Scattered

And in moments past 2am, as nightmares keep you awake and you wonder what it was like to sleep in peace as you once did, remind yourself that happiness is being loved for who you are, not for who you were expected to be – forced into a cycle of depression, then neglected and rendered rejected.

Love is not being able to define what you feel for a person – and it’s sad. Because the countless times you wanted to write a blog-post then about marriage – you couldn’t, because no words could describe – or do justice to what you felt, then. So it’s sad, it’s sad that before you could find the words to at least allude to the mixed bag they call marriage, you were no longer married.

You feel like you’re fighting yourself to not let your situation now define you. The word feels heavy on the tongue, and every time you try to come to terms with it you break down, still. At 22. Most of your friends are not even married yet – and you’ve been through the worst of it, came out the other end – and now have a label. You pray in darkness to the Lord to cease the weight of the label from your shoulders – from your mind. You feel it trying to morph your existence, but you fight.

Did he not care about this very issue affecting the person he once claimed he loved?

You feign strength in daylight, distracting yourself with the misfortunes of the world until the world sleeps and all that are left awake are your heart and your mind, and your eyes.

You desperately want to change flavour of your posts, you desperately want to forget – you desperately want to know how it feels to sleep again, at night. You want to desperately stop seeing those tears in your mothers eyes as she cries her heart seeing you in the pain you’re in, as she desperately reassures you that you need not prove anything to anyone. That you’re back in the home which embraces you for who you are, which appreciates you for who you are, which loves you – and this love isn’t fake. Just believe us Razan, this love is real. And I desperately tell her – I know mama, I know. But divorce isn’t easy. Nor is the baggage which comes with it. Mama I don’t know how to deal with the memories, nor the tears – nor the heart which continues to question why it wasn’t good enough. I don’t know how to deal with the whispers among some, nor the uneasiness I feel every time I step out to meet a community. But mostly the label. It scares me, mama. I’m trying to come to terms with it, but when the lights are out, all are asleep – my mind which never sleeps brings it up with a magnifying glass. It strikes my most vulnerable feelings and punches my being. It’s like a horror film every night, and I want to be stronger – I don’t want it to affect me. But it does.

Living in a world where ‘tolerance’ has come to mean taking religion in our own hands and justifying actions because we’re really ‘good at heart and God is good’.

God is Great. God also created this life not for us to succumb to desire, but to wage against those desires to seek His pleasure – which if successful – results ultimately, in heaven.

The beauty in Islam is in it’s vast nature – the scope for difference of opinion and interpretation, the flexibility in application depending on time, place, and circumstance. The ease and the reassurance despite the constant wars we’ll be up against, whether against desires of heart or against prevailing concepts in society which seek to infiltrate religion. This however does not give scope for empty interpretations in support of concepts clearly rejected in religion. Seeking to reconcile certain phenomenas with religion – without appreciating the stance your Lord has clearly established in anecdotes and verses in His holy book speaks volumes of a society void of Godliness, mistaking ‘good intentions’ for piety – embedded in worldly desire.

The struggle we face as a believing community is universal – and in this case universal encompasses space and time. None of us are clean of desire, regardless of the type, but we can all rise above it. To categorise sin according to the lens of current society makes us no different to the countless societies which came before – societies mentioned in verses of warning and morals.

It’s a sad state – where people not remotely in touch with the religion they claim to be affiliated have the loudest voices in condemning others for lacking tolerance. Or that the voices hailing tolerance drown out the voices – or cast fear among those who may disagree – forgetting to tolerate their stance – rendering them labels equivalent to insults. Tolerance is not trampling on others in chants of sensationalist rhetoric, it’s accepting that there are people who disagree – because their morals are different, because their priorities are different, because their understanding of God and religion is different – and that’s fine.

Ultimately, if the rhetoric repeated of God being the ultimate judge of right and wrong is truly believed and preached, the balance of discussion on certain topics would not be the way they are now.

As he places his cuff-links on tomorrow morning, I wonder if he’ll remember who bought them for him? Or how – the Eid before this was when they were gifted to him. Taking a shirt out of his closet in the morning – I ask him why he doesn’t wear all the other much better and nicer shirts he has, to which he replies “I wish – but I don’t have cuff-links”. To which I smile and reassure him that he’ll be fine – “wear one of them, and the cuff-links will come to you.” “You bought me cuff-links?? How did you know?! You’re amazing!”.

