Sitting under the trees on the deck, I have heard the promise of freedom, coming directly from the words of my Lord. In Surah 5 Ayah 12 he has given me the prescription for adventure, a journey towards happiness, nearness to the Beloved, and an erasure of pain, suffering and worries. Do I take the prescription and follow the instructions? Sometimes it is so intense that I feel that this ayah was sent for me, it is a hand up, out of the well of grief, out of the worries and freedom of a promised destination where happiness reigns.
When you come across a beautiful thing, a word, a para, and an ayah and instead of scaring you it beckons……. like the finger of your beloved mother or aunt or a gracious figure in your life, you are pulled inexorably towards it.
It calls with affection and yet I know it has a firm undertone that if I do not go, where the beckoning finger calls, the consequences will be dire. Yet if I go the rewards and the beauty of the manzil or destination is unimaginable. Such is the call of Ya aeyo hal ladhina amenu* for me. Thus I want to go!
I step on to the path, it looks easy but at the very outset my foot trips on an innocent tree root, I catch myself from falling but I am shaken, and the timing of a prompt Salah passes. I think it is a freak one-time phenomenon, but it happens again and again at random intervals. It is night, sleep is not here and yet the night Salah is yet to be prepared and performed. The whisper in the back of the head is “ is it not to be said as the last words before one falls asleep?”
When I do stand after all is done and said for the day for the night Salah, suddenly the duvet of sleep smothers me pushing me to make the Salah brief and quick.
At the end of it I admit that what seemed easy is not easy and yet I want the beautiful destination. He Subhanawataala has always opened the way to the beautiful destinations I have wanted to travel to, be it Argentina, Morocco, Spain or Sicily, he has opened doors that I did not even know existed. Yet when it comes to establishing regular prayer I trip often or get exhausted, my bones ache, I have a weight on me.
How difficult can it be to stand five times for five to ten minutes in silence and recite the litany to open the communication door to my Lord? But no one knows how many obstructions can appear out of nowhere, unless he or she decides to stand with all humility, removing all else from ones conscious being and immersing oneself in the anticipation of standing at the door of My Lord. Standing may not be as challenging as standing with all-else laid aside.
Is it Shaitaan I am fighting or my Nafs? These are the two opponents that are the stealth warriors against my obedience of the simple commands of my Lord. I am stumped! What do I do, I sail through hurried Salah’s marking the day five times, but the sweetness is absent, is this how it is? Is this how it should be? Surely not!
The struggle saps my energy and I wonder if I will ever be able to follow the simple though direct instructions in ayah 12 of Surah Maidah or will I be forever stuck like a ship in a harbor whose anchor is embedded deep into the ocean floor. It rocks back and forth and pulls forward but cannot free itself from its moorings. I so want to free my ship, sail without an agenda with Allah’s hand guiding me and cupping his hand to protect me from the gales of life and spinning me sometimes to make me delirious with happiness for my journey, as well as its destination, and always being my captain and my wakeel.
Thus I drop my struggle and turn to my Lord and I say: “La haula wala quwata illa billa alayyoul azeem. I step to the edge of the water to lay down on it and give myself up to the ocean of belief with Him (subhanawataala) as my guiding hand.
He knows I have tried and how much and how diligently and he also knows how much I have slipped, failed, recovered and how I continue this cycle of going nowhere.
I still have a few elements of caution in me, caution with a belief that I might control my destiny that I can save my self from disaster. I must let that go, if I am to sail, in the clear open sea of His Love and protection, uncaring of everything and everyone.
I must let go of all else to follow the hand of my Lord as it beckons me with Ya aeyohal ladhina amenu*, and waits patiently for Him to lead me into the water of purification……..
Close your eyes and listen to this: