Going back to the homeland has always been a bit of a nerve-wrecking experience. I guess it’s because we’re just not used to so much family having so many opinions about so many different things. So before we go, I always remind myself to take a deep breath, brace myself and smile big. The days will fly, just keep smiling.
In hindsight, these trips always seem better than they actually were, maybe because I’m looking at them from a different perspective. I realise how I could have handled a situation better, and mentally file it away for future use. While I’m going through it all though, I either feel like pulling my hair out or banging my head on a wall. Painful, I know.
This time was harder and easier than most. That is an antithesis, but it’s true. While there were times I wanted to scream or throw a tantrum, all my training from Qur’an told me not to. It was a conscious effort to portray the good change that Qur’an can bring to a person’s life, not that it makes us live like hermits. Some family figured I was doing this because I had nothing else to do – and it made me realise the mindset of us Muslims, how we are happy with what we know, there is no reason to learn more. Doing so might make us extremists, you see. SubhanAllah, it was scary because that was probably me once upon a time too. Only when you learn, you realise how much more there is to learn. Up until then, everything you know is enough.
There were some people who actually understood the reason for doing this though, so I had great fun talking about something I missed so dearly. For the rest, I tried to just focus on da’wah through actions. I’m not sure how well I did, but I guess this is just the beginning.
We have been doing Surah Al A’raaf, with a few classes focused on the previous nations and their destructions due to their rejection of the truth and their sins. Destruction of people who thought they were mighty and well fortified that nothing could harm them, yet the wind, water, sound and earth all ate them up. The descriptions were intense, but nothing prepared us for the practical example that was soon to follow: the violent sandstorm, pouring rain and tremors of an earthquake nearby left us all in absolute terror that those verses were being acted out.
Different people might have related to the natural occurrences in different ways – and that is a miracle in itself, the same way a single verse of the Qur’an relates to different lives – but what struck me was that this illustration of Allah’s power was right after we did the verses, so that we could have more yaqeen in them. He knew when to strike us.
The same way He knew when to place me in that situation so that I could take my practical exam for all that I’ve learnt. It is the easiest thing to come to class everyday, surround yourself with people who are going through the same thing as you and to have eman-boosting conversations with them. It is another thing altogether to take that out into the world and be like that with people who don’t reciprocate. But that’s when we realise where we stand, how good we really are, how strong we can be, and how much more work we need to do.
One of the reasons I wanted to come back so badly was because of the ease with which we live here. Practicing our deen, having good company, more accessible eman boosts. But what I found was that when you are in a tougher situation, you work a little more, pray a little harder, ask a little longer. And if we want to reach our goal – which is where the good life lies – then maybe we are meant to be in an environment that makes us strive.
Like Ali (r.a.) said: “The good life is the life of the HereAfter”
العيش عيش الأخرة