Of course. Because what is love if you can’t decipher the needs of your lover? What is love if you don’t listen to their speech closely and treasure every word they say – silently recycling the unnecessary, whilst storing the necessary in jewel-crusted chests of mind and heart.

The feeling of Eid-coming is all too familiar. The air itself – the scent of rain brings back vivid feelings and memories. Of the last Eid. Of the prepartions for last Eid. Of a home I once lived in, later emptied selfishly on my behalf and without my permission. I feel like I need to go out and run errands – pay worldwide a visit and perhaps a quick trip to Arndale for some home decorations. As much as I try to block out the thoughts my mind doesn’t stop wondering. Will he remember the cards? Will he remember the words? Will he remember my excited dance as I tell him I couldn’t believe this was our fourth Eid together? Will he remember the prayer I made as soon as I woke up – and repeated at the end of that night for it to be the fourth of many – many more with him?

Tears frequented more often than I wanted this month, sometimes purifying the wound, other times pouring salt over it. An overworked mind comforting a pierced heart that in this month His mercy outweighs all. How do you comfort someone who in everything they did they were made to feel in sin? A friend I visited commented on how all made sense now – “No wonder whenever I saw you you seemed sin-laden. I used to wonder – why did Razan feel this way when she’s so pure and – good? It wasn’t healthy Razan. For someone to make you feel that way isn’t healthy. Forget. Forget. You’re in a better place now.”

I thank the Lord that I am – I thank Him for healing my heart slowly. For giving me space for tears – and space to register all the flaws. Disgust rages within me as I notice trends and realise things I was oblivious to before. I pity my forgiving self for allowing to be trodden over in such way. For allowing someone who was supposed to carry the most intimate type of love between two human beings to cast doubt in the belief system of the one one who treasured him most, in more than one realm.

But what’s the point. What’s the point of this ponder when all that was has gone.

The melancholy present at the beginning of the month is fading away, praises to Him. The welcome void it leaves is replaced with a different type of melancholy – embedded in the departure of the blessed. But hope overcomes in asking the Almighty to answer our prayers – and keep us alive till the next meeting. For now – joy knocks on doors, seeking permission to complete the blessing and savour the sweetness in homes where difficulty becomes light in His remembrance.

I keep falling, stumbling, on broken pieces here and there. Incomplete memories and others suddenly tainted in new light. But the heart is grounding itself. Finally. Amid my sobs yesterday I asked my mother what I had done to deserve this. To deserve such treatment from a people I would die for, and never want to see done harm to. “Ibtiliaa’ Razan. This is your ibtiliaa’, you gave and gave and neglected yourself. Now God is lifting you – saving you from bigger harm – saving you from detrimental effects on your health and being had you stayed. No one deserves to be doubted. No one deserves to be broken. No one deserves to be made feel unworthy. You’re worth it 7abibti. Okay ya Razan? Don’t let them crush you in absence. They crushed you enough in presence. Praise the Lord for His mercy. Seek His love. And fly. Fly high. Your heart’s wounds will only heal when near to Him. Look out for Him. He knows what you deserve, and only He deserves the pure love in your heart.”

Alhamdulilah. Alhamdulilah.

Eid Mubarak all :)

Meeting a friend today to pick something up – we arrange to meet in Westfield. A place I’ve never been to before despite the hype over it when it first opened. I walk past the restaurants, mesmerized at the countless number of places – until I pass by Carluccio’s. My heart drops. You know, we dined there on Valentines Day. It was one of the best times we dined out – because for once, there wasn’t a time limit. For once – there was adventure in the choice of food. It was wheat – and he was generally wheat-free, so it made me feel bad. But he reassured me he was fine. It was a fun night – we walked all the way home. But his eyes were tired. I recall the way his eyes watched me in the restaurant – observant – smiling apologetically. Then, I thought he was paying attention to me. It made me buzz. Now, and in hindsight, it makes me wonder if it was because he had already mulled over our fate then. If he was in the process of making up his mind. If he was observing me, as if for the first time – and the last time, to make sure the decision forming in his mind and reinforced by others was right or wrong.

It still hurts. Ramadan is almost over. And it still hurts. Some days I wake up feeling bruised – vulnerable – the tear at the tip of my eyes from dawn till dawn – other days I wake up refreshed, energised, fighting against the current to keep my head high and my aspirations alive.

“Your feelings still contradict each other”, my mother tells me. As she observes me. As she watches me everyday and cries for my pain, or smiles for my progress. “Part of you feels an ache – a missing – you miss him still. And another part feels relief – feels you were wronged and God saved you. I know. You need to overcome 7abibti. You need to overcome Razan. You’re stronger than you think.”

