A Way Beyond the Rainbow

#18 - On Attachments and Surrender

August 07, 2020 Aadam Ali and Waheed Jensen Season 2 Episode 6
A Way Beyond the Rainbow
#18 - On Attachments and Surrender
Episode Introduction
Holding On Too Tight
Attachments and Letting Go
The Story of Ibrahim (PBUH) and Challenging One's Worldview
Being Thrown into the Fire
Hajar and Isma'il (Peace Be Upon Them) in a Barren Desert
Ibrahim (PBUH)'s Trial with His Son
On Ultimate Tawheed: No god but Allah
Attachments and Letting Go: The SSA Perspective
Ending Remarks
A Way Beyond the Rainbow
#18 - On Attachments and Surrender
Aug 07, 2020 Season 2 Episode 6
Aadam Ali and Waheed Jensen

In this episode, Aadam and I discuss the topic of attachments, fear of letting go, and sacrifice for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We dissect the story of Ibrahim, Hajar and Isma'il (peace and blessings be upon them all), looking at their trials from that particular lens. We also examine the statement of Tawheed (monotheism): "There is no god but Allah" from a lens of shedding all worldly attachments and redirecting things towards Him.

What are some things to which we are attached in this life, that leaving them would send us on a downward spiral? How does the statement of Tawheed involve leaving attachments and surrendering oneself? And more importantly, how does all this tie in with our experiences and struggles with same-sex attractions? These among other questions are answered in this episode.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Aadam and I discuss the topic of attachments, fear of letting go, and sacrifice for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We dissect the story of Ibrahim, Hajar and Isma'il (peace and blessings be upon them all), looking at their trials from that particular lens. We also examine the statement of Tawheed (monotheism): "There is no god but Allah" from a lens of shedding all worldly attachments and redirecting things towards Him.

What are some things to which we are attached in this life, that leaving them would send us on a downward spiral? How does the statement of Tawheed involve leaving attachments and surrendering oneself? And more importantly, how does all this tie in with our experiences and struggles with same-sex attractions? These among other questions are answered in this episode.

Waheed  00:38
Assalamu alaikom wa rahmatullahi ta'ala wa barakatuh, and welcome to a brand new episode of "A Way Beyond the Rainbow", this podcast series dedicated to Muslims experiencing same-sex attractions who want to live a life true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam. I am your host, Waheed Jensen, and joining me again is my dear friend Aadam. Assalamu alaikom, Aadam.

Aadam  00:58
Wa alaikom assalam, Waheed. How are you? 

Waheed  00:58
I'm good, alhamdulillah. How are you doing this week? 

Aadam  01:00
I'm good. Yes, it's been a good week. Excited to continue our conversation from last episode inshaAllah.

Waheed  01:07
InshaAllah. So today's episode is going to be kind of a shift from the earlier discussions, even though it feeds into them, but it's quite a unique take and a unique perspective on some topics that we actually take for granted, but we're going to look at them in a different manner. Today's episode is about attachments and surrender. How about you take the lead on this, Aadam?

Aadam  01:47
All right. We're going to start today's episode with a quote from our very dear sister, Yasmin Mogahed. She says “It’s never easy to stand when the storm hits. As soon as it starts raining, lightning shortly follows. Dark clouds replace the sun and all you can see are the waves of an ocean, once calm, surrounding you. No longer able to find your way, you reach out for help. You begin by calling the coast guard. No reply. You try again to redirect the boat. No use. You look for the lifeboat. It’s gone. You reach for a life jacket. Torn. Finally, after you’ve exhausted every means, you turn your face upward. And ask God. But there’s something completely unique about this moment. At this instant, you experience something you otherwise could only theorize about: true tawheed. Oneness. See, on shore, you may have called on God. But you called on Him along with so many others. You may have depended on God. But you depended on Him along with so many other handholds. But for this singular moment, everything else is closed. Everything. There is nothing left to call on. Nothing left to depend on. But Him. And that’s the point.”

Waheed  03:11
I thought we can start this episode by sharing a story. Let's imagine together that there is a little kid who is in a swimming pool, and he is supposed to learn how to swim. Imagine this kid, this little child, clinging to the metal bars at the side of that pool, and he's immersed in water from the neck down. He has his arm floaties and his mom and the swimming coach are by his side. He's still clinging on those bars and he refuses to let go. And he screams and cries in the process. There's too much fear, too much pain in letting go. Despite the reassurance from those around him, he's too afraid. He cannot even hear them as he screams and cries. They try many ways to comfort him. They encourage him to let go, but he doesn't. They gently try to pull his arms from the bars but he clings even tighter. They try in all sorts of ways, but there's no hope. It only makes the child clutch onto the bars harder and scream louder, wanting to get out of the pool. 

A few minutes later, with some force, the coach embraces the kid in water as the mom releases the child's hands from the bars. It takes a while, and the child's screams and panic only get more intense, as you can imagine. The coach holds on to the child as they slowly swim towards the middle of the swimming pool. And after some resistance, he lets go of the child. The child panics and slaps the water around him, but soon realizes he's floating on his own. After a while he calms down as he sees those around him smile at him and encourage him to keep swimming. He realizes that the floaties around his arms actually help him float after all. He then swims around smiling, and the rest is history. 

Let's say some time passes a year later, and the child is now ready to remove the arm floaties. He has been dependent on them for all this period. What happens is the same thing: the same crying, the same screaming, holding on to the metal bars, the same sequence of reassurance and encouragement, but nothing works. Then with a gentle force, the floaties are removed, the kid is taken further from the pool edge, and after some resistance, he is set free. Again, he slaps the water again and again, only to realize that he's actually swimming, this time unsupported. He's doing it on his own. All the training so far has helped him reach this point. He swims alone and reaches the other edge of the pool, only to hear the cheers of those around him. He finally did it, he finally let go. And that set him free. And the rest is once more history. 

So, if we think about the story, it's quite common, right? We may have been that kid ourselves and experienced that to varying degrees. And if you actually think about it closely, and we ponder upon the story, the truth is, all of us are that kid, even as adults, we are that kid. We're not talking about swimming or whatever other occasion that might be. We're actually referring to what? To attachments, fear of loss, fear of letting go. The same sequence. We all have our attachments in life. Things that we latch on to. It might be material things that we're afraid of losing. It might be people, it might be love, ideals, beliefs, hopes and dreams, whatever they may be. Any risk of losing them would lead to an emotional avalanche. Even thinking about that stirs all sorts of emotions and makes us hang on too tight. But when we think about that, that's not what Allah intends for us, right? I remember a very dear and wise friend of mine, he once told me something very, very beautiful that stuck with me until this day, he said, “God is jealous, in a good way. He hates having anyone associated with Him. There are no Gods but Him subhanahu wa ta'ala. There cannot be anyone else. He doesn't allow competition in that regard. And He doesn't want us to attach to anything in this life except to Him. He gets jealous if we do otherwise. He wants us solely for Him. So He tests us with the things to which we are attached in order to help us let go. It is selfish by our own standards. But it's amazing when you think about it. It is His own pure Love”. 

