I remember how I felt when I first met my spouse, and right after we got married. I think most people remember the feeling of those first few weeks and months. Falling in love, wanting to spend every minute together, and making sacrifices without thinking of them that way.
Every relationship requires sacrifices, but the great thing about the early days of love is that sacrificing is easy for us. For most people who recently entered a relationship, the partner says, “Jump” and they say, “How high?” It’s only after some time has passed and both people have gotten used to each other, that they start to keep a mental score of it or resist having to give or change any more.
It’s like… starting with a bang and then running out of steam. And as strong as a relationship might be, this is when things start to go south—even if just by a little bit. The marriage suffers from a lack of flexibility and compromise, and from one or both people being a little more self-centered than they were before. Maybe it just doesn’t feel realistic to keep giving and sacrificing like before, indefinitely.
For many people, this account also rings true for their spiritual awakening. They find God and are in awe. Life starts to make sense. They have a source of support and stability. They fall in love with God. So when He says, “Give me this,” the person says, “I can give more!” They give everything He asks for and more. Allah asks for 5 prayers a day, the spiritually awakened person offers extra prayers. He asks us to fast in Ramadan, this person fasts extra days as well. You get the point.
They are zooming downhill, flying at high speeds, feeling unstoppable. They are ready to give their all for the One they love. In those moments, they feel they can conquer the world and every challenge is minuscule.
Then the hill starts to plateau. The “high” fades away. The excitement is gone. While everything was an act of love and dedication before, now it’s just routine. But they’re still going steady. They still have a purpose.
Where things really get tough is during the uphill climb that follows this dip. Now, every step forward feels like a bit of a struggle. Even doing the basics is a big deal, let alone making extra sacrifices of time or effort. And suddenly, every little hardship seems like a much bigger deal than before. It’s like the infamous “seven-year itch” in a marriage. The thrill has faded, and the couple has gone from being bored to wanting out.
No drop of blood, sweat, or tears is going to waste. He sees it all. And He loves us even more for it.
But there is no “out” when it comes to the Truth. After an awakening, letting go of the Straight Path is like letting go of reality itself. Because it’s the only Reality—that these sacrifices are leading us to somewhere infinite, somewhere perfect. And that quitting halfway is like getting tired of carrying heavy, valuable gold around and dropping it somewhere along the journey. A waste that doesn’t make sense.
Guidance is a gift. It’s the greatest gift a person can get, and only Allah Himself can bless us with it. In every salah, when we recite Surah al-Fatiha, we say to God, “You alone we worship, and you alone we ask for help.” And then, when this perfect moment has been set up to ask for anything at all, we say, “Guide us to the Straight Path… ameen.” That’s it. That’s the one thing we pray for over and over again, multiple times a day, and multiple times within each prayer.
So when guidance finally does come to us, we shouldn’t just throw it away because it’s heavy or because life got tough. Life was always tough. It’s meant to be that way. But there is an end in sight: Jannah. And it’s worth every sacrifice, and more. No drop of blood, sweat, or tears is going to waste. He sees it all. And He loves us even more for it.
“Then is he who knows that what has been revealed to you from your Lord is the truth like one who is blind? They will only be reminded who are people of understanding—Those who fulfill the covenant of Allah and do not break the contract, And those who join that which Allah has ordered to be joined and fear their Lord and are afraid of the evil of [their] account, And those who are patient, seeking the support of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good—those will have the good consequence of [this] home: Gardens of perpetual residence; they will enter them with whoever were righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate, [saying], ‘Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.’” (Qur’an 13:19-24)
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