If Tomorrow Never Comes

10

Guest writer Mdm Z tells of how a frightening trial changed her perspective and approach to life.

The hijab is not just a covering to me. It is a reminder to me that I belong to Allah and to Him I will return. That He is my Creator and I have to respect that which he has entrusted me to care for – myself. It is such a simple concept and yet as a twenty year old, it was not a concept that I was keen to think about. At twenty, life was so full of excitement and new experiences and adventure. There was just too much to do – college assignments and research, my social life and family commitments. Islam was part of my life too but it was just the basics that I did to fulfill my belief. It was going through the motions of being a Muslim – praying, fasting, giving charity, reading the Quran, and occasionally I’d be able to squeeze in a sermon at the mosque into my already full schedule. I only thought that I was alive and I was living it. But really I was still asleep.

In the spring of that year, I began to feel a dull pain in my lower back especially when I sat. Believing that it was probably an injury I sustained while playing netball I decided to ignore it. The pain worsened gradually and soon I was not able to sit upright nor lie on my back. The doctor suggested a visit to the chiropractor. Contorting myself and hearing bones “crack” did nothing to ease the pain and in a week I was hardly able to stand upright, the pain was nauseating, I was running a fever and my chest hurt from having to lie on my stomach all the time. There was something seriously wrong. Another visit to a different doctor got me a ticket to the ER. I had an abscess which should have been easily cured with antibiotics but because it had been left unchecked, was about to erupt and unless it was surgically removed, it would be fatal.

As I lay by myself with just a meager slip to cover me, while I waited for the nurses and doctors to make their presence felt, I suddenly realized how alone I was. The cold room, the glaring lights, the sudden deathly silence that enveloped me; how inadequate I felt. There was no family, no friends, no worldly possessions, no name, no certificates – nothing. At that moment, I asked myself, “If tomorrow never comes, how much have I done in life that will speak for me in death? How will my Creator regard me as his creation?” I felt even more alone than ever. I was so ashamed of myself. If life was an exam, I had failed. But shamefacedly, I realized, that I was not alone. HE was here with me when I had nothing else. Reading my duas gave me a sense of calm. HE had not abandoned me even if I had not done enough to gain HIS favor.

I made a silent prayer, I said my shahadah in case I never got to say it as my last words, and then I made a promise to myself that if tomorrow comes, it would be a new day for me. Tomorrow I will awake. My life is a gift. My journey to get closer to HIM will start with the hijab. It would be a reminder for me that it is to HIM I belong and HIM I must please.

It was just a small piece of cloth covering my head but it would bring about big changes in my life. It changed my family, my friends, my lifestyle, my personality, my beliefs – my life. It was challenging but I had a promise to keep and I had faith that I was doing the right thing. If this was a test, then I was bent on passing it with flying colors. It has been 15 years since that day. May Allah continue giving me strength to follow the right path and not the paths of those who have angered HIM and those who have gone astray. May HE continue to be by my side, show me mercy and shower me with love. And if tomorrow never comes, at least I know I had a starting point.

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Submitted to I Got It Covered for our May 2010 reader-takeover month. Visit Mdm Z’s food blog, full of her most treasured recipes, at http://www.sahmsite.info.