Managing my Anxiety

This post is something I have been wanting to write for a while now but I haven’t had a chance. I suffer from anxiety and depression and over the years I’ve been slowly learning how to manage it better so I can live a better quality life. So I wanted to share some of the ways in which I have learnt to manage my anxiety as it may help someone else too.
This is obviously not going to magically make everything fine but it still helps. I have good days and bad days and days when nothing seems to work but I have found that I am doing better than I was a couple years ago. I don’t have as many panic attacks and my low days don’t seem to last as long.
Of course these things may not work for everyone, I had to go through trial and error to see what worked well for me.

1) Counselling – Not seeking help from professionals was probably what delayed me in being able to manage my anxiety sooner. I was completely lost and didn’t know how to help myself but I attended regular counselling sessions on the recommendation of my doctor and it was the first time I felt I had help in learning to cope. There’s several different types of counselling and I attended group therapy where the focus was teaching us to manage our anxiety and teaching us what anxiety is and how it affects us. We were given practical techniques every week and lots of information. And it really helped me.

2) Someone to talk to – this is someone who is close to you and someone you trust. For me it’s my husband, who I can go to and say I’m struggling and feeling like this. He doesn’t judge me or tell me to “get over it” he listens to me and will try to help me, whether it’s that I’ve said I feel low or that I have zero motivation to do anything.

3) Nature always helps me to feel a little better. Whether it’s flowers at home or going to the park. The smell and look of flowers and greenery helps me to feel relaxed. I don’t know what it is about flowers but having them on my table in a vase makes me smile.

4) Unplug from social media. It can be so amazing to just unplug for a while. I’m bombarded with notifications all day and just putting your phone and laptop away and doing something you enjoy is so helpful.

5) So following on from my last point, do something you enjoy. Something that is therapeutic for you. For me it’s a variety of things. I like to colour or paint and it helps me to re-focus and stop worrying and stressing about the hundred things that are running through my head. It just helps me take a step back from everything. But my favourite thing to do is to read. I love reading in the evening to help me to relax. I normally clear the area I’m sitting at so there’s no distractions. Light a candle and dive into my book.

6) The things I’ve mentioned so far have been all things I do at home, but sometimes I end up being stuck in the house for too long when my anxiety acts up and I find it hard to get out of my bed let alone leave the house. So I found that having a place that you find relaxing to go to or doing something that you truly enjoy can motivate me to get myself up and leave the house. For me those things are of course book related. I love attending book events or just going to the library or book store. I’ve even discovered a cute cafe that has a bookshop in it. There’s armchairs and sofas for you to just come and sit and you can read or study and hang out. Also going to hang out with friends is something that usually gets me out of the house too. Or planning a “date night” with my husband. These range from going to the sea life centre to parks to discovering new places in our area.

7) Praying and reading Quran. So for me this goes without saying that my faith has kept me from completely despairing of ever get through my difficult times. Especially when I was at my lowest the only thing that kept my thought of self harm at bay was my faith in God. It’s so hard at that point to think of anything positive and the only thing that kept me going was knowing that this time too will pass and He will help me through it all.

8) The last thing I want to mention is something that completely surprised me. I would never have thought that having a cat would help me with my anxiety and depression. I have never been an animal person so when I finally caved and let my husband adopt the stray that had started living in our garden I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I fell in love with him. He’s such a cutie and love having him around. It’s just so relaxing to have him chilling with you and cuddles are the best! Plus he’s so entertaining and never fails to lift my mood!

So these are the things I do to help me manage my anxiety. I hope that by sharing my experience it helps others and I would love to hear from you about what you do to help manage in your everyday life.

I also want to mention that reading, learning and understanding anxiety and depression has helped me a lot too. I would definitely recommend picking up a book and learning a bit more about it.

Depression

Having met many people who suffer from depression I wanted to learn more about it and try to understand it better. It’s one of those complicated illness that not many people understand yet so many suffer from it. The world health organisation estimates that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression and that women are twice as likely to develop depression than men. Depression is also the leading cause of disability worldwide. So this is my notes from the course I attended.

