Invisible Fetters

Memoir by
Jan 14, 2013 · 5 min read

It was fifteen minutes to midnight and sleep was the last thing on my mind. I lazily scrolled through the news feed on my Facebook account before logging out.

Suddenly, something caught my attention. My heart skipped a beat and my fingers went numb. “It can’t be… But how?” I whispered to myself. Yet there it was, right before my eyes. Involuntarily, tears began to well up in my eyes.

Vague memories of the past flashed before me. I saw him – a tall, dark brown figure, with spectacles and a prominent Adam’s apple, playing cricket with the other boys from our neighborhood. He was one of the few people whose university timings unfortunately collided with mine, and almost every afternoon, I was forced to see him flaunting his sports bike. I never really paid attention, perhaps because I abhorred his ego. He was just another insignificant part of my routine. But now, he was no more. He was gone. Forever.

Unable to come to terms with what had happened, I read through the comments with little tears occasionally streaming down my cheeks. There were a number of comments about how rough driving leads to the losses of so many lives these days, how unfair life had been to that 19 year old, how losing an only child leaves behind tremendous sorrow for his parents, and how much his friends would miss him. People were still commenting as I read.

“….R.I.P bro. May you be happy with Jesus in Heaven. Amen.” I paused in disbelief as I came across the words. What had really happened?

Did he die a Christian? 

My heart sank. I wanted to cry out loud in pain. It was a brutal stab by bitter reality. I hated this peculiar feeling of deep sadness and wanted to escape, but with a thousand thoughts unceasingly striking my mind, I knew that it was going to be yet another sleepless night.

I lay in bed gazing into the darkness, trying to find a light to guide me through the fog of confusion. Deep within my soul dwelt the fact that Islam was the only way to salvation. Yet around me, I saw multi-religious societies. Many of us have at least one friend who believes that Jesus died for our sins, another who’s waiting for a Messiah to come, and yet another who believes in rebirth along with others who hold completely disparate beliefs. But there’s only one key to Paradise.

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّهِ الإِسْلَـم

“The only religion close to Allah is Islam.” (Surah ‘Āli `Imrān: 19)

It’s lucid enough for everyone to understand. Then why don’t people pay heed? Why do we hesitate to give Da‘wah to our non-Muslim neighbours, friends, and acquaintances? The questions blared in my ears. Then, for a moment, all was quiet. Though I was at a loss for answers, the silence was promising.

It’s rare for someone to research a religion other than his out of the blue, realize the truth, and accept it. People are usually too attached to their religion with a certain belief, trust, and love that have all been nurtured in their hearts over the years. But for us, words of wisdom struggle to break free and flow smoothly from our lips into a listening ear. What is it that holds us back? It all comes down to mere thoughts rotting in some corner of our minds.

I was one of many prisoners, bound by invisible fetters. I neither felt the pain nor did I see the loss… until tonight. I would run, sprint, fly to bring my neighbor back to earth. It was an unrealistic hope. He was gone forever, never to return again. I looked down in regret, only to find my soul aching. That’s when I noticed the fetters, the chains, the shackles. I was unable to give the message of Islam to him though I was able, simply because of my own shortcomings. I yearned to break free from the unseen evils within me – the ones that prevented me from speaking the message of Islam, the ones that stopped me from handing Islamic books to those who could benefit, the ones that held me back from sharing a hadeeth or two, the ones that have always subjugated me. I sought forgiveness from Allah SWT and as helpless as I felt, pleaded for Him to guide me.

Disappointment began to take flight, and my heart beat steadied. Traces of regret were still reluctant to leave as I tried to console myself. I loosened the fetters and struggled to open my mind. Today, I have my own life before me. Each day is a race against time with a deadline unknown. The situation is much more urgent than I had first perceived. There are people out there who are completely unaware of the true message of Islam, and they shouldn’t be. We, as Muslims, are obliged to play our parts to the best of our abilities before it’s too late. I took a deep breath, wiped one last tear, and prepared myself for an arduous task ahead, no longer bound by those invisible fetters.

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is best aware of those who are guided.”

(Surah An-Nahl: 125)

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17 Responses to "Invisible Fetters"

  1. Shahin says:

    this was a very powerful reminder Sr. Saba! Indeed, one can only remind when they are themselves in a good state of Iman. Sometimes it seems so easy to give da’wah yet sometimes it’s as difficult as can be. May Allah make us all true, effective callers to Islam. Ameen.

  2. afn mhn says:

    jazakillah khairan sister for this beautiful reminder :’) dawah i feel is most difficult to people whom we know..we either ignore this duty or are too scared to speak up (scared of what ?breaking friendship? na’oozubillah ) …barakallahu keeki sis saba May Allah swt grant us the ability to overcome all obstacles in dawah ,both external and internal Ameen

    • Saba Nasir says:

      Yeah I totally agree with you. And especially where I live, in the Middle East, if you start a discussion on religion with your non-Muslim friends, they feel intimidated for some reason and instantly change the topic. It’s weird. : ..Maybe we need to device newer Da’wah methods, inshaAllah.
      Jazakillahu Khairan so much for your wonderful insights! =)
      Ameen! <3

  3. Thasneem says:

    JazaakAllahukhair Saba! Great piece…hit the nail on the head. So many ppl we come across, but feel so reluctant to do da’wah too. May Allah give us the strength to do what we should do, at the right time & place.

    Keep them coming sis :)

  4. Rabiya Dawood says:

    Assalamu ‘alaykum, sister Saba ;D
    This article got me hooked!
    Masha Allah, this really was an eye-opener. Being an Islamic Online University student myself, I really needed this reminder.
    SubhanAllah, opportunities are everywhere. We just need to look, say ‘Bismillah’ and make a move in His Way.
    May Allah give us the wisdom, guidance and courage to do that. Allahumma Aameen.

  5. SumaiyahKhan says:

    JazakallahuKhairan for the reminder <3 I couldn't stop reading, beautifully written mashaAllah :)

  6. Nice reminder — everything is so different in hindsight.

    • Saba Nasir says:

      Jazakillahu Khairan Sr. Fatimah <3… Yeah totally! Normally we tend to glide peacefully with the flow of life and only when faced with obstacles, do we realize. Alhamdulillah for that.
      But, then again, there's this constant fear of going into that flow again – a monotonous life devoid of realizations, devoid of contemplation. No wonder, Allah 'azza wa jal named us "Insan". We forget easily, way too easily. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala protect us from going astray after He subhanahu has guided us. Ameen.

  7. JihanAnwar says:

    What can i say but “Thank you”? Great job Saba,
    Indeed,i personally needed to read this.

  8. Raadia says:

    There are so many righteous non-Muslims who could have been saved from the fire, had their hearts been opened to Islam by someone who cared enough to show it to them.

    Like Victoria Soto, a victim of the recent shooting in Newtown, CT- it was upsetting that she sacrificed her life for the innocent children she taught. Her last act was that of bravery and righteousness… may Allah grant patience to the ones who lost her and guide them.

    • Saba Nasir says:

      SubhanAllah, you’re so right Raadia! It hurts bad to see someone who has done great stuff for humanity to die on kufr.
      It’s true that guidance is there in Allah’s Hands (‘azza wa jal), but we are the callers to Islam, it’s only through us that the Message can reach them. Allah ta’ala has given us Muslims such a noble status of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, He has made us the khaira ummah (in surah ale imran:110).
      Y’know I feel it’s the laziness that’s creeping upon us a little more each day, otherwise we can do wonders for humanity, inshaAllah. May Allah guide us all. Ameen.

  9. onlinebusiness says:

    Allah will help

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