1:2 Alhumdulillahi rabbil aalameen
All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.
It is unspeakable, where I was before the Quran came into my life. I can only be grateful. To say Alhumdulillah, is to say something truly deep. The lockdown was pretty tough on me. I was new in London, setting up a new office. Working day and night.
But having the blessing of my beautiful nieces living with me, made the joy of home life next level. Then the lockdown and everything that came with it, happened. I hit an unspeakable low.
There are degrees of aloneness
Grateful that we were all at least together, when there was a lift and airports were open again, I told them to go to the family in Dubai. Thinking we wouldn’t go into a lockdown again, and life would start to get normal, I didn’t think twice about it.
Big mistake. That’s when the unspeakable hardship started. The lockdown not only perpetuated, but the paranoid way that people were behaving, made everyone feel like an untouchable.
I could only pray. And pray. The level of isolation was something I had never experienced before. It got to such a degree of unspeakable aloneness that I had a constant heaviness in my heart. A feeling like “this is forever”.
Work kept slipping into further unknowns. With all our events and exhibitions cancelled, and everyone afraid to move in any direction, a lot of the industry came to a halt.
Time to reinvent, out with the old…long overdue
It was time to reinvent. Not just myself but my work. Strangely, through my experience, I was understanding people better. People’s needs. There were so many cries for help. What others felt was their unspeakable hardship made me realise how good I had it.
I could hear them from everywhere. From friends feeling nervous, to family feeling sheer worry. Today, I have no better “go to word” to express my gratitude and Love for Allah, the One who I came to know so well during this time, than Alhumdulliah.
This type of unspeakable wasn’t hard after all
It took me the longer way to get there. I was forced to understand Him, and wow, how I delved into the journey. Being that alone, meant it was just me and Him. I dived right in and got deep with my knowledge of Him.
All my years of praying, fasting, learning, and community, could not match what I picked up in this time alone with Him. It was clear. Allah is kind and gentle. He remained with me.
Prior to this, I can see how He waited for me to do everything foolish possible before I could say “what am I doing?”. I got to know who He really was.
When He tells us that He is the Lord of all that exists, He even means me, the little nothing that in her younger years wouldn’t consider His existence at a time when I thought I can fly high and on my own. When I was so sure of myself, the level of confidence I had is a painful reminder of how lost I was.
Thank you for opening my eyes Pandemic!
The pandemic also showed me how Allah is also the boss of the unspeakable evil that we see and hear about in day to day life. The horribleness we know that exists, He knows the truth about that too, and He can control it.
The idea that nothing happens without Allah’s permission, was also where my questioning was unstoppable. But somewhere along the way, especially during the pandemic, it turned to sheer trust in Him.
Back to my level of unthinkable confidence. Now that was unspeakable. It was a type of arrogance that fools you into thinking “you’re such a good person”. How I was my worst enemy in those days.
A really old and wise man, in Pakistan, once told me there can only be two types of walis (wali is a friend): wali Allah (friend of God) and wali shaytan (friend of satan). You can never be wali self (friend of self), because each time you do any action or make a decision, it propels in one direction or the other.
This was a huge jolt for me. I think I was beginning to get it. SubhanAllah. And I saw where I was headed if I didn’t wake up.