This piece is not an autobiographical story about ME or my experiences. I am not Huda. Huda's personality and strengths are not mine. Huda is a fictitious character, much too perfect to be real, and if her account seems credible it is because that is how many 'religiously motivated' girls feel when they are in the situation described in the story. Whatever the reader's personal feelings towards Huda (regarding her expectations, reactions, etc) please note that they should not be extended to this novice writer who is, ultimately, simply experimenting with fiction.
(Author's Note: This ‘Hanging From A Glance’ series is a continuation of the 'Marriage Considerations' series and the piece you are about to read is the seventh installment in the Huda story. Earlier installments can be found by clicking on the 'Qalam's Crossing' column link on the left side of the Hidaya homepage.)
She started crawling, pulling her now near-paralyzed legs forward upon the path. She could now clearly hear the howl of the wolves that had been following her scent for years. She had to keep moving. She had to get away from the voices and the scents, the songs and the deluding reflections. She had to get out of this meadow before it swallowed her whole; digesting her soul and turning her form into fertilizer with which to create more flowers to seduce future travelers.
The wolves were not more dangerous than the flowers. Their scent made one sleepy, made one forget. There were no friends to be found in this place.
She dragged herself forward. Her thirst and sore limbs forgotten, her mind was focused on escape. The howling danced around her as if coming from all directions. The sound was maddening. She looked over her shoulder just in time to see a snarling dark form leap in the air towards her. Her voice caught in her throat and the kalimah that burst through her heart could not make it past her paralyzed lips.
And that is the state in which she awoke.
It was Fajr time.
Huda only blinked a few times before she knew what she had to do. She sat up on the prayer rug upon which she had fallen asleep and raised her hands in dua. So much was going through her mind at that moment, it could not be held back. The words gushed out from within her.
“Thank You. Thank You for that reminder of where I am. Thank You for reminding me of what is at stake, of the dangers of the path. Thank You for not letting me go. Thank You for not forgetting me as I all too often forget You.
That meadow was the duniya wasn’t it. It was supposed to represent my life. The wolves represented my passions, my constantly hungry nafs. We are constantly looking for gratification, praise, and pleasure from the delights in our way…so much so that we often forget what our destination is and that if we stop for even a moment we will be devoured by our own appetites and lusts. There is no stopping, no time for distractions. There is no time for heedlessness of purpose. Those that ‘forget’ and stay too long are eventually digested by that which they had lusted for; they become part of the scenery of distraction and can no longer be considered amongst the travelers.
The flowers. They were so beautiful, so fresh. I thought they were there as a reward for my diligence. If only I had known they were another distraction, another instrument of delay and forgetfulness. I should have thanked You for the joy they brought to the senses but not tarried. The blessings, the beautiful joys that You place in our lives are sometimes the greatest of tests as they serve as the greatest of distracters.
He was like the flowers. A distraction. Dangerous.
It didn’t matter why I had liked him or what I had seen in him. None of that mattered because the end result of it all was that I had been distracted from Allah, Glorious and Exalted. The end result is enough to reveal to me that I have moved off of the path of the travelers. I have moved off of the path.
Ya Allah, I wish to live in this world as a traveler, I wish to keep my heart unattached to the delights of the roadside and focused on my destination. You. I want to remain focused on You.
I don’t want to be attached to him in any way. I don’t want to be attached to ‘any’ creation in any way that distracts me from You.
I wish to no longer see the Creation, Ya Allah, I am afraid of these distractions. I am afraid of having my heart settle upon the unworthy when it was made for a much higher Aim. I am afraid because creation distracts one from the Creator, from You. I wish I could only sense the Creator. I wish You were the only thing my mind and senses perceived. Then I would have no choice but to focus on You.
…But, Allah, even in revealing Yourself, You have used Your Creation as a sign. How can we know You independent of the Creation when the only thing You give us to know You by is Your Creation? What do we do? How do we deal with this onslaught of sensory/mental distractions and not allow ourselves to be distracted?
It seems the only way to KNOW You is to stare the distraction straight in the face and not let it distract me. When viewing the ‘distraction’, to see not the properties that distract, but see the essence of its creation instead—Allah, Glorious and Exalted. You are the common essence of every particle, idea—verily EVERYTHING in creation—by virtue of Your being the One Creator. You are the common link that binds it all together. The characteristic of being created, sustained, and owned by You is the one characteristic that we all share and that unites the billions of creations into a Creation. This characteristic is what unites us all under one Reality.
Everything is a sign.
Everything points to You.
Everything is in a constant state of worship, of complete obedience to You and Your Glory. Of complete dependence upon You and Your Majesty.
THIS is what I must come to be conscious of.
THIS is what I must keep my attention upon.
THIS is what I must look for in your creations.
I must not stare mesmerized by the physical attributes of the sign, but must look to where it points. It all points to the One, the Eternal, the Absolute, and the Whole. It all points to You.
I wasn’t wrong when I said that I wished to focus on You alone. My mistake was in thinking that I could do so independent of creation. I can never escape creation. I AM a creation and will forever be bound to it. The closest I can come to giving you the purest of my focus and attention is for me to be constantly aware of where the signs point towards. If I focus on the signs themselves I will become distracted, but if I come to accept and understand them to be signs, then, regardless of where I turn, my face will be directed towards You.”
With that, Huda stood up to go make wudu and to pray Fajr.
She had already forgotten the young man from the mehendi. He had served his purpose in her life. She had no more use for him and had gained what she had been destined to gain from the experience.
She would never be the same again.
To be continued...
Excellent piece in the Huda series.
"I wasn’t wrong when I said that I wished to focus on You alone. My mistake was in thinking that I could do so independent of creation."
This is the correct inference by Huda, Insha'Allah, she is really seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Very promising indeed...
I am now interested to see how Huda will translate this new found understanding of her relationship to Allah and manifest it into action (while living/interacting with Allah's creation)
Ma'Assalaamon January 14, 2005 9:10 AM
I feel like I wrote my way into a ditch. Huda's current state of actualization of sincerity is one which I have not experienced so I dont know HOW to write about it beyond this point. I am in a bit over my head.
Am I allowed by shariah to talk of that which I have not experienced? Am I allowed to 'guess' at what it might be like to be a waliAllah?on January 18, 2005 9:30 AM
I can't speak as to the permissibility of talking/writing of that which one hasn't experienced...
but isn't that the case with any bit of fiction (an example of which your series apparently is)?
MashaAllah, it's refreshing to see this point of view that Huda takes... that of reliance towards the Almighty, rather than obsessing/fretting over fleeting moments of feeling.
InshaAllah it'll be even more interesting to see how this change/realization plays a part in the expected end to her search for a hubby.
on January 19, 2005 2:09 AM
about the title of this column,
is "qalam's crossing" named after a soap opera? i think i remember a "swan's crossing." is this a reflection of another sister's infatuation with soap opera's or soap opera-like plots?on January 25, 2005 6:00 AM
1. I hate soap operas
2. I am insulted that anyone would imagine me enfatuated with such mindless fluff
3. If someone says that my stories are soap operas I will really go weep in a corner...but undramatically...cuz I am no soap opera...
4. I have no idea what "swan's crossing" is
5. I chose qalam's crossing because in my mind I was drawing the parallel between pens and swords.