Channel: Yasmin Mogahed
The Goal of Change
By: Yasmin Mogahed
The Goal of Change: Is the goal of change really unattainable? Or is it one of Shaytan’s greatest deceptions?
Presented on September 14, 2011
Assalamu alaikum This is Yasmin went ahead and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. Today, I wanted to talk about a topic, which I think is something that a lot of us think about a lot of us hope for. And sometimes we don't really know how to achieve. And that's the goal of change. We think a lot of times about things in our own lives or things in our own selves that we wish could be different, we wish that we could achieve a certain goal that we that we sort of idealized in our mind, but we don't really know how to get there. And we don't really know, usually what happens is, our mind sort of plays tricks on us. Or rather, one could say that the
neffs, or shaitan, plays tricks on us. And what one of those tricks that is played on us is that the goal is made to seem very, very far away. So for example, suppose that I live a life which is distant from Allah subhanaw taala, I live a life which is, is far from him, and, and, and, and far from his Deen. And I'm not really practicing in the way that I really wish I could, in the way that I and that I ought to. And so what will happen is,
as an obstacle that I really create for my own self, I'll see it as too difficult to change. I'll think that Yeah, I wish that I could be a better Muslim, I wish that I could have a lot in my life, I wish that I could be close to Allah, but it's too hard. It's too that that goal is just too far away. And so the distance from that goal, the way that that that distance appears to me, makes me basically becomes a barrier for me achieving or even taking any steps towards that goal. And the reason why this is actually a deception is this and this is what inshallah I will talk about, for today's show, is, is breaking down this basically this trick, this deception of shaitan, and of the
neffs, that, that this goal of change this goal is of, for example, reaching Allah subhanaw taala, or changing my life is is made to seem so far away, and why that's actually a deception.
So people, a lot of times, they live, you know, we live our lives in a certain way. And sometimes we get stuck in certain habits, we we get stuck in a in a certain sort of momentum of our life, just because that's the way it's always been. And just because that's what's familiar, and just because that's what we're used to, and we're afraid to make a change, we're afraid of something else, even if it's something better, just because it's different. And a lot of times we are afraid, literally we are afraid of change. And and what we have to do is overcome this fear of what of change, because the truth is that as human beings going through this life, if we are not constantly striving and
constantly transforming, and constantly changing, for the better, we are, by default, changing for the worst. So anytime that we think that we're sort of standing still see, there's no steady state in this life, there's nothing that stands still. And so if really, if we find ourselves in a point, at a point in our life, where we just sort of feel stagnant, we we have we're not progressing, we're not growing, we're not developing, we're not transforming and we're just sort of standing still, then we can know for sure that we're actually declining, we're actually going down, because there is no steady steady standstill. And if you're not going upwards, you're going downwards. So what we
have to do is make it you know, we have to transform our whole idea of what is what is how should my life really be how should my progress be? What should it look like? And what we have to understand is that life in order to be going upwards in order to be going in the direction that we want to be going towards Allah subhanaw taala and towards the Hereafter, we need to be constantly working on ourselves, we need to be constantly growing and struggling in that in that path. If we get to a point in our life, where we just sort of feel comfortable, we sort of you know, it's that sit that kick back, sit down, relax, I'm okay. Then you know at that point that you're on your way down,
because that's a point where a believer should never reach where you just feel satisfied with with and when I say satisfied, I don't I don't mean satisfied with what Allah subhanaw taala has given you. Of course we feel satisfied with our lot in the sense of, you know what Color My Skin is and you know what, what race I was born with and the things
In our life, which born in I'm sorry, the things in our life, which we cannot control, those things we should be satisfied with, because they're from Allah subhanaw taala. But in the realm of the things that we can control in the realm of the things which we are going to be held accountable about, in the realm of our actions in the realm of our, the condition of our heart, in the condition of our soul, in that realm, we should never get to a point where we're satisfied, we should never get to a point where we think, okay, my heart is okay, I've my soul, you know, I'm good, I'm good, I've reached that point. And I'm, I'm the, I'm the best Muslim, that I can be, or that I should be,
and I don't need to strive anymore. That is a very, very dangerous place to be. And in fact, it's indicative of the fact that we are in fact, going the opposite direction, and we're not where we want to be. So one, one thing we have to keep in mind, the the first lesson is that the path to Allah subhanaw taala needs to be a path of change, it needs to be a path of transformation, not a path of standing still, because the moment that you stand still know that you're going in the decline, you're going down
the second deception that we need to break and I will inshallah get into more into detail when we return from the commercial. The second
return from the break, I'm sorry.
The second lesson that we really need to understand and deception that we have to break is the idea that our goals are so far away, and they're too far for me to reach. So inshallah we'll go ahead and take that break right now. And when we return, we'll talk about how to break that deception, and really take the first steps towards change.
