وَ اصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسي
There is so much depth in just that one simple, concise verse. Where do I begin?
Let’s take a look at the flashback:
The verse comes from Surah Taha (V41), the most part of which is the life story of Musa (as). Now, we’ve done the story of Musa (as) many times before – he comes in pretty much every juz – but the storytelling in this surah is similar to that of Surah Yusuf – in that, it’s mostly storytelling..!
Ahh, but when Allah (swt) tells us a story, it’s not to pass time or for fun. Every single verse is there with purpose.
The basic translation of this ayah is ‘I have chosen you for Myself’ (also ‘fashioned’ and ‘produced’)
How cool is that?! Allah (swt) is telling Musa (as) that he was chosen especially for Allah. Don’t you wish you were him? Don’t you wish that Allah (swt) would say that to us too?
I did, but then I realised, He was. How many times have I recited the Qur’an before and not had a clue as to what it meant – basic translation, let alone in depth meaning? And yet, here I was now, marveling over these words. Everything has its time, and with reason. We just need to realise what it is.
So that’ s not the completely cool part. The word “isthana’tuka” actually comes from the root word ص ن ع meaning ‘to craft, make’. So how does this relate to being chosen? In the Qur’an we learn that there are different types of choosing – based on one’s purity “isthafa” [Mustafa means one chosen based on his purity]; based on one’s goodness – “ikhtiyar” from khayr; etc. This word here basically means that Musa (as) has been fashioned and crafted for Allah.
Everything that he has gone through in his life, every incident that he has enjoyed, being tested with, struggled through – everything that has made him who he is – is so that he can do what Allah wants him to do, and that is go to Fir’oun because he needs guidance. He’s gone out of control thinking he’s the king of the world.
Now if you have somewhat understood what I’ve been rambling on about, I want you to stop and think for a second. Everything in your life up until now enabled you to get to this moment, enabled you to read this, and by the tawfeeq of Allah, enabled you to understand it. The question is: what are you going to do about it now?
We forget that every little thing is by the qadr of Allah. Even if we drop our pencil, if we bump into someone in the train, if we trip on the stairs. Do we know the reason for all of it? No we don’t, and they don’t seem significant enough to look into. But we forget that everything we say or think is also by His qadr, even if it’s something you say in passing to someone, a certain expression on your face that’s a reaction to something, even if it’s something you write down for yourself and someone else happens to look at it. We don’t know how little things like that can affect others’ lives.
This ideology was reinforced for me practically just yesterday, when a friend of mine, who wanted to write but needed a push because she didn’t think she could do it, finally got what she needed when someone posted a picture of something relating to what we had learnt in class that she had drawn. The latter had always wondered how she could use her talents for deen, and Allah showed her the way. She just said it in passing, but it had an impact on the one who required it.
It’s easy to figure things out when we’re looking at the story from the end – of course all those events make sense now that you string them up like that! But when we’re going through our daily life, we don’t have that luxury. Life goes on seemingly insignificantly, so how do we make the most of it? How do we not be of those who look back in regret, wishing we had used everything we had to the maximum?
The way I see it, we could either be like Fir’oun – who rejected every sign that was presented to him – or the magicians – who fell down prostrating at the first sign of haqq that they saw. It’s not about waiting for life to happen to you, I think, but about seizing every opportunity to try and get to the top.
Now our mission might not be “go to Fir’oun for he has strayed”, but the world is made up of different people for a reason. We are all good at something that others aren’t. How are we going to use the abilities Allah gave us to take this out into the world?
It’s not always about being a good orator or debater or teacher. We can make a dent in our circles simply by being good at what we do.
Our class itself is made up of nearly a hundred very different people with very different talents. Imagine how we could change the world if we wanted to..!