Jul 2, 2013

Allah Is The Only Constant: How To Settle Into A New City Quickly

By SabinaGiado


I have always thought of myself as a shy person. I do not mingle easily with people I do not know; even with people I do know, getting comfortable takes a long time.

In the past year, I moved twice – once to a city I am familiar with but has never been home, and once more to a completely different city in a completely different country. In short, I have had to challenge and alter that self-perception.

Alhamdulillah, I have found a few simple changes that impacted the way I approached my ‘moving in’ process. I am still going through this process, but insha Allah very soon I will have the confidence to be the Abd’Allah (servant of Allah) I aim to be in this new context.

1. Explore as much as you are comfortable with

I am here with my husband so Alhamdulillah, getting lost is not as frightening as it would be if I was alone. That said, the experience was still exhilarating and allowed me to become familiar with a strange city in a relatively short time. I discovered that people are much friendlier than we think they are going to be; one lady even went out of her way to try and give us directions. Perhaps you are frightened of vagabonds, drunkards and homeless people. I was born and brought up in an abnormally clean city, so I was frightened too. But remember this hadith:

Ibn `Abbas relates the following advice that Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam gave him when he was still a youth: 

“Young man, I will teach you something: Remember Allah and He will remember you. Keep Him in your heart and you will find Him with you. If you beg of someone, beg of Allah. If you rely on someone, rely on Allah.”

“Know that if the whole world united in order to provide you with some benefit, they could only benefit you with what Allah has already decreed for you. And know that if the whole world united in order to bring you harm, they could only harm you with what Allah had already decreed to befall you.” (Tirmidhi)

And remember that those intimidating people more often than not, do not intend to hurt anybody. They are simply facing a low-point in their lives and a little compassion might be all they need to stop them from going over the edge.

2. Go to social occasions but do not expect to make friends 

I find that it helps to remain in the spirit of exploration even when you are meeting people for the first time. Since we are new here, it helps to ask questions and listen. But do not really expect to make lifelong friendships, simply because that puts too much pressure on an already high-pressure situation (being a stranger in a strange land).

If you are in a Western or non-Muslim country, I have found that wearing hijab and being recognizably Muslim is not that big a deal. If we are comfortable in our own skin and comfortable that our actions are Halal, the energy we bring to the room palpably seems to put everyone else at ease as well, even if they are not completely familiar with our faith. Most people look to us to explain our needs to them, so praying and not shaking hands with people of the opposite sex has also never really been a problem in my experience.

3. Have no expectations

When I examine my expectations as I step out into this new city, I find that they are not really based on reality yet. Sure, it is nice to be hopeful. But it is so much easier to react patiently to setbacks and be grateful for blessings, if we acknowledge the fact that we really do not know what is going to happen next.

Yes, it is terrifying. It is like walking on a tight-rope without a net. But as always, Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala is there to catch us. And as our beloved Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, 

Our fate has already been decided. “The pens have been lifted from the pages and the ink has dried.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī [2516] ) 

4. Make du’a and have yaqeen that it will be answered

For all the talk about expecting the unexpected, the fact is humans need a certain amount of certainty to feel safe in their lives. Since this new city has new parameters, the only thing that is constant here is our Rabb. Here is a verse in which Allah asks us to focus on reliance on Him -

“…And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely.” (3:159-160) 

In the book Fortress of the Muslim, it is mentioned that reciting the Ayat ul Kursi once in the morning and once in the evening will protect us from jinns.

“Whoever says this when he rises in the morning will be protected from jinns until he retires in the evening, and whoever says it when retiring in the evening will be protected from them until he rises in the morning.” (It was reported by Al-Hakim 1 / 562, Al-Albani graded it as authentic in Sahihut-Targhib wat-Tarhib 1/273, and traces it to An-Nasa'i and At-Tabarani. He says that At-Tabarani's chain of transmission is reliable [Jayyid] ). 

According to the same source, saying the below dua three times in the morning will protect us from any calamity during the day, and three times in the evening will protect us from calamities in the evening.

Bismillaahil-lathee laa yadhurru ma’as-mihi shay’un fil’ardhi wa laa fis-samaa’i wa Huwas-Samee ‘ul- ‘Aleem.

In the Name of Allah, Who with His Name nothing can cause harm in the earth nor in the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (Recite three times in Arabic)

“Whoever recites it three times in the morning will not be afflicted by any calamity before evening, and whoever recites it three times in the evening will not be overtaken by any calamity before morning.” (Abu Dawud 4/323, At-Tirmithi 5/465, Ibn Majah 2/332, Ahmad. Ibn Majah’s chain of transmission is good [Hasan], Ibn Baz, p. 39.) 

Subhanallah, Allah subhaana wa ta’aala has given us hundreds of simple ways to protect ourselves if only we have complete iman in His Power. As you all might have noticed, the adage ‘Change is the only constant’, while perhaps true, is self-contradictory and more than a little terrifying. “Allah subhaana wa ta’aala is the only constant” however is a far more comforting thought.

Insha Allah I hope we can all be pillars of society and testaments to our prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam wherever we go. May Allah subhaana wa ta’aala reward us for what is good in this article and may we be forgiven for the mistakes. Ameen.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Post a Comment