Why Can’t I Get What I Want?

Yasmin Mogahed


Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

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Why Can’t I Get What I Want?
By: Yasmin Mogahed

Presented on January 4, 2012

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Assalamu alaikum This is Yasmin Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. Today we're going to be talking about a topic, rather a question. And how to answer this question. And that question is, why can't I get what I want? And this is a feeling that we often have as human beings that I want certain thing, and I can't have it, why can't I have it? Another form of this question is why aren't my daughter is being answered? Why do I keep asking Allah subhanho data for this thing? I keep asking, I keep asking, and I'm not getting it. And so this is a situation which we often find ourselves in, because we don't always get what we want in

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this life. So the question is, why is that? And how should we start to understand this question? And more importantly, the answer to this question? Well, I think part of the problem really goes back to the idea of what exactly is our goal? What exactly is it that we're trying to achieve? The the problem that we fall into, and why I think we get into this, this, the trap of this question is that what we have done is we have, we have mixed and we have switched our means and our end. What I mean by that is our end is our goal in life, it's our goal, it's our destination, and the means is the vehicle or the tool to get there. And so what ends up happening is majority of us, even Muslims,

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even you know, believers, we we believe in Allah subhanaw taala, we love Allah Subhana Allah Allah, but Allah subhanaw taala is not our end, Allah subhanaw taala is not our ultimate goal. Rather we have other goals and other ends that have to do with other than Allah subhanaw taala and they may be things which are highlighted, but you have to see this is this is why this, this problem is very subtle, because my goal might be something Hillel, but nothing else other than Allah subhanaw taala it should be my goal. Everything else other than Allah subhanaw taala is only a means is only a tool to get to Allah subhanaw taala. So let me give you an example. If my goal is that I want to get

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married, that is my goal. That is my end. Now this is a noble thing to want. Right? This is something which is Hillel. And in fact, it is recommended to get married and the prophets I send them has said that, you know, that had referred to marriage as half of our Deen. So then what's wrong with making my goal getting married? Well, the problem with that is that what if, you know say that I, I make that my goal. But what if, for me personally, or maybe let me be more specific. Suppose that my goal is to marry person x. So there is a specific person that I really, really want to marry. And because I want to marry that person, this is my goal, this is my my end. So what I do

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is I ask Allah subhanaw taala to let me marry person x. Well, the problem with this scenario is I have made marrying person x my goal and I've made Allah subhanaw taala my tool and Allah subhanaw taala. The means because I'm asking ALLAH, I'm using In fact, I'm using Allah as if Allah subhanaw taala is a tool as if Allah subhanaw taala is the is the means in order to get to my goal, which is marrying person x. And I continue to ask Allah subhanaw taala for this thing that I want. And again, there's nothing wrong with asking Allah subhanaw taala for what we want. But ultimately, when we make the thing that I want the goal itself, no matter what happens, I want that thing. And the

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problem with that is suppose for a moment, that in a less palatinus knowledge, marrying person x is not good for me. Maybe marrying person x is not going to get me to my ultimate goal, which should be Allah subhanaw taala. So as a result, Allah does not give me what I'm asking for. But at this point, I'm very upset. Because ultimately, I just wanted to marry person x, I wasn't interested in necessarily what is going to get me to what is going to be best for me in my relationship with a law. And the reason why that happens is because I have made Allah subhanaw taala the tool and I have made this thing that I want the end and that's the problem. So in that scenario, that's a scenario

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where where I have mixed my means and my end. Now if you switch that and you see it instead as it should be and you put everything in their proper in its proper place, where Allah subhanaw taala is the end and everything else is the tool. In that case, I might

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ask Allah subhanaw taala Oh Allah allow me to marry person x, if it is good for me in my relationship with you, if it is good for me in my dunya in in my acida if it is good for me with in in my path to you. And in that case, if Allah subhanaw taala does not allow me to marry person x, it I don't say why didn't you give me what I want because I asked Allah subhanaw taala for what was best for me to reach to achieve my goal. And if my goal is Allah subhanaw taala. And suppose Allah knows that other than person x is better for that goal. But see this, this issue of of wanting, you know, wanting things that that specific thing that I've asked for, the reason why we become very

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frustrated, when we don't get that thing is because we're really ultimately not interested in in, in Allah subhanaw taala as much as we are interested in just getting that thing that we want. And we never stopped to think that what if this isn't good for me? And what if this isn't going in fact, what if this is this getting this particular thing is actually going to hurt my ultimate goal or my ultimate aim? Which is, you know, achieving, or being with Allah subhanho data. And this very well may be the case I might be attached to this particular thing where I want to marry person x, but person x is going to be the worst thing for my Deen and it might not be and then you're going to

