Written by: Nina

(Read Part 1)

One Year Later…

The following Ramadan saw me in my own home. It had taken three months fixing it up which left me on a high and so proud that I could achieve something like that. My sweat, tears, and hard-saved pennies went into making that tiny home cosy and beautiful.
I had enrolled in university and I had put my child in nursery. I made new friends from all sorts of backgrounds who made me smile. I embarked in counselling to rid myself of years of trauma and abuse at the hands of my marriage. I changed my diet and began exercising at the gym. I slowly began learning my deen. I made a few good Muslim friends.
I began a path of healing. Even though I continued to walk a solitary path, my damaged heart began to feel strong again. I fell in love once more with life, with the beautiful colours of autumn, with the hope of spring, with the sweet haze of summer. I still cowered under my blankets through stormy winter nights, and I still wept on days when I was exhausted nursing a sick child wondering how I would manage single life. I had to work hard to survive every day, but it was satisfying and wholesome. What was tearing me down, was building me up from the inside out.
I began learning about myself. I had never known nor been given the choice to wear what I liked, to choose the décor I wanted or eat or walk or talk my way. I had been drowned out and taken over. Now it was my time to try, to fail, to succeed …it didn’t matter. It was my choice. It was liberating.
And so I arrived meeting that Ramadan a different woman. The serene silence at Tahajud made my spine tingle knowing Allah had descended to the lowest heavens to hear me. I felt a closeness with my soul during that period of time I have seldom felt since. I do believe it was the humility that only pain can bring; it pulls you apart and leaves you raw. It opens your soul up, hungry to be heard, to be saved.
I took great solace and felt immense peace having my suhoor alone at my kitchen table without the weight of feeling bullied and belittled, without feeling broken and aching for it all to stop. I focused on Allah, I knew without a doubt He had me.
I looked around every day knowing my du’a had been answered. I had a home once more, I had my child, I had food, friends and my family who helped me so much I could never repay them. I had my self-worth again. I was humbled and knew then I had been touched by a miracle. Allah had more than replaced everything. I had more than I had ever before because I had Him.
I had been stumbling along, searching for contentment from the Duniyah when all along the answer had been there in a pair of cupped hands beseeching skyward, in a forehead on the floor wet with tears. I learned in that winter of my life that everything begins and ends with du’a. That du’a itself is coupled with action. At the time of calamity and certain doom when Musa (‘alayhi salaam) stood facing a sea, was he not told to strike it with his staff? Did Allah not part an ocean and save him?

Then We inspired Musa (Moses) (saying): “Strike the sea with your stick.” And it parted, and each separate part (of that sea water) became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain. (Surah Ash-Shura 63)

Was Maryam not told to shake the tree whilst giving birth? In pain, in hardship she would have had little impact but she pushed anyway. She shook it and received dates, her sustenance. Her tawwakul (reliance) and effort worked in unison to bring her aid. She was a blessed woman whose patience and faith were greatly rewarded.
Yours will be, too. Just don’t give up.

Hard-earned Wisdom

Don’t fret over tomorrow, next week or next year. Allah has already made your tomorrow and you need not meddle with it. Live in the moment and be grateful for it, savour it. Don’t waste your today in regret and worry. Save that worry and energy for du’a and get practical about how to live the most sincere life you can.
Savour each bite of food, your every moment with a loved one. Look deeply at, and beyond the sights around you. The sky, the trees; feel the air, feel the ground beneath your feet at every step and look at it all in awe, in gratitude.
You will have to put action into changing your life. No one else can do it for you. The first step may be the hardest but it’s the most rewarding. Things are rarely as bad as they seem and if they are, the only way is up. Do what you need to do. What are your priorities? What do you enjoy? Get involved with a local charity. Throw yourself out of your problem and into someone else’s!
Learn new skills, try new hobbies, exercise, learn a language, memorise Qur’an. Brain storm, mind map, make lists, make a plan of action and make a du’a list to get you going. It’s empowering and setting you up for better days.
Make earnest du’a. Then make more. Then make more. You get where I’m going with this. You will never lose out by calling on Allah. Even if it feels as though your du’a isn’t being heard or answered, it is.
Surround yourself with good company. Easier said than done for many, I know. But you are far better off with one or two good friends than many energy vampires. We are most vulnerable when we are being tested, so guard yourself. Your good friends will be your voices of reason when you cannot trust your own. On difficult days, on the days of your ‘firsts’ call on your friends, talk to them, reach out.
When it comes to Ramadan and Eid do your duty, complete your fard (your obligations to Allah). With the rest, find what works for you, keep your old routine if that feels comfortable, or make new traditions. On Eid make sure you do something for you. If that means simply taking a long hot soak or buying yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers then so be it. Be kind to yourself and love yourself, so that you can begin to love your world once more.
Know that life is a series of tests, that ease follows hardship, that difficult days do change. That He Ar-Rahman is so merciful we cannot comprehend. You don’t need all the answers, you need only hope.
For hope is the beacon of light you will see flickering through the dark. That light is Allah and that light will burn brightly paving your way to Him, to comfort and relief, homeward bound.

Nina is a British expat loving her experiences abroad as a wife, mother and teacher. Nina has a passion for complementary health, deep reflections and a daydream over a good cup of tea! She hopes to turn her skills and experiences into a means to help other women in the near future.

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