Trust Your Journey

Mental health is coming into the limelight as a major threat to overall wellbeing for many people. When a celebrity is lost to suicide, it is easy to detach oneself from it. But when it affects someone close to you, it takes the shape of a more vivid reality.

It results in a rollercoaster of emotions. You feel sad about losing them, you feel helpless for not being able to help them.. you may even feel guilty in the terrible case that you may have contributed to their trauma.

Being a young doctor in Nigeria of today is an existence that is tough. The system is not suited to latest standards of care, your career prospects may look bleak, you grapple with exams, and you see your friends moving ahead in life. The mirages of good pay and prestige fritter away before your eyes as you run for cover (in both literal and figurative ways).

In all of this, it is important to have a good support system of both colleagues and mentors who can help navigate the treacherous waters and work together with you to find your way.

A colleague who is an epitome of excellence in her work, studies, leadership, friendship and helping others wrote this message on a forum for colleagues. In the hopes of reaching more people with this lifeline, I asked to share it here. Now, it was directed at a group of young doctors but it’s words can apply to anyone feeling like they are underachieving.

Hi guys, good afternoon. This is random but I thought I should put it out here. I know it might seem like everyone is out on a path, figuring their lives out, getting married, getting fantastic jobs, writing and acing exams and stuff.

I just want to leave a word of encouragement to folks who feel their life is a mess or they have no idea what to do, say post housejob or post NYSC. Somehow, the government planned our lives from primary school to NYSC level and there might be someone here confused about what next.

Please guys, there are always folks around to help. We are a family here and I really like what Leo did some weeks back about appreciating everyone. Perhaps you’ve written IELTS again and again and keep failing, say Writing tasks, or you’re studying for USMLE and you keep forgetting what you’ve read or you lowkey did Primaries and didn’t pass.

Don’t worry, keep pushing, try again and again and again. Weird but I have this belief that if anyone who can pass 300Level Pharmac exam can pass any exam in the world. Perhaps you’re the one person that your whole family looks up to, you hardly saved anything during housejob because of responsibilities here and there and you don’t even have money for exams right now, always remember God’s got you and there’s a time for everything.

I honestly don’t know why this came to my mind this afternoon but please guys, SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION.

Have a nice day, fam.”

– Dr. Akudo Umeh

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I really hope this helps someone at least to trust their journey and believe they will surmount all obstacles.

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OumissaInspire

060518

Lagos, Nigeria

TheRamadhanBaby #28- Zakatul Fitr

Imagine going to Eid prayers knowing there is no food to celebrate with. Other families would cook and serve delicacies and you have to tell your family it’s another day of hunger. 

Allah asks Muslims to consider those who have less than they do. Not just to invite them to Eid feast but give them a chance to cook their own. Give them dignity.

It is not like regular Zakat that can be paid in different forms of  wealth including cash. 

This one is specifically food just as that of Eid-al Adha is specifically meat.

The Prophet legislated a Sa’a (four double handfuls) of date ,barley, wheat and dry yoghurt.

( Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

You can use the staple grains available in your part of the world if these foods are not found there.

Allah has made it a purification for the fasting Muslim and good for the poor. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud).

For in our faith, giving is not one-way. A thing for the haves to look down on the have-nots. It benefits both the giver and the given.

These raw foods are to be handed to the poor to do as they wish.To give them control and make it feel more than a just a ‘handout’. Avenues like this ensure wealth redistribution and by extension, social justice is achieved in Islam.

It is given for every member of the family iincluding newborns. In the Prophet’s time , it was given for servants and slaves. It is important that it be given before Eid.

In some countries, this program is highly organized where you drop money for one Sa’a or more and this is used to purchase foodstuff to be given to the poor. But in others, you might have to measure out the foodstuff and identify people to give.

Get your plans in place if you are able. Time is running out. If you are not able, don’t worry I hope someone gets it through to you. May Allah enrich you so you can be among the givers next year.

TheRamadhanBaby #21- Seclusion

Last ten days is when bags are packed for camping. This time however, it’s not for fun but for an even heightened level of devotion and worship. Trying to outdo your own best.

