Take Back Your Heart



Ocean of Dunya Part I | Part II

No one likes to fall. And few people would ever choose to drown. But in struggling through the ocean of this life, sometimes it’s so hard not to let the world in. Sometimes the ocean does enter us. The dunya does seep into our hearts.

And like the water that breaks the boat, when dunya enters, it shatters our heart.  It shatters the boat. Recently, I was reminded of what a broken boat looks like, of what happens when you let everything in. I was reminded because I saw someone, just like me, fall in love too much with this life and seek to be filled by the creation. So the ocean of dunya shattered her boat, as it had shattered mine, and she fell out into the water.  But she stayed down too long, and didn’t know how to come back up or what to hold on to.

So she drowned.

If you allow dunya to own your heart, like the ocean that owns the boat, it will take over. You will sink down to the depths of the sea. You will touch the ocean floor. And you will feel as though you were at your lowest point. Entrapped by your sins and the love of this life, you will feel broken. Surrounded by darkness. That’s the amazing thing about the floor of the ocean. No light reaches it.

But, this dark place is not the end. Remember that the darkness of night precedes the dawn. And as long as your heart still beats, this is not the death of it. You don’t have to die here. Sometimes, the ocean floor is only a stop on the journey. And it is when you are at this lowest point, that you are faced with a choice. You can stay there at the bottom, until you drown. Or you can gather pearls and rise back up—stronger from the swim, and richer from the jewels.

If you seek Him, God can raise you up, and replace the darkness of the ocean, with the light of His sun. He can transform what was once your greatest weakness into your greatest strength, and a means of growth, purification and redemption. Know that transformation sometimes begins with a fall. So never curse the fall. The ground is where humility lives. Take it. Learn it. Breathe it in. And then come back stronger, humbler and more aware of your need for Him. Come back having seen your own nothingness and His greatness. Know that if you have seen that Reality, you have seen much. For the one who is truly deceived is the one who sees his own self—but not Him.  Deprived is the one who has never witnessed his own desperate need for God.  Reliant on his own means, he forgets that the means, his own soul, and everything else in existence are His creation.

Seek God to bring you back up, for when He does, He will rebuild your ship. The heart that you thought was forever damaged will be mended. What was shattered will be whole again. Know that only He can do this. Seek Him.

And when He saves you, beg forgiveness for the fall, feel remorse over it—but not despair.  As Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) has said: “Satan rejoiced when Adam (peace be upon him) came out of Paradise, but he did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.”

There is a powerful and amazing thing about tawbah (repentance) and turning back to Allah (swt). We are told that it is a polish for the heart. What’s amazing about a polish is that it doesn’t just clean. It makes the object that is polished even shinier than it was before it got dirty. If you come back to God, seek His forgiveness, and refocus your life and heart on Him, you have the potential to be even richer than if you’d never fallen at all. Sometimes falling and coming back up gives you wisdom and humility that you may never otherwise have had. Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) writes:

“One of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) said: “Indeed a servant commits a sin by which he enters Paradise; and another does a good deed by which he enters the Fire.” It was asked: How is that? So he replied: “The one who committed the sin, constantly thinks about it; which causes him to fear it, regret it, weep over it and feel ashamed in front of his Lord—the Most High—due to it. He stands before Allah, broken-hearted and with his head lowered in humility. So this sin is more beneficial to him than doing many acts of obedience, since it caused him to have humility and humbleness—which leads to the servant’s happiness and success—to the extent that this sin becomes the cause for him entering Paradise. As for the doer of good, then he does not consider this good a favor from his Lord upon him. Rather, he becomes arrogant and amazed with himself, saying: I have achieved such and such, and such and such. So this further increases him in self-adulation, pride and arrogance—such that this becomes the cause for his destruction.”

Allah (swt) reminds us in the Qur’an to never lose hope. He says: “Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls [by sinning], despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful,’” (39:53).