I found that very, very beautiful. And it's very difficult to kind of internalize those concepts. And so, if we look back to the metaphor or the story of the kid who was clinging on to those metal bars, we actually think that we're doomed if we let go. That's why we hold on too tight. We're too afraid, because it's unknown. You know, there's too much hard work. “I don't know what's going to happen if I let go, I'm going to die. Literally, I'm going to die. I'm afraid I'm going to drown.” We think we might even lose our life altogether. But He, subhanahu wa ta'ala, has got us covered all along. Just like the mom and the coach by the kid’s side, He sends us people to be with us, to be by our side, even when we fail to notice them. He gives us support to keep us floating, even when we think we're inevitably going to drown. He encourages us to let go, slowly and gradually. And when we keep clutching and hanging on too tight, what happens is with gentle force, full of love, He, subhanahu wa ta'ala, helps us to let go. We cry and we shout, and we complain, and we even blame Him sometimes. Yet, He helps us through it even when we don't want to let go. And then we realize it's much more beautiful on the other side. And the same thing repeats itself as we progress through life. All sorts of attachments - were meant to be set free, purified, this is the reason. This is Dunya. We're meant to be purified. That's why we have trials and tribulations. That's why we have tests. Every time, there is going to be pain with losing that particular attachment. But the healing is much more profound. Our voids are filled through Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And every time we reach higher and higher levels until we're completely set free by Him.

Aadam  10:22
Yeah, this is a really big topic, and I have had lots of experiences with attachments and letting go and feeling like the world is going to end when you do let go, but realizing that the other side is actually not much different, but it's better and it's often just a nuanced change. Like, I often say this to myself and also other people: all it takes is a one- or two-degree shift when you set off from shore for two boats to end up in two different destinations. If they're headed to the same destination, you change their destination by one degree or two degrees, they're going to end up in completely different places. And honestly, it’s just those small shifts in life as we grow and evolve that all add up to a sum total that we then look back on after a year or two years or ten years or whatever, and see that we've changed and evolved a lot, but the process can be quite difficult, painful even and quite frightening. So, we need to be prepared for the process. And part of that preparation is being thrown in the deep end and feeling the fear even though we don't want to. And I say that because there's been many a time when I didn't want to feel the fear.

Waheed  11:55
Who wants to feel that? Because we're not we're not prepared for it, and it's just too painful.

Aadam  12:01
Exactly. And what helps though is having other people give you some kind of perspective and having people around you who can mirror back your own experience to you and show you the 360-degree view of something. Especially when you're in the thick of the storm when you can't see beyond the clouds and the rain and all that. It's useful to have an outside perspective. And also just taking a moment - taking a moment away from the world and just reflecting on what is actually happening and why. Because I feel like oftentimes with the lives that we live, we don't afford ourselves that space. We don't actually accommodate for it. It’s always like: we’ve finished work, we are now studying or we're looking after the kids, we need to go and deal with our parents, and then we have got a social gathering. And it's just one thing after the next after the next. And we're quite bad at giving ourselves time regularly enough that we can reflect and take stock of what is actually going on in life. Yeah, this is an excellent topic. How do you feel about this topic?

Waheed  13:22
As you said, I mean, I agree with everything that you said. And I honestly feel that, we have different attachments to different degrees. I now feel that, alhamdulillah, after a lot of things that I've been through in my life, it kind of gave me perspective that, “OK am I attached to this particular thing, or this particular person, or this particular emotion, or this pleasure, or whatever that is? Then I know that I will be tested for it sooner or later. And am I too attached to it, and I think that If I'm going to lose it, it's going to stir all sorts of negative emotions in me, then I am attached. If I can just live without it, then I'm not attached.” And what is the ideal situation for me? It’s to not be attached to anything or anyone. Of course, we love people. Of course, we love things. I mean, we're human at the end of the day, right? We love our parents, we love our friends, we want to always be there. But there's a difference between that kind of love and the normal relationships that we have, versus being attached to the point that you can't let go. Because, ultimately, I feel that if we have that kind of attachment, that's not healthy. That's not what is intended for us. And now I see that I have that perspective. I still struggle with it, I'm not saying I'm perfect or any of us is, but the idea is that it's been a common theme in my life to actually be tested in the things that I'm attached to. I realized that I was always reminded in those occasions that Allah wants me to be free, Allah wants me to be independent of the Dunya, the shackles, anything that is created - to be independent of other creatures and to be dependent on the Creator Himself. And that is true freedom. Because nothing and no one actually bothers me, whatever comes and goes is just part of His Own Decision. And I am OK with whatever happens. And that is like the ideal state that I strive for, and I still struggle to actually achieve that. But I realized that what has given me stamina and endurance and strength to actually be able to cultivate that mindset is the number of hardships and trials and those occasions where I was forced to let go of those attachments. And many of those attachments were very difficult to let go. Very, very difficult, especially when I was attached to specific people, when I was really codependent, or when I was really afraid of losing a person's attention, or losing a specific status, or a reputation, or a thing that I owned for some time. But then I realized that I was, in a way, imprisoned by those things. They were controlling me, but Allah doesn't want me to be controlled by those things. Allah wants me to be set free. And that was something that I learned with time, and, subhanAllah, it really changed my perspective. And that's when I kind of thought about that kid in the swimming pool, because it's such a powerful metaphor. We are afraid of letting go. But the moment we let go, we realize that He is taking care of us, that we're actually stronger by letting go, and we can handle it with Him. But we're just too afraid, because we're so scared of the unknown, we're so scared. It's like a person is afraid of being annihilated because those are the emotions, “those are the things that I'm used to, this is my comfort zone. And if I'm going to get out of my comfort zone, I will die. Literally. Whether it's physically or emotionally or whatever, I don't know what's going on out there. So, let me be where I am used to being.” That's never going to be the path to growth and to healing, in particular. And I feel like people like us and particularly people with SSA, as we said, many of us have codependency issues, attachment issues, we latch on to emotions, we latch on to people, because we have been hungry for love, or we've been looking for that love for a very long time. And so, when we find someone who gives us love or attention, we kind of latch on to that person. I'm not generalizing, of course, and people are different, but I'm just saying that this is one of the common themes that come up. And so, this hits home for us. There are lots of attachments. And it's so painful to let go of those attachments, but that’s necessary. So yeah, what do you think about that?

Aadam  18:15
Yeah, I agree with all of that. It is very difficult. It's not easy. I don't think that there's such a thing as arrival for anybody. And what I mean by that is you don't arrive at a state where that's your constant default way of being. It might get easier for you to do it, because you've been lifting the weights for so many years, that it's easier to confront and let go of things. I don't think that there's ever a point where it's absolute detachment from things. This is very similar to what certain Sufi groups teach and talk about, this idea of having attachment and love of other things in the world, in competition with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Their analogy is similar to the one with the child and the swimming pool, or one of the analogies from amongst all the different (Sufi) groups. One of the analogies that comes to my mind is the ant and the rug: the ant is looking for, let's say strands of red thread on the rug, and he can’t find it. And so, he's in amongst all the green (threads), for example. And then the minute he sees that one red strand, it’s like he goes and clings to it and he's like, “Oh my God! I found it, it's amazing. This is great.” But only if he was willing to let go and just move maybe like a couple of steps further to the left, he would be in amongst so much of the red, it would just be abundance and there wouldn't be a “lack of” or a feeling of, “This is the only thing that’s here” there’s this whole world. This kind of comes to this idea of abundance and there being a lot of sustenance in the world. In many ways, I mean, you could think about it in material terms, but also just in terms of sustenance that sustains each human being and their entire being. So, mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. So yeah, it's not an easy thing to do. It's very difficult. I struggle with it all the time, I ain't gonna lie. I hate the experience of going through that. I have accepted that I hate it. I've learned to manage in at least some messy way, and just try and get to the other side. I feel like journaling helps me. I really enjoy journaling, because it helps me write down things and be very honest with myself. And I think that, for some people, that might be a good option, because maybe they just don't feel comfortable talking to people about things, or at least not to start with. Because if you're anything like me, my thoughts can be all over the shop. And so, I'd rather try and make sense of them before I present them to other people. 

