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  • Aliyah Khan from ELEVEN

Living in an answered prayer

I couldn’t move. Sprawled on a single sized bed in a compact room resembling a prison cell in Tanjong Hall, I was paralysed – or at least it felt like it. In that moment and countless more times that week, month and year, I was simply incapable of mustering up enough energy to move my limbs – everything felt numb, and the only sensation I could feel was warm tears streaming down my face.

It was exhaustion in its purest form – manifested through the intense emotional and psychological turmoil I had endured that year. Although, as all great epiphanies happen, I couldn’t make that connection at first. I thought I was just tired; maybe hormones were a factor, or perhaps my sleep schedule had to be fixed. But nothing I did worked– whether it was sleep or taking various supplements for an energy boost.

It took me several blood tests and doctor’s appointments, a few hundred dollars wasted just for a random psychologist to give me antidepressants and tell me that the pills could help with my unbearable fatigue.

As I waited to collect my prescription, I remember having an out-of-body experience as it hit me. How alone and broken I was, how colossally messed up my life had become. It was paired with a sense of shame and inadequacy, and a guttural feeling that I would never be happy again.

As I recount this experience I had in 2020, it amazes me how a person can remember even the granular details of all their pain – yet the joy they eagerly embrace is always looked back on as a transient and fleeting moment.

To me, 2020 was one of the most heart-wrenching and soul-crushing years of my life. I was forced to dismantle the idea of who I thought I was and reinvent myself into who I was becoming. As I manoeuvred my way through that sea of pain, almost always directionless and alone, there was just one thing I kept on doing – and that was praying to my merciful and gracious God who I knew would never abandon me.

I prayed for one good moment. I prayed for relief from the perils of this life, for peace and tranquility. I prayed for companions that would bring me closer to Him, for happiness, for mercy, for strength. I prayed for protection and barakah and forgiveness – I prayed for the patience to wait for something great. I prayed for hope and for the people I love, I prayed for Jannah, and I prayed for my pain to eventually amount to something beautiful.

And it did. Alhamdulillah.

And I keep thinking to myself, “If only my 2020 self could see me now”.

Not because I have it all figured out or because I magically have my life together (I most definitely don’t). But because I want her to see the fruits of all her relentless dua’s, how Allah SWT listened to her, how He took care of all her affairs and lined them up in a way that would eventually be the best for her. I want her to see herself living in an answered prayer.


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