A One-on-One With Allah Subhannawatta'allah
Friday morning, eleven o' clock. Dressing for Jumah. I throw on my silver Jahalabiah; silver is my favorite color. I wouldn't make light of such an important day. Ever. So naturally I wear what gives me the most pride. I brush my teeth, avoiding the gaze of the mirror; I don't know why. Brush, brush, switch, brush, brush, switch, brush spit, wipe. The toothbrush clangs on the sink counter as I exit the bathroom briefly, only to reenter again and brush my hair.
And then it happened.
Such loathing, such disgust, such shame and anger. Such disappointment. My eyes met each other in the mirror, and I felt so exposed and naked, like Adam and Eve as they bit into the forbidden fruit and knew. And I was not pleased. I despaired. Keep in mind I'm not vain. The blemishes on my face do not bring up suicidal thoughts from deep within me. I'm not that shallow, you see. This disappointment reflected off the mirror in a way that revealed my very soul to me.
"How could you do this to me?" I asked to no one in particular. And I heard voices in my head. I heard answers. "Allah?"
At first, I couldn't believe it; as insignificant as I was, why would the Most High waste his time answering my petty, insubordinate question? And in front of a mirror, no less? But it was not for me to question His grand will; I was certain it was Him. Tears filled my eyes; His spirit was all around me, within me, encompassing me, consuming me, omnipresent. And I cried, longing so much for the embrace of His answers.
"Such an impossible task. Why did you give us free will?" I cried, and He did not answer at first, but I knew seconds later after the complex explanation was lodged into my head, though I still understood nothing. And I was angry.
"Ya Allah, you do an injustice to us all to place so heavy an expectation on a wretched people like ourselves." It was blasphemy, plain and simple. I half-expected to be banished to Hell then and there, but I wasn't. I loved Him, and all I wanted was answers. I did not second-guess Him, I just wanted to see some of what He saw, feel some of what He felt. I went on. "We are not worthy. Why did you not create more perfect beings? Surely you must know the pain I feel when I understand that we will not all return home on the Day of Judgment, ya Malikiyaumideen!"
I wanted then, I waited, for the anguish of this mortal coil to end. I dared Him to kill me and send me on my way. I was tired; at that moment, Paradise and the Hellfire meant nothing to me, not when so many of my brothers and sisters were killing each other, not when I saw that saving each and every one of them was impossible, out of my hands; for a brief moment, I hated Him. And my breath stopped short. For a few seconds, I thought the loss of breath was death, but it wasn't. Had I really felt that? Towards my Creator…?
And it was no longer Him I hated; I hated myself. That very imperfection in my soul that could make me do something so foolish. I wanted so much to be thankful for my life on this earth, but if Paradise is so much more splendorous, then isn't that a foolish desire? And for such a long time, deep in my heart dwelled the barren, bitter darkness… that one thought based on my life-learned cynicism.
Here's something to be thankful for. The day I die…
I said so many evil things, and begged, pleaded, and dared for punishment. I knew very well the power my Lord held over me, and what He was capable of—I feared Him, as I knew I must—and I wanted to curse Him for not ending it and just punishing me. I didn't care if Hellfire was a worse physical punishment; nothing could be worse than this stay on earth.
"Don't you care?" I yelled. "Kill me now! End it! I'll never be good enough in Your eyes! I'll never be good enough in anyone's eyes! My faith does not waver but my confidence does. Oh, the curse of being human! I am nothing but living sin!"
But life did not end, and I was growing tired of yelling. I felt like an immature child, a three-year old throwing a tantrum at a parent, and it was no surprise; I'd always felt like Allah subhanna wa ta'allah was my true Father; after all, He did create me. Which was why I could never understand why He let us suffer like this. I hated myself more with everything that I said. I hated that I could never be perfect. I hated that I was on the same level as Iblis, my free will betraying me and casting me from the heavens because of disobedience. I hated the fact that I had to kill people I would rather love and save, and most of all, I hated feeling like my journey would never come to an end.
They say life is short; I beg to differ. As short as it is, it doesn't end soon enough. It strips us all of our purity at birth and forces us to struggle with righteousness and hypocrisy. We sin and pray that we are forgiven, that our blessings will amount to far more than our sins. With so many languages and cultures, we pray that we are worshipping Him the way He decreed, and we hope that we will truly see His mercy on that Day of Judgment. I fell to my knees, prostrating and crying, and it became too hard to hold my upper body up in my weak state, so I fell to the floor in sobs.
"Why, Allah, why?" I asked, the salty taste of tears sliding down my tongue, dust and snot dancing together just outside my nose. My muscles felt so sore and tight, and I just prayed that it would all be over. In my basic prostration, of all things, I prayed. I prayed like I'd never prayed before.
Subhannarabi'allalah, subhannarabi'allalah, subhannarabi'allalah…
I didn't know how long I cried. It felt like an eternity. It all seemed so futile, so pointless….
And the hurt ends.
I pick myself up off the floor, wiping the tears from my eyes, the dry snot from my nose. It's all gone, that pain that plagued me since I could understand pain itself. That hatred. There is nothing but serenity, and I feel like a part of me has actually died. In my heart lies the faint glimmer of forgiveness, and I don't quite understand why I was forgiven; I'm not Allah, after all. So I pick myself up off the ground, and carry on with my business. When I face the mirror again, the self-loathing is no longer there. I am who I am.
And the irony is that I am no wiser than before. There are no answers to my questions, but I do know one thing; Allah is there for His servants. And so I realize that I can fight my battle without understanding the ends, but merely knowing the means. And yes, it is possible to save all Akhi and Ukhti out there; that's my brothers and sisters respectively, you know. Well, it's brother and sister, to be specific, but I don't know the plural form just yet, so I will simply have to make do.
I guess all you have to do sometimes is ask. Look deep inside your soul for answers, and you will find all that you need to know.