Islamic Fiction Contest Winner - 2012
Adult Category - 2nd Place
The Hidden Path of Shirk
by: Jumada Muharram Bint Sur-Rahman
If anyone believes in devil, they must also consider his powerful ability to deceive. One of the sins not forgive by Allah is the practice of association of partner with Himknown as shirk. The devil can drag believers to the hell fire, yet make them believe they are doing no harm. Zaynab was that person and this is her hidden path to shirk.
Zaynab was a young woman. She had aspiring dreams and goal.At times she lackedthe patience to wait for those goals to be achieved. She began to describeherself as being obsessed with self improvement. "Allah made the word 'perfection', therefore it must be possible." Zaynab would often say. When she discovered the world of self-improvement she absorbed asmuchliterature as she could read. Perfection meant to be better at everything. Every small detail must be realized and achieved. Zaynab did not realize this soon to be obsession, could lead heraway from thepath as a Muslim. This path was set with difficulty by her loving parents. Zaynab's parents Hashim and Maryam struggled to raise their children in religion of Islam. Maryam was a loving mother and she wanted the best for her youngest daughter Zaynab. Her mother came to see her in her room "Zaynab, what are you reading?" asked her mother. "Umm . . . itís a book about how to get anything you want in this world."replied Zaynab. "So it is a dua book?" her mother smirked. "No, mom it is not a dua book. It's not Islamic. It is just a regular book from the library." Zaynab replied slightly annoyed. "Zaynab, I think you should focus on something Islamic, you donít always know what you're getting into with 'those' kind of books."Her mother replied politely. "Mom, I have read a lot of Islamic books. And they are all the same. This is something different and it really works!" Zaynab quickly closed her book and walked out of her room not wanting to hear her mother's preaching. She quickly rushing passedher bother Yusuf. "Mom, what wrong with Zaynab?" Yusuf asked looking puzzled. "She always behaved a little strange."Her mother replied. "What? Is she seeking enlightenment again?" Yusuf said jokily. "She is always reading something weird or strange; sadly she believes everything that shereads. She is weird." Yusuf said with disgust on his face. He was very candid about his feelings for his sister's hobbies and interested. "What she reading now?" He asked his mother. Maryam arms folded as she stood in the doorway shaking her head, "I donít know, I did not mean to upset her. It something about getting whatever you want." She replied. "Huh, you're kidding! She has been lured in; Zaynab probably watching too much Oprah." Yusuf said as he walked away.
Zaynab found a corner in the family living room to finish reading her book. She felt obligated to finish, as if the quicker she finished the more she could have in this world. In her heart was a yearning to strongly satisfy her worldly desires. Zaynab enjoyed her parent's simple life. They did not live rich or poor, but in the middle. Yet, she remembers hard times. The moment that Zaynab cannot forget is when her family was struggling the most. Zaynab, being the youngest child, had been given many of her clothing from her eldest sisters. One year at Eid her family could not afford to buy new clothing and shoes. Zaynab being young did not mind what she wore, she just wanted to enjoy Eid and get toys. In this world there are people, even young children, who can be very hurtful. As she was enjoying herself at Eid and playing a group of young girls decided to bully Zaynab. From this experience, Zaynab found out the value placed in appearances. The girls gathered around young Zaynab and asked her "What are you wearing? You should have dress shoes, not sneakerswitha dress. Your shoes are so dirty! And so are you!" One girl said. They stared at Zaynab with disguston their faces. Zaynab did not know who they were, but it hurt her feelings. She became uncomfortable to play and from that moment began to notice thatappearances areimportant in life. She felt the need to prove she was better and she dreamt of being wealth and rich. As the day passed Zaynab finished her book. She soon put into practice everything her new age teaching had taught her. She began to schedule her day to have time for her new practices. Zaynab would awake for salat in the morning. Salat took less than ten minutes, she quickly finished so she could do her positive affirmations. Her daily mediationwasno less than half an hour three times a day. Surprisingly, it seemed to work.
Zaynab attracted many of material things she focused on and wish for. Soon, it got the attention of her family. Her brother Yusuf came to her. "Zaynab tell me what you doing, like explain it to me, I want to learn." He said. Zaynab beamed with excitement, she felt she could talk for hours. She spent more than one hour explaining everything she could to her brother and sharing her visions and plans. Her mother Maryam watched Yusuf and Zaynab from the hallway as they spoke. Maryam clearly saw her daughter's happiness; however she worried continuously as her daughter focused more on worldly achievements. "Yusuf, Zaynab, donít forget salat." Maryam said before she walked away. She intended to remind them of Allah as much as possible.