Many people think that depression is solely a illness that’s “just in your head” yet when you look at what the professionals say, that’s not quite true.

Depression is a psychological, social and biological illness. So the cure also has to be psychological, social and biological. It has to be a combination.

So how can we help ourselves or someone we know that has depression? We firstly we have to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of depression. We have to be able to know the difference between someone being sad or upset and someone being depressed. Sadness is not depression, that’s a normal human emotion. It’s what happens when we go through a stressful situation or a hardship. But it does not necessarily mean that you are depressed. Although sadness is often what people associate with depression it’s not what depression is. So what is depression like?
Depression is like drowning, except you can see everyone around you breathing.

Some of the signs and symptoms of depression are:
You can’t sleep
You can’t concentrate
You can’t control your anger
You are no longer interested in your hobbies
You are no longer interested in eating food you normally like
You are always tired no matter how much sleep you get
It feels like everyone else is moving forward in life but you’re stuck in the same place
You feel hopeless and are unable to stop negative thoughts no matter how much you try
You have unexplained aches and pains

When we recognise these symptoms we should seek help. We can seek help from many places; from your local imam, your family and friends or your doctor or a therapist. It can be difficult to accept help from anyone but it is easier to overcome depression with help. They can support you and help encourage you.
There are 2 main ways of seeking help from healthcare professionals:
1) psychotherapy/counselling – there are many different types of counselling available and studies have shown that it can be as good as medication.
2) medication – there are many misconceptions about taking anti-depressants but studies have shown that taking medication increases your chances of helping overcome depression by 50-60% but it does take time for the medication to start working so you will have to be patient when you start taking them.

Along with seeking help from others you also have to help yourself. You have to change something in your life and break the cycle.

Depression leads to low energy/fatigue which leads to decreased activity and neglecting responsibilities which leads to increased guilt and hopelessness this then in turn make the depression worse. This becomes a vicious cycle.
To break this cycle you have to make a change, it doesn’t have to be a big change even something small can help to break it, but it has to be something you know will help you. it could be anything from taking a walk daily or exercising or reading or writing or even doing some art work.

One of the best things we can do to overcome depression is to follow the sunnah. The Prophet (saw) taught us so many things which teach good mental health. So doing things like spreading salaam, smiling at others, keeping family ties, being good to your spouse, avoiding the haram eg. alcohol, eating in moderation, being modest and giving gifts can help us to feel better within ourselves and so in turn help us to overcome depression. This is just a short list of things he (saw) taught us, we can find many more examples throughout his seerah.

We look at others “perfect” lives on social media and then we see all the horrors that happen around the world on the news. It’s like whiplash. We see two extremes and caught up in this. We spend time on social media looking at the “amazing lives” people are living but we feel we can’t attain this so we feel low. But this is only a snapshot of their best times. We don’t really know what their lives are like outside of social media.

Don’t dwell on the past, move forward towards your goals. Look to the example of the prophet (saw), he didn’t dwell on his persecution in Makkah. He moved to Medina but still smiled and carried on living his life. Look to those who are worse off than you, it will make you grateful for what you have and encourage you to help.

Don’t dwell, do.

Know it WILL get better. Depression can be cured.

Remember that we have an afterlife waiting for us.

Reading Surah kahf every Friday will give us a light from one Friday to the next. Learning the stories can help us. Look at the story of Khidr, we learn that something happens to you that you perceive as bad but we don’t know that everything ahead is good. Only Allah knows what’s ahead.

Verily with hardship there is ease. Verily with hardship there is ease. Quran (94:5-6)

This is the only place in the Quran that something is repeated. It’s addressed to someone who is going through hardship. These people may not hear the reassurance the first time so He says it again so that we can allow it to penetrate and hear it.

I Hear Whispers…

I hear whispers telling me that it’s okay to pray later that what I’m doing is far too important to leave halfway through. I hear whispers saying not to worry that I have loads of time to pray before the next salah time begins. He tells me to sit down and relax for a while longer. Then before I realise salah time is ending and I’m rushing to pray. 

I hear whispers even while I’m praying reminding me of all the things I need to do. He reminds me of things I had long forgotten. He tries to distract me, constantly making me lose focus on my salah. 

