It Never Happened: Ordinary Miracles

img_0770-3

I felt horrible about it as soon as I got off the phone, because I realised what had I done. I should have been careful, I should have double checked my work before submitting. I cant possibly afford to make another hefty mistake after coming this far. Why is it so hard ? Why do I always have to check my work? Why am I not allowed any mercy for any humanly mistake I make? It was one of those overwhelming moments, one where you are suddenly infused with uncontrollable grief, pain and sadness. Emotions bottled up, frustrations pent up- all came out at once as I stifled my sobs behind closed doors, bracing myself for yet another sleepless night.

I tried to pray, but nothing came out. Tried to have a little compassionate pep talk with myself, sending the frightened child inside me some love and companionship, convincing it yet again that Allah and us are a team, and that we are going to be okay. I just have to bite my teeth and let this pain pass through this moment, and because this pain is excruciating, the guilt is overwhelming, I am allowed to do whatever I want to make this as easy as it could get. I tossed away my notebooks and everything that I was working on. It all seemed futile now. I asked a friend to pray for me though!

After a few minutes, I mastered the strength to pick up my Quran to finish my daily Baqarah. (Read here for my daily Baqarah challenge).  I really could do nothing right now. Nothing and noone could help me. I remembered a conversation I had earlier in the day about healing from the Quran, and started reading the Baqarah as if my last lifeline depended on it. After 4-5 minutes of reading, I started to feel the emotions subside. I cant explain or pinpoint the feeling, I guess its one akin to the Ecstasy drug they take to feel so. But neverthless atleast the pain wasn’t as much, which is still something. I even walked out of my room and faked a smile as I passed through the lounge, noone could tell anything. So the calmness was working.

Something in me spoke up. I realised that I made mistake yes, but I coulnd’t let myself wallow in self pity because there is nothing I could do. I had to do whatever I could, and if that means just plain Istighfar (i.e ask for forgiveness from Allah), then so be it. Since when did Allah need my efforts to fix up messes that I create? After all  He created me a human, so by nature I am supposed to make mistakes. He is the One who is perfect, so He is supposed to fix what I goof up. (This is something I learnt previously, here ),

So I freshened up from my disheavelled state, and sat down on my bed with my tally counter, to ask for forgiveness to Allah and for Him to rectify the issue. I was no longer feeling the tightness in the chest. I felt numb, which was much better than the pain of reprimanding myself for messing up such an important project I have been working on so diligently.

img_1274

Just as I sat down ( I just made the intention, hadn’t started istighfar yet), my phone vibrated with an incoming phone call. The client called and said the meeting is still in place tomorrow. By the end of the conversation I realised that the client HAD NO IDEA of the mistake I had made, because NO MISTAKE was made at all. SubhanALLAH! Allah manoeuvred and orchestrated everything within an hour such that He literally hit the UNDO button, no mistake was actually made at all. I have no idea how it happened, because my sent messages clearly show that I did. It is unexplainable and doesn’t make sense. I don’t know if it is because of the loving pep talk I had with myself about self compassion (afterall Allah says to be kind with His creations), the Baqarah reciting with tears streaming down my eyes,  the intent to do istighfar as the last resort (based on the saying of the Messenger, may peace and blessings be upon him, that actions are but by their intentions), the dua made by others (which is guaranteed to be answered), or perhaps none (perhaps it was Allah’s love and mercy which is not conditioned on us doing anything to be eligible for). I do not know. But at a time when everyday is an uphill battle, putting one foot in front of the other, these little things (at that overwhelming moment it was not little at all. That was all I could think of that moment) get us going. They make us realise that Allah is always speaking to us, sending messages and signs, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more. Little miracles like this want us to believe that somewhere out there, there is still magic! If you cant find it, it will come find you.

fb_img_1487012024664

Please remember me in your prayers that Allah opens the doors I am asking Him to open. Thanks

Advertisements

A Late Summer Night’s Dream

I remember that Midsummer Night’s Dream. That devastating night, how I struggled to look for a meaning and purpose for it. How it took me so long to even begin to heal. The only good thing in that night was the moon. Other than that, I hated summer, I hated those trees, I hated the greenery. They trees shed their leaves and regained their greeery all within less than a year, while I stood there watching my life only shed everything, not gain. Hated them. The trees gained back leaves faster than mine. They had definite seasons planned, after 6 months they will get their leaves back. They had a calender to look forward to, I didnt. I didnt know when I would also get foliages in my life, and I detested the trees for knowing theirs. The greenery seemed to mock me, my stagnant, poignant story. It was Ramadan, sometime around the last ten nights, the best nights of the year.