Below are tips for maximizing Ihtikaaf

  • Avoid spaces with talkative or argumentative people.
  • Always have your Quran handy so you recite by default.
  • Try not to get too comfortable so you dont sleep through the whole night and miss the Night!
  • Switch off your devices , but if you must use them, strictly limit the time spent to genuine Abd necessary.
  • Sleep more in the daytime.
  • Help with Iftar and Sahur.
  • Donate money for these and for cleaning the mosque and providing toiletries for others in the mosque. Do not tolerate filth.
  • Be sincere in your worship and make every night count.
  • Make a concise dua and Dhikr list and follow it.
  • Avoid practices not found in the sources of our Deen.
  • Don’t eat too much.
  • Avoid noise.
  • Improve conditions in the mosques – heating, fans, mosquito nets, water,drainage and  sewage systems, the kitchen and dining area… 
  • Better to start planning for next Ihtikaaf by helping put these things in place way ahead.
  • Enjoy the blessings of Laylat Al-Qadr.

TheRamadhanBaby #20 – Love and Peace

Infuse love into your every word, thought, action.

Never stop working towards peace.

Love Allah by worshipping Him to the best of your ability. Doing what He Loves, loving for His sake Only, giving to His Cause ( Q2:165,177)

Love the Prophet by following his beautiful example.

Love the companions and the pious predecessors by emulating their good deeds and character.

Love your parents by striving to alway make the happy.

Love your siblings, cousins and other relatives including in-laws by being gentle towards them.

“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

(Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

Love your spouses in mercy and tranquility. (Q30:21)

Love your children for they are the coolness of your eyes, your future and your legacy.

Love one another. (Q10:62)

Love your neighbours by guarding their property and being kind and courteous. (Sahih Muslim)

Love your friends by being there for them.

Love strangers by being concerned and helping, by sending funds, materials , messages and prayers to those affected by war, famine, disease and disaster around the world. By respecting them irrespective of your differences.(Q49:13)

Be a mediator. 

Support peaceful causes. 

Create safe spaces and not scary ones. 

Because love and peace go together, there is no development and progress without these two.

Remember, our Lord is Al-Wadud (The Loving), As-Salam (The Source of Peace).

TheRamadhanBaby #17: Tarawih

What has come to be known as an important hallmark of this month is the prayers said after Isha. Then , we see people staying back in Masjids after a long day of fast when all the body yearns for is rest. 

It is another opportunity to offer several extra units of prayer. Many Imams complete the Quran recitation during Tarawih through the month. In it is togetherness, seeking to be closer to Allah, and listening to the glorious recitation. Though it is mostly performed in congregation, it can also be done individually. (Al-Nawawi in Al Majmoo’ 4/31).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray eleven rakat as narrated in the Hadith of Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman . (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1909, Sahih Muslim 738). 

Many of the pious predecessors  including the four Imams however prayed twenty units of prayer. (An-Nawawi in Al-Majmoo’ 4/31).

This  should not be a cause of division as both views are acceptable due to it being a voluntary prayer with the number of units not specified.

 It may be challenging for those who work full time in Ramadhan but it is worth it. Regarded as part of the enjoined voluntary (Sunnah) units of prayer to be offered at night, in it is great reward. Praying it involves upholding the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him).

To make the best of this prayer, try not to eat too much after Maghrib so you don’t feel too tired. Also, strive to listen to the recitiation and appreciate ita beauty and meaning. It is not uncommon to see many faithfuls crying during this prayer . Such is the moving effect it has on them.

For the remaining nights in this month, try not to miss any and make it better not because it is compulsory but because of the many benefits.

Reference : http://www.islamqa.info 

TheRamadhanBaby #16- The Night Prayer

All through this month, we try to offer more Nawafil (voluntary prayers) at night. We do this with the firm belief and hope to draw closer to the Entity central to our being- Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Even if we only get to squeeze two units of  this prayer before Sahur  , we are very happy.. If we wake up late and can hardly get a bite before the Adhan is called, we feel dejected throughout the day.

Because we know that calling upon Our Creator in the last part of the night when sleep is dearest to our bodies is a sacrifice appreciated by Him, we are assured that our requests would be answered. In addition,it is a means to attaining a station of praise and glory. (Q17:79)

“They (the believers) forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope; and they spend (in charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.” (Q32:16)

It is a great thing to get up and seek Allah’s Bounty while others sleep or commit nefarious acts.

Every night in the last third, Our Lord, the Superior. the Blessed descends to the lowest heavens and says, 

“Is there anyone to invoke me so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask me  so that I may grant his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 7494)

How amazing is He?!

What happens outside Ramadhan? We abandon this opportunity. Many evidences state that the blessings inherent are available EVERY night.  Think of your greatest wish

Now imagine you could get it every night. Would you sleep at all for the entire night? Indeed what regular Tahajjud gives you is better. 

Take it upon yourself to say Tahajjud More, even if it is two Rakat for those little bit constant deeds are beloved to your Lord.