Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
We’re all striving for something. Something that may seem beyond our reach. Some of us say we’d rather have something than absolutely nothing, but the truth is, to have it halfway is harder than not having it at all. But what we need to understand is that there’s only wisdom in whatever has been placed, and sometimes it just takes a little bit of patience.
Patience is hard. It’s really hard. Sometimes we feel like we’ve been tested to our limit. We try all sorts of aids in an attempt to gain some relief. You name it. Every measure to make the path a little steadier.
But the path will always hold challenges. It’s never a walk in the park. With all that, it can never have any effect if we cannot accept that it is only Allah Ta’ala who is One who places effect and benefit in something. Sometimes we just have to wait for it all to unfold, to see the real deal behind the scenes. Sometimes we have to strive a little harder to actually see the results.
“You cannot be serious,” I said, widening my eyes at my cousin, and shaking my head. “She actually said that?!”
Okay, so maybe this was a bit much.
It was unbelievable. The things that people came up with when anything out of the ordinary happened was quite something.
“It didn’t come from me, okay?” Zaynah said. “I just wanted to let you know so you watch what you say around them.”
I nodded, slowly digesting everyting that was happening. Raees had really caused it this time, and I was fuming. I had already seen a bit of the talk on Instagram, and I knew that I needed to take it easy with the social networks I had secretly downloaded. Zaynah would have a fit if she knew.
“She should be the last one talking,” I said impulsively, furious about all the hype. “You should see what her daughter is up to on Instagram.”
Zaynah looked at me sharply. Uh-oh. She would probably have my head for mentioning the “I word”, because Zaynah could not stand the fact that people advertised their lives so blatantly.
I knew that being involved in them was futile, because besides it being a huge time drainer, looking into other people’s posts and lives was always detrimental. It’s where most of the discontentment stemmed from in us, because instead of living our own lives, on social networks, we tend to live the lives of others. We want to live their lives, because everything always seems peachier on the other side… but my focus was wrong.
Instead of focusing on us and our inner self, we try to create a Jannah outside our own lives. We want a flawless, storm-free and serene world, outside, but our inside is turbulent to the core. The catch is; contentment just doesn’t exist in this world.
I needed to shift the focus. Instead of the outside- the perfect and peaceful world—can exist inside. The sanctuary can be inside us. No one can take that sanctuary away. No storm can affect it. No rain can reach it. And no-one’s silly post or Snapchat snip can kill it.
“Zay,” I said, chamging the topic to something safer. “I didn’t check… are you okay with the upcoming wedding?”
Zaynah frowned and looked at me weirdly.
“You better delete it,” she scowled, still thinking about my previous comment.
“Okay,” I said sheepishly. It was part of my goals for Ramadhaan and I knew I had better get moving if I wanted to achieve success in the blessed month. I had to start killing the bad habits from now.
“And of course I’m okay with it,” she said breezily, talking about the wedding. “You guys seem to think I’m bothered. I’m just glad that he’s making it right instead of running around with that poor girl. Besides. I have bigger things to worry about, remember?”
I smiled, really hoping to see Zaynah happy again soon. With Waseem. I was young and had always been sceptical in the past, but it was the love story that gave even me hope. I was so worried that she was going to give up on him and do something stupid. Everything was slowly falling into place, but my life, ironically, had taken a slightly drastic turn.
After the recent drama of an extended family member spotting Raees at a mall with a girl, he had finally decided to come clean and decided to make Nikah. The annoying part was that being in the spotlight made him spill the beans about me. Raees was so sly that he couldn’t stand the drama centered around him, so he had to put me in the eye. It made me furious.
And okay, maybe me not mentioning anything to anyone about my hunting hobby might have been suspicious, but I knew the kind of ladies we had in our family. Daddy’s condition was that I would always go with him and that I keep it low key, because he knew what they were like. They were so judgemental and old fashioned. They would probably talk my father into sending me for a cooking course instead. It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong.
Now that they found out, the stories that were emerging were quite unbelievable. I mean, to say that I was man-hunting instead was really spiteful. I really didn’t anticipate getting a proposal at the hunting grounds. It was completely unexpected. Spontaneous. And of course, it gave me a weird kind of feeling in the pit of my tummy. I wasn’t sure if it was excitement, but I didn’t dare feel any yet because I had no idea where it was going. Raees was the number one obstacle, and even with his recent history, he still had the audacity to pass judgement.
“Never,” Raees had said, the minute my father mentioned it. “My sister will never marry there. That guys been married before, Daddy. We don’t even know what happened there. Can you really let your teenage daughter marry someone with that much of history? Let’s not even go there.”
He stressed on the word teenage, and I could feel my cheeks burning as they argued. I mean, really? Couldn’t they at least do this when I wasn’t around? And didn’t I get any say at all in the my own future?
Well, it was just as well that I didn’t say anything that day, because I know people would probably have a mouthful to say had I pushed the issue.
Instead, I left it alone and went to my room to phone Zaynah. Of course she would know what to say, and make it okay. And, ten minutes later, my mind was completely at ease, knowing that what was meant for me would never miss me. My silly childish crush was now the least of my worries. I knew that I had been off-track before, but Ziyaad was trying to do the right thing when he approached my father. I just had to hope that they see it that way too.