I also remember the evening, right after sunset, of one of the best days of the year, towards the end of summer. There was the same moon and those same lush green leaves, about to turn yellow. There was even the same me. But that was it. Nothing else was the same. What I lost that midsummer night turned its way to come back on this late summer night. The tables were turning,  and as they did, I sat under those trees and made dua. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the trees started swaying in a breeze so beautiful, so serene, so peaceful, that I couldnt help but fall in love. The air was thick with freshness, dense with purity, an oxygen I never breathed before. A summer I knew before. I never knew the greenery could be good. I never knew Allah brought those greeneries back, nurtured and watered them all summer so when my time comes towards the end, they would join me to thank Allah before they hinernate for the season. So yes, I fell in love.

Fall in love with the subtlety yet the gravity Allah’s grandeur. I was sitting in front of the school playgroung which for some reason I stared at everytime I would cry. I never knew why but for years I had been drawn to the sight of that playground from my window. Now I knew why. Because Allah wanted that location to be the spot when it happens, so He made sure I had a connection with the place from before. My hatred for the summer and trees melted when those very trees joined me to glorify Allah that night. As they started to sway and dance the moment I started making dua, I just knew it wasnt random. It was much more. It was the trees joining me to glorify Allah, just how the birds joined Prophet David, just how Allah says in the Quran that everything in the skies and the earth does tasbih of Allah. Everything has their own way of worship, but it was a different experience when those very trees that bore the brunt of my replusion for years joined me to praise and thank Allah that night.

Allah keeps an account of everything, and incorporates even the minutest insignificant details into our story, because nothing is excess or random, should we pay attention.  SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, MashaAllah!

Did I mention that just as I was about to publish this post, I looked outside and saw the moon gazing right back at me? 

Alhamdulillah!

Complains Do Not Negate Gratitude: Counsel From The Quran

Complains and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. You can grieve and complain to Allah, and yet remain grateful. When Prophet Yaqoob lost his 10year old son Yusuf, he was devastated and he cried so much he lost his eye sight. Yet when Allah narrates us the story,  NO WHERE does He mention anything about gratitude. Allah never tells him to be grateful that his other sons are alive. None. In fact, Allah captures his struggle by actually telling us that his grief did in fact affect his health, people around him were uncomfortable with his sorrow so they told him to move on- all things that every single one of us unfortunately have heard or told others. 

In this very famous verse Allah actually glorifies the fact that this prophet did complain. He kept telling Allah about his sorrow UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Unlike us humans, Allah did not guilt trip him into being grateful to supress his emotions. In His immense wisdom Allah never tells us to suppress our emotions because He knows it is not healthy.

What is also remarkable is that Allah revealed this story when His messenger (peace be upon him) needed counsel, when he was goung through the most difficult phase of his life. So basically even to his messenger (peace be upon him) Allah did not condemn his grief or ask him to stop complaining and be grateful. Allah gave both these prophets the time and space to grieve, to mourn. Allah acknowledged their sorrow and if any He actually tells us that through their legacies that we can turn to Him too to complain. Complain with unwavering certainty that Allah will change our condition for the better.


Even in this very famous verse of gratitude if you look at the background, Allah revealed it to the Children of Israel after Pharaoh killed their baby boys. Allah through His messenger Moses consoled them and encouraged them to be grateful. But Allah did NOT negate their grief or ask them to stop complaining. That is not a practice of Allah. He gives us the leeway to be grateful and still lament.

Basically what I am trying to convey is that we shouldn’t be ungrateful. We shouldn’t try to negate the value of what we have. But that does not mean that we settle with our miseries. It does not mean we pretend life is a bed of roses when in reality it might be not. There is a reason Allah says in the Quran “and do not forget your share of the world” (28:77)

So relieve yourself of that burden today. That burden where you are “supposed” to be only grateful and not complain. You can do both. You can complain to Allah, complain like nobody’s business, pour out to Him every bitterness that is there. As long as you are not being ungrateful, as long as you are not dismissing the favors He has done to you, you are good. “Remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.”(2:152). 

If you are still unsure, try it today. I do this experiment with myself. I was at a very bad situation and I complained to Allah a lot, but the whole time I kept an eye on my attitude. I figured that I did not feel “ingratitude”, I did feel grateful for what I have, but the pain of what I dont have, that sense of inadequacy created from that void was unbearable. 

Pain is given to us for a reason, to feel it. Feeling the sense of incompleteness for the things we do not have in life, for our unfulfilled dreams, wishes and desires, its part of our human creation. It is how Allah created us. We cant cloak them up with veils of gratitude and run away from acknowledging those emotions. Gratitude has its own place and so does our want and need for a better life.