And so, this is a call to all those who have become enslaved by the tyranny of the self, imprisoned in the dungeon of the nafs (self) and desires.  It is a call to all those who have entered the ocean of dunya, who have sunk into its depths, and become trapped by its crushing waves. Rise up. Rise up to the air, to the Real world above the prison of the ocean. Rise up to your freedom. Rise up and come back to life. Leave the death of your soul behind you. Your heart can still live and be stronger and purer than it ever was. Does not the polish of tawbah remake the heart even more beautiful than it was? Remove the veil you have sewn with your sins. Remove the veil between you and Life, between you and Freedom, between you and Light—between you and God.  Remove the veil and rise up. Come back to yourself. Come back to where you began. Come back Home. Know that when all the other doors have shut in your face, there is One that is always open. Always. Seek it. Seek Him and He will guide you through the waves of the cruel ocean, into the mercy of the sun.

This world cannot break you—unless you give it permission. And it cannot own you unless you hand it the keys – unless you give it your heart.  And so, if you have handed those keys to dunya for a while—take them back. This isn’t the End. You don’t have to die here. Reclaim your heart and place it with its rightful owner:



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  • Sobia

    how someone will realize that his/her soul have become enslaved by the tyranny of the self, imprisoned in the dungeon of the nafs?

    • Khokharsalma

      when all you think about is dunya….how grand my house is, how rich my friends are, my jora should be expensive, why should i wear itwar bazar stuff, is my car better than my friends, what else can i do to impress my friends, my kitty parties,…all this is more important to me than whether Allah is pleased with me. am i kind to my servants, do i speak softly even if my servant annoys me, do i obey my mother, father, husband…even if they are not around, do i overspend, do i backbite, do i gossip..?…the first example is one who is totally living for dunya and the second is someone trying to remember Allah in all her actions

  • Sri_miffy

    I like this read so much , Jazakillah khair .. Its mending my heart .. :)

  • i needed it so much..Allah swt guided me to this blog.. jazakallah khair!

  • Smallvil

    ManshAllah , thank you for your beautiful post. It just want I need to read, especially not despairing of Allah swt forgiveness and mercy. May Allah swt reward greatly in this and hereafter.

  • Assalamu Alaikum to one and all

    A new website on Hadeeth is launched.
    Please read the review and check out here:

    Jazakumullah Khayr.

  • Mufi.r

    ”This world cannot break you—unless you give it permission. And it cannot own you unless you hand it the keys – unless you give it your heart…”
    Masha Allah – Amaaazing!

  • Sophia Tariq

    Subhan-Allah! What an inspiring – Aid – tool for llife, a wonderful statement!
    Rise high up and back To Allah(swt) and stay with Allah(swt)!
    I agree that Tawbah is polish 4 <3
    Lowering head in humility and being humble to Allah(swt) is what I desire all my life and what my mother taught me (Allah Jannat Naseeb Karez).
    I detest self- adulation, pride and arrogance – that is Satan's qualities!

  • Great words.. Jazakum ALLAH khairan katheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeran!!

  • Ghulamfatima7861

    This is truly divine and overflows with spiritual and emotional relief. May Allah give you infinite amounts of happiness, peace and success in all dimensions of your being, ameen.

  • servantofallah

    i love this mashalllah made me cry
    ive recently trying to devote my life to allah swt but its too hard with school and my dad +teachers and stuff who think my whole proority is schoolwork and education
    and i think i could be a sincere servant to allah swt with humility because of my sins but i and maybe because of satan i always keep finding my self forgetting and falling into bad habits and sins

  • Mohd_ali87

    Are men allowed to watch your face in the video or do you discourage it, this is directed to sister yasmin herself. I do not want any other philosophers here with their point of view. I know its better to lower our gaze but if your putting out your videos in real time, is it ok cause I know it is not a sin to look at the face of a hijabi women.