I hear whispers telling me that I shouldn’t give so much in charity because then how will I pay for the things I need? He tells me to give only a little or to give next time because I have bills to pay and things to buy. He reminds me of poverty and causes me to forget that Allah is the one who provides.

 I hear whispers reminding me of my insecurities and self doubts. He makes me feel as though I can’t achieve anything, that my success is limited. He makes me doubt my own abilities and tries to stop me from reaching higher.

I hear whispers telling me my mistakes are so big that there’s no hope for me. He tells me that I have no hope for forgiveness that I may as well not even bother trying. He tries to make me despair in the mercy of Allah.

I hear whispers telling me that my husband didn’t do it by accident. He did it on purpose because he doesn’t care about me. He tells me I should hurt him too. He tells me it will make me feel better if I argue with him. He tells me to scream at him. He tells me to say hurtful things to him. He makes me feel this is the only way to make my husband see that I’m hurt.

I hear whispers telling me that this person spread lies about me so I should do the same. I hear whispers telling me how unfair it is that others have what I want and that its okay to be jealous. I hear whispers telling me to treat others badly because they were mean to me. That this is the only way, that revenge is the best thing. I hear whispers that remind me of the hurt and betrayal by others. He tells me not to forgive them, that they don’t deserve it. He tells me that I should remain angry with them and break ties with them. That’s the only way to get them back. 

These whispers are so dangerous I don’t know how to stop it from affecting me. But I have to fight it. I can’t let it control me. I can’t let it ruin my chances of Jannah. This is the true jihad. Because these whispers come from none other than Shaytan and my own nafs (desires). They whisper so sweetly that they convince me that this is the right thing to do. But I have to keep fighting. I have to keep my defences strong. I have to pray and make dua and keep my dhikr consistent. Without these I am defenceless. I won’t be able to fight their whispers. Because even though it’s a whisper, it’s one of the greatest battles I will have to fight. 

Self Esteem 

Allah will not change a condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. Quran (13:11)

I recently listened to a really interesting lecture about self esteem and the islamic perspective. It was really interesting to hear as we all suffer from low self esteem in one way or another. So learning about self esteem will help us to increase our self esteem.

Self-esteem: The value you place on yourself, which enables you to love and cherish who you are and care for yourself accordingly.

Having good self esteem and self worth gives you self confidence. You have a positive outlook in life and are thankful for what you have. It’s so important to be grateful as the opposite of shirk is kufr. This in turn will help you succeed in life as you will be more resistant to difficulties and obstacles and be able to overcome them. Having good self esteem will help to improve your relationships, as you are comfortable with yourself you won’t feel jealous, intimidated or threatened by anyone else. For example the mother/sister in law can be threatened by the daughter in law, they sometimes feel that the daughter in law will “take” the son from them. Having good self esteem means that you are confident in your relationship so will not feel that a new person will destroy that relationship. One of the most important reasons for having good self esteem is that it will give you inner peace. You won’t be obsessed over the events of the past and keep blaming yourself for mistakes that can’t be changed. You will be able to accept whatever has happened and learn from it and move on.

None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself. (Bukhari)

This hadith is so important it teaches that we should feel good about who we are and be able to see the success of others and we should not feel jealous of what others have. When we constantly feel as though you deserve what others have more than them or you are jealous of their success it is as if you are questioning Allahs wisdom. Allah gave that person that success for a reason, but do we think we know better than Allah? Allah is al-Hakeem, the wise, He knows exactly what is best and for whom. We should remember that just as want certain things, we should also want others to have it too. But we need to have good self worth and self esteem to be able to want for others what you want for yourself.

So what does it mean to have good self esteem? The sister explained different components that make up having good self esteem.

1) Your personality – having a strong personality improves your self esteem.

2) Spirituality – you are true to what you believe. You are not easily influenced to change your opinions to match what others are saying. You live by your own values and standards.

3) Looks – you feel content with your looks. You avoid both extremes of being obsessed and letting go.

