By Calisha Bennet
Has someone ever hurt you so bad and you never even saw it coming? Had you invested all of your trust in them and they betrayed you? You loved them so deeply and they didn’t return the same level of love? We’ve all likely experienced a situation of heartbreak or loss or great heartfelt pain at some stage in life. It is an unfortunate fact of life that those around us have the potential to let us down, make mistakes and possibly cause us great pain.
Since these potentially painful situations are almost a guarantee in life, it would only be wise to have a plan of coping and resilience prepared should such a scenario ever take place (may Allah protect us, Ameen). Should a difficult situation arise in a relationship you have with a friend, relative or loved one, you would already have prepared a way to emotionally and spiritually stay afloat. You could mentally prepare an essential survival kit of sorts in order to navigate the way through your test to a better state and towards brighter days. Many years ago, someone trusted and very close to me absolutely blindsided me and broke my trust in a huge way. Whilst I wasn’t prepared for their betrayal, Allah had planned it that during that very day I had taught a lesson on Qadr (divine decree) to a small group of sisters – as if to prepare me subhanallah. The saying ‘The Lord works in mysterious ways’ comes to mind when I reflect back to that day. The mental and spiritual reminder during the lesson served as an immense source of strength for what I had to deal with later that day. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. Without going into detail, a revelation was disclosed to me about one of my closest people and after a few hours of reflection (and then praying the due prayer at the time), I went to confront the person about what I had been told. The person admitted to what I asked them about and so my devastation began.
I had secretly hoped it was some kind of misunderstanding or rumour but alas, it was not. As I journeyed through the emotional roller-coaster of dealing with the situation that had presented itself to me – the hurt, betrayal, anger, grief, despair etc – I found myself confused as to what to do about it next. Do I continue to confront the person about their transgression until I felt that they had ‘paid’ for their mistake? Do I find my own way to take revenge? Did I have the right to continue to feel resentment and anger towards them? Should I cut ties and totally avoid them? Should I expose the person’s mistake and hold them accountable? Should I forgive them? How would I forgive them? Were they deserving of my forgiveness? What would it mean if I forgave them? And what would it mean if I didn’t? The questions running through my mind were countless. The confusion was endless. And the emotional turmoil was real. I felt no one had the answers I sought. No one could give me advice or words of comfort that would make me feel better. It was like there was no where to turn.
No where but Allah. And so that’s what I did. I turned to Allah at the times when I felt most alone. In the quiet hours of the night, after my household had gone to sleep. It was the sacred time for me to channel my pain. To channel it into my worship. Into my prayer. My duaa. My ruku. My sujood. Into my recitation of the Quran. I channelled my tears, my fears, my confusion and helplessness to my Lord. I begged him for guidance. For mercy. For comfort. I channelled all that pained me, to Him. Allah. I would tell myself that if this situation was according to His decree, then so would the way through it be.
My test was to see if I would turn to the Creator rather than the creation. It was never an absolute relief from how I felt but it was the healthiest and most beneficial way to get through the intensity of what I felt. Channelling my pain to Allah allowed me to feel heard and understood. It allowed me to cry useful and purposeful tears to the One who would hold my words as confidential. By focusing on Allah as the One upon whom I could wholeheartedly trust and who would always honour and be true in my relationship with Him, this allowed the pain from my damaged heart to fade into the background. I was able to discover a bond and closeness with Allah that I had never experienced before. What a strange thing it is wherein such a painful situation (and one which was, at the time, the cause for the greatest sadness I had ever experienced) had become the means for discovering a depth of relationship with Allah SWT that I had never been able to experience before. Suddenly my prayers were so much more heartfelt. My night prayers had become an easy discipline to implement. I felt stronger in my awareness and connection with Allah and less distracted and clouded by petty worldly issues.
How amazing is Allah SWT in how he provides us with tests in order to call us back to Him. In order to remind us of His true power, might and ability in our lives. To remind us that He truly is the ‘be all and end all’ and the One upon whom all of creation depends. Sometimes it take a calamity to serve as a reminder to turn to Him wholeheartedly in dependence and reliance subhanallah.
So that brings me back to the idea of preparing an essential survival kit within yourself for when those difficult times do come. For when you are let down in relationships. So I’d like to leave these tips with you to take on board:
1. Remember that if Allah tests you, that means He loves you and desires for you to utilise the test to draw close to Him.
2. You ultimately have no control above what Allah SWT decrees – submission and acceptance is a must in order to navigate the path forward.
3. Never resort to revenge or rebellion in order to cope with or numb your pain – it’s not worth it to lower your values to get back at someone else.
4. Know that forgiveness doesn’t let others off the hook, rather it frees you from the burdens of the effects of the actions of another.
5. Occasionally reflect on how you would cope with a testing situation and allow yourself to acknowledge than no one in this world is safe from the plan of Allah SWT.
Inshallah these reminders help you with what you might be going through right now or what might befall you in the future.
Remember that you are not defined by what happens to you or how others choose to treat you – rather you are defined by how you carry yourself, by your intentions, character and conduct when situations come your way. You always have the ability to rise above what befalls you. Choose to turn inward (into your soul) and the upward (in prayer and du’aa to Allah SWT). We all go through struggles. Everyone has some sort of battle (whether visible or hidden) so never feel you are alone in your hardship. May we continue to strive, together, towards the inevitable meeting with Our Creator who sees all we endure and overcome. Ameen.
About the author:
Calisha Bennett is the daughter of an Australian convert father and Cocos Islander mother. She is a home-schooling mother of 5 with over a decade of experience as an active speaker, community teacher and mentor of Muslim women, converts and youth. She is the founder of Developing Diamonds which provides identity and success coaching, workshops, courses and retreats for Muslim women around the world.
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