Physical pain hurts; even that of a minor cut. A minor cut to a finger surprisingly feels foreign and sharp, like it shouldn’t be there. A cut surprisingly heals quite quickly. It is amazing to observe the body taking full control of the healing process as the cut scabs over and returns to its former state; a blueprint of good health.
Emotional pain hurts and the hurt runs ever so deep. I have questioned whether physical scars are more painful than scars of the heart and soul. And what happens when you experience both?
I have faced one of the greatest tests I have experienced. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe and yet life had to continue. Mouths needed feeding, educating had to continue, and work would wait for no one. At times I felt as though I couldn’t breathe; the sheer challenge of the test felt suffocating, the tears when no one was around kept falling violently creating troughs in my cheeks.
In the midst of silence, alone, I lay – fluctuating between heavy wailing sobs and quiet tears gliding over a frozen face of despair. Each minute seemed like an hour as I asked Allah to relieve me, forgive me, have mercy upon me and open a door for me.
Time passed and the test became more challenging, more difficult, testing every part of my being. I felt I couldn’t continue and take it anymore and wanted to give up. To feel nothing seemed easier than to fight and struggle. Hurting, feeling like I was travelling on the road to despair, I prayed 2 rakat and turned to my Lord. I felt as though I had no physical or emotional energy left and could not even raise my hands. And so I chose to simply speak to Allah…
“Ya Allah, I am tired. I am hurting. I turn to you as Ayoub (alayhis salaam) turned to you. I am in pain and you are Merciful. I am struggling with this test. I trust in You o my Lord. And I am struggling to cope. I am struggling to be patient. I am struggling to be strong. I am struggling with x, y, z. These are my struggles and I admit them to You, ya Rabbi. I am in need of You. No one can help me except You. I turn to You. I know as I sit here and beg You for relief that you are watching me, hearing me, seeing me. I know that You already knew that I would be turning to You before I even sat down. For You are the All Knowing, The Most Wise. I ask you Ya Allah to envelop me in Your Mercy. I am desperate for Your Mercy. I need you my Allah.”
I continued to tell Allah all the things about this test that I was finding ever so difficult and then in the midst of telling Him my struggles, and asking Him for His Mercy, He opened a door for me during the very process of duaa…
One of my favourite hadith qudsi came to my mind. It is not only my favourite, I mention it everywhere I go. I use it during any talk I give and I love it so very much that even a sister gifted me with it on a beautifully decorated plaque. And though it is something that is often on my tongue, it was like a new precious gift for me at this moment of dua from a place of near despair.
I cried. Oh, how I cried and then I continued to speak to my Lord…
“Oh Allah, You are The Most Merciful and most definitely The Most Kind, the door is opening for me ya Allah. I feel it. I love you oh my Lord. Yes. You promised me ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’. And oh my Allah, I choose, yes, I choose to think of you as The Most Merciful right now. In my agony, I choose to perceive You as The Most Kind, The Helper, The Protector. I choose to think of you as The One who is Subtle with the believers. Oh my Lord, you said ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’ and ya Rabbi, I choose to think of you in all of these ways. I’m smiling my Lord because I know Your Promise is always true. My Lord, I feel my load lightening, I can see the door opening and I feel that you will carry me through this. No, You are carrying me through this. Because simply by choosing to see You in this way, You will be exactly this way with me and more than I could ever imagine. You are stronger than this test. You are stronger than my thoughts that this is hard and difficult. And I admit to You I need Your strength. You are the Powerful, Fully Capable of anything and I ask You to relieve me and take care of my affairs. You love your servants. Ya Allah I choose to perceive you as The Most Loving, loving me despite my weakness in managing this test. You are the Comforter and I feel the comfort right now as I turn to you ya Rabb. What a beautiful gift you have given to me in ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’. Full thanks and gratitude are due unto You for this moment of relief that I am experiencing right now.”
And in that single moment. I smiled and I took a deep breath. I felt light. For the first time in a long time, I began to see the solution to this test and how I could continue and still smile and breathe.
And that was it. In that moment of choosing to perceive Allah as helping me, carrying me, comforting me and loving me, my door opened. The test remained, however something changed within me. Something moved. I felt like I could manage this test. I could handle it. I could still smile and breathe despite it still being there.
If you’ve ever been tested with something incredibly difficult, I am sure my words have resonated with you. If you are at a point in your test where you feel it is so very difficult to bear, talk to your Lord and tell Him how you choose to perceive Him. It is a comfort to the heart and soul like no other. The most pressing tests seem so heavy, dark, and difficult to manage. Allah azza wa jaal loves it when His servants turn to Him and in the words of Ibn Al Qayyim (RH) He delays the response to a dua because He loves His servant turning to Him, begging Him, relying upon Him. It was in this moment of mine that I realised that such a moment is precious too for the believer. It is when the broken heart turns only to Allah, that the deepest agonising feeling can turn into a pure moment of sweetness between the lover and her Beloved, The Lord of the Worlds. Talk with your Lord. He is Near. He is always there.