“Zahra … Miss Fresher,’10,” she said, looking straight into my eyes with a sharp – narrowed stare.
“Yes … err … Ma’am,” I nodded, hesitantly.
There was an overwhelming feeling of guilt that submerged my heart in the vast sea of shame.
‘How couldn’t she forget? They do remember! What if I die now? Is this what I have left for them to recall me with?’ – These were the questions that kept knocking my sense of reasoning, as the lecturer continued with our viva. My mind got switched to the past- to the memories that apparently seemed sweeter but tasted extremely bitter.
It was a cold January, the time was perfect and so was our mood. It was when I was declared as “Miss Fresher, ’10”. My jaw had dropped out of excitement and wonder that day, and tears of happiness had rolled down my cheeks. The hall just boomed with roaring crowd that made clapping sounds with perpetual chanting of my name and the ear-bursting music that was played over and over again. The scintillating lights with flickering flashes had stolen my sight as I struggled to balance myself on the ramp while waving at them wearing a huge smile.
It wasn’t the biggest achievement though, as my college was a speck in the midst of the array of colleges, among the numerous cities within multitude of countries of the world. To reach “there” was almost impossible but somewhere there inside me, was a budding desire – a perilous one for my soul which seemed beautiful but was the one that would lead to the road of exposure and enslavement in the name of “beauty” and “freedom” and would finally land me in the fire that’ll be ablaze on that unavoidable day.
That day was the pinnacle of my life – the one which later made me realize the meaning of true modesty.
Somewhere deep inside me, there was a vacuum, a feeling of hollowness. The more I began to crave for the taste of glamour, fame and name,the thirstier, I became. The one that needed respite. Respite from the shackles of life to which I was chained. Somewhere deep down, I knew I lacked that “someone” or that “something” in my life. And this would keep pricking me always. And as I tried to shoo it away, it would return to me with added intensity.
It was when I began to seek the purpose of my life, and the answer to the most often forgotten question – “Why I was created?”- that I began to feel complete.
“Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?”
Surah Al Mu’minun :115
It was when I started adorning myself with Hijab that I realized the true meaning of “freedom” and “slavery”, and finally the true essence of “modesty”.
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Surah Al ‘Ahzab :59
It was when I stopped listening to music and drooling over hot actors that I began to enjoy the recitation and the beauty of the Qur’an and preserve myself for my other half. It was when I began to shut off the T.V screen except when in cases of necessity that I began to save time for my productive work. Praise be to Allah, that now, I cannot even think of wasting even a millisecond of my life.
It was when I chose modesty that I found myself pure & satisfied. I realized that I’m no more an object of judgment based on my beauty but a human respected because of my mere intellect. I realized I became even liberated just because I obeyed my Creator and will never be bothered about what people would think of me. It was when I began to seek Him that I found Him near me, by His knowledge, so much so that now, when I ask for something in the depths of night, I’m granted; be it late, but I have it at the end of the day.
I spent around eighteen years of my life in K.S.A(Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ) and all these years, I was easily granted what I was in need of, without myself taking the step of even raising my hands for asking from Him – Hajj, Umrah, Salawat in the blessed places of Makkah & Madinah, the things that other people in the world would crave for, was a piece of cake for me to achieve. Now, when I’ve left that place with my Visa being cancelled – now, I realize how blessed I was yet foolish for not thanking for those numerous blessings, for not utilizing the precious time in His Ibadah & for not giving out my heart to Him.
This journey of my life from the blessed place to my home country has certainly guided me for the best, as Allaah says:
“And He found you lost and guided you” Surah Ad Duhaa :7
“Lord of the East and the West”, Allaah Azzawajal describes Himself so in the Qur’an. I know I do not need to be in K.S.A to worship Him, but I’ve surely learnt what Islam, Qur’an and His creation has to convey. My exit from that country has made me enter Islam as a new person, after a lot of complaints, I finally comprehend that perhaps if I wouldn’t have left it, I would’ve been misguided. Now, I crave just like others to give me a better chance to improve myself, to let me enter His House with an altogether new Zahra.
From glamour maniac & a music lover to a Hijabi – I might have never thought that I would take a U -turn this way. My story among myriad of other stories has certainly something to say. It leaves a silent message that, “He exists, He does turn your heart, He will recreate you and you will be resurrected, your answerable to Him about every deed you did & every action you committed”.
Now, when I say, “I am a Muslim”, I do mean it. Alhamdulillaah! So, turn to Him, seek Him and behold! Your life will be sweeter and beautiful than ever before. So, do you want to make your life better, sweeter and the most beautiful one?
This guest post has been submitted by Zahra bint Zaki:
20, Born in India and brought up in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Knowledge seeker, passionate dreamer, solemn striver and an enthusiastic student with a desire to convey the true essence of the beautiful religion of Islam. Currently pursuing engineering with Information Technology and Diploma in Islamic Studies from Islamic Online University.
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