Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV
A Letter to the Heart that is Numb
To the heart that is numb,
Standing in taraweeh (Ramadan night prayers) while everyone is weeping – except you. Your friends talk about how exhilarating fasting is for them – but all you feel is irritation; and that is if you feel anything at all. Your du`as (supplications) are just words you repeat – without heart.
What is the point of all of it? Your actions are robotic. Monotone. Without soul.
You wish you could be like that person praying next to you in taraweeh who sobs during every prostration. You want to be the one passionately pleading with Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) with humility. Your hope is that you can be that person whose heart is broken before God.
You know what, though? You, too, are special to Allah (swt).
You who recites the Qur’an because you know it is good.
You who prays because Allah (swt) commanded you to.
You who attends lectures on Islam because you want to feel closer to Him.
The Prophet ﷺ told us that the person who recites the Qur’an and struggles with the recitation receives twice the reward: for their recitation and for their effort and struggle. Ibn Al-Qayyim used this hadith (tradition of the Prophet ﷺ) as the basis for his statement that the person who struggles to be devoted in prayer gets twice the reward: for the parts that he was devoted, and for his struggle to stay focused.
As long as you are trying, Allah (swt) is with you.
The fact that you get up to pray qiyaam (night prayer) even though you feel nothing is appreciated by Allah (swt). When you mouth the words to your du`a even when your heart is numb, Allah (swt) knows how you feel. And you are rewarded for that. Do not think that this will go to waste.
Allah (swt) gets it.
Because you are not worshiping a feeling. You do not bow down solely for that ‘high’. You prostrate only to the Lord of the feelings and the One who is the Most High. You submit to Him – through your prayers, fasting and supplication – because you know you have a Merciful, Just, Appreciative, Forgiving God, Who has the power to give life to everything that is dead.
Including your heart.
You know you have a Nurturing, Patient, Generous, Subtle and Kind Lord who is can bring back whatever is lost.
He can bring you back.
So to the heart that is numb: Do not give up just yet. Your heart is on a journey. You are first and foremost worshiping your Lord. And He has promised you:
“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” (Qur’an, 29:69)
As long as you are doing good, Allah (swt) will guide you and He is with you. Do you know what that means?
Imam Ash-Shawkani stated that Allah (swt) being with someone means more care, honoring and preference for the person.
And you what else? Allah loves what you do. He tells us:
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.” (Qur’an, 19:96)
Allah will not only love you, but He will show that love for you. He will bestow His affection upon you, and your heart will feel it.
So keep trekking. Your heart will open – He is, after all, al-Fattah. Al-Fattah is He who opens whatever is closed; your heart included. You might wonder when and how, but just know that it will happen. It could be on the last night of Ramadan or it could be a month after Ramadan – your heart will open, God willing. The daily exercise you do might not look like much, but you will inevitably see the results if you persevere. Similarly, your good actions slowly chip away at what has been hardening your heart and, eventually, you will feel.
And if it gets too much, just talk to Allah (swt). Tell Him how you feel, and tell Him how you want to feel. Do it every night, and every time you feel empty. God is there; never underestimate your turning to Him. ‘Turning to Him’ does not just mean prayers and supplications; you can just tell Him what is in your heart.
On the Day of Judgment, you will be grateful for your perseverance and your hope in Him, because it will matter more than you will ever know. So push yourself and exert all the effort you can muster. The tiniest ray of light can brighten the darkest of places.
A fellow heart that is* numb
Thanks for this article. This really speaks out what I felt for the past few days. I read al Quran, I did Qiyam, I did make a lot of dua, but still I feel a little bit numb. Reading this, I feel I understand myself better. I knew at least Allah appreciate what I have done so far. It is just me that need to put more “souls” into my reading, qiyam and dua.
Thanks again sister!
Jazaak Allaah bil khair for sharing this story, sister Jinan. I’m currently undergoing counselling and this reassured me that Allaah has not forsaken me just because I cannot wholeheartedly accept Him.
To anyone out there who’s feeling depressed, I’d like to share my favorite verses from Surah Ad-Duha (#93) – which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and via him to us, where Allaah speaks directly to the recipient of these lines:
“Your guardian Rabb has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased (with you).
And the Hereafter will be better for you than the present.” (92:3-4)
Barak Allah fik .
Thank you , very encouraging .
My heart extremely touched by every single words. Love it.
Assalammualaikum sister Jinan. I am deeply touched and really appreciate this post. Idk how i came across this blog as i first found it around May 2018. And fast forward to now, it is the second day of Ramadhan 2019. I think i copied this link to my own personal keep when i found it the first time and i just checked it out again today. Allah is definitely the greatest. Thank you so much for the write up. Alhamdullillah to Allah i found this blog post again today so i wont giving up. And be more hopeful towards Him. May Allah bless you sister Jinan and may allah ease all of your affairs, your affairs and everyone that reads this dunya akhirah insha Allah. May allah keep us steadfast on His deen. Please pray for me as well. Thank you.
Asalaamu alaikum, may Allah bless you and every person involved in making this website..Ameen..you guys have truly helped me see things differently and I feel like you should know..jazakallah khair
I must say I found this article today and it really saved my numb heart that lost warmth due to fear from this epidemic.I just stopped feeling anything this ramadan and weeks before it. But god is there and god understands. Thank you for reminding me of that.