The Atheist In Sujood

Apr 05, 2024

 I couldn't hold back the tears as I passed by him, deep in sujood. Running to my mom, I asked when did this happen—when did the man I'd known for over 30 years, a vocal adversary against Allah SWT, become a devout servant? 

This relative of mine has left two distinct marks on my life. The first, when I was only 5 years old, he whispered to me that there was no God, branding my parents as liars and himself as an atheist. The second, 25 years later, witnessing him submitting to Allah SWT in prostration.

Though he was just a distant relative, his prostration served as a powerful reminder: even for those who deny that God exists, tawbah (repentance) is possible. I always believed in the transformative power of faith, and how it can lead non-practicing Muslims to become devout worshippers — for I was once there myself, however, it wasn't until that moment that I realized something remarkable: even the staunchest convictions against the existence of religion, afterlife, heaven, or hell can undergo profound change too.

At 5, I couldn't have fathomed that his atheism and eventual repentance would hold such significance for me 42 years later. Often, when our loved ones firmly deny the existence of God, disrespecting Allah SWT openly and defying Him with arrogance, our own faith wanes in believing that they could one day become humble believers.

Yet, Allah SWT reminds us in the Qur’an:

وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍۢ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ ۗ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ بَصِيرًۭا

We have made some of you a trial for others. Will you ˹not then˺ be patient? And your Lord is All-Seeing. (Surat Al Furqaan, 20)

Truly, it is a devastating trial when our parents, children, spouses, or friends declare themselves atheists. The thought of them departing from this world without faith, never to re-unite in Jannah, is a haunting reality.

But regardless of our efforts, du'a and undying love—regardless of the arguments presented, the evidence shared, or the countless lectures given—true guidance comes solely from Allah SWT as stated in the Qur’an:

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِى مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَ

You surely cannot guide whoever you like, but it is Allah Who guides whoever He wills, and He knows best who are ˹fit to be˺ guided. (Surat Al Qasas, 56)

In these final nights of Ramadan, as I bleed with tears for my loved ones and you for yours with sincere du’a - have yaqeen (convication) that there is guidance after kufr, there is hope no matter what your eyes see and your heart feels. Remember that someone else’s atheism might merely be your own test of patience and trust in Allah SWT. 

A reminder to myself, before anyone else, surrender your heart to Allah SWT, for He knows best who will be guided, who will repent and who we will be reunited with in Jannah, insha’Allah.

I leave you with a few ayat that help me remain firm upon my belief that Allah SWT is capable of all things.

فَلَا يَحْزُنكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّا نَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ

So do not let their words grieve you. Indeed, We ˹fully˺ know what they conceal and what they reveal. (Surat Yasin, 76)

رَبَّنَا وَاَ دْخِلْهُمْ جَنّٰتِ عَدْنِ ٱِلَّتِيْ وَعَدْتَّهُمْ وَمَنْ صَلَحَ مِنْ اٰبَآئِهِمْ وَاَ زْوَا جِهِمْ وَذُرِّيّٰتِهِمْ ۗ اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ الْعَزِيْزُ الْحَكِيْمُ

Our Lord, and admit them to gardens of perpetual residence which You have promised them and whoever was righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their offspring. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Surat Al Ghafir, 8)

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْوَهَّابُ

Our Lord! Do not let our hearts deviate after you have guided us. Grant us Your mercy. You are indeed the Giver ˹of all bounties˺. (Surat Ali ‘Imran, 8)

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