When I met them, I thought I had found the greatest treasure of the world. I had found the best of friends. My day started with thoughts of them, my days ending with long talks with them. I would get restless if I didn’t see them. My day was incomplete without a glimpse them. Everything was so beautiful. My days were filled with happiness and I crazily craved every moment in their presence. Some would say I was crazy and some would say I was obsessed. For me, I was in love. I admired them, I respected, I took care of them, I thought about them and soon… I worshipped them. They became my world and life without them seemed unbearable. A moment away from them would fill me with anxiety. A text not replied would make me desperate. Soon, the old happiness turned into anguish as I fell deeper and deeper into my world of love.
What kind of love was this which had become like a shackle around my neck until it seemed to be choking me? Who were these people who mattered so much to me? I had run and run so much after love that I was in love with love itself. I craved the idea of love. I craved the affection of love. I craved the happiness of love. My soul seemed to be deprived of the basic foundation of love. I looked to romantic movies, to books, to friends, to random people until I fell from distraction to distraction and attachment to attachment. I looked around me and I found everyone doing the same. Some people were in depression because so and so had left them. Some people had become bruised souls because nobody seemed to love them. Some people were lost in partying all night until nothing seemed logical, until the heart no longer cried for love. What was this love that every human craved, that the heart so desperately wanted?
My broken heart, lost and bruised, one day knocked on the door of that Being who had never stopped loving me. Tears flowed down my face in utter helplessness and I raised my hands up towards Him and questioned what is it that I craved but did not find? Allah had blessed me and instead of thanking Him, I had made His blessings, idols in my heart. Instead of loving Him in return, I rejected His love and ran after the false love of this world. I had built in competitors with the love of my lord until these competitors seemed to be choking me.
“When Allah blesses us with someone that we love, we forget that Allah is the source of the blessing and we begin to love that person as we should love Allah. The image of human love that you seek is an illusion in the desert of life. So if that is what you seek, you will keep chasing. You don’t own an image. You can’t hold a creation of your mind. Yet you will give your whole life to still reaching this place. You do this because in the fairy tale, that’s where the story ends. It ends at the finding, the joining, and the wedding. It is found at the oneness of two souls. And everyone around you will make you think that your path ends there: at the place where you meet your soul mate, your other half—at the point in the path where you get
married. Then and only then, they tell you, will you ever finally be complete. This, of course, is a lie because completion cannot be found in anything other than God.
Many of us are also trapped inside the belly of the whale of our own desires and objects of worship. It is our own selves which we become enslaved to. And that imprisonment is the result of putting anything where only God should be in our hearts. In so doing we create the worst and most painful of prisons; because while a worldly prison can only take away what is temporary and inherently imperfect, this spiritual prison takes away what is ultimate, unending and perfect: Allah and our relationship to Him.” (Yasmin Mogahed)
By Amber Juman