Waheed  21:08
Exactly. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Yeah, I hear you, 100%.

Aadam  21:14
And you know I've done this. Those are sort of my two cents on that. 

Waheed  21:25
And a lot of us feel that it's necessary for us to talk to other people to kind of vent or to take their opinions and their two cents on the matter, like you said, because Allah surrounds us with support - whether it's through people, whether it's through His own emotional support, whether it's through spiritual support, sustenance, whatever that is, in those particular trials. There are lots of support, lots of ways that we are supported by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, in ways that we realize and  in ways that we don't realize. And one of the ways is that He sends us people who surround us and who support us. And so one of the ways that we can actually handle trials is to feel that we're not alone, and that there are people who care about us, and people that we can go through these specific trials with. So that's one way, another is journaling, having a support group or talking to friends or family, if that's a possibility, talking to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala always, like through prayer, obviously, we do this on a regular basis every day, through making du’aa, but also through just talking to Him, like you talk to a friend or you talk to someone. I love doing that personally. So in addition to du’aa and to praying, alhamdulillah, on a daily basis, from time to time, I just sit and talk to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, like I'm talking to you right now and like we're talking to the audience. That really, really helps me, it's very cathartic. I reflect on so many things and I just vent out, sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, sometimes it's just a regular conversation, whatever that is. It just helps me deal with things. So, whatever helps people deal with those things, just realize that Allah is with them, Allah is taking them by the hand and helping. He is not leaving them to be tried, He is not leaving us hanging, He is actually giving us sustenance and support throughout the process. So that's something to kind of count on. 

So, Aadam and I thought that one of the very inspirational stories from the stories of the prophets is the story of our Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). His story is filled with trials and tribulations, as we know, and in particular, the kinds of trials and tribulations where he is put at a crossroad and he is asked to let go of attachments, and they were very, very difficult choices. So, let us start with a story of Ibrahim (PBUH). 

Aadam  24:04
In previous episodes, we gave examples of many prophets and giants from before us whose lives were filled with lots of trials and tribulations. And as we discovered, they had to make lots of tough choices for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Today, we wanted to explore the story of the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), whose life was characterized by many pivotal moments of surrender to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, submission to Him and letting go of lots of worldly attachments. And as you see, these were not small tasks or feats, subhan Allah, these were really big sacrifices that he was asked to make. And one can only imagine what goes through the mind of somebody who is faced with that. Obviously, his complete faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is what saw him through all of them, and there's so much for us to learn from those. I'm excited to talk (about this). I think a good place to start is at the beginning of his story. And you know Ibrahim (PBUH) is the father of the great monotheistic faiths. He was born into a culture that was depraved and devoted to false gods, paganism essentially. And he questioned and struggled to find the truth to find out who Allah/God really was, with no support to really help him in that endeavor. He was very much on his own and isolated, so we all can relate to that, I'm sure. Both, as people who have experienced SSA, but also even maybe in our own personal journeys, because I know that I have had that experience and the feeling of loneliness in the discovery of Islam, but that's a whole other topic. One night, Ibrahim travelled up to a mountain to watch the sky and observe nature, and a while later he had a voice calling. And it was none other than Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and Allah commanded Ibrahim to submit and become Muslim. And as you can imagine, Ibrahim was absolutely shocked, taken aback, probably afraid, trembling, he fell to the ground, and he prostrated himself before Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and he cried out, “I submit to the Lord of the universe”. And eventually he got back up on his feet and made his way back home. And by this point, this is sort of the transformation moment for Ibrahim (PBUH), his heart was filled with incredible peace and contentment. So, Ibraham now had a brand new mission to call his people to the truth and help them accept Allah as their one true God. And you should understand that his story is very similar to the Prophet PBUH’s story, because he's dealing with people who were entrenched in paganism, who have committed themselves for decades and decades, believing that there's multiple gods, going to these gods and offering prayers and venerating them and worshipping them and asking them for support. So, you can only imagine Ibrahim now coming out of the mountains, having received some type of revelation, and given the task to call to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. That is not easy that is very difficult. 

And so, as he goes on his mission, and his father rejected him, his people rejected him, no one listened to him. And we know how the story of Ibrahim when he decided to destroy all the idols except for one, the largest idol, so that he could explain and demonstrate the misguidance and fallacy of his people. I always find this story to be quite funny, because if you think about it, he's really challenging fundamental misunderstanding of these people, a misguided belief. The way that he does it is so plain to see obviously. So, in this story from the Qur’an: “They said, "Have you done this to our gods, O Abraham?" He said, "Rather, this - the largest of them - did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak." So they returned to [blaming] themselves and said [to each other], "Indeed, you are the wrongdoers." Then they reversed themselves, [saying], "You have already known that these do not speak!"” (21:61). So it's almost like they're really stuck and challenged here, because he's made a valid point. But these people have a lot of pride that's not allowing them to reject what they've been worshipping for generations. So, you know, pride and their ego is getting in the way, and I think sometimes we know we have to make tough decisions of letting go of previous beliefs that we've held onto for a long time, habits and behaviors, but our pride and ego can get in the way. And I can attest to this. That makes it more difficult to let go of that thing. 

Waheed  29:14
And these are attachments and they're very strong attachments. They get to our core. We are faced with attachments that we have taken for granted, and now it's like an earthquake. So, I mean, we can imagine how those people felt - they were forced to see their own misguidance, and they admitted that to themselves. But the problem was that they were very proud, their ego got in the way, and then they flipped all of a sudden.

Aadam  29:46
Yeah, absolutely. And Shaytan (Devil) will use it against us and exploit that within ourselves. And also our Nafs (self) like you said, it just doesn't want to let go. We must then make the choice of what we're going to do. And sometimes when I experience that type of resistance, I stop myself from making conclusions in that moment, even though it may be difficult, I try not to allow myself to make judgments wherever that information is coming from. So, whether someone says something that's maybe new to me, or it challenges an existing belief, I do tend to try my best to stay quiet and just hear what's being said. And I like to go away and think on it and reflect on it, and then try and make sense of it that way. So that's a tactic that I use. So I just wanted to throw it out there, because I think, oftentimes, it's easy to say “Will we make the tough choice?”, and I don't think it's as simple as: you're faced with something new and immediately you accept it. Sometimes it requires going away and reassessing things. And there's nothing wrong with that. 

