New and Broken: The Story of Umm Layth

I saw this on via Yursil’s blog. Interesting and familiar story. I know a few other brothers and sisters that had similar experiences. Oh yeah, to all my wasabi brothers and sisters, please relax and don’t comment without reading the article and realize that we’re not making fun of you or hating on you. So just read it and relax. 😀

EDIT: Updated 3/6/07. After reading Umm Layth’s request, I have changed the title of this post.

New and Broken


as-Salaamu `alaykum

As the title says, I am indeed very new to ‘traditionalism’ and ‘tasawwuf’. It has been weird learning more about this and having to go against my previous beliefs as a ’salafi’ but it was something I needed.

I remember as a salafi, I was constantly trying to find books that I could read to bring life to my heart. Of course, sometimes when I asked sisters for naseeha about books that could bring some insight into the problems of my heart, they would say, “Just pick up the Qur’aan!” Of course right?

I mean the Qur’aan (translation in english) touched me from day one of picking it up (I did accept Islaam because of how it hit me, subhaanallaah), but I needed a book that focused only on the problems of the hearts. Some words that could help me become closer to the Qur’aan because that was my problem… not knowing what was stopping me from becoming closer to my Rabb.

I don’t know much arabic and immediately when I sought advice and said that I couldn’t understand the Qur’aan, they would utter, “Learn it then!” and of course right? I was trying to learn. In fact, I have taken so many arabic classes since accepting Islaam but I found myself giving up after some time. So I needed to find out why I was procrastinating so much and how to fight it.

So immediately they would recommend me books by like Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) and what not. And I must say, we have those books in our library but they’ve never interested me.

Why not? Well, it’s like learning about ihsaan in such a dry way. (At this point, some of those salafi friends of mine would say it is my own fault it was dry… and maybe they are right…partially.) It was dry because it felt like learning categories and memorizing words. I never felt the true impact of them on my heart. I never felt the author was speaking to me through these ‘tazkiyyah’ books. In fact, I felt even more depressed after reading them. I didn’t even see the ‘great’ impact these books had on those who recommended them to me.

I took one semester with an online Institute here in America (salafi ran) and I spiritually felt so dry. I must say though, their focus on the heart was better than many other places I have learned from (salafi ones obviously). We were constantly reminded to make du`aa’, to learn adhkhaar, to pick up the Qur’aan more often and so on. It was nice, but our focus on akhlaaq was nothing in comparison to everything else.

We weren’t even expected to memorize ayaat in Arabic, though it was ‘preferred’. We were learning deep sciences every day, so fast and yet our hearts were having a hard time catching up with it.

Does that make sense? Well, imagine students thinking they really can act like students of knowledge after a few weeks of learning. Imagine students thinking that after 3 years, they will be `ulemah. What kind of effort was it having on the heart if this was happening?

See, I always knew that learning should make you feel more ignorant. The knowledge of Islaam is like a deep ocean. It is so vast. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know much but this wasn’t the effect it was having on me and other students. Yes, it was our own fault but what did everyone expect? We were students and we needed to be guided by those above us, properly. I mean we were learning about zakaah and hajj in 45 minute sessions for only a few days (4 or 5) and then we were done and expected to take a test on it? We were expected to look at ahadeeth and decide if they were weak or not and yet we didn’t even know arabic. I am not saying speaking but just the basics. Some of the students didn’t even know their alphabet properly, but still we were expected to do it.

So this led me to what I am about to share next.

I had been on paltalk one day and decided to go into a room called “the truth unveiled” ran by Shaykh Mohammed Hussein Adam. He is a deobandi scholar from Africa, who runs our Q & A on SeekingIlm. I hadn’t really a clue what the room was upon until some of my online salafi buddies came in the room and warned me to get out. I asked, “Why?” I mean he was only speaking about `Aqeedah? Well, duh!

I remember some of their accusations against the Shaykh, such as him being a grave worshipper. (May Allaah protect him & his family, aameen). It is quite funny because I remember learning that the deobandis are considered ‘wahhabi influenced’ by many sufis.

I remember that day that I entered the room, it was a day of rebellion. Rebellion against whom? Against people, including myself. I don’t know what led to that. Maybe it was Allaah trying to show me what I needed? Well, it totally feels like that now because that is where it really all started. That is where I started to really learn what the differences between ’salafis’ and ’sufis’ were. That is where the doors to confusion first opened but a confusion that I am grateful for now. It reminded me of the same confusion I experienced when I came accross Islaam. It was a confusion that made me question my beliefs and look further beyond what I was raised with.

It’s been a long road since then. I went through the phase of questioning and being open-minded and back to being afraid of being ‘wrong’ (or maybe more of what people would say) and then finally back to being open-minded. It is where I am now. I am no sufi. Gosh, I wish I was. I am no mureed, but just a wannabe.

I am at the stage now where I am trying to repair my soul. All of the debates that I decided to involve myself with since this started, have added to the staining of my heart. I wasn’t ready for all of this stuff. I wasn’t ready to try to take on something that I wasn’t at a level to take on. It has crushed me and it has been very hard to start fresh and try to find a way to be balanced. Balanced because I feel now that I was very (and still am) extreme.

