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Reflections Spiritual Purification

The Hardest Company to Keep

By Umm Ibrahim

Dearest Heart,

You are closer to me than my own two sides, a Divinely apportioned piece of my very existence, sometimes dark and sometimes alight. You’re with me everywhere I go, a fixed companion, running so deep that sometimes I don’t know where you end and I begin. You can be a seat of spiritual happiness for the one who possesses you; brimming with a light no other vessel can contain, seeing beyond seeing. And at other times – and in truth, that’s most of the time with me, dear Heart – you can be the very opposite. At those times, you are the hardest company for me to keep.

Bit by bit it started, all by my own doing: weaknesses and heedlessness, blind indulgence and conscious ignorance; brazenly sinning while turning a blind eye to the spiritual illnesses developing within. One sin after another I committed, until you became almost unrecognizable beneath the layers of darkness building up inside. And I kept committing sins even when the pleasure was gone, just because the habit was so deeply fixed. Even when the sweetness became bitter, and the initial charm of the deeds I was committing became stale and repugnant, I continued, seeking to dull the ever-growing pain inside without too much introspection. “A cup I drank to taste its pleasure, and then another to chase its pain.”

I filled you with all manners of worldly things, but the aching and emptiness would not abate. Somehow, I deluded myself into thinking that the wounds would heal by these methods, and that the inner damage – self-inflicted – would somehow come to be repaired on its own. And I forced myself not to care. I lost something so precious when I lost you, dear Heart, beneath the darkness of sins and the choking hold of worldly attachments. I was a tightly closed shell whose pearl had somehow slipped away.

I found myself with pain running so deep, habits so ingrained, a path so steep before me… and heart-less, in the truest meaning of that word. It was hard for me to see a way to turn back.  But it’s there: I’ve found it, and it’s time.


Dearest Heart,

I’ve come to realize my absolute need for Allah (swt), down to my very core, and to see where I’ve gone wrong. How foolish to think that a spiritual vessel like you would be satisfied with less than His remembrance. You have taught me the truth of my existence: that without connection to Him, without the happiness of knowing Him and being true to Him, one will feel a painful emptiness, a sorrow, that cannot be filled with anything else.

I’m ready to strip away empty promises and convoluted excuses. I want to walk on this path upright, penitent, aware of my faults but constantly seeking a way back to Him. I need you with me dear Heart, and I pray it’s not too late. I’ll try my best to heal your wounds, and scrub away to your polished core, by His permission, through worship, His remembrance, and His aid. The path ahead is not an easy one and I know I’ll make mistakes, but I hope you’ll keep my company as we travel this road, the road of repentance, together. I will do right by you, God-willing, and you in turn, I pray, will help me reach His nearness.

Sincerely,

Me

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