A Lifelong Struggle A Memoir by

When I first joined law school, we had a small seminar with the director who asked us various questions. One of them turned out to deal with the existence of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

I found that quite bizarre, because this was a law school that I got myself enrolled into, not a school of theology or philosophy. He especially asked me these questions, but that part didn’t really come as a surprise since I was the only Hijabi there. I didn’t mind at all and when he asked, “What would you do if someone tells you that God doesn’t exist?”,  I quickly replied, “I wouldn’t do anything, I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion, sir.”

First year came with all these struggles. I remember my Public Law Professor talking about the Taliban and then all of a sudden, he asked me, “Are you a Talibani?” (once again, just because I was the only hijabi in the class) and I just told him, “Sir I’m not one, but you sure do look like one”. He was shocked at my reply, at which he said, “You are probably saying that because of my beard – Well, the beard is a sign of protest for a free judiciary”. However, the next day, he had no beard.

Subhan’Allah, all of these things are just tiny struggles of everyday life. It’s just that this religion isn’t a sport or a hobby; it’s a full time commitment. It’s our submission to our Lord. It’s leaving what we desire for what He desires. It’s a lifelong test and it demands sacrifices, compromises, devotion and commitment.

We have to ask ourselves if we are truly committed. Our friends or the society that we live in may not think the way we do – they may not endorse our religious beliefs even if they are Muslims, they may not even wear a hijab or keep a Sunnah style beard, they may have pre-marital affairs, they may even smoke or take drugs, they may drink, go to clubs, take interest, etc. But all of that shouldn’t depress us, demotivate or make us feel that what we are doing is wrong.

Al-Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reported from ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

“Islam began as something strange, and it will return to being strange as it began. So, glad tidings for the strangers.” He was asked: “Messenger of Allah, who are the strangers?” He replied: “Those who are outcasts from their tribes.” And this was narrated by Abu Bakr al-Ajuri with the wording: “Those who are righteous when the people are corrupt.” And others narrated this, and he also has the wording: “Those who flee for the sake of their religion from trials and tribulations.”

The majority of people walking on the road to perdition shouldn’t make us feel that we are the ones who are wrong in our beliefs, with our struggles. There is an Arab Proverb that states, “Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it”. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says,”

And the worldly life is nothing but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah. Will you not then understand? [Surat al-’An`am, 6:32]

Malcolm X once said: “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything”. If our religious beliefs teach us to tolerate, to love for others what we love for ourselves, to work towards peace and harmony, to uphold the ties of kinship, and to forgive, then our religious beliefs are the best ones to adopt. We should never be ashamed of committing to our religion, or practicing it in the true sense.

To counter all of these questions and struggles that we face on a daily basis, it is imperative that we:

  • Strive towards knowing our Rabb, our Creator, and our Sustainer.
  • Seek knowledge so that we are better informed and educated in our Da’wah and discussions.
  • Seek Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) help with Salah and Sabr, as He Himself instructs us to in Surah Baqarah, Ayah 153: “O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.”
  • Look for the right kind of people whom we can hang out with.
  • Remember Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) day and night so that we can protect ourselves from the evil of the world we live in.

We have to realize that if our decision is in consonance with the Quran and Sunnah, then it is the best one. We have to create a new environment around us of peace, love and tolerance. We have to become the Ummah of Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam), and I pray that we become successful in doing so. Ameen.


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  • shiney3

    I LOVE your post. It was funny and i love all the ayahs and quotes you used=)

  • http://www.NahyanInc.com/ Nahyan

    Great start to the article.
    I especially liked the hadith/ayah/athar references. mashaAllah.

  • SisterInIslam

    Very Well Said!!

  • http://JawaadAhmadKhan.com/ Jawaad Ahmad Khan

    Definitely true. Being seen as different is a compliment, at least, for us. :)

  • http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/ Maryam

    JazakAllah, i usually get most of my quotes from this site : http://www.igotitcovered.org

  • http://www.theinfiniteroad.wordpress.com fragileemptiness

    Assalam Alaikum Maryam,

    This is an interesting experience. I take from your other posts that you are in Lahore, Pakistan?

