A Muslim endures the tests, trials, hardships, racism, the destruction of our homes, wars, calamities, and the deaths of those we love dearly with patience while persevering in quiet strength. We know that Allah places on no soul a burden more than a believer can endure. We also know that God’s wisdom is greater than we can imagine. We know he is merciful and loves us more than our own parents, spouses, and children. He knows what’s best for us in all matters. We put our trust in him in all of our affairs knowing that his plans are far greater than any of our dreams. The life of this world is temporary and we should be as a traveler and to Allah is our return. There is so much beauty and wonder, strife and grief in this life to experience that for a believer the return to Allah should be something we prepare for and look forward to, the peace of Paradise is better than any worldly paradise man could imagine. In that preparation for the return the choices and decisions we make are not based on “wants” they’re based on what’s right. Not what’s easy although Islam is easy but what we know to be the right course. Our deeds should never be driven by the desires of our Nefs but our desire to please Allah. Here lies the ultimate struggle, Jihad. Many of us fail and fail often but we repent, seek his forgiveness, guidance and mercy and we begin again to always do what’s best, do what is right, what is fair and just. We speak honestly even if it is against ourselves or the ones we love. We do not take the easy road out but we do the work, constantly reforming our own character that we might be living breathing examples of the beauty of Islam. This most worthy aspiration and goal can only be achieved through gaining the knowledge of the Quran and by following the ultimate example of the Qur’an in practice, our Prophet Mohammad (sala Allahu alaihi wa salem). Obeying Allah and obeying the Prophet in all things leads us to handle our affairs in the most noble and virtuous manner. I sit and stare at that sentence knowing how many times I’ve failed in this endeavor but I pray that Allah will guide us, have mercy on us and forgive us as we all continue to better ourselves for his sake. Ameen.