Ramada*

Reflecting over my triggers

I think the bedrock for this started long ago, when I started practicing Islaam as a 16 year old. Of course, what I absorbed was through the filter of my psyche and my upbringing so it’s little wonder I assumed Allaah expected what my parents expected of me. It’s almost as if I sought out an image of Islaam that mapped perfectly onto my upbringing, to stifle any discrepancies. I do remember scoffing at mentions of mercy and viewing it as weakness and almost a kiddy version of Islaam. I now realize I was trying to avoid critiquing my mother’s relationship with me who’d use Islaam a lot in our upbringing.

But it sowed seeds of deep doubts bc my intentions always surpassed my ability and that became a pivotal point of struggle ; trying to undo my limitations, my weaknesses bc I felt incredibly exposed. My faith couldn’t fit there bc my faith was managed by my mind and I had to rise to the occasion. I felt it a defeat and admission of a lukewarm faith if I were to ask Allaah for help. I had to prove myself.

A few years later as I became more and more intellectually rigid in a bid to stack against the doubt, I started punishing myself for my feelings. At this point my feelings were as distant as the moon or as intangible as microbes. I kept my psyche in a frozen state, as if by cryogenics. The group I adhered to espoused beliefs that unequivocally said Allaah doesn’t love unconditionally, you have to earn that love. I internalized this to mean that Allaah will love me to the extent that I prove myself by implementing what I learn. I also believed that if I let my limitations or weaknesses (read: trauma) override what Allaah wanted, then that would be grounds for being led astray. I felt as if Allaah could get mad at me for anything and punish me. There were a lot of talks about punishment and worthiness. Again, I gravitate to these things. Even in the group, I’d tune out ahadeeth and aayat that spoke about balance, leniency, forgiveness, mercy. I didn’t want to give my heart any ammunition.

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