I came to Islam after a lifetime of instability, uncertainty and ‘searching’… sometimes my searching was conscious, if not active or decided, and sometimes it was nothing more than a longing for connection; leading me in all but the desirable direction.

I wandered and strayed, had adventures and made mistakes. I experienced the exhilaration of reckless abandon; and the consequences of it. I tasted betrayal and abandonment, all manner of pain and confusion and resiliently ‘bounced back’ each time, seemingly no closer to the truth

As the flutters quickened within I became more certain in my being than I had ever been that there was an Originator… a Creator… this ‘happening’… this miracle unfolding… was too incredible to all have been by chance… all credit, as due, I attributed to One beyond my comprehension… suffice to say I was convinced of ‘something’, yet I didn’t truly seek to understand.

I went back to the drawing board;  to the only thing I had ever explored  but found nothing compelling to hold me… nothing to enlighten or sustain me… nothing I made any sense of beyond some fleeting glimpse of peace… an inkling… leading only to disappointment; leaving me discouraged when, again, it failed to resonate.

When he came into my life, all eloquent charm and destruction, giving with one hand and seizing with the other, I fell right in and clung to him in search of meaning… sinking in his murky depths despite my flailing… and whilst he proved the most disastrous thing, in the throes of it all, he threw me the only Rope that could save me.

I cried on uttering my Shahada… bearing witness… tears of relief… at homecoming, redemption and reprieve… thought all that I had to do now was believe. Naïve. I had but taken one step… an arduous way ahead… I had unwittingly declared war on the ‘self’ I had indulged and fed… little did I realise how ill-equipped I was for battle, how hard it would be fought or how heavy the losses I was set to incur.

I was as a foolish traveller rejoicing at the sudden appearance of a distant summit; erroneously  believing that once it is surmounted the destination will be reached… that the way will be easy and that the journey’s end has been revealed…only to discover, on attainment of the peak, the treacherous range that stretches beyond, as far as the eye can see … that there is no suitably trodden path to beat, no clear-cut direction, no fait accompli… the only certainty is the impossibility of a retreat… to the bliss of ignorance… and there can be no bliss in blindly aching to see… and so the only course is to proceed… to stumble on in hope and faith with ego protesting, striving desperately despite my frailty… and place all my reliance in the One who, from His mercy, guided me… Al- Hādī

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