Some weeks the grind of work gets to me. It’s monotonous. I wake up, go to the office (sometimes just my kitchen table), and then seven hours later I’m scrambling to figure out dinner, squeeze in some writing time, and go to bed. Then, I hit repeat. The endless cycle can take its toll. When I hit a low point, I pull out my bag of tricks and find a little pick-me-up. At times the cure is a latte, or boba tea. Other times, it’s a new pair of shoes! And when I’m being smart and not spending all my money, I simply open up the Quran and search for inspiration from it’s lofty pages.
Reading various surahs I find strength and resolve to continue my week with renewed fervor. Here are a few of my favorite quotes that help get me through:
“He replied, ‘I complain of my anguish and sorrow only to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know.’ “ (12: 86)
Surah Yusuf, where this ayah is held, tells the story of Prophet Yusuf and the betrayal by his brothers, and the preservation of his faith. I love reading this surah because it reminds me that Allah tests those He loves. From Surah Yusuf we see how with each tribulation he faced, his devotion to Allah only grew stronger.
In my life, there are times when the difficulties seem to be non-stop. I am blessed to have a lot of people in my corner that I can go to when I’m frustrated or angry or depressed. I sometimes just pick up the phone and launch into a thirty minute vent session. Sometimes that does the trick, and I’m more calm afterwards. But sometimes I’m not.
This ayah reminds me that absolute solace and comfort comes only when we direct our “complaints” and grievances to Allah. He wants us to beg Him for mercy, and freedom from the harshness of this life. When I remember this ayah and get down on the floor in sujood to speak directly to Him, I instantly feel better. In that moment, I know that’s where I was supposed to be in the first place: searching for closeness to Him (SWT).
“But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring.” (87:16-17)
This ayah always gets me. It hits hard when I’m chasing something in pursuit of my career or image. You know, those things that reek of dunya? They are fleeting, and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because they won't matter in the next life. The losses or disappointments we encounter in this world are small in comparison to the pleasures of the hereafter. We are promised such pleasures if we remain steadfast and do good in this life.
In the age of covid, the reminders of death, and our short existence in this world, have been all too real. And still, there are days I find myself whining over dunya. This ayah, always gives me perspective and reminds me that I need to focus my attention on the real prize. Yes, the dunya successes will help me get from one day to the next, but it is the attention to akhirah that will help fortify my stamina to make it from year to year, and decade to decade. Inshallah.
“And We created you in pairs.” (78:8)
I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that some of the downer parts of my week have to do with my singleness. When it’s a slow week of swiping on Salams, I have to remind myself not to give up. Verse 8 of Surah An-Naba serves as the perfect ailment.
This ayah is probably my favorite ayah of all time. Ever since I was little, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of soulmates. Do they exist? Do they not exist? Does Islam support such an idea or is that all hokey pokey from Disney? Well, for me, this ayah served as some tiny evidence that maybe Allah does create soulmates. And if He does, maybe, just maybe mine is out there, somewhere trying to find me. The pairs mentioned in Surah An-Naba, are ambiguous. It’s possible that our soulmate is just our close friend or family member. It’s possible that it’s got nothing to do with romantic involvement. But I choose to believe that Allah has created someone for everyone. And while it’s possible everyone may not find their match in this life, they will be with them in the next life, God willing.
I hope those were good reminders to serve as your pick-me-ups. May your week be blessed!
Writer: Nailah Dean