I had it in me to change, but I needed a push. A big push.
There are times when the body becomes tired and worn out. We feel exhausted and unable to cope under the pressure and stress. It is almost as life has been sucked out of us and we lay there deflated. The only form of treatment for such a condition is to recharge our batteries and by doing so we regain that vigour, strength and drive and become revitalized.
The above is exactly what happened to me with a slight difference; instead of on a physical level, it was on a spiritual level. My heart and soul were spiritually revitalized.
The Messenger of Allah said that the heart is a piece of flesh within the human body that can rectify the deeds of the entire body if it itself is rectified. However, if it is spoiled, the actions of the body will only result in sin.
Growing up, I wasn’t surrounded by an overtly Islamic environment. My parents would pray and taught me to pray too. I learnt how to read the Qur’an and had basic knowledge of my deen. I would attend the mosque for Friday prayers and I tried to go to Taraweeh prayers every night of Ramadan. Fasting was the only part of my religion that I performed fully. I even had the privilege to go on Umrah twice, both being breathtaking experiences and Masjid Al-Haram was by far my most favourite place on earth. However, deep down, inside my heart, I wished to be a better Muslim – one that prays 5 times a day, one that read the Qur’an often, one that has increased modesty and better character. When I would see individuals who in my eyes were very good Muslims mashAllah, I would want to be like them and even try, but regularly fail. I was unhappy with myself and at times hated the society of such low morals that I called my own. My heart did not have the life, the energy in it that it craved; it had hardened over time.
“The heart is like the earth that has to be tilled and sweated over, in order to be cultivated and in order to yield a good harvest. If the ground is not cultivated in such a manner for a long time, it becomes hard, barren, and unable to yield a crop because it was left unattended for so long. The same holds true for the heart, in that one grows closer to Allah the harder one works to rectify the heart. However, the same heart becomes ever harder the longer one ignores the need to purify it. Such a heart will eventually become harder than stone.” – Zulfiqar Ahmad.
I had it in me to change, but I needed a push. A big push.
Alhumdullilah, it came last year in February, albeit with a huge personal loss and great pain that will forever remain with me because of its nature. But it made me take that first step, the step that changed my life forever Subhanallah.
In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah said: “O My servant! If you take one step toward Me, I take ten toward you.”
Those piercing incidents were very excruciating and something that I do not wish to share, but what I can say is that it turned my life upside down. I was thrown into a turmoil and calamity.
Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere [2:155]
It was at this point that I turned towards my Lord out of shame, humility and most of all, hope. All my sins that I had committed and not repented for were circling my mind. My eyes were sore from weeping day and night as not only was I embarrassed in front of my Creator but I was also pleading for the misery to end. But whatever happened, whether the misery ended or continued, I made a vow to become a better Muslim, to change my ways and to fulfil the spiritual desires of my heart because that was my duty as a servant to Allah.
Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say “We believe” and will not be tested with affliction? Lo! We tested those who were before them. Thus Allah know those who are sincere, and know those who feign. [29:2-3]
I started reciting the Qur’an and fasting regularly, I prayed my salah on time, even performing Tahujjud, and I started reading a great deal about my beautiful Islam. Although I was toiling through severe distress, there was an element of peace in my heart. I felt as if I was becoming closer to Allah Alhumdullilah and I felt as if I was finally fulfilling my duty which I had only partially and to be honest, pathetically, fulfilled up till now. And I can say that I would choose my current state that comes with the heavy burdens of hurt over my previous state every time. Naturally with an improvement of my Islamic duties, my character improved too: there was an increase in hayaa as the crude and frankly disgusting environment that surrounded me became extremely discomforting to my soul and I became more mature and well-mannered.
This was a new me: a new Aamir. I felt proud and confident to look at myself in the mirror and see that I was walking on the right path; a path that will inshAllah be pleasing to my Lord. However, I have a great deal further to go and much more to learn. I know too well that often I will slip and may even fall, but I need to always pick myself back up, ignore the distractions of this world and strive to become better. I need to continue improving myself and continue trying to gain barakah and closeness to Allah inshAllah. I am not wholly content with a lively heart, there is still much polishing to be done.
The Messenger of Allah said: For everything, there is a polish and the polish of the hearts is the remembrance of Allah.
I thank Allah for revitalizing my heart and soul and I pray that Allah helps me through my pain, gives me strength, patience and a beautiful future. I also pray that I continue to have the desire to improve myself and others around me. May Allah guide us all and keep us steadfast on the path of righteousness. Ameen.