“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
Many many many moons ago, I felt that my life was a complete mess. Everything that could go have gone wrong, went wrong and problems were cropping up like wild mushrooms on a damp soil after a heavy rain. I felt overwhelmed and defeated. There were times that I was tempted to walk away because I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Ironically, that was also the time when I was trying to learn more about Islam.
As I sat in front of the Wise Owl, feeling dejected, I told him about the conflicted feeling that I was experiencing. You see, I was trying very hard to have faith in God’s plan and accept fate but at the same time I couldn’t help feeling that He wasn’t listening to my duas. I felt let down. I know that a Muslim should not have such feelings but I still felt disgruntled. It’s like a child being angry with her parents. She still loves and respects her parents but she is angry with them, nevertheless.
I told the Wise Owl that by feeling like I did, I felt that I have failed as a Muslim and that my eaman was actually at rock bottom but the thing is, I couldn’t help feeling what I felt. Does that make me a bad Muslim? Have I strayed off path? Am I being ungrateful? Am I destined to eternal hell?
Instead of scolding me or giving me a sermon on how a good Muslim should have absolute and unconditional faith in God Almighty, he simply told me, “sister, be happy. You are only human. You are not expected to be perfect. The most important thing is how you deal with the negative feelings that you have. Strengthening of the eaman takes time. It cannot happen overnight. In the mean time, you will have your ups and downs. God is merciful. He knows your weaknesses and limitations. He will never place a burden on you more than you can bear. So, trust me, whatever it is that you are going through, God knows that you can shoulder it and pass with flying colors. You must, not only have faith in God but also in yourself. After all, we human are His best creations.”
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…”
Surah Al Baqara 2:286
Then, what the Wise Owl told me next completely blew me away. He said that even Prophets had whisperings of the heart. Our mind will tell us what is right but our heart is the one that is filled with emotions and feelings and sometimes, the heart doesn’t listen to the mind. At times, the heart needs persuasion and reassurance.
“And when Abraham said (unto his Lord): My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: Dost thou not believe? Abraham said: Yea, but (I ask) in order that my heart may be at ease. (His Lord) said: Take four of the birds and cause them to incline unto thee, then place a part of them on each hill, then call them, they will come to thee in haste, and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
Surah Al Baqara 2:260
Honestly, I felt sooo much better after that. I didn’t feel like an ogre anymore for feeling despaired and having doubts. I might be wrong but to me, there is nothing wrong in finding answer to calm the heart. It is better to soothe an unsettled heart rather than to pretend to have unwavering faith when in reality everything is hanging by a thread. I also learnt that as human, we will definitely be tested by God Almighty. Why should we be spared when even our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh faced trials and tribulations and mind you, our tests are not even close to what Prophet pbuh went through.
“Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction?”
Surah Al Ankaboot 29:2
Now looking back, I believe that my despair and doubts at that time, indirectly strengthened my faith. When my heart questioned, I looked for answers and the answers I found made me understand more. Each time I found answers, I had renewed hope. Of course, I had to ask for forgiveness for the anger that I felt but I have to believe that God will forgive my inadequacies and imperfections. Don't feel bad if your heart questions as it could be a process of learning and understanding.
Even now, sometimes my heart still questions and become uneasy but the trick is to look for that silver lining behind the clouds. Trust me, it’s there. We just have to look harder…..
"What has reached you was never meant to miss you and what has missed you was never meant to reach you." Prophet Muhammad pbuh