When you feel that you’ve strayed from Allah for far too long, immerse yourself immediately into Dhikr. Plunge yourself if you have to, into a circle of good company. Try your hardest to cry your eyeballs out until tears eventually pour from the heart. Isolate and divorce yourself from temptation. What kind of temptation, you ask? The temptation to cross the line. You know very well that the grass on the other side has the potential to be either beautiful or ugly, depending on whether you jump over the fence or whether you open the door and unlock the latch like how you’re supposed to. Choose wisely.
Here I sit on my couch in my living room, with my new hijab on. The hijab is gorgeous, no doubt. But I don’t feel beautiful.
How far have I gone on foot, my Lord? How long was I gone for? My clothes are worn out, my shoes have got holes in them. My shoulders hurt and I’ve ran out of water. My Lord, the journey started out beautiful. We travelled on the back of a beautiful creature whose beauty – at that time, sadly, I didn’t care to pay much attention. I let my mind escape from the caravan that I was responsible for. That bulky thing was horrible to transport, my Lord! It needed oiling every once in a while and it needed a skilful teamster… it was a tedious job, trying to maintain that thing. And sometimes we’d have to get down from our lovely carriage to get that old thing out of the mud. And then when things started to get tiring, mundane, dull and boring for me, I neglected all my responsibilities and ran away on foot, in search of some entertainment. I found pleasure in carelessly picking wild flowers and eating all sorts of fruits that I thought were vibrant in colour. I thought I felt somewhat liberated and free. I mingled with strangers and talked without thinking. I spent my gold coins. I emptied bag after bag until I had none to spare. I gloated and boasted about things I never actually owned; a 100-acre orchard, hundreds of cattle, cotton and linen and other expensive hardware. I robbed and got robbed. Those bandits were armed although I knew they weren’t loaded. I couldn’t fight them anyway. I was outnumbered and I was tired and hungry from the long journeys.
Now I’ve escaped them, my Lord. Now I’m walking back to you with my head down, beaten, defeated. I am your servant whose lost everything in a travel she thought she could handle. I have crossed field after field. I think I’ve come a long way! I’m come almost frozen and burnt, a little barefoot and barely covered. My long hands that once used to look beautiful are dirty and my nails are filled with filth underneath them. My neat bun has come undone and my hair is falling off in chunks. My cheeks are sallow and my lips are chapped. My eyes are tired and my teeth are chipped. I’ve lost my voice and my hearing’s gone for good. “Phew that stench! Ooh” they’d say when they passed by me.
My Lord, I need a bath.
No. I need a complete make-over.
Shower me with Your Immense Mercy and Forgiveness. Stitch my heart back together and glue the pieces with the Consciousness of You so it won’t ever escape. Dye my hair the colour of Your Knowledge, so when they come loose, Your Knowledge beautifies me, completes me. Fill my limbs with Your Light. Strengthen my vocal chords with Your Infinite Wisdom, so when I speak, I speak only the truth and with conviction. Paint my soul with the Colours of Your Peace and Serenity, so I may graze on the face of this Earth in gratitude and at ease even with troubles surrounding me; threatening to break this barrier of Yours that is protecting me.
The trouble with me is that I never asked for Patience. Waiting years and years for a sign from You choked me to death! That when I woke up and said all those things, not realising that I’ve risen to the skies,
…Your Mercy saved me.