    • Nabila Usman

      Assalam alaykum. Just wondering where you got the bit about “I know it is not a sin to look at the face of a hijabi woman”. I know you didn’t want answers from “other philosophers” and I won’t try to answer on behalf of sister Yasmine, but I really think that I should just make a humble suggestion: you should just keep the audio on when listening to the lectures and you don’t really have to look at sister Yasmine’s face if that is a cause of concern for you. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was a scholar herself and she used to share the hadith with the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). Islam really needs female scholars like there were in the times of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and sister Yasmine is an inspiration for many Muslim and non-Muslim women. The type of content she produces is aimed at common troubles which Muslim women face and sadly those issues are rarely addressed by the male scholars or speakers of Islam. So we all should acknowledge and applaud her efforts. It is great to give advice, but as per the sunnah, if the intentions are genuine and not to cause fitnah, the advice is best given in private. JazakAllahu khayran.

  • Farah0128

    I love it…Mansha-Allah

  • sumayya

    this year i went through storms after storms of tests and was struggling with life throughout almost i feel i can relate to each word that yo wrote…truly no one is a friend but ALLAH ALONE and the concept of ocean reminded me of my own post in http://confessionsofanunawarebeliever.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/i-a-mermaid/

  • Fyaghamdi

    In this worldly life full of tests and sufferings, We can only hold on someone who created us, who sustain us, who protect us, Seek refuge to Him and ask his mercy, as He is the most merciful, the most beneficient. People will come and go i.e. loveones, relatives, children, but the power of love He bestowed upon us is much nearer to our very own selves, as He is the nearest even to our jugular vein. Very nice and inspiring advice. Thank you Yasmin.

  • simi

    This really hit when you said donot despair but have faith in His mercy!

    because He is the only one Who is Forgiving and GHAFURUR RAHIM.

  • Natheera

    Wow MashAllah! This article was soo uplifting and inspiring! It’s so true what Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) had said. It also gives us all hope as we all sin! May Allah have mercy on you for your beautiful writing and for reminding us of the mercy of Allah! Ameen!

  • Henna555

    JazakALLAH kaseerun sister Yasmeen, its people like you who bring realisation that we are born with a purpose to worship ALLAH(s.w.t) and leave spark in the lives of felow human beings to guide them in any way..like you do with your enlightening speeches and articles…your well n ur way to Jannat already(Ameeen and In sha ALLAH) and so please pray for all those who wish to follow the same steps heading right to JANNAT..Ameeen ya RAB

  • Rano

    as salam alaykoum

    thank you sister for this reflection, it’s make me realised about my own situation:

    For a long time until now, i don’t allow myself to attach “dunya” with my hand because i am afraid “dunya” enter in my heart……… i am so afraid that it’s like i can’t even move, i am like paralyse by this feeling and can’t do anything because i am afraid to lose myself in the ocean of “dunya”.
    And i know it’s not a solution to be like that, it’s like i totaly close my heart in order to not
    let “dunya” enter in it but it’s a delusion and it’s dangerous because if i close my heart the Light of ALLAH can not enter in my heart.

    i am sorry for my bad english cause i am french and i don’t speak very well english

    May ALLAH reward you sister by the best rewarding for all your work which will benefit the umma incha ALLAH.

  • Rosie_mike676

    Thank you Sister for this wonderful post, I am experiencing the lowest point in my life just recently, I was faced with an unexpected situation and fell hard. I reached the ocean floor. But after I seek Allah, I turn and run to Allah I rise again and even brought pearls with me, and I could feel and see the changes I am experiencing, I am more polished and cleaner before the calamity hit me. Just want to thank you again as I could feel every word that is being written in this post. Amazing. Loving Allah makes me a better person…

  • Karmela879

    mashaallah yasmen sıster ı m followıng your web sıte…and lıstenıng your ıslamıc audıo lectures…shukran

  • Sakinah

    made me cry … thankyou so much for that!