I had some hope still, after all, it wasn’t yet the end of the road. Increase in istighfaar, was Zaynah’s advice. It will all be okay.
“Whatever path you are treading, or whatever you want… know that it will be made easier with abundant Istighfaar.”
A man once came to al-Hasan al-Basri and complained to him: “The sky does not shower us with rain.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness (i.e. say أستغفر ألله).”
Then another person came to him and said, “I complain of poverty.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.”
Then another person came to him and complained, “My wife is barren; she cannot bear children.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.”
The people who were present, said to al-Hasan: “Everytime a person came to you complaining, you instructed them to seek Allah’s forgiveness?”
Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Have you not read the statement of Allah? ‘I said “Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance; increase you in wealth and children; grant you gardens and bestow on you rivers.”‘” [Nuh (71):10-12].
Rasul Allah (SAW) said, “If anyone continually asks forgiveness, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, relief from anxiety, and will provide for him from where he never realized.”
[Abu Dawood, Hadith 599]
And of course, I knew that was only truth in it. As the days passed and I hoped that everything would work out, I increased in istighfaar. In fact, I became addicted to istighfaar… and of course, made plenty of Duaa for the best. Although my heart was inclined to what it wanted, I knew that there could only be goodness in still asking for what was right for me. If I had to give a reason why I wanted this to work out, I knew that it would be because of reasons that were far from before.
No silly fantasies and hopes could match the contentment you feel when you do everything the way that Allah is pleased with. When you save yourself from the sin of something that is wrong.
As it does when you seem to be waiting on something, it seemed like forever before anything happened to change the course of my life. My teenage years had always been spent under the radar, and I had, overnight, become something of a topic of discussion for most in our small town. It was a time of finding myself and coming to peace with everything that was going on, so I ignored it and kept occupied with the usual things while I got on with life. Finding peace within my self was something of a mission, but it was something that I had needed to do for a long time.
Like many girls, I had spent most of my life waiting for that someone to sweep me off my feet. I spent my life running after what I thought would give me happiness. It was what I felt I needed. I needed a special someone, and since I never had it, I needed comfort. I needed people. All the time.
But the reason for that desire, is simply love. The need for love. We yearn for it and chase it, but we forget that love has a Creator too. We forget about who brought this need within us, and we get lost along the way.
We seek it in the wrong way. We look to fulfill that need in the wrong place.
But there is winning in every walk of life. There is a beautiful and fascinating rule that governs this world. And it’s really not rocket science.
Chase what is always there. Chase what lasts. Although the heart inclined to what’s easiest, quickest and closest, when we see that the chase will lead us nowhere, and finally see the truth… that’s when we chase what’s eternal. We chase what doesn’t fade. We chase the only thing that can fill us. Our Creator.
And then, of course, as Ramadhaan came closer, I seemed to finally get this, and started to focus my attentions on something other than what I was waiting for. Like Murphy’s Law, everything suddenly started happening at once. First was the preparation for my brothers wedding which seemed to be taking forever to happen. My family was all about the quick Nikah, and apparently the girls family wanted time to prepare a function. And though I never thought I’d be the one to say it, with my new focus, I wished they’d just make the Nikah and get it done with.
Everything was happening at lightning speed when the arrangements were finalized, and I took a deep breath in on that last Friday morning before Ramadhaan, preparing myself for a helluva weekend. I was so busy with my to-do list, that I didn’t even think twice when Hassan came in a few minutes later, screaming at the top of his lungs about something I had know idea about.
“What on earth are you saying?” I asked him, so frustrated that he was behaving like a problem child. I wondered why he acted so hyper at times. It was probably his age.
“It’s his car!” He screamed again, running to the window and pointing out.
The boy was obsessed with cars and it was getting a bit much. I sighed and went to the window, hoping to steer him away from the attraction.
“Uncle Waseem!” he shouted, grinning widely as someone got off the car.
At first I didn’t believe him, but as I looked closer, I realized that it was true. Zaynah’s husband was here. I was just about to shout for my cousin, when my voice froze in my throat as someone else stepped out.
At that moment, I had no idea what all this would bring, but I knew that I had to be prepared for anything. My father had been avoiding any discussions and they had obviously come here for something. Of course, this wasn’t just a coincidence. This was going to be a battle, but there had to be some winning here.
There was winning in every walk of life, and we all want it. We all want to win. We are all chasing something. Running after something.
But when we re-orient, and run towards Allah alone, then do we get the real picture: Only the one who gives up this fight, fails. You don’t give up… but you just have to re-focus. Focus on the One who will keep you grounded, throughout the storm. Focus on Him, and then only will you be successful.
And then only, will you find the real gold.
ONE STEP CLOSER TO JANNAH, InshaAllah!
Let’s practice our SUNNAH InshaAllah! More Sunnah of eating:
*Eating with three fingers.*
The Sunnah is to eat with three fingers;
eating with more than three fingers is a sign of greed and is bad manners,
there is no need for more than three in order to gather up a morsel.
If it is necessary to use more than three,
the food is light and cannot be gathered in three fingers, then he may use the fourth or fifth.
*See Fath al-Baari, 9/578*
Practice, share and earn multiple rewards in shaa Allah.
SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.