My ear worms started about nine years ago, around the time I started memorizing the Qur’an. I would be doing something completely ordinary, and this ear worm would start going around and around in my head, until I stopped and concentrated, and listened, and then I would understand what it was.
My ear worms were ayahs.
I would wake up in the morning with an ear worm. Clean the house with an ear worm. Chop salad with an ear worm. Until I came to expect that whatever that thing buzzing in my mind must be an ayah.
I rather liked these ayahs, popping up out of nowhere. I felt they kept me company as I went about my mundane chores, and sometimes they would be so meaningful that my ear worms would actually bring me to tears.
Let me tell you the story of my latest one.
Ever since I gave birth eight months ago to my twin girls, I have had this gripping fear of one of them falling to the ground. I feared, dreaded, that I would accidentally leave one on my bed, or on the couch, or on the changing table, and then I would hear a thud.
One night, after having put the babies to bed, I was working on the computer trying to get some things done before my husband got home, and I heard a cry. Ugh, I thought, it’s too early for her to wake up, and I decided to let her cry for a few minutes. I had had a lot of trouble getting her to sleep in the first place, and I was in no mood to go through that ordeal again. A few minutes later, and her cries had turned to shrieks, but still, I thought she might go back to sleep.
Then I heard it.
A loud thud.
And I knew.
What I had been dreading all their lives, had happened. The sound was a baby’s body hitting the ground. I started saying “astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah,” over and over and ran screaming those words to her bedroom. It had been silent after the thud, but the cries had started again. I turned on the light and saw her on the floor, beside her crib. I lost it. I picked her up screaming “astaghfirullah” and hugged her as tightly as I could. I was shaking inside and out, sobbing uncontrollably.
I quickly checked her over and saw that there was nothing. No blood. Not a scratch. Not a bump. She had stopped crying by then, and slowly, after having called my husband to tell him, and a good friend to calm me down, I began noticing something going around and around inside my head. I couldn’t figure out what it was, until about half an hour later, when I had collected my wits enough to actually listen to my ear worm.
In surat An-Nahl, verses 45-47, Allah mentions some things He can do to punish His servants who don’t obey: He can sink the earth beneath their feet; He can send a punishment from where they can’t imagine; He can take them suddenly and they can’t stop Him.
Or He can send to them what they feared most – and here the ayah ends with, “but indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.”
That was my ear worm. “But indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.”
Nothing happened to my baby. No bruise. No blood. No vomiting. No broken bones. No twisted neck. No bent leg or arm.
Indeed, Allah is the Most Merciful, truly.
Asiya Akyurt lives in Virginia with her husband and two daughters. She is an active MAS member with an ijaza (certificate) in Qur’anic recitation and tajweed, and enjoys teaching, interpreting and translating.