Reading the Red Flags

Below is an excellent article shared by a beautiful friend, Allaah yekremha, about reading the red flags in a relationship. Read it, and if you are in a relationship and you notice any of these signs, don’t just take mental notes about it, but do something to rectify and/or end the relationship.

Reading the Red Flags


 Getting to know someone for marriage can be a nerve-racking and an exciting experience all at the same time.  Through conversations, a couple seeks to learn about each other and determine compatibly for a lifetime together.  However, many couples get so emotionally attached in the early stages of the relationship that they cannot see or choose to deny red flags that arise.  Being self-reflective and in tune with your feelings is important in identifying potential problems in a relationship.  Divorcees and married couples with significant problems always cite early signs or red-flags that they did not realize were important or did not know would have a major impact on the relationship.  Red flags are signs that something is not sitting well with an individual and can become a source of conflict within the marriage. Not all problems before marriage are signs of a doomed relationship.  Some issues that arise before marriage can be discussed and compromises can be made.  Open communication and problem solving are foundational to a healthy, successful, and happy marriage. It must be said that there are some problems or red flags that indicate deeper personal issues that can only be addressed through individual or pre-marital counseling.
Communication before marriage is vital because it is the only way one can connect with a potential spouse and understand his or her viewpoints.  Communication is not only about the ability to talk, it is also about the ability to listen. Red flags in this area of the relationship are that you do not feel like your potential spouse understands you, nor seeks to understand what is important to you in your life.  If your feelings are dismissed or you are constantly being cut off, then you may be considering someone for marriage who is not a good listener and is not in tune with the feelings of others.  In addition, being criticized and/or spoken to sarcastically are signs of disrespect.  This is a problem because mutual respect between spouses is the cornerstone of a successful marriage.
On the other hand you may feel like thoughts and feelings are shared and heard, but your potential spouse does not share his or her own views and feelings.  This may be an indication that your potential spouse is emotionally unavailable and not ready for the emotional attachment required in a marriage.  A requirement for a successful marriage is that each spouse is emotionally ready to be vulnerable and intimate with another human being.
The way a couple communicates and resolves conflicts are important aspects to consider before marriage.  If a couple is constantly arguing and leaves arguments unresolved, they face serious problems in a marital relationship.  If you find yourself consciously avoiding certain topics out of a fear of your potential spouse’s reaction, then you are not being fully honest in the relationship.  In order to be in an authentic marriage, each spouse must be able to be his or her true self and not shy away from discussing difficult topics.
A potential spouse that expresses extreme emotions, such as uncontrollable anger, excessive fear, or irrational jealousy is a major concern because these could be signs of an abusive partner. A person that tries to control and manipulate another person’s behavior, such as how to dress, how to interact with family and friends, how to live, etc. all signify that this person desires power in the relationship.  When getting to know one another, couples usually mistake this classic red flag as a sign of care and concern rather than a pattern toward an emotionally or even physically abusive relationship.  A potential spouse who is unable to resolve conflicts, admit mistakes, or deal with constructive criticism is likely to be someone who is not able to take personal responsibility in their life.  All of these personal issues are signs that the individual is in need of personal growth and change before attempting to have a healthy marital relationship.
The adage “actions speak louder than words” cannot be truer than when observing the behavior of a potential spouse.  Lack of consistency between what a person says and does is a red flag that the individual cannot be trusted and/or that there are major character flaws. In addition, if your potential spouse says and does things that do not reflect your own values, this is a wake up call that you may not be compatible. Any pattern of dishonesty, rationalizing questionable behavior, or twisting words to his or her benefit is a red flag that the individual has difficulty with personal responsibility and needs time and support to mature emotionally.
Many times, problems in marriages arise because of in-laws and couples do not pay attention to the early predictors of these issues.  A potential spouse that is overly dependent on parents for finances, decision-making and/or emotional security is someone who may not be ready to get married.  A potential spouse who is in an overly dependent family relationship will have difficulty moving into an interdependent relationship with a spouse.  While it is of course natural that both families remain connected to the new couple, the shift to emotional independence from the family is a growth process that is necessary so that the new couple can begin creating their own life together.
Trusting your intuition and addressing uneasy feelings that arise during the process of getting to know someone is important.  Intuition is your compass and is alerting you that something may be wrong in the relationship with your potential spouse.  One must find the courage to follow this intuition.  To continue getting to know someone or proceed toward marriage with these uncertainties can be disastrous.  Many choose to ignore the red flags out of a fear of hurting a persons feelings or what the family and community may say.  Getting married out of a fear of letting others down or because of pressure from others are signs that the relationship is unstable and that is not a foundation for a healthy marriage.  In order to be in a healthy marriage, individuals need to grow up and grow emotionally before they can be in a relationship with another individual.  No one is perfect, but each individual has a responsibility to work on his or her own personal issues and flaws. As ibn Arabi says, “He who knows himself knows his Lord.”  Self reflection is vital to help you understand yourself, your relationship with others, and ultimately help bring you closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He).

