A couple of years ago, Sheikh Alaa Elsayed invited me to assist in leading the Friday Halaqa in his weekly Halaqas at the ISNA Islamic Centre of Canada. These Halaqas helped me and many youth leaders begin their journey in public speaking and spreading da’wah. For that amazing opportunity and for countless other reasons, we owe Sheikh Alaa a lot. Sometimes I reflect on how I will be able to repay such a man; a real man.
All of Sh. Alaa’s influences upon me can be placed in one hand and one small situation that took place with us during a particular Halaqa can be placed in the other. As I was speaking one Friday, I said something that one of the father’s in the crowd disagreed with. He then publicly interrupted me in an obnoxious way in the hopes of trying to correct what I was saying. I immediately became scared, demoralized, and stopped speaking. Sheikh Alaa then pointed his palm towards the father, politely cutting him off, looked at me, smiled and said, “Don’t worry, just keep going.” I reluctantly continued and after I was done, Sheikh Alaa took the microphone and spoke about the importance of not putting down the youth.
That simple phrase has been like a shield by my side. Because let’s face it: it’s tough. It’s tough not to worry. It’s tough not to feel scared. It’s tough not to fear the comments. It’s tough to plan an event and not fear the outcome. It’s tough not to fear bumping into a million obstacles when you’re rushing through your path towards success. In fact, it’s almost impossible to be fearless. But here is the question: Can we become fearless?
The answer is no.
You might argue that history holds many examples of figures that were fearless, unstoppable, and filled with courage. Yes, I agree. But real courage and strength is controlling your fear, and that’s what those fearless historical figures were able to accomplish. Real courage is being able to suppress those feelings of fear which are stopping you from pursuing your dreams and becoming who you really are. Do you want to become a doctor? What is stopping you? Is it the fear that you will not get accepted into Medical School? Or do you fear the workload? Why aren’t you becoming a world renowned public speaker? Do you fear the pessimistic reactions of people? Why aren’t you praying in public when salah time is almost over? Do you fear the embarrassment of praying in public?
You see what I mean? It all comes back to fear.
Before uploading my first video on YouTube, I was hesitant and scared. If I didn’t suppress my fears that very moment 3 years ago, then I would not be where I am today. It’s rather ironic how we fear the things we wish to do the most. We fear losing what we love the most. If you concede to your fears and do not pursue what you really love, rest assured you will never achieve what you really want.
Do not fear the fight; rather fear your own fear of the fight. This is a very essential and important point. All successful figures began their journeys by controlling their fears before taking that very first step. Whenever you face a situation and you notice the fear beginning to take over your heart, right away know that this is your chance to prove your courage -to yourself- by resisting your fear. The moment we learn how to control our fear and achieve what we love is the moment we will feel true happiness and accomplishment.
Look out for Mohammed Zeyara and Sh. Omar Suleiman’s mini-drama series Inspiration coming out in Ramadan! Check out the trailer here: http://youtu.be/5-pLS81Hamw.