Truly hindsight is a wonderful thing; I came to realise that I had merely been performing
routine acts of worship, as opposed to living them wholeheartedly.
What do you strive for everyday? What acts as your source of inspiration when you’re low? What gives you every reason to smile?
There are certain situations we experience and particular events we witness, which, knowingly or not, have a deep impact, upon our lives. Everyday Allah’s (SWT) magnificent decree and perfect plan come into effect. However, a limited understanding of the relationship that our Beloved (SWT) has with each and every one of us, may cause us to belittle ‘simple’ everyday occurrences.
Everyday, Allah (SWT) chooses different servants to be blessed with the gift of guidance which manifests as a spiritual urge. However, we can choose whether or not to present ourselves and experience such a blessing. During the month of Ramadhan 2006 I was blessed with a realisation that would mark the beginning of my journey towards Allah (SWT).
For a while, I’d been content as a ‘Muslim’ by name and clothing; something my attire and tongue paid great service to. However, aware that the true comprehension of this perfect way of life had not yet entered my heart, I decided I wanted to be much more than that. I wanted to be a Muslimah that strove for what she believed in, inwardly and outwardly.
One blessed day, from amongst the last ten days of Ramadhan, I sat in the home of a dear companion of mine, reading some verses of the Qur’an. It was then that Allah (SWT) blessed me with my ‘spiritual urge’. As the verses were recited I could feel a lump forming in my throat, my eyes began to water and my heart started to pound. Hearing my Lord’s words – simple and yet so profound – was when I knew my Ramadhan – my life – would never be the same again; for the verses had affected me in a way like never before.
“Are we then not to die? Except our former death,
and are we not to be tormented?
This indeed is the immense triumph.
For the like of this, then, let the workers work!”
The incomparable beauty and wisdom of such words hit the very depths of my soul. I found myself questioning: “What am I doing with my life? What is my living truly for? Have I truly been striving as a worker for Allah (SWT)?” I knew that changes had to be made. So I decided to temporarily stop my job as a teacher, in order to devote as much of what remained of my Ramadhan purely for the sake of Allah (SWT) – for I was and wanted only to be His worker.
Although I intended to resume work in the near future, my heart, at this moment, wanted nothing more than to be near to my Rabb (SWT). I made a decision to have as little contact with other people as possible, in order to immerse myself in numerous acts of worship. In whatever shape, size and form that was, I felt ready to grasp it with both hands.
It wasn’t simply keeping fast during the day or praying long hours at night that was my source of inspiration. More profoundly, it was my realisation of what this journey, my journey, our journey, to Allah (SWT), was really all about.
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you,
as it was prescribed for those who came before you;
so that you may attain God-consciousness”
I strove to attain this goal, knowing that if I reached the end of Ramadhan without feeling more God-conscious, then… I would have failed myself. So, I prepared a daily timetable of acts of worship I wanted to perform; reading and memorising Qur’an, Tafseer, learning all ninety-nine names of Allah (SWT), reading ahadith, learning du’as, never forgetting to remember and thank Him (SWT), making tawbah (repentance). It was also during this time that I felt my tawbah had encompassed its true meaning, for I wasn’t merely making istighfar (asking forgiveness), I was making every effort to turn back to my Lord (SWT) by disconnecting myself from anything that might take me away from Him.
“If we truly understood our connection with Allah, our hearts would break and we would say: Oh Allah I have divorced this life and I am all Yours” [Imam Sufyan Ath-Thawri, rahmatullah alayhi].
I suddenly felt what living for Allah (SWT) was all about, but couldn’t help wondering what I’d been doing for so many years. Truly hindsight is a wonderful thing; I came to realise that I had merely been performing routine acts of worship, as opposed to living them wholeheartedly.
“… Ihsan (the highest level of belief) is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and though you see Him not, you know that He Sees you” [Muslim].
I now know it is through my Lord’s Magnificent Grace that we are blessed with the month of Ramadhan, as a means of preparing and keeping us firm through the remaining eleven months. Thus it should not be sufficient for us to simply ‘talk our Islam’. Rather we should be striving to live it everyday, just as we do during this blessed month.
The morning after Ramadhan, ‘Eid ul-Fitr, I sat contemplating my Ramadhan experiences. I made a resolution to sincerely continue some of the actions, such as fasting, giving charity, praying at night, as well as keeping ties with family and companions that reminded me of Allah (SWT). I knew that I wanted to experience my ‘Ramadhan Highs’ all year round, so I was prepared to change my lifestyle for the better, refusing to simply be a ‘30-day Muslimah.’
No longer do I allow my Islam to revolve around my life, rather my life now revolves around Islam. It’s as though I’ve taken my first ‘real’ breath, and now, only now, do I know what it means to breath.
Umm Thameenah has been working for the dawah for several years, teaching and mentoring Muslim women about Islam. She regularly writes of her experiences and welcomes you to read about her journey at: www.ourmagnificentjourney.blogspot.com