Halfway Point

hijab muslim street woman
Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

The past few months have been a roller coaster ride, to say the least. I think I came here to Istanbul with skyrocketing expectations of myself, which honestly isn’t surprising. I came searching for healing, and I expected myself to be healed almost immediately. And I received the biggest reality check when that didn’t happen.

I tend to beat myself up because of my perfectionist tendencies. I have to be the best version of myself in every aspect of my life – as a Muslim, woman, daughter, sister, wife, teacher, student, and so on. So when I signed my divorce papers and flew to Istanbul a few days after, I expected myself to jump back to the happy, bubbly, hard-working Isra I’ve always been. I used to pride myself on being the best student – always sitting in the front, coming to class on time, participating with enthusiasm, etc.

I plan and we plan – but Allah (swt) is the best of Planners. I didn’t bounce back to the whole and healed woman I used to be. At times, I was a wonderful student who truly tried her best. Other times, I didn’t go to class. Those days I lay in bed and cried for what seemed like eternity. The physical pain in my heart that manifested from my emotional pain paralyzed me some days. And when my classmates in the suhba noticed I was gone, I would just fake a smile and tell them I wasn’t feeling well. It wasn’t really a lie, you see. My heart wasn’t feeling well.

But I pushed forward. If I couldn’t muster the energy to attend Arabic class, I would drag myself to Shaykh’s class and just listen. I wouldn’t furiously take notes as fast as I could; instead, I let myself weep and my eyes flood as my soul unclenched itself whilst hearing Shaykh speak to my heart:

Healing takes time. Don’t despair. Allah (swt) loves you. Be patient. Don’t give up. Talk to Him. He will never leave you.

And so I kept pushing forward. And I will continue to push forward. As I cry while writing this, I realize that the biggest lesson I have learned these past few months is to trust in Allah (swt). To have full tawakkul in Him. To trust in the light at the end of the tunnel that I can’t quite see yet. At the end of the day, it’s just me and Him. No one else. And as I walk through this dark tunnel, slowly but surely, I will remember that He is with me. When I stumble and fall, I will get back up. When I have good days, I will thank Him. When the pain becomes unbearable, I will cry to Him. When I spend time with my suhba sisters who lift some of the burden off of my shoulders, just so I can breathe easily at times, I will praise Him. Because it is through Him alone that I am able to heal – day by day, moment by moment.

I am allowing myself time to heal. I am being kind to myself. I am knowing myself by knowing Allah (swt). By trusting Him. By loving myself for the first time in a very long time, because I know Allah (swt) loves me. And He wants me to be healed and happy too.

After all, it was He who granted me the gift of being tested. Alhamdulillah.

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