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have people now saying But no, but person x is a very good Muslim right of person X has great Deen so how could they possibly be bad for my relationship with Allah? Well, there are many ways will that were how that could be the case. First, for example, when I am very, very attached, I could be very, very attached to person x and even if they are the best Muslim in the world, my attachment to that person becomes stronger than my attachment to Allah subhanaw taala and in that way, person X was not good for me, even though person X was you know, very religious, and you know, but but but person x is actually acting as a veil between me and Allah subhanaw taala because my focus is on

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that person. And instead of being on Allah subhanaw taala. And my attachment is to that person instead of being to Allah subhanaw taala. So there are a lot of ways which Allah subhanaw taala Knows Best of why something we might want it and it's actually bad for us. And Allah subhanaw taala tells us this, in the Quran, when he says that, it may be that you love something, and it's bad for you. And it may be the other way around as well, where you, you might hate something, and it's actually good for you. And Allah subhanaw taala knows, and we don't know. So this is something that we have to keep in mind. But it's only possible to keep this in mind, if we have our goal clear that

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our goal is not person x Our goal is not getting into us, you know, college x, our goal is not getting, you know, career x, getting into med school getting you know, that's not our goal, that is a means and those are all again halaal things and they can be very noble things. But in the end, they are just pathways to Allah subhanaw taala their tools. And if Allah subhanaw taala knows that that's not the best tool hamdulillah Allah subhanaw taala can give you a better tool, but you have to be very clear about what your goal is, and what and what is going to take you to that goal. Now thinking about it in this way, when we start to think you know that when we start to have our

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attachment to these other things as goals, rather than Allah subhanaw taala what this also does is it breeds a sense of entitlement. And that sense of entitlement actually leads to the most misery that a human being feels it really, it really comes from this, you know, this this anger that we as human beings sometimes feel towards God comes from this sense of entitlement, and it comes from these wrong attachments. So if I have an attachment to something, or I feel

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rather like entitled to something I say, I feel that this particular thing is good for me and I've already defined it as good for me and best for me, then after that I feel that I am entitled to it. And so as a result when Allah subhanaw taala doesn't give it to me, because Allah subhanaw taala knows best in the last minute that it does what He wills, Allah does not you know is not subject to my desires. Allah subhanaw taala doesn't take commands from me just because I made dot Allah subhanaw taala has to do it you know, we have to understand a lot of Allah is not working for us, you know, Allah subhanaw taala we should be working for him. You know, he's not like our genie in

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the bottle out with a villa like, like our problem really is that we we take God as a tool, you know, something that we allow, like we can use it right we can use it to get what we want, and that as you know this, this means that we have our whole perspective upside down. A lot is what

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We want and everything else should be a tool to get to him. And so this sense of entitlement is like, you know, I've been making the law and I'm asking for this thing, and it's not coming, it's not happening and I start to get angry, right, I start to get angry at a law, why aren't you giving me this thing that I want? You know, like, as if I'm talking to a tool that isn't quite working properly, you know, and, and my, my feeling is, I deserve X, Y, and Z, I deserve it, I am entitled to it. And if I'm not getting it, it breeds a sense of anger in me, and we have to check ourselves because we are not deserving of anything. Everything that Allah subhanaw taala gives us is a

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blessing is a gift. It's not something that I deserve, or I can demand. But I asked Allah subhanaw taala and and, you know, don't get me wrong. This isn't to say that we shouldn't make the offer things we want, that we shouldn't ask Allah in fact, Allah loves for us to ask, ask from him, but in the way that we ask Allah subhanaw taala it is not a demand it is not. It is not I deserve this. And you know, give it to me right now. But rather it's asking Allah subhanaw taala from his mercy because Allah subhanaw taala is Allah HEB You know, one of the attributes of Allah is the one who loves to give gifts. And Allah subhanaw taala is is the the one who loves to give his man or Rahim,

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His mercy supersedes His wrath. And so if Allah subhanaw taala, and this is something else to think about, that, if Allah subhanaw taala, is Allah HEB if Allah is the one who loves to give gifts, and if I continuously am asking Allah for a gift, and it's not being given to me, that should make me stop and think, because Allah it's his, you know, the default is that he wants to give the In fact, the default is that he loves to give gifts. So if I'm not being given that gift, if that gift that I'm asking for or that my heart desires is being withheld from me, I should know that it is for my own good because Allah subhanaw taala does not withhold just because he wants to withhold rather

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less pinata loves to give. So if Allah is not giving us something, we should know that it is in the withholding that he's actually giving us because he is protecting us from something which we don't see, perhaps. And so by withholding it, he's actually protecting us. Shoulder I'm going to take a short break now. And when we return, we'll continue speaking on the question of why can't I get what I want?

