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Five years later, I stand inside an answered prayer.



People think I'm naive.


They think me, and people like me who wear their hearts on their sleeves see the world through rose-tinted glasses and only believe that the world is sunshine and roses. They think our optimism is blinding, which is why they tell people like us to wait for the ball to drop. I am still waiting for the ball to drop. Fact is so many balls have been dropped in my life that cultivating this optimistic mindset has been nothing less than mental gymnastics. Being an optimist doesn't mean that you are an oblivious individual. It means that while you recognize that things aren't great, there will be a time when they are, God-willing.


Right now, I stand inside an answered dua – a prayer. I made dua for this for years. I made dua for this every time I travelled, on the grounds of Arafah during Hajj, during my days of rock-bottom Imaan and high Imaan. I made dua for this—this exact place. The irony is earlier this year in May, I was visiting London, and on my last day here, I prayed that the next time I am in this city, Ya Allah, make me move here with your baraqah.


Wallahi, He was listening. He heard all these years, and I ended up moving to my dream city. There's been a lot of blood and sweat that life has taken out of me to get here, but right now, when I stand inside an answered dua, something beautiful flips inside my heart. The whisper of conviction, "If Allah made this true, I know He is listening, and He will also make my other duas true." Nothing good in this world can replace my conviction in my Lord, and I pray that this conviction stands solid until the day I die. There is nothing that can undo my reasonable opinion of Allah. It's on my lips now: "My Lord has made it a reality." And I can't wait to see how my Lord makes my duas a reality.


I know it takes utmost courage to go against our natural inclination of pessimism to see the light and hope. It takes strength to be optimistic when the world is on fire or inside you. And that is why tawakuul – faith is so powerful. Nothing can break your spirit, no matter how terrible, because you TRUST, you choose to hang on to the light of Allah and hope. You know that relief is coming. You know that you have tied your camel to Allah, and now Allah will take you to places wilder than your imagination. Optimists don't live in a world ignoring all the bad things around them- instead, we live a life unbound by those bad things and relentlessly continue to carry on despite them.


This newsletter is starting to feel like a letter to myself, but I will let in on a secret. Moving and settling into a new country this past week led to a discovery. When your comfort is chaos, you end up conflating the excitement so that you can protect yourself. You gauge joy because you are afraid, so you end up sabotaging it simply because you think that's the way of things. You're worried that if happiness becomes a constant, you will get bored, so you micro dose on it before you intentionally scatter it and scramble to rebuild. Quite a toxic cycle. Once you learn how to let that go and embrace the tide Allah has sent your way, you find yourself all over again.


Gratitude. Stability. Gentleness. Contentment. Afiya. Comfort.


You do not realize how hard you have been on yourself until you let these emotions seep into your bones. And when you get a taste, there is no turning back. Happiness, yes, can be loud. But it is usually very relatively – soft, gentle, a warm hug and slow living. Accepting and welcoming the silence within is something I have learnt. So, glad I did.


With that, I pray that whoever reads this, May Allah makes all your dreams come true. May Allah grant his barakah in them and always make us steadfast in our gratitude towards him. Ameen.


Until next time,

Shanzay.

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