In our last episode on spiritual reflections, Hashim and I revisit the topic of repentance, and we discuss spiritual awakening, the characteristics of that station and some things to watch out for when we're experiencing the "highs" as well as the "lows". We also wrap up and summarize the spiritual themes discussed during season 2 of the podcast.
What is spiritual awakening and why is it temporary? How is it that a spiritual high is a test as much as a spiritual low? And how is this relevant in our individual journeys, particularly when dealing with same-sex attractions? These and other questions are explored in this episode.
In our last episode on spiritual reflections, Hashim and I revisit the topic of repentance, and we discuss spiritual awakening, the characteristics of that station and some things to watch out for when we're experiencing the "highs" as well as the "lows". We also wrap up and summarize the spiritual themes discussed during season 2 of the podcast.
What is spiritual awakening and why is it temporary? How is it that a spiritual high is a test as much as a spiritual low? And how is this relevant in our individual journeys, particularly when dealing with same-sex attractions? These and other questions are explored in this episode.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi ta’ala wabarakatuh, and welcome to a brand new episode of “A Way Beyond the Rainbow”, this podcast series is dedicated to Muslims experiencing same-sex attractions who want to live a life true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam. I'm your host, Waheed Jensen, and this episode is the last episode in our spiritual series, where we will talk about spiritual awakenings and “the dip”, and we will wrap up all of the spiritual topics of the season, inshaAllah. This episode is published back to back with the previous episode, we're gonna get right into it, inshaAllah. So let's get started.
So as you guys remember in the previous couple of episodes, we touched upon the story of Adam and Eve alayhuma salaam. We talked about the concept of sin and temptation as well as repentance and going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and we also talked about the story of Lut (PBUH) and his people and we offered many reflections on that and in the previous episode, we talked about desires and shahawat and we talked about how there are whisperings from the Shaitan and whisperings from the nafs (self) - the different kinds of nafs - and how we can try as much as we can to curb those desires on our path towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We are told by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to immediately come back to Him once we have transgressed and to know that Allah accepts repentance. We are taught also that true repentance is, as we said in previous episodes, to feel guilt and remorse for the wrongdoing, to stop the wrongdoing as much as we can, to vow to not return to it and to make changes and amends to both make up for the situation and to fortify ourselves to try not to end up in the same place again.
And it's a bit of a kind of a tricky balance in the sense that, you know, we want to feel remorse and we want to feel guilt for what we've done but we don't want to end up in a place where we are beating ourselves up, right? We want a healthy outcome from that feeling of guilt and remorse, a healthy outcome that encourages us to, like I said before, you know, get up, dust ourselves off and keep moving forward rather than wallowing in kind of shame and feeling despair. And so I think it's just worth realizing that there was a healthy version of guilt and remorse and unhealthy version of guilt and remorse, right?
Hundred percent. And in previous episodes we also talked about the difference between shame and guilt, right? So, shame is when we feel unworthy, “I am not worthy, I am hopeless. I am X, Y or Z.” Whereas guilt tells me that “okay, I did something wrong. So the action is wrong, okay, I was weak, I fell into that trap, whatever it is, fine, I did this wrong thing. I'm not denying that. But let me try and make up for it and move forward towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.” So this is a healthy kind of guilt, which brings us back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, brings us back to our senses and helps us move forward in the right direction. And as such, you know, when we make sincere tawbah to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and we do our best to rectify our situations, Allah promises us that He accepts our repentance. And, as He says in Surat al-Nisa’, “Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise” (4:17). So a lot of commentators have mentioned that what is meant by “doing evil in ignorance”, and a lot of the Sahaba (companions) and the commentators on this verse said that any sin or any evils that we commit is in a sense done in ignorance, whether we do it on purpose or not. Because it's just part of mankind's nature to fall into sin, and realizing the majesty of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala no one would purposely do such a sin. I mean, and that's why sometimes we slip because, you know, as we were talking in the previous episode, sometimes we were taken by surprise, sometimes our desires will take over us, sometimes we just lose our compass to sight of what matters and we slip. So that is what it means to “do evil in ignorance”. And we all do that. The most important thing to realize is that what Allah follows this with, “who do evil ignorance and repent soon afterwards.” So immediately after we fall, we get right back up and not delay that. Because the more we wait, the more our hearts will become harder and it becomes even easier to slip further and I'm pretty sure that many of us have have experienced that when we delay the repentance or we feel more and more despair and we don't turn back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala it becomes even more difficult. And we ended up, you know, going through a vicious cycle, where we either commit the sin excessively or we turn to other sins or turn to despair in a state of depression and darkness and we feel more and more distant from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And the Prophet (PBUH) said “Verily, when the slave (of Allah) commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. When he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart. And that is the ‘ran’ [rust] which Allah mentions [in the verse]: ‘No, but on their hearts is the ran [rust] which they used to earn.’” And so repentance or tawbah, pure tawbah cleanses the heart of this rust. And the Prophet (PBUH) said “the one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin”, so with sincere tawbah and sincere repentance, we are granted a clean slate inshaAllah as if we didn't do anything. So we are back with a fresh start.
