Monday, January 15, 2007

The Story of A Poet and His Comfort Zone - A Motivational Story of The Desire to Change Oneself

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

Every end of the Gregorian year, I had a routine which had been with me for years. I got myself a brand new yearly planner and fill them up with dates which are important for me. First thing would be filling up the planner with the Islamic dates. All 365 boxes of them.

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20th January 2007. 1st Hijri 1428.
A new year which means a new beginning. I began reflecting. Did I achieve what I wanted to achieve last year? I flipped my old planner and went through my checklist. Check. Check. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Check. Wokey, this is not good…

At the end of the list, I realized that I have more ‘Nopes’ than ‘Checks’. Kind of embarrassing to acknowledge that, don’t you think so?

What happened to my so called new year’s resolutions 1427? Why didn’t I achieve some of them? Why did I have them printed and listed there in the first place and at the same time I clearly did not even try to realize them? Were these goals really matter to me? Did I even strive for them? Or had I just written them down just to make me feel good about myself? Well, the whole world was doing it, You know? Listing all the the things that you wish to change or achieve. Why not join the crowd, right?

I started at the first square and decided to reach the tenth square of the 365 days with 20 life changing goals and resolutions. I wondered, which square am I actually on right now for each of them? Eighth square? Or is it the sixth square? Did I even get to the fifth square? Oh my…. About 5 days to go from the end of the time frame.

I smiled as I remembered the cynical quote by J. Raper

"There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."

Like it? When I first came across this quote, I looked around me to see if there was anyone there. Was he talking to me? It sure felt that way. Ok Mr. J, I got your point. You can leave now…

As I shook my head in dismay while looking at the list of unachieved goals for year 1427, suddenly it occurred to me that Allaah keeps His promise when He said this…

This is because Allah has never changed a favor which He has conferred upon a people until they change their own condition; and because Allah is Hearing, Knowing; (The Spoils Of War 8 : 53)

Never? Wow… That word struck me like lightning. It means that if I do not make the change, Allaah would never change it for me. Am I right, here? Oh..oh.. Herein lays a problem. I know that some of the things I listed as my new year’s resolution, I didn’t even lift a finger as an effort to reach it. Do I even have to wonder why I didn’t accomplish them? Why they were in my ‘Nope’ list. Allaah has made it so clear. I have to change myself if I want my conditions to change. Crystal clear.

That reminds me of the many incidences in which I heard people gave when they are not able to achieve something or change their conditions. Like ‘Its not my luck’ or ‘I am not like you’ or ‘ How lucky you are’ or ‘I don’t have enough support around me’ or ‘ You are different’ or ‘I am too scared to try’. What are those? Really. Excuses for failures? Ouch! I know…The truth hurts!

I had a friend who was trying to master the English language. Since it was not her mother tongue, it was quite an uphill battle for her. As I was encouraging her, she said to me that I was lucky because my parents speak English. It makes it natural for me to be able to speak that language. Unlike me, both her parents are not English speaking people. I smiled to her and said ‘Well, perhaps you are right, but, you know something, my grandparents did not speak English too. So, if your theory holds, how did my parents learn to speak English then?’ Hah! I stumped her and we both laughed. Good news, now she speaks English well enough that I think she is in square six from ten, MashaAllaah. I am so proud of her.

Allaah will not change the condition of the person until they change it themselves.
How true…

Also, the same ayah gave me utmost security when I know that Allaah says He is All Hearing, Knowing. Allaahu Akbar. He would know if I actually made any effort,from my smallest, faintest, most silent and unspoken efforts and struggle, to my biggest and loudest efforts to change my condition. He would know. And He would reward accordingly.

Remember this ayah?

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. (The Bee 16 : 97)


According to the best of their action. This means that if we put in 1, we would receive 1. If we put in 1+4, we would receive 5. It does make sense right?

Let me try another analogy. Say, I wanted to make myself a hamburger. If I am ready to go out and buy the bread, the meat and some salad, I would make a nice decent hamburger.

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But, what if I decided to open up the fridge for some mayonnaise, open up the freezer for some fries and took the trouble to fry them, perhaps cut some tomatoes and look for the piece of cheese from the chiller; also perhaps heat up the pan with a small spoon of oil, endure the heat and make one nice fried egg, and in the end, pour myself a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice by the side.


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Now, let me ask you. What would I have? Do I have with me one plain boring hamburger or would I have a filling wholesome meal that I could enjoy eating?

Their rewards are according to the best of their action. Think about it.

Not only that we would be rewarded according to our actions, but, we would be accountable for them too.

"To any of you that chooses to press forward, or to follow behind – Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds." [Sûrah al-Muddaththir (74): 37-38]



Subhanallaah. Time and again. Every soul for its own deeds. Forward or otherwise. It is so clear, how can we miss it, right? The instruction is so clear.

I knew in my heart that I wanted that one nice wholesome hamburger. What I needed now is a driver, a motivating factor that would not only take me to the bread, meat and salad, but all the way to the mayonnaise, fries, tomatoes, cheese, eggs and also the nice juicy freshly squeezed orange juice.

Let me think. Where could I find this driver? Perhaps a good question is to ask myself is why do I want all these changes in my life? Why am I making all these goals and resolutions? Are they not to improve my life? Are they not for the betterment of my life in this world and hereafter? Are they not for my investment in this world and afterlife? Of course they are, right?

