WHAT A FEELING
I lay quietly on my little soft mattress on a weekend. I can’t quite remember what date it was but I will always not forget a certain remark of mine which not only showed the extent of my metamorphosis over the years but also how much the beautiful new feeling inside me had changed both my thought patterns and my reaction to a lot of things. ”I will get more than this in Jannah, Insha’Allah” was all I had said when my neighbor brought me a fashion magazine that would ordinarily have thrilled me. The sight of beautiful silk dresses and velvet suits and jackets, charming designer shoes and bags with names like Laurine and Victoria’s secret, perfumes especially one that I always almost died to have in the past, “LANCOME” as well as red lipsticks of different shades. Oh my God! Red lipsticks were always irresistible. I tactically let the pages flip through my eyes but not through my heart and as I closed the last page, my neighbor stared at me with her brows raised, expecting me to make two remarks. One that showed how captivated I was and another that showed how badly I was going to get the Lancome perfume and the little red velvet jacket. But to her utmost dismay, what she got was my strange remark. With a slight spacing between her upper and lower lip caused by an unexpected reaction on my part, she silently left the room with her fashion mag having not achieved the purpose for which she had visited in the first place.
Some five years ago a lot of people around me especially friends and relatives will attest to the fact that I was a rigid believer in the fact that nothing in this world can influence me to be somebody other than who I already was. It wasn’t because I was naïve neither was it because I was just a sweet sixteen who didn’t know the world well enough. I have come to discover that even if I were fifty, I would have believed the same if Allah (SWT) was not ready to prove me wrong in the sweetest way ever. The truth however is that the love of Allah is ever sufficient to make anyone anybody other than who he thought he could ever be. In my own case, my present makes me realize that my past is not worth fighting over, neither is it worth missing. The feeling I feel inside me is a strange one. One that I could never feel for any human, not even the most beloved people to me. It is not just a feeling of love for the One by whose leave I am in existence today and by whose provision, I am a worthy figure. It is not just fear in the One in whose hands my destiny lies and whose wrath I shall always get a million miles away from as best as I can. It is also not just faith in the One who is ever sufficient for me and who will ever be there for me when everyone leaves. Neither is it just patience in the One whose trials will always make me stronger and who promises me ease after every hardship. It is more than that. It is an extraordinary feeling that I have thoroughly found no name for. A feeling that instills in me, the consciousness that I am never alone when I am lonely, one that tells me that I’m the luckiest person in the world when I see people who are way below me, one that forces the tears out of my delicate eyes when the powerful words of the Qur’an penetrate my soul, one that makes me want to do everything to please my One true Rabb. The feeling of closeness that I never want to let go.
The realization that I do not have to care about what any mortal creature will say when I’m pleasing my lord is enough to keep me floating above this ocean of life. The fact that all the deprivations of this world will be let loose in the hereafter is what gives me peace of mind. Deep inside me, I’m experiencing true tranquility and serenity, one that I never imagined before now. This gives me the strength to sit back and relax. It strengthens me to take today as it comes and not worry about tomorrow, which i have no control over. My bright face is full of smiles because I have found a new melody to the music of life, one that is capable of being envied by all. But the truth behind this cannot be uncovered by anyone who does not know the secret behind my new feelings.
My Rabb is equal to none. He has been my solace in times of hardship. When I had the most tragic bathe in my life as a baby, He smiled on me and brought me out finer. When everyone looked down on me and made me feel dejected, He stood by me and loved me above all. When my parents’ wealth and status slipped off their slippery hands and my social status dropped in high school, It was in Him that I found comfort. When we were forcefully made to move out of my parents beautiful haven, for failure to meet up with the installments, I called on nobody but Him. When we moved into a less dignifying house, He filled my heart with patience. When everything seemed to fall apart, He remained the Centre. All the times I didn’t meet up to expectation in my most important exams, He compensated me with many extra ordinaries. When I became an ungrateful whiner, He showed me in the most compassionate ways, the cure for my heart’s disease. I have cried to him severally like a baby will cry to its mother and He has patted me severally and listened to my plea. He has given me security so that I seek protection from Him alone. He made me know that He is the closest to me, closer than my father and mother and closer than the veins in my body. He is my eye with which I see, my nose with which I breathe, my ear with which I hear, my skin with which I feel, my legs with which I walk, my head with which I think, my mouth with which I talk and my entire life. Sometimes I just keep wondering if I were the only one in the world.
What mortal in this world will do half of just one of the favours which my lord has bestowed on me? Who else can take the place that He occupies in my heart? I don’t love Him as much as He loves me. If the reverse were the case, I wouldn’t have discovered my deep love for him which is beyond love in the real sense of what love in the world is. When I walk, I walk with pride and confidence for He has given me the grace to do so. When I talk, I do it magically, because he has blessed my speech and when I write, I do it miraculously for I do it with my pen, but His hand does the writing. I make him talk to me from time to time and his words, as powerful as they are, force the tears out of my little eyes. These are not just tears but tears of love, of fear and of awe.
The question I then asked myself was “How did these feelings get to me?” after all, they were not there a few years back. Was it my recitation of the Qur’an, or the lectures I attended, or the literatures I read, or the prayers I said, or the charity I gave? How many people did more than all these things and still do not feel what I feel today. The possible options kept coming, but the answer never came until the day when He Himself decided to quench my thirst of curiousity by telling me through the verse of the Qur’an that
“Whoever Allah guides, none can mislead him and whoever He misguides, none can guide him”
My eyes flipped through those words and the simple answer reached my soul. I remember in Islamic history how the Prophet (SAW) tried to revert his beloved uncle Abu Talib to Islam even on his death bed and how so unable he was to do it because Allah did not guide Abu talib to the way of truth. Deep down in my soul, I know that these feelings are from Him alone and the love is there because He says it has to be. My heart weeps profusely; as I sit to stare at the sky as though I can see Him and ask Him what in the world I have done to get this undeserved favour from him. Words on this spacious sheet of paper cannot ever be enough even if I exhaust a thousand of it. My saliva will rather dry up if I start counting His blessings on me. I have failed him uncountable times. The faulty speeches do not cease to come again, the filthy acts are not permanently over me, the imperfect steps won’t just leave me alone and Allah’s forgiveness comes at every point of all these to cleanse me of them again and again. So if anyone dares ask me why I stay up every morning to make Allah talk to me by reciting the Qur’an, why I show up everywhere in my long robes and veils, why I write no other topic than that with which He will be satisfied, why I deprive myself of his food and drink from time to time, why I seldom stand up at night to pray to him and why so I have suddenly become a stranger. I have no other answer for them. My love for Allah surpasses all things just as His love for me surpasses mine. And when they ask themselves what kind of crazy feeling this could be? My simple reply is “It is a feeling of supernatural love, tranquility and serenity, one which over a million out there have never tasted, one which more than a million will not be given the privilege to taste and one of which i have been singled out” So they will do nothing but shrug their shoulders and lament “What a feeling?”.
Wardah Abbas is a Law student at the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. She is a great lover of Islam, an aficionado of the natural environment, a passionate Muslimah and writer who believes in intellectualism as a prerequisite to change. You can reach her through her e –mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
6th Jumada – al – Thanni 1434 / 10th April 2013