The Lesson is to never close.

“God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.”

– Inayat Khan.

When young, it was my first fall from love. It broke me open the way lightning splits a tree. Then, years later, cancer broke me further. This time it broke me wider, the way a flood carves the banks of a narrow stream. Then, having to leave a twenty-year marriage. This broke me the way wind shatters glass. Then, in Africa, it was the anonymous face of a schoolboy beginning his life. This broke me yet again. But this was like hot water melting soap.

Each time I tried to close up what had been opened. It was a reflex, natural enough. But the lesson was, of course, the other way. The lesson was in never closing again.

– Mark Nepo


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When the heart grieves..

I was looking for an email and came across a recent one which I sent to a dear friend. Its a piece of advice that I desperately needed to remind myself with and I thought I’d share it with others, perhaps those who read it might benefit as well.

…1. Just know that Allaah’s Mercy is infinite and it encompasses EVERYTHING, every single being, every creature on this earth. I’ll share with you something extremely beautiful and touching that I read just last night.

Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullaah says: “…the hearts of man can be divided into two kinds, the first of which is the heart of those, who incline to the Beneficent, which is the source of brightness, life, happieness, pleasure, delight and blessings. The second one is the throne of the devil where narrowness, darkness, death, sorrow, distress and grief are settled therein. This heart is obsessed by sorrow for the past, and grief and distress for the present.

at-Tirmidhi and others narrated: “The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam said: ‘If the heart is overwhelmed by the brightness (of faith), surely it will be opened and delighted.’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah [sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam]! What is the sign for that?’ He replied: ‘Resorting to the eternal dwelling [Jannah], being averted from the dwelling of deceit [worldly life], and being prepared for death before its arrival.’“”

So my dearest sis, imagine how content and bright you heart will be if you were to continue working on keeping it close to Allaah? These feelings of brightness, delight, contentment, serenity, etc only come about from knowing Allaah. And really truly knowing Him, is to know that whatever comes our way we know that it is from His Mercy and Wisdom. No matter how ugly and difficult it may seem on the outside, to a believer his/her affairs are always good. Remember that hadeeth? And how would you know Allaah? By reading and pondering over His Words. We’ve got the Book right there on our shelves, yet it sits there covered in dust waiting for us to reach out. Try to, no not try, MAKE this a habit: whenever you feel lonely or feel sadness overcoming you, open the mus-haf to any random page. Just open it up and I make Allaah as a witness to this sis, whatever your eyes fall upon [in that page] will give you comfort. All you have to do is not just read it with your eyes, but read it with your heart and wAllaah your heart will open up.

2. Allaah created us in pairs and in numbers for a reason and thats because humans are by nature social beings. We need company especially in times of distress. Its natural to want to talk to a friend, its not an act of laziness. Even the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam had a best friend [Abu Bakr] whom he relied on at times.

But that doesn’t mean we’re dividing our reliance between Allaah and the creation. Our reliance on Allaah is different or rather should be different from that of the creation. Because we ought to trust and rely on Allaah completely and wholly. We belong to Allaah primarily, not to the creation. And so our complete love and reliance is directed to Allaah, as in He is the ultimate object of our Love and trust and that we don’t put another person/object above or before Him.

See, you’ll be able to tell the difference when at times of loneliness you don’t have a friend you can talk to, your heart still feels at ease because you know you’ve got the Ultimate Friend [Allaah]! That way you won’t feel overwhelmed by depression or sadness because you’re turning to the One who is really the best kind of Friend: He not only listens and understands our pain, He knows us inside out and He can actually deliever us from hardship. People don’t have the power or ability to do that.

I came across a beautiful verse from soorat an-Nahl a couple of weeks ago when I randomly opened my mus-haf.  I’ll share my reflections on it in the next post, insha’Allaah.

“…for everything the Beloved does is beloved”

Ever feel like not a single soul on the face of this earth can understand the turmoils of your heart and mind? Every nation was tested with trials that were unique to them, for instance, the Thamud were tested with extravagance, wealth and hence became arrogant. Likewise the people of Lut practised sodomy, and that was the cause of their destruction.