4) Sense of purpose – You know where you are heading

5) Sense of belonging and acceptance – You are at peace with yourself and accept yourself the way you are.

6) Sense of competence – you have proficiency in different areas and are aware of areas of self improvement. You are able to filter information in an empowering way.

7) Influence others – you are aware of the impact you have on others and you know when to take feedback from others.

So our self esteem is affected by many different factors in life.

There are ways to improve your self esteem and as we are all vulnerable to suffering from low self esteem at some point in our lives it’s important to know ways in which we can improve our self esteem.

1) We all do a lot of self-talking. We speak to ourselves in our head all the time. I can’t do this or what will people think if I did this? We need to change our self talk into one that is positive. Tell ourselves that we can do it, that we have the ability to achieve the goal. Motivate ourselves.

2) Surrounding yourself with positive people can make a huge difference in your self esteem. The type of people you surround yourself with affects how you think. So if the people you are around are always complaining, are ungrateful and always focus on the negative then you will be pulled into that type of thinking. And the opposite is also true. So it’s important to be careful in who you spend your time with.

3) Celebrate small successes. Don’t wait until the absolute end of a goal to celebrate. Celebrate each milestone, each step you took. Take the time to acknowledge each step and reward yourself for achieving it. It will help to motivate you and encourage you.

4) Volunteer for a charity. Sometimes you can’t see it from the inside so you need to start on the outside. The feeling you get when you help someone can help you a lot in making you feel better about yourself. It makes you more grateful and helps you see the good in your life by helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

5) Dress in a presentable way. The way you are dressed can impact the way you think about yourself. So even if you are at home all day don’t stay in your pyjamas.

So we should all work on our self esteem as there are many things in life which can affect it. But we shouldn’t confuse good self esteem with arrogance. Self esteem is appreciating what you have been give, being grateful. It is not feeling that you are better than others. There is no contradiction between good self esteem and being humble. Having good self esteem means you feel safe and secure about who you are

Live like a traveller in the Dunya

So I’m moving houses once again, this will be my third move in under a year subhanAllah. As I’m packing once again I have been thinking about how we get so attached to the place we live. We become accustomed to having things a certain way and we don’t like change. One of the most stressful life events is moving homes! Me and my husband are not just moving homes but we’re also moving far away from our family and friends. So I’m feeling really emotional. I’m excited and sad, I’m happy and stressed, I’m looking forward to it but also thinking I don’t want to move so far. I’m feeling everything at once.

But as I sat here thinking about how annoying it is to have to move again and again especially as I had just started to get used to where we live it reminded me of a hadith.

The prophet (saw) said: Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller. (Bukhari)

Moving home a lot actually helps us to realise that this isn’t our permanent home. That no matter how much we love to live in a specific place we will eventually have to leave it. So we should always keep that in mind and not allow ourselves to love our homes so much that we can’t bear to leave it if we need to. But that is really hard. We want to find a house where we can live long term, where we can build our home with our family, raise our children. We want to decorate our homes and make it look nice and beautiful. We spend lots of money in making a house our home. So then we don’t want to leave.

But it’s halal for us to have a nice home so shouldn’t we want to make it look nice? How can we balance between loving where we live and not being so attached to it that we can’t bear to leave? We want to have the things from the dunya but how can we stop ourselves from becoming materialistic?

Ali ibn Abi Talib said: Asceticism (Zuhd) is not that you should not own anything, but that nothing should own you.

So we learn from this that it’s okay to have a nice home but in wanting a nice home we shouldn’t allow it to control what we do, especially if it causes us to commit haram, like taking a riba based loan. Everyone wants a place that they can call their own and make how they want but it’s not worth using haram means as it will only cause us misery in the hereafter.

Being grateful for what we have is also important especially if what you want may be out of your reach. I had never imagined living in a studio apartment when I got married and going from a 3 bedroom home to that was really difficult initially but alhamdulillah I got used to it and enjoy living here now which is why I feel sad about leaving.

If we have to leave our home we should keep in mind our permanent home in Jannah is waiting for us and that always brings me comfort because I know that even if my home in the dunya may not be how I would like, my home in Jannah will be better than anything I could ever imagine!

