which has changed quite a lot in the last few years.. This is for me and all those who feel pressurized by society.

So they say that it’s such a pity that I’ve come this far and refuse to study further and get a higher degree. There are tons of answers I would like to give to these people. First of all, I have absolutely nothing against studying, my religion has made it compulsory for me to study matters of religion and encourages me to acquire all other kinds of beneficial knowledge. For your info, the first thing I do when I’m bored is not to grab the remote control but rather open a book and read. Some of my most beautiful memories are from spending time in the library reading, at the mosque studying islam and Arabic, and at secondary school learning Spanish. I’ve also come to realise how much there’s to learn in this world, how little all of us actually know. But seriously, uni is not the only place where you can acquire knowledge. A diploma says so little about how much you know, but much more importantly: it says absolutely nothing about who you are! The day I receive my diploma I will not feel like a different person, true I have changed a lot during uni days, but that’s not because of the things I learned during lectures or seminars. I couldn’t let the knowledge get deep to me, because this is not really something I’m passionate about (linguistics a little, English language not at all) and to be completely honest with you, I hate everything that has to do with academic life. I remember the joy I felt when I wrote my last lab report a few years ago – poor me, I didn’t know that uni was all about learning how to do experiments and report on them. I respect those who have the patience and strength to do these things, I was simply not made for it. Same with writing essays, I will be frustrated and scared and depressed for days on end because a deadline is approaching. In every sense of the word, it makes me SUFFER. And I’m not exaggerating when I’m telling you that since the beginning of this year I’ve been worried about having to write my final paper next semester. And no it’s not only due to my personality, I’m quite a relaxed person in other areas of life, but ever since I left primary school education equals suffering to me. Okay okay I know that it has a lot to do with my personality, but if some things had been just a little different the whole experience would have been much less nightmarish.

I’m also being told that a masters degree will increase my chances to get a job. The only job I actually like is teaching, and I started doing that at the age of 15 without a degree (getting paid for it as well). What’s more, I don’t think any of us will easily find a job that suits your interests and your degree. We have to start looking at things differently, and not expect everything to stay the same while so many things are changing.

Finally coming to an end, I think my attitude to university is greatly shaped by my personality. I mean the combination of fear of failure and perfectionism were the things that actually made my learning process such a hard one, besides the fact that current education is so result oriented and therefore makes everyone feel like a loser whenever they fail to get high grades. That’s why I say that one day I might consider doing a masters degree, but I need time to work on myself. Get a brainwash, realise that others’ opinions of me don’t reflect who I really am. This realisation itself makes me want to take a looong break from formal education and turn back only when I’m ready to take it all with love. Maybe you shouldn’t take this post too seriously, but take one thing from me: you are more than what others think of you!


“…a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist… a turning towards the past or towards the future.”
I have this feeling very often, how comforting to know that at least in another language (Portugese) there’s a word to describe this, meaning that I’m not the only one..

Waiting for the bus

The last leaves are falling from the trees, leaving them bare and naked, ready for winter, ready to die for a living. With the same movement – I imagine – drops of water are falling from my hands, while I’m moving them ritually as I have done nearly every day for almost two decades. I whisper the name of God, fill my right hand with water, and slowly bring it up to my mouth. These are the same movements I’ve been doing a whole lifetime, since I was a small child taught by my mother to cleanse myself, to get rid of my sins day in day out, to prepare for the meeting.. My nose, face, arms, head, ears and feet also pass the revenue, all in their own distinct way, but always once or thrice, a fixed odd number of times. My sins fall off my shoulders with every drop.. will they always be falling off so easily?
I’m waiting for the bus. The wind blows my veil towards all directions, I shiver. Then it’s quiet for a while, my clothes fall on me like a protecting angel, covering everything that no one has the right to see.
I feel my leaves falling slowly, I feel that I must die for a living, just like the trees, my sun can’t keep shining forever, I must complete my winter.

Moreee thoughts


This week was even worse in terms of the amount of thoughts in my head, but this time it actually changed the course of my mind. I remember thinking last week: if I survive next week I can survive almost everything.

On friday I had an exam of a subject called “brain in trouble” so I was all into the brain, but not the way I should’ve been studying for it. I thought it was a good idea to watch educational video’s on youtube but me and technology have never been good study mates.

The weekend was actually the real bomb that exploded in my head. On sunday I organized a fundraiser for Syria with my friend, where we sold secondhand clothes and food. We actually worked the whole day on saturday so I had no time to think at all and forgot who I was and my usual worries. Sunday was the summit of my stress levels 🙂 During the day it was actually not very stressful, it only got really bad when we had to clean up everything. I can’t remember how many traffic rules I broke, driving way too fast and filling the car so much that I could actually see nothing from the rear mirror and on my right side. Besides my problem with chaos I had also promised a friend to go to a movie with her in the evening. Thinking about the stupid things I did and said on that day makes me feel so ashamed but well hopefully I will manage my stress better next time. I was on time for the movie, which was about a Canadian doctor who went to Israel to work in a village in the West Bank. I couldn’t believe that after such a long and eventful day I would have to go through so many more adventures (in my mind) and think about so many things, and in the beginning I was almost going to give up and just close my eyes. But after a while I got totally lost in the movie and was really moved by it. At the end I felt like a zombie bursting with energy. I had to do something with what I had seen, and with what I know about the world. I have to stop wasting time and start making use of my life, and not let my breath be wasted. I feel a very strong urge to move to the Middle East and never look back, but I have to be productive wherever I may be. It’s just temporary..