[Trigger warning: mention of suicide]
This post is gonna be one of those posts that is gonna be hard to write and leave me with a ‘vulnerability hangover’… I just know it, even before writing it.
So, we’ve just come out of Ramadan. I do enjoy Ramadan. It’s like a reboot of your religion. Of course it’s way more than that but it’s that particular aspect which I’m gonna focus on for this post. Check out my ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ which discusses more at length the purpose of Ramadan and of course, my personal goals.
With respect to my Ramadan goals this year, in all honesty, I didn’t do so well at all. The other night a friend and I were talking and she asked my didn’t do smaller individual prayers (aka dua’s). She’s Christian and I didn’t know how to translate this into English. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that it was at that moment I was faced with my internal feelings head on and I simply replied with ‘I don’t know’ because I didn’t have the heart to say what I was thinking at the time, what I’ve been thinking for a long time.
I feel like I’m loosing my connection with Allah (swt) and it not only bothers me but actually, it really scares me. I find this admission more frustrating because Ramadan has literally only just happened and really, of all the times in the year this shouldn’t be coming to the fore now. After having a discussion about this with my CRB (Christian Ramadan buddy) in the early hours of this morning after her pressing further I got to the root of this flailing connection. I am simply not working on this connection. Relationships, all relationships require work by way of commitment and dedication and I am not giving it. If I look at myself honestly, as honestly as if I’m looking at my naked reflection in a full-length mirror, I can see that my pursuit of Allah (swt) has been replaced with a pursuit of women. I know how it sounds, it sounds awful but it’s the truth.
They say the first step to dealing with something is admitting and so here is my rather ashamed first step. It seems the next step is coming from my CRB who suggested that we start praying together once a day like we did a few times during Ramadan. She made a particular point of saying even when I feel tired (I really need to stop letting that stop me as if it’s a legit excuse). I know she’s right when she says that that little time put aside each will be a great starting point in helping to reestablish this connection. My concern then turned to whether I’d be doing it because of her rather than because of Allah (swt) and that bothers me. Allaying these concerns she said that eventually I’ll be doing it to talk to Allah once I feel that connection again, alongside the fact that it’s better to do it than to not do it all which makes sense too.
I can’t help but feel like that I’m failing massively in my religion and it was nice to be reassured that this isn’t a thing unless I give up my religion. Instead, it’s just a whole bunch of struggling and that’s something that we are all tested on in some way or other. Even while feeling this I couldn’t help but be a moved when my friend said that she had been in my position for a number of years, and it was me being openly religious which inspired her that her faith shouldn’t be something she should be ashamed about. Can you imagine that? You’re going through your own struggle but people seeing you being you still gives them hope? It’s the whole silver-lining thing.
I haven’t even told her what I’m about to write… She said that some things which aren’t tangible are harder to focus on and people having the same/similar beliefs is tangible but it was something specific of her saying that people who share my faith do not necessarily share my beliefs and judge me on my differences. That bit struck a chord with me. It’s is one of the things which I had struggled with for years. It is one of the reasons that many years ago I had considered suicide. I’d never told her about the struggle with fellow worshippers and least of all my suicidal thoughts and here she was, hitting the nail right on the head.
There’s something fundamentally moving when people do not share the same faith but share the same basic beliefs. That’s where my CRB buddy and I are at. I may have failed miserably on one of my Ramadan goals of taking ‘a break from romantic encounters for the foreseeable future’ but actually, I’m so
glad no, that’s not the right word to use – I’m thankful that someone has come into my life that has not only reminded me of what it means to be loved but has quite literally turned my world upside down and is helping me to rekindle my faith with Allah (swt). What makes this relationship that much more special is she needs Allah too and together, we’re gonna work on this inshallah.
Here goes my journey of discovering open relationships, a person who gets me and rekindling my love for Allah and my faith in Islam… Wish me luck?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reportedly asked:
‘Which of our companions are best?’
He replied: ‘One whose appearance reminds you of God, and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the hereafter.’