The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are upon us and Muslims believe these are the best ten days of the entire year. The Prophet (pbuh), said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” [Bukhari]
They signify the start of the sacred Hajj pilgrimage, and spiritual rewards during these ten days are multiplied many, many, many times over.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struggling to keep up with my ibadah and worship ever since my PTSD kicked in. Some days I have to force myself to do my prayers. I try to be in constant remembrance of God, and I speak to Him a lot but some things are harder to do than others. It took me a long time to be kind to myself about this, and to remember that His mercy and love are greater than my sins and weaknesses, and that whenever I falter, I try to pick myself up again. I’m also aware that the imaan or faith is something that is cyclical – there are times when it’s on a high and there are times when it’s low – and the important thing is to keep going and to do the best I can at any particular point of time. On some difficult days, my best is really to sit on the prayer mat and cry and ask God to hold me, and I’m learning to be okay with that. When people tell me otherwise, like how my struggles are a sign of weak faith and that Allah is angry with me and that I should really fix my relationship with God, I try to remind myself that I am doing the best I can and nobody can take that away from me.
I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things we’re told (or suggested strongly, however you want to see it) to do in these 10 days. I’ve been getting so many messages from well-meaning friends, and it got to a point when I went, “Wow, I can barely take care of myself right now. How am I supposed to do all these deeds?”
Then I remember that Allah is al-Wadud – The One who loves. The One who is the source of all love and loving-kindness. The One who is most affectionate. The Beloved. The One who is deserving of all love and affection. The One who is the goal of the highest love.
And then I remember that the manifestation of love can come in so many forms. Sometimes love comes in the form of allowing another person space to heal and be their best selves. Sometimes it comes in the form of protecting a loved one from afar. Sometimes it’s in mentioning the beloved in prayer. We think there is a fixed way of giving and perceiving love, but there really isn’t.
So I’m going to take heart and show my love, appreciation, and servanthood to Allah in the best ways I can – it may not be what is said to be prescribed such as fasting and prayers though that is what I can aspire to – and strive to always do good deeds and be in a state of remembrance.
I hope you’ll take heart in doing your best too, however it is your best may be.
May His grace, blessings and rewards rain upon us in these blessed days, and may we shower in them in humility, awe, and love.