My Only Advice

Take responsibility for your own choices.

Take responsibility for your own choices.

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

I’m often touched by my readers’ comments, and I feel grateful to Allah that I have the opportunity to help people through my writing.

I apologize that I’m unable to advise people personally through email or Facebook chat. I have so many business and personal projects going, and I have a daughter to take care of. And I have my own struggles. I’m doing my best just to walk the path.

If you need advice on a marriage or family issue, please to go my IslamicAnswers.com website and submit your question to the team.

Here is the best advice I can give for any situation:

“Take responsibility for your own choices and happiness. Live up to your talents and make something happen. Eliminate ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary. Create opportunities. People will tell you ‘no’: you tell them ‘yes’.

Turn to God for guidance with an open heart and have the courage to follow what comes, rather than clinging to your own imagined outcomes. He will always provide a way out, will always open a door; you only need eyes to see it, and that comes from sincerity.

Be sincere with yourself above all, because if you’re lying to yourself then you’re stuck. Focus on your own mistakes rather than the mistakes of others, but only in order to learn and do better. Don’t bind yourself with guilt and self-pity. Regret for the past is a waste: it’s gone and you can’t change it, so forgive yourself and forgive others.

Believe in something greater than yourself. You have a purpose in this life, a mission, and most likely you know in your heart what it is, so find a way to follow that path, one step at a time.

Guard your spirit from harm but be open to love. Choose compassion again and again, even when the world makes it hard. Be patient with your family and friends. Don’t hold your love back: you only go through this world once, so let your love shine like the sun.”

***

If this has been helpful, then make dua’ for me. Jazakum Allah khayr, may Allah reward you all.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , Read 263 articles by
16 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Readers want (to take) personal advice from you? Do you know what friendship is? Friendship is sharing openly and honestly with others. Not trying to appear as some kind of ‘guru’ while not practising the principles which one claims to believe in. Having some kind of blown up sense of our own greatness equals to one thing — arrogance. One of the beautiful practices of the Prophet (pbuh) was his gentleness, his kindness, with all sorts of people on all levels of their spiritual path. He (pbuh) taught mercy and he was merciful. Had he been harsh with others it would have driven them away from the religion, had he been judgemental — no one would have opened their hearts to him. Sometimes in our lives, when we have given and given so much of ourselves — we come to a point where we wish to receive — so we stop giving. We become resentful of having to give so much of our souls and we are scared to give and lose more. Islam teaches us that no matter how much we give, our giving does not decrease what we receive. Our giving (of words, advice, kindness, smiles, anything) is a charity. And even if we do not get compensated in this life — we will get compensated in the life to come, that has been promised to us by Allah. We can not prevent others from doing harm to us — if that is what they wish to do. If someone hurts us, in reality, they hurt their own soul and we will be rewarded for having been the receivers of hurt. In the face of being hurt, our test is our reaction to the test. That is how Allah looks into our hearts, that is how Allah determines the goodness of our souls.

    • Wael says:

      Tashi, thanks for your comment. I do not think my post was arrogant or harsh. If anything, it’s your comment that is harsh. Rather than trying to understand where I’m coming from, you chose to judge me as a person.

      You say that friendship is sharing openly and honestly with others. That is exactly what I do with this website. If you have read many of the posts here, you’ll see that I have openly mentioned some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past, and my ongoing life challenges, and tried to share whatever little wisdom I have acquired.

      I am not trying to appear as some kind of guru. In this very post I said that I am still struggling, still walking the path. As far as having a blown up sense of my own greatness, that’s hardly the case. I think that I am trying hard just to be a Muslim, and that I’m no better than anyone else. And that’s one reason why I’m not qualified to be anyone’s “life coach” as one person requested of me.

      Regarding advising people privately through email or chat, I can no longer do that. I created a popular website that offers that exact service (IslamicAnswers.com), and I am active there. So that is the appropriate venue for those who need marriage and relationship advice. And as far as advising sisters privately, I’m not comfortable with it Islamically or personally.

      Part of your comment is insightful. I was indeed hurt by two people recently, and maybe I do feel a need to protect myself going forward. I’m not going to stop my work, or stop trying to help people. But I need to put some borders around it, so to speak, and I think that’s appropriate. And Allah knows best my intentions.

      By the way, your art is very beautiful ma-sha-Allah.

  2. Amy says:

    Salaams,

    Forgive me in advance, as I fear this will be a rather long comment. It’s just that this post put a lot of thoughts into my mind…they may even seem loosely associated.

    The easiest place to begin is by saying that you are making a very healthy step to cut off any private help sessions. They hound us in “counselor school” to never let this happen to begin with, because once people know someone is a helper they become a target for the emotionally needy not too differently than mosquitos might swarm the swimmers at a lakeside. Strong and clear boundaries are a MUST, and even if you haven’t had them until now, it’s still better late than never.