Waheed  31:06
Yeah, absolutely. It needs reflection and needs effort. But the problem is that we jump to conclusions. And we're too quick to fight on behalf of our own ideas. And sometimes we can take a moment to just realize we have taken certain things for granted, and we need to reanalyze. We might be on the wrong side. And it's never wrong to just take a moment, take some time to reflect, as you said, even if we're on the right side, that's perfectly fine. But it doesn't mean that we don't entertain other ideas - just kind of be open to other ideas. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I'm going to change sides or whatever. I'm just going to entertain those ideas and assess them rationally and emotionally against my own value system, and then see if that makes sense or not.

Aadam  31:54
Yeah, absolutely. And I feel like this is so important for us to do as Muslims. I feel like, generally speaking, Muslims have gotten really bad at doing this. 

Waheed  32:03
We struggle with this big time. Yeah, unfortunately.

Aadam  32:06
So many of us are so dogmatic, we refuse to entertain criticisms of our own beliefs, as in our own personal beliefs, but also we are so shook and challenged by the questioning that people have of Islam as well sometimes. This is a slightly different topic, but I like to call this as “having intellectual integrity”, which is, if you're going to criticize other things, then we should also be prepared to have our own views and beliefs challenged and criticized. I feel like it sharpens the mind, it sharpens the intellect. It forces you to really assess some of your own logic or lack of logic, depending on the context, and it helps you build empathy and understanding your “opponents” or the person on the other side of the argument. And every time I've done this or engaged in this type of approach, it's not easy. I would lie and tell you if it were easy. Absolutely not. I don't like it, it's uncomfortable. But I've always come out on the other side with a much better perspective, alhamdulilah. So, I couldn't emphasize that enough.

Waheed  33:35
And, if you recall, in previous episodes, we spoke about humility, and one major aspect in this particular discussion is the pride and the ego that comes in the way, and we said that the Nafs uses it, the Shaytan uses it to kind of encourage and talk us out of entertaining the other side or maybe submitting to the truth or letting go of our own attachments and preconceived notions or whatever. There's humility in that, and humility is not an easy thing, especially when the pride and the ego are deeply entrenched, and the other side is attacking deeply-held beliefs. Especially when we know the other side is on the right side, and we might be wrong, it takes a lot of humility to say, “Okay, I submit to the Truth.” That's not an easy thing. And this is what those people failed to do, unfortunately.

Aadam  34:34
Yeah. And just one last point on this before we move on: I don't think society helps that either. I feel like, with people, if you are seen to change your view, and especially in public debates or discussions, you're then seen as like fickle or weak in some way, because you then decided to pivot to a new opinion. That's a problem, because it then means that if you say something, that you believe in something, then that has to become your belief until your dying day. But that's not how people work. That's not how the world works. And that stops people from evolving and growing. And there's so many instances of this in popular culture, when someone has maybe said something 10 years ago that was considered acceptable at the time, and then 10 years on it’s now unacceptable, and then someone decides to dredge it up and say, “Look at what so and so said! They're fascist [or they’re whatever label you want to give them].” And then there's this entire PR piece and the media gets involved, and they're dragged over social media, and the whole thing is just a mess. I don't like that at all. So, when people change their views, or at least I observe them changing their views, I don't sit and say, “Oh well, how dare they?” That's not a good approach to have, because when the day comes that we have to make those same choices, the last thing we're going to want is other people coming in and saying, “What the hell are you doing?” And you know, “You thought such and such and yada, yada, yada”, and you're basically being held hostage to your old beliefs or old opinion.

Waheed  36:16
We are human at the end of the day, so we always evolve, and we change our ideas and thoughts and belief systems and everything. Life is a journey, and we end up shedding old baggage and having new ideas and thoughts all the time. So, the person we were like a couple of years ago or a decade ago is not the same person that we are today or in the future. And then again, like you said, society doesn't really help when it comes to that, they have a fixed idea of you and you should maintain that standard. It takes a lot of - again, going back to the theme of vulnerability - like to be vulnerable to actually admit maybe past mistakes or to actually be vulnerable to tell people that “Well, I've changed my mind” or “I am now on a different level or a different side or what have you.” It takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of vulnerability and it takes a lot of humility as well.

Aadam  37:07
Yeah, absolutely. So, getting back to the story of Ibrahim (PBUH), Allah quotes him in the Qur’an by saying: “He said, "Then do you worship, instead of Allah, that which does not benefit you at all or harm you? Uff to you and to what you worship instead of Allah. Then will you not use reason?"” (21:66-67). And so what was the reaction of his people when he said this? “They said, "Burn him and support your gods - if you are to act."” (21:68). They are insistent that they're not changing their mind, they are quite content and happy with what they believe, and a huge pit was dug in the ground and filled with wood. And it's described as being the biggest fire anyone had ever seen, subhan Allah. And Ibrahim finds himself shackled, his hands and his feet chained tightly together. And he was fitted into a giant catapult that would be used to throw him into the fire. And at that very moment, Ibrahim (PBUH) was visited by the Angel Jibreel who says to him: “Is there anything that you wish for?” Can you imagine? You're facing almost imminent death; you're going to be thrown into a pit of fire. Burning to death is not a quick, easy way to die. So, imagine Ibrahim in this moment: you're literally going to be catapulted straight into your death. You would have wished for, “Oh Jibreel, yes! Take me away from here!”, “Save me!” You want to be out there, you don't want to be stuck in that catapult. Ibrahim replies and says that his only wish was for Allah to be pleased with him, subhan Allah. He could have asked for anything, to beg for his life, but he chose to ask for the blessing and the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And that is the epitome of submission and trust in Allah. When Allah fills the hearts with His love, then we literally, as we are taught through these stories, we don't see anything else and we only see Him. 

And then what did Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala plan? Allah says in the Qur’an: “Allah said, "O fire, be coolness and safety upon Abraham." And they intended for him harm, but We made them the greatest losers” (21:69-70). So, as we know, one of the main qualities of fire or probably primary quality of fire is that it burns, but Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala disabled that quality in this case. So, this is fascinating to me, because it goes back to the whole “kun fayakun/كن فيكون” [be and it is] - Allah just needs to say, “Be!” and it is - and it’s just a demonstration of His absolute power over all things. And it reminds me of the story of Musa (PBUH) with the sea parting, subhan Allah. It’s quite amazing. So He ordered the fire to be nothing but coolness and safety upon Ibrahim, and the fire had no other choice but to obey. And it burnt only Ibrahim's chains so that he was free. And Ibrahim walks out of the fire without a bead of sweat upon his skin, no hint of smoke, no burning, nothing. And everybody is amazed, gasping and crying “Ibrahim’s God saved him from the flames!” And could you imagine seeing that like, you throw someone in a pit of fire, you’re going to expect to hear screaming, yelling, there might be a stench. It's not pretty, right? But lo and behold this guy comes out untouched, like what is going on here, falling off their chairs!

Waheed  40:56
And ironically seeing all of this, they still didn't believe! Like, imagine. Subhan Allah!

Aadam  41:01
Well yeah, you know, subhan Allah, that just talks to the hardened hearts and egos and the pride of people.

Waheed  41.14
May Allah protect us from that.

