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Cultivating Hope and Optimism During Difficult Times by

Haleh Banani

We are bombarded with news of destruction, famine, war and loss of lives. Each new day we hear stories about hypocrisy, deception and misguidance. We are struggling with our shortcomings, trials and tribulations in our lives and in our relationships. Our hearts are wavering between being overwhelmed and feeling numb from all the chaos. What should be our response when we are immersed in these unpredictable circumstances? How are we supposed to remain optimistic when so much pain and suffering are taking place?


And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient (Surat al-Baqara: 2:155)

Allah is telling us that we will be tested with trials and tribulations so we need to be prepared for these unexpected events by having spiritual prowess along with perseverance. When an upcoming exam is announced in school, we are naturally more ready psychologically which leads us to take action ensuring our success. It’s similar to bracing ourselves for impact when the turbulence of life hits. Therefore, we need to be mentally vigilant for upcoming trials by focusing on passing them with patience and acceptance.


The way to true peace is through acceptance. Acceptance of our destiny. Acceptance of our past and present. Acceptance that everything that has happened to us and is happening right now has been orchestrated by Allah. One of the best examples of acceptance I have witnessed is of a relative who had a twin sister. They had the most amazing relationship you can imagine and they were inseparable. They were two of the most optimistic and angelic girls I’ve ever met, exuding happiness and enthusiasm everywhere they went.They were so connected with one another that they felt each other’s labor pains. One of the twins who was married with a little 5-year-old daughter got diagnosed with cancer and after an excruciatingly painful fight, she lost the battle at the age of 27. I was so worried about her sister emotionally, thinking that she will fall into a state of depression, resentment or anger, but I was profoundly affected by her complete acceptance of the will of Allah masha’Allah tabarakAllah. Her grace and calmness during this tragedy demonstrated her genuine trust and acceptance of Allah’s will.  She would give herself 5 minutes each day to weep then quickly compose herself by focusing on her many blessings and not her loss.

Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. (Surat al-Baqara 2:216)

Even if we are going through painful and difficult tests, we need to have the understanding and maturity to know that it’s teaching us valuable lessons and helping us to grow spiritually.


When we are certain that things don’t happen arbitrarily and there is divine wisdom in the events of our lives, we are able to embrace the hardship easier. Victor Frankl, a famous psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust and wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, emphasized the importance of searching for meaning when faced with tragedy. He was in a concentration camp and saw everyone losing hope because of the inevitable death and torture they were facing. Even though he lost his family and suffered unbearable losses, he chose to focus his attention on adapting and accepting his circumstances. He built his mental strength to not only survive but to draw upon the experiences to teach others to search for meaning even in the most difficult situations. When we realize that there is wisdom and purpose for the difficulties, then we become more patient. It is like a medical school student that endures with dedicated patience the grueling hours of study, lack of sleep and hard work because they realize that the temporary nature of the trial leads to lasting success.

“How amazing is the affair of the believer. There is good for him in everything and that is for no one but the believer. If good times come his way, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” (Muslim)


The only time we lose hope is when we lack trust in the master plan. Imagine how absurd it would be if an expert architect was designing our home and we constantly tried to dictate how to construct the building without having any formal training in architecture or knowledge of the blueprint. This is what it’s like when we object to Allah’s plan by demanding that the events of our lives unfold the way we desire. Even though none of us have the audacity to think that we know better than Allah, we are implying it by complaining and objecting about our circumstances. When we put our full trust in Allah, our hearts will be filled with hope, knowing that all we are going through will transform us and we will be rewarded when we practice patience.

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely (Surat Al-Anfal 8:2)


Once we are mentally prepared and have acceptance, searched for meaning and nurtured trust in Allah, then our overall disposition and state of mind will naturally be one of optimism.

O my sons, go and find out about Joseph and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Surat Yusuf 12:87)

The importance of optimism is emphasized in this verse by equating pessimism to disbelief. It is a form of disbelief to deny the names and attributes of Allah: Al-Qawee: the most powerful, Al–Hakeem: the most wise, Al-Adel: the most fair. As believers, we have no choice but to be optimistic because we need to demonstrate our belief in Allah by having unshakable hope regardless of our circumstances.


