So as mentioned in the post before the last one, I am going to talk about a topic that is so central to my life in so many ways. Ever since I became religiously inclined, I have battled with remaining steadfast and firm on the Path of God. Now, before you raise your eyebrows and frown at your screens, I ought to point out something right now. The kind of battle that I am talking abut isn't the same as what the large majority of young people usually struggle with. Most young people tend to struggle remaining steadfast and firm on their daily prayers, observing the correct hijab (physically and morally), with staying away from music etc. By the Grace of God, these are not the things I struggle with but of course, to each their own tests and struggles right?
The struggles that I am talking about is the challenge of having a consistent practice during my good days and bad days. I am talking about remaining firm on the Sunnah that has been trivialized, I am talking about chasing away bad thoughts and negative desires, I am talking about the challenges of being an oft-repenting slave... You get the gist..
I remember many moons ago seeing this hadith for the first time:
“Faith wears out in your heart as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (narrated by al-Haakim in his Mustadrak and al-Tabaraani in his Mu’jam with a saheeh isnaad).
And I felt absolutely overwhelmed at how precisely this narration depicted me and my spirituality. I remember reading this narration again and again, trying to understand that what I was feeling was natural and that there was a way out of it.I felt as though this narration was for me and me alone.
I am a very harsh judge on myself and I'm glad that I am actually. I have never in my life been in a stage where I was pleased with myself in terms of my relationship with my Creator. I have my days and weeks where I am walking on cloud 9 because I feel so deeply happy within. Faith gives you so much happiness and belonging, I mean I'm sure you've all felt a time in your life where nothing else of this life really mattered because your heart and soul were in sync with Allaah. Now, imagine if the majority of our days were of that nature? Wouldn't our lives be so much better? tab3an..
About 2 weeks ago, I took a trip to Makkah al Mukkaramah and let me tell you that I left my city almost crawling on my knees because I was so poorly in my spirituality. I was hurt through what my own hands had caused and this journey couldn't have come at a better time. Now, I do not even know how I can possibly explain the inner change that occurred within me as soon as I set foot in the Blessed City but my heart just took a 360 degree turn. I spent 5 days in the Haram (of sublime beauty) and I simply didn't want to leave. I was re-living again. I literally forgot about this worldly life, I even forgot about eating, I didn't care for anything. I just wanted to read Qur'an all day, pray all day, have blessed words coming out of my mouth all day ect.
Every time I go to Makkah , I always wish I could have a basic tent somewhere on the side. I would honestly live there with no material comfort because the comfort my heart feels in the place is simply phenomenal. I always feel re-born, breathing again, my life takes its full meaning back. My life purpose is to worship my Creator to the best of my ability!
People don't always understand though. My father always fears a 'spiritual comma' for me when he takes me to the Haram lol. The family I was staying with were a little taken aback at my diligence of desiring to remain inside the Haram as much as was physically possible. Only a few people can understand the extent of which I am talking about.: I am talking of hours of not moving from one spot and just doing whatever Allaah decreed me to do. Oh Makkaah you are so beautiful!
In that city, even if I am not in the Haram, my lips cannot stop uttering words of praise to the Lord, my whole body, soul and mind are in unison in worshipping Allaah.
Anyway I am diverging from my topic!
So, when I returned back to Riyadh, I felt as though I had recharged my batteries to last me til Ramadan! But already two weeks in and the battle is fierce.
We are responsible for our eeman and just like we change our clothes once they are dirty or not wearable, likewise our faith needs recharging. Personally, I have identified the essence of the inner battle that goes on inside as follows: SOUL vs BODY.
My soul wants to do all khayrat, it wants to be blessed, it wants to submit to its Creator, it wants to purify itself, it wants to save my body from Hell. However, my body wants all the comfort, it wants to be full with yummy food instead of fasting, it rather sleep than wake up at night and pray, it rather relax at home than study books, it wants to look good and fashionable, it wants its desires fulfilled, it wants to chill all day etc.
Alhamdulilaah, our religion is a religion of moderation. We have not been told to pray all day long and to fast every day (even though that would be pretty awesome if you ask me) and Allaah is so kind as to always always give us opportunities to turn back to Him. If only we listened? I don't know what to tell you guys, I am always engaged in fighting my own self to save my own soul. It's not easy really but the wonderful feeling once that top of the mountain is reached is unbeatable.
I just wish I could remain a little longer on this high mountain but usually, I fall down after a while. Sometimes I fall a little bit and get it back together and hike back up. Other times, I can't get back up until I reach the bottom of the mountain and that is usually the worse. This is what I mean when I say I want to remain steadfast. I want to be on the top of the mountain of eeman forever and remain firm on it.
Before when I was in the UK, I felt more 'in control' of my eeman because I knew exactly where to go to get it 'fixed' and that was: the masjid. The masjid has always been the place to fix my heart. Whenever there was trouble, I'd free a day or afternoon and seclude myself there. I would return to my house as a lighter person and with a renewed vision. Sadly, I am not able to do that here in Riyadh and as a result, I have been struggling a heck of a lot this past year. It's hard not to have a place to go and put things back in order. People used to say how their eeman dropped, sometimes pretty drastically, when they moved to the Middle East and I never understood what they meant until I, myself moved here.
The Prophet 'alayhi salaam used tor retire himself from society and go to the Mount Hira even before the Revelation was sent down to him. This shows how important it is to take the time in the day or the week, to stop, go somewhere specific and sit, reflect, renew intentions, check heart and repent for the day or the week. It's of crucial important in my opinion. Without this, we turn into soul-less individuals with walking bodies and dead hearts. I am very big on spirituality, I love it and I just wish I could have a place to retire myself to here.
Allaah knows best.
I ask Allaah to forgive my sins and to make me one of His oft-returning Slaves.
Please, take a moment to read and reflect on the two verses I added below, from Surah Ash-Shurah. I feel like these two verses not only beautifully summarise my whole post but are so so so comforting to all of us who may be in the same boat as I am.
And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path -
The Path of Allaah, this the path I desire to never deviate from until the rest of my life.