So just like every nation, we are also tested as individuals with our own personal trials which are unique to our characters. Those particular trials are ordained by Allaah specifically for us based on our strengths and weaknesses. Because, really who can know us better than our Creator? And since He alone knows us inside out, it only makes sense for us to turn to Him. Turning to Allaah is to surrender to His Will because ultimately He knows what’s best for us. So whenever loneliness or helplessness overcomes you, don’t be sad. Revive and polish your strengths and let go of your weaknesses.

I like to remind myself of the hadeeth below whenever I find dark clouds hung above my head (needless to say, I love dark clouds, and rain, and thunderstorms. Hmm.. makes me wonder, could I possibly be under the influence of the Law of Attraction? Ah.)

“Allaah marvels about the despair of His creatures (‘ibad), while the changing of their situation from bad to good is very near, He looks at you, and you are very desperate, so He keeps laughing, because He knows that your relief is very close.”
(reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and others)

Allaah mentions eight types of honour shown to the steadfast:

* The first is love. Allah says, “And Allah loves the steadfast.”
* The second is help. He says, “Truly, Allah is with the steadfast.”
* The third is mansions in the Garden. He says, exalted is He, “They will be recompensed with mansions because of how they were steadfast.”
* The fourth is a full and ample reward. Allah says, “Only the steadfast are paid their reward without reckoning.”
* The other four are all mentioned in one ayah (in al-Baqarah) in which they (the steadfast) are given the good news. Allah says, “Give good news to the steadfast.” And there is mention in the same ayah of mercy, compassion, and guidance as rewards for the steadfast ones. Allah says, “Those, there is on them mercy and compassion from their Lord and those they are the guided ones.”

There are four aspects of steadfastness:

* Steadfastness in affliction, which is the act of preventing the self from becoming discontented and impatient;
* Steadfastness in good fortune, which is to bind it fast to gratitude, without overstepping the limits or becoming proud and self-important because of the good fortune;
* Steadfastness in obedience by safeguarding it and becoming constant in it;
* Steadfastness (in refraining) from acts of disobedience by withholding oneself from them.

Above steadfastness there is surrender, which is abandoning opposition and discontentment outwardly and abandoning dislike inwardly.

Above surrender there is contentment with the decree, which is the self’s happpiness with the act of Allah; it issues from love, for everything the Beloved does is beloved.

– Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi

David’s Heiress

By: Salman Dia-Eddine

“Me and running don’t always see eye to eye. Some days it hurts more than others. But it doesn’t mean I don’t do it. I deal with it and I keep running because not everything that is good for you always feels good for you.”

– Lance Armstrong.


This is a story for Muslim women, about a young woman of their own, named Sarah.

Do you know her?

To you, she’s just another Muslimah. She’s of average height and weight. Maybe you’ve seen her in class. Or at the office. Or at the masjid. Maybe in the mall.

She’s does her part in the community. She’s probably active in the MSA, or maybe not. I don’t know for sure. But you’ve seen her there often. Sometimes, she pitches in at the masjid. Helps little kids learn to read the Qur’an or cleans up the floor after the Ramadan dinner. Sometimes, she helps out a friend or an entire family in a pinch – freely and willingly – with no expectation of return. Sometimes, she helps out by writing articles, or blogs, or posts about issues affecting Muslims today. At other times, she’ll lend a hand in organizing an event raising local or even regional awareness about important social issues.

Of course, she’s human. Sometimes she gets tired, but can only sleep for a few hours at most. Other times she’ll be out cold for ten hours at a time, prancing around in dreamland with whatever version of Brad Pitt she fancies. Or maybe its Clooney. Omar Shareef. Shahrukh Khan. Amr Diab. Who knows. Maybe her mom.

She tries her best to keep her eeman decently high. And she does better on that score than she gives herself credit for. She hauls her weight around the house. Even though she might get into disagreements with family members, she’ll still do her fair share of work without being vindictive. Yeah, like many others, her parents also have high expectations of her, to which she doesn’t always measure up. She’s clueless as to how much her parents appreciate her and make dua for her, but it doesn’t matter. The angels know, and God knows. She herself will know too, one Day.

Yes, she makes mistakes, and yes she trips every now and then. But she gets back up, her resolve undiminished. Powered by that modest bit of taqwa, her conscience kicks into auto-correct mode and she glides back on course. She silently asks God for strength, and so it is delivered. She asks Him for the patience to endure gracefully, and so it is delivered. She asks Him to help her keep that torch lit ever so brightly, and so it is delivered.

