This World Is Designed To Break Your Heart: A Life Testimony

A friend shared to me a glimpse of her difficulties in life. Not over a year ago, in a place where both Asia and Europe were affiliated, she is destined to pursue her dreams. She came from a small migrant town, south of the Philippines, where minerals which serve as the source of the people’s livelihood are so abundant.

Living in a foreign country never before might be as compelling as it sounds to some international students but for her it was not. Yes, she used to think that way. She was too accustomed to the real comfort of the province and when she got out of her comfort zone, aside from the foreseen cultureshock brought by the country she is in, it is the adjustment’s lengthy process that gave her a series of hard times. Who would not? She was too used to living in this certain place where only the calm and sweet sound of the nature are heard and she was suddenly moved to a beyond just metro-politan place by the time.

She explored some beautiful places of Istanbul with an unhealthy mind trying to console herself from the extreme yearning for home. The places were undeniably breathtakingly beautiful, attractive, and every spot of it is an instagram-worthy. Still she couldn’t find her fascination in everything that the more she tries to look at them, the more homesickness clutches at her heart. It too conquered her inner-being that even taking pictures of these stuffs bores her. She lost herself in the sea of strangers.

Winter season was just around the corner then. Even if it just has been less than a year ago since she started her journey away from her family, she could say it is her least-favorite time of the year because everything dies and goes to sleep and the sky turns dark for so long. She really longed to see the assorted colors of flowers, the way sun how it rises and sets in the east and west, respectively. Despite that, a small part of her still appreciates the chill in the air that the said season provides.

Months were majoritively spent on wondering and self-pitying. Every tears dropped in the surge of emotions. For this reason, she became a dormitory-bound person accompanied by her notes and pens writing and freeing her heart out and was no longer into travels. That was the least she could do next to talking to the All-Powerful One, Allah (S.W.T). “When you are in a place you have never been to before, thousands of miles away from your family, you only have your faith with you.”

She was close to thinking of giving up and was always looking back evaluating the probabilities that may occur in the past— it could have been better if she just stayed to where she used to be, it could have been better if she just continued what she already started, and it could have been better if she didn’t choose the other way around. That kind of thoughts.

This friend also mentioned her struggles with her generation. Some of these are not being able to hold herself from envying those people her age who are already halfway to their dreams and the fear of the possibility of falling under the shadow of her siblings. For she is to live in this country for estimatedly six years, the language course suddenly costed her one year of her life which extremely alarmed her because that would definitely be a long run in total. She felt like she has to run after and chase the time.

The cycle went on for 7 months. She always felt isolated and sad. She felt like things were not falling into places. Seizing for the real happiness— as a foreign student, she also tried to find the solution from the small amount of her bank account, tried to buy her own groceries, treated herself for a few new clothes in a hope of her swollen heart be able to be diverted into something that it had been longing to feel. Yet the feeling of emptiness and unfulfillness remained.

Another thing in the list, is the issue of her being an introvert. Because of being one, she almost lost some of her friends. Somebody tried to introvert-shame her and that gave her anxieties big time. That made her feel like she is less of a person. That again tested her patience. Still she managed to handle everything because she believes a person with class doesn’t have to shout when she defends herself. With that, she reflected things and thought of her shortcomings.

But you know what? What I realized as this friend sharing to me those stuffs, it is because she too much embraced the Dunya, in which it has been designed to break a heart that she unintentionally forgot to acknowledge the sixth in the Articles of Faith. Preordainment (Qadr), it is the God’s eternally preexistent knowledge and that nothing in existence lies outside of His devine control. Worry nothing because everything is under His control. With her mind’s youthfulness, she wanted things only for herself and she just wanted to be applauded, in which Allah should be the foundation in everything we people do.

She wanted to have something instantly when it was given that there’s no shortcut to success. Allah’s verse “You will not get righteousness until you spend what you love.” was indeed true enough because if she had just read the history of the prophets how they sacrificed their lives just to preserve the ummah and so as their successors’ and even those who own McDonald’s and Microsoft, her struggles now are nothing compared to those.

She didn’t realize that thousands of years ago, someone shouldered almost all the pains for her when he was on his deathbed. The Prophet Muhammad Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him. She didn’t realize that there’s this Hadith: “If Allah loves a servant, He tests him.” And not discerning the fact that Allah (SWT) actually made her an introvert because maybe in times like this she could write for Him. She found a home in writing that it became her outlet to pen things down to inspire her fellow young minds and those people who are having a hard times similar to hers.