So this idea then of refraining from something, abstaining from something, so from the hadith that you quoted it says, “when he refrains from it and then seeks forgiveness and repentance, heart is polished clean”. So this idea of realizing what we've done wrong, and not going back to it, keeping away from it, in a way, polishes our heart keeps it clean. Even in psychology, they talk about this idea of mindful abstinence or keeping away from things and not kind of fueling the pathways that perhaps we built in our brains and not not feeding them any further, right? And then in the hadith that you just mentioned goes on to say, “but if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart”. Again, in psychology you have this idea of repeated destructive behaviors kind of forming these pathways in our brain, such that we reach a point where we almost crave to do them, we need to do them because, you know, we're so used to having those ,sort of, dopamine, you know, receptors filled with that action that we do them we can become addicted to it. So this idea of repentance involving abstinence and kind of moving on and moving, growing away, from that original state that we were in. And like all these verses that you mentioned: so, so relevant, right? Like the verse from Surat al-Nisa’ that you mentioned about “who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards” so you know, even like when we pray like the few hours between each prayer that we do, right, that those are the times where perhaps we drift away and kind of forget Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and then when we pray it's such a good opportunity that, you know, between your sajdahs we say "Astaghfirullah wa atubu ilaih" (I seek the forgiveness of Allah, and I repent unto Him) in between the two sajdahs, that's our moment to kind of think, “Okay, well, I seek forgiveness of Allah, my Lord, my Cherisher and my Sustainer and He wants all that is good for me” and “wa atubu ilaih” and “I turn to Him in repentance.” Okay, so what have I done in the last few hours that has taken me away from Him? And those steps of repentance that we discussed: stop doing it, don’t return to it, feel remorse and make some changes and amends. Okay, so in those last few hours what did I do? Did I look at something I shouldn’t have looked at? And did I do something I shouldn't have done? Okay, how can I not be in that position again? How and, you know, using the steps that we discussed last time, how can I, what practical things can I do to not be in that position again because that's, that's an active, healthy repentance of being moved, you know, moving forward, right? And if Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wants everything that's good for us and even the repentance must end up being good for us. Right? And so, I think all of this all ties in to you know abstinence, it ties into remembrance of Allah through prayer. And you are constantly being aware, so the line that says ”even those who do evil in ignorance” well what's the antidote to ignorance? it's kind of, it's awareness and knowledge and being conscious of, you know, taqwa, being conscious of Allah and being conscious of the bigger picture of things.
Absolutely, yeah, beautiful, beautiful reflections. And actually, you reminded me of when you were talking in earlier episodes about prayer. And you were describing the motions during prayer and how they are a reminder of us of where we came, where we are and where we're going in the afterlife. And how this, this life is akin to the uh the period between the two sajdahs , that it's very short. And, and so we're reminded of that at least five times a day. And then the idea that in between the prayers themselves, when we are taken by the world, then there comes the time for the next prayer where we are kind of pulled back towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So we are pulled or taken by the dunya. But then we take a moment to take a couple of moments during the day to kind of reconnect with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and start all over again. Yeah, that's a beautiful reminder of always staying vigilant to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and was looking forward to the prayer because that's our cleansing that's our, you know, it recalibrates the compass, so to speak. So when we look at all of these ahaadeeth, and the verses that talk about repentance and, and how Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves it when we turn back to him, and we cited many of them in the previous episodes as well, we look at the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, right? His love for us, how much He loves to forgive, how much He loves to connect with us and, and that we connect with Him. He loves it when we connect with Him. And He, and He approaches us more than we approach him. Right? You know, there is, there is a lot of beauty that comes with repentance. And there's a sense of relief. There is a sense of, you know, just breathing and then finally establishing that that balance and that harmony in our lives. And it's a sense of a divine opening, you know, there's a blessing to repent obviously, it's a blessing from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. It's an opening from Him, but also what comes after.the repentance, this feeling of connection. This, this, you know, clean slate, this new start, fresh beginning, so to speak. This is also a divine opening from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala that is something that is very profound. It is more like a 180 degree shift in, you know, in everything, right, not just our mood but our, you know, our energy levels, our enthusiasm, our happiness, our peace, and so on.
Absolutely. Because who, at the end of the day, who benefits right? Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala already owns everything, right? This is all for our benefit, right? Repentance is for our benefit because it brings us closer to Him. So all the things that He loves us to do, all the things that we do to “please Him” are essentially for our own growth, for our own proximity towards Him because we benefit, right?
One hundred percent, absolutely. And I remember reading in Yasmin Mogahed’s book, Reclaim Your Heart, this book we've cited in a couple of episodes back in this season. In one of the chapters, she says, she describes this feeling of reconnecting with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And that, that overwhelming joy and peace that, that is associated with that. And she says “It's hard to describe the feeling. Imagine living your entire life in a cave and believing it was your whole world. Then suddenly, you step outside. For the first time in your life, you see the sky. You see the trees and the birds and the sun. And for the first time in your life, you realize that the world you once knew was false. For the first time you discover a truer, more beautiful reality. Imagine the high of that realization. For a moment you feel you can do anything. Suddenly, nothing from your previous life in the cave matters. You become empowered, fully awake, fully alive, fully aware for the very first time. It is an unexplainable feeling. This is the spiritual high that comes with a newly discovered Truth. And she says this is awakening.” And the term awakening is very beautiful because it's like you were in a slumber or in a state of hibernation, or, you know, a deep sleep and then you finally awaken to see the truth, the light, right? And, and Sister Yasmin mentions that a convert to Islam, for example, knows this feeling - someone who comes into Islam - there's that overwhelming feeling of awakening and peace and happiness. A born Muslim who comes back to the deen knows this feeling. Any human being who lives his or her life away from God then returns to Him knows this feeling. And, if I may add, people who experienced same sex attractions who have acted out on their desires, who have lived out their desires, but have returned to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and have planned to change their lives know this feeling. You know, we can extrapolate this to many other scenarios. This is exactly what Ibn al-Qayyim calls the ‘yaqadha’ or the wakefulness in his book, Madarij Al Salikeen, which in English is translated as ‘Stations of Those Wayfaring on the Path to God.’ He describes the state as the first station on the path to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. When a person starts coming back to Allah, he or she is often full of motivation, full of energy, full of happiness and enthusiasm that other people do not have. And the reason for this energy is the spiritual high, which is characteristic of this state.
