Just the beginning

We started Surah Kahf today, and as with all these major oft-recited ones, the hype and excitement is high, such that I don’t know what to expect. The best way to go into it is to not expect anything, leave yourself open to it, and take it as it comes.

It was a beautiful class. I thought so because we know the gist of the surah, the outline of the four stories, that we’re supposed to recite it every Friday – the usual – but when we were questioned about the reasoning behind it, we realised how little we knew of the details. That realisation that there’s always more to learn, even with a surah that’s repeated so often, is what made up the beauty.
That and the fact that she went into such detail for just the first ten ayahs, and even though I’ve done it before, it was like brand new.
The Qur’an can do that to you, it never leaves you bored – always amazed and always wanting more. I dread the time when we will be done with this and have to think about what is next. Now is such a good place to be, Alhamdulillah. So comfortable.

What struck me most about today was the timing of it all. SubhanAllah. As always, that never ceases to leave me filled with wonder and gratitude about the planning of Allah.
Just a few days ago I was having a conversation with a friend about another friend – consulting her on how I should go about da’wah with her – because I’m the kind of person who thinks about people’s reactions way too much and thus ends up not saying what I should. The ‘how’ of giving da’wah is what leaves me muddled. But once you get up close and personal with the Qur’an, you realise how wrong an approach that is because what matters is not what people think of you but what Allah does.
And the ayahs today was like a replay of that conversation.

It spoke of how the Prophet (pbuh) would destroy himself with grief over the plight of the Christians. It made me think of all the Christians I know and how we are answerable for our relationships with them – how much did we lead them to the truth?
The rude realisation was that 1) we don’t know how to tell them what they need to hear, and 2) we don’t care about their akhirah if we can’t guide them to the truth.
It’s hard being told that you don’t really care about people, but that was the sad reality..! If we can’t have empathy for our fellow Muslims, how can we extend that feeling to those who don’t share our faith?
It then shifted my thoughts to the above-mentioned friend (who is Muslim) and how if we really wanted to do something we would find a way, figure it out.
We’re all here, doing what we’re doing, for a reason. The people in our lives are here for a purpose, and their entrance or exit is all as per Allah’s plan. What we have to figure out is what exactly we can do within our limitations and how we can reach out to them despite it.
Seek ‘ilm, change ‘amal, do da’wah. How? That’s all up to us.

Then came the amazing ayah of how everything is beautified for us:
Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth adornment for it that We may test them [as to] which of them is best in deed. (18:7)

We are going to be attracted to the beauty of this world like a magnet – because that’s just how it is. Why though? So that we are exposed to ourselves what of the dunya makes us lose control and how we deal with it. This is exam time, we only have a specific duration for it, it’s the time that we must be most alert. When can we relax? When we get to Jannah, in shaa Allah!
In order for that to happen though, we have to work to get there – actually pass the test. Not just give in a blank sheet and expect to reap the rewards. We understand how that doesn’t make sense even in this world. How can we then expect it in the next?

But even though this world is a test, Allah made it beautiful – for us. He could’ve given us barren land and let us work on it, but He made things so beautiful, so that everyday is wonderment. SubhanAllah, His mercy is unexplainable!

The timing for this too was perfect because just a few days ago, the memory card on my phone crashed and I lost all my pictures, videos and voice notes that had not been backed up. For me, that was like someone punched me in my stomach because I am extremely sentimental and like holding onto things with memories. It took me a while – and a bit of a fuss later – to realise that this was my test – everyone is tested with what matters to them, and boy was that hard!
It also made me think about how I feel like my world is going to end every time the topic of moving back to the homeland comes up. How petty we are!
It was a good way to get me to realise that there’s no point holding onto dunya – I guess a dip in cold water was more effective than putting my toes in first to test the temperature. Sometimes all you need is a good shove!

Besides everyone being tested in a very personal manner, we are all also tested by the level that we’re at.
“Allah (swt) gives His strongest battles to His strongest soldiers”
That’s a beautiful quote that we need to stick on our fridges or cupboards as a reminder when hard times hit us.
It is not enough to just stay away from haraam, we can’t get to Jannatul Firdous by being on Level 1. We need to get higher, work harder, do more. And every stage that we go up, we are tested as per that level. Isn’t that what we should expect then?
So every time you are hit with a calamity, remember that it’s only because Allah knows you can.
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (2:286).

I do not ask for misfortunes and of course neither do I want it, but there’s a certain kind of jealousy to be felt for those in difficult situations because you know that Allah chose them specially to be there. And if they exercise sabr in that state? I can only hope that I even remember that I’m supposed to do that when I’m in a trial myself.
There is no trial-free life. When one goes another comes, and they only make one stronger. How? The more eman we have, the easier they are to overcome.

The Qur’an gives us the problems and their solutions. Need we look elsewhere?

I really don’t know if I embodied the allure of today’ class. All is know is that there is more to come.

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One thought on “Just the beginning

  1. Sakina Ali says:

    As usual the way you use your words to express your thoughts, always amazes me and that is what makes reading your articles so much fun. Keep up the good writing!

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