Our unanswered prayers

Staring at the cracks on the roof, the other cracks in his life were eating him up from inside. He listened to those on the inside and narrated them to those on the roof
A Kashmiri Muslim prays at a shrine in Srinagar
A Kashmiri Muslim prays at a shrine in SrinagarPhoto: Mubashir Khan/GK

It was the summer of 2017, Ahmed lying on his bed inside his 1-BHK rented room in the winter capital of the state, staring at, and speaking to cracks on the white plastered roof. The hot temperature as always had left him energyless, and what he already was, hopeless. Describing the situation that he had, and was, facing in his life would take a lot of space and turn all of us melancholic.

Anyway, while Ahmad kept staring at the cracks on the roof, the other cracks in his life were eating him up from inside, he listened to those on the inside and narrated them to those on the roof. With no one at his disposal to whom he could speak out his matters, Ahmad had made his hobby to be an intermediate between the two genres of crack.

During the day he would overthink about the life he was living, and in the night he would spend lying down and communicating with the cracks on the roof, which he had named as ‘The crack conversation’. He would have tea at least four times during the night which helped him to stay awake because sleeping during a conversation would be a sadistic thing, right? But he was helpless, hopeless, friendless and at the same time he was worried about solving issues and achieving a goal in his life.

From binge watching to smoking, he had tried almost everything to get bicycle of his life moving again but his actions were like a house of cards, they fell apart the moment he used to start. It was not like Ahmad was becoming an atheist, he offered salah but he used to make dua in a hurried manner, with only little belief that his prayers would be accepted. He wouldn’t invoke God much.

Loved by everyone in the college, he was treasured by the backbenchers and by girls also because of his good looks and his style of delivering punchlines. He was a mood mechanic for everybody else but by the time he was back to his accommodation, he would reflect upon his lifestyle and all the problems in life would start partying in his mind, turning him miserable.

One night, busy in his ‘Crack Conversation’, tired of all the confusion the mess he was in, Ahmad without even thinking about the direction of the Qibla and without caring to make wuddu, went into Sujood (prostration) crying; asking Allah swt to guide him. That night he offered Tahajjud and went to the mosque for Fajr prayers.

He stayed in the mosque even after the prayers and kept making dua about a lot of things, almost everything. Feeling a sense of calm and peace from inside, Ahmad decided to be steadfast in prayers and to learn Qur’an. He would then realise that it wasn’t his decision to learn Qur’an and be steadfast in prayers, but that his dua at tahajjud had been accepted and it was will of his lord that the bicycle of his life would be moving again but this time in a different direction, a direction with a destination.

He started offering salah regularly and didn’t leave the masjid until he invoked God for all his worldly matters. In the next few days he realized that his prayers were being answered the moment he made them. He asked God to teach him the Quran and that night after Isha prayers, he decided to learn the meaning of whatever verse he recited. It was moving fast, the level of his faith started to rise, not gradually but steeply.

Noticing the changes in his life, he decided to leave all his worldly matters to making dua, when faced by adversities and musibah (Tribulations); he would keep each one of them for a particular time of salah.

In the journey of this temporary world, Ahmad had shifted to the other ship, the one with a compass, which takes a person to its destiny. Journeying in this ship helped him to traverse the uneven waves of life smoothly, happily, with a vision and a destination.

The ‘crack conversation’ was history for him now, instead, he was now involved in a two way communication with his creator. After salah he would speak to his Lord through prayer and his Lord would speak back to him through the verses of his book. There was no need for him to stay awake and wondering about his life, because now in a ship with a compass, he was sure of the destination and trusted the road map designed by his creator.

From no conviction in his prayers to leaving all the matters to it, Ahmad saw a beautiful side of living a life with trials and tribulations. He knew, even if life hits him harder and knocks him to ground, he would rise again and more strongly through prayers.

We all have been through what he had, and those of us who are still involved in one or the other type of ‘crack conversation’, we can look at how we make dua. It usually looks like ‘myani khudaya baed yaeri, jannatul firdous ata, pareyshaeni door, ameen.’

It's not going to work this way and won’t ever, even if we keep making dua for a hundred more years. So, if we don’t understand why our duas are not being accepted and our belief in raising our hands is turning weak, we need to concentrate on how we make it.

Before making dua, do we praise Allah for all the blessings he has given us, for which we never asked? Like the beating of our heart and the proper functioning of our internal and external organs? For our parents and family? For the security we have in our houses? For the two rather three time meals we eat? And after praising him for enormous blessings, do we ask forgiveness for all the major and minor, intentional and unintentional sins we are involved in during the breaking of dawn and the enveloping of night?

If we don’t, we shall make sure to start our duas with these things and then with full conviction, we shall ask Allah to fulfill our needs and make way for us when we don’t see any way.

“And your Lord says, ‘Call upon me; I will respond to you.” Quran: 40:60

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