Kind of, you know, when we enter this state of this spiritual high, with this state of wakefulness, whilst we’re in this state worship becomes so much easier, right? So a person , you know, through this is so driven and so motivated that, you know, he is willing to put everything else aside, all the worldly things aside, he or she is willing to put all the worldly things aside for the sake of this sort of new reality that they discovered, right? And we've all been that times, right? So you kind of feel like you're on, you know, spiritual steroids in a way, right? And the strength isn't coming from yourself it's from something that's been given to you. And often, you know, and in this case, this the spiritual high has come from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. His, kind of, Just, you know, when we talk about taking a step towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and then He comes running towards you, it's kind of this overwhelm of, of having this strength and peace and, and, kind of clear vision of where you want to go and what you're doing here and, and how you can get through things and almost in that state, nothing can touch you. That you kind of feel a little bit invincible that you've got, you've got this support and this trust and this security behind you. You know, and when we go through these sorts of states, you know, if we are in these states, we need to make use of those times, make use of those opportunities and thank Him for giving us that ability, thank Him for guiding us to Him. Rather than being that, “Oh, we've done something special ourselves”, you know, this whole situation we’re in on this planet, this whole Earth it's all a mercy from Him, in order for us to be able to discover Him, you know. And even our discovery of Him is a mercy. Right? You know, we have Hadith where we say we can't even thank him for being able to say thank you. Does that make sense? As He's given us the ability to say thank you. So when we thank Him, we're not doing Him a favor. In fact, we haven't yet gone back far enough to thank Him for being able to thank Him if that makes any sense.
So it becomes infinite. Yeah, exactly.
Exactly. And but I think we can all relate with these sort of feelings, you know, whether we've had this feeling through, you know, converting to Islam or having a reawakening or perhaps going on a spiritual journey, perhaps you know in the way some people come back from Hajj they're elated spiritually, right? And then people who have come back from Hajj have this discussion between each other and they kind of go, “How long did your Hajj feelling last?” You know? “Was it a week? Was it a month? Was it a year?” and then everyone kind of admits that you know, as soon as you come back into your old life, your old routine that can sometimes go right? And so it's temporary, right? Like every state in life this state is temporary. And life is not linear and neither is this path to God and that's a good thing because sometimes us moving away from it makes us realize how special it was when we had it and kind of encourages us to go back to it again and this whole going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala this gaining practice by holding on to the rope that's what develops our our reliance on Him. It's not a one time thing. And it's important to realize that it does come in waves and I remember reading Hadith that the believers are like the you know, like the grass in the field, the grass that sways from left to right, right? And we do go through these times and you know, like you were saying in a previous episode, like a pendulum, we go through these times, when we feel a bit detached, feel a bit separated from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. But we have to be aware that you know, that it is going to come in waves right? If we're not aware, then that you know, we can end up despair and hopeless because, you know, it's, you kind of think, “Okay, what's happened? What did I do wrong? What's going on?” And just to be aware that this is the normal way that humans go through things in their journey towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, it’s in waves.
Even when we go to these states of elation, these states of the spiritual high, we have to be aware of two things and two important things that if we're not aware of them that will cause us to stagnate when we're on this journey towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. The first thing is that we have to be aware of, you know, arrogance or complacency. And the second thing to be aware of is hopelessness, right? And they're, they're two different sides of almost the same coin as it were. So this arrogant person who's in this state, you know, feels like they're good enough and they don't need to work any further that they reached the pinnacle of what they need to do. Right? And on the other side, you have a hopeless person that believes that they will never be good enough. Right? And, and the same thing happens to them, they stop trying, they stop striving. They go “Well what’s the point?”, right? And I've been there, I'm sure other people have been there, this whole sort of nihilistic attitude to things being like, “well, what's what's the point, I'm never going to be good enough.” So you have two opposite reactions, two sides of the same coin, but both leading to the same things for us to stop moving on the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, stop moving towards Him, right? And, you know, we're on this path, the path that needs movement, it needs a destination, that needs us to move towards him. And if we stop doing that, if we stagnate, then, then you haven't we been the ones who have kind of “gone astray”, you know, as to be sat on a path is the same result as kind of walking away from your path and that both means that you don't end up going towards your goal, right? And, you know, we saw these two things, these two sides of this coin, this arrogance side and this hopelessness side. We see how these two tie into the story of Satan, right? So Satan was his quality was pride and arrogance when he's asked to bow he says, you know, “why should I bow, I’m better than him.” And this is his pride and arrogance. And then you see despair and hopelessness in, in, his, in his actions towards us so the, you know, the poison and the suggestions that he blows into our hearts that telling us, you know, we're not good enough and there's no point in trying you know, it's just different things that he tries to stop us getting to where we need to get, to stop us reaching that potential towards which he, he was asked to bow, right/ So, you know, so arrogance happens when we don't understand that we've reached this spiritual high, we’ve reached this increased ability to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala only as a result of what Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has given to us, right? Only through His mercy. And, and it's not because of anything that we've done ourselves. And, and you know, it's not due to our own righteousness, it's all an extension of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala’s mercy towards us. And, you know, sometimes you can get in the position where instead of realizing that this is actually a gift from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, you can feel this sort of hidden pride and we look down on others who don't, who aren't in the same place as us at this point in time, who aren't as passionate about, you know, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in that same moment, you know, we can look down on them. You know, when we do that, again, going back to this whole idea of how do we compare ourselves to those who have His wrath, those who have gone astray? How do we compare ourselves to Satan in that, in that respect, and we are no different if we do that, if we don't humble ourselves and realize that our abilities and our closeness to Him is a gift from Him. Not, not from anything that we've done ourselves. So, so, you know, that's the arrogance side, you know, that we've looked at and then we said the other side was you know despair or hopelessness and it, you know, it can set in when we fail to understand you know, like