Thank you for keeping your promise, *Nani Jaan.
It was a peaceful night. After a long, long time, I woke up feeling happy. I heard your voice comforting me again. I held your hand, just like I used to. Do you know what the best part was? I felt you protecting me. I felt you protecting me from everything I’ve ever been scared of. I guess that explains the peace in the air dancing around me as I woke up to the sunrise, awed by its beauty!
I’ve been thinking about the Loh-e-Quran, the Al-Huruf-ul-Muqattta ‘at.
Everybody reads it knowing that nobody knows what they mean.
It’s like waiting for the monsoon rain and hoping it irrigates the thirsty fields but knowing it could also destroy it …
It’s like living through the trauma of regret and cursing yourself till many moons later, the fog clears up and you are able to see very clearly that you have been Guided, that it was all His hidden wisdom and His unconditional Love, waiting to reveal itself. It reminds me of how Surah Kahf narrates the story of Moses and the man who was given knowledge from His own. Moses – like us – knew not the wisdom and love behind the defected boat, the dead boy, the broken wall. All until his journey with the wise man came to an end and there remained no secrets. And that’s how we read them at the beginning of some chapters from the Quran – hurrying over them to get to the next chapter and then the next one, not pausing at any of the **‘ruku’ to breathe in the Love, the Mercy, the Promises, the Guidance, not pausing to marvel over the miracle of words and feelings in our dusty hands, not wondering if this huge, huge universe really is just a tiny atom powering another, much larger universe. That’s how we rush ahead, failing to understand, failing to fall in Love with the One. And all of this is the Loh-e-Quran – this mysterious wisdom behind those moments of our lives we waste crying over, those ghastly moments that we fight ourselves for, those agonising moments we refuse to forgive ourselves for. Who are we to forgive ourselves and others when all of this – our unsaid goodbye, the heartless words of heartless people, the untaken decisions, the paralysis of my time – are already a part of His allegory?
They say God loves us more than seventy mothers, and a mother’s love is the noblest of all mortal loves. When I was a child – a little, talkative, mischievous girl – and I’d fall down and graze my knee, ***Ammi would rush towards me and hide me in her arms and kiss away the ‘boo-boo’, and bandage it, and make the pain go away, and then hold my hand to make sure I stay safe. God – our God – held my hand on Earth the day He held yours to take you away. He kept me safe from the pain of watching Azrael take away the life from within you, from each of your limb, one by one. He kept me safe from the pain of holding my own breath as you exhaled for one last time. He kept me safe from giving up learning how to heal human bodies and human hearts. He knew that if it weren’t for our unsaid goodbye, I, too would have made my last journey with you and He did not permit that because He wants me to do something on this Earth, a ‘something’ that I’m slowly beginning to see. He knew that the pain of those nightmares was enough to show me what others needed eyes for because I’m a little too me. And so I felt His hug – the love of a mother’s multiplied by infinity – bursting through me the day you visited me in my dream and everything began to make sense to my heart as it touched the gentleness of Tawakkal, of this unconditional faith in the power of His magic. The mind already knew it, but the soul had to feel it all on its own, all alone. And I was alone, away from all humans. And I felt His hug as the cacophony of my nights stopped and there was no more shaking and no more sobbing and no more struggling breaths. Yes, the horrors of that day are hiding between the cracks in my heart, but they are also covered by the force of His love. And it reminds me of what you’d recite with me – “And which of the favours of your Lord will you Deny?”
So that’s Loh-e-Quran, Nani Jaan. The fight with the past for the love of the future. And as my tongue recites these, in awe of what it might mean, I know that the Revelation when I join you will be beautiful. It will be very beautiful and I’ll feel His love filling in every bit of my soul again.
Thank you. Thank you for not leaving me. You’re the only one who stayed.
Your best friend.
**a paragraph of the Holy Quran