We have the choice to either focus on the news that invokes sadness and despair or focuses on the goodness in the world. We can either focus on what we don’t have in our lives or focus on the amazing blessings Allah has bestowed upon us. The choice is ours and whatever we choose will determine whether or not we live a life of pessimism or optimism. We need to infuse hope in our hopelessness realizing that nothing is permanent.  The pain and difficulties we are going through now will eventually pass.  It may be hard to see the end of the tunnel, but if we focus on reaching one small goal at a time we will cultivate hope in our hearts and eventually make it through the darkness. It’s helpful during those days of darkness to have a mantra (a statement we repeat over and over) to give us hope and strength.

Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease (Surat Ash-Shahr 94:6)

Realizing that with one hardship comes an abundance of ease helps us to redirect our minds on what is to come. Regardless of what we are enduring in our lives, we need to find solace in the midst of pain trusting that the One who is testing us will see us through it.


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Sometimes it can feel like there is a terrorist attack on the news every other week. But how much attention an attack receives has a lot to do with one factor: the religion of the perpetrator

President Trump has often accused the news media of not covering terrorist attacks adequately. In a speech in February he said, “Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino […] It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported.”

New research from Erin Kearns and colleagues at Georgia State University shows that the president is right — sort of. There is a systematic bias in the way terrorism is covered — just not in the way the president thinks.

Kearns says the “terrorism” label is often only applied to cases where the perpetrator is Muslim. And, those cases also receive significantly more news coverage.

“When the perpetrator is Muslim, you can expect that attack to receive about four and a half times more media coverage than if the perpetrator was not Muslim,” Kearns says. Put another way, “a perpetrator who is not Muslim would have to kill on average about seven more people to receive the same amount of coverage as a perpetrator who’s Muslim.”

Perhaps these findings are not all that surprising to you. But there are disturbing implications for the way Americans perceive Muslims, and the way Muslims perceive themselves.

Muniba Saleem is a social psychologist at the University of Michigan. Saleem conducted a study in which volunteers were randomly assigned to watch video clips with different portrayals of Muslims before answering a series of questions.

Some volunteers watched news clips in which Muslims were represented as terrorists. Others saw neutral news clips about Muslims. A third group watched positive news clips, showing Muslims volunteering in their communities.

The researchers discovered that after participants watched the negative news clips, they supported all kinds of unconstitutional policies targeting Muslim Americans.

Saleem is Muslim herself, and has experienced firsthand the way terrorist attacks and media coverage of them can skew public perceptions. When the September 11th attacks occurred, Saleem was a high school student in Ohio.

“The fact that I was a Muslim was enough to put me in the same category as these perpetrators who committed these terrible crimes,” Saleem says. “And it didn’t matter that I was a teenager, or that I was American, that I was Pakistani. What mattered was that Muslim identity.”

As a social psychologist today, Muniba Saleem now understands many things that she did not understand as a 15-year-old kid in Ohio. Terrorism doesn’t just have physical consequences. It has a number of psychological effects as well.


He chopped her in the neck and called her a “child” and a “bitch.”

A University of Toronto professor was at Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall Wednesday evening when she said an older white man chopped her in the neck and called her a “bitch” after she took a photograph.

Aisha Ahmad, a Muslim-Canadian professor who teaches international security at the U of T, told VICE she was at the symphony with a friend after being gifted tickets to Carmina Burana from a fellow professor. Having been to the symphony many times, she knew that flash photography is not permitted so she took a non-flash photograph before the performance began, as she had in the past.

At that point, “the man behind me chopped me on the neck and said ‘put that away'” Ahmad said. “I was stunned. I turned around and said, ‘You can’t hit me, that’s assault. If you hit me again, I will charge you.'”

She said the man, who looked to be in his 50s, replied, “You’re like a child, you bitch.”

Ahmad, who said she was the only non-white person in her section, told VICE others seated nearby turned around to find out what the commotion was about. Then they took the man’s side.

“They began to pile on and chime in and say ‘Stop it already, enough’ and ‘What’s wrong with you?,'” Ahmad said. “In that moment I realized the entire section had decided I didn’t belong there.”

Francine Labelle, a spokeswoman for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, told VICE it has “zero tolerance for violent, disrespectful behaviour” and that the man has been banned from future TSO events. She also said the TSO reported the incident to police.

Roy Thomson Hall has not yet provided comment.

But Ahmad said she’s dumbfounded at the way things were handled that night.

