Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Integrity - An Attribute of a Believer

I have always been known among my friends and colleagues to be a person of my word. When I say I'm going to do something, I do it. You can practically "take it to the bank" as the saying goes. Rarely, do I end up not doing what I say, and if circumstances are beyond my control, I will call and explain why I cannot do something. Integrity is a vital aspect of a Muslim's character. Breaking one's promise or word is among the attributes of the hypocrites. Narrated ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said: “There are four (characteristics), whoever has them is a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the four has a characteristic of hypocrisy unless he gives it up: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; what he makes a pledge he betrays it; and when he disputes he resorts to foul language.” (al-Bukhari, Muslim) More importantly, Allah (swt) warns us that "surely every promise shall be questioned about." (17:39)

I retired from my full-time job in November, 2007 after receiving a diagnosis of MS. Alhamdulillah, it's not as bad as it sounds, as I have the "chronic-relapsing" type of MS. That means that the symptoms come and go. The problem is that I never know when I'm going to have a bad day or few days. I don't want to lay down and give in to MS, so I have been trying to live as full of a life as possible, going on pursuing my interests and goals. More than ever, the phrase "Insha'Allah" has deep meaning for me.

The problem is that I cannot always keep my word. Ya Allah! This really distresses me. Some days I am unable to follow through with my commitments due to my health. I know that one is not considered a hypocrite for not keeping a promise if it is beyond the person's control, i.e., due to illness or something similar.

But I grieve. I grieve what I considered to be a valuable aspect of my character.

See, I am also a recovering drug addict. I have been clean, Alhamdulillah, 25+ years. I worked real hard in recovery to become a personal of integrity. When I was getting high, I was a sneak. Every word and action from me was a lie. Dishonesty was my code. Everything that came out of my mouth was bullshit. I'd say or promise you anything with the sole intention of getting over on you. The only thing you would depend on coming from me was that I was going to do whatever I had to do, one day at a time, to get another drink, another hit, another bag, another shot. My drug of choice was "more". When I got clean, I slowly learned how to be a productive member of society once again. I learned in recovery that integrity is a vital spiritual principle that the recovering addict MUST live by and incorporate into his character.

People trust me today.

As I go forward, I have to learn to slow down, while still continuing to live an active life as much as I can. The hardest part of it all is going to be learning how to say "no" when I want to do so much in life.

It's "back to basics" as we say in recovery. "Easy does it!" "One day at a time!" "First things first!"

Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or fall into error! (2:286)


Adventurous Ammena said...

masha'allah, dont be so hard on yourself sis.. give your body the chance it needs. Check out my blog sis, I tagged you :D

UmmFarouq said...

I, too, have difficulty following through with commitments sometimes. Most of the time it is due to health issues (or the health issues of my kids), especially during this lovely allergy season. Sometimes, however, I just take on more than I can deliver.

Take a breather and take some time out for yourself.

Esoterica said...

Dearest sister Safiyyah,
This is the first time I comment on your blog, though I read it frequently.

I want to commend you on continuing to make commitments with full intention and effort at completing the as promised. In life we this inclination towards only doing things we can do 100% and it is incredible when we do our best- which isn't always 100%.

More power to you.

أبو سنان said...

Insha'Allah, things will be fine with you.

One of my favourite supervisory engineers at my work has MS. He is a mechanical engineer and still manages to do so hands on work even though he can barely get around.

He uses a Segway at work to geet from place to place. Seeing him struggle so much and still do a great job is a REAL motivator.

Anonymous said...

AA, chronic illness is so hard, but it certainly teaches us to rely on Allah and just take each day as it comes.

Happy Muslim Mama said...

Assalam-alaikam lovely Sister Safiyyah,
after all the good advice you have given to me and other sisters at awkward or trying times, you know not to be hard on yourself.
Mash'Allah, you've lived through a lot, no wonder you know when to say the right thing.
You're right it's when to say NO, life got so much easier when I started to get the nerve to say that more often.

May Allah (SWT) bless you with good health and help you to keep leading a good life insh'Allah.

otowi said...

Sister I have tagged you in my blog:

Anonymous said...

as salaam alaikum,
i am very happy to read that you have been clean for so long and I really hope that you remain strong through your struggle with M.S.

Speaking of "integrity" or at least the idea of how Muslims should have a good charachter, I would really like to say thank you to reaching out to me and checking up on me. I am thinkingitover (from wordpress) and sometimes you read my blog. I was going through a funk the past several months with school and stuff so I just stopped blogging. I did recieve your comments and I'm sorry that i never replied and worried you. A part of me just felt so exhausted during that time.

So thank you very much sister for your support, your very simple comments have really reached out me.


Anonymous said...

Salaam Alaikum,

Alhamdulilah, Allah swt knows are intentions and those who care about will understand.

May Allah help you through your difficulties.

Anonymous said...

salaamo alaikom Safiyyah, I pray that you stay in a good health inshallah, also, it's not like you no longer posses this attribute, and most people will probably understand because everyone is set with their own tribulations, you can think of it as a challenge that you wanna take on while still remembering that in islam your body has rights on you as well, i also liked the example that أبو سنان talked about.

Amina said...

Dear sister,

You are so amazing character, and I think you can go bit easy on yourself. just look how much have you achived already!!!

ur greatest fan :)

Anonymous said...

as salamu 'alaykum Safiyyah

One of the things that I am trying to change in my character is breaking my word to my oldest child (the other is too young masha'Allah to ask me anything right now). I know it is very easy to ignore the parent promises, but I remember what I felt when others promised me this or that and didn't fulfill it. The problem is that I do it a lot, without realizing it many times, with my own son. They seem like little things but what am I teaching him for life? Is he learning that keeping your word is a must? Or am I teaching him that words mean little? Allahul Musta'an.

Thank you for reminding me, but don't be so hard on yourself either. Progress is progress, walillahil hamd. Just keep striving for improvement and look around to people that you admire because being jealous in good deeds is a good thing in our deen!

iMuslimah said...

Mabrouk on your recovery- I so admire that about you. I know what an accomplishment it is, to make sucha life changing decision, and I hope inshaallah Allah makes it easier for you every day- since it is a life-long process.

Alhamdulillah for your outlook and knowing what your limits are and going to great lengths to protect your itegrity, despite your MS diagnosis.

May Allah make your symptoms ease, and keep your faith strong, Ameen.

Your entries are a breath of fresh air!!!

iMuslimah & Co.

Jules UmmEmJoey said...

Asalaam alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatullah dear Sister,

Insha'Allah things will work out. Also I thank you for your advice ;-). I remember something someone told me about the ayat "verily after hardship comes ease". That it can also be translated as "verily during hardship comes ease". May we both receive ease, peace and strength during our times of hardship. Ameen.

Any time you need to talk dear Sister, let me know and I will post my email here for you in a "not to post comment" :-)

Take care of yourself, I have been praying a lot as of late and it helps greatly, subhan'Allah,


Anonymous said...

Salaam dearest Sister :)

You actually have a very inspiring story, and tell it really well. Inshallah, you are writing a book about your life :)

Ya Haqq!

Miss Muslimah said...

I am admire you sis,you've been through alot and have overcome it,By the will and grace of Allah!

Im glad you've clarified what a hypocrite is...some people have no clue what it means...
Btw,Ive tagged you!

Al-Hussain Arshad Yassin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.