99 Names Series: Ar-Rashid (Director to the Right Path)
Muzlimbuzz has a series called “The 99 Names of Allah” where writers & readers reflect on one Name from the 99 Beautiful Names of Allah and talk about why that particular Name is significant to them, or how they have seen that Name manifest in their lives. If you would like to submit your writing for this series, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.[divider]
For the longest time I’ve felt an emptiness inside of me. An emptiness I tried to fill but no matter what I did then, I didn’t feel satisfied. My achievements felt hollow. There was just something missing and it frustrated me.
Why was I feeling this?
What was I missing?
It wasn’t until the sudden passing of my late aunt that I started on my journey to find that “something”. The realization that death could come to anyone and at any time scared me.
What if my turn came just as suddenly?
What preparations have I made?
I had NOTHING. Zilch; zero; nada. The only times I performed Salah were on Eid and Fridays(Jumu’ah). Even then it wasn’t for Him. I only did it because it was the norm. The Quran was just a book in a foreign language I didn’t bother to read let alone understand. How could I realistically hope for a good outcome when I knew I hadn’t done anything to deserve it?
I wasn’t ready to leave my lifestyle for something different. I thought I had a good thing going for me. Why would I want to leave all that for the unknown? On and off I felt a “tugging” within the recesses of myself. As my fear of death and what lies beyond it grew, so too did this “tugging”.
One night, I felt like I was really going to die. Like if I were to go to sleep that night, I wouldn’t wake up the next day. The “tugging” became too strong for me to ignore any longer. I thought to myself: If tonight really is my last night here, the very least I could do was to perform one last Salah. Maybe, just maybe He’d forgive me.
I made my way to the toilet and proceeded to take my wudhu. My hands trembled as I washed the different parts of my body. Each step I took back to my room felt heavy. As I laid out the sajjadah, the thought of death still weighed heavily on my mind. I steeled myself for my “last” Salah Isha.
During the last sujud in the final raka’ah, I cried; I cried more than the time I watched Mufasa getting run over by a stampede in “The Lion King” and Littlefoot’s mother’s last words to him in “The Land Before Time” combined. It lasted for about 2-3 minutes but it felt like an hour to me at the time. I thought about all the time I’ve wasted and my own heedlessness. The regret translated into tears that wet the sajjadah.
After the salam and du’as asking for His forgiveness, I just sat there and I realized that restlessness and the “tugging” was gone. I felt at peace with myself as if a burden was lifted from me and I knew that this was what I was supposed to do: To turn to Him.
I went to sleep and woke up the next morning for Fajr with a different view of this life. I was thankful to still be able to draw breath; that I still had an opportunity to fix my relationship with Allah SWT but to do that, I had to make changes but one question still remained.
Where do I start?
I wanted to get closer to Allah but I didn’t know how to go about doing it. More than anything, I was embarrassed to ask. The company I kept at the time wasn’t exactly the kind of people that could help. I began to feel distant from them. What I used to enjoy doing with them hurt me inside because I knew it was wrong Islamically and because of that, we had a falling out. Then I was lost and alone.
Alhamdulillah, that separation allowed me to meet with people who could remind me of Allah SWT and gave me motivation to strive to be a better Muslim. After putting aside my own apprehension and at the encouragement of these new peers, I joined a class to learn how to read the Quran. Since then, it’s been a continuous journey from class to class, lecture to lecture in an effort to learn and improve.
“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path” – Surah Yunus, Verse 25
I began to see that I wasn’t alone. I got to know of a few actors/actresses and singers that had gone through a similar struggle through video interviews or news articles. Even within my own social circle I was seeing it. Some of my female friends were starting to wear the hijab and some of the males were frequenting the Masjids more often to seek knowledge.
There were even some pleasant surprises: Muslim friends who used to be alcoholics or had body art were returning to the deen. These were people who were openly defiant of Islam; of Allah, when I had met them earlier in my life. Now they were struggling but determined to strive in the way of Allah SWT because they know first-hand what it was like when they lived their lives without Him.
I’m reminded time and time again through instances such as these of Allah’s Name, Ar-Rashid, that He guides whomever He wishes and that there is wisdom behind those that he has chosen even right down to the timing.[divider]
Fadhuli is an aspiring writer and believes in putting in the time and effort into meaningful causes. He strives to improve himself as a person and as a Muslim