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Assalamu alaikum This is yes, Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. We are talking today about the question of why can't I get what I want? And this is the question that a lot of human beings we human beings fall into. When we feel very frustrated, we feel frustrated that we're asking for something, we really really want something very badly. And Allah subhanaw taala is not giving it to us. And when this happens, we tend to become almost angry, or resentful towards Allah subhana wa tada and we're talking about this issue. And why this happens. One of the reasons we said that this does happen is because we have our goal and our means our end

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and our means switched, we have made the dunya and everything in it, whether it's marrying the person of my dreams, or getting the job that I want, or getting into the school that I you know, that I applied for, those are the ends, those are our goals, and we use Allah subhanaw taala as if he's a genie in a bottle, we use Allah subhanaw taala as if he's a tool to try to get to those ends. And when Allah subhanaw taala doesn't give us those things, we you know, we get angry at him because, you know, we were using him and he's not coming through for us, you know, and so there's a really big problem in this. Because Allah subhanaw taala is not a tool allows panatela is not a

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means Allah is the end and and and so Allah subhanaw taala is what we should be seeking, and not not the dunya as our end. If it is a law that we're seeking, then whatever Allah subhanaw taala gives us when we, for example when we pray is to hada and we're trying to make a decision in our istikhara we're asking Allah subhanaw taala alone and Quinta tala and the heaven hire only fee Dini omashu aka Betty Omri, Baku Li Wei Osiris ceremony somatically fee, which means that if you know if in your knowledge this thing is good for me in my Deen and so in my dunya and my Deen in my hereafter

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My, my dunya and my hereafter, then, you know, then we ask Allah subhanaw taala. to, to give it to us and to put blessing in it. And, and to make it easy for us. Okay, and then if and then we say when Quinta tala and has a long shutter on the fee, Dini woman, she walked up to Marie for Swift, who I knew was swift neon, who was a little higher Hi, sukanto Martini, B. So in then we say, and if this thing that you're asking for you're asking about is not good for you, then we ask Allah subhanaw taala, to take it away from us and to take us away from it. And then to bring us what is good for us, and to make us pleased with it. So this story itself, you know, it's funny, because

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when we when we pray a staccato word, we pray, we get very attached to one choice, right. And then we go ahead and pray staccato. And we asked a lot in the istikhara, that we asked the last part of that to do to make this thing happen if it's good for us, and to not make it happen, and rather to take it away, if it's bad for us, then when Allah subhanaw taala takes it away from us, we don't want to let go. We even though we asked a lot. It's like we said a life, this is bad for us take it away. And if it's good, make it happen. And after this happens, sometimes a lot takes it away, things close, things don't work out. But we can't let go. And we can't think for a moment that hey,

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I made for this, I made it for what's best. And isn't that all we any of us want is what's best, who wants something if it's going to be bad for them. Nobody does. But in our short sightedness, we don't see this, we don't realize that it's just because of our attachments that we can't let go. And it may be that that thing that I'm holding on to for dear life is not good for me. And in the end, we just want what's good for me, I just want what's good for me in my Deen and in my assets, right? In my I'm sorry, in my dunya and my athleta. So, you know, we we somehow like human beings, we're sort of in this strange state where we, we hold on to things, and we we don't want to let go of

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them, even if they may be bad for us. And we don't realize that Allah subhanaw taala knows best. And we we don't know, we are completely blind to the unseen. We don't know what, what what tomorrow brings, we don't know what's good for us and what isn't. So we ask Allah subhanaw taala and this is the beauty of a staccato is that you're asking Allah to do something, and to make something happen, if it's good for you, and to take it away. If it isn't, after that we need to put our trust in Allah. And we need to really be clear in our minds, what is our actual goal is our goal dunya or is our goal, Allah subhanaw taala and the hereafter, if it is a lot in the Hereafter, then in 100,

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Adele, Allah has your da and Allah is doing what's best for you. If it didn't work out, it's because inshallah that's best for you. If it if it did work out, or it's going in another direction, you know, you trust that inshallah that's also best for you. So these are the kinds of things that we have to keep in mind. Now I'm gonna ask you guys that, you know, this is live. So if you want to go ahead and ask your questions in the chat box, give us your reflections. This is something that affects all of us, because we all want things right? And how do we deal with it when we don't get what we want? One of the questions is, how do we know if Allah is just testing us? What if I made