Nine months have passed while fighting against her fears, she learned the value of communication, listening and forgiving. She is currently doing it, and yes she so far is doing well. And she learned that to succeed, one should allow room for failure. True enough because “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear“. Being tested actually means that Allah loves her. Being in a place where she has to run long is actually going to make worth her while. Being an introvert is not a curse but actually a blessing.

Furthermore, with the heartaches brought by the world to her, she is now learning not to fall for it. There is something more than this worldly life—His Heaven or should I say His Heavens. What she needs to do now is to remain grateful and let Allah do the rest. I know this friend can overcome these difficulties even more with her faith to Allah. I know what she went and will be going through will make her grow more as a person, as a servant. I know because I am her and she is me.

An artist once said: “May be there are some things in your life you’re in a rush to get to or to have. It may hurt now to wait, but it will always be more than you ever dreamed of if you remain patient. Don’t lose hope.”

“But perhaps you may hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not.” —Al-Baqarah [2:216]

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Ama: Has Been And Always Be An Educator

Growing up, I witnessed how my parents worked hand in hand to provide me and my siblings the best education we deserve. Coming into a nonsecular school at a very young age took me a series of deep breaths and crying moments. I always wanted to be accompanied by Ama for I was afraid of isolation and of the possibility of me being hammered by my introvertedness. I was and have been not good at making friends.

Ama, by the way, is an ethnic term for father used by the ethnic group of people specifically those Maguindanaons living in the south of the Philippines. Apparently, I am one.

I always loved the thought of seeing myself sitting in a row as one of his students listening as he imparts his knowledge not just to me but to the whole class. But time just doesn’t permit. He was too busy on our family business to even pursue teaching. Nevertheless, despite how busy he was, he would always find time to further explain things whenever our teachers unpurposely make some lapses which left us confused in the aftermath of our lessons.

Here comes fifth grade, I became more devoted with my nonsecular studies. I only wished that I become at least half a person that he is, and Ina ofcourse. In the same year, it was the cinderella run of our business. Probably the reason why Ama had to work even harder. I fully understand the reason why my simple wish couldn’t be granted as how I wanted it to be. I am glad that the family business reached that particular level in a halaal way.

I reached thanawee (senior high school) and his body started to feel strange. We didn’t bring him to the hospital as how he wished thinking that it was just some sort of body pain which could easily be healed for the next few days. Days passed, he started vomiting every after his meal in the surge of appetite loss and pains.

A couple of weeks after, we learned the exact status of his health. We actually had a hint but let me tell you this, when you learned that one of your family members is in a serious health condition, I swear you would not believe at first and you just try to convince yourself that the doctor just made a wrong diagnosis.

I too much embraced the easy-peasy life brought by the present that I forgot to acknowledge the possibilities that may occur along the way. Indeed, adulting hit me real hard. It was like a train making me realize how a person must think beyond his/her years considering those unexpected occurrences. In just a blink, I became responsible with— well I cannot say in everything, but in some other ways. As much as possible I do not ask for something that is not that necessary.

He never missed my school’s Recognition Day because he always wanted to be the one to pin my ribbons and medals. One dawn a year ago while cramming for my early morning exam and was having a hard time in one of my subjects, Uluwmul Qur’an, I wanted to release a good cry. I cried like a wounded cat. The image of ina and him comforting me at the terrace is still so vivid to me.

I was able to finish thanawee and along with that was also my graduation in my secular education. The fact that he wasn’t able to attend my graduation because he was a bedridden broke my heart. What made it more painful on my part as a daughter was the thought of him being absent because I wasn’t used to not seeing him in that kind of event.

Days passed, weeks turned to months–and even years. I was learning something new everyday. I learned that one sholud not only excel in academics but also in the challenges of life. Afterall, the real battle is not inside the classroom. It is how we apply those what we have learned outside–and that’s what I have been working now. I am grateful that my parents made me exposed to the realization of how important the education is.

Just like one of the (Philippine) Presidential daughters said, how could I forget how my father sounded like a broken record playing in the background of my childhood when he repeatedly said: “education is everything.” Thousands of miles away from my family to continue my education overseas and I am still holding on to that statement. The family business might not as noteworthy as how it was before but what matters now is to continue searching for better, studying hard, and ofcourse to keep attached to Him.

