A Time for Healing


The following is based on a  video talk, “In The Shade of Ramadan: A Time for Healing,” by sister  Muslema Purmul. Ramadan is a time for spiritual growth and repentance to Allah – why not also make it a time for healing? We share the transcript of Muslema Purmul’s words below:  

Assalamu alaikum, and welcome to this episode of “In the Shade of Ramadan.”

Insha’Allah today, we’re going to be talking about utilizing the month of Ramadan as a month of healing and recovery. It has been a very long year, and some of us have experienced all sorts of trials – from divorce, to death in the family, to maybe falling out with some friends. Maybe people are having issues in this economy finding good employment, or they’re having issues with their kids. Maybe people are suffering from different types of addiction. Maybe they’re just unhappy.

And subhanAllah, this is the time of year to really look into that and try to heal from a lot of the injuries we’ve experienced, heal from a lot of the experiences that have caused pain. And by healing, I’m referring to a spiritual healing such that a person can come out of a situation and still feel whole, and not be traumatized by whatever it was that they’ve gone through.

And the first thing I want us to think about is that this life was not meant to be easy.  Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentioned in the Quran, “Verily, we have created man in toil” [90:4], in struggle, in trial.  This is something we expect from this life.  But at the same time, we’re supposed to face those struggles and trials with faith; and in such a way that we can walk away from them gracefully, even; with compassion; becoming a better person instead of becoming worse.

So the first thing I want us to think about in regards to this is to forgive yourself, and to forgive others.  And I say “forgive yourself” because sometimes, we think the problem is with others, but in reality, it’s a strong level of discontentment with one’s own self that’s nagging the person and causing them to feel pain.  So realize that you have the ability to forgive yourself.  And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an, “Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful” [39:53].

Never despair from the mercy of Allah. Whatever it is that you’ve done or gone through, don’t despair from His mercy. The other thing is: sometimes, the person has been traumatized by what someone has done to them.  Forgive them as well. This is the time for forgiveness.

And the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam told us that if a person ever suffers an injury from someone else and they forgive that person, then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will raise that person’s rank, and will forgive the forgiver’s own sins. SubhanAllah, your forgiveness is a reason to be forgiven.  So practice forgiveness inshAllah, and also remember that the person who does not show mercy is not shown mercy.  Practice forgiveness of yourself and practice the forgiveness of others.

And it’s easier said than done. It’s something that I know will take me five minutes to say, but it will probably take days to actually think about, reflect on, and do. But make that a goal for yourself.

The second step is to appeal to Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala as a means of getting through whatever it is that you’ve gone through. And He has many names that we can reflect on. One of the names that we can appeal to Him through that will help us, insha’Allah, is His name “As-Salam.” The Giver of Peace.  Appeal to Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala, The Giver of Peace, to give you peace again; to give your heart peace, to give your mind peace.

You can also appeal to His other beautiful name “Ash-Shafee,” The Healer, and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to heal the wounds that you don’t see; to heal the wounds that you know are there, but you don’t even know how they’ve affected you.

And the third one is to appeal to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as “Al-Hadee,” The Guide, The Ultimate Guide.  Because a lot of times when people go through something difficult, it affects their understanding.  The experience somehow leaves them scarred in such a way that they leave confused.

There’s a line from a cartoon movie that I remember, “The Tale of Despereaux” – it’s a cartoon movie, and yet it has a lot of really interesting, adult lessons. One of the lines that struck me is “Sometimes when a heart breaks, it grows back crooked.” SubhanAllah, it’s natural for people to experience difficult trials and to feel their heart break in the midst of those trials, especially things that include feeling betrayed by someone else, or let down by someone else.

In these situations, it’s easy to be shaped in a bad way.  Someone has a bad marriage experience, so they go and hate all men; or someone has a bad experience with a woman, and they start to see all women in a bad way. Whatever the case is, we ask that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allows us to not walk away from those experiences scarred and crooked, but rather we want to come back whole and better.

So appeal to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, “Al-Hadee,” to guide us, and to guide us in our understanding, as He is the Supreme Guide.

The third thing is to not just use becoming close to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as a means to get through the difficulties; He’s also the goal. He’s not just the means, He’s also the goal.  So at the end of the road, you want to go back to Him.

The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam has a beautiful statement where he basically says that: if someone is seeking the dunya [this world], then he’ll find all of his affairs scattered, as though he can’t collect them; and if someone is seeking Allah subhanu wa ta’ala and the akhirah [the Hereafter], he’ll find that all of his affairs are gathered, and the dunya will actually come after him, even though he’s not seeking it.

And it requires of us to have a certain degree of zuhd [asceticism] – to have things physically around us, but those things are not in our hearts, because our hearts are actually filled with the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself.

Sometimes a lot of the experiences people go through in terms of addictions is because they’re looking for that acceptance or that validation through something; or they’re filling their heart with something because they feel that emptiness. And what their heart is really seeking is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.  And your heart will never be satisfied with anything – not with television, not with addictions, not with any of the things you’re doing (or we’re doing) – your heart will never be satisfied except by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself.

And the fourth step is that sometimes the problems are bigger than just praying and going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in terms of worship, but we actually have to go and get professional help.  Professional help should not be seen as a taboo, it shouldn’t be seen as if you’re crazy or something – it’s something that you should see as a means of tazkiya, of purifying your heart from ills.  So go and get professional help if that’s the next step for you, if you’ve experienced something that’s traumatizing or something that you feel will affect you later in life in terms of marriage or family.

This is a time to recover and heal, so go and get professional help. You’ve taken the first step by [reading this]. And we know the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wasallam that someone who takes a step towards Allah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala goes to them an arms length; and if you go to Him an arm’s length, He comes to you a fathom’s length; and if you go to Him walking, then He comes to you rushing.

So be happy that you’ve taken the first step.  Now take the second and third and fourth and fifth step to really try to recover and heal from whatever you’ve experienced. And remember that you’re worth it, and you’re not beyond recovery. Don’t think, “I’m so screwed up right now, nothing can help me.”  That’s not true.  That’s the Shaytaan and his waswasa [whispers].  You can easily get out of whatever situation you’re in, you just have to be willing to struggle a little bit longer, a little bit harder to get through it.

And choose this month, this year, this Ramadan to really heal and recover from whatever you have experienced, insha’Allah.

May Allah subhanau wa ta’ala grant you a blessed Ramadan, and may He grant you a blessed healing and recovery.