NOTE: For those not familiar, ‘Dua’ is prayer. Duas is plural for Dua. Its literal meanings are ‘Cry for help and attention’.
One of my dearest friends got married in 2014 after years and years of dua and pleadings. She liked someone the family did not approve of. In our culture, it’s the family who decides where the girl spends the rest of her life and who she spends it with. Mostly the fathers and the brothers feel like it’s on them. And then there is a lot of claptrap about honor, social status, wealth, and repo. Many times the girl’s basic Islamic and human rights are simply overlooked.
But this friend of mine, let’s call her Ayza, was a rebel. She knew she could get her way through by staying consonant with her demand. While I’m no more against love marriages, I was only too young to understand anything then. If two people really ‘think’ they love each other, the only right answer is marriage.
Not only did Ayeza stay consistent with her stance, but she also kept praying for it too. Day and night. Offered all her salat, often fasted, was always reading on the beads, reciting Quran and so on. Her motive was to get married to the guy at any cost. I can’t blame her, our kind of love does that to us. It’s hard to think rationally. There are two types of people, one, who understand that they need love in their lives and the second category is that of the fearful ones. Those too afraid to go near it. For love comes with sheer pain. Anything worth it comes with some degree of pain.
But the idea of love and going out of the way to achieve it is something my society can not understand. No one ‘dares’ to understand what love is. This includes people who claim to love as well. In the name of love what we have is attachments, desire to control, desire to attain, possession, a cage, a prison, a living hell.
Freedom? Respect? Loyalty? Compassion? Care? Forgiveness?
Ah! What are you talking about? That bunkum is far from love. (sarcasm intended)
Anyways Ayeza’s prayers got answered. She got married at the age of 18 to the person she idealized as her ‘perfect’ life partner. Her prayers got answered. What a win.
She moved abroad and had a healthy daughter 3 years down her marriage. We could only awe at the perfect family they were. I, being a part of society that does not wish to understand love, was quite skeptical. It was unusual but I was happy.
We did not talk much but I was happy with my uncertainty; thinking she is happy.
I was wrong. We all were. She was living her worst nightmare.
We think love alone is enough. We forget there is something without which love is just as useless as a plant that is just ugly to look at, has no benefit and no one wants it. It’s a weed. And that something is ‘RESPECT’. Love that has no respect is like a flower bud which died before even blooming. I don’t even understand how we can expect to separate the two.
Ayza came back from abroad with her family; her husband, her daughter and expecting another one soon. While she was near we started taking notice of her. She was always stressed out, anxious, scared and uncomfortable. She was anything but peaceful. There was a storm inside her but she couldn’t let it out. It had to be contained inside of her. On top of that, she lost her second child the day he was born. The only thing she ever said was ‘He killed him’.
Soon the mystery unfolded. She was a constant victim of emotional, mental and physical abuse. This same person who loved her and was ready to die for her was now killing her slowly and aggressively. So much so that one time she landed in the hospital nearly dying from all the abuse her body lodged. That’s when she decided to go for a separation.
All this was a bit too traumatizing for me. I don’t think I can imagine what she went through. But the deepest impact this event had on my life was in my Duas.
I couldn’t escape the thought that she prayed for all of this. What if I’m praying for something that I can’t handle later on in life. My Duas were filled with more fear, hopelessness, uncertainty, and doubt than with faith or belief. They weren’t even half-hearted Duas, they were pretty much heartless.
I thought I’d lost a connection with God. I couldn’t ask for anything without instantly feeling it won’t ever be accepted because I’m so weak in faith at this point.
This was the fault in my Duas.
Dua is asking Allah for help. Allah is the All-Knower. He is the one in whose hand is the Dominion. Everything my mind can encompass and everything beyond it is in His power. When you ask this King for something, you have to put your trust in Him. And He knows when you put your trust in Him.
He knew I wasn’t trusting Him enough. I was aghast at losing one of the most needed connections in life.
A year went by, I was still the same old lost me. A terrible feeling that is.
But then I finally got my light and liberated I was. Finally free of the cage I had trapped myself in.
How to actually make Dua?
We are human beings. We err and we learn. We have doubts and we have uncertainties. We always will. There is no running away from the fact. When I make Dua, there is no way for me to know where this will take me. Doubts will click in. Uncertainty will prevail.
But is that something that should stop me from praying?
Allah knows I don’t know what I’m asking for. He knows for sure I don’t have any clue where this will take me. He knows.
And I trust Him. When I trust Him, will He leave me alone and unstable in the wake of my Duas? No! No! No!
He is unlike any of us humans. He loves it when you put your trust in Him. He won’t break it.
All I have to do is seek whatever I am seeking with all my heart and soul. Trust in Him and be prepared for the results.
Yahya related from Maalik that Zayd ibn Aslam used to say, “No-one makes a dua without one of three things happening. Either it is answered, or it is stored up for him, or wrong actions are atoned for by it.” (Muwatta Imam Malik)
Duas are answered in one way or the other. If you pray with the purest of intentions you either get what you want or you get better. After all, our lives are interconnected and Allah has to take care of all of us. Let Him! It’s His job and He does it best.
Ayeza is now continuing her education. She decided to stand upright and not give up. She decided to give her daughter a better future by not staying with that toxic person. Whatever happened was a lesson and she learned. That’s what life is. Learn and move on. We are not to stay stagnant at one point. We are on a journey and voyagers don’t stop.
Keep making sincere Duas.
For us to find the true meaning of love in this life.
May Allah bless us.