The Day The Heavens Opened Upon Me
“I am thinking of going on hunger strike,” I told Andrew, my lawyer’s assistant. “I can’t take this much more.”
It was early 2007 and I was being held in the UK prison where I was treated the worst by officers during my 11 years behind bars.
I had already been held in segregation at the prison, denied use of the telephone to call my family on Eid and officers had tried to incite other prisoners to attack me (the prisoners told me).
The last straw was when a friend drove five hours from London to see me, only to be told by the prison staff that he could not see me because he was “two minutes late.” All this on top of the fact that I had by now already been held for three years without charge.
Andrew’s advice to me was to think deeply about this and not to rush into it, especially if I was not prepared to see it through to the end.
Lunchtime “bang up” (lock behind door) was called. I returned to my cell in utter hopelessness.
I took out my prayer mat and put it down on the floor near the window in the direction of the Qiblah (Makkah). It was a clear sunny day with not a cloud in the sky.
After praying my Zuhr prayer I raised my hands to the sky and called upon Him. The words despair and anguish are unable to articulate what I was feeling at that exact moment.
The Prophet (pbuh) once said,
“Three people’s du’as are never rejected: the one who is fasting, until he breaks his fast; the just ruler; and the one who has been wronged.
Allah raises it above the clouds, and the doors of the skies are opened for it, and the Lord says, ‘By my Honour and Glory! I will help you, even if it be after some time!’” (Recorded in Al-Tirmidhi)
I poured my heart out to Him. All doors had closed, but His Door was still open. All ears had shut but He was still listening.
Suddenly, the heavens opened. And it began to rain. From where there was not even a cloud moments earlier, it now began to pour down with rain. I stood up and looked out of the window bars. The rain was only falling on the prison, on my cell, and nowhere else.
That rainfall was His response to my dua. It was as if He was saying to me, “Your plea has reached Me. I am aware of what you are going through. I will answer you one day.”
He says in the Quran:
“And He it is who sends down the rain after they had despaired and spreads His Mercy. And He is the Protector, The Praiseworthy One.” [Quran 42:28]
Very soon after that moment, things improved for me and I was moved to a better prison. I left that prison but the memory of that rainfall remained. The day the heavens opened upon me.
By Babar Ahmad