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: The dunya distracts and preoccupies the heart and body, but al-zuhd (asceticism, not giving importance to worldly things) gives rest to the heart and body. Verily, Allah will ask us about the halal things we enjoyed, so what about the haram!

Hijama

So about a week ago I had my first experience with hijama (also known as cupping). I have to say I was so nervous and didn’t know what to expect. But alhamdulillah it is the best appointment I ever made!
I have several health conditions which means I suffer from chronic back pain which spreads through my legs and shoulders. I was struggling to maintain my day to day activities and standing even long enough to cook the dinner was some of my most difficult tasks. Spending the day going out somewhere that involved walking for long periods was out of the question. And I literally survived off painkillers, having to take several daily. The doctors had reached a point where they had said aside from major spinal surgery there isn’t a lot we can do. Just keep taking your painkillers. So for a long time I just dealt with the pain and continued the best I could. I had thought about hijama several times but was always to nervous to actually go for it. But recently a lovely sister I know became certified to do hijama so I thought okay let’s go for it.
So she came to my house to do the hijama which was a plus as it was much more comfortable than going to have it done somewhere else. She discussed in detail my health conditions so as to provide a good treatment and then we started the hijama. It was actually nothing like I had imagined. I barely felt any pain, it was more of a scratch and I didn’t feel light headed at all. I had the hijama done on my back and feet. Afterwards I was sore due to the hijama for that evening but the next day I barely felt it. She also advised me on sunnah foods to eat to help my health conditions. I have to say it was a really good experience. Alhamdulillah.
But the way I felt after the hijama was just amazing! The only pain I felt in my back since having the hijama is an ache and I generally feel great. I have much more energy to do things and my daily activities are so much easier to do. I can now cook dinner much easier and I even took my cousins to the park and played tag with them! Something I haven’t been able to do in years! I don’t feel so exhausted when my husband comes home from work so I can spend more quality time with him and I am able to do a lot more in my day. It has been a week now since I had it done and I’ve not had to take a single painkiller since. Some of you may be thinking that these things are just “normal” but trust me I had long given up thinking I would ever see a day when I would not have take tablets to be able to get through a day or even be able to spend the day out or play with my cousins. For me these are great accomplishments. But my greatest achievement of all was to be able to pray standing for all my prayers. To be able to make ruku and sujood properly was just amazing! As I now don’t need to take my tablets so often during the day to control my pain I am hoping that this Ramadan will be easier than my last inshaAllah.
This one session of hijama has helped me more than the many appointments I have had with my consultants, physiotherapists and GP. Of course we do need to seek medical help but we shouldn’t rely on this alone. Alhamdulillah I am so glad I tried hijama now I can use this to help with my health conditions rather than relying on drugs and more drastic medical treatments.
Hijama is something that the prophet (saw) told us to do and having now experienced it myself I can truly see why he has told us to have hijama done. There are many hadith which show the great importance of having hijama done. I will share a few with you:
The prophet (saw) said: Indeed the best of remedies is cupping. (Bukhari)
The prophet (saw) said: Indeed in cupping there is a cure. (Muslim)
The prophet (saw) said: Cupping on an empty stomach is best. In it there is a cure and blessing… (Sunan ibn Majah)
I would definitely recommend everyone to have hijama done, whether you have a physical health condition, a mental health condition or you suffer from bad eyesight, poor memory or anything else. Hijama is a cure for all problems. Alhamdulillah.
If you live in London then I would definitely recommend having your hijama done from them, they have a brother to do hijama for any brothers who would like to have it done. The best thing is they travel to your home and I believe they also travel outside of London to clients. 

Alhamdulillah!