Welcome back, this is SME Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio, we're speaking today about the topic of change, and and what it means to, to make a change in our lives to make a change internally, and therefore, to make a change externally. And when we talk about change, one really important principle that we need to keep in mind is that a lot of us have situations in our life that we wish could be different, we have situations where we're not maybe satisfied with the way our you know, maybe the way that our job is or the way our relationships are or the way that we interact with the world. And, and and what we what we will find is that a lot of
times when we're looking for the cause of the problem in those situations that we don't like, or that we wish could be different, we look for the problem in the wrong place. And what I mean by that is, oftentimes, when we're trying to diagnose a problem, and therefore look for a solution, we tend to look at the problem externally, we tend to look at the problem outside and try to figure out, Okay, if I have a problem with a colleague at work, well, what is that colleague doing wrong, and I sit and I stay up all night, and I and I, and I lose, I lose sleep, and I and I sit and I and I'm and I spend my mental energy, trying to make a list of all the things that that colleague is doing
wrong, or, or that friend is doing wrong towards me. And and I'm trying and what I'm doing in this way is I'm trying to find and ascertain the problem, and therefore the solution. Externally, I'm looking externally to find the problem. And the the challenge with this is that if I do that, I will never actually find the true problem. And I will never actually find the true solution. Because the problems in our life and the things that that in our lives that we don't, we don't like, you know, oftentimes we don't realize that in order to change, to make a change externally, the change needs to begin internally. And and one of the, that I absolutely love and has really, this concept has
really transformed my own life personally, is that the idea that Allah subhanaw taala says
that Allah will never change the condition of a people until they first change what is inside themselves in the law. You know, maybe Coleman had the euro euro maybe and force him that that whatever it is of our condition externally, that we don't like and we wish could change it will not change until we
change what is inside of ourselves. And so what this does panela it actually brings the power back, you know, the problem with thinking about, okay, what everybody else is doing wrong to me is that now I'm powerless because I can't change how other people treat me, I can't change other people, but there is something that I can change, and that's myself. And so when I take back that, you know, the, the, the power, to change my circumstance, the power to change my, my situation, I take back that power into my own hands in the sense of, of course, it is ultimately in the hands of a loss of final data. But this is where and I will talk about the dynamic of how do we get the help of Allah
Subhana Allah, and, and realizing that, that now it's not i'm not powerless anymore, it's not things are happening to me, but rather that I have a role. And I have the ability to make changes internally, that will make a change externally. And this is in this is in every realm of my life, in my relationships, in my job in my school, that when I make that change internally, I will see change externally. So then the question comes of how do we, you know, where does First of all, where does change come from, and is changed something as difficult as it looks like, and and what I think that the important thing to understand about the dynamic of change is that
it's it's sort of like, I'd say that one of the best ahaadeeth to exemplify this this concept, is the Hadith where Allah subhanaw taala Hadith, let's see that says that if if my servant takes one step towards me, I take 10 steps towards him, towards my servant, and if my servant comes to me walking, I come towards him with speed. And and the you know that the concept of this hadith is extremely important. And that is that there is basically two steps to this process of change. The first step has to do with has to do with me, has to do with an effort that I make, that I am taking that step of doing of some action of that I am taking that step towards Allah subhanaw taala. But
here's the key key element here that I want to really emphasize. Allah subhanaw taala talks about one step from me, and 10 from him, Allah subhanaw taala talks about walking from me and running or with speed from him. So the two are not actually equal. And this is where we break down the deception that we talked about at the beginning of the show. And that is that when I see my goal as So, so far away, in fact, I see my goals, perhaps, I look at it, and I see that it's, perhaps I suppose it's a million steps away, or an infinite number of steps away. And so what I do as a result of seeing that is I say, Well, I can't even start because it's too overwhelming, it's too far away.