    I am wondering why were you asked this question in Law school by a professor? What would have happened if you had given your opinion as a Muslim i.e. deniers of existence of God are wrong? Do you think giving a direct response would have negative repercussions on your admission? Was the professor who asked you this question an atheist?

    I am just curious.

    Walaikum Assalam.

    P.S. I was not aware that things would be such “open” in Pakistan.

    • http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/ Maryam

      walykum asalaam wa rahmatullah,
      yes im from Lahore :)

      you know, that was the first time someone actually asked me about God’s existence, it was a huge shock, but then i think that it was cool that he asked me, becasue if he hadnt, i would have never opened the Quran, and read it with commitment and devotion. I guess this is what they mean when they say that ‘everything is good for a believer’ hannah

      i dindt know how to counter that, it was a shocker. i almost turned atheist and then i used to question my parents all sorts of things. then my dad got me a 6 volume Quran with tafseer by Maulana Maududi( which im currenty reading alhamdulilah)

      Things in Pakistan arnt so sweet. i think some people want to deviate you from the straight path on purpose. its like what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has said in surah an Nas- the evil whisperer is amongst the jinn and the men. subhanAllah

      I actually write about atheism on my blog sometimes, but im going to make a separate one for that inshaAllah.

      I dunno about my admissions affect etc but i have one thing in mind, when i garduate, ill give that prof a quran and thank him for saving me from my jahilliya life :)

      • http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/ Maryam

        *inshaAllah

      • http://www.theinfiniteroad.wordpress.com fragileemptiness

        Assalam Alaikum,

        Thank you for sharing those experiences in detail.

        Maybe it is just my personal thing but if I was in your place, I’d surely give that professor a Quran but I doubt I’ll be thankful to him just because I was able to question certain beliefs I had due to his influence. I’d rather be thankful to Allah (swt) for making this man the source of my guidance. But that is just me.

        Nice, so you are from Lahore. I had the chance to visit Lahore last summer for some days. I’d recommend any contemplative and philosophical person to visit Lahore to observe humanity and to find meanings of his/her life. To make the experience more interesting and influential, I stayed somewhere in Icchra to get to observe millions of mortals who live above poverty line yet are not highly educated. It was a humbling experience to see how they balance their lives between Islam and their humanly characteristics. Allhamdulillah.

        You might find this website interesting for reading up on various philosophical and metaphysical arguments regarding God’s existence, good and evil, and morality. It’s run by Br. Hamza Tzortzis.

        http://hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com/

        Walaikum Assalam.

        P.S. Are you a lawyer now? Or finishing up your LLB?

        • http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/ Maryam

          Let me reiterate this: ” I’d rather be thankful to Allah (swt) for making this man the source of my guidance. ” – i agree a 110% its from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala- He brought me out of darkness towards light subhanAllah.

          jazakAllah huge for your kind words. i checked out the blog and i feel like its made for me subhanAllah- so you see in a way Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose you for this job- i wouldve never known about Br. Hamza Tzortzis otherwise :)

          Yes Pakistan is a cool country- i love the poor here, they are such cool people- i have loads of experience with them as i work with them on a regular basis alhamdulilah [ http://www.gwhi.org ]

          perhaps ill share some on my blog or here inshaAllah.
          Im almost a lawyer alhamdulilah

          JazakAllah.
          walykum asalaam wa rahmatullah

  • http://www.momo17.wordpress.com/ Maryam

    walykum asalaam wa rahmatullah,
    yes im from Lahore :)

    you know, that was the first time someone actually asked me about God's existence, it was a huge shock, but then i think that it was cool that he asked me, becasue if he hadnt, i would have never opened the Quran, and read it with commitment and devotion. I guess this is what they mean when they say that 'everything is good for a believer' hannah

    i dindt know how to counter that, it was a shocker. i almost turned atheist and then i used to question my parents all sorts of things. then my dad got me a 6 volume Quran with tafseer by Maulana Maududi( which im currenty reading alhamdulilah)

    Things in Pakistan arnt so sweet. i think some people want to deviate you from the straight path on purpose. its like what Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has said in surah an Nas- the evil whisperer is amongst the jinn and the men. subhanAllah

    I actually write about atheism on my blog sometimes, but im going to make a separate one for that inshaAllah.