Aadam  41:16
Amen, I was just going to say the exact same thing This is a great demonstration of trusting Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and He then accommodating or changing the circumstances in whatever way He sees fit to help and support you. And also, for people like us who experiences SSA, this is a really important lesson, because we can often feel very hopeless and that things will ever change, that they will never feel happy and content about life. But this is that - this is the pinnacle of that. So, imagine that what you're asking for is not going to be anywhere near as groundbreaking as fire not burning anymore. Not that Ibrahim asked for it, but the point being that Allah can do anything that He wants, and we just have to trust in that, and we just have to ask and keep knocking on that Door. As Waheed said, regardless of the fact that this happened, these people did not submit to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and as we've said, their pride and arrogance got the better of them. But Ibrahim (PBUH) was not shaken and he didn't lose hope, and his mission continued, subhan Allah. And there always will be people who hate and there's always going to be opposition and opponents, but as long as we put our trust and conviction in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, He will take care of all of our affairs, inshaAllah. As I've said just there, this is a great example of really putting our trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, as people who are misunderstood and hated from within our own communities. Actually, recently, I was reading a thread online, and it was Muslims talking about pride basically, because it just happens to be pride month right now, as we're recording this. And they were saying a whole bunch of nasty things, I'm not going to repeat them. It didn't bother me, I actually just felt sad for them, because I felt like “You are unwilling to engage in understanding other people, even if they are not Muslim and even let's say they're just following that life, they're loving that life, they’re living that life. You are just so unwilling to even understand their perspective whatsoever.” And you know, ultimately that just pushes them away, that pushes people away. And that's just not the Islam that I believe in. And so, the attitude of some of the Muslims I saw was just not acceptable. And so, for us, obviously, we all fall into that, because we're misunderstood and we're hated by our own community sometimes, and then, on the other side as well, we are misunderstood and hated also by the LGBT side, who, you know, will call us all types of names and say that we've got “internalized homophobia”, yada yada yada. But we keep our head high for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, we strive for His sake, and people will always hate, but as long as we stay true to Him, there's nothing that can stop us.

Waheed  44:31
Haters gonna hate anyway, right? So just keep moving ahead. If we fast forward in the story of Ibrahim, Allah reveals to Ibrahim PBUH that he should take Hajar, his wife, and their infant boy, Isma’il, on a long journey to Makkah. The family travelled through the Arabian desert where the sand dunes stretched out for miles and there was no sign of human habitation. So, put yourself in that context. No one else but those three, and it's desert, it's hot and no sign of life. Then Ibrahim (PBUH) made Hajar and Isma’il climb a hill called Al-Marwa, and he left his wife and his child under the shelter of a tree with nothing but a bag of dates and some water for them. And so, at that moment, Hajar, may Allah be pleased with her, she looks at Ibrahim (PBUH) and tells him, “For whom are you leaving us in this forsaken Valley?” But Ibrahim went and left her. And then she asked him: “Has Allah commanded you to do this?” And he said, “Yes.” What does she reply? She says, “Then Allah will not cause us to be lost.” This is pure and ultimate submission to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, complete trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. I mean, there's nothing else - it's desert. It's sand dunes all over the place. It's no one, nothing, no one. Zilch. And he left her, her husband left her with her infant child. And obviously, he was commanded by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to do this. And she knew that Allah commanded him to do this, and she said, “Allah will not cause us to be lost.” We have trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, Ibrahim PBUH sets out and goes home. So, there's trust on both sides. For sure, Ibrahim is heartbroken, and Hajar is heartbroken, but they love Allah, they trust Him, they submit to Him, and they are able to put him first and foremost, and they know that He will take care of them. Even though that this is difficult. Of course, we're human. This is not an easy situation. This is heartbreaking. But Allah will take care of things. This is what matters at the end. That's not how they saw it - they didn't see it as, “We are being left in a hot desert. There's nothing, there's no one, you're leaving us.” No, they had true vision. They had Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, front and center.

So, we know the story that Hajar and Isma’il’s supplies of food and water were soon used up, and the mother and son become increasingly dehydrated. And we know the story of how Hajar at that point was desperate, and she ran up the hills of AsSafa and Al-Marwa, those two hills, and she ran from as-Safa to al-Marwa and back seven times, straining her eyes to see if a passing nomad could actually be seen in the distance. And then, finally, after being exhausted, she collapsed, and then at that point she heard a voice: the Angel Jibreel appeared, he struck his foot against the sandy ground, and then a stream of water gushed forth and Hajar scooped up the water to drink and to fill her water skin with and to obviously give to her infant child Isma’il. And the stream was called Zamzam, as we know, and it continues to flow to this day. And so, Hajar, may Allah be pleased with her, now has a water source that allowed her to trade with any passing travelers. And soon the mother and the son had all the food and the drink they needed. And more and more people were drawn to the running water, as nomads and the Bedouins would come to any source of water there is. So, people started coming in, they started setting up camps, and they sent for their families, and they started a new life in Makkah, turning that barren desert into a bustling settlement. So now, more and more people were there, a new life began. And that was Hajar’s legacy. This legacy is honored to this day through the Zamzam spring water and through the act of walking between the mountains of As-Safa and Al-Marwa that we perform during ‘Umrah and Hajj. Look at what trust and submission to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala does! It raises us in this life and in the Next One, inshaAllah. Allah always takes care of His servants, He never leaves them hanging. This is something that we need to remind ourselves of, inshaAllah. 

Aadam  49:38
So, if we fast forward further ahead in the timeline to another test of Ibrahim (PBUH). Years later, Ibrahim returns to Makkah to see his son a grown man, and he learns that Hajar had passed away in his absence. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala decides again that He wants to test Ibrahim’s submission. Imagine having been away from your son for that period of time, your own flesh and blood, and then when you're brought back together, Allah sends you a dream that you have to fulfill, and in this dream, the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was instructed to sacrifice his son Isma’il to Allah. With everything that he'd been through to this point, anyone would actually give up and be like, “Why is my God instructing me to do all this? What is this cruelty?” But Ibrahim knew that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is not like that, He is Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim. He is Just, and there has to be a purpose. And just like the miracle with the fire and then the miracle with Hajar and Isma’il, there has to be a reason that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is testing Ibrahim with this very, very difficult trial, which is essentially being ordered to slaughter your own son, subhan Allah. And Ibrahim tells Isma’il about the dream, and they both agree to submit to the will of Allah. You can't even imagine this type of trial. A father and son agree to - it's almost unthinkable and unspeakable to an extent. You would never - it's so heavy, but they didn't fret once, subhan Allah. So Isma’il lay, prostrated with his forehead touching the ground and his father, Ibrahim, laid a sharp knife on his neck. And looking back at all the trials of Ibrahim, being persecuted from his family and his people, being thrown in the fire and having to leave his family in a barren dessert, having no idea how they would sustain themselves, like who could handle this? But Ibrahim submitted to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, he continued to maintain his trust. And his son, as we know, also goes on to become a prophet. Isma’il follows also his mother's legacy. And Allah says in the Quran: “And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, "O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think." He said, "O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast." And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, "O Abraham, You have fulfilled the vision." Indeed, thus do We reward the doers of good” (37:102-105).
And in place of Isma’il, a large ram appeared as an alternative sacrifice. And so instead of killing Isma’il, Ibrahim slaughtered the sheep, to the glory of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And again, Allah says in the Quran: “Indeed, this was the clear trial” (37:106). A massive trial, one that we would probably never face in this life at all. That is absolutely hard, subhan Allah. And Allah continues, “And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favorable mention] among later generations:

