Would we eat without the pangs of hunger? Would we drink without feeling thirst? Would we sleep without feeling fatigue or drowsiness? Would we cry without feeling sorrow? These are some questions I’ve asked myself when I wonder why so many people tend to find God, religion, or spirituality in times of great dis-ease and despair. Suddenly, I felt inspired to write a letter to God thanking Her for all that She is and for all that I am. In labyrinthical terms, this is my letter to the God in me that resides within me in God.
Letter to Allah
To My Lord, the Hearer and Knower of all things:
When I was a young girl, I thought the clouds were Your couches.
I thought the raindrops were Your tears of sadness.
I thought the lightning was Your anger.
I thought the thunder was You moving your furniture.
The first time I boarded a plane at 8 years-old, I begged for the window seat so I could get a glimpse of You high up there in the sky.
Only You and I know the devastation and disappointment I felt when I never saw You or Your throne up there on high.
You allowed me to grow.
When I was a young lady, I thought I could find You at the beach.
I thought I could find You in the midnight skies and full moons.
I thought You had to fulfill all my earthly needs and desires. When my favorite brother was killed, I thought You had abandoned me. I even thought that You hated me for a while.
Just as it should be, only You and I know all of the blasphemous challenges and false charges I waged against You in my rebellion.
You allowed me to repent.
I thought I would find You in the mosque. I thought I would find You in a book. I erroneously referred to myself as Your servant before. I thought I knew how to worship and praise You before. But, it took rock bottom to truly understand just how in need of You I really was. You took everything I thought I had away from me so that I could realize that only You are what I needed. In the darkness, I thought to search for You in my heart. I found my Love for You there. Then, I searched for more of You in my soul, and I found some knowledge and recognition of You there. I realized that I was not who I thought I was. I was much more than the roles I learned how to fill in this life. I am much more than this temporary flesh and bone that exists only through Your blessed breath.
You allowed me to feel.
As a woman, when I look for You, I see and sense You in and Your signature on absolutely everything. In the beautiful scent of flowers in the springtime, in the smell of freshly cut grass, in the smile of an unknown baby, in the laughter of my playful daughter, in the sound of raindrops against the windows, in the trees’ dance serenaded by the wind, in the sound of my dad’s voice, in the warmth of my mom’s embrace, the love in my husband’s eyes, the healing power of my closest brother’s words, the sincere greeting from a stranger, relationships with friends and family, in the shapes of cotton candy clouds, the colorful horizons, the calls to prayer, in the beat of my heart, and in silence: I perceive and am surrounded by You. I sense Your presence, Your mercy, Your beauty, Your love, Your blessing, Your guidance and protection. You are much more than my physical and mental eyes could ever behold, but the You that You allow me to catch a glimpse of and perceive is more than enough to confirm and re-confirm my need and desire to humble and surrender myself before You with the largest and smallest of my deeds, words and thoughts.
You allowed me to see.
I do not know my place or time of physical death in this life, but if it is Your will, I pray for my understanding and knowing to further evolve well into the autumn and winter of this lifetime.
How does one thank You? A “thank you” feels insufficient. This letter to You is nothing (some may even ask how I even dare). So, I have to struggle in Your way and make sure that this life You’ve granted me reads like a beautiful “thank you” card. Every action, thought, and word of mine should make for one long song of praise and worship. My very breath surrenders to Your Power and Glory.
Ya (My) Allah, please continue to guide our heart and soul to You. Amin.
Ya Allah, continue to command our limbs, mind, and tongue to surrender to our heart and soul, which You have righteously guided. Amin.
Ya Allah, make these limbs, mind and tongue of ours loyal Love warriors of our heart leaving no room for treason. Amin.
Ya Allah, grant our soul immunity from the negative whispers and desires from deep within our lowest level of ego, the archetypical “Satan.” Amin.
Ya Allah, You have allowed me so much; please allow me to die in the same state in which I was born. Amin ya Rabbi al-‘Aalamin (Lord of the Worlds).
May I always walk in Your way with the Spirit in me honoring Your Spirit,
The One who answers to “Jameelah.”
Jameelah X. Medina, Ph.D., is an educator, author, orator, and business owner residing in southern California with her husband and daughter. www.jameelahmedina.com She is also a contributor to I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim, a collection of 40 personal essays written by American Muslim women under the age of 40.