UMM BILAL READS: HOW TO BE A HAPPY MUSLIM INSHA’ALLAH by SHEIMA SALAM SUMER

 

Sheima is especially qualified to write this book as she is a professional counsellor and the book is a reflection of her journey on how to feel good while being true to the Deen. The real life references, which are a privilege of her career, make the book an indispensable tool.
The 126-page book was published by FB Publishing. It comprises 24 chapters. The font used in its printing is large (I adore large font). Her language is simple and clear. She made us of repetition for emphasis (a sunnah of the Prophet SAW) and kept making reference to the book as “This book”. Making you realise how necessary the book is. Sprinkled all over the book are “happiness hints” and “happiness reflections”.  I appreciate reflections a lot lately as I recently took a course in Qur’anic reflections. The book is also filled with awesome quotes and ideas which prove the amount of research put into the work.

Sheima made me realise how important happiness is to the essence of Life.

“I have not created Jinn and Mankind except to Worship Me” Quran 51:56

When we are unhappy, we get lazy, careless and are demotivated to even do basic acts of worship, which goes against our main reason for being created.
The most important tool for happiness is Ikhlas – Sincerity in your worship of Allah. This is true as we realise those deeds we do that no one else knows about but Allah (Al Kabir- the All-aware) make us giddy with excitement when we think about them.
The book is an ocean of important tips and ideas to help you be better. Some of my take outs from the book are;
Knowing you is the first step to loving you. When you know you, you know what makes you happy, what you want and it would enable you to focus on your strengths.
Instead of just focusing on the problems, focus on solutions. Focusing on solutions would help you move past them faster.
Accepting challenges does not mean to approve. We need to understand that this life isn’t meant to be perfect…after all, it ain’t Jannah.
Happiness requires work…

“A human being can have nothing but what he strives for”  Quran 53:39
I also learnt some things about my stress management technique – I cope with stress by avoiding stressful situations -I  run away from problems/problematic situations, yoga is something I recently started and it’s been amazing, I take a lot of deep breaths plus dhikr as I breathe and obviously writing.

The book contains tips to deal with traumatic situations, grief, help children and others dealing with emotional and psychological trauma and a health chapter with natural solutions to these problems.

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president” Dr Albert Ellis

Action Plan (Another thing I learnt from reflection exercises)
1. Start a gratitude journal
2. Make my pain or problems my best friends…let them lead me towards Allah.
3. Trust utterly and completely in Allah. We all trust in Allah but do we rely depend upon only Him. If we did we wouldn’t have the ‘if only’ disease
4. Be responsible for my feelings and work towards my happiness…
And lots more…you would have to get yourself a copy of the book to come up with yours.

I wish though that she did not put website references in the middle of the text. Otherwise, the book is an awesome one. I would rate it 4/5
I would recommend it to everyone – Muslim or non-Muslim. We all need happiness.

How do you cope with stressful situations?

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