And if you were to count the blessing of Allah never will you be able to count them.
Quran (14:36)
Allah gives us countless blessings, He gives and gives, so many in fact that we can’t even count them. Yet how many of us remember to thank Allah for our blessings? We take what Allah gives for granted, we think that it’s due to our hard work that we have achieved something. We become ungrateful because we forget that we can’t do anything without Allah and all that He gives us. 
This ayah really amazes me as it says blessing, in singular, Allah tells us we can’t even count one blessing. For a long time I didn’t really understand what it meant but as I learnt more I realised that from one blessing comes countless others. Our sight is a blessing and from the blessing of being able to see we have so many blessings as a result of this blessing for example We can read the Quran. Without the blessing of sight we wouldn’t be able to see the words in the Quran and recite it. Allah gives us so much that we can’t even begin to count just how much he gave us. 
So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny? 
Quran (55:13)
This ayah is repeated 31 times in Surah Rahman. Every time Allah says this it is preceded by a favour, a blessing given to us by Allah. Allah is telling us about so many blessings bestowed on us, blessing after blessing so how can we deny these? We should be grateful to Allah that He has provided everything for us even though we haven’t done anything to deserve these countless number of blessings. We need to constantly express our gratitude to Allah. It is so easy for us to forget all the blessings we have especially when we are faced with difficulties so we need to learn ways to be grateful and give thanks to Allah for what we have.
We should make a habit of saying Alhamdulillah all the time, whether we’re in a time of hardship or ease. Allah loves those who are grateful so in consistently saying Alhamdulillah we will reap many rewards and success. 
As Allah says: And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “if you are grateful, I will increase you in favour. But if you deny indeed, my punishment is severe.” Quran (14:7)
Ensuring we pray our salah consistently and on time is probably one of the best ways to show gratitude to Allah. Making dua to Allah and asking only from Him. What better time to show how grateful you are than in sujood. Being consistent in our salah and dhikr Allah will give us a great reward, so much more than we could possibly imagine.
As Allah says: whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life and We will surely give them their reward (in the hereafter) according to the best of what they used to do. Quran (16:97)
All and every blessing and favour we have is from Allah so when we are faced with difficulties we turn to Allah and ask Him to help us. We beg Him to remove the difficulty from our lives and grant us ease. Yet when Allah answers us and removes the difficulty we forget to turn to Allah. We are selective in turning to Him, only when we need to. We act as though the good came from your own hard work. We need to remember that the ease was only through the blessing of Allah, and He can give and take as He wills. So if we are grateful He will increase us and if we are ungrateful aren’t we at risk of having the blessing removed from us?
As Allah says: And whatever you have of favour – it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help. Then when He removes the adversity from you, at once a party of you associates others with their Lord. Quran (16:53-54)
We should try and have positive thoughts whatever situation we are in and try to positive in what we what we say. What we think and say has a huge effect on us. If we think negative thoughts then we will become ungrateful but if we remain positive then we are more likely to be grateful for all the blessings we have been given.
We know that Allah is not in need of our worship, it is in fact us who are going to benefit from worshipping Allah. Allah gives us so many blessings, that’s for our benefit and us being grateful for the blessings is also for our benefit! So in showing our gratitude we are only going to get more blessings from Allah.
As Allah says: And when (Suleiman) saw it placed before him, he said, “This is from the favour of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for (the benefit of) himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is free of need and generous. Quran (27:40)
Being grateful for what others do for us is also a way of showing gratitude to Allah. If someone does something nice for us or gives us a gift we should be grateful no matter how big or small it is. Saying thank you and letting the person know you appreciate it is a way of showing gratitude to Allah. As we know the prophet (saw) said, that whoever does not thank people does not thank Allah. So if we are not grateful to the people in our lives then we are in fact being ungrateful to Allah. 
We should remember that Allah is Ash-Shaakir, the rewarded of good and Ash-Shakoor, the appreciative. He recognises and appreciates our good actions and ibadah and rewards us greatly for even the smallest of actions. His reward is far greater in proportion to the gratitude we show. When we realise this then we can begin to appreciate just how many blessings we are given.
And lastly I will leave you with some food for thought: “Saying alhamdulillah deserves another alhamdulillah in itself, to thank Allah for allowing us to give thanks to Him.” SubhanAllah!

Am I too skinny?

Being told you’re too skinny is just as soul destroying as being told you’re fat. Trust me.