all things in life that that spiritual highs is only temporary. And you know, just because you come down from that high it doesn't mean that you failed doesn't mean that you've done something wrong. Like I said, like in Hajj, like in Ramadan as well. You know how when Ramadan passes, people, they miss Ramadan, they, they missed that spiritual connection that you had with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. You know, and you can also happen when we go through difficult times or breakthroughs in life, right? And people who struggle with SSA, we understand what that means. You know, we have spiritual ups and downs, mental ups and downs, we have struggles and trials in all of our journeys. And it's just, it's just a characteristic of, of life. And there's even a hadith where one of the scribes of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Hanzala Usayyidi, complained to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). He said he felt like a hypocrite, because whenever he was in the company of the Holy Prophet, he would feel so spiritually boosted to the point that it was as if he could see Hellfire and Paradise with his very own eyes. But when he was, at the times that he was away from the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wasallam and when he was, you know, doing his worldly things, attending to his family, attending to his life, his work, he was no longer in that state of being spiritually boosted. And Abu Bakr radhiallahu anhu said, he felt the same way, right? So they both, you know, went to the Prophet and told the Prophet (PBUH) about this, and the Holy Prophet replies, “By Him in whose hand is my life” so he’s swearing by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, “if your state of mind were to remain the same as it is when in my presence, and you were always busy with the remembrance of Allah, the angels would shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths, but Hanzala, time should be devoted to worldly affairs and time should be devoted to prayer and meditation”. And he repeated this you know, to them three times, you know, this, this notion of repeating something three times so that we remember it, that there are ups and downs and there are times in which we feel spiritually boosted but there are times in which we've got to deal with life. And in those moments, maybe we won't be in that state, but that's okay even the Holy Prophet saying that knows that, that we are going to have to divide our attention and our focus. to world things, albeit remaining God centric while doing them, but understand that in those moments, perhaps we won't have the elation. Right. And so I think the thing that we take away from this is that the most important part of this journey is that we don't give up, right? We don't feel pride, we don’t feel hopeless, we’re in the middle part, and we try to be consistent. And you know, just because we aren't at that spiritual high all the time is not because we've failed at something. It's just a natural part of the path. And just like we were talking about the Holy Prophet speaking to Hanzala and Abu Bakr radhiallahu anhu and, you know, these ups and downs are part of this journey, part of his journey towards Him. And if we remained in that kind of spiritual high all the time, you know, we wouldn't be human, we would be angels, you know. So, you know, the determining aspect for success isn't so much what we do when we're at that high. The question is, what do we do when we're down and we're not feeling it? How do we respond to it? Right? So the key to succeeding on this path is that you know, once you do, once we are in these low states of feeling separated from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and you keep going, we know that it's normal and we keep struggling and keep trying to get back. So in a way life is, life is the journey that we do. Life is the practice that we engage in every single day to try and maintain that or try and get back to that state to try and walk that path back to Him. We don't reach the destination before the Day of Judgment, we are constantly constantly striving, constantly, constantly moving, right? Right. And also remember Shaytan’s promise that he has promised to try and get to us in different ways depending on our state, right? And so when we're in the high, he's going to try and make us arrogant, and he'll try and make us look down on other people. He’ll try to get us eventually by encouraging us to be so pleased with ourselves that we don't think that we need to keep striving because we're already, you know, so great or whatever, better than everyone else, right? Even for those of us struggling with anything, you know, be it SSA or other things that there are times when you kind of think, “Oh, you know, at least I'm not as bad as this person, at least I haven't done x, y and z”. You know, this is Shaytan kind of whispering to us to kind of make us feel that, that we're better than other people, you know, and he constantly makes us look at those who appear to be doing less and uses that to justify our own shortcomings. Right? So if we, if we, you know, perhaps not praying as often that we should or not engaging like we should you know, we think to ourselves, “okay, well at least I'm not you know, going out clubbing at least I’m not drinking, at least I'm not committing harams x,y and z. Or at least I'm not, you know, hooking up with other men, right?” But you know, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala isn't grading us on a curve, right? He's expecting us to reach potential that we have within each of us as individuals, right? We all have different educations, different experiences, different upbringings, different mental and physical health, right? Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is the judge on the Day of Judgment not us, because He knows what we conceal and what we reveal. He knows what we’ve been through. He knows the challenges that we face as individuals. And this kind of comparing ourselves to other people saying, well, at least I'm not as bad as this person, at least I’m not as bad as that person. We can't do that, right? The only person we can compare ourselves to is ourselves or how we were yesterday. Have I improved from myself yesterday? Forget about person x, y and z outside me. What am I doing? Am I, am I constantly trying to succeed in moving forward in my own state? So this idea that we all stand alone on the Day of judgment and are judged based on our own circumstances, our own potential and how much of that we managed to achieve in a move towards. So yeah, so this is just like another tool of Shaytan to make us stop striving. You know, we've seen this many, many times, you know, someone turns his life around and then starts criticizing others for not being good enough. And even you and I were talking about this when doing these episodes, you know, I was saying, I feel really uncomfortable trying to teach people here is the path to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala here is, here is what we need to do to get out of this pit of SSA etc, etc. When I struggle with it every single day and some days I feel great and some days, I am like, who am I to be telling anyone else what to do? Right? I've got a situation in my family right now. I've got teenage relatives living with me, and I'm trying to be trying to help him do the best that he can to help him away from things that are dangerous for him. But in the back of my head I’m like, "Hashim you were doing exactly what he was doing at 18," or "Hashim who are you to tell him what is the right thing?" You know, and you have to kind of have that humbleness, but you have to kind of also want the best for others and want the best for yourself and accept that things haven't worked out, but want to make things better. So, yeah, so I mean, it's, you know, we see arrogance around us all the times in religious spiritual terms, you also see it, you know, even amongst circles of people discussing this topic of SSA, people who are healing from it, who are trying to overcome it, whether they've had breakthroughs or triumphs. You know, we can see sometimes that they start thinking less of others who haven't had their own share of that.
