Success Stories: Re-discovering my confidence

woman in denim jacket standing on rock formation

By Shuhani Shohid

It was an epiphany moment when I was faced with rejection( or what I perceived to be rejection at the time) from a dear friend. It was this that then propelled me onto a quest to really find myself. I saw myself entangled in the threads of others’ opinions, weaving in threads of validation to cloak my insecurities. Each praise and compliment became a lifeline, a buoy in the tumultuous sea of uncertainty that was my self-perception. I realized I had become a puppet, dancing to the tune of external affirmations, desperately seeking identity in the reflections of others. I wanted to break away from this and I knew it was not healthy for my heart. I knew that I needed to connect myself back to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The first step was acknowledging my origin—beyond the confines of my mother’s womb, tracing the intricate design of my existence back to the Creator, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. I began to recognize that every fibre of my being, every facet of my identity, was meticulously crafted by His divine hands. I was a masterpiece, uniquely shaped with a purpose. Allah, Al-Khaaliq created me (and you) in the best of stature, as He tells us:

“We have created you in the best of stature” (Qur’an 95:4).

Pondering upon this allowed me to really recognise that I have something to offer to this world through submitting to my Creator.

As I unravelled the layers of my journey, I discovered that I was not merely a product of human relationships, but the first and foremost relationship was that sacred bond of being a servant of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This realization reframed my perspective, shifting the focus from the fleeting pleasures of human approval to the enduring connection with my Creator. I acknowledged that my strengths were deliberate gifts from Allah, entrusted to me. My weaknesses were signposts for me to develop and work on. These were there to humble me and allow me to seek help from my Lord.

Self-accountability is essential to the journey of self-confidence

Breaking free from the negative self-talk, I embarked on a journey of self-accountability. Each action, each behaviour, each thought and each comment to myself became a mirror reflecting my commitment to fulfilling the expectations of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and what He would expect of me. When we look at the way we speak to ourselves, we can recognise the debilitating effects it can have.

Would you tell another woman she is fat, ugly, can’t articulate, can’t read, or write, doesn’t have a sense of humour, is inconsiderate, not generous and does not smile? We would not dare to tell someone about the details of someone’s appearance and capabilities. We know how hurtful this would be for themselves.

This became a huge reminder for myself, that when I start talking to myself in this way, this is  extremely hurtful to my soul too. I am also a human being, I have a body, a soul, a mind, emotions and all of these things belong to Allah. We belong to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and we will return to Him (Qur’an 2:156); We are His creation and Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala creation does not deserved to be spoken to in this manner.

Imagine that one day you enter the Palace of a King, when you enter the Palace, you want to take care and look after it, you make sure that you don’t hurt, bend or break anything. Everything is so precious to the King. You begin to value everything that belongs in the Palace because of who it belongs to. You almost have this level of fear and worry that you don’t want to disappoint the King and you want to make sure everything is intact. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Al-Malik, the real true King of the Universe, the Heavens and Earth and everything within it. That includes you. You belong to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala; you are His creation and are extremely valuable to him. Thus, it becomes our duty to treat ourselves with kindness and mercy as our Lord loves us dearly. When we remember this, we can feel this ease, because we remember that we don’t belong to our parents, our employers, the community, we don’t belong to our spouses or children. We are the creation of the King of the Worlds.

Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find ease

(Qur’an 13:28).

Once we remember that we belong to Allah we can feel this ease by remembering Him, remembering Who we belong to and Who really owns us, this can allow us to attach our confidence to our existence rather than other people’s opinions or even our own opinion of ourselves.

There will be moments where we may lose our confidence. We may have lost in a competition; we may have failed an exam. We may have made a mistake which affected a dear relationship. We may feel regret over the way we spoke to ourselves. All of these things can bring doubts about our abilities and affect our self-opinion of ourselves. This is when we remember Allah, and we ask Him to bring us ease and clarity.

If we did not make mistakes, he, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala would have replaced us with another creation that would have sinned and asked for forgiveness. This part of making mistakes is our makeup and part of who we are as humans. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us in the Qur’an:

‘Despairing is the way of the disbelievers’ (51:66).

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gave us honour over the disbelievers – this shows how much our faith is the real source of confidence. Our prayers, our greetings, our faith, our hijab, our kindness, our sincerity, honesty, patience, gratitude our truthfulness, our generosity, this is the coat of confidence we need to stand with.

Equally, Allah would not have given us the tools to rectify our mistakes and sins if He did not already know us intimately and  even expect that we will indeed make mistakes. These opportunities are given to us by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala so that we can learn, practice and then turn back to Him, so seek solace in these three fundamentals each time you find yourself falling:

1. Seeking forgiveness in Allah in the best time. Every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:

‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhārī)

2. Pray two units of prayer and ask Allah for forgiveness.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“When a servant commits a sin, and he performs wudhū well, and then stands and prays two rak‘ahs, and asks forgiveness from Allah, Allah forgives him.” (Abū Dāwūd)

3. Follow a bad deed with good & atone for your sins. Acting immediately when you realise you have done something you shouldn’t have, and trying to make up for it shows your committment to Allah and helps to bring you back into alignment with your values and who you really want to be for the Sake of Allah, as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:

“Indeed good deeds erase bad deeds.” (11:114)

These are just some of the ways that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala offers us a spiritual healing on the inside and it can, in turn, give us hope and confidence that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has heard us and seen that we have tried to rectify ourselves.

Know that Allah has given us the blueprint on how to be the best versions of ourselves. He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says in Surah Hujuraat, Verse 13,

‘Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware’.

Aiming to be the ‘most righteous’ and stepping towards this path is one that will help us in re-discovering our confidence. Allah is All-Knowing and knows our strengths and He is aware of our struggles; our efforts will not go unnoticed and our endeavours will be our motivation to succeed.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us on the straight path of piety where we can wear the real coat of confidence in this world, and rise to the highest levels we can as sincere servants when we meet Him, Ameen.

About the author:

Shuhani Shohid is a mother of two and a Teacher by profession. Born and bred in South Wales, she is a student of Sihaab development Programme by Sabeel, MRDF. She is an aspiring writer, an active member of the community and is co-founder of a faith and creative girls group called Roots in Newport. 

Many revert women struggle on their own after embracing Islam.

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