Now that Ama is back to teaching and molding young minds while still maintaining his medications, I couldn’t help but to wonder how it would be like if I just stayed and be able to attend his classes. But I am not complaining. As cliché as it may sound but I believe there’s a great reason behind everything. Seeing him practicing the profession he used to do is a relief for me. I am happy that he is doing the thing that once gave him comfort for the past two decades. The life we share now doesn’t need to be perfect as no one has. It is simple, serene, and filled with content. Alhamdulillaaahil ladhee bini’matihi tatimus saalihaat.

Having Ramadhaan Overseas As A Foreign Student

I thought of making an appreciation piece for Ramadhaan just this week and Alhamdulillaah I am finally doing it. I am actually running out of words due to the overwhelming feeling it left to me. Having it in a foreign country indeed is beyond description. Spending Ramadhaan away from my family for the first time ever had me anxious prior to its first day plus the fact that you are not used to the 17 fasting hours that the country has probably makes you wonder how on earth would you be able to survive it when the 13 fasting hours in the Philippines almost leads you to the end of your rope. Okay I am already exaggerating— but believe me as I was doing it here in Turkey the feeling was the exact opposite of what I expected. Aside from the usual slash familiar serene ambiance brought by Ramadhaan in common , it served as an instrument for me and unknown beautiful people to come across one another.

It started when this seemed to be around 50 year old couple I and my friends have ridden with on the metro train station came to us and gave us some alms even without us knowing each other. We hesitated to accept it out of the surprising feeling but as the woman showed us her sincerest smile with the follow up of her husband’s, Ma Shaa Allah. May Allah bless them.

The only thing that made me lonesome that moment was when I noticed the husband’s arm condition, I swear I immediately felt like I have to include him in my prayer though I always do for general. Alhamdulillaah aside from my family and friends, Allah has introduced to me new names I can specifically mention in my last sujood.

In the latter part, they gave us their phone number and invited us for iftar whenever we would have our free time. Since then, we started marking them as our ‘Baba metro’ and ‘Anne metro’. You can see it saved in my contacts. I and my friends always do that for sometimes we couldn’t tell people apart, those whom we count as our babas coming from a league of lawyers for instance.

We went to their house and it was so heartwarming how these people managed to treat us beyond just visitors. The talks and laughs were surreal. That didn’t end there, the couple’s daughter with the company of her father went to our dormitory the following day to give us something wrapped up into a white paper, which accordingly came from their friends who came up with an operation of giving benefaction to foreigners specifically those students. We thanked them with the best way we know.

Our called baba Avukat who came to our dormitory just to give us Qur’an with a monetary support enclosed there. I am not that sure if they call it some kind of an alm or ‘hediye’ as how they call gift here in their language. Whatever it was, I am praying for him to be always in a well state and may Allah shower him more blessings.

The Book, probably is and has been the greatest gift I have ever received because the time I didn’t have yet, I was having a hard time borrowing one from my dormmates and I felt like I was being a burden to them— don’t get me wrong they are absolutely so nice but my conscience had been trying to take its way. Alhamdulillaah.

A friend from Turkmenistan whom I wasn’t able to see for 7 months found a way to contact me. Her name is Nadiye. We actually met in Med School during my attempt to study medicine, but two weeks after I decided to take my Turkish language class first for a less hassle social life, besides teachers give more credit to Turkish so I really have to. I will definitely come back after I finish it inn shaa Allah.

Anyway going back, my homesickness was at its peak and I really longed for my family. After our laboratory class, I was at the bus stop and she saw me crying there. She offered me handkerchief and did stuffs to comfort me. I felt good at that. Since that day we weren’t able to talk again until the day she messaged me on watts app and invited me for iftar.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to be with me due to an important matter so her friend who is currently in her third year in Med School accompanied me. I really had fun with her friend’s relatives and we exchanged words that made the atmosphere just light. In the middle of the conversation, the friend handed me something put into a small white envelop which reportedly came from Nadiye. Unconsciously, I was uttering Alhamdulillaaah for the nth time around. Çok şükür.

When I was bidding my goodbye to everyone, an old woman who happened to be the mother of Nadiye’s friend just got home and we were introduced to each other, we did the Turkish way hug. She handed me something it was too dark I wasn’t able to check what it was. I thanked her so much. She named me out of those Turkish girl names for her to easily remember me. It was “Gülsüm”. She asked for my number and saved it with that name. They (with her husband) even drived me back to my dormitory. On our way, they asked me how my stay was going and some stuffs, I am glad I got to apply what I have learnt from my B1 language lesson. Alhamdulillaah.

