I was scrolling through my drafts list and have noticed that I have way too many posts that went unpublished. Releasing little of my own writings in the past year, my gracious bestie doing most of the work, keeping hidden what was mine not ready to share with the world. Here is one from long ago. Subhanallah (Glory to God), this post started in February of 2014. I can’t believe it was that long ago. I thought it could have been last year, but it was much longer than that.
My mother once told me that she always remembered this lady by her consistent istighfar (asking God for forgiveness); she did not know her name or where she lived. She only knew that at a specific time of day, this old lady in her Palestinian thobe (traditional dress) would walk by her childhood home whispering “astaghferallah” until she reached her destination. What a powerful way to be remembered subhnallah.
For February 2014, the monthly theme was focused on asking God for forgiveness and forgiving others. When looking back at the post, two years later,it stands out for multiple reasons. The first reason being that I remember the scene as if I’m watching myself in third person. I see myself standing in the room at work with a patient, performing preliminary eye tests on this old woman with fluffy cloud like hair, beautifully wrinkled skin that cinched at her smiling eyes, brown stenciled eye brows, and thin, pink, lipsticked lips that turned up on the sides. After explaining the test to her, I had a few minutes to spare until she completed the test. Because of the month’s theme, I remembered to make istighfar (ask for forgiveness) in that time. As I was clicking the buttons, I made istighar. As I moved, walked, guided her hands towards the handle for the test, handled her head gently, I made istighfar. It was interesting to do subhnallah because it was done with purpose and thought, not in frustration or anger. But simply asking for forgiveness from my Lord in case I was a little rough while handling her, or in case I misrepresented my faith as I proudly wore my hijab. That day, I proceeded to watch what I say to my coworkers and patients, constantly remembering Allah. When making istighfar, I made my intention for everything, things known and unknown, past, present and future. With every task, step, opening of a drawer, picking up a pen, scribbling something down, taking a sip of water, istighfar was brushed on my lips and in my heart. It was refreshing to know that I can connect so easily to my Lord as I perform my daily tasks, making everything a ibadah (worship). It was that easy; me and The Divine.
However, that was the easy part. The hard part was accounting for everything that I had done, trying to be conscious of every exchange I had with someone else. I made a conscious effort to sleep without holding anything on anyone, and hamdulilah that was easy as I am not one to hold grudges. However, what worried me was being forgiven by others. Have I done my part in not infringing on other people’s rights? How do I know? Have I used my time wisely and not wasted it? I was bothered by the endless circumstances that may have resulted in hurting others. If the prophet peace be upon him made istighfar at least 100 times daily, who was I?
Another reason this post stood out to me was because it was two years ago in February; two birthdays ago. Looking at myself then and now, so much has changed and so much has happened. 2014 was a year of growth, struggles against currents, and painful realizations in my journey to become stronger. It was also a year of opportunity, travel, and the beginnings of many beautiful life long friendships. Life throws so much at us, but the way we handle certain circumstances shapes the people we become. Will we become like the cute old lady in the story my mom told me, with smiling eyes and caressing whispers of istighfar?
It’s been about to hers since I began writing this post, and now February is right around the corner again. I hope it is filled with lots of forgiveness and love. Just as my mother remembered that nameless lady in the best way, I hope to be remembered in the best possible way, purely for His sake, nameless but characteristic. I hope that I have a chance to be given many more months of February to fulfill that. May Allah guide, bless, protect and constantly forgive us with fresh, new pages to be filled with infinite light.