After the initial attack, Ahmad left her seat to speak with security and later two managers with Roy Thomson Hall. She explained what happened and that she was a U of T professor, and asked to talk to a supervisor about the incident. Ahmad was told “nothing could be done” until intermission and that she was welcome to wait in the hallway in the meantime—about an hour.

At intermission, Ahmad said the doors opened and the man who had hit her beelined towards her.

“He said ‘you’re the woman who accosted me'” she said, and she responded that he had hit her. Then she took out her phone in order to take a photo or video in case things escalated. That’s when Ahmad said the man lunged at her.

“I’m quick on my feet, I managed to escape via the side,” said Ahmad, who is a boxer. “He clearly became very aggressive and very agitated.”

Despite the fact that he lunged at her in front of a crowd of people, Ahmad said the venue managers insisted they had to hear “his side of the story” before taking any action.

After they confirmed with witnesses that he had hit her and cussed at her, she said they asked her if an apology would be sufficient.

“I then said ‘Do you think it is sufficient for your patrons to be able to hit other patrons and that it can be resolved via an apology?” She said the managers told her she was within her rights to press charges.

Ahmad did call the police, which is when the venue managers escorted her attacker out of the building. But ultimately, she changed her mind, deciding she didn’t want to waste police resources that could be better spent on other issues.

She said Roy Thomson Hall managers asked her if she wanted to return to the show, which “seemed completely divorced from how a person might feel in that moment.” She decided to go home and was told they’d provide her free tickets to another show.

“By that point I had already tweeted everything… and so I think they had started to come to the realization that maybe this would not go well if they didn’t do something,” she told VICE, noting she’s been thinking about how her students or people who don’t have her influence would have been treated.

Ahmad said she was acutely aware that in that situation, as a woman of colour, she had to behave “perfectly”—speak with a calm tone; maintain her cool; document everything; and get herself to safety.

Fighting back—despite having years in self defence training—would be out of the question, she said.

“There is a very high likelihood the result of such defensive action to protect your own body will be that you will be beaten within an inch of your life and then jailed,” she said.

Ahmad told VICE it’s “insane” to her that she would be expected to go back inside and sit next to someone who had attacked her and that managers wanted to hear out her attacker even after he lunged at her publicly.

“I cannot imagine such deference would have been given to someone from a less privileged background.”

She said cultural institutions like the orchestra are very white, and as such don’t reflect Toronto’s diversity—something she feels they need to make an effort to change.

Labelle of Toronto Symphony Orchestra said everyone is welcome at the orchestra’s events and “should feel safe.”

“Like the rest of society, we want to be inclusive of all groups and ensure that everyone has a place in our audience.”


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FAJR Prayer gets you the best of both worlds!
“Getting up early is practical and creates self-discipline”
Former Navy SEAL commanders explain why they still wake up at 4:30 a.m. — and why you should, too. It’s very interesting that God Almighty Allah already instructed us as Submitters only to The Creator in Peace (‘Muslims’) to wake up also around or at the same hour for dawn prayer called Fajr! So as Muslims we already have this great blessing sent to us in ISLAM. Now use it don’t lose it!

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Whoever prays the dawn prayer [Fajr], then He is under Allah’s(God’s) protection.  So beware, O son(or daughter) of Adam, that Allah(God) doesn’t call you to account for being absent from His protection for any reason.” [Muslim]

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The most difficult prayers for the hypocrites are the Isha and Fajr prayers. Yet if they only knew what these prayers contain, they would come to prayer even if they had to crawl.”

— Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) [Ahmad]


Yoshinori Ohsumi, a cellular biologist from Japan, became a Nobel Prize winner in physiology and medicine “for discovering the mechanisms of autophagy.” The Japanese scientist has scientifically substantiated that fasting is good for one’s health, reports the Komsomolskaya Pravda Russian newspaper.

The Nobel Prize Committee’s press release reads:

“Ohsumi’s discoveries have led to a new paradigm in our understanding of how a cell processes its contents. His discoveries have opened new ways of understanding the fundamental importance of autophagy for a large number of physiological processes, such as adaptation to starvation and response to an infection.”

Autophagy is the process of utilizing and recycling unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components—the so-called cellular rubbish which accumulates in cells. The term “autophagy” originates from two Greek words which summarily mean “self-eating.” Autophagy is intrinsic to living organisms, including those of human beings. Thanks to autophagy cells get rid of excess parts, while an organism gets rid of unnecessary cells.

