I don’t consider myself to be worthy of “preaching” or giving any spiritual advice. Frankly, because I don’t think I am of that competency or knowledge to give out any judgment.
However, I, being a Muslim woman and being attached to my Lord more than ever in my life, and finding a gem from the Qur’an, sought to share my experience in the hopes that someone could relate or feel a little bit of relief while reading this article. In the hopes that, someone could find some ease and in return, Allah would gift me some of His ease too.
Being optimistic and jolly have been my personality traits as long as I can remember. I relished making people laugh, I craved the smiles and laughter of my sisters, my brothers, and my parents. Seeing adults being way too serious and with that dismal attitude towards life made me adamant that I absolutely would not be like them. (I found inspiration from “The Little Prince” of course.) But like all things, nothing last forever.
My naivety, my childlike wonder of the world came to a halt when I found myself in a traumatizing and emotionally draining episode of my life. Never in my life, had I dreaded waking up for the day with gut-wrenching anxiety that led me to physically retch. And never in my life, was I glad that night had finally come, and I could sleep and escape from reality. After that chapter of unimaginable pain, I can’t seem to find happiness now. If sadness was a smell, I would reek of it. It’s difficult even articulating how I’ve been feeling, but my dear readers, know that life has been tough. I am 23 years old and lost in this world. I am anxious about the future standing in front of me, I am dragged by the agony of my past, I am paralyzed because I don’t know what do.
Ever since the Ramadan of 2006, my Rab blessed me with the want to be closer to Him. My faith has been stronger at times, and I have been far from my Lord sometimes, but I’ve strived. Even though sadness and worry haven’t left me since this year started, I still hoped from my Lord. And then the incident happened. And I clung to Him as I have never before. I have cried and sobbed and begged for understanding from Him, for care, for comfort, for His love, for His justice, because I feel so lost. So utterly lost and hopeless of everything and everyone except my Lord. Where will I go to if not to Him? I need Him more than ever. In my moments of despair, I ran to seek relief in Him, and I feel He inspired me to seek Him out more. I began listening to tafsir more, listening to lectures more, studying the Qur’an more, pondering more about Him and our beloved Prophet (peace be upon Him).
While praying, I began pondering more, thinking more about what I was reciting. I had already memorised the translations of what I was supposed to recite and I found comfort in the basic translations, but never have I actually contextualized what I was uttering to my real life problems. I had learned this tactic from a video lecture I watched from Nouman Ali Khan, about how our problems are really minuscule when compared to the supreme greatness of Allah (SWT) and he proved this concept by relating our contemporary worries to Surah Al Fatiha.
-الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
How the first ayah of the blessed Surah itself, tells us to praise and thank our Lord, that oh Allah, thank you for this problem, it could have been worse. Some people might even think, “why me?”. And the ayah answers for us, He’s the Lord of the entire universe, He chose this particular problem only for you.
Sometimes we go so far to say that, “wow, that’s really harsh of Allah.” And immediately the Surah reminds us that, no, He’s Ar-Rahman and Ar- Raheem; The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful. The One who loves us so much, whose Mercy encompasses His anger. Anybody’s love and care for us is inconsequential compared to His love for us. The One who never sleeps and watches over us, who is our Guardian but also our King, our Master, the Supreme.
-مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
Some would transgress and exclaim, “I don’t really care about this problem, I am going to do as I please because who cares anyway?” but Allah reminds us that, “He is the Master of the Day of Judgement.” You’re answerable to Him, whatever you do, good or bad, you’re answerable to Him, your Malik, your Master, who owns you and everything in your life, who has authority over you. At the end of the day, you’re going to meet Him. It’s comforting, realising that we’ll meet Him, that this world is temporary. These problems, this sadness, this heaviness is temporary. That our Master can lift our burdens, if only we ask and respond to Him.
-إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ.
His slaves say, okay ya Rab, I am going to worship you and try to do my best, but I can’t do it without you, which correlates to the ayah “It is You we worship, and You we ask for help.” We are willing to make the effort to be better versions in our life, we need You to guide us, ya Rab. Because if He doesn’t, we’ll be losers in this life and the next.
-هْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ.
-صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ.
Finally, we ask for His guidance to the straight path. The path He has bestowed favor upon, the path that He blesses. That path that can lead to our ultimate happiness; the Holy Qur’an itself and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Staying on this path is more crucial than any needs and desires of ours in this world. We came here, as travelers, to be on that path. To constantly struggle to be on the path of the righteous. And not to be of those who anger Allah (SWT), who are led astray.
Contextualising ayahs to your day to day life, this perception left me in awe and in relief because now when I read anything in the Qur’an, I relate it to my problems, to my life and in doing so, I realise the profound miracle of the Qur’an that it is inherently timeless. Allah’s words are so meaningful, so accurate even to this day, that they hit the target of our hearts. I’ve tried doing the same with Ayat-ul-Kursi, relating my worries to the verse. And, subhan’Allah, every verse of it comforts me. How I know He’s the one who restores life to a dead and blackened heart, how He’s my caretaker and watches over me even while I sleep and He doesn’t, how He knows whatever that came before me and what will come after. So comforting, knowing that all my knowledge is because He wills it to be, and my knowledge is not even an atom compared to His Wisdom. Knowing, that whatever happens, My King, Owner of everything in the Heavens and Earth is watching over me, cares for me, and is the Most Magnificent.
Allah (swt)’s words bring ease to me, and then I think, with every hardship, there’s definitely ease. If I didn’t go through this hardship, I would have never been in the weakened state, craving and starving for Allah’s love. I wouldn’t be writing this, I wouldn’t have watched the video, I wouldn’t be trying to help others. So in the end, I submit to my Lord, in utter gratitude and praise, that whatever’s gonna happen with me, I trust He’ll do the best, I trust He’s the best of Planners and He’s enough for me.