I know mama. I know. God give me strength. God give me patience.

On the way back I walked straight past Carluccio’s refusing to even look at it. New beginnings Razan, new beginnings. God in His Ultimate mercy will restore your heart and mind to the peace they once were. Keep your eyes damp in His remembrance. Keep your heart light with His light. Keep your mind clear with nothing to distract you from your ultimate purpose, from Him. The Most Loving. The Most Kind. The Healer. The Sustainer. The Lord of Mercy.

25,000

Something crazy happened last night. I pledged to raise 25K to sponsor a whole school of Syrian children for a year. Including teacher’s’ wages.

He stood on the platform – pleading with the audience “25,000 pounds – anyone? Nobody in this platform wants to raise 25,000 pounds to educate a whole school of Syrian children? That’s 50p per child every day, for a year. Anyone?”

The plea spoke to my heart. Before I knew it Deah, Yusor and Razan’s legacy flashed in my mind – Bashir Osman and all the eulogies written in his honour – his fundraising page pledging far more than 25K. The thought of imminent death frequented in those brief moments of reflection – and before I knew it sudden impulse surged my arm upwards into the air, words resounding repeatedly in my mind – “if there’s one thing you do which will bring benefit to mankind this year, let it be this.” And so be it.

Of course I have much on my plate this year – from starting a masters degree iA, to various demanding projects I’m involved in – to the inevitable countless smaller projects I’m going to partake in, hopefully, once the academic year starts – to family duties, all whilst recovering from a difficult phase and relocating myself in unfamiliar settings –and sighting strength. My father surprised at my decision double-checked with me – “twenty five thousand?? This is an amanah Razan..” And I’m up for it baba, all this weighs little in comparison to the burden parents in Syria carry – of a war-stricken, traumatised generation of children, threatened by ill or no education, haunted by the doom of refugee camps. It weighs little. Though, and after all, how do I fill the plates of those who need it most, without a plate full of my own in the first place?

But most importantly – with all other projects I intend to undertake this year, the weight falls on my shoulders alone – as with this – it’s special. Because the weight although ultimately falls back on me – the duty and mercy is shared by every single person who comes across this page. The duty in educating the future generation of Syrian children, and the mercy of Allah swt – the Most Merciful – who will shower his blessings on His servants who are merciful to one another and contribute, even if a penny, to the upbringing and rebuilding of a nation. This isn’t a pledge I undertake alone, but a pledge which will hopefully be adopted by the many hundreds of people who will sponsor and donate throughout the year, until I reach my target. A pledge which will hopefully pick the most needy in mercy up and send them soaring to the heavens, as they unknowingly pick those most in need of livelihood up – and send them soaring to a better, hopeful, bright future.

In an unfortunate time where guns fool the world in thinking they have the last laugh, it is our duty to break this facade and unveil the true master who conquers all: the pen. Working on an education-based project for Syrian children, I hear of the difficulties they have it in Aleppo alone – I often think to myself – if this is the situation in only ONE city, how is the situation across the entire country? I can’t stress enough the need for education in war-stricken countries, and in this case Syria. The impact of education on a generation brought up amidst barrel bombs and gunfire is vital – it brings hope in a time many render hopeless – it builds the foundation blocks for a future generation – the rebuilding of a nation.

Please do search deep into your hearts, dig deep into your pockets, and donate all you can to this cause. Let’s reach this 25K target together – and surpass! May He bestow His infinite mercy and love upon us, in abundance.

If anyone is interested in helping me reach my target by helping me organise functions/etc. please tweet me on @RazanSpeaks or leave a comment below. :)

My father’s recitation of Qur’an whilst praying taraweeh in the other room serving as a beautiful backdrop, until I realise he’s been repeating these ayat three times, each.

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Ya Allah, ya baba, aameen ya rab. May you and my mother forever be pleased with me – and may He the Almighty reward you with abundance for everything you’ve done and been through for us. For your patience with us, and your ceaseless love and care which knows no limits. For your perseverance on this deen. For your unprecedented taqwa, eeman, and humbleness. May He accept your prayers and hearts desires – may He grant you jannah unconditionally as you enter it without judgement nor punishment – may He bestow his infinite mercy upon, grant you a place amongst the sidiqeen and prophets – and make us the apple of your eyes who will follow in your footsteps and only serve to excel and elevate your ranks in the hereafter – due to the tireless and beautiful tarbiyah you spent on us.

reBirth:

We’ve already established the hurt of rejection; when you feel safe with the one person you chose to spend the rest of your life with through thick and thin – only for that to be stopped short for no apparent reason. It confuses you – you try to pinpoint a valid reason so you think you everything and nothing – you think of all the times you were treated badly and all the times you felt like the luckiest person on earth. You think of all the times you took him for granted – all your flaws and annoying habits – and then all the times you prayed for him and wept for him without his knowledge – just wanting him to be happy, to be successful, to love you endlessly.