    I dunno about my admissions affect etc but i have one thing in mind, when i garduate, ill give that prof a quran and thank him for saving me from my jahilliya life :)

  • http://www.momo17.wordpress.com/ Maryam

    *inshaAllah

  • http://www.theinfiniteroad.wordpress.com fragileemptiness

    Assalam Alaikum,

    Thank you for sharing those experiences in detail.

    Maybe it is just my personal thing but if I was in your place, I'd surely give that professor a Quran but I doubt I'll be thankful to him just because I was able to question certain beliefs I had due to his influence. I'd rather be thankful to Allah (swt) for making this man the source of my guidance. But that is just me.

    Nice, so you are from Lahore. I had the chance to visit Lahore last summer for some days. I'd recommend any contemplative and philosophical person to visit Lahore to observe humanity and to find meanings of his/her life. To make the experience more interesting and influential, I stayed somewhere in Icchra to get to observe millions of mortals who live above poverty line yet are not highly educated. It was a humbling experience to see how they balance their lives between Islam and their humanly characteristics. Allhamdulillah.

    You might find this website interesting for reading up on various philosophical and metaphysical arguments regarding God's existence, good and evil, and morality. It's run by Br. Hamza Tzortzis.

    http://hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com/

    Walaikum Assalam.

    P.S. Are you a lawyer now? Or finishing up your LLB?

  • http://www.momo17.wordpress.com/ Maryam

    Let me reiterate this: ” I'd rather be thankful to Allah (swt) for making this man the source of my guidance. ” – i agree a 110% its from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala- He brought me out of darkness towards light subhanAllah.

    jazakAllah huge for your kind words. i checked out the blog and i feel like its made for me subhanAllah- so you see in a way Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala chose you for this job- i wouldve never known about Br. Hamza Tzortzis otherwise :)

    Yes Pakistan is a cool country- i love the poor here, they are such cool people- i have loads of experience with them as i work with them on a regular basis alhamdulilah [ http://www.gwhi.org ]

    perhaps ill share some on my blog or here inshaAllah.
    Im almost a lawyer alhamdulilah

    JazakAllah.
    walykum asalaam wa rahmatullah

  • shiney3

    I LOVE your post. It was funny and i love all the ayahs and quotes you used=)

  • http://www.NahyanInc.com/ Nahyan

    Great start to the article. I especially liked the hadith/ayah/athar references. mashaAllah.

  • SisterInIslam

    Very Well Said!!

  • http://JawaadAhmadKhan.com/ Jawaad Ahmad Khan

    Definitely true. Being seen as different is a compliment, at least, for us. :)

  • http://www.momo17.wordpress.com/ Maryam

    JazakAllah, i usually get most of my quotes from this site : <a href="http://www.igotitcovered.org” target=”_blank”>www.igotitcovered.org

  • http://www.theinfiniteroad.wordpress.com fragileemptiness

    Assalam Alaikum Maryam, This is an interesting experience. I take from your other posts that you are in Lahore, Pakistan? I am wondering why were you asked this question in Law school by a professor? What would have happened if you had given your opinion as a Muslim i.e. deniers of existence of God are wrong? Do you think giving a direct response would have negative repercussions on your admission? Was the professor who asked you this question an atheist? I am just curious. Walaikum Assalam. P.S. I was not aware that things would be such “open” in Pakistan.

  • http://www.azizooooo.blogspot.com Aziza

    MashAllah I loved this. What a great reminder. May Allah bless you in this life and the next! <3

  • Tanzina R

    i agree with everything maryam said on her post…i may not be one to go through what she goes through but i know many people that do and its certainly not a good thing .