  • Wayes


  • Muslimah

    Jazakallah, Yasmin. I really needed to read this article. I’ve been battling feelings of lonliness and emptiness and now I realise it’s only because I’m not spending enough time seeking Allah. I’m single and looking to get married and every failed proposal affects me really badly. I’ve somehow always felt that marriage will cure my lonliness and emptiness.
    SubhanAllah, I realize that I need to refocus my heart to Allah and defocus it from the duniya. I also realize that marriage and work and other things of the duniya are essential too, but not something that we need to really get our hearts into.


  • muslimgirl

    Thank you yasmine, im telling all my friends about your website and reading all your articles brings joy and hope to my heart, im working on myself and hoping to be on the write track :) thank u once again and may allah reward u highest level of paradise

    • Anonymous

      Alhamdulilah! Thats so wonderful!! May Allah bless you!

      Sent from AT&T’s Wireless network using Mobile Email

  • Sara_afg_jan

    woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow Mashallah Yasmin, yu such a amezing, this was very touchful meaningful, i have ever read . :) I will share it.
    God bless U x

  • Beautiful n truly inspiring in every way ⊱✿. Jazaki Allahu Khairan 4 sharing your
    wisdom my respected sister. Peace, blessings, and love of God be with you. Ws

  • 08beessiddique

    I hope you have an idea how many people read your articles in despair- and they get hope. Alhamdulillah.

  • Tina

    Jazakallahu khayr sis Yasmin. Wallahi..may Allah bless you for all your efforts! Ameen!

  • this is an amazing insight. thank you for sharing. jazaak Allahu khairan <3

  • Yousra elbaradie

    I’m back to you, Allah .. Forgive us please :'(((((((((((((((((((((((


  • ikhlaas

    thank you so much for this beautiful insight. it really resonance with my life – with its up and down. i understand the fear and embarassment of facing Allah, asking for His forgiveness for the sins that one has done. for a while, you will be lost – you don’t know how and where to start in seeking for Him. You felt as if the sins have crippled you, blind you heart… until you forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself by taking responsible of your action, stop victimizing yourself and acknowledge that you are a fallible being without His guidance.
    May Allah forgives our sins.

  • HumairA

    JAK Yasmin. I am reading this article after a year and thinking that THIS is the article that in fact changed me. I was never really into Islam nor was I practicing that much. My life was in darkness, with people who only brought me down to a person who wasn’t meant to be. So I fell deep into the dunya. I did things that I am not proud of, at all. I kept failing and failing and falling and falling. I was stumbling and I didn’t know myself anymore until one night something terrible happened and I knew at that moment that Allah was in fact always there but it was me, who was ignoring Him. Ignoring the creator. That night, I told myself that it enough was enough and I came back into Islam. I came back to Him. After that night, I went on a journey to change my life. That journey, with Allah being my captain, I was able to turn my life 360. Today, I don’t remember my life without the hijab. Today, I don’t remember my life without praying or going daily to the Masjid or going to my daily halaqas. Yasmin, I cannot thank you enough for posting this article and really getting deep into everyones’ hearts. I listened to what you said; I took the keys from the dunya and gave them to the Creator. You are such an inspiring woman and I look up to you :) Thank you so so much.

    • Anonymous

      Wow, Humaira…I’m speechless.
      May Allah continue to guide and bless you. Please keep me in your duaas.

      Your sister,

  • Maryam

    JazakAllah, This is exactly what I needed to read, I feel so connected with Sister Yasmin and I feel that in this very tough time over the past few months I have gained a lot of knowledge from your lectures, Your words have guided me to the right path, and So I do believe everything happenes for a reason… You are there for many young girls like me.. To help bring us to the right path and remind us of our aim to be in this world.. I find a lot of comfort in your words, not many people are gifted with being able to make someone feel at such ease. SubhanAllah… May Allah swt bless you always.

Reclaim Your Heart