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istikhara, things felt good and things went on perfectly, but then things went downhill? How do I know when to leave it and when to stay patient? Well, you know, part of his staccato is, again, I asked for something and then I think might have been going, you know, going good as he as you put it, and then they started to go the other way, that part of my trust in Allah subhanaw taala isn't to hold on for dear life to one option or another, but rather to hold on to a law. So conceptually, this is how you have to think about it. Everything else other than Allah subhanaw taala is in constant, everything else, if you try to hold on to it, it will break. This is how you have to think

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about it. The only handhold that never breaks, the only thing that's constant is Allah Himself. And so in every situation, if you hold on to Allah subhanaw taala, and go wherever he takes you, instead of holding on to that thing, instead of holding on to that person instead of holding on to that situation. Because when you hold on to those things, you're holding on to the wrong thing. If you hold on to the rope of Allah subhanaw taala and you try to go wherever Allah is directing you, then you'll be fine if Allah subhanaw taala makes it work. And then Allah subhanaw taala makes it not work, you know, hit hamdulillah your reliance is on him. It's not on the situation. It's not on the

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person it's not on, you know that job or that degree or whatever it is that you're holding on to of dunya it's your reliance shouldn't be on those things because those things are in constant in those

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Things are constantly changing. Those things are, you know, they go up and down and they, they, they break and they leave, and they die. And this is the Sunnah This is the, the, the reality of everything other than Allah, this is the reality of the creation, if you hold on to it, you're you're just going to be on a rollercoaster ride, and you're going to end up falling, because you're holding on to something that can't be held on to you have to hold on to Allah soprano data and put your trust in Him. If you want to be solid, if you want to be,

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you know, stable yourself, because anytime you hold on to something that's unstable, due to become unstable. And this is a you know, Subhanallah a lot of times there are and I'll give you examples, even from the Quran, where, where you might see something as good for you. And it's very bad for you, and you might see something as bad for you. And it's actually very good for you. And one of the examples of this, I'm going to give you two examples of the opposite case. One is the story of a kid and musalla his solemn and we know the story from from the Koran where musala, his solemn is following and

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he does a number of things which muscle SLM doesn't, doesn't understand. Because on the surface, they seem, these are things which don't seem to make sense. And commentator sale hood was actually an angel, la alum. So he was able to do these things by the command of Allah and he, he knew what he was doing. But Musa la Sam couldn't understand. One of the things that he did was, there were some people in this town, and he went ahead and started damaging their boats. And these people were dependent on these boats. And so Mossad is Sam is naturally very confused. Like, why is he doing this thing that seems to be very bad, right? seemingly harmful to these people. And it turns out

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later on when I'm clear, that explains it to Prophet Musa alayhis. Salam is that that he was that these people lived in a place where the king was stealing their boats was taking the boats from these people. And as a result was leaving these people not able to, you know, get the, their livelihood through the produce fishing and that kind of thing. So because he had damaged them, he wasn't damaging them so much that they couldn't be used, but he was damaging them enough that the king wouldn't want them anymore. And so he would leave, in fact, through damaging the boats, he was actually keeping the boats for the people. So this this is an example and we're told this story for

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a reason. Allah subhanaw taala chooses stories in the Quran for a very specific reason. This is Allah, he doesn't just tell stories, right? Allah subhanaw taala tells us a story to teach us a lesson. And this story was chosen in the Koran to teach us a very important lesson that sometimes things appear on the outside as being bad, when in fact, they're saving you when in fact, they're good for you. And this was an example where it did seem like he was hurting the people but in fact, he was saving them. And he was keeping the boats for them. And and on the other side of that when something seems to be good for you, and you chase after it, and you hold on to it. And in fact, it's

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very bad for you. And that isn't is through another story which Allah subhanaw taala tells us in the Koran, and that's the story of Cartoon Cartoon also lived during the time of Musa alayhis salam. And he was a man who was so rich, that Allah subhanaw taala describes his riches, you know, just the fact that the keys to his treasure basically was treasure in and of itself. He was so so rich, and he used to walk among the people and show off his wealth. And there were basically two groups of people that were that were told about in the Koran. There was the group of people who loved this life, the people who saw this life, and that was their end, that was their goal. That group of

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people reacted very differently reacted to Kaduna in a slum, I mean, sorry, qarun in a way that was they felt like very envious of him, they looked at him and they admired what he had. And they said, Oh, that we had, what, what he has, so they're there because their goal was dunya, they saw his wealth as something good, okay. versus the other group of people were those who were given, you know, knowledge, those people knew that there's something better than this, than this wealth that this man has. And they used to try to tell everyone you know, to be grateful and to be obedient to Allah subhanaw taala. And to be, you know, humble, but quadroon In fact, thought and what he the way

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he responded, is, I have all of this because of a knowledge that I have. So so first mistake here is that he has a gift from Allah subhanaw taala. And he attributed that gift to himself. He attributed that gift to his own knowledge is because he thought he was really great and really smart. And it was because of that, that he thought he had all of this wealth. So it basically made him very arrogant.

