Reflections On Hardship From the Qur’an

I read Surah Maryam earlier on,

I was moved by the d’ua that Prophet Zakariyya made,

One where he told Allah how upset he was,

Upset that he didn’t have a son, or an heir.

How beautiful his d’ua was and how honest and truthful he was with his feelings,

It made me realise how shut off I am from my emotions,

How much I deny them and don’t acknowledge them,

But I haven’t been allowed to,

I grew up in an environment that wasn’t very nurturing or healthy for my development,

A mother who was very demanding and shouty,

Who expected a lot of me,

Who expected me to be a brainy child with good grades,

But felt that I should receive preparation to serve my in laws when older,

A mentality that is outdated and not really correct,

It’s not right to put all that pressure on a woman,

It’s not my responsibility to care for the physical needs of my in laws,

Who are adults and can look after themselves,

I’m not a slave or a maid,

It’s not a role I signed upto,

But there’s this expectation in certain South Asian households that we should be perfect at everything,

That it’s ok to have a super demanding job outside the home,

But as long as we can still come home and clean the whole house and make meals,

Yes one needs to eat, and hygiene is important,

But it isn’t the role of one poor married woman to clean up after and attend to the appetites of all of these adults,

That’s insane and I can’t go along with this cruel mindset,

It’s unfair.

So much about my life I feel is unfair,

Unfair that I’m not allowed to make my own decisions regarding who I want to spend my future with,

Who I want to share my life with,

I have no voice and no-one listens to me,

My rights have been taken away and I feel like a nobody,

Like my thoughts, views and feelings are not important,

My family treat me like a child,

Like I don’t have the capacity to make my own decisions,

They don’t realise how mature I am,

And they wish to control me.

There is so much arrogance in my family,

There’s this mistaken view that just because they have lived longer,

They know more than me, their maturity is greater than mine and their wisdom is greater than mine,

I think there’s jealousy there,

I’m put down quite a lot and it’s not acceptable,

I have family members who are unconditionally loyal to each other,

It’s a really messy system.

Surah Yusuf talks about a family who were jealous of their younger brother,

He was better than them by far,

His character was nicer, he was pious and honest,

He turned away from the most beautiful woman in the region,

Because he knew it was wrong,

Eventhough there was no-one there and he could have easily got away with it.

And his brothers were jealous of him,

And so they dropped him inside a well.

Jealousy can make people be really horrible to each other,

It’s when they don’t feel happy for each others’ rizq and their qualities,

Or they see that someone else has something that they lack in their own lives,

So they wish for that person to be deprived of it,

It doesn’t happen consciously (sigh).

Going back to Surah Maryam,

I wanted to remind myself of her isolation,

When she had to remove herself from the people,

For a far greater and better cause,

Because she was delivering a very special man to the universe,

One who would guide people,

She had no choice but to be patient,

And to bear that responsibility.

It must have been hard for her,

When people shunned her or thought she wasn’t very virtuous,

When they looked down at her and judged her.

But I wanted to remind myself that this hardship I experience as a result of making decisions for the sake of Allah,

Is just part of the trials of life,

Similar to the trials of the people in the Qur’an (but not as challenging of course),

At least I have some supporters,

Eventhough I may not feel close to them,

There are people who extend their hand in my direction,

I’m really not sure of their intentions though,

I perhaps shouldn’t be too suspicious of them and think well of people,

I’m really not the best judge,

As I think sometimes people don’t really look at the world from the same angle that you see it,

I feel that some of my friends are very consumed with their PhDs, their jobs, their marriages,

Are they really making their deen that big a priority?

Are they truly living by those principles?

And it becomes clear that often they are not,

And I judge them and feel sad for them,

But I am in a state of mourning too,

My mind feels clouded and foggy by all these expectations, these emotions, these regrets,

It’s hard to erase past memories,

Things that were said, things that happened to me,

But I guess it’s all part of the journey of life,

These are all experiences which are building me up,

And I hope it is for a greater cause,

I hope Allah allows me the opportunity to recover and devote myself to something more important than myself,

Somewhere where I feel fulfilled,

And where I don’t feel my energy is wasted,

Wasted towards a cause I don’t really value anymore.

It’s hard to make sense of everything.

I keep on comparing myself to another who has more than me,

But maybe my reward will be greater inshaAllah,

As I sacrificed much more.

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