Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Born Again into My Islam

     Another dear sister writes a reflection:


     Since Ramadan is around the corner, I thought I should share my journey of finding the true peace and tranquility within myself. Alhamdulillah, by the mercy of Allaah, I was born a Muslim and had a Muslim upbringing. As I was growing up, I thought simply wearing the hijab and having a Muslim name, as well as praying five times a day would pretty much sum up a true character of  a righteous Muslimah. Little did I know how ignorant I was. Subhanallah. I didn’t know the purpose behind the hijab, why I prayed, what the verses I recited in my prayer meant and, to be quite honest, I had no clue what the word “khushuu” meant. I knew Allah was my Lord, that Islam was my religion, and that Muhammad (may peace be upon him) was my Prophet and beloved Messenger. Although I knew these things, I felt like I really didn’t know them, if that makes any sense. I knew Allah was self-existent and I knew that He was my Lord but you know what I lacked? The beautiful word we find in the Quran in numerous chapters: Taqwa. I didn’t understand this word and this was my struggle. The word Taqwa within itself is an amazing word. Oh, how I regret not being able to have attained the knowledge of this word before. I struggled everyday trying to find inner peace. Every time I prayed I felt like it was a simple routine, and every single word of remembrance that I uttered felt as if I simply offering lip service to Allaah. It simply became a habit in my life. You know they say it takes 21 days to build a habit and this is exactly how I felt. 

     So what does taqwa mean? Taqwa is having a sense of consciousness of Allah, knowing that He is always present. Even though we do not see Allah swt, having Taqwa in our hearts means that we act as though we see Allaah in every moment of our lives. Taqwa is when you are doing dhikr after every salah and every time you say Subhanallah, it touches your heart and it increases and affirms your belief. Taqwa is when you say Alhamdulillah and you are truly grateful for what you have and for everything you have experienced (good or bad). It is when you truly understand that your Rabb is worth praising. Taqwa is when you utter Allahu AKBAR and have tears gushing down your face because you know and feel in your heart that your Rabb is truly the greatest. Taqwa is when you pray as if it’s your last. It is when you are alone and scared and have full trust that Allaah is your only Wali (protector).  

    Another important aspect of Taqwa is Tawakkul. The simple definition of Tawakkul is trust. It is the utmost reliance that a person has on Allah. Knowing that Allah is the One who will provide that true sense of reassurance. I’ve struggled in the past and continue to strive every day to attain this Tawakkul. For example, in the past, I’ve found myself relying on doctors and my medication when fell ill instead of remembering that Allaah is the only one who can remove my sickness. Or, even worse, when a really close friend of mine experienced a coma, I felt like it was up to the doctors to save her life. And when these doctors came out of the excruciatingly long and life-threatening surgery with smiles on their faces expressing how successful it went, it made me extremely confident that my friend would be okay. A day later, however, I lost complete certainty, as the doctors approached me with frowns on their faces. A day after my friend passed away, I cried and I cried and I cried because I forgot that Allah was the only one who had the power to grant my friend ultimate shifa (cure) and not these doctors. Allah only utilizes us as means to help one another, but ultimately, He is the one who makes all final decisions. It Is Allah who takes our lives and it is He who we will return to in the end.  Seeing my friend laying on top of her hospital bed lifeless, motionless, still as a rock, really made me reflect on where I stand as a person. 

    It is sad to see that we as people have become so attached to this dunya that we trust this dunya more then we trust the One who created it. We expect ultimate love, care, mercy, compassion, and peace from this world, from our friends, from our spouses, and from our families, so much so, that we have lost complete touch with ourselves. I have lost touch with myself. I have become so dependent upon my friend to comfort me when I’m gloomy. Or when I’m scared, my father would be the first person I think of. Really It honestly has become this bad. Not just with me, but with all of us. We have lost ourselves to this dunya. Who knows if we will even live for the 20 years, or even the next minute. Subhanallah, I  have seen what destruction I have caused myself by relying on this worldly life, but Alhamdulillah I have witnessed a huge transformation in my life when I finally strived to attain Tawakkul of Allaah. I want to be able to trust my Lord when I’m alone, and even when I’m not alone, when I’m sad or happy, when I’m angry, frustrated, scared, or overwhelmed. I want to be able to Trust my Rabb. How I now only seek your reassurance, oh Allaah. Please grant us the opportunity in attaining a level of Tawaqul which we’ve never had, yaa Rabb. Ameen.

     I remember last Ramadan, I prayed Qiyam-ul-Layl  for the very first time. I am a person who does not  understand the beautiful words of the Quran, but, subhanAllaah, I as I stood in prayer seeking reassurance, calmness, and  tranquility. Allaah’s beautiful words, whose meaning I didn’t understand hit me hard.  I had no idea what these verses meant but I knew these words were words of peace, and so I cried. I cried, and I cried, and I cried. Tears began dripping down my face. I asked myself what caused these emotions to surface and I finally realized that the only one that I needed when I was alone and suffering was You, my Rabb. You are my Shifa. You are my Guidance. You are my Mercy. You have given me the tranquility I was desperately searching for. You were always there when I needed you. I just needed to find you and, Alhamdulillah, I have. If there was anyone who has brought out the best in me, it was You. If there was anyone who gave me that strength when I felt like I had none left in me, it was You. If there was anyone who helped me smile even when the world frowned at me, it was and IS always You, my Lord <3.