In Solitary Confinement, a Young Man Prays to God

Guantanamo prison cell

An isolation cell at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

What would you do if you were locked away in a prison like this for years? Would you keep up your prayers, alone in the solitude of your cell? Many Muslims do. Remember them in your dua’.

Yesterday I was watching a National Geographic show called “Hard Time”, about the state prison system in Georgia, USA. This episode was filmed in the “Hi-Max”, the ultra-high-security institution where inmates are permanently locked in isolation.

These cells have molded concrete walls and thick steel doors with tiny plexiglass windows. Prisoners are fed through a slot in the cell door. The guards do not speak to them. It is a world of utter silence and loneliness. Men go mad. Many mutilate themselves or commit suicide.

There was a quick shot through the door window of a young man in his solitary cell. He was Muslim. He laid his only towel on the floor and began to pray.

I saw that and it moved me. SubhanAllah. We take so much for granted. Is there any reason why I have been so blessed and that young man has not? Am I a better man than him? There he is, all alone in a concrete box for years and years, praying to God with no one to see him, not giving up hope, not giving up his faith. While we, who have our freedom, fail to give God His due. And which of the favors of our Lord will we deny?

Don’t You Fall Now

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

“Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”

– Langston Hughes

Resilience is Contagious

Lonely country road

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

“Resilience is contagious.” – Amy Estrada. Sure, life comes along now and then and blows you off your feet. That’s alright. What matters is that you get back up.

You don’t have to have the answers. You don’t have to be superman or superwoman. When the thundercloud opens up, who among us can stop the rain? When the hurricane blows, who can stay on his feet? No one.

When the storm passes, stand up. Dust yourself off, take stock, and move forward in the name of Allah. If the storm has disoriented you and you don’t see the way forward, look to the Quran. “And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter].” (Quran, Surat TaHa, 20:123). The Quran is a mighty book. Never underestimate it. If you cannot speak Arabic and find the English translations unwieldy, get one of the modern translations that are easier to read, like those by Umm Muhammad, or Thomas Cleary.

When you get knocked down and then stand up tall, with strength, others see it, and it rallies them. Your spouse sees it, your children see it, your friends see it, and of course Allah sees it. Don’t think of it as showing off. Not at all. Think of it as brotherhood and sisterhood, all of us helping each other, giving each other strength, being good shepherds to our flocks.

Superman is no hero, he’s impervious to bullets! Real heroes get hurt, they get down on themselves sometimes, they’re imperfect, they struggle to pay the bills and raise their children, they struggle to be become stronger in their faith, but they struggle! They don’t give up.

That’s inspiring, and it’s contagious, and maybe sometimes it will be someone else inspiring you, and maybe sometimes it will be you, getting up after the hurricane, showing us all how it’s done.

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