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rebellious. And so what ended up happening to heroin, as we're told in the Koran is that he and his house were swallowed up by the earth. So Koran was was destroyed. And now you look the next day, Allah tells us look at now the reaction of the people, the same people who used to seek this life, who sought this life, the same people who are envious about his position the day before, said, there. Now what they're saying is, thank God that Allah did not give us what he gave caught on because had he given us what he gave PowToon, we also would have been destroyed. So now this is a situation and the lesson from this, there are many lessons, but one of the lessons from this is

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having a lot of wealth and having the status, it's it seems like a good thing, right? It's something that on the outside would seem that it's good. But sometimes, and I'm not saying always, sometimes it is not a good thing. Sometimes, in fact, it's that which ends up destroying a person. And so this is an example of something that seems to be good for you. But actually, it's bad for you. And in the story of Kudu and that's exactly what happened is that he had all this wealth, and it actually was very bad for him because it made him arrogant, and it made him rebellious to loss upon a thought of. So these are two examples from different stories in the Koran that teach us this lesson, that I

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might really, really want something, but it's not good for me. And it may seem on the outside to be good. And in fact, it isn't. And similarly, I might just just not I absolutely do not want something. And in fact, it's actually good for me, and it seems on the outside that it isn't. So Michelle, I'm going to take more questions from the chat box.

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Okay, so if a person loves another like no other yet hates everything about that person, would that person be better off leaving this person or holding on in the hope that they will change? Even if there is no indication or promise of any change? Should the person simply move on to another? So the question here is getting at, when is it that you're supposed to stay in a situation? And when is it that you you know, and and supposedly, you know, have suffered? What what does that really mean? And when is it that you should try to to change a situation?

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the question here, basically, the on a broader scale, is that what we should be doing whenever we're trying to make a decision or, you know, figure out how which way we're supposed to go, it goes back to what I had said previously, and that is that we hold on to Allah subhanho data. And we ask and we seek Allah subhanaw taala for what's best, because sometimes our mistake really is that we hold on to other than Allah. So the reason why we are unable to let go of things, isn't because sometimes it's not because oh, I'm trying just to be patient, and I'm trying to do the right thing. Sometimes it's just because I'm attached to this thing, and I don't want to let it go. And that's the problem.

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And that's when we end up hurting ourselves and hurting others in fact, but if our attachment is to Allah, then it's we go where Allah takes us. And and this is where we turn to Allah subhanho data and we ask Allah to do what's best for us. And if it's a situation that you need to leave, then we ask Allah Subhana Allah for guidance, if this is something and this is again, part of the staccato Allah gives us tools, we have Doha, we have istikhara, and we we make dua to Allah subhana wa tada to move us and to make decisions by Allah and not by my neffs, and by my own my own false attachments to things. So the dangerous thing in any situation, or in any choice, the dangerous

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thing is to be acting, or reacting or choosing by the neffs by the self versus by Allah subhana wa tada because if I make a decision by my neffs, it's never going to be good for me because my neffs you know, only it pulls me to what is lower, whereas Allah subhanaw taala if I make the decision by Allah, and I'm seeking Allah for guidance, and I'm seeking what Allah wants me to do, then whatever the decision is, and whatever the outcome is, it will be good for me. So the key here is to let go of the other attachments, and and whatever it is that I am, you know, that I have, that I can't let go of, and let letting go of that. And putting my trust in a law, making my attachment to law. And,

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and whatever Allah subhanaw taala decides for me, I'm willing to accept it. And we ask Allah subhanaw taala to give us not only patients not only sobor but even the higher level above southern Israel which is contentment, we ask Allah subhanaw taala to make us content with his decision and and to be able to, to be pleased with whatever Allah Subhana Allah gives us when whatever Allah subhanaw taala decides for us a coup de Cali however, was stuck for too long. It will come in number four and Rahim to panicle over him

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The condition of Allah Allah Allah and Mr. Khurana tubo lake was Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh