This gift

My beloved doesn’t like me talking about her, us or our life together. That’s part modesty, but more fear that it will bring disaster on our heads. Which, of course, are reasonable concerns. It’s precisely why we recite Surah Al-Falaq daily, because those harms are real. So I backtrack, withdraw and seek refuge in the One from my own ignorance.

But, all said, it’s a shame that we have to shy back from recalling the blessings and light in our lives, where we would feel no uneasiness writing of whatever is negative or dark. For my part — because I know where I came from — I feel compelled to register these immense blessings. Nobody could imagine what they mean to me.

If they knew how low I had once been, and how deep my despair, they would understand my need to sing the praises of my Lord. If they knew how hopeless I once was, they would understand why these experiences have touched me so profoundly. If they could have witnessed my intense loneliness, they would understand why I treasure this companion of mine so dearly.

Neither of us of us is perfect; far from it. It’s not about singing our own praises. We have the same foibles as anyone else. We have both our good days and bad. We’ve had tests from outside ourselves, and from within. We anger and argue like any other, and get carried away by our ego. It’s not about that. Despite ourselves, I can still recognise that I was thrown a rope in this woman — a rescue from stormy seas.

She arrived when I was least expecting it. Indeed, I could so easily have missed her. I had been temping in Maidenhead for months and had just been made permanent, and so had started looking for a place to live close to work. I had a flat lined up and was just about to move in when it fell through. Had it not fallen through just then, my paths would never have crossed with the fellow who would ultimately introduce us.

Most of the events leading up to that introduction will forever remain a secret between me and my Lord alone. They are not moments I can speak of, but to me they were all clearly leading me in one direction. This woman was my gift. If others could see the signs that I have seen, they would be blown away.

Really, it’s clear that the universe isn’t constructed only of matter; there are threads running through our lives which simply cannot be explained by physics alone. To my mind, the explanation is the cause of all things: the One in whose hand is my soul. Divine decree.

That is why I cherish this companion of mine. I have seen things which others simply would not believe, even if they saw them with their own eyes. Signs, as we are promised:

We will show them Our signs on the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a Witness over all things? Lo, they are in doubt about the meeting with their Lord. Surely, He encompasses all things.

Quran 41:53–54

Our lives are intimately intertwined with our faith. We are journeying along the same road. If I write of these matters, it is only to display gratitude. Sincere gratitude. He found us lost, and He guided us. So for the favours of our Lord: yes, I will report it.

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