When You Are In Over Your Heads My Sisters….Learn To Say No

16 06 2008

As a gender, in general, I believe women are very selfless and giving. This can and does become a serious weakness for us. For me. We are taught to “grin and bear it.” Not to complain. We are emotional. We are caregivers and want to help everyone no matter the detriment that it can cause if we are not careful. But that is the point. We have to be careful. We have to be strong and learn to say one little word, “no.” Women, in general, have a hard time uttering this two letter word. The way it usually happens is the pursuer (husband, boss, friend, collegue, etc) will ask us to do some sort of favor. We know that we have too much on our plate already but after a full on session of sob stories and guilt trips we cave in and end up adding it to our list.

As Muslim women, we have to be doubly careful of this. You see, not only do we have our schedules but our life should be scheduled around worship and devotion to Allah (swt) (not the other way around). So, once we pile obligations, trusts, and responsibliies up we automatically deduct the time that we would have spent in rememberance of Allah. Our prayers become rushed and squeezed in here and there. No longer do we sit after salat and make dhikr. Because, really, we don’t have time for that. We no longer read the Qur’an because it takes up too much time, or if we do read the Qur’an we read it to get it over with and don’t ponder what we have read which results in us coming away with little to no benefit whatsoever.

Even those of us who look like we have it all together may not. Even those of us who play Islamic lectures day and night and post up islamic information may not have the time to actually sit and listen and ponder or read what we are posting, playing, etc. Those of us that volunteer with Islamic organizations may have had admirable intentions when we began but then it becomes just another trust that we feel responsible for. Afterall, if we don’t do it, who will?

As a result, we suffer, our relationship with Allah suffers, our children suffer, our marriages suffer. We may or may not be asked about what we volunteered to do on the Day of Judgement. We may or may not be asked about how sucessful we were in our vocations. But for certain we will be asked about our prayers. Did we complete them perfectly? Or were we too busy? Did we concentrate on the words letting them penetrate our heart? Or did we stand up half asleep and go through the motions to mark it off the list for the day? We will be asked about our obligations to Allah. Did we take our time to fulfill them? We will be asked about our children. Did we give them their rights or were we so caught up in other things that we neglected to teach them and bring them up on the Qur’an and Sunnah? Were we good wives, did we give our husband’s their rights, did we give our parents their rights?

Sadly, many of us on that day will probably be in a state of shame and regret. We will beg and plead to go back to this time and vow that we will say “no” to the things that we can’t add to our hectic schedules. We would probably wish that we had lived simpler lives and concentrated on our obligations and fullfilling them perfectly while volunteering and spreading daw’ah as we are capable…..not to the point that obligations are neglected or half performed out of laziness and tiredness. But it will be too late by then. We won’t have a second chance that day.

That’s why we must evaluate ourselves now as Umar ibn Khattab once said:

“Judge yourselves before you are judged, evaluate yourselves before you are evaluated and be ready for the greatest investigation (the Day of Judgement)”

As long as we have a breath left, we are capable of making changes in our lives. We are capable of saying “no” to overworking ourselves, neglecting our relationship with Allah (SWT), and allowing things to pile up in our lives unnecessarily. Allah has given us all this ability to choose, free will. It’s up to us to learn to balance our lives and use them to strive for Paradise. To struggle For the ability to be able to stand up before Allah (SWT), Our Creator, on the Day of Judgement, knowing that we made every effort to fulfill all our obligations perfectly with love, hope and fear for His Sake alone. That is the ultimate goal. How many of us will reach it?




