In the Eye of the Storm

This year was going to be different.  I had learned from all my previous mistakes.  This year I would prep for Ramadan like a pro.  

I’d been attending my learning Quranic Arabic class for several months.  I could read the Arabic of the Quran, not very well, but finally I could read, Alhamdu’lillah. 

This year nothing was going to get in my way of maximizing my preparation.

And then calamity struck.  I was forced to travel back home to be with my ailing grandmother. I say forced because I’ve not wanted to go back home as a form of self protection.

I come from a highly dysfunctional family.  Since childhood I was the family’s scapegoat.  The one blamed for everything.  Partly because of my white complexion in a family of brown people and because of my strong personality.  I refused to be labeled, abused and put down.  But regardless deep emotional scars formed.

Once back home, I was subjected to the same verbal abuse. It was as if I had never left.  The pressure of the verbal abuse by family members and my grandmother being hospitalized made me feel I would break. I couldn’t even remember my dhikr, let alone my Ramadan preparation.  I even began to lose my salah, astaghfirullah.

I thought about why Allah is testing me to the extreme . Why after years of suppressing my emotions He is now allowing anger to boil over, tears to flow like rivers and my family to verbally abuse my once again? 

My best friend asked me to come to her house during Ramadan. “I’m afraid you’ll kill someone,” she said.  Her statement came out of concern because I’m being pushed to the extreme.  It also shocked me back into reclaiming my Islam which I felt slipping away.

Allah is the Master Planner.  And when my best friend asked me to check the time I could break fast on the first day of Ramadan I realized I would be on my menstruation for the first 5 days of Ramadan, and by the time I could fast I would be back home, InShaaAllah.

This is certainly a mercy from Allah Azza wa jal, because I don’t think I could have kept my cool considering the pressure I’m under, Allah know best.

After last Ramadan I decided I would make Ramadan preparation a daily part of my life and to a certain extent I had done so. As Ramadan approaches this year, my main preparation has been focused on reciting Quran in Arabic. 

This journey home made me realize I complexly overlooked an important part of preparing not only for Ramadan but practicing our deen in general .  That is dealing with your past.  Past and/ or current situations that are emotionally difficult to deal with can get between you and Allah.  

I have been processing my traumas for the past years.  However many had been suppressed as a form of self protection. And being cast into the eye of the storm has given me clarity of mind that I never had before.

This calamity has been a blessing, Alhamdu’lillah.  The daily bouts of tears, a beautiful gift from Allah, Alhamdu’lillah.  The verbal abuse hurled at me everyday, a wonderful reminder that I am a Muslim Alhamdu’lillah .

I have realized over the last two weeks that Islam has fundamentally changed me.  Even at the moment I thought I would break under the pressure I turned to Allah.  I was reminded of Nabi (peace and blessings be upon him) and the abuse he endured.  It gave me comfort.  I was reminded that the Quran is a mercy for all mankind and we need to most during our weakest moments. 

And as Ramadan approached my preparation had shifted to include those emotional scars that are holding me back in my deen.  I’m confronting myself, acknowledging my history, feeling the pain and trusting in Allah.

I can feel a difference already and this Ramadan, should Allah allow me to live to see it, I ask Allah to make it the best Ramadan ever. To draw me close to Him, to purify my heart and to heal it.  To allow the words of the Quran to encompass my life and my heart.  Ameen. 

For all those struggling may Allah illuminate your paths Ameen. 

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