With the Divine

An Open Letter to Lonely Souls

https://stocksnap.io/photo/AQH6N0ZRMJDear Lonely Soul,

I thought about you this week when I was struggling. I thought about you again this week when I was reading a verse of the Qur’an. I thought about you again this week when reading an explanation of a verse in the Qur’an.

I thought about you this week.

I made a prayer for you this week.

I sent you loving thoughts this week.

You may be truly alone, or you may have no verbal explanation for this deep down ache that you constantly feel. You may be surrounded by people, everywhere you go. You may never get a moment to yourself, to be physically alone…yet still, you are a lonely soul.

And with that being said, I wanted to reach out today and tell you that YOU may be a special friend of God. Even if it feels like God has not given you all that you feel you need, believe me: He has given you more. And YOU may be a special friend of God.

Because when I think of you, dear lonely soul, I can’t help but remember the Prophet ﷺ (peace be unto him)—who was born, quite lonely. From the start he was born an orphan, and soon after his birth his mother passed away. No human can fully replace the presence of a loving mother and father in a child’s life. Yet this was not a sign that God did not love him. On the contrary, he is the most beloved of all creation to the Lord of the worlds. And he was born, lonely.

And when I think of you, dear lonely soul, I can’t help but remember the companions. Stranded. They were a small group, compared to the disbelievers at one time. When they accepted Islam they were promised that they would have khair maqaam, the best of states—in this world and the next. But their beginning did not seem this way. After their spiritual birth, they were pushed away and cursed by the people. They were made fun of and cut off. They were made to feel like they were outcasts, within their own tribe and people (and this was originally their support system in life). Not only that, but the disbelievers knew exactly how to dig the dagger deep: they called them out on this promise that God had made them. They looked to the Muslims and reminded them that God had told them they would have the best of states, yet this was not what was apparent.

And anyone who knows what being lonely feels like, knows this is not a small claim to say. Anyone who knows what being lonely feels like, knows that this statement itself could cause a lonely soul to, well, break.

What was the response to this? Was this claim ignored, leaving the seeds of doubt to be planted into the hearts of the people? Were the believers warned that if they would even dare to feel pain from such a statement they would have committed shirk/kufr/bidah (polytheism/disbelief/religious innovation)—or whatever other words we like to throw around so easily today?

No.

The response was a divine revelation—a verse of the Holy Qur’an came down upon our beloved Prophet ﷺ, a verse of Divine comfort.

“On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness will (Allah) Most Gracious bestow Love.” (Qur’an, 19:96)

This verse came down to comfort and reassure the companions and the Prophet ﷺ that God would place love for them in the hearts of the people. They would have a safe, strong and comforting community. They would have their high status.

And here is where I thought of you even more, dear lonely soul. In his commentary, Ibn Ajiba radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him) adds a few gems to warm the heart and soul. A dose of hope. He says that it is the custom of God (sunnah of God), when dealing with His special friends of the creation, to allow creation to be against them or distant from them. He allows even this special friend’s close circles to feel distant from them or sometimes worse. And contrary to our first assumption, this is all out of God’s mercy for His special friend. Why? So that this special friend of God comes closer and closer to Him. So that this special friend finds his or her internal home only in God. And once his or her heart is fully attached to God, and purified from seeking a home in anyone else, God opens the proverbial floodgates of love in the hearts of others for him or her. Suddenly, the once lonely soul is surrounded by more people they could imagine. But by this time, the once lonely soul is no longer lonely anyway, because that lonely spot in their heart, that was once aching and screaming, has already been filled with a beautiful relationship between God and this very special friend.

And so, dear lonely soul, I pray that this is the case for you. I pray that God takes your situation and causes it to be a means for you to return to Him in heart and soul, and that you truly do fulfill your potential of being His special friend.

And you can pray for that too. Ask Him to take your pain and make it a healing. Take your pain and make it of ultimate benefit for your relationship with Him. And when you ask Him, know He will respond. He will answer your plea. He has already promised that.

                                                                                                            With Love,

                                                                                                            Reehab

About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.

14 Comments

  • I had journaled yesterday how my loneliness causes me this excruciating pain that I am even embarrassed to share with anybody because then people give me suggestions to “be strong” and seek therapy (which I am alhamdulillah already). But after constant denial, I realized that my feelings are legitimate and if nobody validates them, at least I can do that myself because Allah knows. He does.

