I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala today. I’m compelled to write about it because it was a realization so deep and meaningful I hope it continues to inspire me in my journey of becoming the person I dream to be.
For a few years now I have been a youth mentor, something that brings me much joy and fulfillment. I asked my students to keep a journal where they interact and reflect over what they are learning in class and this by far has been the most effective tool I use in my classroom to understand my students so that I am there for them. See, when we write, we are able to express our deepest emotions. And as my students write, they remind me of my teen experiences of emptiness, loneliness and debilitating sadness.
A lesson I learned in my own personal life as I grew in self-knowledge was that those painful feelings come with underlying cause that I’m supposed to listen to, pay attention to and figure out a way to solve them. This is the internal guidance Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala equipped us with out of His Wisdom and Mercy. You can call it a divine GPS giving you directions when you steer off the path of self-care.
ونفسٍ وما سواها. فألهمها فجورها وتقواها
And by the soul and He who has proportioned it; and inspired it with its way of crossing the boundaries and its way of protecting itself.
What I felt grateful for was the special care Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala took of me by putting people in my life who were caring, supportive and added wisdom to my life. They were generous with their time and companionship and I benefited in ways I’ll never be able to compensate them; I’m sure AlKareem, the Most Generous will reward them. I can never underestimate the value and power of mentorship and meaningful conversations with the people in my life and how they have shaped an important part of my personality and perspective.
I realized too that we often battle with negative emotions and we feel that no one understands and that no one is experiencing what we are going through. The reality of it however, is that we are more alike than different in our experience; we just don’t talk to one another about them. This makes us feel more and more lonely. Shaytan loves to make us fall into this well of sadness as this is the fastest way to make us ungrateful to ArRahman, the Entirely Merciful.
I recently talked to a friend who shared something I also find so beneficial when struggling with certain things or when in need of something. She said she talks to Allah as if He is her friend. She has a conversation with Him where she says: “Ya Allah, you know this situation is unbearable, I am ok with this, and I am not ok with that, it makes me feel this way and I need your help to make it this way…” She added that whenever she’s done with this conversation, she feels that even though the problem might still be there; the stress of it is lifted off of her shoulders.
Isn’t that powerful!
We often hear the phrase that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows what I’m going through so I will simply ask Him to fix the situation. While it definitely is true that Allah knows all of it; the process of verbalizing your exact need and expressing your weakness to Allah helps in giving you even more clarity, softens your heart and makes it more present. Isn’t this a beautiful way to connect with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Many of us do not feel comfortable to talk about what is bothering us with people in our lives. This is completely fine as people have different preferences in how they seek support with their needs. Realize however; that sometimes shaytan will make you also not want to speak with Allah in his attempt to emotionally overwhelm you with sadness and despair. How will we prepare ourselves so we don’t fall into this trap?
“Ya Allah, Ya Salaam, you are the source of peace, continue to inspire us so we may attain internal peace. Equip us with self-knowledge and the support system that will facilitate our path to realize our truest and most fulfilled self.