Post Retreat: The Secret of Joy and Rest (Part II)

There's always a reason to smile when you have the right outlook--we can always find something to be grateful for. So smile and be joyous! It's a charity--to yourself and others! Photo courtesy of

There’s always a reason to smile when you have the right outlook–we can always find something to be grateful for. So smile and be joyous! It’s a charity–to yourself and others! Photo courtesy of

Exactly one day after the retreat ended, on Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, I received this message from Anse Tamara Gray in a private group chat that I wanted to share with you:
“The word joy is one of my favorite words.  We can use it to say things like, “She cried tears of joy.” Or “At the moment she was soaking in the joy of being alive.” In its verb form we say, “Rejoice!” As an adjective, “She uttered a joyful noise!” and as an adverb, “The children giggled joyfully.”
 Sometimes I think we come to Islam thinking it is better to be miserable. We carry around a ‘martyr’s attitude.’ This is not the martyr who struggles and fights, and is killed in the way of God. No, this is the whining and complaining ‘poor-me’ martyr.  Poor me I have to live in a small apartment; poor me I have to live in (and clean) a big house; poor me I’m not married; poor me I’m married; poor me I have only one child; poor me I don’t have any children; poor me I have to do the dishes every day; poor me I have to work; poor me I can’t work… and it goes on and on and on.
Every life in essence is the same. All have great and wonderful moments and all have trials.  The only difference is in our ‘rida’ of this life, this stage of life, this moment.
Ibn al-Qayyim tells us that there is no mention of huzn (grief/ sadness/ sorrow) in the Qur’an except in two places. It is forbidden in the verse: {Do not weaken and do not grieve} (3:139), and it is rejected in the verse, {No fear shall afflict them, nor shall they grieve} (2:274). The secret behind this is that ‘huzn’ (grief/ sorrow) is of no benefit to the heart. It is most beloved to Shaitan that the believer suffers in grief and depression so that it throws him off course and stops him in his tracks.
Indeed, the Prophet (s) sought refuge from grief, saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge in you from worry and grief.”
It is thus that Ibn al-Qayyim says, “Depression/grief weakens the heart, dampens one’s resolve and erodes one’s will, and there is nothing more pleasing to Shaitan than the sorrow of a believer. So rejoice! Spread cheer! Be positive and think good of Allah (z).  Trust in Him and rely on Him. Indeed you will find happiness and deep contentment in all circumstances.”
This is an awesome, joyful faith. Every day should have a joy jot – or something that brings you enough joy that it needs to be written down.  Bring joy to others, rejoice, spread joy. You are a Muslim. That is a joyful word in and of itself.  Let it be your first joy jot. “I am a Muslim… alhamdulilah!” 😀

So now we’re back at home, at the same place we started. The same people, the same location, but different in spirit. It’s not easy at all. I’ve come back to a place where I need to relearn how to exist, and reprogram and override my tendency of robotics. I’ve got new hardware and software for a different set of tests, some already happening, and I’m pretty sure more to come.  But for now, this is my joy jot. This is my joyful word. These compilations from the retreat are part of the joy from this year and indeed the past two weeks that needed to be written down…that needed to be shared! So EnJOY them!

5 thoughts on “Post Retreat: The Secret of Joy and Rest (Part II)

  1. omiGod. i love that woman. Anse Tamara Gray. may God revive our joy and that of the Ummah through its noble women like her.

  2. My dear sister, Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah! So glad to find your blog! I think I almost came on this retreat last year, but didn’t make it. I have reposted the above in a blog-post to spread the ajar as much as possible. Please let me know if this is not suitable in anyway. Very glad to link to you here. Allah increase you!

    • Wa alaikum as-Salaam wa rahmatullah dear sister Joy! BarakAllahu fiki for visiting me with your joyful company on the web–I do hope you’ll be able to come to the retreat this year inshAllah. You can check out for more info inshAllah, if interested. And you can learn more from Anse Tamara online through the Ribaat program (they also have women’s only mini-retreats!)–check out the Rabata and Ribaat pages for more information inshAllah. Amin to your du’as and wa iyyaki! And posting with citation is fine on your blog:).

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