Autophagy becomes especially intensive when an organism is under stress, for example, when it fasts. In this case a cell produces energy using its internal resources, that is, cellular rubbish, including pathogenic bacteria.

The Nobel Prize winner’s discovery indicates that abstaining from food and keeping fasts is wholesome—the body truly cleans itself. This is confirmed by the Nobel Prize Committee.

According to Ohsumi’s colleagues, autophagy protects organisms from premature senility. This process even probably rejuvenates organisms by creating new cells, removing defective proteins and damaged intracellular organelles from them, thus maintaining them in good condition.

Prepared by Vladimir Lagovskiy


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The Alex Jones Show Infowars responded to our message we are responding back.

We sent out a special message to the Alex Jones InfoWars show several months back clearing up with facts much of the lies and misinformation that they have spread out about Muslims and Islam while inviting Alex Jones on the show or for him to invite a credible Muslim scholar on the Alex Jones Infowars Show for a peaceful dialogue and this is what we got in return so we decided to respond again with Truth.

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Through The Eyes of Yadira and Nadir
Assalamu Alaikum. My name is Yadira and my husband is Nadir. I am completely blind and my husband is legally blind. We’ve been married for eight years and we have three beautiful children. I was raised Catholic, and I met my now husband a few years before I took my shahada. Coming to Islam has been the biggest blessing in my life. I found my husband, and along with him, came a wonderful family. My in-laws have treated me as their own daughter, and for that, I am extremely grateful. Through Islam, I was blessed with my beautiful children.

Alas, Allah’s bounty and mercy have undeniably been immense, and I’m certainly humbled by this. Yet, I found that upon converting, I was at a loss as to where to acquire information on this incredible deen I had now embraced. I found myself asking to read an English translation of the holy Quran, books of the prophets, books on Ahadith, or any books that could provide me with further insight on my new found religion. However, I was always told to simply listen to audio recordings of the information I was requesting. In fact, this response still rings true to date. Now, as helpful as my fellow Muslims were attempting to be, they did not seem to comprehend the importance of being able to offer literature on Islam in braille to the blind Muslim community.

Above is a smiling image of the founders of Islam by Touch Yadira and Nadir. They are standing side by side in a couples half hug wearing black attire.
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Yadira, wearing a purple hijab and black dress is reading brail.
One of the greatest gifts we have been endowed with is the gift of literacy. To be able to read means to be able to encounter worlds beyond our reality and daily musings. Being able to read means to be able to expand our imaginations to unexplored Heights. Above all however, having the ability to read for oneself, means possessing the choice to fill our minds with limitless knowledge. Of course, it isn’t to say that listening to books and lectures does not induce its own unique and enriching experience, but to be presented with a choice to read for oneself provides A chance for deeper reflection and connection to The facts and stories being absorbed.

Enabling the blind Muslim members of the community the opportunity to read Islamic literature in braille would allow for the same choice to be held as every sighted counterpart. Extending this recourse would permit the opportunity at being engrossed deeply into Islam. It would give the chance to contribute to the community on a meaningful and profound level. The availability and accessibility of Islamic texts would solidify blind Muslims as validated members of the Ummah, and that is exactly what my husband and I are striving to facilitate for all our blind brothers and sisters in Islam.

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Look into Islam it is Truly a way of life sent by the Creator as a Mercy for all of mankind. Start today by earnestly asking your Maker to guide your heart to the truth.

Look beyond the hype and the false stereotypes and lies you’ve been told about Islam. Judge for yourself tune into TheDeenShow to really learn the truth about Islam and Muslims. Purpose of life ever Wonder?

Islam means submission to the Creator alone. Islam is the belief that there is only One God, whose proper name is Allah, which means the God.

Islam is the same message given to all the prophets, from Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and finally to the Prophet Muhammad, the last messenger (peace and blessings be upon them). They all brought the same message: worship only God, and stop worshipping human beings and their ideas.

Allah is the name of God in Arabic, Arab Christians use the word Allah.

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If you believe there is only One God who should be worshipped, and no one/nothing else has that right but Him, and you believe Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a messenger who brought the same message as all the prophets before him, then you are basically a Muslim.

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