I have so much to say about this, honestly. Because you see people subhanallah, I mean, obviously not everyone, but I get so enraged when I see people who will look down upon their brothers and sisters, who are in this same journey of healing or striving towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala maybe, you know, recovering from addictions or habits or whatever. And they'll be like, “Oh, you haven't been to therapy, then none of this matters.” Or “Oh, you haven't been to this support group or you haven't joined this or that, then forget all you’re doing, forget everything that you're doing. It doesn't even make any difference in your life.” Or, you know, “oh, you only did this and this and that, well, your journey is incomplete. Your healing is incomplete. You're never going to be able to overcome whatever you're going through.” And I'm like, How is this even helpful? You know? It puts you down. It undermines your efforts and at the end of the day, how do you know my story for you to judge? That's not okay. Right? Yeah, then it's, it's like arrogance and pride disguised in a way of “Oh, let me show you the way you should be doing it this way.” I'm like, “I'm sorry. No, that's not helpful at all.” You know,
Which is why I love sometimes, like we're talking a couple of episodes ago, about. I love how when you when you, Brother Waheed you approach people you listen first and you kind of say, “Where are you at right now? What's going on? What is the pain? What is the profound feeling that that's overwhelming you right now?” it's not like, “Okay, step one,step two, step three and why don't you... why haven’t you started yet? And you know, why haven't you signed up for x, y and z yet?” It's acknowledging that everyone is at a different position. Everyone's at different stages. Everyone has different abilities, right? Some people have had practice in kind of getting up and making a plan on moving forward. Some people haven't had a chance to do that at all in their life. So how can we expect them to move at the same pace that we might have moved? Right? For sure. Everything, everything that we're discussing here goes back to you know Surah al-Fatiha and the fact that we're on this path leading towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So when we read the line “Guide us to the Straight Path”, in the back of my head always think “What does a straight path lead to?” The straight path leads to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And we're all in different stages on that path. So what matters is that we are on the path or trying to move back towards that path and moving towards that destination. And how fast we go on it, the speed and the current stage that we're at, that doesn't matter, because everyone's circumstance is different. As long as we're trying to do a little bit better than we were doing yesterday and we’re trying to keep moving forward. And we're trying to correct, you know, like when you're in a ship and the ship correcs course, back to trying to get back to its original trajectory and trying to get to where it's heading. Right. And even the Quran talks about that, it talks about ships in the sea, and the wind and how Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala pushes us towards the land, right? And in a way, that's our journey, right? We have, we have a destination and we're trying to get to it. We go along this journey and sometimes the wind blows us off course. And we have to make adjustments and move back and change that the way our sails are aligned and that sort of thing. So it's really about small, small changes and small modifications.
Absolutely. And you were just talking about how Shaytan comes to us, in that state of spiritual high or when we feel that we are doing much better. And he tries to, to, you know, amplify that arrogance or that sense of pride to make us feel better than other people or look down upon them. But at the same time, he comes to us when we're at the, you know, the other end, which is when we're feeling hopeless, when we're low, he comes to us and approaches us in a different way, which is to make us feel even more hopeless and to despair more of the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and make us believe that we're worthless, he will amplify our shame. He will make us believe that there's no point in trying, “I might as well stop trying because even if I try, I'm gonna slip again, and again and again”, So he’ll make us believe that we are a failure no matter what we do, we're a hopeless case, we'll never get back to where we once were, or that ideal self that we want to achieve, or whatever it may be. Yeah, you know, we're too bad for a lot to forgive us. And so we let ourselves fall even further, we lose track, we lose sight of the path. We may go into a state of, you know, darkness, or we may fall even further into the old habits or whatever that may be. We start slacking in our own worship, you know, all of these things start coming up.
Yeah. And we see that even in the support groups that we're a part of, sometimes we can fall into that, you know, somebody, somebody new might come along and say, you know, I struggle with this, but alhamdulilah, I've never acted on it, right. And then inside there's a voice inside of each of our heads who may have done things who kind of says “but I did”. And “I’ll never be as good as this person. So what's the point?” It's difficult, it's difficult, but then that’s Shaytan using his old tricks again, manipulating our weakness and trying to get us towards...to go towards despair or hopelessness in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala’s repentance. “Why should I bother trying? There's no point I'm already tainted.” Exactly. “So what, so why would Allah want me?”
We know that this has nothing to do with our Islamic tradition or the way that Allah describes things in the Quran where He tells us about His mercy. We know that once we have sincere repentance to Allah, it's a clean slate. It's not a game over. We are back with a fresh start. Yeah. Then we can move forward. That what we care about. Right? Anything else is from Shaytan. Any any bad whisperings or any shame or any feeling of despair, that is all whisperings that has nothing to do with Divine Mercy. Right? So this, this should always be our compass. And sometimes honestly, and speaking personally also, like sometimes we don't even give ourselves permission to make mistakes or to be weak and by giving permission here i'm not saying that we intend to sin, right? I'm just saying that to recognize our own weaknesses as human beings, our own fallibility, our human nature, right? We're, we're weak, we are susceptible to, to temptation and desires and sinning and all of that. Of course, we try our best to avoid sinning, and we stay to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as much as we can but at the same time, we don't think that we're not weak, or that we're above sinning, we are prone to make mistakes. That's the reality of it. Right? That's the whole point of what we were discussing for the past couple of episodes. And that's been since the day of Adam alayhis salaam. Since the beginning of mankind, right? So sometimes, this whole thing translates into not giving ourselves permission to make mistakes and to, to be weak. And, and, and we look down upon others who make mistakes and then when we fall into sin or we go back to our old habits or whatever happens, then we start self flagellating or bashing ourselves because we don't give permission to, you know, to, to recognize our own weaknesses. And so we lose hope. And we go hard on ourselves, we lose hope. And the shame starts talking, “I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy enough. I'm never going to be the person that Allah wants me to be. I'm never going to be as good as X, Y or Z.” Right? And we've talked about this before, and in a couple of episodes before in this season and in the previous season. And if you get into a shame, if we give into the, into those gremlins and the voices in our heads that tell us that we're not good enough, nothing is going to matter anymore, if we give into despair, we may let ourselves go. And we may end up committing more sins, which only makes our hopelessness worse and it becomes a self perpetuating vicious cycle. And Shaytan would have a field day because he will try to make us believe that we shouldn't try to repent or pray because we'd be hypocrites, since we're such bad people, you know, this is our state, we might as well just stay here. And, you know, just camp in this place, and carry on with our lives the way that we are doing right now. You know, that is the whole point he wants us to despair of the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. That's what he wants. And all of these are lies, of course, but he's good at what he does, after all. And, and we go back to the, to the verse at the beginning of this, of this episode, when Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala said, “Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards.” So the point here is that when we have sinned, that's when we need to turn to Allah even more, not less, immediately turn to him and turn to Him with all of your power with all of your might as much as we can. And going back to Sister Yasmin Mogahed she said, to protect yourself from this downward spiral, remember that “the lows are part of the path”, as you were saying, remember that futoor, which in Arabic means “the dip”. So that, that dip, that particular state is “part of being human”. “Once you realize that this does not mean you failed or that you are a hypocrite” (like the the hadith of Hanzala and Abu Bakr RA that you just cited) “that doesn't mean we failed, or we're hypocrites we can keep from giving up once we get there. And the key is to develop certain habits which become our “bare minimum”. That means no matter how unmotivated or low, I feel, I still do those things. At the very least. I still keep the minimum prayers that I'm, that I'm keeping up with. If I'm doing dhikr continuously, I keep on doing that dhikr, the bare minimum that I keep on doing. I keep on doing that. I don't give myself permission to stop doing those things. At least let me do those things. You know, these should never be compromised, no matter how much we're “not feeling it”, or I'm not worthy of it or whatever that may be.
