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Direction is more important than speed



Yesterday, I woke up to losing a very beloved family member. This morning, I lay in a narrow cylindrical container spanning a bore diameter of 60 cm this morning what we typically call an MRI machine. The twenty mins that I lay in that cylindrical container were not only claustrophobic, to begin with, but they reminded me of the grave. Death and the transience of this world are always on my mind, but today, death just felt closer. It felt like a wake-up call to my inner core. Am I becoming the person that could face Allah if I died the next moment?


Someone will do my laundry when I die; they will wash, donate, or throw it away. I do not know. But there will be scars on my dirty parts and the ugly bits of me that we don't like people to see, and someone will have to take care of that. I have a whole collection of handwritten diaries at this point, and I thought they were only for me, but when I die, someone will read them. Someone will have access to all the grief within me, and maybe I will be suddenly remembered as somebody different than I was in this life. Perhaps they will be memories, or possibly they will be something different. But I know there is darkness – you know, the blood-stained darkness that exists in the back of a messy drawer. The messy breakdowns of things that I don't even remember or are of no importance to me anymore, but they could haunt me forever.


But you know what? These things and the transient world would not matter. What matters is that if I was laid in the grave right now, would I be considered worthy in the eyes of Allah? Would I be a person who would make it to Jannah? Would I be a person for whom Allah would call out to Jibril?


The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "When Allah loves a slave, calls out Jibril and says: 'I love so-and-so; so love him'. Then Jibril loves him. After that he (Jibril) announces to the inhabitants of heavens that Allah loves so- and-so; so love him; and the inhabitants of the heavens (the angels) also love him and then make people on earth love him". [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]


I fear the answer to all these questions is a no, which haunts me.


So, I am changing how I view my journey back to Allah, beginning with detaching. On my journey to Allah, I am no longer interested in walking with those who tend to believe that they have arrived when it comes to practicing Islam and that everyone must catch up to them to arrive at this so-called perfect destination. I am only interested in being a place where we accept that the thing about faith is that it fluctuates like our heartbeats. The heart is malleable and ever-changing, so I am no longer interested in shoving ourselves into boxes presented to us as the so-called perfect place regarding our relationship with Allah.


I will always be an interested soul that connects with her core without dismissing the reality of the lived human experience every day. I will walk along with those who understand that when it comes to our relationship with Allah, there is no arrival, no perfection, and everyone is on their journey to Allah. I am interested in walking with people who monitor the internal locus of control more than the external. Souls who know that faith is not a destination but something you humble yourself daily with. Having faith does not mean you will not be vulnerable and deal with difficult emotions, the toxic family remembers, struggles, or doubts, but you will use that faith to ebb your way through. I will walk with people striving to be honest, authentic, and imperfect souls when walking toward The Most Perfect.


I had no intention of writing this newsletter today, but I sat on a hospital bench having a conversation with my Creator, and an older woman walked up to me and said, "Why are you crying? Hope everything is okay." Although I could not explain to her at that moment, I wish I could tell her that I was crying because I was so overwhelmed by my Rab's boundless mercy and love.


Ya Allah, wrap every heart with your love. Make us conscious of your truth. Help us beautify our hearts. Help us be accountable.

And always authentically appropriate for you.


I leave you with words that I always come back to because, for one, I cannot wait to meet my Lord. Until then, I will work towards meeting him.



Until next time,

Shanzay.

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