Some may call it a miracle, and some may call it simply Allah doing His work. I call it both.
To begin with, I am 41, white, and have been practicing Islam for about six months now. Practicing this religion was my choice. I always believed in God and witnessed many prayers being answered when only practicing Catholicism growing up, but never have I actually witnessed a silent prayer being answered the very moment I prayed.
Let me explain. Last year was not my year by any means. Like most people, it was an entire year of anxiety, heartbreak, depression, and loss. I lost the relationship I felt secure in for five years simply because I didn’t have the correct skin color, and at that point, I wasn’t religious. I lost a friend suddenly over a condition most people recover from at the tender age of 31.
I had my own depression and anxiety issues after that — which I tried not to pass on to others. So I took to attending the mosque on off-hours at first to simply be alone and pray. Well, I soon realized I wasn’t alone by any means.
There are many stories I can share but one that stands out was when I was alone praying. Actually, to be very honest, it was more like crying and praying and finding myself there for almost 20 minutes, even though it felt like only five minutes.
I remember walking out to my car and just saying out loud, “Please help me. Please help me.” I didn’t want to burden anyone with my “issues” when others were going through harder times than myself — but I did know I needed help.
The next day, I went back to the mosque and prayed again. This time, just like the last, I was alone — until I heard a voice behind me suddenly, and was introduced to an imam I have never met before.
He asked me about my story, and through tears, I told him. He just smiled and said, “We met tonight for a reason. I don’t come in this late usually, and I happened to be here tonight, and I think it’s to guide you.”
The imam took one hour out of his night to speak to me. He listened to every word, to every sob, and never judged me. Never told me other people’s issues were worse than mine and to be grateful; he was focused solely on me. He became a counselor of mine.
He offered to teach me more about Islam, so I could pray better, understand more, and reach the community I already was a part of but was lacking the knowledge I desperately needed.
Another time Allah showed up for me was when I left prayer, and by the time I left, my car was the only car in the parking lot. The weather was cold, but clear. I got in my car and closed my eyes one more time for one last prayer. I reached up to my rearview mirror and touched the butterfly charm that once belonged to a friend who passed on. I prayed, and felt at peace.
Just at that moment, I heard a “ping” on my windshield: sleet. I looked at the temperature, and it was 38 degrees…not cold enough for sleet. Pulling out of the parking lot, I started to drive and realized that there wasn’t a sign of sleet anywhere. It was simply a sign for me.
Another miracle moment I witnessed was when I was at the cemetery visiting my friend. I prayed, and then started talking to her. I prayed for her to watch over her family, and to give me the strength to be happy again. Standing up and brushing the dirt off my knees, I looked up and saw an eagle swirling over the sky above me. I was the only one at the cemetery that morning, and didn’t doubt for one minute it was a sign from both her and Allah. It was a sign that they both are hearing my prayers loud and clear.
The final story I will share was about a day I was very low — low to the point of having dark thoughts and just needing to be lifted up somehow.
I was at work and my mind was racing, I almost couldn’t stop my mind from overthinking. I started praying five times a day and just finished my third prayer.
Going back to work and attempting to focus, I got an email from my ex saying something along the lines how I am a good person and special to him.
Now understand that our breakup was based on the stigma of his family wanting him to marry a Muslim; specifically a Pakistani woman. The feelings were still there — but I’m not a mind reader, so being told that at my lowest point meant the world at that exact time.
So you see, my point is Allah will always show up for you or show you a sign when needed. He is always here for you, and He is always working on solving your problem or lifting your heavy heart. He sees your struggle. He feels your tears. He knows that there’s always a solution to a problem. As the Quran says, He says “Be” and it is.
In my case, He showed up for me and showed me that no matter how confused, sad, or angry I was He heard me, and He showed me signs that I will be okay. He sent me the tools I needed to get through another day. He sent me the warmest hugs from above.
Maybe life is tough at this very minute. Maybe you are having the darkest of thoughts, but please know that He cares, your friends and family care, and I care. I am proof that there are people from above watching over us, and sending us signs to keep going.
My advice for 2022: keep going, keep smiling, be happy doing whatever makes you the happiest, and don’t overthink things.
Be grateful for the people who love you, and tell them you love them too, look in the mirror and love yourself, and most importantly, know at your lowest He knows how you’re feeling and is working on the solution before we speak.
Alhamdulillah, my friends, and let’s make 2022 an unforgettable year of love, peace for all, and happiness.