Yonks ago, when I was still in jahiliah mode, the greatest pleasure of my life was smoking and drinking. Life was one long pub crawl, smoking like a chimney, packing in three-and-a-half packs a day, and drinking like a fish.
God didn't figure very much in my scheme of things. Life was for the moment. I was footloose and fancy-free and the most important thing was having fun. Lots of fun. Nothing else mattered, until one balmy night......
Sprawled in a drunken slumber at the foot of my bed after yet another drinking binge, I somehow found myself in familiar territory - on a beach in Dungun. It was late evening and the sun was setting over the horizon.
There was acute pain in my heart, a feeling of unworthiness. As tears blurred my vision and waves of shame rolled over me, I waded into the sea to end my miserable life.
The water was reaching up to my nostrils when I was suddenly hoisted into the air by unseen hands and brought back to shore.
In the dim evening light, I saw a group of men, clad in flowing white robes, forming a circle around me. The men were faceless.
I woke up with a start, beads of sweat breaking over me. Even in my drunken stupor, the dream was so incredibly real that I could feel the swish of their robes against my skin.
It didn't take me long to realise the magnitude of what had just happened. The revelation cut like a knife. Slumped in a crumpled heap at the edge of my bed, I bawled like a child.
When I mull over the events of yesterday, I still feel a sense of remorse. There were times when I tried to rationalise how I got to veer so far off-course.
I was brought up with solid religious grounding, and was a faithful practitioner of my faith, until I was introduced to the city's bright lights.
That God is Compassionate and Merciful is beyond doubt. This scrap of humanity was pulled from the brink of self-destruction and potential divine wrath, and led back to the right path, in the nick of time. God truly IS Great.