"Peace be upon Abraham." Indeed, thus do We reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was of Our believing servants” (37:107-110). And from Ibrahim’s progeny, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala brought forth the most wonderful men and women who ever lived. He placed prophethood in the bloodline of Ibrahim. And that is the most fitting reward, because of the extent to which his trust and his belief in Allah was tested. I don't know of any other honor that would have been worthy. We know that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) comes from this progeny, he comes from this lineage, and it's just, subhan Allah, it's just amazing. And one of the many gifts which he showered upon Ibrahim was, He called him His friend, “Khalilullah/خليل الله”. And there's nobody else that Allah has given that, or has called that – he's the only Khalil of Allah, the only friend of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, as Allah has said Himself. And he is left an honorable mention until the final days, of course. And look at every time we pray, we send peace and blessings upon Ibrahim and his family, and obviously the Prophet PBUH and his family. How many Muslims do this every day? Imagine how many people from the time that we've been praying, Muslims have been praying up until now, how much praise and peace and blessings have been sent upon these people? You couldn't even begin to quantify it. Allah is sealing his high station in the Hereafter, all of this is because Ibrahim endured with absolute conviction and sincerity and devotion to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, more than his fair share of trials and tribulations. And Ibrahim didn't choose any of these of these trials; they were specially selected for him by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, the Entirely Merciful, the Always Merciful God who chose for us our own trials. And Ibrahim, by the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, embraced everything and walked the path, because he understood all his trouble were God’s way of raising him above and beyond. The more the troubles, the greater the love that Allah showers on us.

Waheed  55:30
Subhan Allah. Going back to the topic of attachments and letting go of attachments, we could see that from the story of Ibrahim PBUH, right? That's His ultimate goal. That's Allah’s ultimate goal for us: not to be attached to anything or anyone except to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. To finally swim with no help. To soar so high without any assistance and to be completely His. That is ultimate freedom. That is ultimate surrender. That is the declaration of “There is no God but Allah”. There is no God but Allah = La ilaha illa Allah. That is the foundation of our beautiful religion, right? The very first thing that we say is “La ilaha illa Allah”. Notice that the declaration of faith begins with this negation, which is very crucial and very critical. It's like we empty the heart from everything, before we hope to reach true tawheed, true monotheism, before we can assert our belief in the one Lord, we first say “la ilaha”, there is no “ilah”. What is an “ilah”? An “ilah” is an object of worship. So, it's imperative and very important to understand that an “ilah” is not just something that we pray to. An “ilah” is whatever our life revolves around, what we obey, what is of utmost importance to us, above all else. So, if I were to ask myself and you and our audience members, everyone who's listening to us, what is the most important thing in your life? Someone or something that your life revolves around, the thing that we live for, that we cannot live without, right? So, every person, be that person a Muslim, Christian, Jew, agnostic, atheist, anyone else, everyone has an “ilah”, everyone worships something. Everyone's life revolves around something. Everyone has something that is of utmost importance to them, right? For most people, that object of worship is something from this Dunya, in particular. Some people worship wealth, other people worship status. Some people worship fame, other people worship their own intellect. Some people worship themselves, “me”. Their desires. Other people worship other people, right? Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says: “Have you seen him who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded?” [45:23]. So, those objects of worship are things to which we become attached. But an object of attachment is not just something that we love, it is something that we need, in the deepest sense of the word. It is something that, if we lose it, it causes absolute devastation. If there is anything or anyone other than Allah that we could never give up, then we have what is known as a “false attachment”, a “false god” in a sense. Again, why was Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) told to leave his family in a barren desert, and then years later, when he finally came back to see his own son that he left before, he was instructed to sacrifice his own son? I mean, to a lay person, to someone who's looking from the outside, this is cruelty. But Allah had His goals, He had His intentions behind that. There were reasons why this was done, and it was to free Ibrahim from any attachments, from all false attachments, from any god other than Allah. And once he was free, his object of love was given back to him. And in this case, it wasn't attachment. It was love, his object of love, which was his son, was given back to him. He wasn't attached anymore. So, if there is anything or anyone whose loss would absolutely break us, we have a false attachment. And these are, again, things that we fear of losing almost to a pathological extent. If we even sense that that person or that thing is drifting away, we will be desperate, and we will try to pursue that thing. We latch on to that thing. We chase it, because losing that attachment causes complete devastation, and the severity of the devastation is proportional to the degree of attachment: the more we are attached, the more devastating it would be to lose that thing. And as we said, you know, those attachment can be money, can be people, can be belongings, can be ideas, can be physical pleasure, drugs, status symbols, careers, images, how other people view us, our physical appearance, our beauty, the way we dress or appear to others, our own degrees and careers and job titles, our sense of control, our own intelligence, our rationality, whatever that may be. And again, as we said, many of us who struggle with SSA are too attached to a specific individual or to particular habits, sometimes venues, sometimes certain apps, certain thoughts, certain desires. Until we can break those false attachments, we cannot truly fill our hearts with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 

Aadam  61:15
I just wanted to add something here. One of the things that I realized I was attached to was the fantasy of what it would be like to be with another man basically. I remember that being shattered, that fantasy, and realizing that it was just that. That it would never be. Because we dredge up ideas of what that might be like. You know, “It would be so amazing. It will be like this. It'll be like that. It will be so – it will feel so good. We’ll be in “love”. We will be loving life.” But I remember realizing, I don't know exactly which point it was now, but I just remember the moment of realizing that and thinking, “Oh my God, that's a lie. And I can't invest energy in that lie anymore. I have to like, lie.” And I know, as painful as it is, it's very liberating when we do that with whatever that attachment might be. So, you mentioned a whole list of things, but it could be so many other things as well, other than just specifically this. But I thought it’s most relevant to mention that now, because of the podcast and the whole reason why we’re doing it.

Waheed  62:39
Subhan Allah, and you notice that Allah replaces these things once you give them up to Him. He replaces them with things that are beautiful and useful to you and fulfilling in ways that you could have never imagined, right?

Aadam  62:53
Yes, absolutely. Yes. And in ways like you said, you could not imagine. You could not ask for what He gives you in return. Like you couldn't have, I say that from experience. There are certain things that have happened and have come into my life that I literally could not have asked for. I couldn't have in my wildest dreams asked for it. And I mean, they're not like, groundbreaking in the grand scheme of things, but they were groundbreaking enough for me. And that's all that matters. Because it’s in your context. It's in your situation, it's in your life, it's in what's happening to you. And that thing may have seemed impossible yesterday. But because of making new decisions, new steps, shedding old patterns and false beliefs then Allah decides, “You know what, as a reward, here you go, I'm giving you the thing you thought you could never have.” And you're just left like, “What? Hold on... It was that quick?! What is going on here?” It’s complete amazement, subhan Allah. That’s when shukr comes and you just marvel in the awe of Allah’s power.

