It can be difficult to go through life wondering if what you’re doing is right or wrong. Everyone has an opinion and it can seem like everyone’s eyes are on you – especially when you are representing a faith that people are already questioning. But one thing I learned in life is that we live to be the best we can, and sometimes we falter. When that happens, we pick ourselves up and wipe off he dirt and start over. It’s like we are constantly in class where the professor is giving us a test we didn’t study for!
One of my favorite quotes is, “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.” – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It gives me a sense of hope that counters the seemingly endless dark thoughts I have directed towards myself daily.
The pressure to always do the right thing can be draining. And when people call you out for “being perfect,” well, let’s just say that it’s not always a compliment. When people tell me I have a perfect life, I think to myself, “It’s far from it, honey!” In fact, I’ve been built up so much by people around me who don’t actually know the real me. It was so consistent that I started to believe what they were saying about me, which led me to think that if I slipped up every now and then, it would be okay – I’m smart enough to know not to take it too far. But there are consequences to slipping when you allow other people’s words to inflate your ego.
After a while, I practically stopped praying because I didn’t think I had a reason to. I eventually began to stray even further off the path that I was once so adamant about staying on my entire life. Before I knew it, my sudden lack of faith took me from being someone who naively felt they were free of regrets, to someone who didn’t realize the magnitude of the decisions I was making.
For a while, I truly thought my values had completely changed and that my heart was hardened for good. I spent so much time ignoring my actions I had committed, that the minute I stopped for self-reflection, I found myself questioning the person I had become. I allowed my good reputation to cover up my actions that I knew were not things I would normally do in life. This new person I was becoming was draining me, but I was in denial. My life, which had always seemed to be like an overachiever’s straight A report card, suddenly turned into failing grades of D’s and F’s, metaphorically. To make it worse, I felt like they were from lessons that I couldn’t redo to make up the grade.
Once I woke up from my ego induced moment of insanity, I remember thinking it was time to revamp my life. That following Ramadan was one of the hardest for me – but it was seriously one of the best I would experience in life as of yet. For the first time, I wasn’t just going through the motions. Fasting and praying meant more to me. I wasn’t just going through the motions because everyone else was doing it around me. I made a true intention to immerse myself in the spirit of Islam and did my best to be the best person I could be. When the month was over, I didn’t end my quest for change.
I had many months after filled with emotional pain. Fortunately, I realized that whatever it was I was going through would be heeled only if I admitted to myself something was wrong. I had to take action.
Here I was – the golden child that everyone thought could do no wrong, the one that lived a perfect life, living a life that was not so perfect. What I was doing is not important, because for one person it may appear to be the ultimate wrong, but for another, it may appear to be childish in thought and absolutely trivial to think it was against the grains of perfection. The point is, whatever my actions were at the time were leaving me feeling guilty. The initial rush of not making perfect choices while still being perceived as perfect had faded, and it left me feeling lost. Other people’s thought of me manipulated my actual intentions.
he positive thing that came out of my journey was the realization that I wasn’t perfect and could never be that person. In fact, I learned how I was capable of losing myself. In a twisted way, the remorse I was feeling toward my actions ended up shaping me into a better person; one that I didn’t realize I could become. I knew I needed to forgive myself to continue in my spiritual journey of growth, but how? It was then I remembered something once said to me, “All sins are sins, but no sin is too big in the eyes of Allah (SWT).”
During this period I came to understand why so many people grasp on to faith during times of trouble. It was through Allah (SWT) that I received the most comfort. It is though Him that we are given the means of repentance in order to heal. We just need to ask Him – and truly desire change. None of us are truly broken when Allah (SWT) can mend our hearts. And, ass much as I hate to admit it, sometimes we need to be knocked down, broken, and humbled to be able to rise back up again and truly make something of ourselves.
Life is short. Don’t waste time walking around like you’re better than others when you know you have no room to judge anyone else. Focus on yourself and take a hold of your faults and flaws before they take a hold of you, no matter how small or big they may be. Acknowledge them, analyze them, pray about them and then make the intention with action to change them and let them go. This is how we move forward. This is how we learn.
Allah (SWT) is gracious and most merciful. That’s the good part. We as humans, on the other hand, are fallible. We will make mistakes. We will allow others’ opinions of us trick us into thinking we are something we aren’t. The question is, how will will overcome obstacles? How will we go through life when we feel we’ve let ourselves down? What matters in the end isn’t whether or not you do everything right, but how you attempt to fix things when you do something wrong. Life is a test, people: Are you studying to learn the lessons it has to offer?