Although I have now accepted that I’m slightly underweight and will probably remain this way for at least a few more years, due to my fast metabolism, I did at one time feel like there was something wrong with me for being so skinny. Before I got married I was constantly told I’m too skinny, so skinny that my wedding dress won’t look nice on me and that my husband won’t find me attractive. People told me I looked anorexic even though I wasn’t. It made me feel quite insecure about my body, I started to believe what people told me. I know I shouldn’t have but when your constantly told something it does affect you. After I got married it took some time for me to accept that my husband thinks I’m perfectly fine the way I am. Alhamdulillah for my husband, when I told him how I felt he told me that’s ridiculous and made me feel like I’m the prettiest girl in the world (to him anyways). Just like we wouldn’t say to someone you’re so fat your husband won’t think your pretty, we also shouldn’t say it to someone who is skinny. 
I’ve come to realise that no matter what size you are you will always be the wrong size. There’s no winning. So I learnt to accept it and be happy with the size that I am. Yes I know I am slightly underweight but my doctors aren’t concerned so there really is no problem. If people spent less time worrying about other peoples dress size and more time on themselves the world would be a much happier place. I mean how is my dress size going to affect anyone else’s lives? Now I know some people are genuinely concerned but then you need to be tactful in the way you handle the situation. Yes some people need to lose weight for health reasons and yes some people may have an eating disorder causing them to be severely underweight but is saying you’re too fat or you’re so skinny that you look ugly going to help? Instead how about you focus on them and their wellbeing rather than their image? Why do girls become anorexic? Because society says you need to be super skinny to look pretty. Well how about the society focuses on more important things rather than a dress size. Seriously!
And lastly I want to remind myself and anyone out there who’s been told they’re not the “right” dress size that Allah has created you perfectly. You are exactly how Allah intended you to be and and you are perfectly unique and special to Allah, no matter what anyone else says. Allah created every single person differently, right down to our fingerprint so then why would we want to look like someone else? And remember that there is wisdom in why you were created the way you were and it is exactly the way Allah intended you to look. And what could be more perfect than the way Allah wanted you to look?

We have certainly created man in the best of stature. Quran 95:4

Can we come over?

O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded (ie. advised).

And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given to you. And if it is said to you, “go back” then go back; it is purer for you. And God is knowing of what you do.
Quran (24:27-28)

Allah is very clear as to what we should do before entering another persons home yet today the majority of people today have forgotten these etiquettes. Where they are placed in Surah Nur shows us how important these etiquettes before these ayah are the ayah about slandering chaste women and after are the ayah about lowering your gaze. That alone should tell us that these etiquettes are related to guarding chastity and not spreading fitna. Then why is it today people take this so lightly? People will turn up to a persons house unannounced and the host will have no choice but to allow them in. Even within the home people do not feel it is important to knock before entering and fling doors open as they please. When we read these ayahs we learn that this is not acceptable to Allah. So it’s really important we learn, understand and implement these etiquettes in our lives. 

The prophet (saw) said: If any one of you ask permission to enter thrice, and permission is not given, then he should return. (Bukhari)

This means that you should knock three times and if the person does not give you permission to come in then you should leave. Even the ayah states that if the person asks you not to come now then it should be respected and you should not insist that you have to come at that time. This is made even easier for us now as we have technology that enables us to ask even before we leave our home. So we should be mindful that the other person may be busy or not in a position to host guests at that time so we should ask politely and not insist if they ask us not to come at that time.  If it is said to us that, this time is not appropriate then we should not get upset but this is what happens nowadays. People feel offended if they are told that this time is not appropriate for the other person feeling as though it is their right to come whenever they want. This attitude needs to stop. This type of behaviour is described in the Tafsir of ibn Kathir as the behaviour of the people in the time of jahilliyyah. So we need to ensure we are not imitating the behaviour done at the time of jahilliyyah. 

