Finding Faith for Me (PART 4): 2011
“Allah… ALLAHHHHH…”I wailed through my gut-wrenching pain. The tears would not stop. My first heartbreak was too real. The pain seemed to be coming on stronger and stronger, with no signs of subsiding. I sat alone on my bed in my private university accommodation, the blinds closed, music blaring loudly from my speakers, with my knees pulled up to my chest and my arms wrapped tightly around them. My fingernails dug intensely into my forearms and as the pain within me grew stronger, I dug my fingernails in even more deeply, as if playing some kind of sickening game with myself to test whether I could cause myself enough physical pain to combat the emotional turmoil coursing through my body. “Allah,” I cried. “Allah, why won’t it stop? Please make it stop. I can’t take anymore. I just can’t take anymore…”
I seemed to be stuck in some kind of poisonous, never-ending cycle. I partied most nights, those nights always ending up with me being in the same tragic state: sobbing my heart and soul out, whether that was on the side of the pavement or on my bed, it didn’t matter. My days were made up of sleeping in as late as possible, hosting my ever-increasing circle of friends at my shared flat, eating junk food, smoking shisha, pulling sickie after sickie at my part-time call-centre job and barely making it in to my university lectures and seminars. I was the most lost I had ever been, masking the pain beneath the surface with whatever I could to fill the vacuous void within me. This went on for well over a year, until 2011 finally came around – the year that completely changed my life, forever.
It was the 30thMay 2011. I gazed down upon my uncle’s peaceful face, as he lay silent and unmoving in his coffin. An ever-so-slight hint of a cheeky smile rested on his lips – after all, no matter how tough life got, he still always managed to crack a joke and make those around him smile. It seemed even in death, he still hadn’t lost his joy.
Memories flashed rapidly through my mind. The way he had held me tightly after my father’s death, with his loving hand placed on top of my head…
The way I used to put my ever-freezing feet underneath him to warm them up, and he wouldn’t even flinch… The time I put pigtails in his hair and drew a smiley face on his big toe – and he just happily let me, not once telling me to stop…
Lying before me was one of the most wonderful men I had ever known, who had endured so, somuch in his life yet his faith in God had never once wavered. Even during his long, grueling battle with cancer, he seemed to be in such complete acceptance of what he was going through that it was just so… inspiring. This was something I had never seen or heard of before, and I was awestruck by his courage and his love for his Lord. I closed my eyes tightly together as tears battled their way through my eyelids, and silently, I felt my heart jolt as it connected back to its Source. I whispered softly inside my mind, “Ya Allah, take good care of him. Please, always take good care of him.”
I was staying at my uncle’s house in Huddersfield, that night. My aunty, exhausted and broken from not just the days events but the past 4 years since my uncle had first been diagnosed with cancer, made her way to bed, as did my cousins, leaving me downstairs alone, with nothing but my thoughts and pain for company. My uncle had passed on, after going through the worst possible physical pain for just so long. My entire family was grieving deeply. The friends that I thought would be there for me, weren’t. And the best friendwho I had taken as my sister for the past 5 years, had gone and stabbed me so deeply in the back on the same day that we had laid my uncle to rest, that I just couldn’t seem to be able to process what was going on.
The agony of everything I had been going through for the past couple of years including the depression I had hidden from my family, all at once seemed to merge together with the excruciating anguish of the day that had just passed, but was still not yet over. The silence surrounded me from all sides, and it was deafening – roaring in my ears. My mind spinning, my eyes over-flowing, my heart pounding, I found myself on the pale blue-carpeted floor, knees down on the ground, hands raised to the skies; feeling like my heart and soul had been split open.
Rumi once wrote:
“When the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.”
And suddenly, I found myself in prostration, my head pressed firmly against the floor, and I sobbed and I sobbed and I sobbed, like I had never sobbed before. I felt the love of Allah surround me and embrace me for what felt like the very first time, and I knew in that moment that this was the the very beginning of my journey of healing and of my journey back to Allah.
He had found me lost, and guided me.
He had found me lost, and guided me.
I was finally on my way Home.
By Sabah Ismail
Watch out for the final 2 parts in this series, coming soon.
Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 2 here.
Read Part 3 here.