At birth, we enter this world with purity and innocence connected with Allah Almighty, born Muslims, without ego or selfishness.
Over time, we begin to recognize our own needs and realize that securing those needs involves pleasing others, especially our parents. Often we begin to fall away from closeness to Allah the Almighty and the teachings of Islam.
Being born with free will, we have desires that conflict with those of others. Fearing abandonment by parents or losing their love, we hide things out of self-preservation – or to fulfill our selfish desires – sometimes blaming others for our mistakes.
I was raised in an authoritarian and abusive family, hiding things in fear of punishment and lacking trust with my family.
This upbringing marked the beginning of my viewing God as a punishing God, a reflection of my family. My family did not want me; I felt abandoned by them and God.
Feelings of Shame
Growing up, we may do things that make us feel ashamed, causing us to feel separated from Allah the Almighty. We lose our conscience, trying to hide our faults, fearing loss of respect and value, afraid of losing those close to us if we are sincere and honest.
We start to wear a mask and become hypocritical. Many times in my life, there were moments when I truly opened-up to those I felt were trustworthy and ended-up getting hurt. I began to hate myself and feel worthless, yet others saw me as accomplished.
In front of Allah the Almighty, we cannot wear a mask or hide behind pain or deception. Allah knows every secretive or horrible thing we do to inflate our egos.
I, too, had developed a mask to avoid the judgment of others; wearing a mask became natural. Instead of turning in my pain to hurt others, I hurt myself more by living in grief and depression. I was not living authentically. And I allowed myself to become enveloped in a cloud of depression that blocked out the light of Allah the Almighty; I fell short of Him – if I even thought of Him at all.
Our lives fall into jeopardy when the ability to recognize reality is lost. While disconnected from reality, we tend to be materialistic and numb to our feelings. Forgetting the commandments of Allah the Almighty, we lose our moral compass, finding ourselves feeling lost and without a purpose for living.
In the face of harsh rejection, our deceptions fail, the mask falls off, and we can no longer pretend anymore. We succumb to feeling our lives are ruined, our shame overwhelming, and in this pain, we self-isolate.
At this point, many will sincerely turn to God Almighty. After the barriers have fallen, and the realization awakens in our hearts, that there is none other than God Almighty who will accept our true selves. He said:
Do not be afraid, I am with you both, hearing and seeing everything. (Quran 20:46)
It was a very dark night when I turned to Almighty Allah and asked for His forgiveness. I had no one to stand beside me. I prayed that He would help me regain my life. And I realized that His existence was real and that I could turn to Him. It was Allah Almighty who restored my will to live.
Allah Almighty tells us:
And beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful. (Quran 24:31)
Islam saved me and gave me a code of behavior and guidance. It gave me a sense of conscience and responsibility. Allah Almighty turned His face towards me with sincerity and love. He is our reality, loving us no matter what type of person we have become, and with sincere repentance, offering His forgiveness and redemption.
Allah Almighty knows our intentions – nothing remains hidden from Him – His being contains the Heavens and the Earth. The Laws of the Universe operate on His command. He wills that a leaf should fall and is fully aware of it.
Realizing that I could be sincere with Almighty Allah was a pivotal point in my life. He loves me and knows me for who I am. He is not vindictive or set solely on punishment. And He will forgive all our sins if we are genuinely remorseful and commit to not repeating them. I could be sincere with Him with my heart. With a newfound purpose in life, I became reborn.
I realized that I should behave with integrity and sincerity toward others and to be sincere with myself. I stopped pretending. The ego-driven need to please others was gone, replaced by a desire to be in service to those who are less fortunate.
In my sincerity with Allah Almighty, I began lovingly nurturing real relationships with others. And with my newfound inner peace, I became more compassionate and empathetic.
In finding Him, the world became beautiful again. All the walls of disassociation were gone. I now see the beauty of the world through new eyes. Through the grace and sincerity of Allah Almighty, I accepted reality for what it is and His role in it.
I now feel as close to Allah Almighty as if I were a newborn baby. I feel awe and gratitude for my existence. Now I live in the moment, striving to fulfill my obligations with love.
Almighty Allah’s commandments no longer seem like a burden. In approaching Him with love and sincerity, He has become my cherished friend.
For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (Quran 94:5)
I do not fear death. I embrace the love, oneness, and unity of Allah Almighty, now and forever.