الصراط المستقيم- The Straight Path
by Maira Butt
You know who you are. And everybody I know knows who you are too. Its been months since we have embarked on separate paths after being physically and mentally inseparable for years.
I tried cutting everything out in the hopes that it would bring me closer to Allah. I threw out clothes, put on Hijab, said goodbye to some friends, cut you out, took away music, to replace all that is temporary with the promise of what is Eternal. You were the biggest physical obstacle, and after I cut you out, I thought God would make everything nice and easy for me. I literally thought the blessings and signposts to the elusive Straight Path would become significantly more abundant and clear.
I was wrong.
In fact, things have become way more difficult. Cutting you out opened up paths to speaking to people I had never been allowed to speak to before. I became aware of a gaping hole which was left in your absence. I don’t know what to replace it with. And the temptations seem to have increased rather than decreased as I run around trying to find something to define my worth.
That isn’t true to be honest. I do know what to replace it with. But it requires a strength I could never have anticipated of myself. I know I can do it because Allah SWT says
‘No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear’ Al Baqarah: 233
So this is the greatest yet most simple challenge. Because when it comes to to our actions, thoughts, beliefs and intentions at the end of the day, it all boils down to Imaan. How much do we truly believe in the existence of Allah? And how much do we truly believe in the authentic and miraculous nature of the Qur’an? Because if we are firm in our belief and in what we practice, then we would have complete and utter faith in the words of God. In his promise of Judgment.
My faith fluctuates; and no human being on earth is perfect. It’s not in our nature to be so. The imperfections of our characters, the struggles we face and the flaws we all have are part of the test. Because the reward is in the effort and the will to please God, to purify ourselves of all the worldly and temporary distractions we are surrounded by. The outcome is in the will of Allah.
I know you keep trying to get in touch with me; but there are infinite reasons why I won’t give you a second glance. I hold no resentment toward you. I know I should be angry about your incessant lying and all the mess which that brought with it. But I don’t. You need to go through the pain of loneliness and insecurity before you realize that you never needed me. Believe me you don’t. All the tools we need in life survive even after everything else is destroyed. A sound mind, body, heart and soul. If God thought we needed a mere human being to complete us, I’m sure things would have been much different. Relationships of intense dependency for example, would be infinitely less unhealthy and unstable than they are. This seems to sum it up:
Some think love without Attachments means being cold towards the Creation. On the contrary, it is the warmest kind of love. When you love for the sake of the nafs, the source of love is limited. To give is to become depleted. So you are always needy and dependent. When you love for,in and because of God, the source of love is God, a source that never gets depleted. And you can give without needing, because your fill, your taking, is from Him. Love for the sake of God means He is the source of giving and taking. The purest love.- Yasmin Mogahed
And we know how ugly neediness is. Detachment from all worldly things is true beauty.
But this is the thing; if you were not somewhat of a let down, I would never have realized the importance of Truth. The lack of truth, and the enigma you created in your persona made me seek to know what I didn’t. In my frustrations, I cried and begged and prayed to God to make things clearer for me. Because I know that no matter what you said, or what I speculated, the real Truth of both our hearts were known by only One.
So I won’t reply to you because I fear Allah. Because I know I am weak, and that my soul deserves more than to be ugly and wretched in its attachment to another who seeks to complete itself through me. I will keep my distance until you leave me alone. Because I know this is a test. And when it comes to replying to your text and phone calls, or being disloyal to my Creator; the decision is very very simple. And easy.
I always told you that my love for you competed with my love for Allah. I can think of countless times when I put you before Him. This was a great injustice to myself. The only One who has been with me in my moments of departure from the Truth (which causes pain, anger, confusion and so on) was Him. My Love should have been first and foremost for Him.
“Say: “Verily, my Salah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of all that exists”. [Quran (6:162)]
Now I see why there was no Barakah in our relationship. Every single thing was difficult. Every opportunity to meet became repetitive and hostile. How could we love each other when we didn’t love ourselves? If we loved ourselves we would have been just to our souls and submitted to the will of Allah rather than to our whims and desires . How could we love each other when we did not love Allah?
Trust me, I’m probably no different to the last time we spoke. I’ve made so many mistakes and had ridiculous moments of weakness. I’ve made excuses for myself and blurred the boundaries of what I know to be Halal and Haraam. People tell me I’m being too hard on myself. That its a lot of change for a short space of time.
And I’m sure it is. But not for a Believer. Not for a Righteous person. Not for someone who wishes for an easy death; or a peaceful resting place. Or for someone who chases Jannah as if they can see it; as if they can taste it. I want to be this focused. Although it seems elusive. I wish I could be that detached from this world.Because nothing within it brings me peace.
I came across this idea. Forgiveness is giving up hope that the past could be any different. I can’t change all the sins we committed. Or that we could have. I can’t define my future by the mistakes of the past. And I don’t want my current identity to be defined by that either. I feel that it does at the moment. So I know I had to write this to get it out of my system. Because there’s so many things I want to scream out to everyone. I felt responsible for your happiness for a long time. But your life is not in my hands. It is in the hands of Allah.
I didn’t think I was angry. Until I learnt that anger comes from pain. I don’t have to be screaming and shouting, the anger can come across in the boundaries we place to protect ourselves from others. In the very energy we give out.
I didn’t know where to start from. I feel like the more steps I take to get closer to Allah, the devil brings out everything he can to tempt me. I can hear him sometimes, the whispering is so clearly misguided that I know its not from myself. I’m sure my soul doesn’t feel it belongs in hell, so how would it feel inclined to sin? But its clear. The Prophet SAW instructed us:
‘Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt’ [At-Tirmidhi]
The Straight Path is really clear. Its so black and white that the simplicity of it would astonish our supposedly rational and intellectual minds. Because if we saw everything from the point of view of eternity, genuinely looking at the bigger picture; we would make the right decision every single time. But we get caught up in the moment, and our pragmatism gets the best of us. Allah SWT says:
‘There is no compulsion in religion; true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. Allah is all hearing and all knowing.’
We seek safety and security. And Allah SWT has told us that His is the only hand hold which will never break. Small sins blacken our heart as much as the big ones. So although, I feel I have strayed since we split; the search it puts me through is so great that I realise now how clear it is. And its always been clear. This is why we no longer speak. The fact that I could leave you, someone who I lived my life for (God forgive me), makes most other issues of doubt quite easy to decide.
May Allah SWT bring us closer to Him.