It was a beautiful moonlit, starless night. I gazed out of the window and breathed in deeply. It all seemed so peaceful, but yet, the turmoil within me seemed to be raging harder than ever. I had a sudden urge to jump and just let go. Let go of my worries, my problems, my life…
I’m so not worth anything.
Sometimes I feel like my family thinks I was only a nuisance…and I don’t blame them. After all, they have to pay for my food, pay for my school, and pay for my clothes. I feel like my friends don’t really like me, and I don’t blame them either. After all, it’s not like anything is really special about my personality…
I’m so not worth anything.
Why am I still on this Earth? I wish I could just end everyone’s torment by disappearing. Yes, that would be enjoyable… disappearing to a land in the middle of the desert, or on an island in the middle of an ocean where I wouldn’t be bothering anybody. Or I could just leave this world altogether…
I’m so not worth anything.
Things might have been better if I had not been born. My parents would have more to spend on themselves. My teachers would have one less person to scold. My classmates would have more time to spend laughing instead of rolling their eyes at me. My future wife would be just as happy or more with another man. Perhaps it would be better if I stopped intruding into others’ lives altogether. Perhaps it would be better if I simply stopped living…
I’m so not worth anything.
Suddenly two hands enveloped my eyes from behind me, and a voice giggled and cried out, “Who is it?!”
I wasn’t amused. I shoved the hands away in annoyance.
“Get away from me Sara. Go back to your room.” It was my little sister, up to her usual antics.
“But why, Bhaiya (brother)? You didn’t spend any time with me the whole day!”
“Sara, I told you once. Go away!”
She pouted her lips and stubbornly said, “No! I won’t go until you come with me. Come on!” She began to tug at my arms, willing for me to come with her.
I once more shoved her arms to the side and looked at her furiously.
“Sara, get out. NOW!” I bellowed. I was incensed that she disturbed me while I was so deeply immersed in my thoughts. I continued to glare at her until she silently trudged out of the room.
“Little sisters, they’re so annoying!” I fumed to no one in particular. I looked out of the window into the moonlit sky again, and once more began to immerse myself in my deep thoughts…
I began to imagine how everybody would react if they found my body dead tomorrow. Familiar faces floated through my memories as I tried to imagine their faces in shock, not able to comprehend that I was no longer alive. I felt tears slowly well up in my eyes, as I realized that those moments of sadness, if it even happened, would quickly become a distant memory. The whole world was bound to forget me within just a few days of my death. Sure, my parents would have something to discuss for a week or two, but as death quickly becomes a stale topic of conversation for everyone, they would quickly move on to more riveting and current topics. I would lie in my grave, completely forgotten by the community around me.
I looked out at the starless sky, and wished that I could just end the torment.
I’m so not worth anything…
My trail of depression broke again as I felt a small card slipped into my hand. I turned around and saw my young sister again, but she now had tears rolling down from her little red, swollen eyes. She didn’t dare look up at me, but looked down, gazing intently at the card that was now in my hand. Agitated, I sighed and slowly unfolded the card.
Inside, in scrawly handwriting, it read:
I’m sorry that I made you mad. Will you forgive me?
Man, did I feel horrible. Snapped out of my selfishness, I decided to make it up to her. I picked her up, hugged her tightly, and then began to tickle her neck, which always makes her explode into laughter. Her eyes brightened, and she began to smile wide once more. I let her down, and told her quietly, “Sorry for not being nice to you before. I’m not mad at you. I’m just… not feeling well today. Okay?”
She looked up, concerned, and asked softly, “Bhaiya, are you upset? Ammi (mother) said to remember that Allah loves us when we get upset. I think that will make you more happy.”
I managed to give her a weak smile and said, “Yeah, thank you, Sara… Now you go along and play. I’ll spend time with you tomorrow when I feel better, promise.” She beamed as she heard this and traipsed out of the room, already lost in another innocent world. I smiled as I watched her leave the room, and then turned back to the window, willing myself to return to my deep, dark thoughts.
Alas, it was to no avail. Her words, “Allah loves you,” was like a fresh breath of air that cleared my stressed mind of all those heavy thoughts. I whispered the statement over and over, trying to connect the meaning. Allah loves you. Allah loves you? Allah loves me? SubhanAllah (glory be to Allah), I had totally forgotten to remember Allah in my thoughts! My family, friends, teachers, and relatives had all readily come to mind, but I had forgotten the most important source, my Creator.
I remembered a book that my mother had recently given to me as a gift entitled, “Remember Allah and He will remember you” and quickly picked it out from my bookshelf and read through it. As I began to sift through the pages, reminders kept hitting me: “Your friend is only Allah, His Messenger, and those who believe: those who perform prayer, give alms, and bow [in prayer].” (Qur’an, 5:55). Subhan’Allah, I reflected: Allah is directly telling every single one of us that He is always our friend and supporter.
I am somebody. I am of the Ummah of Muhammad ﷺ. I am of the religion of Allah.
As I continued on reading the book, I couldn’t stop uttering, “Subhan’Allah.” I froze when I came across the following words:
“If Allah loves a person, He calls Jibreel saying, ’Allah loves so and so; Oh Jibreel, love him. And make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven, Allah loves so and so therefore you should love him also’, and so all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted (all) the pleasures of the people on the earth.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Oh Allah! What more could I ever want?! My own Lord mentioning my name – uttering Himself that He loves me! Not only that, but the people in Heaven and Earth will even love me because of Allah? What more could I ever want? Tears began to swell in my eyes as I began to imagine the righteous scholars of the past that must have earned and deserved this high honor. I began to desperately wish and pray that I would be included amongst these people too. I wanted to be worth Allah’s love.
I am somebody. I am a Muslim, a believer and servant of Allah, al-Wadood, the Loving.
“Allah said, ‘O son of Adam! If you mention Me to yourself, I will mention you to Myself. If you mention Me in a gathering, I will mention you in a gathering of the angels (or in a better gathering). If you draw closer to Me by a hand span, I will draw closer to you by forearm’s length. If you draw closer to Me by a forearm’s length, I will draw closer to you by an arm’s length. And if you come to Me walking, I will come to you running” (Bukhari)
I had to lift myself out of feeling worthless. I looked upwards, “Oh Allah, I am turning to You. I had to value my existence because Allah valued me; Oh Allah, please forgive all of my previous sins and allow me to earn Your Pleasure. Oh Allah…”
My dark thoughts tried rushing back into my mind, but they no longer carried the impact and weight as before. It’s true that my heart had lulled with thoughts of depression and suicide, but I realized that this was from Shaytan. He wanted to convince me that I was nobody and so not worth anything. However, I now realize that Allah has given me worth and set a bar to reach, to attain His love. And even when I see that I am truly nobody in this world, it means that I have nothing to lose and everything to give to all those around me. I am at a low point because now I can aim higher.
Let my peers laugh at me. Let my teachers sigh at me. Let the world disbelieve in me.
I won’t mind as long as I have Allah to depend on.
I am never forgotten if I remember Allah.
I am somebody.
I am a Muslim and I don’t walk alone.
I fear no one except the One Above The Throne.
- Imam Safi Khan.
This piece has also appeared on SuhaibWebb.com: www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/reflections/i’m-so-not-worth-anything/.