Monday, 5 October 2015

the BIG story

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh 

I am soooo sorry I have been MIA for the past month but, not to worry, I'm back InsyaAllah with so many topics in mind ! I actually wanted to update you guys before September ended but the hubsy and I took a spontaneous trip to a villa in the city to relax for a couple of days so... away from the phones and laptop it was ! I am so overwhelmed by the response and views I got from my last post, Alhamdulillah. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I do what I do thanks to all of your kind words of encouragement and I am truly inspired by each and every one of you ! You would think that by just being a silent reader on my blog doesn't mean much, but trust me.. that too is an inspiration for me to keep writing. 

Anywhooo, straight to the point ! I have been reading your suggestions and comments on what you'd like to read next on my blog, but today, I have decided that I am FINALLY going to share what motivated me to embrace Islam. It's no big secret really, but I have never been ready to share it in public because it was something I held very close to my heart. It was such a personal journey for me especially since I happened  to be in some of my darkest times at that point in my life and Islam turned out to be the guiding light. 

I was 15 and suffering from depression and anxiety. I had family problems and some other stuff dragging me down in life that I still don't feel quite comfortable talking about now. I realized I had something missing in my life. I wouldn't exactly say that I was unhappy but there were times when I find myself at my lowest, talking to people simply didn't suffice. Alhamdulillah, I have a very good relationship with my siblings and my parents but there was this void in me that couldn't be filled no matter how hard I tried. I started thinking what my purpose in life was and if I was truly happy with the way I lived my life. That was when I realized that deep down, I wasn't happy. I did not like how I didn't have anything to hold on to, something that I know will always be there. No matter what. The way my parents lived their lives at that time didn't quite jive with me, (they've completely changed, Alhamdulillah) and of course, I was admittedly very much a part of this lifestyle and it just didn't feel right. I started thinking of how if I have my own family later on in life, whether this was really how I wanted to raise my own children ? With shallow knowledge when it comes to religion, no religious practices in life and really just, simply put, no purpose in life. I wanted to be a good role model to my future children not just morally but more so, spiritually. I had a bunch of questions in my head and was desperate to seek out the answers.

Miraculously, my school organised an Islamic camp for the students who were sitting for major examinations and although I've never been the type of student who participates in any sort of camps in the first place , somehow... something inside me really made me interested to attend this camp. After endless begging and persuading, my parents finally succumbed and allowed me to go. I didn't know what to expect because as it was, I wasn't even a practicing Muslim. I wasn't praying and had completely forgotten how to pray. I couldn't even remember when was the last time I actually even prayed! My family were not practicing Muslims either so, anything that had to do with Islam was completely alien to me. So, there I was at camp, having to pray 5 times a day and listening to a bunch of talks on Islam and how Muslims should live their lives. I felt anxious and so out of place especially because I couldn't memorize anything that was being read (surahs), which was honestly only just the basic stuff. One of the sessions during camp, included of a talk about the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, how he lived his life and his journey. It was amazing how one man is the reason we pray 5 times a day. I can't remember the story exactly and the history of it but I remember precisely when the speaker was explaining how our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH went through the trouble to decrease the amount of prayers a day because he felt like his ummah would never be able to do a large amount of prayers a day. I started tearing because I felt so ashamed at the fact that at that time, I didn't even know how to pray and how ignorant I've been almost my entire life. My heart felt like it had just been touched and I knew that there was no way I would ever be the same again. Throughout the camp, we also had to wear the hijab and cover ourselves appropriately but because I was so used to wearing shorts and sleeveless tops, I felt so uncomfortable initially. Quite a transition, from sexy mini skirts to constantly covering myself. But surprisingly, by the end of the camp, I felt like I didn't want to take it off. I went back home after three days of camp and decided that I wanted to wear the hijab permanently. My mum freaked out when she found out. She hadn't started wearing the hijab and felt like I myself wasn't ready. Our differences in opinions started a sort of 'cold war' between us for some time. Even though I knew my mum was quite unhappy with my decision and I would normally just obey to what makes her happy, but somehow, a part of me just felt right in hijab and I couldn't get myself to take it off. After putting on the hijab, I knew that I had to start praying as well except that I didn't know how and why I had to do so. So, I read various books on 'how to be a good Muslim' and Islamic forums but I still somehow couldn't figure out my purpose in life. So in my confusion, I decided to start everything from scratch. With Allah's guidance, I thought myself how to pray, what to read during my prayers, watched YouTube videos of others teaching how to read surahs during prayers properly and.... slowly but surely, I started praying. And the first time I actually put my head down for sujood, I started and couldn't stop crying. I just felt so content and so complete. It was UNBELIEVABLE. I felt a happiness I've never felt before and all my worries were somehow magically ailed. I didn't know I could even feel that happy, to be honest. After my first ever Subuh prayer, I just sat down there and thought about how I was missing out on what life should actually really be like. I felt like I had to deepen my knowledge to better understand this newly found state of mind. Not long after, I managed to smoothen things out with my mum and I asked her to help find me an Ustazah so that she could teach me how to read the Quran. Fortunately, we found an amazing, kind lady who was more than happy to do so. I felt that my life was finally back on track.

But trying to evolve from someone who didn't use to pray at all, to someone who prayed 5 times a day, was the real challenge for me. It was so hard to not forget and to not be lazy. I tried to wake up for Subuh every day and of course, there were days that I failed but I never gave up on praying because there was this amazing happiness and contentment that I got addicted to. It was of a different kind. The kind you don't get from other humans, all the fame and fortune in the world or other worldly things. I kept trying to improve myself because becoming a better Muslim was the only thing I was striving for. I am still striving for in fact. It's not easy. The ups and downs that I experienced made me who I am today, and that is only someone I will know. The reason why I find it difficult to take critique when it comes to my level of piety is because where I am and who I am today is with no one's help except Allah SWT and that is why I always stand by, only Allah SWT can judge me. You will never have the same spiritual experience as anyone else. You have your own journey, someone else will have theirs. That is why you have zero rights to judge others and think that you know better because you really don't, until you live someone else's life.