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The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6011
This ummah is in pain. It’s hard to keep track of all the different places that are in pain. So many parts of this body ache. From whole countries going through famine and cultural decimation, to individual families and children lost in the simple struggle to survive. We are in pain as a body, as limbs, and even as small cells within the whole.
This begs the question though, what kind of cells are we in this body? Are you a white blood cell fighting off foes? A cancerous cell sucking up resources to grow yourself gargantuanly? A brain cell interpreting all the different experiences into a clear vision? Whenever we hear the quote from our Prophet ﷺ above, we respond to it with a sort of expectation of someone, somewhere doing something about all these bodily aches. But what if we are the cells that are costing others their lives?
A cancerous cell believes in itself. It is self righteous and relentless: it considers its growth a necessary and even worthy cause. What’s even more striking about a cancerous cell though, is that it can so easily begin to convert other cells to its cause and methods. What was initially just one or two greedy seeds, becomes a legion ready to take over the entire body. Maybe you are not a cancerous cell, but there certainly is a lot of cancer around you. What makes you think you haven’t been taken over? Do you feel the pain that is screaming out from all the rest of the body? Or are you so overwhelmed by your own insatiable desire to inhabit this world in all its glory and pleasure? A healthy pulsing cell would surely feel the pain of its neighbors. It would toss and turn in sleeplessness. It would be overwhelmed with a burning desire to help. Do you burn with fire to be there for all those who are suffering in this world?
And what is this ummah as it relates to the rest of the body of humanity? Is our pain and dysfunction siphoning off energy and resources from moving the rest of the body forward? Allah has chosen this ummah to deliver His final message to mankind; to reflect the light of guidance that our Prophet ﷺ carried, back out to the world. What light does this community carry today? How many of our cells are truly healthy? How many of our cells aren’t cancerous??
What does your prayer have to do with all of this?
Every time we pray, we get the chance to stand before the Healer.
Have you ever thought of your prayer as a means of healing? A means of healing yourself from all your insecurities and doubts? From your waywardness and disease? A moment in the presence of the Divine that can rid you of your wickedness? Almost like a strong beam of radiation enveloping that cancerous cell, your presence before the Present will overwhelm you. With cancer, that beam will obliterate the cell, giving a chance for new healthy cells to grow instead. Luckily for you though, the Healer doesn’t need to obliterate you to heal you. Just some sincere time alone with Him, can open your wounds to the light and give them a chance at wholeness again.
۞ أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ ٱلْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا۟ كَٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌۭ مِّنْهُمْ فَـٰسِقُونَ (16) ٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحْىِ ٱلْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۚ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ(17)
Alam ya/ni lillatheena amanooan takhshaAAa quloobuhum lithikri Allahi wamanazala mina alhaqqi wala yakoonoo kallatheenaootoo alkitaba min qablu fatala AAalayhimu al-amadufaqasat quloobuhum wakatheerun minhum fasiqoon (16) IAAlamoo anna Allaha yuhyeeal-arda baAAda mawtiha qad bayyanna lakumual-ayati laAAallakum taAAqiloon (17)
Is it not time for those who have attained faith: that their hearts should become reverent towards Allah’s Reminder and to that which came down of the truth, and not be like those who were given the Scripture previously, but for whom time became prolonged so that their hearts hardened, and many of them are defiantly disobedient? (16) Know that Allah revives the earth after its death; We have made the signs evident for you, that you may reason. (17)Quran, Al-Hadid (The Iron) Chapter 57:Verses 16-17
What if you don’t feel anything while praying? No presence? No heart? No healing? Then ask Allah for it! Stand in prayer, raise your hands, and ask Allah to heal you so that you can feel again. Maybe your heart is so diseased that it can’t feel anything anymore. Allah tells us that He can heal the hearts just as He heals the scorched and dry earth with a simple rain. Your remembrance of Him is all it can take if you respond in earnestness. Your commitment to seeking the truth as it is all around you is enough for Allah. Commit to responding to Allah’s message to you and open your heart.
Envision yourself being healed from the inside out. What can that healing offer to the rest of the body? Envision yourself as a source of healing for the rest of this Muslim body. Ask Allah to heal you, and ask Allah to heal all of us. God knows, we need it.