Because even at the time when you're not feeling it, that's when we actually need it the most, right?
Yes, yes. And it's going to be hard. Of course, it's going to be hard during those moments of spiritual “low”, or the dip, but we struggle to keep doing them. And it's part of the struggle, right, and the more we struggle, the more we're rewarded for it. And for that, and the closer we feel towards Allah subhanaw taala. And the more effort we put that the, you know, the more of the fruits that we reap in the process. And and Sister Yasmin actually compares this to breathing air, right? Imagine how, imagine what would happen if every time you were exhausted or in a bad mood, you decide not to breathe? It doesn't make sense, right? So the same happens with, with the bare minimum that we try to achieve. And she also describes that during the dip, it does indeed become hard to perform our religious duties and the things that we used to and to avoid sin and evil thoughts and to kind of, you know, stay away from all of these things. Compared to when we were at a spiritual high. Of course, when we’re at the spiritual high, it becomes easy to avoid sin and temptation and to keep up with our religious duties. I mean, it goes without saying, but if we look at it this way, the dip itself is a test to see how we will perform right how we will struggle and how we will strive for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala when we're when we're confronted with the whisperings and the sayings of Shaytan and the pull of the nafs as we were saying, in the last episode, the nafs pulls us al-nafs al-ammara bi-l-su’ commands us to do wrong. If the shaitan and nafs are pulling us in a specific direction and we feel tempted but what by what they're telling us to do when we feel that I want to give in. That's when the fight really counts. That's the arena that's the real battle. Am I going to you know, give in to those temptations or am I gonna stand strong and fight right? It is hard, it is messy. It is very painful, but it isn't necessary at the end of the day. And this is what's known as the internal jihad. We're fighting against our own nats, our own temptations and desires and longings. And you know, we master our nafs we achieve true discipline, strength and we build muscle that we need to move forward in life to get to higher stations, both in this world and then next inshallah. And, you know, in addition to the bare minimum that we said, it is preferred to have other rituals, for example, you know, stick to certain extra prayers and adhkar or daily, you know, a couple of pages or a couple of verses of the Quran, even if that's little, it's fine. And we remember that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam used to say “خير الأعمال أدومها وإن قل” which means that “the best action is the one that is consistent even if it is small.” Allah loves a small consistent action more than a large one that is inconsistent. And if we hold on to certain essential during our low, we will ride the wave of the iman and come back up Insha Allah, and when we go back up will be at a higher place than our last high. And then when we feel the dip again, we will just, okay, know how to move forward inshallah again and again.
Yeah, that's a beautiful point, is when we feel that dip we know how to move forward because we've been in that dip before. And we’ve had experience of how we got out of that dip in the first place so that the next time we go into it, we can go back in our mind to go “Okay, what did I do to get back out”, and then hopefully, that the speed at which you climb back out of it is is faster than it was previously because you're more practiced at it now. This whole idea of everything that we go through these dips, these struggles, these trials, not because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala’s trying to find out something about us because He already knows everything. It's more for us to gain practice and grow this muscle right? This spiritual muscle of getting back to Him. So just like if you compare it to trying to develop your body and develop your muscle you, you don't give up the one time that you're not able to lift away, you say fine, I'm going to go back tomorrow or reduce the weight and then increase it in smaller increments. And at least get back to where I was before. You don't stop going completely because then your muscles just waste away, right? And your muscles need stimulation, they need to be used in order to grow. And our spiritual connection is exactly the same. That's, that's why we go through these, these, these trials and tribulations. It's because that, that striving and that yearning and that trying to move back towards Him is a practice that we need to develop. It's not something that we're born with. It's something that we grow into through life and through, through struggling
And you know, we have to remember that all of this has to be focused, this whole life, this whole journey has to be focused on Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Right? And, you know, nothing is easy unless He makes it easy. And sometimes He doesn't make it easy because He wants us to grow because He wants us to develop. Because, you know, like you're saying, holding on to the rope of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, I think that only happens when something's going wrong and you have to reach out and you have to hold, right? And developing, developing a strong grip only happens if you're in a situation that needs you to hold on tight. Right? You know, going back to the episode of Nabi Adam alayhis salaam, this idea of, you know, that teenager in his father's mansion who's never had to do anything, has never had to develop beautiful qualities because he hasn't been a situation that caused him to need to us them to need to practice that. So nothing is hard if Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is with us and to make it easy for us and with Him in mind, you can understand the reality of why things go wrong, why things are low sometimes. And if we focus on Him if we show him that we're sincere, and that we're doing this for Him, and we ask for His help, even when it's difficult for us to ask for it, He delivers. Remember He does things, He’s the best of planners, He does things in His own time in His own way, for our benefit, right? You know, and, and let's make use of the things that He's put here for us. So just like when we talk about plants and Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala gives them light and gives them water to help them grow. We do the same thing, but we access everything around us that is halal for us to use, right. So support systems, our friendships that we have with other people in our communities. We have them you know, we're not doing this alone. So this idea of and we read in Surah al-Fatiha of “You alone do WE worship”. So we as a collective, you know, and then and just to be aware that we were saying that life takes us to highs and then takes us to lows and takes us to highs is this usual ebb and flow this sort of rollercoaster with periods of highs and lows. And each like we were saying, each one of those, it's a lesson to allow us to grow stronger. And it's, it's a practice that we go through again and again. And hopefully each time it's, it's easier to connect again. But then similarly, each time sometimes the trial and the struggle is a bit harder because it needs to be in order for us to develop a little bit more each time you go and lift the weight. If you lift the same weight each time the muscle’s going to stop growing, it doesn't need to grow further. So sometimes you need to increment the way a bit more in order to grow and it's all good at the end of the day. It's all in order for us to develop this connection in which is that pure reason what we are doing here for the short time, why our souls are inhabiting these borrowed bodies for the short amount of time - what is the reason? The reason is qurbatan ila Allah (to get close to Allah), and sometimes we need these ebbs and flows, that struggle and hardship and needs a reason for us to, to make Him the destination of the path we’re trying to walk on. So, inshallah each of these lessons help us to, to grow stronger and to grow closer to Him. And as long as we navigate them correctly, as long as we are God centric and we keep Him as the focus of the destination of our path. And, you know, and then I'll end with this this verse from the Holy Quran where Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surah Al-Inshiqaq, He says ‘O mankind, indeed you are toiling towards your Lord laboriously, and you shall meet Him’ (84:6). So this is Him reminding us that He is the goal of this journey, the goal of this path.
