This is a guest post by Sr. Amara Zulfiqar, co-owner at Writer’s Guild.
Reading Omer’s article “Work Hard for the Rest of your Life” inspired me to pour my heart out with respect to faith. Please excuse me if anyone is offended by the content of the article. That was never the intention. I am an average girl who doesn’t cover up, not because I don’t believe in it but because I’ve somehow never felt the need. I believe my faith was stronger a few months ago and I’ve made mistakes, some knowingly, others unknowingly. Despite all of that I know I’m one of the very few people who are blessed because I know Allah loves me. I always manage to get out of things even if it is at the last minute but somehow Allah always comes to my rescue whether I’ve asked for His help or not (I always do though).
On the outlook, I’m a very worldly person and perhaps very worldly wise as well. I don’t like interfering in people’s matters for the simple reason that it’s not my problem and people don’t like meddlers. I will help people close to me to the extent that I’m not imposing myself on them because again, I don’t want to suffocate them. The reason why I’ve started on this note is because I wanted to define what “average” meant when I said I’m an average girl. I have these flaws along with many others. Others might have different flaws but at the end of the day that is what makes us human: to err.
Technically, when you make mistakes and realise them, it draws you closer to Allah and makes you more God-fearing. That is the natural, the logical outcome. But what if you don’t feel the remorse of committing thought-out, intentional sins but you know you should, and to compensate for them, you revert to the Quran, read it for meaning so that somehow your heart is true when it asks for forgiveness. And yet, the heart lacks the light. What if you pray five times a day to seek that light and yet it escapes you? You are doing all the right things, taking the right steps, why then does the heart not find light?
I am not complaining. I know something is amiss. And that something is lacking in me. I have to figure that out and nobody can figure it out for me. But these are the dilemmas of an average person. They are caught between a material reality and the religious implications of following such a reality.
As far as working hard is concerned, I do not believe it is true that there is a single person who is not in some capacity trying to get salvation and spiritual insight. Some find that in helping others, some are exceptional to their parents, and still others are good at making people happy. Whatever the means, the end remains the same: filling the spiritual void which in turn pleases Allah. But again it all boils down to one thing: it is more what the society requires out of you rather than the religion. Your priorities are what only you can set straight.
I was fortunate enough to have a discussion with one of my friends the other day on sinning. I was discussing how I can’t pray because I have sinned so much that I feel like a hypocrite standing on the prayer mat. I mean how can I face Allah when I have committed so many sins knowingly? I have incessantly lied, slandered, gossiped and much more. I have rebelled in the most sinful ways to get back at people, not because I was angry at Allah but because I was disappointed in people. And yet in doing so I displeased Allah. I seek forgiveness and yet, again, my forgiveness lacks that truth and sincerity it should have. So I feel I am not sincere or pure enough to stand in front of Allah and seek His forgiveness or His pleasure in some way. I remember once calling one of my friends Faustus, Faustus who had sinned so much that he never asked for forgiveness because he believed he wouldn’t get it. Later I realised, I am Faustus.
And on this my friend told me that is exactly what Shaitan wants you believe. That there is no remorse, there is no way out and your sins are so grave that there is no redemption. And I realised that is exactly what I had been feeling all along. That I will not be forgiven which is why my seeking forgiveness lacked the sincerity that it should have.
It is strange how when I was reading Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, this had occurred to me. That how stupid can a person be not to believe in the mercy of God. And yet perhaps the shame and disappointment you feel is so great that I found myself in a similar position. I had also conjured up my own Mephistopheles. Fortunately for me, I received my guiding light before it was too late. It’s a beginning, perhaps starting from scratch.
“Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of Heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?”
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Chritopher Marlowe