But here is if we look at this, this Hadeeth what we learn is that the goal is actually not a million steps away, it's actually just one step away. And that's that first step that I make that first sacrifice that I make that first action that I make the means that I take towards Allah subhanaw taala. And then the rest of the way Allah subhanaw taala will make easy and that is where and this is the essential understanding that we have to have in terms of change. And this is where shaitan tries to get us is to make the path look so difficult to make the process of change look too hard. So we don't even start but what we need to do and in this sort of inner dialogue and with with
our own neffs is we need to realize that only the first step is ours, that only that first gesture towards Allah subhanaw taala that first effort that first step is ours and after that Allah subhanaw taala will carry us and Allah subhanaw taala says this, you know he's in this hadith as well as in the Quran. When Allah Spano Dinah says, Whoever strives in our cause, we will guide them, we will guide that person to our way. So the first step is the striving. And that step is yes, at first it's difficult. But once you take that first step, Allah subhanaw taala guides you for the rest of the way. And the rest of the journey after you take that first gesture towards Allah Spano Dinah the
rest of the journey you're not on your own. See the what what makes things look so difficult is when we feel like it's all on us. When we feel like you know we're left to ourselves and when we are left to ourselves, the burden is too difficult to carry. It's too heavy. But what happens when you make that step towards a lot and you take that first in sometimes it involves a sacrifice that you have to make sometimes it involves, you know, that you are deciding
Allah subhanaw taala I want to make a change in my life, you know, maybe I have 100 things in my life that I need to change. But I say, you know what I can't, I can't do it on my own Allah subhanaw taala, I am going to make this one small change for your sake. And you will find that if you do that, the 100 things will then become easier for you to change because now Allah subhanaw taala will be with you, and you won't be taking that journey by yourself. So practically, how do we? How do we how do we take something from this and practically apply it? Well, what we do is we look at our life and everybody. I mean, everybody knows that they everybody has something in their life, or many
things in their life that they wish could be different that they wish they could change things perhaps about themselves that they wish, maybe maybe someone you know, isn't praying regularly, or maybe someone isn't, you know, has an issue with, with certain relationships, which are displeasing to a lot on relationships with the opposite gender, maybe it has to do with gender relations, maybe it has to do with, you know, how they're interacting with in their job, or in their school, or whatever it is, we all have struggles and we all have things that we really wish we could improve and we could change. And and and really what we can do practically, is go to Allah subhanaw taala
admit our weakness, admit that we can't do it on our own, we can't make these changes on our own. But ask Allah subhanaw taala for his help, and ask Allah subhanaw taala for for his aid and for his guidance and to make it easy for you. And then choose something, anything that you can do for the sake of Allah as a gesture to Allah subhanaw taala as if you're, you're saying, Oh Allah, I'm going to do this thing for you, I know, it's small, I know that I have 100 things that I need to change, I can't do it, I can't do it all by myself. But I'm going to do this one thing. And I'm going to do it and do it consciously with the intention for Allah subhanaw taala to help you change the rest, and
make that effort and after that, you will see a transformation, that everything else will then become easier, because you have taken that first step towards Allah subhanaw taala Allah in sha Allah will take you the rest of the way. So don't don't let
you know the idea that, that it's, there's too much. So how can I begin or where do I begin, just begin somewhere, and you'll find that the rest of the path will be unbelievably, you know, made easy. And I'll leave you inshallah with actually a personal story that that happened with for me, and that is, when I was younger, I basically came to a point in my own life, where, you know, I grew up obviously, in this country, and I never went to Islamic schools I as as a, you know, in middle school and everything I went to public school. And so, you know, sometimes we, we just, we don't necessarily live the type of life that we want with this stomach identity that we want. And, and I
came to a point in my life where I had where I made a change, where I took a different path. And what it was that sparked that change in me, was actually a promise that I made to Allah subhanaw taala. And it began, I had gone to like one of those youth camps actually. And while I was there, I mean, I think I went there with this very deep sort of deep down, desire to be different to desire to sort of, to be a devoted Muslim and to be different, you know, not just to be one of one of the crowd, you know, and in the sense of, you know, my friends weren't Muslim, like my company, I wasn't living the way I wanted to. And, and so what happened was when I went there with that deep
intention, and when I was there, I decided that I wanted to make a change. And I was afraid that when I went back, you know, to my, to my home, that I would, you know, that that decision would just, I just go back to my regular life. And so what I did, so that I would be compelled to stick with that. That new path is I made a promise to Allah subhana wa Tada, and the promise that I made at that point in my life, and this was just before High School, actually, the promise that I made at that point was that I would never miss another prayer. Because what happens when you start to, you know, when you're, when you're a kid, and you, you start to like, you know, you're praying because
your parents are telling you to pray, and then it sort of becomes like a habit, where not praying becomes a habit out of the middle. So, so what what I the first, the first thing that I did was I made that promise to Allah subhanaw taala and that's where I began is that I would never miss another prayer. And and that I would cut off with any any type of company that I had or any type of relationships that I had, which were not good for, for for my relationship with Allah subhanaw taala and that were displeasing to Allah. So those were the two promises I made. And in fact, after that, I was able to do those things and and from then onward until today, and that was a long time ago.
That that was a different path and Allah subhanaw taala he paved that path and it was because of you know, just that, that gesture that desire and that and that action towards that, that way of Allah subhanaw taala and after that Allah subhanaw taala took you know takes you the rest of the way akunis Kali has stopped for lolly Welcome innovaphone Rahim subhanak alaba ham definition one that Isla Antinous Dakota Kona to bow Lake wa salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.