    And amid that despair when I looked up the ayah that was playing in my head, I was shocked to read the latter part of it:

    “Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” – Quran 2:268

    That He promises me forgiveness and bounty even if my lack of resources is overwhelming enough to cause me despair and hence seek comfort through means that may not be moral. And that He knows the state of my heart. And because of his all-emcompassing knowledge, He WILL give me an E for effort because He is aware of our individual circumstances.

    Thank you sister Reehab. Your words always come at the right point in my life. May Allah bless you for giving him to so many lonely souls like mine. Reading the articles on this website is the first thing I do every morning. May Allah bless you all with this world and the next! Ameen.

    • Reading this brought a smile to my face, sister:
      “But after constant denial, I realized that my feelings are legitimate and if nobody validates them, at least I can do that myself because Allah knows. He does.”

      Not because you were in denial, but because you realized that your feelings DO matter. You feel what you feel, for a reason. Pain/loneliness/discomfort is not to be pushed aside or to be minimized. These are all real feelings and you have the *right* to feel them, as a human being. When we look at the stories of the Prophet, we never EVER see him minimize the pain of the people around him–he comforts them. He lets them know their pain is real, and that he is with them. One of my favorites is that of a young boy whose pet bird died. The Prophet asked why the young boy was sad, and when he heard it was because of his pet dying he empathized with him in a kind comforting way, making the child smile.

  • What a beautiful piece mashaAllah! May Allah bless you infinitely for sharing these lovely thoughts, especially on the blessed day of jumu’ah 🙂

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I felt this on a deep, spiritual level. You’ve truly captured the feeling of being surrounded by people and still being lonely. That ache you mention is a constant reminder that our souls are unhappy in this world. They yearn to remember and return to Allah swt. I hope you achieve whatever you desire in life. May Allah bless you with peace. Ameen.

  • SubhanAllah. He is ever aware of our moments of solitude and knowing that comforts me tremendously. BarakAllahu feeki, and may Allah bestow upon you His Wudd.

  • Reehab, thank you very much for posting this article. It touched a familiar nerve in my heart. May Allah bless you and your family tremendously in this life and the next and all the muslims as well. Ameen.

  • Dear Reehab, I have no words to thank you for reaching out to people like us, who are broken and shattered and lonely and need to be loved by that one person we love so much, for letting us know that indeed we are not really unloved, that our closest friend our Wali, , is with us, calling out to us, thank you for this hope, this reassurance, May ALLAH grant u peace in this world and in the hereafter,. Ameen.

  • Salaam. Thank you for this essay. Yes, to be blunt, there are many “lonely souls” in this world. Older people who, for whatever reason (and there can be various reasons) never married and have no children. People who have poor, at best, family ties. People who have been mentally troubled much of their lives and were never able able to make many friends. People who may fall into all three of these categories at the same time. (I speak from personal experience.)

    Then, in mature age, they are attracted to Islam. They read a bit, talk a bit to someone (who may only poorly speak their language), think that it may be “the right thing” to do to profess themselves Muslim, so they take Shahadah. They they run smack face into the ugly reality of the Muslim community in North America, in which in many places (I do not say all) converts, especially older ones, are more or less ignored, so in the midst of a community they remain alone. In all their loneliness, they remain alone.

    May Allah (swt) have mercy on us all.

  • Assalaam-mu alaikum sister Reehab, I’ve been struggling to find the words to sufficiently thank you for this letter.All that i can do is make dua for you with all my heart and soul, for my Allah to reward you abundantly with the best in this world & the hereafter. May He fulfill your innermost hearts desires, help you through all your difficulties that you may be facing & may He continue to inspire you to reach the hearts & souls of all those who read your beautiful articles. ameen!I so desperately needed to hear those words and SubhanAllah, my Allah knows this and once again ,He brought these words to me and to the many others who desperately needed to hear them.I found myself crying throughout this letter especially when i read that it is the Sunnah of Allah SWT….truly this alone, brings SUCH hope and comfort…. and Ameen my dear sister to the dua you made in your letter… JazakAllah khair once again for this beautiful letter…please remember me & all of us in your duas…with all my love,salaams & duas.wasalaam

Leave a Reply to nas786 X