Its there in her heart blazing the way for her spirit and tongue to follow. It’s there in her mind’s eye, giving her the pre-emptive foresight to overcome those pesky mountains in her way. It’s that determined sparkle you see in her eyes, it’s the potent juice which recharges her battery, and it’s what illuminates the strong ice that her confident steps walk upon.

And although she doesn’t carry her grandfather David’s sling, his blood runs through her veins like the torrential waters of the Niagara going over the edge of the precipice. His unflinching courage and determination make her legs become oaks more firmly rooted in certainty than the massive monoliths of Redwood yore. His legendary aim is as native to her in whatever she does as the sand that blows across the Sahara.

Unbeknownst to her, Sarah’s reputation has preceded her, and robbed the Goliaths of their sleep. She has hope from God, and they have none. She will stand, and they will fall.

Sarah is you.


In early December 2008, I was on the phone with that sterling champion of justice, the lawyer Dennis Edney. We were discussing a public event that had taken place a few days prior at the University of Toronto, and at McMaster University. Dennis and other speakers had been invited to speak on issues and challenges pertaining to social justice, about detainees in Canada and abroad for whom they were legal counsel, and to motivate the packed auditorium to stand up for the rule of law, fairness, and equality.

During the conversation, he expressed his admiration specifically for the young Muslim women who had worked so hard in bringing those events to life. He remarked about how proud and delighted he would be if such calibre of a woman were to become his daughter-in-law. When I asked him if he would be willing to be quoted on that, he agreed readily and sent me the following email – quoted here verbatim:

Dear Sol;

There is not much more that I can add than what I earlier stated.

I was greatly impressed by the young Muslim women who arranged and participated in my speaking engagements at the U of T and McMasters. Their approach in presenting the message of social justice for all was a tribute to their leadership and professionalism. I believe we can all learn from their example.

I had mentioned these young women represented the best of womanhood in that they exuded intelligence, a strong sense of identity, purpose and dignity. These are all the hallmarks of true leadership. We have a great need for such leadership in this day and age. I can only hope there example will be a catalyst for young Muslim males to follow.

Had my son been associated with any one of these women, I would have been well pleased at his choice.

I will always be available to assist in any way I can.


So I write this for Sarah to tell her to keep her eyes on the ultimate prize. That sparkling castle on 4600 Firdaus Lane, the laughter of the cherubs drifting across the clouds, the sweet cool waters of al-Kauthar, and the fresh sunshine of His Eternal Pleasure on her heart and soul. Everything else along the way is just gravy.

Sarah, keep going. This is that last mile, that challenging 12th rep. Kick in those afterburners, slam that pedal to the floor, and keep doing whatever it is that you were doing for His sake. This isn’t the first time you and your kind have stepped up to the plate. This isn’t the first time you’ve rallied the team when it’s down and overcome the opposing lead to take home the Cup. While the guys were simply aiming for left field, I saw you look straight at the Sun and told it to open wide, and I saw you belt one straight out of the stratosphere.

Out of our rib you were made, a fortified pillar you have become, and no man shall succeed without you at his side. Hidden behind that polite nod and the simple reply of “jazakiyallahu khayran” is a massive ocean of admiration and dua that you know not of.

But the angels know. And God knows.

And on the Day it counts most, you will know too.


“The reward of every deed is known, except for the reward of patience, which will be like heavy rain.” – Sulayman ibn Qasim

My sincere thanks go out to Saima for her assistance in giving shape to my thoughts. May God reward her. Ameen

Source: Muslimah Source

O Brother, where art thou?

Here is an excellent article written by Asim Qureshi from CagePrisoners. Thanks to Helal for sharing it with me (Jazaakillaah khayr habibtee!). It reminded me of the times I’ve had to talk to Muslim detainees just because they didn’t have any brothers calling them. I used to write to them, most of the time collectively. It would usually be a generic message but because of the situation they are in, they are extremely vulnerable. Eventually, I retired from writing because of fear of fitnah.

I turned to a few brothers and requested them to call these brothers, and write to them. To make it easy for them, I had even offered to mail out letters for them, but no one took the initiative. Its terribly frustrating, especially when you are asked to stay indoors and not involve yourself in such activities because you’re a woman!

What’s even sad is that all of the rallies I’ve attended in the past, had an overwhelming number of sisters compared to brothers! Heck, the rallies are LED by sisters!

I haven’t resolved to giving up on brothers yet. There’s always hope they say. There are still a handful of them who truly are gems. And then there are some who just need a little polishing.

May Allaah refine us and make us true believers and allow us to work tirelessly in His Cause, aameen.

