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The Heart Goes On

Umm Haani had always assumed that Allah’s attribute as ‘Controller of the Hearts’ was related to matters of faith only. She had no idea it encompassed affairs of the heart as well.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to often supplicate with the words: “Yaa Muqqallabal Quloob, Thabith Qalbi ala Deenik”
“O Controller of hearts, keep my heart steadfast on your religion”.



Five years ago, when I was going through a most heart-breaking divorce, I could never have fathomed bliss. Today, the condition of my heart surprises me no end. Strangely, I find myself framing questions to the answers that are now dwelling inside me.  I wonder what happened to the passion I once felt for my former spouse. What transpired with the sensual desires that had frozen over? What happened to the tender emotions that had turned to Sahara? What loosened the tangled mass of anger and guilt? What lightened the weight of self-pity and remorse? What happened to the high walls I had built around my heart? What became of my resolve to never place myself in a position of vulnerability again?


Revolutions don’t take place overnight – in nations or in hearts. They begin with small sporadic incidents of friction and rebellion, then slowly gain strength and resolve as they unify and inch towards recognition, till finally they burst forth, seize control and rein supreme.


This quiet revolution began with the first mention of this ‘suitable person’ who I should meet ‘at least once’. Naturally, my heart resisted. But meet I did, to appease the family. As I sat through that meeting over tea, my mind wandered everywhere but to the ‘suitable person’ in front of me. It ended with a sigh and a flat refusal from my side. I got busy with my life again. Then one day, I was told that he would be coming round again. This stopped me in my tracks. Apparently, the ‘suitable person’ was a follower of his gut feeling, a gut feeling that was contrary to mine! While my heart fumed over such audacious hope and was seized with anxiety, it also registered a subtle flutter. But I promptly dismissed it. The rebellious forces of past feelings tried to fight and subdue the stirring. This time, my mind stayed focused – with the intent to seize any point that will prove him ‘unsuitable’. I didn’t succeed. Not only did he not give me anything to use against him, but, on the contrary, he said all the right things!


The next couple of weeks were spent in turmoil and reflection – a full fledged civil war. The mind had surrendered; my heart continued a fierce struggle. Naturally, I sided with the latter. The mind beseeched with logic: right man, right goals, right manners, new hope…. My heart appealed with emotions: reminders of pain, mistrust, broken promises, vulnerability… This battle continued for a long time until I reached the point where I decided to resign myself to my fate and submit completely to Allah (SWT)’s Will.


Did my mind win over my heart? No. But I convinced my heart to sit back and see were we would go. Like the fervent invocation of a blind person lost in the desert, I begged Allah (SWT) to decree khair for me – wherever it was. I repeatedly prayed Istikhara for guidance. A major portion of these supplications centered on the state of my heart.  “O Controller of hearts, make my heart accept him if he is good for me. O Allah, soften my heart towards him….”


I consulted a sister for advice about my dilemma. She told me something that really helped. She said that sometimes we spend our entire lives standing on the sidelines, afraid to scale new heights for fear of falling, yet, only when we push aside those fears and reach the steep edge, do we realise we can fly. “I am pushing you, habibi, because I know you too can fly,” she said.


I asked my parents to decide on my behalf and in two months I was married. No, I didn’t fall in love with him the next day. It helped that he didn’t harbour such expectations from me. And it certainly helped that he showered me with all the love he possessed. Day after day and little by little, I became aware of the reawakening of my heart – to an emotion that I had given up on. A revolution took place – one where the heart did not surrender, but was won over.


Yesterday while holding me, he remarked, “Isn’t the state of our relationship an amazing sign of Allah (SWT)!” I smiled, holding back my tears. Indeed it is. For it is through Him (SWT) that I have learned to love again, trust again, hope again and to start again.


Umm Haani is grateful to Allah for her new beginning. She encourages remarriage to all those sisters who have given up on their hearts.