As the months passed, Zaynab continued to read more and more to improve herself. The internet was where she spent her time ordering books, joining forums and groups to connect with like minded people. Although she intended this became a way of life. Each aspect of her life was soon focused on her new age thinking. She made an online friend named Katy. Zaynab and Katy became close because of their age, and interest in self improvement. Shaytan can be subtle. "Zaynab, have you read this recent book on clairvoyance and angel seeking. I am going to send you a few YouTube links so you can check it out. I am planning to go and see this lady next week. She can talk to angels." Katy wrote in an emailto Zaynab. As Zaynab read the email and watch the video she did not believe any of it. This woman claimed to be able to help anyone, and she shared the story of how the angels had chosen her to do God work. Slowly her heart began to change as she read the comments and success stories. "Well, she gives credit to God." Zaynab said thinking to herself. She replied to Katy's email "Katy, sounds interesting, I will keep reading. Thanks for sharing." As the weeks went by Katy found angels as her new help in life and shared her new love a passion with Zaynab. She sent Zaynab several books on the topic of seeking the help of angels. Zaynab did not see the harm in reading these books. Shebegan reading a chapter on angels Michael and Gabriel she could feel something inside of her was different. "They are angels and they helped the prophet, so it should not be bad to ask them for help." She spoke aloud to herself. As, the days passed Zaynab began to call her angels for help and subtly over time she became less focused on her prayers to Allah. Her focused shifted to divine guidance. The feeling of wrong doing vaguely crossed Zaynab mind, but she overlooked her feelings. She read more books on the topic and soon developedthe habit on calling on divineassistances forhelp from those other than Allah. Calling on the help of ancient deities and angels, Zaynab lost her feeling for zikr and dua. She quietly roamed the house chanting "Om, Lakhmi."to herself. Although she prayed her salat she felt more faith in her positive thinking and mediations. She felt as if her needs were being answered quickly. Maybe, it was shaytanor just Zaynab, but she was convinced she was not doing anything wrong. She was simply asking for help. Zaynab woke late in the night. Her heart felt uneasy. She could not sleep. The image of Lakhmi kept appearing before her. She climbed out of her bed and walked to the living room and found her mother praying. "Zaynab, come pray tahajjud with me." Her mother whispered. Zaynab could not remember when she stopped praying tahajjud, and she could not remember her reason for stopping. She thought to reject her mother offer, but her heart drew her to sit closely to her mother. "I can't remember the last time I prayed this late." Zaynab said in a tired weak voice as she satnext to her mother Maryam. She wanted to pray but a feeling inside stopped her. Yet, Zaynab resisted that feeling and went into sujud. Again, Lakhmi, the Hindu goddess, appear in her mind. Zaynab arouse of sujudpuzzled. She quickly left to her room where she slowly dozedinto a deep sleep. A dream came to Zaynab that she was not expecting. In her dream Zaynab saw herself dressed in a beautiful Indian sari; she was chanting "Om, Om." Zaynab smiled in her sleep. In her dream she looked so beautiful. As the dream continued Zaynab walked over to a large statue of Lakhmi and began to bowin sujud. Bowing over and over to the statue, but Zaynab began to shout to herself in the dream to stop. As she raised her head from bowing at Lakhmi, the statue smiled and came to life. Zaynab beautiful dream became a nightmare. Lakhmi, change to dark and blacked and Zaynab could no longer control herself; she continued to bow and chant to Lakhmi. Zaynab wanted to call on Allah, but found she could not. She struggled to fight and awake from her dream. She awoke in fear. Confused, Zaynab went to do ablution and she quickly prayed. Her heart was full of fear. She never thought that she was committingshirk. She remembers that one thing Allah does not forgive was this action. For months Zaynab had been seeking help othersthan Allah. She prayed for forgiveness.
As the morning came, she quickly gather all her books that she had spend the pass year reading and throw them in the trash. She felt worried that now her brother Yusuf was going in the same direction. "Yusuf, are you awake?" She asked knocking at his door. Yusuf was still sleeping; Zaynab entered and removed any books of hers that he borrowed. She continued to pray for forgiveness, but she was in shocked. Subtly she committed a big sin, yet it did not feel that way. Zaynab was afraid of hidden path of shirk, the hidden path of all sins. The path where a person believes they are doing something right, but in fact it is very wrong. Zaynab still thought positively, but she now prayed to Allah for all her needs, and then went to seek his bounty.
Many people in this world are seeking something higher then themselves to believe in. Katy and Zaynab were some of these people. Zaynab was raised to believe in Allah, but yet she began seeking something other than Allah to fix her life. Katy intended to help herself and her friend, but lead Zaynab down a path she regretted. It was not that positive thinking was bad or even meditation, it was the path that opened to Zaynab where she felt she no longer need Allah. That she was indeed her own creator. Allah is the only creator and everything belongs to him. Allah has created everything, therefore nothing can be above him or better than him. There is no need to look outside of Allah at sources that could like to shirk.