Ever since I was seven years old, I would have a recurring nightmare. In this nightmare, I would be sitting next to an old, skinny man with a long white beard surrounded by flames. I would continuously ask him who he is, and he would always reply with the same answer, “I am your deeds, and your lack of prayers caused me to become skinny and old.” I would wake up drenched in sweat, screaming, and crying.
A couple months ago, I didn’t pray, just the occasional prayers here and there. Everything in my life felt like it was going wrong, I felt so lost and had this emptiness that nothing could fill. Tough times can truly take a toll on one’s spirituality – often leading to negative thoughts that begin to fill your mind. With no religious foundations, such as prayers, the idea of atheism began to slowly creep in mind. How can Allah leave a believer feeling so worthless?
However, in the back of my mind, a small voice would continue to repeat itself over and over: “turn to Allah with a broken heart.” I finally decided to pick up a prayer rug with a clear, committed intention. What could I lose? As I tried to pray, it had come to the point where I even forgot some of the words needed to finish my prayers. Frustrated and embarrassed, I broke down in tears, soaking through the prayer rug, asking for sincere forgiveness and repentance. I know this should be between Allah and I, however I feel like what had happened needs to be shared in the hope of inspiring, or helping someone who struggles like I do. Immediately, I felt as though all the weight had come off my shoulders, and subhanAllah the amount of happiness I have now leaves me so speechless.
Times may still be tough, but knowing that Allah is over you watching and listening, you begin to feel at ease. Problems and frustrations seem so minimal when comparing them to Allah’s mercy, understanding, and forgiveness. Never feel as though your problems may be too much for Allah to handle. It is never to late to turn to Him. “And when My servants ask you about Me, I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant whenever he calls on Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me, so that they be led aright.” [Surah Baqarah: 186] Always call on Him, for He is the most Merciful and Forgiving.
The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, says, ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.’” [Tirmidhi]
Written by Hoda Awad