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Where are you going?

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I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been here. But, I don’t know if it has actually been a while or if it’s been such a ridiculously long month that it feels like it’s been longer than a while. At this point, all the days have blurred into one and I can no longer tell one from the other. There has been little that can take the edge off the hard days, but I am trying. More importantly, I am trying to use spiritual practices rather than people or things to do this. One of the things I’ve been trying to do more often is read some of the Qur’ān daily, even if it is just one sentence. Even on the worst of days, there is one verse that I always come back to:

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ

So where are you going?

[Qur’ān, 81:26]

I remember the first time I ever heard this verse. I think it was about 6/7 years ago – I was starting to return to the roots of my faith and I guess in many ways, it was a part of my spiritual awakening. More often than not, I find myself watching lectures in Urdu because I find I can connect to them on an emotional level with a depth that far surpasses those I listen to in English, and on this particular occasion, I was listening to this one by Maulana Tariq Jameel:

I’ve never really been one for the dramatics of faith-based lectures and videos (the showmanship of it all always made me cringe a little), but there’s something about this one that always gets me feeling some kind of way. Reading/listening to this verse always stops me in my tracks and makes me re-evaluate myself, and I think part of it was because of the tone I’d originally heard it in – it was so filled with pain and anguish, as though you were departing for the final time from your beloved with no intention to return and they somehow know that where you’re going is one of no return.

When I feel myself straying, even the tiniest amount, this verse catches me out and it’s a gentle, but pressing, reminder that simply asks me: where are you going? It forces me to be more aware of my actions and be entirely present in a moment that I could otherwise have mindlessly moved forward in. It reminds me that despite the odds, there is only one destination I am working towards and so when I do stray, I have to recheck my intentions and ask myself:

  • Am I still working towards the goals I set out to achieve or is this all just lip service now?
  • Do I still believe as deeply as I did or do I do so now out of habit and the comfort of familiarity?
  • Where am I really going?

Now I know there isn’t much you can take from this post at face value – which is odd considering how I always put a focus on a takeaway – but I hope that it will simply remind you to take a moment. Just, take a moment. Rethink your priorities, renew your intentions, and reboot your soul.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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