A look back on Mspiration’s early interviews


From left to right: Mspiration interviewees Yasmin Mogahed, Mustafa Fahour, Nader Khan and Hanan Dover.

Alhamdulilah, Mspiration has been running just over a year and the site has been blessed with interviews with truly inspirational people. From developing our faith and art to bettering our mental health and overcoming adversity, the Mspiration subjects have given us plenty of insights to savour and reflect on. For those recently discovering the site, here are few quotes from earlier interviews.

“Honestly what we need to do is put our focus and our intention for Allah SWT so we can then ask Allah to guide us to what is best. I really feel that sometimes we think we know what path is best for us and we get stuck on it and it is not necessarily what is best for us. The best thing to do is to really be sincere and asking Allah to just put us where it would be best and most pleasing to Him,” (Focusing The Heart: Yasmin Mogahed).

“Being detached from the world is not why we are here. We are not here to pretend that we are not here. We are here to use the world as a means to get attachment to Allah. Allah says “Be patient and your patience is not by other than Allah.” If we didn’t have anything that would cause us to be patient we would not be able to witness that proximity to Allah. If we didn’t have any tension in our lives we wouldn’t have anything to push to find peace. So if we didn’t have problems or difficulties then how will we be able to have a relationship with Allah?” (Returning to Allah: Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch).

“A lot of the times people often don’t know what they want and the way they frame what they want is in the negative. So people will say “I want too loose weight,” as opposed to stating in the positive which would be “I want to be healthier.” People are more likely to achieve goals if they are positively stated as opposed to being negatively stated. It’s not what you want to see less of in your life, you got to think about what you want to see more of in your life. If they are thinking along what they want to see more in their life they are actually helping their brain achieve that,“(Setting Goals: Monique Toohey).

“I remember when I first accepted Islam I went back to Jamaica to see if there was any Muslims down there, this was back in 1972. I couldn’t find any in Kingston and my cousins told me to go this place near Kingston because they said somebody built a mosque there. So when I got there I realised it was a temple. So we kept looking around and somebody said go to Spanish Town. So we went there and found an old guy of Indian origin and he built a mosque on his land and he was dying of cancer. He couldn’t even come in to the mosque. I thought to myself, at that time, wow, here is this man who helped people accept Islam. He done this good thing and there he was suffering. I thought this was like punishment for him and I thought, why him? Later on when I learned more about the deen I realised in suffering there is purification. So Allah was purifying him before he left this world. So he died from cancer. It was painful for him because in Jamaica the access to the kind of drugs normally available in the west wasn’t available. That was an eye opener for me and a lesson in purification. So can we really say “I don’t deserve this?” What we should be telling ourselves is why not me? Because I haven’t lived that perfect life where I didn’t commit any sins or errors. So who am I to complain?(On Gratitude: Dr Bilal Philips).

“The thing about songwriting is that it points to a certain meaning in a subtle manner. The more subtle it is the more eloquent it is because it is not in your face. You can have a song about facts of science and pointing out how many grains of sands are in the palm of your hand or you can say that Allah’s knowledge is so awesome that only He Knows. That will provoke a particular emotion. The subject has to be timeless. You have to talk about an eternal truth that everyone can relate with.” (Capturing A State: Nader Khan).

“The first key to stopping rumination is to be aware you are ruminating in the first place. This is where mindful awareness comes in. You need to practice being mindful of your thoughts every day. For example, during your prayer, be conscious of every word that your are uttering. What you can do to sustain attention is to mentally print out every letter of what you are saying and think about the meaning of the words you are reciting. Another example, when you are walking, consciously look at the steps that you take, notice the people around you and what is changing in your body. When you make coffee, consciously notice how you make it, where you are seated to drink it and how it tastes. You need that sustained and focused attention, but unfortunately in today’s fast-paced and distracting world, we are not slowing down to be mindful of our thoughts and actions. We are mentally numb,” (Just Breathe: Hanan Dover).

“It all begins with the idea that your word is your bond. I always felt that if you truly believe in something then you will put yourself on the line for it. This is something that I learned from the corporate world because you see a lot of people are scared to make that call or put themselves out there, especially when it goes wrong. You know, I think about our faith and how we are judged by our intention. If you know what’s right and wrong and you have the right intention then you wont be scared to make that decision. And if you have faith then Allah SWT will lead you to right path and make the decision the best one. Also when things go wrong you will not be afraid. If you had the right intention then just put your hand up and say I’m sorry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting mistakes because we are not perfect. This is actually what I look for when hiring people. Everyone wants to talk about what went right because that’s easy. As well as focusing on their achievement I also ask what went wrong along the way. The person that expresses those things and agrees, with actual humbleness, that a couple of decisions did go wrong it gives you the belief they did have the right intentions and they learned from what happened. If you are sincere in what you do, how you do it and show accountability for it then the more respect you gain,” (Life Bonds: Moustafa Fahour).

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