Everything is possible for those who believe

Iceland mountain valley

A mountain valley in Iceland

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Nourish your dreams. To achieve anything requires faith in Allah, belief in yourself, imagination, vision, persistence, hard work, and sometimes blood and tears.

The will of Allah and the power of your heart and mind make an unbeatable combination. Everything is possible for those who believe – anything you can envision, and many things you can’t.

I’m thinking of a ragtag group of desert Arabs, who, in the course of a single generation, transformed the world forever. I am speaking of course of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. What they did was impossible – there’s no other word for it. But through the power of Allah, and the tremendous determination of one man, and the faith of those who followed him, the impossible became possible. Because of their faith and sacrifices, you and I can utter the words, “Laa ilaha-il-Allah” and put them into practice in our lives.

Your dreams don’t have to be that grand. Whether you dream of building a new masjid for your community, writing a novel, competing in sports, becoming a doctor, doing charity work overseas, memorizing the Quran, or any other good and meaningful goal – it can be achieved by the will of Allah. But you can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. Feed your dream as you would feed a newly planted seed. Care for it, devote time to it, don’t give up, and watch it grow before your eyes.

Embrace the Next Station

Single tree and big, bright clouds in a blue sky


“Ever feel like you are getting ready for something and you really don’t even know why? Well that’s GOD preparing us for the next station in our LIVES…I am getting ready!!! What about YOU>? Don’t stop getting ready–pray, prepare, train, study, humble yourself, get a mentor, let go of the past and embrace the next station….I am getting ready!!! What about YOU>?”

– Hanan K. Bilal

Low Imaan? Don’t Get Discouraged

Tall, majestic tree

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Don’t get discouraged if your imaan (your faith) is low sometimes. You are not a lost case. Imaan is organic and can be cultivated. Just as a tree needs sunshine, water and good soil; imaan needs salat (prayer), dua’ (asking Allah), sawm (fasting), dhikr (remembrance of Allah), sadaqah (charity), Quran recitation, contemplation of Allah’s signs and blessings, and the company of good people and mu’mineen.

Authentic Islamic knowledge is also important. The more you increase your knowledge, the more you understand the depth of Laa ilaha il-Allah. The more you study, the more you are awed by the Majesty of Allah; the more you appreciate the beauty of Islam and its completeness, the more your mind feels certain, and your heart feels assured, and your soul feels peace. All of this leads to taqwa (Allah-consciousness) and increased imaan.

You don’t have to change your life in one day, or adopt all these behaviors at once. Try to implement them in your life one at a time.

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent Mu’adh ibn Jabal to the people of Yemen to teach them about Islam, he said, “O Muadh! You are going to a community who are of the People of the Book. So, first invite them to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they accept this, then inform them that Allah makes five prayers in a day and night obligatory for them. If they accept this, then inform them that Allah makes charity (i.e., Zakat) obligatory for them. (It is) to be taken from their rich and given to their poor.” [Bukhari]

You can start the same way. Keep Laa ilaha il-Allah on your tongue all the time, and start doing your salat. You will feel the difference in your imaan right away, as it takes root and grows.

Of course avoiding sins and making tawbah (repentance) for past sins is part of the formula too, but don’t despair if you are still committing sins. Start doing the behaviors of imaan as I described, and this will lead you in a very natural way to giving up sin, and making tawbah. You will not have to force it. Just as a river washes the dirt from your skin, actions like salat and dhikr will wash away your desire for sinful things, and you will find your connection with Allah getting stronger and stronger.

Abu Hurayra (ra) narrated, “I heard the messanger of Allah (pbuh) saying, ‘Suppose one of you had a river running at his door, and he washed from it five times a day: would any dirt remain on him?’ They (the companions) said, ‘No dirt will remain on him.’ He (the Prophet pbuh) said, ‘That is the likeness of the five prayers. Allah remits sins with them.'” (agreed upon)

Of course you should ask Allah to renew the imaan in your heart and always make it grow. But you must also strive and struggle. Allah says:

“Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they (first) change that which is in their hearts.” (Quran, Surat ar-Rad 13:11)

You must put in the work. You can do it. Your soul is as capable of purity and imaan as anyone else’s. Your soul obeys the laws of creation that Allah has set down. It will respond to these actions of imaan. Go ahead. I know you can do it, Insha’Allah.

Some people say, “I can’t pray, I am too corrupted. I have committed too many sins. I would feel like a hypocrite, and I’m sure Allah would not accept my prayer. I have to stop all my sins first, then I can pray with a clean spirit.”

That’s like saying, “I can’t take a shower because I am too dirty. I need to get clean first, then I’ll take a shower.”

The salat is the purifier. You perform salat for many reasons, one of which is to wash away your sins. Even if you continue to commit sins, keeping on doing your salat, just as you bathe every day because you get dirty ever day.

If it doesn’t feel like it’s working right away, give it time. Keep on performing your actions of imaan. Don’t give up. When you plant a seed, you don’t see anything at all for many days. And then all you see is a tiny shoot. Give your tree time to grow. Give yourself time to change. Trust the process that Allah has given us. Your imaan will come back Insha’Allah, and will soar to the sky.

Accept the Life that is Waiting for You

Beautiful road

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell.

You may have an idea about how your life should go: who you should be with, where you should live, what kind of career you should have. But Allah may have a different idea for you, and it is His plan that will manifest in your life, not yours.

Be open to Allah’s hand guiding you. Don’t fight it. Allah has something great in store for you, or He would not have created you. Your life has a meaning and purpose.