The prophet (saw) said: If a person looks into your house without permission, and you throw a stone at him and it puts his eye out, there is no blame on you. (Muslim)

This Hadith should give us an indication of just how important it is not to invade someone’s privacy of their home. So if even looking into someone’s home is discouraged then how much more important must it be to seek permission before coming into someone’s home. Even husbands are encouraged by the prophet (saw) to announce before coming into their home. This means even within family we should knock before entering even within the house as chastity and privacy needs to be protected. It is also narrated in Muslim that it is not sufficient to say “I” or “me” when you are asked who it is when seeking permission. The prophet (saw) disliked this and taught us that you must be specific when answering. 
When the etiquettes are so clear then why do we fail to follow them? We need to spend more time learning what Allah and the prophet (saw) has taught us and do our best to implement it. In doing this we will save ourselves from many social issues and guard our chastity and privacy and inshaAllah it will cause people to be closer to one another.

Oh my gosh! Did you hear about….

Can you imagine eating dead flesh? Well that’s basically what we do when we backbite or gossip or slander someone.

O you who have believed, avoid much (negative) assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; Indeed Allah is accepting of repentance and merciful. Quran (49:12)
Backbiting, slander, gossipping, spreading rumours, are words that evoke such strong emotions in me, because I have been at the receiving end of this,especially for the last six months, and I have never experienced anything as awful as this. I don’t understand what people get out of gossipping or backbiting about someone. Do people think it’s actually acceptable and it won’t cause any issues? All this does is ruin relationships and tears families and friends apart. But most importantly it is a major sin in Islam and one of the diseases of the heart.
Prophet Muhammad  said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of God  said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.”(Muslim)
So whether you think that it’s true or not doesn’t justify you saying something negative about a person. It is so important for us to ensure we don’t gossip or slander someone as it is a major sin and the punishment for this sin is severe subhanAllah.
The prophet (saw) said: “when I was taken up to heaven I passed by people who had nails of copper and were scratching their faces and their chests.” I said: “Who are these people, Jibreel?” He replied: “They are those who used to backbite and who violated people’s honour.” (Sunna Abu Dawud)

The Prophet (saw) asked one group of his companions, “Do you know who the bankrupt person is?” They said, “A bankrupt person amongst us is the one who has neither money nor property.” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The bankrupt person of my nation is he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer and fast and giving great amounts in charity. And at the same time, he would come having abused this one, and slandered that one, and consumed the wealth of the other unlawfully, and shed the blood of yet others and having beaten others. Then any person whom he has wronged will be given from his good deeds on that Day. And if his good deeds are exhausted until he clears the account concerning all of the people he has oppressed, the sins of those people whom he has wronged will be thrown unto his account and after that, he will be thrown into the hellfire.” (Muslim)
So not only will we be punished like this for slandering someone but we will come on the day of judgement thinking we have many good deeds like fasting, praying, giving sadaqah etc. but it will be taken from us and given to those whom we slandered and gossiped about. Then if we run out of good deeds to give we shall then have to take their sins to compensate for violating their rights. SubhanAllah! This alone should be enough for us to never backbite again. If it our friend why would we want to backbite about them? And if it is a foe then why would we want to give him our good deeds?
Even indirectly saying something is still backbiting, it does not matter whether you explicitly mention which person you are talking about. Even gestures are unacceptable. This is evident In the story of when Aisha (ra) motioned with her hand that a woman was short. The prophet (saw) immediately chastised her saying, you have backbitten!
We are always encouraged in Islam to have the highest of moral character and we are taught how we can achieve complete faith. One of the things that prevents us from truly having emaan in our hearts is if we backbite.
The prophet (saw) said: “A Muslim is one who avoids harming another Muslim with his tongue or hands.” (Bukhari)
The prophet (saw) said: “O my people, who believe with their tongue, but belief has not entered their hearts, do not backbite another Muslim, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, he disgraces them in his house.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
These show that slander, backbite, gossip can decrease your emaan. Instead of doing things that decrease your emaan, we should focus on increasing in doing what increases our emaan. Focus on having beneficial conversations and always keep in mind that just like you would not like it if someone spoke badly of you, neither would the person you are speaking badly of. If we would not like it for ourselves then why do it to someone else? And also keep in mind that if you hear someone gossiping or slandering someone you should defend the person that is being slandered and make excuses for them. It is your job as a Muslim to defend another Muslims honour.
Anyone who believes in Allah and the last day, should speak good words or remain silent. (an-Nawawi)