Indeed. And and with this alhamdulilah, we have finished the topics in this series of episodes that are tackling the struggle from a spiritual lens. And for the past five episodes, my dear friend, Hashim has been a wonderful co host with me, I would like to sincerely sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me. It has been a real pleasure I've learned so much from you and God bless you. And I'm pretty sure that the listeners agree with me. It's such an honor to have you, barakallahu feek.
The pleasure is all mine. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you for listening to me. And I'm sorry if I said anything incorrect. And we're all on this journey and feel free to repeat any of the things I've said back to me when I'm going through a low because it will happen and I need it.
And you do the same to us please, because we all need this. We’re all on this journey together inshaAllah towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And one last question to you: any last words you'd like to leave us with?
I think we, we should all help each other, to remain God centric. And that's the purpose of all of this right through prayer through Quran - the advice that all the Prophets gave to their people was, you know, be conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Be aware of the bigger journey of what we're doing here. With anything, whether it's SSA, whether you're struggling with other things. It's that, that first step is bringing yourself back home, bring yourself back to your center and going “What am I doing here? What is the purpose of all this?” Defining that, defining that goal that we have. That, that, that is our journey towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Once we have that then other things can fall into place, and other decisions become a lot easier, don't they? As in, if we have that as our center, you know just like, everything has a center like planets orbit around the sun, when we go for tawaf, we the orbit around the Ka’bah, we, we have to have that center that connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and then start living life in light of that. And I think once once we have that, that other things become easier other things fall into place, then you can deal with tragedy, then you can deal with loss and you can deal with the ups and downs because you are centered, because you have that understanding of why this is happening and what I'm doing here and where I've come from, and where I'm going, and who I'm going back to. And the fact that this is the ‘dunya’, you know, dear brother reminded me, the reason it's called the dunya is because this is the lowest form of life and we weren't made for this. We were made for the next world, our real homes in the next world and we will wake up when we go there and it's just, it',s I know it's really hard and I know you know when you're in your 20s or teens or whatever, to, to think about this because you've got so much going on at school, you've got family, you've got exams, you've got relationships and social structures. But the most important thing is, is our connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala through prayer, through Quran, and then living life with that at its centre.
One hundred percent. Jazak’Allah khayr for that. May Allah make us God conscious and allow us to live a God centric life. InshaAllah. Barakallahu feek.
For the past 12 episodes, including this one, we have discussed a lot of spiritual themes that are relevant to our struggle with same-sex attractions. And this was the focus of the season, to look at the struggle from a spiritual and an Islamic lens. As you remember, in the previous season, our main focus was on the psychology and building foundations and in this season, we tackled the issue from a spiritual and an Islamic lens. In our attempt to formulate a comprehensive approach, we need to talk about psychology, we need to talk about spirituality, and the Islamic perspective. And in future seasons, we'll be talking about support systems, we'll be talking about interpersonal relations, and we will be talking about family and society and so many aspects. Focusing only on psychology as we have established and only on psychology is not enough. Similarly, focusing only on spirituality and religion would not be a comprehensive approach. So as you guys recall in this season, we talked about the concept of darknesses and pain that many of us go through and trying to find the light. And we talked about how He subhanahu wa ta'ala is the light. الله نور السموات والأرض -- “God is the Light of the heavens and the earth”. We talked about Allah’s mercy about letting go of the baggage and any preconceived notions that we had about Him to try and see Him and His mercy through his words subhanahu wa ta'ala. We talked about Surah al-Fatiha how it is an invitation for us to go back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, how it is a foundation for our life, a reminder for our purpose here and the path that we are treading on a daily basis. Now that Surah puts everything in context. And we talked about how the Islamic paradigm teaches us that this life is not the end this life is only a bridge, it is a means that stands as nothing more than a glimpse into the context of Allah’s infinite in reality, What I have or do not in a worldly sense is only relevant in as much as it brings me closer to or farther from my aim. And that aim is Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And we talked about how to try and change our lens to move beyond the concept of “how could this happen to us?” and realize the true purpose of the test itself, which is a tool that is created to purify and to strengthen and to bring us closer to our Creator. We talked about the problem of evil and suffering, why we suffer, why we're tested. What's the point of all of this in the larger scheme of things? And again, the Islamic paradigm teaches us that there is an end to all of this, that there is an afterlife where everything falls into place inshallah. We touched upon the story of Prophet Musa alayhis salaam and al-Khidr. We talked about destiny, trials, and that everything that happens has good in it. You know, the Hadith of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam: “Wondrous is the affair of the believer, for his affair all of it is good.” We don't necessarily have the full picture. It may manifest itself to us in this life or not, but it will manifest itself in the afterlife. Inshallah. We talked about tragedies and why tragedies happened. We talked about patience, how we learned that from the story of Ayyub alayhis salaam and his wife, how everything in this life is a test. And the struggle with same sex attractions is one of these tests. Allah gives us tests and He gives us divine openings from Him subhanahu wa ta'ala at the same time. And as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Qaf “We created man and We know the inner whisperings of his soul, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein” (50:16).