One Year Ago, I Made A Choice

Exactly one year ago, I made a choice.

I chose faith, I chose hope, and by leaving the retreating hand I want to grip so much, I chose to hold the One that was extended out to me. The never fail, never go wrong, the Most Trustworthy Handhold as He Himself testifies to – The Invisible Hand of God.

In the days and months that followed I was introduced to the atrocities and viciousness of life, the cruelty of pain, the constant butchering of my heart and eventual demise of every living atom of my body. So much for clinging onto my faith against every odds, hoping that the sun will rise soon.

Instead it set deeper, further abyss into the dark. And with it, it took away the last bit of faith and hope that I had. Or at least I thought I did. With it left every last atom my emotional existence. It left behind a heart void of any human emotions or feelings. Somedays it would hurt so bad that it felt like my heart was being ripped into shreds, and grounded into pulp of flesh by a pack of merciless, preying wolves hungry for a feast. Slowly, in the camouflage of protecting whatever last bit remained of my tender, bruised heart, I resorted to teaching myself to expect the worse. Against every possibility of a good, to expect ten worse outcomes. At least that would save the pain of disappointment.

And thus began my journey of despair. It was cold, vicious, cruel and ruthless. But it was also safe.  Despair is like a cancer. It spreads to every fiber of your being before it  takes over matters of your mind, soul and eventually, the body. It dictates your inner self and feasts off your self-destructive and self-critical thoughts. Its brutality makes it akin to the devil himself. It talks to you pretending to be God, only if I knew better.

Having stumbled into some signs from My Almighty Lord I slowly have started to recover after what seems like eternity. I have started to heal and to take baby steps towards slowly rising again – rising in hope, in love, and perhaps little bit in faith. Daring myself to expect, and expect grand. Expect like nobody’s business.

It sometimes comes easily – good expectations. Certainty that He is sending my sunrise soon. But more often that not, it doesn’t. The level of unwavering faith and certainty doesn’t always come to the point that governs my actions, as opposed to the certainty in negative expectations and hence their dictating of my actions. So I make the choice, continuously and relentlessly, as if my life depends on it. In fact in the ultimate sense of the word, it does. I choose to expect, albeit I fail to do so. I choose to do hope, despite my inability to so. Yes,  I choose to, not because I have to, but because I want to. Because I choose to want to.

Because one year ago, I made a choice.

And I still make it every single day.

Grief And Judgement

(Written By: Maryam Amir)

People tell you that your belief is weak if you keep crying. That if you prayed more, if you read Quran more, if you were a better believer, you wouldn’t be sad and wouldn’t have these problems. That you should get over it.
Here’s something you can share with them:
Prophet Jacob (p) cried so much at the loss of his son Joseph. He wasn’t sad for a day. Or a month. Or a year. He was distraught for decades. His tears flowed so intensely that his eyesight was depleted. And despite his tears, despite his very human sadness, he was amongst the best of believers God placed on earth. His tears did not mean his belief in God was weak or his trust in Him wavered.
And the Prophet Muhammad (p) had the Quran revealed directly to him. He prayed the longest, with the most intense concentration and with the strongest relationship with God ever possible. And yet he still missed Khadija 10 years after her death.
He didn’t “get over her.” He moved forward with life, but he missed her intensely. And it’s okay that it hurts.
He cried at his mother’s grave decades after her passing. It didn’t diminish the strength of his belief. He wept as he held his dying son, and it didn’t decrease his trust in God’s wisdom.
His having a strong relationship with God didn’t mean his life didn’t have issues and heartaches. If the most spiritually connected person- who knew the most Quran and did the most worship- could suffer from such intense emotional loss and pain- then what about us?!
Salah and the Quran are a lifevest to keep us afloat when we’re drowning. It doesn’t mean we won’t be thrust in an ocean. It doesn’t mean we won’t sometimes feel like we can’t breathe and like we’re being dragged under. But even when facing the highest wave, even if at times we’re swallowing water and gasping for air, it’s knowing we have Someone Who will bring us back and keep us afloat and help us get back to the safety of the land again.
Go to therapy (SO important). Seek social support. Invest in self-care. And don’t let anyone take your safe space- your intimate relationship with God- away from you.
He is the One to Whom we can be vulnerable. Where we can shatter. Where we can show every insecurity and know that we are still worthy.
And when people say, “Hasn’t it been long enough?” Let them know: For the Prophets, sometimes it was longer. And yet the Prophets- may God send His peace upon them- have shown us that with God, we can.