Friday, September 16, 2005

A Prayer for Sayyida Jane

A lone devotee in contemplation at the grave of Jane's ancestor

Tonight my friend Jane rang me. Or rather, she screamed and swore at me.

Jane was on the verge of suicide. She was promising to hang herself 4 or 5 times each day. That was how she felt. She was struggling to remove herself from her current situation.

Why does Jane want to kill herself? What is her situation? She is going through Rumi syndrome. I wrote about this in an earlier piece. She finds herself in a job that is below her dignity. She wants to get out. But she sees no way out.

Each time Jane tries to leave this situation, she finds herself dragged back in. Her family do not know what the situation is. She keeps running away from them and they are confused.

Jane leads a double life. One part of her life consists of her family and friends. The other consists of her “dark” side. And where do I fit into all this? I am aware of both. I stand at the junction.

Jane is stuck in a narcotic world. She knows this is not for her. But she is so depressed and distressed that she sees no way out. Her lifestyle enables her to work a minimal amount of time and make a fairly decent living. Enough so that she can think and sort herself out and make time for troubled siblings and friends.

But this world is actually making Jane more depressed. Living a double life is killing her. And I stand at the junction.

I know her in both worlds. I am perhaps the only person on this planet who does. But now I feel compelled to share it here.

Jane is of noble stock. Very noble. She is a Sayyida. Her ancestry goes directly back to the Beloved and Noble Messenger of God (peace and blessings of God be upon him and his noble household including my friend).

Jane is deeply spiritual. Much more spiritual than me. And much more patient. I have repeated many mistakes and have caused her accidental embarrassment on many occasions. And tonight she reminded me of this.

“Irf, you’re not the only one with problems! Stop being so selfish. You think you can get depressed. These days I wanna hang myself 4 times a day!”

She enclosed a few “f” words in between.

This is not the first time I have been told by a friend that she feels suicidal. On another occasion, another friend admitted her suicidal thoughts. And this week, a high-flying management consultant told me she was taking anti-depressants for clinical depression.

Perhaps depression isn’t a good word to describe it. Perhaps a better term is emotional quicksand. Jane feels sucked in by hopelessness. But if she goes and gets help, she will be OK. In fact, she will feel better.

I only spoke to Jane for a few minutes. She rang me on my mobile phone, and she used a public phone to call me. She only spoke for 4 minutes. I just listened to her rage and her despair. In the face of her quicksand, I had no right to speak. I only had the right to listen.

When Jane told me about her suicidal wish, I couldn’t help but think of her noble ancestor. We read in books of seerah that the Messenger of God often became so dejected when revelation did not arrive that he felt like throwing himself from a mountain. His heart was so compassionate that he used to grieve when people rejected his message.

Jane’s despair is perhaps a sign of her noble ancestry. Her anger was righteous. Yet again, I had tried to bombard my way into her troubled life when all she demanded of me was space to think and put the pieces together.

Sometimes friends cannot actively assist. Sometimes the best friends are just gatekeepers, standing at the door and letting visitors know that the occupant is busy and doesn’t wish to be disturbed. This was the role she set for me. I tried to go further, and she almost flipped.

So that is my crime. I must now do the time and keep away until further notice. But she continues to suffer. And she continues to want to hang herself 4 times a day.

And so, dear readers, I ask for you to pray for Jane. Pray that she find her way out of her narcotic situation. Ask God to guide her toward a solution, toward thinking outside the square of despair.

Please pray to God that Jane find her destiny and her happiness. Ask God to help her find her way out of her Rumi syndrome so that she can return to a normal existence. Ask God to remove her troubles and make her fears unrealised.

Join with me as I pray to God that her suicidal thoughts remain mere thoughts and quickly leave her mind. Pray that Jane find peace and tranquillity, and that she seek help (even if it be professional help) to get her through this difficult phase.

Jane is a direct descendant of Imam Ali (May God be pleased with him). For the sake of the honour of her ancestors, join me in asking God to provide her with inner strength. Ask God to save her from taking her own life and from bringing sorrow to herself and her family.

I will be praying for Jane on the 15th of Sha’ban and throughout Ramadan. I hope that I can greet her on Hari Raya and see her with a broad smile and a tranquil heart.

Dear Lord, for the sake of Jane’s noble ancestor, Your Noble Prophet, provide peace to Jane and all the Janes of this world. Amin.

© Irfan Yusuf 2005

5 comment(s):

  • I hope you don't find me terribly insensitive, but I find it disturbing to be asked to pray for someone based on who their ancestors were. Jane will certainly be in my du'a because she seems to need the help, but not because I find her more deserving because of lineage. As Shi'a as I am, I still find this sayyid worship deeply disturbing.

    By Blogger UmmAli, at 9/16/2005 08:06:00 PM  

  • I'll pray for her...
    like a fren always says, "Praying for yr spiritual advancement as I hope u'll pray for mine..."
    coz I need it as much as she does ... though we've got different

    By Blogger InaOK, at 9/16/2005 08:39:00 PM  

  • I will pray for her, but it has nothing to do with who her ancestors are. I am a Sunni convert to Islam. One of the reasons I converted was the idea that we are all 100% equal in the eyes of God, regardless of race, ethnicity.

    I also feel the idea that because of her ancestry she is too good for certain jobs to be offensive as well. The Prophet(PBUH) himself helped his wives with chores around the house. Obviously he didnt feel too good for this work. This "I am too good to do this work" stuff is culture nonsense and not only is NOT Islamic, it is anti-Islamic.

    I pray she gets her priorities right and that she drops the idea that her birth someone entitles her to a life that others dont have. As a Muslims she should accept her "naseeb"(destiny) and say "Alhamdulillah."

    By Blogger أبو سنان, at 9/17/2005 09:46:00 PM  

  • Abu Sinan,

    Jane works in a bar, that's pretty much beneath anyone's dignity.

    By Blogger UmmAli, at 9/18/2005 11:54:00 AM  

  • there are jobs that people should find ways to get out off... if at all possible...

    i may be wrong, but i did not read anywhere in Irf's article - about Jane not wanting that "job" 'cause of her ancestory...

    Actually I did not read anywhere at all, that she was even concerned about that... That was some info. ( rightly or otherwsie) Irf provided for the reader...

    I dunno about this "naseeb" thing ... too often it is taken to mean a sort of a complascency that then descends into anger and frustration... Actively engaging in changing situation... is, after all, part of what Allah asks of us in the Qur'an...

    Anger = Grief

    inshallah, i will pray for her, and for Irf in providing a good ear...

    Thanx, for these and all of your other articles.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/19/2005 02:25:00 PM  

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