We know that trials and tests shake us often times they invite us to return to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. They teach us patience and humility, and they are a means for purification of the soul and the heart. We stressed upon the concept of patient forbearance, فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ Fa Sabrun Jamil. We talked about the story of Musa alayhis salaam and the trials he went through ever since he was born. We talked about the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them. We talked about the story of Asya may Allah be pleased with her. The wife of Pharaoh of Egypt. We also talked about how trials help us develop gratitude, self improvement, contentment and compassion for others who are going through difficulty. And we talked about how there are stations, one station is to bear something, a higher station is to achieve patience and an even higher station is to achieve contentment with what we are given. And then we synthesized all of these themes together through the story of Yusuf and Jacob, peace be upon them. And after that we talked about the topic of attachments and surrender and letting go. We examine this through the story of Ibrahim alayhis salaam, first with his father and his people. And then with Hajar and Ismail made the Peace and blessings of Allah be upon them. And then the trial that Prophet Ibrahim later had with his son Ismael and the sacrifices that they have made throughout their lives. We also examined the idea of shedding attachments and to be solely attached to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. To let go of all dependencies and all attachments to any creature, and to rely solely on the Creator subhanahu wa ta'ala and how that is the true message of tawhid: “La ilaha illa Allah”, right? “La ilaha” is a negation of all gods: all false attachments. And then we say “illa Allah,” and this is affirming the One True Attachment, the One and Only God, the One and Only Ultimate. And from our perspective with same-sex attractions, to let go of desires, temptations, cravings, wants and needs for His sake subhanahu wa ta'ala. And we know that He will replace them with better things, inshaAllah. We're not jumping off a cliff to our doom, we are jumping, knowing wholeheartedly, that He is there to catch us. We also touched upon the Divine openings from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We talked about sympathy, empathy, altruistic behaviors, we talked about hidden talents that Allah has bestowed upon us that can change the world. We talked about role models, different examples throughout history. And we gave the example of Ibn Dawud al-Zahiri, may Allah be pleased with him who was a brilliant scholar with impeccable character, and who kept his love for another man chaste for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And in the episode after that, we talked about the four kinds of love, the highest one is pure love for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And we gave the beautiful examples of David (PBUH) and Jonathan, as well as Shams and Rumi, may Allah be pleased with all of them. Write your own love story with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, right? And then, in the previous couple of episodes, we touched upon the themes of temptation and desires, talking about the story of Adam and Eve, may Allah be pleased with them, and how Satan beautifies sin and the breaking of God's rules, how he appeals to our carnal desires and wants, how he appears as someone who cares, but he wants nothing but our destruction and estrangement from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We talked about pride and despair, the two cardinal sins. We also talked about sinning, and then going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, repenting sincerely to Him, and how He grants us a clean slate as a result of that. We talked about how His mercy and love for us are limitless. He wants us to go back to Him. And in the beautiful words of Jalaluddin Al-Rumi, “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”
We also talked about the story of the people of Lut (PBUH). The many lessons that we can learn from that story and how it applies to us, in this day and age. And in the previous episode, we talked about desires and shahawat and how to try to curb those shahawat for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as much as we can, even if we keep on falling, but we get back up, dust ourselves off and move forward towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as much as we can. And in today's episode we revisited the topic of repentance and sincerity to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and we talked about spiritual awakenings and the need to realize that the ups and downs are part of life and this is all a part of the test of life, the tests that we are given by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. How we need to be vigilant of pride, and how we also need to be vigilant of despair and hopelessness, and how these two can come through the whisperings of Shaytan. And ultimately to go back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, to go back to humility and to trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.
I would like to end this episode with a quote from Yasmin Moghed who said, “Know that the path to Allah is not a flat one. Your iman (faith) will go up and down. Your ability to worship will go up and down. But, know that for every dip, there is also a rise. Just stay patient, stay consistent, don’t lose hope and seek help in Allah. The path is hard. The path will have bumps and drops. But, like all things in this life, this path will come to an end. And that end will make it all worth it!” InshaAllah. And with this, we have finished the spiritual series of this podcast. As always, you can email me on [email protected] and you can always access our website awaybeyondtherainbow.buzzsprout.com, where you will find all of the episodes with their transcripts. And you can always listen to us on your favorite podcast apps. The next episode is going to be our last episode of the season inshaAllah, and in the season finale, my friend Amina is joining me as our guest speaker for this season and she will be sharing with us her story, inshaAllah. Until next Friday, stay safe and healthy. And I look forward to talking to you soon. This has been Waheed Jensen in “A Way Beyond the Rainbow”. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi ta’ala wa barakatuh.