Safa was the kind of girl who’d get happy about little things, but now she was stuck in gloom and despair. Her mother observed that she was devoted to religion, worked hard to do good, and called others towards good, but she showed no interest in making dua for herself. Was religion an escape from a hidden emptiness inside her? She lacked the personal connection with God that makes one a grateful, fearless, patient, unconditionally loving, and constantly submissive worshiper. She was suffering silently but faked strength because she thought that vulnerability would weaken her and distract her from her goals. We humans can be afraid of showing authentic emotions. You may wear masks because you are so scared of not being accepted for who you are. You are afraid of being rejected. Fearful of being left empty. Fearful of being hurt. You see only darkness when you are left alone because you have not found the Light inside you. “The wound is where the light enters.” (Rumi)
Safa was sick and tired of the emptiness inside her. Nothing in the world would make the darkness go away. She desperately searched for Light and sometimes in the wrong places. Little did she know that the journey towards An-Noor (the Light) would be such a painful one. She needed to fall and get hurt, and her heart needed to burn, melt and break to let the Light inside.
She tossed a few clothes in a bag and started for Makkah. She wanted to visit the Baytullah (House of Allah) to turn her heart into a baytullah. There she presented all pieces of her broken, darkened heart to the Lord of the Worlds, with her eyes continuously streaming, hoping that these tears would somehow wash and fix her heart. She struggled to find words to convert the sighs of her heart into dua. All the memorization from the Quran and Hadith could not help her during this emotional storm.
She kept repeating Allah’s name until an unplanned dua traveled from her aching heart to her lips. This dua was not written down in her dua list that she would usually recite from mechanically. In fact, she didn’t even glance at the book but followed the intuition that flashed in her heart. She begged for Love; Only love could light up her heart. Only love could grant her wandering, lonely heart a home. She desperately called out: “O Allah, I need Your Love. I give myself to You completely. Keep my heart with You and never return it to me. Free my heart from everything except You. Choose me for Yourself. O Allah, please love me. Take me. Never leave me to myself. Choose me, ya Allah. Love me, ya Allah.”
She kept repeating her dua throughout the journey – during the tawaaf, the sai’ee between Safa and Marwa, and Masjid an Nabawi. The pain in her heart woke her in the middle of the night, so she let her tears wet the prayer mat knowing that the best place to cry was in front of Allah. When you cry alone, you feel heavier. When you cry in the company of Allah, the angels count your tears, and they are accepted as silent prayers that set you free. Know that with every injury, there’s a healing process happening inside. With every pain, there’s an immunity building inside. In every disaster, there’s a miracle hidden. The Prophet s.a.w. said, “When Allah loves a servant, He gives him difficulties,” [Tirmidhi].
Sometimes the answer to a test is our need for God.
“Zarurat tod deti hai guroor e beniyazi ko, na hoti koi majboori to har banda Khuda hota”
Your cure is in pain. When you run away from the pain, you run away from growth. The same strength that protects the heart from injury is the wall that prevents it from expanding to its greatest form.
“From the perfection of Allah’s ihsan is that He allows His slave to taste the bitterness of the break before the sweetness of the mend. So He does not break His believing slave, except to mend him. And He does not withhold from Him, except to give him. And He does not test him (with hardship), except to cure him.” Ibn al Qayyim (RA)