It is after dhuhr in the Haram; I am at a loss. What to do? Should I go down for tawaaf and fight the crowds or should I stay here and continue to listen to the women’s chatter. I feel disturbed, as if I have not done what I was supposed to and am wasting my time. Perhaps all of this that I am doing is of no use and is just to pacify my grief and perhaps I am here only to lay layers of spiritual poultice on the wounds of my heart. Thoughts raise their questioning heads in my brain like inquisitors questioning my intentions. Perhaps I am here to distract myself so I don’t miss my son. Since he was never here so I will not be reminded of him, or perhaps I am here to wash out my sins hoping for a life without a memory. I don’t even know if I will succeed in doing any of this, perhaps this is just an exercise in self delusion where I am just avoiding thinking of what I really feel and not allowing myself to fall into the abyss of grief. Why not, I think to myself, why not sink into the sea of grief after all what better place to do it.
I am now at the edge of the cliff of despair, sadness and disappointment sit on my shoulders like vultures, I find myself looking down into the abyss of grief, which has no bottom and no closure. I look around at my fellow worshippers, I am unsure, where I belong in this crowd of seasoned worshippers, I am new to all this, while they have eons of experience ahead of me. I am tempted to dive into the abyss. I stop for a moment and look around to contemplate my next step.
I search my surroundings gazing at the women in the prayer hall, as if the answer to my uncertainty and disappointment will come to me from something around me. I see the young woman who is in Itikaaf in the row in front of me. She is immersed in the Quran; on my right Victoria, after a long night of prayer is napping. The women to my left are also reading the Quran. The rest of the women are either talking in Arabic or napping.
My glance rests for a moment on my eyeglass case sitting snuggled next to my Quran calling me. I pick it up and take out the little ipod that holds in its slim body all of the Quran recited by Mishary loaded into it by Shireen before my travel.
I insert the little earpieces in my ears and turn it on. The whole outside world recedes as Allah’s promise flows out of this little gadget giving me a very personal message, answering my misgivings in a gentle though firm manner. The sweet, haunting voice of Mishary Al Afasy delivering Allah’s words with the soulfulness the meaning deserves, engulfs me. Mishary’s voice enhancing His promises of a Realm of magnificence that is beyond the grasp of even my imagination.
I find myself fumbling for my Quran, unzipping it quickly and searching for the surah and its meaning.
It is Surah Insaan I register with surprise. I am back in time two years ago. I am standing in my kitchen, it is the 15th of July 2005, and my eyes have cried all the tears they could now only my heart cries. I feel the gentle hand of my dear friend of my youth on my shoulder as she says, “When you need to comfort your heart, read Surah Insaan”. And she writes it on yellow stickie and puts it on the fridge as a reminder for me.
My Quran is open at Surah Insaan, I start reading the words of Allah and they fall from my lips seeking the promise from Him and stumble on the clear instructions of what I need to do. As I read the validation of my worship in the morning, evening and night, my vision blurs and I realize, He is answering my question line by line, setting to rest my doubts of my presence here and giving me a prescription for my pain and perhaps the rest of my life. Showing me what awaits me if I can follow His guidance and also what awaits me if I deny it
I realize that I like my son was made from a drop; from nothingness and into nothingness I too shall fade. All that will be left, as a milestone will be my obedience to Him, avoidance of what he forbade, and my patience and constancy to the command of my Lord.
He promises, in His own words that a Realm of magnificence with eons and eons of beauty and love of a kind unfathomable in this life awaits for those who obey Him. My face and dupatta are wet by the time I read and re read where Tariq and his friends are most likely resting.
As Mishary’s recitation fades, I look up, now conscious of my surroundings. No one disturbs me nor invades my private moment with Him. They are in their own conversation with Him, in a language unfathomable to all except the seeking believer.
“Verily this is a Reward for you, and your Endeavor is accepted and recognized”(022)
(Please listen and read the translation of Surah Al Insaan in the video given below for the conclusion)