I read verses on heaven today. And they didn’t make me wander. That’s strange. I have a vivid imagination and the mention of the beautiful shade and the beauty of women in heaven, did nothing for me. It was like a dot to dot picture – the description of paradise gave me an outline but none of the meaty colourful filling inside. At that moment I thought I was done. My faith has officially gone. Dreaming of things to come and all my rewards was the one thing that would help me when things were getting tough.
What if that image of paradise was never mentioned? What if there was no paradise? What if there was no such thing as lofty trees, luscious grapes, rivers of pearls and honey, and never ending happiness? Would I have worshipped God? I don’t think I believe in paradise. Well, I’m not all that concerned with it anymore. (That statement is very ironic seeing as though my name means paradise.)
Looking back, I think I worshipped heaven and hell more than I worshipped God. It’s almost as if heaven grew a heart and I wanted to win it over. Hell grew a brain and I wanted to escape it. Like the Sufi mystic, Rabia Basri, said; if she could burn paradise and pour water over hell she would. It distracts a believer from what they really should believe in.
Not being motivated by the images of heaven really upset me. My father named me after this place because that’s where he wants me to reside forever and here I am, not marvelled by the idea of heaven at all. Usually I’d talk to people about this. I’d mention I was not okay and feeling down but I didn’t speak a word of it today. Not sure why I’m slightly proud of that. During the day, I was grudgingly getting up to pray my prayers and fell asleep until it was time to get food ready. I broke my fast and felt pretty disheartened about my lack of heart. I stood to pray my night prayer and just before I started, all the things that are stressing me out and my numbness, it all just bubbled to the surface and I felt very very helpless. It all just hit me at once and my thoughts became sirens. Before one prays they make a verbal intention beforehand. I didn’t. I started with ‘why?’ I almost buckled to my knees. And before I knew it I was praying with all my heart.
We all need. We all need the ones we love. We all need a being that knows everything about you and we all need someone to go to when we’re just not coping. There is no shame in that. I have people that I can turn to. But tonight, that just wasn’t enough.
I am a believer. I do believe in God. And I do need Him. I am not myself without Him. That’s all I know. And there is no one that can tell me otherwise. By that I mean, however much I tell myself I’ve lost my faith… The truth is that I haven’t.