There is a mission on this earth that only you can accomplish. Many people never realize their destinies and never complete their missions. Will you? If so, then don’t waste your time staring at the closed door. Look around and see the other doors that Allah has opened for you.

The Power of a Dream

Sailing ship on the ocean

Ship of dreams

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

The world of possibilities is a vast ocean, and Allah has given each of us our own ship to sail on that ocean, following our dreams and vision where they take us. But so many of us never leave the dock. We listen to others who say, “Your dream is impossible, it’s not practical, you can’t do it.” Or we listen to a negative whisper from our own minds that says the same thing.

So we take a drill to our own ship and bore a hole in the bottom, and sink the ship at the dock. Blub blub blub, there goes the dream. We do that to ourselves! We sink our own dreams.

Replace that negative voice with faith. Allah gave you that ship, that idea, that dream, for a reason! He gave you that ship of dreams so you could sail out onto the sea and change the world, make a difference, exercise your unique talents, and fulfill your special mission in this world.

Allah is a God of dreams, don’t you know that? True dreams come from Allah. Allah is a God who sends a Prophet, a single man unassisted, to an entire nation with the mission to call them to Allah, to save the nation, and to change the world. That is a huge dream! And most amazing of all, many Prophets fulfilled that mission because they believed it was possible. Because they trusted Allah, and believed that the enormous mission entrusted to them was possible, the aid and guidance of Allah came and made the impossible possible.

When others say, “You can’t do that,” pay them no mind. They can’t sink your ship because it resides in your heart. Shaytan will denounce his followers on the Day of Judgment, saying, “I had no power over you. I only called you and you followed.” You see, the voices of cynicism and despair have no true power if we do not heed them. No one knows your hidden potential but Allah. No one has the right to try to limit you, to define you narrowly, to tell you that you’re not good enough or capable enough, or to tell you that your dreams are too big.

Why shouldn’t your dreams be big? If you’re going to dream, dream big! No one says, “My dream is that tomorrow my commute will take 35 minutes instead of 40 minutes.” That’s not a dream. If you’re going to dream, then dream big! No one knows what is possible except Allah.

I am sure that when the first youth went out in Tunisia to demonstrate against the dictator Ben Ali, their families said to them, “What? Are you crazy? You are just some kids, you will never get rid of Ben Ali, this is insanity.” And now look. The dictator has fled, political parties have been unbanned, the press is free, political prisoners have been freed, and all because of some youth with a dream who would not listen to those who told them, “No.”

As I write this, plainclothes police and paid thugs are shooting at the Egyptian youth in Tahrir square. Some of you may be thinking, “This dream of freedom for Egypt is over.” You know what? Don’t count them out yet. The power of an idea cannot be underestimated. The power of one man, one woman, standing up and pursuing a dream of freedom against all odds, cannot be calculated. They are not giving up on their dream. We will see what tomorrow brings, Insha’Allah. I am praying for the people of Egypt tonight, praying for the youth, praying for justice, praying for freedom. My hands are trembling as I write this. But I’m not giving up on the power of a dream. There is no change and no power except by Allah!

You Are Powerful

Green bird with spread wings

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Never think that you are powerless. You, me, each of us is powerful beyond measure. Look at Allah’s creation. There are no helpless creatures. Even the smallest insect and the tiniest bird are capable of providing for themselves by Allah’s will, defending themselves from predators, finding shelter, and caring for their young. Every creature has its own power, its own talents and gifts, including you. If you have not perceived your own power yet then trust me, it’s there. You only need to find it.

The same is true for societies. If every creature has its own power, then societies – which are vast collections of creatures – must be especially powerful. What we have seen in recent days in Tunisia and Egypt is evidence of that. As I write this the situation in Egypt is unresolved, but what is clear is that the people have spoken and there is no going back.

Those who believe in conspiracy theories try to claim that mysterious enemies are orchestrating these events, or manipulating them for their own ends. Or they mutter that such protests are pointless, that we cannot change anything.

That’s nonsense. To believe in such things is to imagine that we are powerless, or that we are subhuman, and that other (more powerful) beings hold the reins of humanity’s future. That is the road to inaction and despair. That is the call of Shaytan, and I reject it.

Remember that old song, “Walk like an Egyptian?” I am Egyptian-American, and for years I was annoyed that Americans thought being Egyptian meant moving your hands in a funny way when you danced. Now look at the photos coming out of Egypt, photos of struggle and defiance, and tell me what it means to walk like an Egyptian. Tell me what it means to look in the face of oppression and say, “No more. You have the guns and tanks, but we are powerful. We reject this oppression and will not bear it silently for even one day more.” No matter the final outcome, this is heroism, and it will echo through history.

Allah created human beings to be His representatives on earth, and then He created this Ummah to be the guides and shepherds of humanity. We have sometimes succeeded in that mission, and sometimes failed miserably. But make no mistake, we have the capability to fulfill the mission if we choose. If we dedicate ourselves fee sabeel illah (in Allah’s path), if we purify our souls, if we return to the sweet spring of the Quran, if we take the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as our guide, there is no limit to what we can do, by Allah’s will.

We say, “Laa hawla wa laa quwwata il-la bil-lah.” (There is no transformation and no strength except by Allah). Revolutionaries say, “Power to the people!” Which is true?

Both are true. The power of the people comes from Allah, who has apportioned to every creature its own share of might. Change and transformation can arise only through the awesome and glorious powers of Allah.

Power to the people. Power to you, brother. Power to you, sister. It’s there, inside you, I guarantee it.

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Pieces of a Dream