That dark thing called: Death.

A death.

A new life born.

Amazing, the wonders of life.

A life taken. Its pitch darkness and emptiness. The deepest depth of its ugliness, pain and anguish. Tears and hurt. Sorrow and grief. The agony and remorse. Regret.

The dawn of a new life. The joy it brings, lighting up everything and everyone all around. The smiles and laughter. The state of bliss, a haven on earth. The ecstacy. Beauty and the happiness sprouting from the beginning of a new life.

One life taken, and another given.

A cycle of grief and joy. I was told about a sister, very beloved to me, losing someone very close and a few minutes later I was given the news of a dear friend who’d just given birth to a baby girl. And I wondered, how long before I too get caught up in this cycle? How long, before I add up to the list of all those gone? Because, I’m not ready. Not ready to leave yet. This life, that I so wish I never had during those moments of utter pain and anguish that’s followed by regret – that same life – I’m not ready to let go off.

Are you ready to let go?

You’re my shining star



Ever seen a shooting star? I had the chance to see 3 tonight and MAN it was an AMAZING experience subhaan’Allaah. Even just laying down in my backyard with my friend and watching the stars in the sky was beautiful. You can get lost in wonder and amazement by simply staring at the beauty of Allaah’s creation. Not only does the beauty amaze you, but the sheer stillness and then the sudden movement of light in a split second sends shivers down your spine. Priceless.

Truly Allaah is beautiful and loves beauty. Just look around and above you. Allaah has created everything with so much perfection subhaan’Allaah. Yet, I wonder how anyone can disbelieve in Him after observing something as wonderous as this Universe.

Side-Note: One of the best meteor showers known as the Perseids takes place in mid-August. Its said to be the most spectacular meteor shower. Next one coming up is called the Orionids which will be in mid-October. So watch out for it!

Eating, Drinking, Sleeping.. Work.

Do you have those days when you’re back home from a hard day’s work and all you can think of is WORK? Do you find yourself planning your schedule for the next work day while having your dinner? When you eat, you think about work.. when you sleep you dream about work.. and there seems to be no escape from it.

Past two months have been extremely strenuous and mind-numbing, so much so that everyday by the time its 7 PM my brain is totally fried and I just long to get into my car and somehow, without moving a limb get to my bed. Work can be so draining.

But there is one thing that has the power to wash away all of that stress and tiredness. Nice, proper wudoo followed by two rak`ahs of prayer. Even during work at the office, or wherever else one may work, its almost surreal.. the rush of joy and solace that overcomes you when you take a short break amidst all the frenzy and stand before Allaah to pray.

Allaahu Akbar. Islaam is such a blessing. I swear by Allaah, us Muslims are the most fortunate of people on this earth – if only we were to take benefit from this blessing before its too late.

إن الذين عند ربك لا يستكبرون عن عبادته ويسبحونه وله يسجدون

“Those who are near to thy Lord, disdain not to do Him worship: They celebrate His praises, and prostrate before Him.”


It is often the last key that opens the lock.

Life can sometimes be such a drag. Things dont turn out the way you expect them to, people who you love so very much come into your life only to leave again, and then there are those who break your heart into a million pieces and think a simple sorry can make up for it. There are those who completely vanish from your life and then reappear as if nothing’s changed when all the while when they were gone, you hold onto every little hope and survive each day by numbing your heart to all the pain surrounding you.

Its times like these when you wish for even just a little comfort, be it in the company of a friend, a gentle smile, a loving hug, but when there is literally nothing and none of that, the one thing that is always there is the company of Allaah. Patience in trying times can be extremely hard and can even be mind numbing but its one of the sweetest and the most amazing feeling I have known.

Alhamdulillaah for Islaam, and alhamdulillaah for having faith in Allaah. Because it is due to Allaah, it is due to His Book and the guidance of His beloved Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) that we are blessed with this wonderful gift of reliance on Him by succumbing to patience no matter how hard. It’s this faith and belief that with patience things will start to seem a bit more easy, your path will become clear and your personality will mould into what your Lord wants it to become. And it is then, that you realise, if you continue on with patience you will gain what you seek with so much determination, in one way or another.

Like an arab poet said:

“Patience is the key to all hopes and aspirations and through patience all goodness becomes possible;
So remain patient even if the dark hours are long, sometimes even the unusual becomes possible.”

And the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam said:

“Whosoever is patient, Allaah will enhance such patience; and no one is granted a gift greater and more comprehensive than patience.”

I ask Allaah to fill our hearts with this beautiful gift of patience.