Earlier today I attended a sisters only session by one of my favourite speakers, Ustadha Rayhaanah Omar on Empowering Tools for Stress Management. It was an hour-long session but despite the short time, she had shared a lot of very good points, I felt compelled to share it here with everyone. And here are some of the points which I had managed to write down. Hope it will be as beneficial to everyone of you, as much as it was to me. Happy reading!
Sister Rayhaanah started the session with a guided imagery and visualisation exercise. Although I won't go into the details of the exercise here (I mean seriously, how will you be able to read my writing if I asked you to close your eyes, right?) but she did share on how powerful are the Quranic verses and how clear they are in terms of their description of the plants, animals, our organs, the people of the past and what is to happen in the future. Some verses are so full of details that you can actually imagine with clarity what the Quran is conveying to you. Among the surah in the Quran which we can refer to is Surah Ar-Rahman.
She also shared a dua'a:
للّهُـمَّ أَنْـتَ السَّلامُ ، وَمِـنْكَ السَّلام ، تَبارَكْتَ يا ذا الجَـلالِ وَالإِكْـرام
"O Allah, You are As-Salam and from You is all peace, blessed are You, O Possessor of majesty and honour."
(As-Salam means The One Who is free from all defects and deficiencies.)
Remind yourself, "Allah is enough." And ask yourself, "Am I achieving the pleasure of Allah?" In life, we have choices to make. We have to take risks and we fear losing. There are similarities between risk and rizq. Rizq comes in many different forms, and not merely in financial gains.
Ask from The One whose treasures never end. Abu Hurairah r.a. narrated that the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. said that: "A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don't say: "If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: "Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your "if" opens the (gate) for Satan."
Sister Rayhaanah also shared 5 dua'a life hacks that we can use in our daily lives:
1. Begin every task with the name of Allah by saying,
"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful."
2. Sometimes you need to choose between 2 things, say,
"O Allah, destine good for me and choose for me."
3. When overwhelmed, make this dua'a,
رَبِّ اِنِّىْ مَغْلُوْبٌ فَانْتَصِرْ
"O' Allah, I am overwhelmed, so help me."
4. Ask for goodness and when something good happens, don't stop from making dua'a. Keep on asking,
رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ
"My Rabb, surely I am in need of any good that you have given to me."
5. If you want to get rid of a problem in your life, pray two rakaahs and during sujood, supplicate with the dua'a which was recited by Prophet Jonah (or Yunus) and then make the dua'a for Allah to give you a way out to your problem.
لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
How do we deal with stress? Two ways: (1) by making dua'a, and (2) by praying and asking Allah of what you need. Keep on asking and don't stop. Recite this dua'a:
اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أَرْجُو فَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَا أَنْتَ
"O' Allah, it is Your mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye, and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You."
When we're stressed, if we are not careful, we can lose our faith. Therefore, we should always reflect back on the concept of tawhid in Islam and affirm our belief in Allah. These dua's are affirmations of the oneness of Allah. When faced with difficulty, know that Allah is with you.
How can dua'a change from a mindset of stress to calmness?
First, know that it's okay to feel emotions. Emotions are from Allah. However, whether you choose to be enslaved to those emotions, then that is your choice to either be empowered or disempowered by the emotions.
Secondly, when going through stress, your imaan is the one that suffers. That's why when stressed, people would say, "My imaan is at a low." The heart is such that it flips. Check back with ourselves, are we neglecting our faith? Are we distancing ourself from the Almighty?
So what should we do?
Examine our relationship with Allah. In Surah Taha, it is mentioned that, "And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind." (20: 124). When we are stressed and overwhelmed, and we are not feeling joy in what we do, reflect in our relationship with Allah. Ask ourself, "What is the state of my solat/ Quran/ fasting/ charity etc?"
As the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. states, "Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/ happiness befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him."
Allah purifies you when you feel stressed, pain, overwhelmed or when any sorrow befalls you, as mentioned in this hadith, "No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that."
To conclude, know that we are bound to be tested. We are made to be stretched out of our comfort zone. As difficult as it is, we all do at some point in our life. And realise that everyone is experiencing a test differently than we do. Even Maryam, the mother of Isa, lamented on the test that she was facing as mentioned in the Quran in Surah Maryam, "... She said, "Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten." (19: 23)
In times of difficulty, things may not be as they seem, such as the tests which were faced by Prophet Ibrahim and the fire, Prophet Yunus and the whale, Prophet Musa's mother after his birth, Aisyah and the slander and Prophet Yusuf thrown into a well, left to die. Strive for that will benefit you, and seek the help of Allah. Remember that when you breath in, your breath is from Allah and when you breath out, your breath returns to Allah, as is your life in this dunya.
On this note, I'd like to share two reminders which I've set as the home screen and lock screen on my phone:
I'll put them up in my Facebook page so that you can download and use them if you like.
So those were the points that I've gained from the talk and if I've made any mistakes, do let me know by commenting below this post and I'll make changes where necessary. Thank you to the organisers for making the talk possible and thank you to Sister Rayhaanah for sharing all the gems with us today. All praise be to Allah for making everything possible.
And for those who would like to know more on Ustadha Rayhaanah's work, do visit her website [here].
xoxo Mrs Fashionista