    The general advice you are giving is fantastic. So many problems really do boil down to some main elements, and choices become very easy to identify once all the peripheral, emotional cloudiness is cleared away. If I may just add one thing: for anyone who is finding it difficult to put these admonitions into practice, please seek PROFESSIONAL help! The rest of us are trying just as hard as you are to achieve the same sense of peace, and the professionals are truly the ones who know how to help others overcome their challenges without it becoming a hindrance to their own journey.

    The other aspect of your post that has been stirring the pot of my mind is what you mentioned about being an object of desire to others. Upon reading that I immediately thought about how some are tested with things being taken away, while others are tested with things being given. In a sense, you’ve been given a small dose of fame. It is a test, for both the admired and the admirers.

    I personally think everyone emits a certain kind of energy that is strictly their own, that on some level causes those around them to interact or respond to them a certain kind of way. Some people have varying levels of charisma or an attracting type of personality. I think, like it or not Wael, you have an element of that. You attract people with your writing, with your creativity, with your transparent, contemplative and well written accounts about your life experiences. You have a charisma borne from your struggles in the deen and striving to reach Allah. I think Allah gives these qualities to people to reflect Him to those who are seeking Him, but oftentimes those seekers are still figuring out HE is what’s missing and get caught up on the ambassador. Unless you decide to withdraw from the public eye in a significant way, and mute your poetic voice, you are going to run into this at various times.

    And yet, I’m saying all this feeling a little bit jealous. (STUPID NAFS!) I have always understood myself as someone having an opposite type of energy. I wear the “cloak of invisibility” if you will. I would love for ONE person to even read my blog! But, I am learning that I need to be in this place where I am, and not a place like yours, because it is the only way I can learn to really progress spiritually. Maybe you who you are, and having to work through the scenarios you are because it’s the only way Allah can bring you to your next level as well.

    The last thing I’d like to say is, don’t be too hard on the starry eyed girls. Speaking as someone who has had crushes and obsessions on various teachers, father figures, and artists of varying mediums, I can understand why it happens. Even though the root of it all is a longing for Allah, we sometimes find in others a quality that we’ve been missing in our lives. I think back to a person I had this happen with in high school, and realized that without that distraction I would have been in such misery and pain I might not have been able to function and could have made some very poor choices. My obsession with that person inspired me to better myself and kept me motivated to keep trying when I wanted to give up. This has happened in my adult life as well.

    So when you let them down, do it gently. They might not have been able to help that they saw in your words so much love, acceptance, and passion when it may be completely absent in the rest of their lives. It’s easy to mix up the art for the artist, and these girls should know that although you are not that one who will love them until they are eased, Allah is.

    On a personal note, I thank your for sharing your talent with us. I remember last year you wrote a poem “nothing…only love” and posted it on Facebook. It moved me so much that I immediately wrote a poem myself in response. That poem was the first one I had written in years, when I used to write them profusely before that. You inspired a rainfall where there had been a drought, and I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve been finding inspirations in so many places and with various co-poets as well, and I feel my style is evolving. If it weren’t for that, I think the specific and recent difficulties I’ve been struggling through this past year would have been much more unmanageable. I think perhaps I managed to avoid a psychotic break on a few occassions, and all that would’ve never happened if you had tempered your art. (not that you suggested that you would.)

    • Wael says:

      Amy, I am deeply grateful for your comment. You seem to understand exactly where I was coming from, and what I have experienced, and you’ve helped me to put things in perspective.

      I’m so glad that I inspired your return to writing, Alhamdulillah. I’ve noticed how your poetry has evolved lately. You’ve written some powerful stuff. Continue to read the works of others, and experiment with different approaches. You’ll find that over time you will develop a consistent voice of your own, and elements that may require work right now will come more and more naturally.

  3. Tashi Farmilo says:

    Darkness

    I was drawn to you
    bared my soul to – in friendship
    only after you chose to open up

    I shared my current feelings
    of what is occurring

    In your state of hurt – you lashed out
    assuming it was something else I wanted

    I never asked for a thing
    I am not in need of a potential husband, life coach, guru, arrogant fool

    You portray an image of yourself to the world
    one of wisdom, importance, goodness
    but I saw something else
    I saw your darkness

    It made me cry
    I cried for a day
    Not over you – obviously you are not who I thought
    you were

    I cried at the way people treat each other
    How they freely step on one another’s feelings

    I’ve seen it many, many times before
    People with weak ego’s
    who need to hurt others
    to make themselves feel superior

    Then they cry out to the world
    they are the victim
    to draw sympathy to them
    instead of being truthful about their own wrongdoing

    • Wael says:

      Tashi, If you are the woman who messaged me several times on Facebook under the name Jennah, (and I won’t repeat the shocking things you revealed), then all I said to you was, “Please leave me alone.” I hardly call that lashing out or wrongdoing. And you are right that I am obviously not who you thought I am. That’s exactly my point. You should not assume to know me or assume a close friendship with me based only on my writing. So dear sister, if you find me to be such an arrogant fool, then ma-sha-Allah, you go your way and I will go mine. There’s no need to stalk me on my different websites and leave insulting comments. Peace to you.