14 responses

16 06 2008
A Timely Reminder for Me « Aaminah Hernández

[…] A Timely Reminder for Me 16 06 2008 Umm Yusuf – When You Are In Over Your Heads My Sisters… Learn to Say No […]

17 06 2008

Asalamu Walaikum,
Normally I don’t sign anony, but I think it is best for this one as I don’t want to misrepresent my family~wink.
This has been a huge challenge for me. Unfortunately, I did not began to say “no” much, much sooner than I did–like before a huge weight gain, depression and complicated pregnancy.
A couple of additional complications for the Muslimah are obidience to parents and the husband. It took me a long time to realize that my husband could be unreasonable or just plain unaware of my situation. In hindsight it was unreasonable of me not to be more supportive of my husband by providing shura–communication, input and counseling–but instead I treated him as if he was infalliable, which of course he is not! And I knew it, but fear was too strong. The wrong kind of fear. The fear that I may lose a spouse, not the fear of Allah.
Putting myself last, last, last ultimately put my whole family to suffer in various ways.
I see this with other sisters ALL the time–“Oh I just can’t say no to my husband.” Yet I also see they are suffering in their marriages and surely the “unreasonable” husband cannot solely take the blame.

17 06 2008

Very true (I don’t believe this is applicable only to women). Thanks for posting.

17 06 2008
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Anon,

That’s so true sis. Subhan’Allah. Alhamdullilah you learned to say no. Subhan’Allah what a shame it is that we let it get to the point that we’re breaking before we finally learn.


No, maybe not just women but since I’m a woman that’s the gender I chose to write about. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

18 06 2008

Salaams Sis:

This is a very valuable post; thank you for it. I, too, have difficulty saying “no” and then I end up overwhelmed and sometimes resentful.

We do forget why we are really here in this dunya; sometimes I lose focus.

18 06 2008

Assalamu’alaikum wr wb,

Masya’Allah… so much truth in this post…. very good reminders for us to start thinking of spending more time that will benefit ourselves ….

jazakillah ya ukhti!

18 06 2008

Love this post, masha Allah. We as women and especially Muslimahs have so much on our plates. I was just thinking about this today on my way to the office. It is so very important to prioritize. If you don’t mind I will link to this post on my blog.

ma’a salaamah,


18 06 2008
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Sisters,

Safiyyah, Subhan’Allah, it is true that we lose focus too easily and we become resentful when really we only have ourselves to blame for letting things pile up on us. Jazaki Allahu Khairan for stopping by. 😀 Insh’Allah the move is going well. May Allah make that easy for you!

Sis Adik,

Wa iyaki my sis. Mash’Allah I loved your post on “small deeds”! It was right on time as well.


Of course you can link to this post. 😀 Jazaki Allahu Khairan.

18 06 2008
Imam Zia


Great posting Mashallah…
As an Imam, I feel sometimes the same thing. There are so many responsibilities put on the Imam’s shoulders, that to prioritize and to filter out “suggestions” by the community that are not feasible become essential to how the Imam operates.

The sisters probably feel more obligated because of their sensitive nature, and as mentioned, it is important to differenciate between real household and marital obligations and extra activities that have been imposed upon them.


19 06 2008

masha’Allah great post, you got me thinking about the way I pray, even though I try hard to concentrate, it’s like the shaytaan is always there, trying to distract you into thinking something else. I cant recall where I read this but there’s a quote that goes ‘if you forget something, start praying, shaytaan will make you remember it’, ha, so true!

22 06 2008
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Imam Zia,

Jazak Allahu Khairan for stopping by and commenting. I know it must be an enormous responsiblity as an Imam and truly it is the wisdom of Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw) to put men in that position. Mash’Allah I really enjoy the recordings on your blog and have added your blog to my blogroll.

Assalaamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu youngMuslimah,

I had never heard that saying but unfortunatley it is so true. Jazaki Allahu Khairan for stopping by and commenting sis. 🙂

6 07 2008
Rainbow In the Grey Sky

Aslamu alakum
my first time posting on your blog sister but this is an issue close to my own heart at the moment , after returning from hijrah , i don’t want to fall into the old ways of the UK and hectic life style. not saying no beacause , well i feel an obligation to do it ! Who suffers the family my kids and dh , well alhamduilah i was able to say NO recently and just for this very reason, good post sister!

7 07 2008
Umm Hibaat

Assalaamu Alaykum sis,

Jazakillahu khayran for such an excellent post. It really hit home to me ma sha Allah.

19 07 2008

jazakallah khayr umm yusuf
a much needed reminder. May Allah reward you.

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