They asked me which Surah I was currently in. I shyly replied ‘Yusuf süresindeyim, Anne’ for I know it is a shame to be not even in the half of the Qur’an, though almost there. I am thankful they were so appreciative. Talking with them gave me this relieving feeling I could not put into words. I didn’t know but for some reason, I could smell Ramadhaan’s scent. I know it’s weird but I did.

As soon as we arrived at the frontside of my dormitory, the friend’s mother asked about my family. I shared a glimpse of it. We got out of the car and she said she is just a click away whenever I need something. I am really starting to think that this country contains of ‘selfless people’ only. Hafizahumullaah. Again we hugged while exchanging our greetings, she kissed me on my cheeks and my forehead.

I rushed to enter the dormitory for I was going late, as I got inside I saw one of our landladies smiling at me as she was waiting for me to sign for the usual night last entrance signing session. I checked the time and there were still 10 minutes left. She even asked me how was my iftar there with my friend. I gave her the satisfying face the best way possible.

As I went upstairs where my room is, I saw something placed on my bed similar with Nadiye’s. Little did I know, our dormitory manager actually sent a financial assistance to the Moro dormmers for the said Holy month. I ended up speechless, literally. I silently prayed.

I might sound bias, but Turkish people— well if not the kindest, definitely one of those ones that are striving to make the world peace possible in accordance with Islamic perspectives. Very kind that those oldies I just randomly bumped with at the street, handed me something I don’t know what was for. Those vendors at edge of the street suddenly give the best they can afford to give out of nowhere. You would refuse but that’s their way of making themselves satisfied and happy. It was almost a straight week of having my iftar outside due to the continues invitations. As part of being so grateful, I did the same thing to these certain individuals on the narrow portion of the bus stop roaming around and nothing to eat. I am glad I can help even at the very least I can.

Indeed, Allah’s divine bestowals come in no time. You might be currently experiencing or going through a hard time in relation to your family, your friends and other social factors you are in. Believe me— I, too, have been in the same situation as yours. Let me tell you the solution for these, PRAY. Don’t ever doubt Allah’s ability to get you out from that situation. You deserve to be happy regardless of whatever the time, month, or even year it is. Trust the process. We all go through that. I hope you also had a great Ramadhaan. Taqabbalnaa minna wa minkum.

Hospitality At Its Finest

“…And have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another..” –Al-Qur’an | 49:13

Earlier this week, my Turkish roommates were out for a trip and I was left alone in our room so I decided to get my language course pack and review my lesson we just tackled from last week. Our Abla (as how people call those female oldies here for a respect in general) entered the room for her cleaning session. We then exchanged our greetings and I said “kolay gelsin” (it’s a culture here when you want someone to take easily what she’s doing). I went back to my lesson and consciously started forming sentences in my mind as to how their language sequence should be. She noticed I was having some trouble understanding the topic so she stopped for a while from what she was doing and had a look on my book then helped me out in making some.

I like it when my dormmates help me in things I am not used to doing but whenever Abla comes to me for a help, there is something—a feeling in me I couldn’t really fathom. The way she manages to make me understand her and the brightness her face shows everytime we chat always gives me thoughts to ponder. One thing I know for sure is that the feeling of being ‘home’ is there. Alhamdulillaah.

I remember my second week here, she would always ask me how my stay was going, do I miss my family, and stuff like that. As much as how I wanted to share the longingness I was feeling for my family I just couldn’t because aside from the fact that I didn’t know how to say it in their language, I was scared I would break down in front of her and I didn’t want that to happen. Bringing the difficulty with me, I still managed to respond to her even at the very least of my knowledge on the said medium saying the other way around. But my eyes would say how unhappy I was. She would just hug me saying “seni seviyorum” (I love you) and Wallaah that made my heart flattered, big time.

As a foreign student living and studying here for about 7 months now, I must say she didn’t change. The hospitality she showed to me the first time I stepped on the kitchen where I first met her remains the same as how she treats me up until now. One thing I realized is showing your care to one another requires no language and you just smile letting your gestures convey what you both want to say (to each other).

Going back, she asked me again the same question. I am glad I can now respond which enough for her to understand. Alhamdulillaahi ‘alaa kulli haal. 💟

It Pays To Be Patient

I remember just 10 months ago, my mother sent me to one of the prestigious schools in our city. So I had myself enrolled to the university where she wanted me to pursue college with my heart full of doubts for I was aware of our family’s situation. The fees didn’t escape my mind. The said school is well-known for its expensiveness and it’s kinda alarming. My father’s currently going through a phase of sickness and has to attend his Mondays and Thursdays dialysis sessions. Brother has been sent to a private Qur’an Institution which requires also to pay much.