Waheed  63:58
Subhan Allah. One hundred percent. Absolutely, beautifully said, mashaAllah. So, if we go back to the statement of “la ilaha illa Allah/there is no God but Allah”, and if you truly think about this, just for a tiny moment: when matters get tough, and it boils down to letting go of things for His sake, or to remaining attached to them, what will it be? This is a very difficult question, honestly. It's a very tough choice. I mean, at face value, a lot of us say and we might be thinking, “Well, obviously, He subhanahu wa ta'ala comes first. It shouldn’t be a matter of debate.” But when our mind and our heart are too invested and too attached to someone or something that we feel it's almost lethal to let go, it becomes an ultimate sacrifice, right? We might be questioning the reason why Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is testing us with this particular matter, or feeling that there is an injustice towards us. But once we do that sacrifice, once we commit to that sacrifice wholeheartedly and we make it for Him, subhanahu wa ta'ala, everything changes. Everything changes! A new dimension opens, and we find peace, we get what we want, and even more, and this is promised from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.

Aadam  65:17
It's just ironic, because we're spending so much energy, everybody, SSA and otherwise, people are just spending so much energy chasing things that they think they want. And they're so badly afraid of losing it or not achieving that thing or, you know, gathering maybe wealth or whatever it might be, that we completely lose sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And that's so true. And I've seen that in my experience with myself and other people. And the irony of it all is that we end up losing the thing that we're chasing or that we’re really attached to. But when we give up that attachment and when we stop being so desperate about that attachment or the thing that we're running towards that we think that we need, and we redirect ourselves and our energy towards Allah, He gives us that thing and much more than we could have ever imagined. And like I just said before, I know that to be true. 

Waheed  66:27
I can attest to that and lots of us can, actually. We're having a lot of “Aha!” moments at this point, I would assume, and a lot of us would say this is 100% correct. It happens all the time with us. And I've heard tons of stories from people, and this is just, subhan Allah, one of Allah’s rules in the universe. It's one of His Sunnahs in the universe. It happens all the time.

Aadam  66:50
Absolutely. I agree wholeheartedly with that. And just like the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) when he says: “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better.” Again, true statement. It's so true. But it's the challenge of just, you know, falling off the cliff and trusting that there's a soft landing at the bottom, even though all that you're seeing right now is rocks. “There is no God but Allah - la ilaha illa Allah”, it’s never easy, it’s not just something that we say with our tongues. It's a deep-rooted belief, polished after many, many experiences of purification and letting go until we can finally declare it with our hearts, our minds, our body and our soul. And that there's no attachments left except to Him, and at last, we are in that free space where nothing we feel attached to and He suffices us completely. If we examine all of the five pillars of Islam, they are essentially built and meant to enable the detachment that we're talking about. So, if you think about the Shahada, declaration of faith: the declaration of faith is the verbal profession of the very detachment that we're trying to achieve that we, as Muslims, spend our entire lives trying to achieve, that the only object of our worship, ultimate devotion, our love, our fear, our hope is God, and God alone. And to succeed at freeing oneself from all other attachments, except the attachment to the Creator. That's the manifestation of that declaration of faith. And that's always a work in progress, like we said before. There is no arrival. We don't arrive anywhere. It's that process that we continue to follow and embark on in that journey. And at the end of it all, we have hope that Allah accepts it from us. I have lots of hope that Allah accepts all of the good that we all do, and when we meet our Lord, we meet him on brilliant terms and on excellent terms, inshaAllah. 

And also, the Salah, the five prayers. Five times a day, we have to pull ourselves away from the Dunya to focus on our Creator and our ultimate purpose. So, five times a day we detach ourselves from whatever is going on in the world, whether we’re at work or school or with family or whatever we're doing, we turn to Allah. And the prayer/Salah could have been prescribed only once a day or a week, or all five prayers could have been done at one particular time of the day, but that's not how it is. The prayers are spread throughout the entire day, and they're specified at specific times, and the windows between them, we might start to slip, but lo and behold, it's time for the next prayer. And we're having to refocus again, we're having to come back to center again, and to refocus and remember Allah again. And it's that constant adjustment and that pivoting between the prayer, what happens outside of the prayer and then the next one, and then what happens outside and the next one and the next one. And you know, we're constantly forced to detach from the Dunya and to focus on the One True Attachment or object of attachment, re-direct our thoughts and energy. And then we have Siyam (fasting). Fasting is all about detachment. We're not long out of Ramadan. It’s the detachment from that very thing that gives us life or what Allah has given us, a sustenance to allow us to live and be healthy, which is food and drink and sexual intimacy and vain speech. And by restraining our physical selves, we ennoble, purify and exalt our spiritual selves. It’s the ultimate disciplining of the self. Through fasting, we're forced to detach from all of our physical needs, the desires, and all pleasures. Ramadan is a great time and I feel like - I always enjoy Ramadan for that part of it, of the detachment, and just the quieting of things, because things just stop. You stop focusing on other things, and it's all about Allah and it's all about fasting, it’s all about Qur’an, it's all about getting closer to Allah. 

And then we have Zakaat. It's all about detaching ourselves from our own wealth and giving it away for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And by giving it away, we're forced to break our attachment to wealth. I can't talk for other people, but the Zakaat is so important. It's a fard (obligation) for one, but I feel like it’s often neglected, particularly in the West. I don't know what it's like in other parts. People tend to forget it in my experience, and they kind of don't really pay attention to it. But it's part of our Deen, it’s part of the fundamentals of what we do as Muslims, and it's the right of the poor. And I find it a purifying experience, because I know that the money's going to people who are absolutely in desperate need of it. And Allah has given them a right over that part of our wealth. It forces you to face the attachment that you may have to wealth, so if you're feeling some type of way about hitting that donate button, you're being faced with an attachment. And we have to deal with it. I probably couldn't even pinpoint exactly what Allah has given to me as a result of all the money that I've ever given in Zakaat or in Sadaqah (charity). I possibly couldn't. There's no way of measuring that impact. But you know, it comes back in so many different ways, subhan Allah.

Waheed  72:59
Indeed, subhan Allah. And even if it’s not Zakaat, a lot of us cannot afford Zakaat, because we don't reach the threshold, and that's like a complete Fiqh perspective, we're not going to go into this. But even when we give out charity, like a lot of us do give out charity on a regular basis, right? So, giving out charity allows us to break our attachment to wealth. So that is a very, very important aspect of detachment. Right?

