Personal Narratives

Finding My Calling

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Life is a journey. It continues through the passing of time.

I stepped into a city of gray. I walked through its streets with no guide. People passed by with expressionless faces. Cars honked each other as they stalled in the hum of traffic. The wind masked the monotonic footsteps within the metropolitan area. And the sun hid lazily behind the towering skyscrapers. Whether I walked in a circle or forward, I did not know. I felt the speedy rush hour pace during the day and saw the never sleeping lights during the night. I was longing for something. But I did not know what it was. There was a calling. Somewhere. But I could not hear it.

Every journey has many paths. But for this journey, only one led to the right way.

One day, I noticed things about life in the city. Things like people growing old, communities forming and ending, and different stories of people intertwined played together. I contemplated upon these things and thought of the Higher Being who directed these phenomena. The same One must have decreed this journey of mine too. Then over time, the calling became clear. A burst of wind raced through the city buildings, painting over the gray with rich colors. From this wind came the words that brushed my heart: La ilaaha illallah.

It has many resting places. And every place holds important lessons.

In the horizon appeared a masjid. I approached it as I walked in a clear direction. Trees swayed gently and children played joyfully in the neighborhood. Men and women worked equally in their daily chores, and the elderly relaxed in a shaded seat outside. Here, a call is made at certain times of the day. God is praised as this call ringed throughout the resting place. These people would bow and prostrate, and subtle wind chimes would softly clatter in these tranquil times. I asked them of their practice and they showed me of their way – Islam. The people of the wise, all young and old, taught me the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the final Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). I knew during my time in the city, I submitted myself to the Almighty Creator. It was a realization that brightened my way, so I sought to learn this Deen. With these people, I learned to better myself in a complete way of life. I dedicated myself to the Almighty through this religion, and continued striving through my days in guidance.

Like all journeys, it has an end.

Then night came. Right before I went to sleep, a thought crept in. There were many days ahead, and my journey still has more to continue. I looked back into my memories, and saw those dearly beloved people. They were now my siblings who helped show me the way. But the decree made upon me is different from theirs, and I may have to part ways with them one day. We all have our own journey to make. Time is still moving, and we all need to reach the end of our journey. I remembered the harshness of my life before and felt scared. But I knew I needed to continue if I wanted to succeed.

But my eyes would not close.
Even then, have hope. “Do not despair of the mercy of Allah” (39:53).

I was scared of losing my guidance in the morning.
Allah is eternal, and His guidance is absolute. “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out” (65:2).

I worried of getting crushed by the coming struggles.
He assures us. “Indeed, with hardship [will come] ease” (94:6).

I took a deep breath and made du’a.
He invites us. “Call upon Me; I will respond to you” (40:60).

I confided in my Lord my worries and complaints.
He offers comfort. “And remember Ayyub, when he cried to his Lord, ‘Truly distress has seized me…’” (21:83).

I reminded myself to be patient.
He gives the best of advice. “Oh you who believe! Seek help with patience…” (2:153).

I soon felt a glimmer of hope.
The Best of Companions. “…. And be patient, for Allah is with those who are patient.” (8:47).

I felt warmth.
The Most Loving. “…. Allah loves those who are patient.” (3:146)

So I told myself that I am going to be okay. I tucked my memories and intention under the blankets, and bid farewell to the ending day. I thanked Allah for blessing me, and I whispered one last thing before falling asleep.

“O Allah, I submit my soul unto You, and I entrust my affair unto You, and I turn my face towards You, and I totally rely on You, in hope and fear of You. Verily there is no refuge nor safe haven from You except with You. I believe in Your Book which You have revealed and in Your Prophet whom You have sent.

All was well in this journey of mine.

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A Bangladeshi descent from the sakura trees of Japan, the golden prairies of Iowa, and the windy days of Chicago, Muhtasham Sifaat currently lives in New York City as a student of William E. Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. He found his passion for writing at the Bronx High School of Science and took this practice as a discipline for fruitful reflection and self-expression. Alhamdulillah, Sifaat was able to develop his writing through numerous competitions such as the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) and with irreplaceable support from his friends and family. He intends to write for MYM to better himself as a Muslim and as a writer, inshaAllah. Besides writing, Sifaat likes to draw, take afternoon walks, and practice martial arts/wrestling. He is a disciple of Hoshinkido Hapkido, a Korean martial art, which he practices alongside Taekwondo during his free time.

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