Elder sister may already be a licensed professional teacher but that didn’t make our lives away from hassleness as it is everyone’s common knowlege that this profession doesn’t gurantee a financial security. This academic year has been leading to a free tuition fee to all public states, colleges, and universities—yet mom still insisted to take me to a private one. I wanted to think that she was just returning the favor for the hardwork I did in high school.

Knowing that she loves me so much is one thing , but the idea of sending me to an expensive university is another. It had me some sort of guilty, indeed. Good thing I only had to pay for my miscellenous fee in response to my valedictory award. Almost one fifth of the regular fee for my chosen course. Each day, I always pray to Allah to ease what my father’s going through, and for my mother to lessen the hardship she’s been experiencing just for us to be in a well state. “Laa ilaaha illaa anta subhaanaka inni kuntu minadhaalimeen.”

My first two months in college went well, and I’d been getting good grades which could make me to the dean’s list. A month later, there was a sudden contingency which turned my life into another episode without even finishing the current one. Alhamdulillaah, Alhamdulillaah! Dua’a came true. I was granted a wonderful gift from Allah to study overseas. My family were very supportive all the way.

I was reading the content of the acceptance letter and enclosed there was my department where I would be placed. Truly, I am flattered. I was actually only expecting for the very least I know but what came out was totally beyond my expectation. However, there was something in me I couldn’t really fathom. The decision making was not as easy as how I thought it is. Do I even deserve to be in that place? I mean this is too much. All praises to Allah (SWT).

It was a week of being in a state of dilemma. I was so torn between leaving and staying. My mind was completely filled with confusion, I couldn’t capture what really stops me from grabbing the opportunity—but one thing I know for sure is that I didn’t want to leave my father who’s fighting for his life. Indeed, “what-ifs” conquered my mind, metaphorically and literally.

Days passed, giving a decision was still my enemy. So I reached out to my mother and my tears just let me unbox the thoughts which I’d been keeping for a couple of days. She then let me speak and while the river still gushing through my face, I started spilling what those in my mind. She was well aware of what I was feeling even before I opened up to her. Truly, mother is mother. As her daughter, she knew how it feels. She even suggested me to perform ‘salaat al-istikharaah’.

She let me decide for my own for as she told me at the end of the day I would be the one who’s responsible for everything I would do. Yet, she had her one last sentence..

“Are you gonna just decline this thing just for your own will? Or you’ll accept it on behalf of the Bangsamoros? You choose. If you are worrying about your father, he is doing well. In shaa Allaah.”

And there I had it. She wasn’t forcing me. She just wanted me to realize that my homeland has been in need of its enough endeavors. More than forty years of the historical injustices. https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2018/11/bangsamoro-law-seen-to-heal-political-historical-wounds/

Her words were deep. For the nth time around, I asked myself after doing my Maghrib prayer and the same words my mother said played in my mind again.

“Am I gonna decline this just for my own will, or should I do the other way around for the Bangsamoro?

There, I stopped for a minute.. Maybe this will be the stepping stone for me to do things that are beyond what I used to experience.

As soon as I got onto the airplane, as cliché as it may sound but I cried so hard for I know it will take quite some time for me to be with my family again, plus the thought that I was exchanging messages with my father through SMS while the airplane was boarding which was added to the commotion around. I cried harder for that. I prayed because that was the least I could do to make it up to us. “Allahumma laa sahla Illaa maa ja’altahoo sahla wa anta taj’alul hujna in shi’ta sahla.”

Now, I am currently taking up my preparatory class for medschool and patiently adjusting for what this place could offer. It has been almost seven months ago since I left Philippines and the fact that I am here to serve my people later makes me real honored and humbled. This is for mom, dad—for my Bangsamoro. This is my version of Jihaad. Alhamdulillaahi ‘alaa kulli haal.

As this thing happened, I realized two things. Mom loves me so much that she desires to provide me a quality education even at the very least of her pocket. And Allah loves me enough that He paid off my patience and perseverance. Sharing this not to boast, but to inspire. Indeed Allah’s verse says it all:

“Be grateful, and I will give you more.” –Al-Qur’an | 14:7

P.S: Please keep posted and join me in this journey.