When You Feel Like Your Worship Isn’t Enough (A Personal Story)
Last night, I felt groggy, nauseous and incapacitated to stand up for the entire Qiyam prayer. It was inexorably agonising for me as I just wasn’t able to feel the sweetness of the prayer and instead sat down, switched my phone on and started reading through the extensive du’a requests I received, supplicating for each one with the bottom of my heart. In those moments, I was glum and in low spirits as I just couldn’t determine what was wrong, I had been able to stand in prayer every other night, what was the matter today, I mused. By this time, my throat was sore and I felt light-headed and dizzy. Standing on my left was an old, frail woman who continued to strive despite her old age and apparent frailty. The day before yesterday my gaze fell on a woman whose feet were cracked with deep slits and cuts and there I was, feeling indisposed beyond measure, despite the fact that I am younger and that my age should put me in an advantageous position, with greater resilience and strength but things sprung back unexpectedly, it wasn’t what I had bargained for.
Once the Qiyam prayers were over, my mother, sister and I advanced towards our hotel and I was lamenting over my situation, moping about how I wasn’t able to complete all the units of prayer. I was met with a predicament of sorts in the midst of taraweeh prayer, which hindered me from completing those as well which only further aggravated my dissatisfaction. I reflected over this situation, feeling inadequate yet still pinning my hopes onto Allah. And here is my conclusion after all the inward tears and anguish was over (it’s still lingering, to be honest) but anyway,
We’ve been made to believe that the only time a deed is acceptable, of merit and value in the sight of Allah- is when it is in prodigious amounts, it must be in large proportions. But seldom do we ever talk about how, in the sight of Allah, it is not quantity that matters but quality, that holds real precedence. You can engage in acts of goodness all day but if your heart isn’t present and you are not really doing it for the right reasons, then of what worth are the numbers? The scales of our deeds are measured in terms of quality and intentions, not numbers, let us remember that and not become despondent. Madinah was that trajectory for me that paved way to self-actualisation, for me. It lent me understanding of my capabilities and my shortcomings, my strengths and weaknesses, failings and victories. Let us NEVER belittle ANY good. Even if it’s simply making use of miswak before every salah because you know Allah loves it. Or smiling in the face of your brother/sister in Deen because you know that too, within Islam, is a noble act of charity. Or picking up a piece of thorn or anything from the pavement that might be an obstacle in someone’s path. Giving up your seat to an older, out of courtesy and compassion. Or to the younger ones, out of love and mercy. Spending in charity even when you know you could have invested the money somewhere else. Remember this verse from the Qur’an, it will prompt you to spend in the way of Allah,
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِّأَنفُسِكُمْ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can; listen and obey; and spend in charity, that is better for yourselves. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, then they are the successful ones. [Surah At- Taghabun: chapter 64 verse 16.]
Even deeds such as holding back from arguments when you’re tempted to rebuke another, is recorded as a good deed, a charity. Uttering ‘La ilaha Il Allah’ under your breath when no one knows. Looking away from that person of the opposite gender who you find to be so good-looking, you could gaze unceasingly but stop yourself because you know Allah is watching. Leaving the restroom sink clean for the next person who enters. Sharing your food with those around you. Being nice. The simply things. The things that come so easy to us all but we undermine.
If you, too, weren’t able to do “enough” last night or perhaps the last 2-3 nights of Ramadan that are pending, then look to what your strengths are, the deeds that Allah has made easy for you and increase in them manifold, with the sincere intention of earning his Pleasure. We truly never know which deed will shield us from the wrath of Allah and grant us salvation and mercy. Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t belittle your effort, no matter how seemingly small they are to you. You are meant to do great things, you can outdo yourself. But judging our deeds against someone else’s is now how one gets things done. People should not be our benchmark. The desire to excel, move forward, progress and please Allah alone, should.
May Allah SWT enable us to make the most of the days to come and may He make us amongst those who are conscious of Him. May Allah SWT make the scale of our good deeds, heavy. Ameen.