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a change of heart

Have you ever felt your life was too good that you kept wondering what had you done to deserve such blessings? I have. And the feeling had been a trigger for what I call as a change of heart. 

Last year, to me, my life was brilliant and good things kept being thrown on my lap and dreams kept coming true, it made me worried because I didn’t remember I did something extraordinary. When you’re aware you were not a particularly good student who was diligent and obedient, and you’re given A all the time and the most unfortunate that could happen was B+, you had to be worried, right? 

I forget exactly when, but it just struck me that what I saw as happiness and dreams coming true could be a test from the Almighty. As muslim, we know that test for our faith does not always come in a form of hardships, more than what we think, it comes even more often in a form of wealth, power, and worldly happiness which is simply an illusion. I was so sure I had been tested and I said to myself I could not just sit and enjoy the firework, I had to do something.

After some time I kept that uneasiness alone, I eventually told my husband about this thing that bothered me. He said he too had felt it, he’s afraid after given abundant happiness, a misfortune would happen. Life is a roller coaster, after all. However, as much as I worried something similar like what he felt, I wanted to believe that God is good. Allah is the merciful and the most compassionate, Ar Rahman Ar Rahim. Allah does not do give-and-take. He gives. Always gives and never tires. And by that, I thought it’s only right that we showed our gratitude for all the blessings. 

Because last year I traveled more than I usually did in a year, so, it came to me the idea of performing our first umrah. I thought how could we go to many places, but visiting His house was never in our top 10 list. At our age, in our financial state, it’s indeed very shameful that we never had done a single trip to Mecca yet. We had an endless bucket list to fulfill, but none of those was for Him. A friend of mine, around that time, she had just returned from her hajj, and she said something I never forget. She said, as an avid traveler, she’s afraid she would’ve die before having done hajj. I totally understood and agreed with her sentiment back then, since for many of us, Hajj is no longer optional. For most of us, middle-class muslims at their late 30s, we physically and financially afford to perform hajj. It’s even more so with umrah. 

After the decision that yes we had to go umrah in early 2017, don’t think the plan went as easily as turning my hand over. Shortlisting the travel agents was not hard since one of my closest friends had pretty broad knowledge about it and I as well already had a couple of names to look into. However, it was the temptation to postponing it that came often. The tight of his work schedule, the details like adding my father’s name to be my third and last name in my passport ( had initially thought it’d become a problem for my planned holiday’s visa). Moreover, when you’d been told how much you needed to pay. 😀 hahaha .

They all were part of the test. Even back then I knew, we knew, it wouldn’t happen that easy. Like, we would be tested how strong our will to go there. I am actually smiling now while typing, remembering how often the idea to move the plan to several months come across our mind. Or the thought of simply giving up and thinking about it again later after all the hassle of our traveling cum holidaying season was over. But luckily, we still had some sense intact 🙂 , we knew once we gave in and postponed it, it would be years to eventually do it. So we tried to fight our own demon. I started browsing lots of pictures, reading people’s experiences, and I don’t know, they made my heart swollen with a strange melancholy feeling and I simply couldn’t wait to be there soon. Even the thought of spending 3 weeks in Tokyo had lost its glitters. Suddenly, I felt we really had to go umrah, at all cost. 

Those who are close to me must know, I need everything in my life organized, planned. How I love routines and dislike to be hurried. I like to have an ample time from one occasion to another. Having said that, at that time, between husband’s business trip, HK trip, family’s event, Japan’s trip, definitely I needed to gather all my will power to be unwavering.

Alhamdulillah, all was finally well. We had the privilege to meet beautiful and inspiring souls during the trip. I cried like I never had. There, all I saw were self-surrender, humility, and simplicity. I felt little and seeing those thousands of people there, I kept asking myself “what had I done all my life? how could I be so far behind and let myself drown in nothingness of this world?”

That moment praying right in front of Kaabah and seeing many muslims in every possible skin colors and in every possible condition performing the same thing, yes, they did indeed profoundly affected me. But to be brutally honest, it was my father’s death and watching him buried that had shaken my soul and my heart tremendously. Death had never been presented that up close and personal to me before. Since then, I promised myself that I had to seriously start rebuilding my relationship with Allah. I know He “doesn’t need” me to change, it’s me who desperately need His mercy. I need to put myself ready in a race mode toward goodness because I’m fully aware I’d lost so much time.  I need this change not only for myself, but as well for my parents and my husband. 

I am sincerely aware that this journey to seek knowledge and to learn to become a better muslim is still very long. In fact, it’s almost a never ending path which I’m sure it only ends when one dies. And because it’s a long journey and possibly hard sometimes, I am in desperate need to have friends with similar goal, friends that remind each other in goodness and in patient as steadfastness is for sure not an easy task. I fortunately have a few, but more are needed in order to face this world of temptation and illusion, especially in this era where people worship the wrongs and laugh at the rights. 

That’s why a while ago I started to brave myself to little by little share good knowledge here and there, in a hope of gaining more friends for this journey. I realized it was a risky movement to do it in social media, potentially few friends leave me because they’re uncomfortable with I am now, but to think about the reward, I think it’s all worth it. Let’s say, a post shared, from like 100 who see it, maybe 50 do not care at all, 35 might dislike it, 14 would think about what I share and contemplate it, and only one person truly learn something from it and apply it and share it again to others. With that possible scenario, I’ll take the risk. 

For sure I’ll be heartbroken if I lose a friend, but life is always about making choices. I always believe how we live now is a product of choices we made. No one always make right choices in their entire lifespan. Most of the time, we make terrible ones. They all make us human. And I am sure Allah did not create us to always be right and always be righteous for He is The Oft-Forgiving and The Most Merciful. So, if people can not see the light now, be it. I too used to ignore those signs. Perhaps they’ll find it when the time is right. We don’t need to always share the same path to reach one destination, anyway.

Toto and I, we’d like the idea of being better in faith without changing our identity. We are still the same persons, hopefully with better characters. It’s said, the best dawah is your manner, the best advice is your example. We try our best to live by this saying. 

Cheers.

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