Although my wife often reminds me that believers do not grieve over the past nor worry for the future, I often find myself lamenting the many mistakes I made over the years of my life and the numerous opportunities that passed me by. Sometimes it looks like it might subsume me as I begin to dwell on those experiences that caused me pain or regret. A decade has passed since I set out as a student in London, but sometimes it feels as if it was just yesterday. Sometimes the wounds still feel raw. Those “poems” that some were so keen that I restore arose from a dark period of my life. It is true that light came after darkness, but trouble still followed me.

This May it will be ten years since I embraced Islam, since I embarked upon this journey, and over three thousand days have passed since then–and eighteen thousand prayers. Yet it still hurts that a person I had immense respect for–whose character had been silent dawah for me–came to view my decision to embrace Islam with suspicion and went on to warn my fellow students not to trust me. It still hurts that my landlord accused me of a serious crime after learning that I had become a Muslim. It still bothers me that my closest friends turned their backs on me.

It is seven years since I left my first job after graduation, but it still irritates me that my managers asked me if I mistreated my wife because they learned that she wears hijab. It still annoys me that my colleague sent me the harrowing surviver’s account of an escape from the twin towers of the World Trade Centre shortly before they collapsed–telling me that this would help me understand.

And so I sit here often, lamenting that I did not respond, that I was polite and patient, refraining from asserting myself. I lament that my shyness prevented me from confronting them head on. I regret that things worked out the way they did.

Today, however, I am saying “Alhamdulilah”; today, however, I am grateful. On my return from a meeting this morning I tuned into Vanessa Feltz’s phone-in programme on BBC Radio London, which I was able to pick up all the way until I reached the outskirts of Aylesbury, where the signal died. Amongst the topics being discussed was whether listeners would be truthful to their partners concerning the number of “lovers” they had had in the past, prompted by the case of an eighteen year old girl who claimed she had had intimate relations with at least 50 men in two years which came to light in a BBC programme entitled “Sex… With Mum and Dad“. As people rang in to talk about their sex lives–or rather their past lives–I started to feel incredibly grateful.

Though things have not always gone as I wanted in life, I have to say, “Alhamdulilah”. Alhamdulilah that I was this shy character. Alhamdulilah that I feared my parents. Alhamdulilah that whatever errors I made in my life, they really were of little significance. When I married my wife, she was my first, my only. Alhamdulilah. Over the preceding years many laughed at me, mocked and scoffed, but today I can say “Alhamdulilah” for I saved myself for one person absolutely, and I am not of those people who today lament, “I wish I had saved myself for you.” Alhamdulilah.

Looking back, should I really lament the path that led me here? Should I be subsumed in sorrow? I know the answer now. It is as my wife frequently reminds me: believers do not grieve over the past nor worry for the future.


7 thoughts on “Lamentations

  1. Alhamdulillah! What real truth and honesty in your post, brother 🙂 A valuable lesson of great benefit to all who dwell on the past. And listening to your wife is always a good idea :)Ya Haqq!


  2. Salam. Very inspiring post. I am slowly getting a grip on the belief that Allah has the best of plans for me and everything happens for a *good* reason 🙂


  3. SalamsAlhamdulillah is being present in the moment- not regretting the past or worrying about the future…Love this post.May Allah give us all contentment and help us all to put our trust in him ta’ala.


  4. Salam.Life is a journey, and in a journey.. you get through different events of which some are favorable and some aren’t. The idea is to use the power of faith to protect you along the road. Flexibility is a major characteristic in faith. such is repentance which is opened to the believers unless Shirk is committed or sun rises from the opposite direction. The troubles we manage to face in our lives today is by no mean comparable to those happened to the first believers. Allah swt said: “Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” 2:214From those we learn. Take them as example to be followed.w’salam


  5. Salaams,This post strikes a cord with me. Jazakallah to the brother for posting it. What I want to know is how does one get over the regrets in ones life? I tend to dwell on mine and find it difficult to escape what ‘might’ have been. The regets are also a source of great pain for me. Things that happen to me in my future can often be directly a result of what happened in the past so it is difficult to forget and difficult to see the positive in it.


  6. Salam alaikum.You know, I think it has a lot to do with our “ego” – tempering its grip on us lets us move on. Like I say in this piece, look at the good that came out of those decisions in the past. Would I have had that need to find faith a decade ago had the preceding months and years been the best days of my life? Even in trials – of which I’ve experienced few – we can detect blessings. I won’t mention mine here, but suffice to say I acknowledge the positive impact it has had on my relationship with my family. With faith we learn to be content with what has been decreed for us. And if we make time for reflection – not regret – we can often determine its wisdom in the end.


  7. specifically in response to sister Farzana, I am sure we all have things in our lives, decisions we’ve made which cause us to regret. But (I know we shouldn’t start sentences with a ‘but’…) everything happens for a reason and in my view, the best we can do is regret sincerely by asking Allah (swa) for forgiveness and removing those things from our path that lead us to those mistakes. Allah loves His servents to turn to Him. If nothing else, our mistakes can be the cause to bring us closer to our Lord and then what can be better than being closer to Allah? At least this is the way I see it.


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