It was very easy to make takfeer of Muslims and to constantly criticize everyone around me. It’s weird because I remember a quote that my mother in law (may Allaah open her heart to Islaam, aameen) has on her fridge. It is a cut-out from a magazine and the quote is by Mother Theresa… it states, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” When I was Salafi, I laughed at that quote and thought, “It’s the christian in them and something sufis would say” but as I look back now, I feel ashamed of myself. Ashamed because it is the truth.

Yes, Islaam teaches us to judge but it teaches us to look at ourselves before we look at others. It teaches us balance and teaches us that we all make mistakes and fall into sin, but need reminders and this is why I feel broken now. I am having a hard time finding that balance and sometimes it feels ‘wrong’ because it’s hard to accept you were wrong, but you have to accept it in order to progress in your eeman. It’s been hard because I am at the lowest point I’ve been since accepting Islaam, in my eeman.

This led me to try and take a class with SunniPath called, A journey to Allaah… and before registration closes, I recommend anyone of you that needs spiritual upliftment to take it. It’s been helpful thus far… and though I need to start acting on it, I have realized that accepting you are at rock bottom, is accepting your shortcomings. I am no one to be looked up to but I need someone to look up to right now.

My husband shared a story with me the other day of a Tablighi brother, who after years finally left the group and his reasoning was that he was in need of da`wah. It truly touched me because I feel I am in need of it too. I don’t need to be going around acting like I am okay, when in reality I am dying.

May Allaah forgive us and make us steadfast, aameen

Source: Umm Layth’s Blog

Umm Layth’s Response (3/6/07)


I didn’t know my post would get so much attention. Honestly, all I wanted was to vent. I felt the need to post at 3 a.m that morning because so many thoughts ran through my head at that time. I could have just written it in my small journal that I carry around but instead I decided to post it on my blog. I knew some would read it. I also posted it on themureeds website but I only posted it there because I wanted something worth writing as my first post… and yeah I feel that my post was worth writing.

Now that I read comments, emails and other people’s blogs I feel kind of strange. Strange because I didn’t want it to turn into a whole salafi vs sufi thing. I didn’t even want to have to defend my reasons. I don’t feel I should. But now I feel like I have to but still I won’t.

The only thing that I am dissapointed about really is that my post ended up on a blog with the title, from salafi to sufi. Why? Well… firstly, I didn’t title it such. Secondly, it makes my words seem lame.

My post wasn’t about 2 groups. My post was about the state my heart and issues that have affected it. If I had wanted to make it an issue of 2 groups, I would have. However, I didn’t. I really don’t care about salafis nor sufis. They are a bunch of individuals who are trying to cling to a methodology but who aren’t free from mistakes. I have a lot of issues with many salafis and sufis who claim to be upon a manhaj, but yet their attitudes show otherwise. Why would I care about groups of people who are probably in the same state as me, if not worse?

It is for that reason that I request the brother who posted it on his blog, with that title, to remove it, for the sake of Allaah. I have read the comments and many of them are just pathetic comments by people who need to grow up. I don’t want to be part of a silly game.

Also, to those people that emailed me for naseeha… I apologize but my post was pretty clear. I am the one in need of da`wah and because of that, I am not the right person to come to for naseeha in these matters. If you need some naseeha for your own heart, remove yourself from those people that are harming your deen and then go to a scholar to help you.

Remember that the goal of tasawwuf is:

complete submission to the shariah and sunnah in order to attain purification of the heart and soul and to develop a true, deep, and lasting connection with Allah .

May Allaah forgive me and all of you, aameen

58 Replies to “New and Broken: The Story of Umm Layth”

  1. Islam on March 9, 2007 at 12:56 am said:

    From what I understand the author was looking for some spiritual nourishment for the heart? And was told to pick up the Quran. Where better to go than the Quran. There have been so many times where I felt so lost, and empty inside, times when I even used to question Allah. And I found that there is no better cure than the Quran, its stories, its guidance. Nothing has ever brought a calmness to my heart as it has. What more can we possibly ask for? What else is there after the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Rasul(saw) that can uplift our Iman?

    i couldnt agree with you more!
    quran and sunnah =]]

  2. anoonn on March 9, 2007 at 12:04 pm said:

    its not tthe only post but its the a subject u obviously feel the need to speak about repeatedly…whyy??? Allah knows…

    LOL out of 299 posts, i found only 10 posts relating to salafi-sufi stuff. that’s about 4%

    apparently, your only attracted to those

    hahaha. im sorry you only like to read about salafi-sufi stuff, maybe you should browse my archives, inshaAllah.

    😀 have a nice day

  3. Islam on March 9, 2007 at 12:56 am said:

    From what I understand the author was looking for some spiritual nourishment for the heart? And was told to pick up the Quran. Where better to go than the Quran. There have been so many times where I felt so lost, and empty inside, times when I even used to question Allah. And I found that there is no better cure than the Quran, its stories, its guidance. Nothing has ever brought a calmness to my heart as it has. What more can we possibly ask for? What else is there after the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Rasul(saw) that can uplift our Iman?

    It’s more than spiritual nourishment and anyone who has been there, understands that it is more than that.

    As for the Qur’aan and Sunnah being enough, of course. I agree and would never disagree. However, when we pick up the Qur’aan and so on we need mentors and people who will guide us to better understand it and to implement it better in our lives, without being extreme but balanced.

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  5. sorry coz it was in Arabic but this website doesn’t support Arabic, but I’ll give the transolation Insha Allah

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