Sunday, August 19, 2018
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​It’s Hajj Time: You Need to Talk

It's Hajj Time: You Need to Talk | ProductiveMuslim

Photo Credit: andrea-cristina[dot]deviantart[dot]com

Wrapped in two white hand towels, totally convinced he’s performing Hajj like the rest of us, the cutest, most adorable little boy on earth recited the ‘Fatiha’ out loud during the silent prayer of ‘asr. He was so tiny; I wouldn’t have seen him if he wasn’t standing right in front of me, leaving a much-appreciated gap for me to see the Ka’bah. (Oh, such beautiful memories!) Anyways, the minute we were done, the little boy turned around with a proud look on his face, waiting for his mom to praise him. Except amidst the overwhelming crowd of women, she was nowhere to be found…

I swear I could almost hear his heartbeat. I watched him for a minute try to locate his mom, studying the faces, grabbing at strangers’ abayas, going back and forth and back again yelling out at the top of his lungs ‘Mamaaaaaaaaaa!’ with this horrified look on his innocent face. The Holy Mosque was jam-packed. Women were running around frantically in every direction and I could barely see the little boy anymore. I guess they know what they’re doing in movies when they play a traumatic scene in slow motion because that’s exactly how it seemed like at this point! Until I finally found him, and I saw the sweet, little Hajji boy drop down to his knees and let out a painful, thunderous cry that shattered my heart into a million pieces…

I ran to him, asked what his name was and tried to soothe him but he didn’t stop crying. ‘Where’s my Mama? I want my Mama!’ was all he managed to say in between sobs and I felt completely and utterly helpless…

Okay, I’ll tell you what happened next. I promise, but for now, pause this scene, zoom in, and look at this little boy. Lost, scared, broken and confused…

Isn’t this how we all feel at some point in our lives? Alone in a crowded room, screaming at the top of our lungs and yet no one can hear us?

Isn’t this how you feel when you’re in urgent and desperate need? You run back and forth and back again, looking for help, or peace, or love, or just a shoulder to cry on. Looking for someone to understand what you’re going through; someone who can take you out of that dark hole you somehow ended up in. You pray and plead for help over and over, and yet nothing happens! Some of us even reach a point where we totally collapse, fall to our knees and cry out “Ya Allah, why is this happening to me? Ya Allah, why aren’t you answering my prayers? Where are you?”

The little boy wouldn’t have wondered where his mom was if she was close by. He yelled out loud for her to hear him. But, in our case, when we are trapped or lost, we panic in despair because we get temporary Alzheimer’s. We forget that we are never ever alone…

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 186]

This must be one of the most beautiful, calming, heart soothing ‘ayats’ in the Qur’an, for even a mere ‘supplicant’, stained with flaws and sins, is welcome to call upon The Lord of Majesty and Bounty. But there is a difference between expecting and accepting. A difference between blaming Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and begging Him for help. A difference between doubt and certainty that even though He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) might not answer our prayer, He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will definitely respond.

Now is the time to call

You know, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) hid Paradise from our sight, but He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) didn’t hide the path to it. He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) hid Himself, but He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) didn’t hide His words. He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) hides the future, but compels us to learn from the past. But sometimes we are so fixated on the ‘seen’ problem that we fail to see the ‘unseen’ solution. Yes, everything is predestined, and we drown in the ‘why me?’ heap of things, but didn’t Almighty Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) ever teach you that the door to call upon Him is wide open?

Okay, so why am I telling you all of this? Because it’s the first ten days of ‘Dhul-Hijjah’. Now is the best time to call! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) hid the night of Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan, but never hid the greatest day on Earth! It’s as clear and blessed as the sun is shining….

The beloved Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The best du’a is the du’a on the day of ‘Arafah” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi]

When Words Fail, Start Again

There is so much inside you and you probably don’t know where to start. Believe it or not, I know exactly what that feels like. Words fail us when the load gets too heavy because we start at the end. Talking to a stranger about our inner feelings is super awkward. Talking about our sadness or fear to someone who does not know what we have been through can make us feel so small and lonely! But when we talk to Allah, the Protecting Friend, The Loving One, The Most Compassionate, we talk from the heart, be it in any language. Just start telling your story from the beginning.

 

“My dearest Almighty Allah…
Do you have a minute? I’m so lost and broken and I need to talk…
It’s me, the one who slipped so many times and made unthinkable mistakes. The one who blames, complains, does little yet expects a lot in return.

Even though I’m so ashamed, and I wanted to run from You, I came running to You. You’re the Most Forgiving and I’m begging You to forgive me… I’m begging You to listen to me and help me get through this. Remember that problem I spoke to You about the other day? It keeps snowballing and I’m too weak to handle it. I know I should make the best out of my life, and out of all the blessings You gave me, but Allah I don’t know how. I know I’ve been avoiding You for the last couple of days, and I’m so sorry. I swear I don’t mean to be rude or ungrateful. I guess I was a little embarrassed to keep nagging so I told all my loved ones to put in a good word for me before I came tonight. Did You hear from them yet?

Allah, I love You so much, and the last thing I want to do is disappoint You! I know I don’t show it, but You see what’s inside my heart, right? This life can be so hard sometimes! I know it’s a test, and I know it’s totally inappropriate to ask You for a cheat sheet, but I’m failing miserably! Can You perhaps make it a bit easier? Or send me some help?”

 

Those first ten days are so special. We strive to compile a list of good deeds to make the scales tip in our favor. But you know what is the best deed of all? Calling lovingly upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and having a close, intimate relationship with Him. Pausing your worldly life for an hour and telling Him about your day, your worries, your achievements, how you wish to see Him and how it also scares you to death sometimes. Your relationship with Him is the most important relationship of your life, and it can not be strong, loving and healthy if you don’t talk! If the minute you feel sad and alone, you rush towards Him! Do you have any idea how you will feel then? Let me give you a tiny glimpse…

Press the play button, please…

“It’s gonna be okay sweetheart. We will find her, in sha Allah” I hugged the little lost Hajji boy.

“I need my Mommmmmyyyyyy!” He cried.

About twenty minutes later we heard the echoing sound of footsteps sprinting towards us, and a woman appeared, her arms stretched out, crying and laughing and gasping and screaming out her son’s name all at the same time. The little boy wiggled away from my arms and ran towards her like the wind. He buried himself in her warm embrace and she showered him with kisses and happy tears.

Hundreds of women watched silently, with tears streaming down their cheeks. A tranquil kind of immense joy swept across our hearts, it made moms unconsciously hug their babies and strangers smile at each other. This one mesmerizing peaceful moment somehow changed our paths. It gave us hope and tranquility. This one moment changed the story from loss to endless love, from fear to happiness and from helplessness and despair to intense and overflowing joy…

If this is what happens when a child calls his mom, tell me…

How beautiful and life changing would your moment be when you call on ‘Ar-Rahman’? Words fail to describe it, and that’s the ultimate success…

P.S: In the mood for more Hajj adventures and reflections? Please log on to my blog and find last year’s Hajj diaries of Lilly in Mecca. Have a wonderful Eid everyone!

What insights did you get from our little Hajji boy? Share with us in the comments.

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