Alhamdulillaah, in this verse, I found my driver…

Those who believe, and migrate and strive in Allah’s cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah: they are indeed the successful people. Their Lord does give them glad tidings of a Mercy from Himself, of His good pleasure, and of Gardens for them, wherein are delights that endure: They will dwell therein forever. Verily in Allah’s presence is a reward, the greatest (of all) (At-Tawbah 9: 20-22)


Subhanallaah. If I change, strive in Allaah’s cause, with whatever means I have and in my actions, I would be able to receive the highest rank in the sight of Allaah? Glad tidings, Mercy, Gardens, Good pleasure, Delights, Forever. Those words are like sweet candy for me. Very sweet indeed.

And I want them all. I really do. Let me just state what is obvious here. He is my Creator, in His Judgment that I may enter His paradise. His decision alone. So, I asked myself, do I want to be at His Highest rank? Of course I do! Without doubt…

Allah Most High says, "Turn towards Allah, O believers, every one of you, so that you may be successful." (24:31)

It is so clear. Turn to Him so that I may be successful. Ya Allaah, I am turning my sail, My Lord, to You. Please help me…

Let me share with you a poem I read sometime ago that touches my base. It is entitled ‘Comfort Zone’…

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busy work were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
Success is there for you!


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The moment I finished reading this poem, I smiled so long that my face ached. This is so true. I was in my comfort zone. The zone which makes me believe that everything is enough and sufficient. Be complacent. I needed to get out. I needed to change some things in my life. I needed to become better. To become smarter. To become an all-rounder. To become healthier. To become wiser. To increase my skills. To make myself more useful for others. To achieve my dreams. And my goals. For my success in this life and hereafter. To make myself His worthy servant.

Most of all, I know that my comfort zone is not as attractive and interesting to live in anymore. I love some of the views that I saw outside my zone and I wish to make that view as mine, InshaAllaah. As long as the shift is for Him, for my Deen, I know that Allaah has guaranteed not only success but the highest ranking in His sight. And that is all that matters.

What about you my friends? How does your comfort zone look like? Interesting? Boring? Appealing? Dull? Exciting? Mind-numbing? Colors of rainbows? Black, grey and white?

If you are ok with it, then, by all means, don’t change. But, if you are like me, have established some goals to be achieved and finding myself increasingly attracted to the views outside my comfort zone, let us make that shift together.

I invite you, my friends, to come with me, to step out from that nice, cozy zone where we have been in for quite some time and be bold to achieve our goals. We shouldn’t be scared. You know why? Because, we have with us the ‘Certificate of Guaranteed Success’. Guess who issued these Certificates? Allaah the AlMighty, Allaah, Greatest Planner, Allaah, our Creator, and most importantly, Allaah, who Loves us more than we love ourselves. Trust Him.

What are we waiting for? This is the line that separates the comfort zone with the uncertain zone. Let us jump out together, agree? Right, on three, ok? One, two… JUMP!

Subhanallaah, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Sis Zabrina
~ Your Source for Islamic Motivational and Inspirational Stories ~

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for that, it was really encouraging. I know you may not have acheived all your goals, but at least you know that Inshallah you will be rewarded for every single person that comes here and reads your blog. Its no use crying over spilt milk, just give all you can to make the most out of the coming year. And even if you do great, still don't settle for that. May you have a blessed year, wsalam.

Sis Zabrina said...

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Jazakallaah for such nice words of encouragement. InshaAllaah, there is nothing that are wasted as long as we do it for the sake of Allaah. :))

And May you have a blessed year too! Ameen...

Sis Zabrina

irving said...

A great post, and your cheeseburger picure made me hungry lol.

Ya Haqq!

k.d said...

Masha-Allah Sis Zabrina. Thank you for the reminder. Salam Maal Hijrah to you. It is aptly named "hijrah" and we should hijrah from the comfort zone for the betterment of ourselves and our lives.

Keep up the good work. You'll reach your goal if you keep at it.

Sis Zabrina said...

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

Jazakallaah kheyr brother Irving. You know what? It made Me hungry too! Just see the differences between the two pictures. It answers the question, which one would you want, right? Thanks for dropping by. Hope to see you again. By the way, i am halfway reading your book and it is very interesting and unique, to say the least, MashaAllaah. Salaam

Sis Zabrina

Note to all: Brother Irving is a published author. You can visit his website by clicking on his name. Salaam.

Sis Zabrina said...

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Jazakallaah kheyr k.d. You are absolutely right. It is called hijrah because it is moving from where we are now to where we want to be.

Ameen to your prayers. And do drop by again in the future. Salaam.

Sis Zabrina
p/s cute icon you have there!

Aslam said...

Masha allah sis Zabrina,nice article, u kno one thing which made me to think through u r article the things hapening around the world for the muslims are so sad bt ppl keep on saying ask duwa ask duwa ask duwa from allah for Palestain,Iraq,etc etc....bt wht allah says
"This is because Allah has never changed a favor which He has conferred upon a people until they change their own condition; and because Allah is Hearing, Knowing; (The Spoils Of War 8 : 53)" so unless ppl think its not going to work out.... (keep it up u r work)

Sis Zabrina said...

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and pace to all,

Brother Aslam, You are so right. it is all in our hands to work hard and change our own condition. Allaah is Merciful and He knows whats best for us. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Do come back in the future. Salaam.

Sis Zabrina