      • I Zania says:

        You are not the first person, Wael, to be compelled to ask Jennah/Tashi Farmilo to leave you alone, and I doubt very much that you will be the last. She is obviously emotionally very needy, and her reaction to your simple and respectful request to be left alone was met with an emotional outburst and insulting comments, which I think point to rather a high degree of emotional immaturity. Really, who would welcome being stalked by a complete stranger? Who would want to be exposed to any “shocking things” a stranger they may need to reveal as though one were their close personal friend? I think you handled this in a very respectful and dignified manner, particularly considering that you were under undeserved and very public attack by this person. You are right to set your boundaries.

        I Zania

  4. Rebecca says:

    Asalaam alaikum Wael,

    Thank you for more words of wisdom Wael. I can really understand some of the points you touched on.

    When we are in need, we often turn to the creation for help and relief before Allah (swt). We are all here to help one another, and have different skills and abilities given by Allah (swt) to do so. However, as all things come from Allah (swt) – it is only Him that we must put our dependency on. This is the key to true inner peace.

    It is often mistaken that those that Allah (swt) allows to reach that heart of others, have blissful and perfect lives. In reality, it can be quite the opposite. They are sometimes enduring the most incredible hardships and pain, and often doing so alone.

    Thank you for all the time and energy you have put into your posts, so many have touched my heart. I am thankful to Allah (swt) that He has given you the ability to impact the lives of so many in a beneficial way. May He reward you and your family immensely. Ameen.

    Thank you for ending this post with such insightful and solid advice, mashaAllah:

    “Guard your spirit from harm but be open to love. Choose compassion again and again, even when the world makes it hard. Be patient with your family and friends. Don’t hold your love back: you only go through this world once, so let your love shine like the sun.”

    Look forward to your continued words of wisdom, inshaAllah.

    Rebecca

  5. RJ says:

    Salam.
    I emphatized. It must be hard to please everyone. At the end of the day, no matter who, even person closest to us, we should respect others’ right to their own personal privacy. Stay strong. It’s a form of mercy in having self respect.

  6. Reader says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Brother Wael, I command you for setting boundaries in order to protect not only yourself but also your family. I am speaking from experience. Your work is exposed to people from different walks of life, experiences, and with different personalities. Call them naive or bold, some people will ask from you more than you can give, as a helping brother. The only solution is what you did in this post: be BOLD and let them understand.

    Moving along. I am one of the readers that appreciate your words of wisdom. I must add, I do not like poetry at all, it is too hard to understand. Got sick of Al Mutanabi in high school! Because I find your words of wisdom very helpful in my life, I will ask Allah (SWT) to help you succeed in your business and personal projects. May Allah keep you in the right path. And, may He help you raise up your daughter right.

    Akhi, kathara Allahu min amthalika wa baraka Allahu laka wali amthalika.

    Cheer up brother and keep up the good work,

    Reader

  7. Wael says:

    Reader, jazak Allah khayr for your comments. I know what you mean about poetry. Sometimes it seems obscure and difficult to understand, as if the poet wants to set a puzzle for us to solve, or as if we’re supposed to try and read his mind.

    How about my poetry, eh? I’m going to publish one in a minute. See what you think.

  8. Amy says:

    “Sometimes it seems obscure and difficult to understand, as if the poet wants to set a puzzle for us to solve, or as if we’re supposed to try and read his mind.”

    Shucks! Call me a literary masochist, but those are my favorite kind! I’m always a sucker for a hearty challenge.

  9. EMG says:

    Wael, your a great inspirational writer. Not everyone is capable of understanding things that seem to be simple (i.e. you being a busy person and father). Blessings to you and keep up the work, your writing and thoughts are truly appreciated.

  10. friend says:

    ok now this is the third time iam writing this and keep forgetting to do the maths below!

    this shows that i really wanted to say this!

    Dear Brother wael,

    my dua for you

    May Allah make ease in every difficulty you face.
    May Allah help you walk the path of truth and help others along side.
    May Allah help you raise your ‘mini me’ in a way that He intended for any girl…. a source of happiness, a source of coolness of eyes, a source of pride, a source of paradise.
    May Allah send people your way who bring ease in your stuggles.
    May Allah make you a source of khair for this world.
    and May you recieve your book of deeds in your right hand on the day of judgement.

    thank you for sharing a facet of your life with us , i benefitted from it a lot.

    Jazakallah khair.

  11. edris erasmo abdurahim says:

    Peace,mercy and blessing of Allah the Almighty be with you bro.Wael,i was looking for any best advices in any website and i found yours,i am so pleased to copy paste all those very moving advices,i heartily thank you for those beautiful advices that you shared,may Allah ta’ala will increase your knowledge…so those who are like me are able to learn more from you… JazakAllahu khairan…

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