Loneliness is a painful part of the human condition. For all my friendships and all my bonds, nothing ever seems to cure it. Even when a friend, a sister, or a brother is only a word away – it always feels as though it wouldn’t be enough. I don’t always feel alone, but more and more I’m starting to feel as though everything in this dunya (the temporal, material world) is so barren. I no longer find solace in the pleasures of this world. At the same time that I feel like I am being uplifted by my Lord, I’m sinking into an endless heartache.
In fact, I think it’s this chronic loneliness that always kept my heart open to the presence of God. It was only His presence that can possibly fill the void. He reveals himself to me as As-Salam, The (Source of) Peace.
So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief:
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah’s soothing mercy, except those who have no faith.
The hardest thing to make peace with is that He keeps me on this earth for some purpose. In Surat Az-Zumar (39:42), God reveals that in our sleep – our souls return to Him, and He decides whether to keep them through death or to send them back to our bodies for another day. On more than one occasion, I’ve prayed he doesn’t send me back another time. Every day on this earth is another day I have to face the responsibilities before me, and they can be daunting. He gives me the strength to continue living, continue fulfilling my duties, continue learning, and continue serving Him.
I love Him, but there is a great pain in separation. Longing for Him, and wishing for Him to rescue you from the pains of this dunya results in a great heartache. He fills every void, and yet there will always remain a void until He takes me.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?
You feel the separation
from the Beloved.
Invite Him to fill you up,
embrace the fire.
– Maulana Rumi
On these nights, when the world is fast asleep and I remain stirring and thinking, my heart invokes the image of Hazrat Rabi’a al-Basri, one of the greatest of sisters. Orphaned and sold as a slave, she found her only comfort and love in God. Even after being emancipated from bondage, she removed herself from the world and dedicated her entire existence to loving Him. At the heart of it, she was born a slave, and would die a slave. A slave only to Al-Malik (The King). Her love is the purest and most beautiful I have ever heard about, and her suffering and anguish the most heartbreaking.
Deep within my breast lies the reason for my bereavement and pain. This ailment no doctor can remedy. The sole cure of this pain is Union with the Friend, and by mourning I hope that perhaps hereafter I will reach what I seek. Though I was not originally conceived in that Divine Grief, I attempt to simulate the state of those who are truly afflicted with Divine Love, that I may be deemed no less than they.
– Rabi’a al-Basri