As Sofia sat in the car, she looked outside the window. She was young, vibrant and heading to school like she did every day. And if you saw her, you’d see a confident 13 year old ready to embrace the world. However, behind her smile she hid a fear; she hid a sense of shame, in fact she liked to hide her vulnerability, pretending she was so tough.
Now, how eventful is life for a young Muslim girl? I’m here to tell you it can be, because this girl was wearing a mask, hiding away from everyone, except her Creator. She could cry, she could turn to others for help, but their help was limited. Could they really save her from the pain? Could they really come and help her when she was all alone with them? Alone with whom you may ask? This only time shall tell…
Now don’t be fooled, she doesn’t always pray, neither does she wear the head scarf all the time, she’s just a Muslim girl who has no-one to turn to, so she turns to the One whom she can only find solace in. The same being Who created her, Who understands her, Who she can seek help from, hoping He will respond. As she seeks solace from Him she fails on a daily basis to follow His way, whilst constantly trying to find her way.
Deep down beyond her daily struggles she hopes one day she’ll be strong enough to stand up and be good, stand up to those who make her life a living hell, her bullies, internally and externally.
NOT AGAIN… YA ALLAH!
It was that time of the week again, and Sofia hated it. There was one room in the whole school that she dreaded and it was the P.E changing rooms. It had started from here, a year ago when she made a mistake of knocking Stacy to the ground by mistake whilst playing Basketball, but looking back 10 years in her early twenties, even that pain was worth it, as it made her who she is today alhamdulillah.
She stood there with her cousin, waiting for the teacher to open the doors. Opposite stood Stacy messing around with Habibah next to her. As she played around, she quite suddenly hit into Sofia, knocking her purposefully, giving her an evil glare, which gave the indication of further mischief. Sofia sighed, and sadness emerged in her stomach, but she didn’t show it. It was that feeling of utter fear, utter shame that someone could be so mean to you and you let them get away with it. She felt like nothing.
15 minutes later, Stacy and Habibah stood by the door waiting for Sofia.
“She’s coming, when she walks past, trip her up yeah.”
“Yeah, don’t worry – I’ve got her.” And as Sofia walked past, carefully she put out her leg right when Sofia walked past and slowly, but surely it happened, as her leg hit Sofia’s leg, she was forced to plummet on the ground as she was tripped up. As she fell on the ground, surprisingly it didn’t hurt, but inside something happened. That’s it! This was enough; she turned her head and looked at Stacy who had a grin on her face. She got up and did something she didn’t know she would do then. She fought back and she fought back hard. And that’s when her life changed.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE…
We have a Qur’anic Heroine from the past who went through a form of intense bullying, she was bullied emotionally and physically to such an extent that she couldn’t take it anymore. The torture became unbearable and the emotional pain was rife. Unlike Sofia, her own husband was causing her pain. The same man who she would seek solace from once upon a time, became the villain who caused her the greatest pain.
This woman was Asiya , this woman had everything, she had money, she had influence, and she had popularity – however, when came to the truth, once she was convinced of it, she never turned back.
In history there are some women whose resolve you cannot break. They are strengthened by Allah and submit to nothing, but Him, so even the greatest oppressor cannot break them or make them give up their faith. Asiya, the wife of the Pharoah was one such woman.
The Qur’an sets her as an example for the believers, me and you, to help us to stay away from evil and sin despite the full assault of all forces taking you away from the worship of Allah .
“Allah sets forth an example for those who believe — the wife of Pharaoh who said: My Lord, build for me with Thee a house in heaven, and save me from the Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from an unjust people.” [1. Surah; At-Tahreem; 66:11]
There are so many lessons we can learn from our Qur’anic Heroine. Ready to delve in?! Brilliant! Here they are…
[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2] Look below you, rather than above you – Brothers and Sisters, do you think you’re going through pain? It may be hard. It may be tough, but truly there must be someone going through something more painful than you?
Asiya was stripped of her royalty, because she couldn’t bear how Firown treated his people. She was tortured savagely, due to her speaking up, rather than suffering in silence. She was unable to control her love of Allah so she spoke out! She didn’t suffer in silence. She told Firown, this evil oppressor what she thought of him. She stood up for the truth, and because she did, we remember her today. She has become an everlasting symbol, a Qur’anic Heroine, mine and yours.
Do you notice the theme of standing up to the truth and being remembered in my articles? Do we remember those who stayed silent, even though they believed? Do we remember those people who were bullied, and they allowed themselves to be pushed around? No we don’t and that is my point.
[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2] No-one can harm you, if Allah wants to protect you – if you remain firm to Allah , He will be there for you no matter what!
Allah doesn’t demand you to be perfect, as perfection belongs to Allah alone, rather he wants you to make an effort, to get up after every fall. Even if society thinks you’re not worth it, then remember Allah will always be there for you. You are never alone.
[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2] Your bullies don’t define you! Your actions do.
Asiya was married to Firown, the biggest and baddest guy not only in town, but in the WORLD! Though, she wasn’t defined by him. I’m sure he would say things to psychologically harm her however did she believe him? Did she allow him to dictate how she should feel about herself or what she should follow in order to succeed in his perspective? Even as a woman, she was not defined by her man. She was defined by the Creator of this man, Allah .
Be true, be you! Asiya succeeded due to her connection with Allah nothing more, nothing less. Not her looks, hey hang on – do we even know what Asiya looked like? Exactly!
We know her by her piety.
[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2] Never give up! Life is a struggle till the very end, you have to keep going even if it seems like you’re not good enough.
As Allah says; “We have certainly created man into hardship (kabad).” [2. Surah Balad; 90:4]
There are many explanations to this verse in Tafseer ibn Katheer, amongst others it means hardship in being born, and hardship in enduring life, and hardship in working to earn a living, and hardship in the hereafter (on the Day of Judgment).
Life is toil, once you get over one trial, another begins and through this we learn; the real journey starts in the hereafter.
He wants to bring the best out of you, He wants to see how you work under pressure, and even then Allah will push you until He brings the best out of you. Nothing more, and nothing less. As your Lord knows YOU best.
And don’t forget you are the best. Allah made you and He just wants you to step up. Our Qur’anic Heroine Asiya didn’t suffer in silence, and neither should you. This can be when you’re going through a painful situation, feeling low, or even succeeding. Share this success, this trial with Allah in sweetness, with patience and gratefulness.
Say alhamdulillah and keep going!
Alima Ashfaq is the founder of I am Alima and hopes to transform it into the forefront of assisting women come closer to Allah (swt). She is the author of a number of publications, most notably Du’as of the Superstars.