Mending My Ways…
We must ponder over Allah’s wisdom in which He (swt) tests His chosen slaves, and by means of which He (swt) guides and directs us to achieve goals of high positions, which could not be achieved by being tested by trials and tribulations. Tests and tribulations are, in fact, all mercy and blessings of Allah (swt), writes SHAZIA CHOWDHURY.
Having that void in your heart can be painful. It doesn’t feel right – something feels missing, incomplete or, at times, can be very frustrating. Alhamdulillah, I felt it too. Days pass by, and you don’t like to see or be around family or friends, you can’t focus at work, or feel like eating anything, or – at times – you overeat due to that feeling.
What is this feeling called? Some say depression, some say anxiety, some say emotional distress. It is a disease and needs to be mended – either by seeing a professional or by mending it your way. SubhanAllah, it is saddening that even at this day and age, people are suffering but are not willing to take professional help. There is no shame to seek help, in order to have a better life. I chose to mend it my way.
Alhamdulillah, just like everyone, I suffered too. If anyone tells you, they never had this feeling – clearly he, or she, is in denial. It is normal for people to go through this turmoil.
It is easy to advise people, but when you go through it personally, it is quite difficult to follow your own words. Alhamdulillah, I knew what I was supposed to do, but somehow was not able to follow it through. Being around family members, going out with friends for a cup of coffee, chilling with cousins would make me feel lighter and better – but I chose not to. I chose not to be around family, I chose to refuse all those calls from friends and cousins, who wanted to hang out, I chose not to focus in my work.
What did I choose? I chose to be in my room with windows and doors closed and be in a pin-drop silent zone, phone on silent mode, not see anyone, nor talk to anyone or be around anyone. Sharing my feelings with someone meant nothing. I knew the person wouldn’t understand my feelings or me. I chose not to share.
Watching something on my laptop could have distracted my mind for a little while, but I chose not to. Eating my favourite chocolate, didn’t give me any pleasure either. Sleeping late night, soaking the pillow with tears was not lightening the burden I was carrying within my little heart. Days went by, nothing changed. The feeling kept getting worse. Later the realisation came – I have to change.
I knew this Aayat for a while, but it made sense to me later when I realised what I was doing was wrong and had to mend my ways. I was convinced by the Aayat that says: “You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something although it is bad for you.” – Qur’an (2:216)
The only thing that was steady was my prayers, Alhamdulillah. Even after all that I was going through, I kept my prayers on point. I didn’t let that go, because deep down, I knew the tough days would pass by the help of Allah (swt). I knew, He (swt) will guide me – He (swt) is Al-Hadiy and Ar-Rashid. I knew He (swt) loved people who were committed to Deen. “God loves those who are steadfast.” – Qur’an (3:146)
I prayed at home, and then slowly – at a snail’s pace – I starting going out to the mosque. I felt better, Alhamdulillah. Deep down, I knew Allah (swt) tests whom He loves and, clearly, He (swt) was testing me because He loves me. I kept reminding myself about the Aayat: “Do people think they will be left alone after saying ‘We believe,’ without being put to the test?” – Qur’an (29:2)
Being alone has its perks – it allows you to ponder over what happened and how you can preclude from similar situations in the future. It gives you time with your Creator – Al Khaliq. It helped me to connect and strive to get closer to Allah (swt).
I forced myself to get out of the house and walk down to the mosque. Spend time with beautiful sisters, whom I never met but connected instantly. Every soul had a story to share. Everyone was going through something. Everyone was asking Allah (swt) for help.
Once, during Salat time, I met a sweet aged lady in the mosque, and she was in tears the whole time we were praying; even after Salat, she couldn’t stop herself. She was in pain, a lot of pain. I did not ask her what she was going through, but I knew she was at the right place to ask for help. She cried to the One whose House she was in. SubhanAllah, seeing her, made me realise that my problem was not as bad as hers.
Allah (swt) never burdens a soul more than it can bear. I was assured, I could bear the pain I was feeling because He told me, I could. “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear.” – Qur’an (2:286)
During the winter nights, I saw an aged man lying on the sidewalk covered head to toe with heavy blankets; he was shivering as the crusty cold winds blew around him. He was repeating: “Cup of Coffee, please?” He was thirsty and was freezing in the cold. I did not know his story, but the state he was in was painful. He did not have a roof above him, nor did he have food to eat, nor was by any loved one. He was there, all alone – in pain.
SubhanAllah, seeing him, made me realise that my problem was not as bad as his. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said:“When Allah (swt) desires good for someone, He tries him with hardships.” – Sahih al Bukhari
I met a beautiful sister who was a revert who had to come to Islam after a great deal of difficulties – her family was not liking the changes in her; they did not accept her religion; she didn’t have any support from her close ones, she was ridiculed and jeered at while she walked in her neighbourhood when she chose to cover herself and had Hijab on, and many more. SubhanAllah, seeing her made me realise that my problem was not as bad as hers.
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah, which of the people are most sorely tested?” He said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is strong, he will be tested more severely, and if his religious commitment is weak, he will be tested in accordance with his religious commitment. Calamity will keep befalling a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him.” – Sahih at-Tirmidhi
Being in a dark shady situation is always gloomy and painful. I had to choose what needed to fix my problem. Alhamdulillah, I chose Allah (swt). He is the One who can change the hearts of people – He (swt) is Al Muhyiy (The Giver of Life).
I saw the people around me, I heard real life stories, I saw the struggles and then I decided to change. I chose to make a change in my everyday life – what I was doing, eating, thinking, reading and so on. I started spending time with family. Went for those long walks in the park with my friends. Started dining out at my favorite places with cousins. Started to read and seek knowledge. Kept my prayers steady and volunteered at the mosque.
I had to strive to change myself in order for Allah (swt) to help me become the better version of myself, in order to feel good and content. I put the efforts in first, and all the rest were done by Allah (swt). I just had to trust Him – He (swt) is Al Wakil. “God does not change the condition of a people [for the worse] unless they change what is in themselves.” – Qur’an (13:11)
It is only upon individuals to decide what they want. It is on us to choose what we want in life. Either we choose happiness or sadness. If we want to be happy, then we must change what is within ourselves and by our actions.
Happiness is not served on a plate. You earn happiness. You work for it. Having a content life, is what every individual desires, and that requires a lot of work – work that has to be continual. It is an ongoing process which needs to be monitored all the time.
“Our Lord! Give us good in this World and in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.” – Qur’an (2:201)
We must ponder over Allah’s wisdom in which He (swt) tests His chosen slaves, and by means of which He (swt) guides and directs us to achieve goals of high positions, which could not be achieved by being tested by trials and tribulations. Tests and tribulations are, in fact, all mercy and blessings of Allah (swt).
Alhamdulillah, for tests and tribulations.
Shazia Chowdhury is a student of the Qur’an and Sunnah and is involved in sharing beneficial knowledge and voices out her personal insights to connect with people. She produced her first Ramadan Booklet in 2018, and is the founder of an NGO in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which helps the poor to live life healthier and happier.