Aadam  73:24
Yeah, absolutely. That's the ongoing ongoing lesson or disciplining that Zakaat offers us as well. And then we have the final one, which is Hajj. Hajj is one of the most comprehensive and profound acts of detachment. Because a pilgrim - when you travel to Makkah, you leave behind everything in your life. You're leaving behind sometimes family, or parts of your family. Generally, speaking not everybody goes with you. Unless that's how you're doing it, but for most people that's not. And you're leaving your home, your job, your salary, your bed, your comforts, your clothes, your shoes, all in exchange for what? For sleeping on the ground in crowded tents and wearing literally two simple pieces of cloth. I mean, it makes no sense in the physical realm, if you exclude Allah from the picture. There's no status symbols at Hajj at all, it’s completely devoid of attachments. Subhan Allah. It's an incredible manifestation of detachment. And so, the true test is that of detachment, and through that, we empty our hearts in preparation for that which nourishes our hearts and gives our heart life. And that's Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 

So as far us in particular, people who are experiencing SSA, many of us have lots of emotional baggage. And many of us have experienced a myriad of traumatic events throughout our lives, in our childhood, in our upbringing, that has left us scarred and longing for emotional connections. And as a result of this, we have a spectrum of different outcomes from the turbulence that we've experienced: from insecurities, low self-confidence, self-loathing, self-harm, you know, we try to fill out the voids that we feel. But given the fact that many of us are hypersensitive and highly emotional, we latch on to emotional connections that end up becoming unhealthy attachments that we've been talking about throughout this episode. And any threat to those connections throws us off into a state of imbalance. I'm not generalizing in terms of like, everybody has this problem, that's not true. But I would say, in my experience and Waheed in yours, this is quite a common occurrence. It's not an isolated one off, we see this regularly with what people say about their experiences with others and in discussions that you have with our brothers and sisters who have SSA. And compared to other people, letting go of the things that we've long desired and craved may actually be much, much more difficult. But that's the path of healing. So many of us are afraid of losing people we love once we have found them, people who are capable of giving us pure and unconditional love. Many of us hurt them in the process or even hurt ourselves. And we realize how insecure we are deep down, and we put on masks and hide how we truly feel out of the fear of losing other people. And many of us have lacked love ever since we were children. And nonetheless, we're capable of giving love to others in our lives. But when we receive it from others, we feel inadequate or unworthy or undeserving. We feel less than, we feel fake, we feel like imposters. At the same time, we're possessive, we get jealous, we don't want to lose the connection, and we feel like the thirst that we have for that connection isn't quenched. And it's so messy and complicated and conflicting. And it just feels like a hot mess. I'm speaking from experience, by the way. And the path of healing from trauma or past traumas for many of us has been just that - going through layers and layers of different insecurities and trauma, and allowing pure love to permeate in our lives, and to open up that Pandora's box of pain, and finally process all of those things that we've been ignoring or suppressing. And to realize that He, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, is with us all along and He's helping us through this. And to let go of our habits and negative thinking, to feel worthy of love and to feel loved and then to sincerely genuinely offer it back to other people. And to be true to ourselves and dropping all of the charades, masks, performances, and just being transparent and vulnerable, showing up as our true selves. Any addictions or bad habits that we might have accumulated over the years are only the tip of the iceberg, and they melt during that process of healing.

Waheed  78:38
Exactly. And then the last step is always what? To let go. And this is the toughest step there is because, you know, while every other step out there we have taken might have been through the support of other people, or what have you, the last step is - recall what we said at the beginning of the episode, that kid who is floating in the water on his own for the first time, he actually took a complete leap of faith. And that is the last step. When you take a complete leap of faith and you let go, but you know that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is there. He will not take love away from you. He won't take those who are dearest to you out of your life. He doesn't want you to suffer. He doesn't want you to be in pain. All He wants is for you to be purified. He wants to purify you. He wants to love you and for you to experience His Love. So when we realize that, we know that we are not jumping off a cliff to our own doom. We are jumping and we know wholeheartedly that He is there to catch us. He has been preparing the training ground all along for that particular moment, He has been with us all along. All of the trauma and all of the healing were calculated. All the people who enter and exit our lives, all the events leading to and from that, everything in between. Everything is Divinely orchestrated in the most intricate of ways, beyond human comprehension. And the last step is when we finally attain freedom, and we just let go. And again, it's the toughest step, yet it is the most rewarding of all. That's like the grand finale. We let go of all attachments, all expectations, all pains, all wants, we let go of the fantasies and desires, we let go of anything that is keeping us away from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we just float in His presence, we float in His care, and we realize that all of the beauty, all of the love, all of the peace, all of the happiness, will come to us much more than we could have ever expected or realized. And everything else is just history, subhan Allah.

I would like to end this episode with a quote from Yasmin Mogahed, and she says: “Know this. Allah is the Turner of hearts. He can heal your heart. And He can heal it quickly. Ask Him. “Tawakkul” is letting go completely of something you love, but having firm faith that He will replace it with something better.”
 And there is a beautiful duaa that the Prophet PBUH taught us. In Arabic, it goes like:
 "يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ. اللَّهُمَّ مُصَرِّفَ الْقُلُوبِ صَرِّفْ قُلُوبَنَا عَلَى طَاعَتِك"

“O Turner of the hearts make my heart firm upon Your Religion. O Allah, Turner of the hearts, direct our hearts to Your obedience.”
Ameen, ya Rabb. So, we ask Allah to make our hearts firm upon His religion and to direct our hearts to His obedience, always and forever, inshaAllah. Ameen ya Rabb. And with this we have come to the end of our episode, I would like to sincerely thank my wonderful co-host and friend, Aadam, thank you so much for joining me for the past four episodes. You have been a wonderful co-host as usual. I really hope you enjoyed the preparations and the recordings of these four episodes, and I really look forward to having you in future episodes, inshaAllah. Any last words you would like to end this episode with?

Aadam  82:47
Yeah, the pleasure is all mine. Because as we've gone through these episodes and this content, it's an education and a reminder for me. Even though like, I'm the mouth piece, I'm very much learning as well with everybody else. So, we are all in this together, and it’s moment by moment, bit by bit, step by step that, you know, we see change amalgamate over a period of time. And Allah says to us as well that the most beloved acts are the ones that we do that are sort of small and consistent, the ones that we constantly do. Because at the end of the day, if we keep up an act over a period of time, the effects of it become manifest, and when we look back, we think, “Oh my God, I can't believe I traveled such a big distance, how did I get here?” So, the point in saying all of this is just that although we're talking about the idea of complete detachment from things that are not good for us, that are unhealthy, we are completely aware that this is an ongoing process. And no one's perfect. We're going to stumble, we're going to fall. And that's fine. We just have to find our way back to center, as I like to call it. Our place of what we know for sure, which is what? That Allah is One, that He has our backs, that He can always be consulted. He's, like I said in one of the other episodes, the only examiner that you can ask for the answers to the test. Subhan Allah. So I just wanted to say that. 

Waheed  84:38
Beautiful, as always, barak Allahu feek. Thank you so much for all of your efforts. I would like to extend the thanks to all of the listeners who have been listening to us. Jazakom Allahu khairan. And once again, you can always listen to our episodes on our website awaybeyondtherainbow.buzzsprout.com and on all of your favorite podcast apps. And you can email us anytime on [email protected] In the next episode, inshaAllah, we will be talking about a very, very special theme which is the gifts and the Divine openings that come with SSA. Until next Friday, we hope that you have a blessed week ahead, stay safe and healthy, and we'll talk to you next Friday. This has been “A Way Beyond the Rainbow” with Aadam Ali and Waheed Jensen, assalamu alaikom wa rahmatullahi ta’ala wa baraktuh.

Episode Introduction
Holding On Too Tight
Attachments and Letting Go
The Story of Ibrahim (PBUH) and Challenging One's Worldview
Being Thrown into the Fire
Hajar and Isma'il (Peace Be Upon Them) in a Barren Desert
Ibrahim (PBUH)'s Trial with His Son
On Ultimate Tawheed: No god but Allah
Attachments and Letting Go: The SSA Perspective
Ending Remarks