The Mustafa Hosny program was re-broadcast again today. I'll assume that it was on TV last night as well but, since I was a tired teacher, I had gone to bed early without waiting up to see.
When the program started this morning, my husband was downstairs with his family and he ran up the stairs in his galabiya to tell me to turn on the TV. He laughed as he told me how he almost fell. Then he poured me a cup of chi ma laban; tea with milk, made by his mother, which somehow hadn't spilled from its pot. Honestly? It's moments like that keep us together.
On the program I say, "Life isn't about finding happiness; it's about finding peace. I found that with Islam."
I have been happier before in my life. I have. I have reached moments of extreme euphoria to the point that I was high without the drugs. I was truly high on life. I loved those moments and lived for those moments. I sought them out and created them. Usually, those moments had to do with breaking boundaries and rules and being unique and special. I wanted to be those things. I wanted to be a star. I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be adored. I was happy whenever I got my wish.
And then, I would drop down from those times like a ball which you thought was made of rubber but instead it's made of lead. I would crash. I would feel myself go down and blame myself for not being able to maintain my happiness. What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I normal? Normal people feel happy.
So, I searched for ways to keep my happiness buoyant. I was a very busy person making my life happy. If you're busy then you feel like you're having a full life. Í planned trips and parties. I worked and volunteered. I had friends and made new ones wherever I could. I succeeded in many ways and yet I felt so tired from all the activity which still somehow couldn't stop me from feeling down.
One of the strangest coincidences was how often I would try my absolute hardest to create a happy event but then the result would be the exact opposite of what I had desired. I would get depressed around Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day. I would feel badly around birthdays. Again, I thought I was alone in this kind of crazy juxtaposition.
Alhumdulillah, I am a very honest person. I might fail at a lot of other things but this is not one of them. Eventually, I had to admit that I was sad and I was having a sad life. I was not having a happy life with moments of intermittent sadness; I was having a sad life with moments of intermittent happiness.
So, instead of giving it all up, I tried HARDER to find happiness. I threw away my entire life to find it. I was going to rebuild from zero. That process hurt a lot of people; it maybe hurt me the most. Subhanallah that I lived through that time.
I thought that I was finding happiness with a new man to love. I thought that love brought happiness. It certainly brought drama! I went along for the ride of my life with that man. I experienced the most happiness I've ever felt but then I would also experience the lows. Our time together was the proverbial roller coaster.
I explored Islam, in part, to find more happiness with him. The funny part is that I could only read Quran when he wasn't around. When he'd be overseas, I'd be with Al-Mus'haf. I read it quietly. I found some quiet. I found some peace
Through peace we can find happiness. I'm not saying that we believers can't feel happy because of course we can. We aren't Puritans with grim expressions under our overly starched bonnets. However, our goal can't be happiness. Our goal must be holiness.
That summer, before I took shahaddah, I was happy. I felt renewed purpose. I was setting goals and reaching them. I will never forget the blessed moments I shared with Allah and no one else. I felt God's presence in my life so strongly and I felt stronger from them.
Within weeks after taking shahaddah, I was back into the arms of my man and back into his drama. I agreed to it all. I left the path in many ways in order to be with him. Astragferallah. I thought that I was getting deeper into Islam by marrying a Muslim man but instead I was falling into a trap.
Wallahi; I swear to God, I did everything I could to make that marriage a happy one. I traded away parts of myself in order to be a good wife. I knew that I hadn't been the right person before and I wasn't going to hurt anyone again; I wasn't going to get hurt either. I was going to improve myself to the point that I'd be good enough. Have you ever wished that? Have you ever wished that you were good enough to be loved?
Once again, I failed. My intention was to improve for another person. We can't do that. We must only improve for the pleasure of Allah. With that as our highest hope, even our failures will inshahallah be rewarded. Who I was, wasn't enough for that man.
I was again alone. I waffled between the two worlds I knew. Sometimes I would seek for Allah and sometimes for the next husband. Sometimes I'd go to Allah with my troubles and sometimes to a friend online. I knew I wanted to stay close to Allah but it hurt. It hurt because I wasn't letting go of my preconceived notions of a good life being a happy life.
Allah wore me down. Allah needed me to submit and inshahallah I have. I don't need the happiness. I don't. You can have it. You can have it! What I need is the peace in my life.
Committing to a peaceful life doesn't mean that my life is perfect now. It isn't. I still get mad or sad or jealous. Things can still bug me. Astragferallah for negative emotions which pull at us. I still forget myself and say and do stupid things. The difference now is that I know they are stupid and I ask forgiveness for them. For whatever I don't know I'm doing, I ask forgiveness for them too.
Throughout my days, I ask Allah to bless my life. I want blessings not happiness. If you've never trusted God to give you what is the best for you, then give it a try. Stop trying so hard to squeeze out every last drop of happiness from your life. You don't need to create these moments of bliss on special days because when every day is special there is more to be felt and on a deeper level.
There's a storybook I had as a child called, "Play with Me". I'm pretty sure it's packed away in one of the boxes back in America. The girl chases all the animals in the forest, pleading with them all to play with her. Each one runs away. It isn't until she sits down by the creek and quiets down that a little fawn comes to her. Alhumdulillah, I've quieted down too and now there's a new kind of peaceful happiness coming to me.
Often, I have wished you, "Jummah Mabrook," which many in the West would translate to "Happy Friday." That's not what it means; any more than, "Asalamu Alaykom," means "Greetings". No, we all need a "Blessed Friday", and "Peace from Allah".
I hope you have a day which pleases Allah and that whatever you've read helps you in some way.