You maintain your defense of him when people – shocked – inquire what happened. “But you never stopped speaking about him – you were so in love?” The words pierce the heart with the deadliest poison.
I thought we were so in love, too. But interventions happen which convince people to think and feel otherwise.

You attend an iftar with friends at the very restaurant he took to you to the day after you wedding . You fight to keep all emotions clasped within and hidden – but they overflow and before you know it they’ve reached your eyes. The atmosphere feels so familiar you pick your phone up to almost text him. Almost to ask him what time he’s picking you up. Almost to wish him a happy iftar. Almost to tell him that you couldn’t wait to see him when you came back home, and tell him of all the stories and conversations. Almost.
Every time a qari’ with a beautiful voice reads in taraweeh your mind immediately flashes to him – to the beautiful taraweeh prayers you attended together in Manchester and Jordan – the countless times you prayed together, as you stood behind him fighting to keep your khushou’ as you admired the pious deep-voiced man standing before you; the man you felt so lucky to have.

You fall into the self-blame game. Whilst people reassure you that what is meant to be won’t miss you, and that God’s plan is above all – that He will grant you better and heal your wounds – you think of God granting Him better. The thought of not being the best for the one person you loved endlessly, kills you. You try to mask your pain with smiles – with conversation, knowing deep inside you still wish all those smiles and conversations were meant for none but him. What if it were all your fault? What if your taking him for granted – thinking you’ll never reach this point, is what made this situation of you? What if you’re just a really bad person Razan, and you deserve no one as amazing as him.

‘Stop remembering the good stuff – it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine – you know it’, they say, I know – but neither was it doom and gloom and I always knew light to be far stronger than dark – and more often than not light overpowered. But in light of all this, I understand now how the fixation on the small brings about destruction – and the dismissal of that which we take for granted bears us losses greater than we imagined.
My heart wrenches at the loss of a person I’d wish to die before he did, because the mere thought of separation would break me. The several times I pondered over whether separation of death would be easier – I always chose death. Because in death there’s comfort knowing you were separated by a force greater than you – and not by personal choice. That in the hereafter you’d be reunited in (we pray) gardens of ultimate beauty and peace. But with separation comes rejection – comes pain – comes unloved love and unwanted care – and a heart which continues to throb with excruciating pain.

But light. I know there’s only birth after the pain enveloping my heart – and perhaps the more excruciating the pain, the sweeter the fruits after the birth. I no longer want to dwell in the hurt – it brings back heart-wrenching nostalgia and an uncontrollable yearning to return to a life forbidden upon me, now. I want to excel and flourish – re-align myself in both the celestial and terrestrial – purify my heart – antisepticize the wound. I want to stop missing him, stop my eyes from crying every time something reminds me of him. I want a complete dissociation – whilst knowing that he’s okay. Praying that he’s content now and in a much better place. That he flourishes and succeeds – and gains all his hearts desires. That he distinguishes between the destructive and the constructive – regardless of the relationship with the adviser.

People have asked me if I could ever forgive – seeing the depth of my hurt – yet the questions which pose in my mind are – how can I not forgive when our Lord the Almighty is the Most Merciful, the Most Kind? How can I not forgive someone on the path to memorising the Qur’an? How can I not forgive someone who made me a better person in certain aspects of my deen? How can I not forgive someone knowing if I were in his place I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night – nor live my life, until I was forgiven? Someone who made mistakes towards me – but beneath all the mess and confusion – has a pure heart. I know he does. To act irresponsibly in marriage is grave – but time yields experiences, and time gives chances to repent – to learn – to implement. And for that reason, I forgive. Because hate doesn’t exist in a heart which once loved ceaselessly, nor does love ever vanish completely.

Lord give me strength to remain strong in this position of forgiveness, to not fall in pits of bitterness and despair. Lord make this calamity befallen me a means to reach you – and know you – turn it a blessing ya Allah. And bless him, bless him abundantly with all what the prophet pbuh asked for, and grant him the best in this life and the hereafter.