For all of my life, reading has been my passion. Ever since I was a child, with my picture books that my mother would so kindly read to me, and later taught me to read myself, I have never stopped loving reading.
I have learned that the best read –despite the how heart-warming those frivolous feel-good stories are- is the book, article or story with such an inspiring and passionate message that the reader feels absolutely obliged to act. The reader is transformed from then on, and cannot live his/her life the same way.
Recently, I was reading from You can be the Happiest Woman in the World, an Islamic book by Dr. ‘A’id al-Qarni that many are familiar with. I was flipping through the pages, not really paying attention to it- to tell you the truth, I’d dismissed the entire novel as not for me because my older aunt had given it to me and I had arrogantly assumed that novels she liked were not very… interesting to say the least. I had literally judged the book by its cover. So I was flipping through the book when one story caught my eye. It was named You Have Nowhere to Turn but to Allah. That was my life-altering read 🙂 .
The story was about an orphan who was praying very sincerely in a mosque, when a man, intrigued by the praying boy, waited for him to finish. The man greeted the boy and asked who the boy’s parents were. With a tear rolling down his cheek, the boy responded that he was simply an orphan. Sympathetic, the man asked if the boy would like to be adopted by him.
Now I have to say that I was being very assumptive that night. At this point in the story, I was certain that this was the boy’s salvation. That Allah had blessed this orphan boy through this good man, and that the boy goes on to live a happy life with a family. As it turns out, I couldn’t be more wrong. The boy was far more impressive than the man had initially thought.
And the story continues. The boy asked the man, “If I get hungry will you feed me?” The man responded in the affirmative. The boy again asked, “If I am naked will you clothe me?” Again, the response was yes. The boy asked once more, “If I fall sick will you heal me?”
Here I thought that the poor boy was naïve and did not understand that only Allah could do this.
The man said that he was not capable of doing this. The boy asked again, “If I die will you bring me back to life?”, and again the man said that he could not do this. The boy finally said the line that shocked me the most, considering I had formed my own ending to the story halfway through it. The boy told him,
“Then leave me, my uncle, to the One Who created me, for He is the One Who gives me food and drink. If I fall sick He heals me and He is the One Who, I hope, will forgive me on the Judgment Day.”
The man fell silent and left the boy. As he was walking away he said to himself, “I believe in Allah. Whoever puts his Trust in Allah, Allah will suffice him.”
This story is to me, as a huge rock, just the biggest rock you can find, is to the smallest and feeblest of scales. Neither side of the scale will be able to hold the rock, and it has no hope but will go flying and clattering to the ground, both sides of the scale ricocheting off each other, as it bangs and smashes to no end.
I feel like my entire idea that I believe and trust in Allah is like that scale; it has gone flying and bounding off into the abyss, replaced with the true meaning of trust in Allah; this boy’s unwavering and certain trust in his Lord.
To me, this boy displayed the essence and epitome of trust: trust when you cannot see a stable future for yourself; trust when you do not know when your next meal will come; trust when you are all alone in the world; trust when all seems lost; and lastly, trust when you literally do not have anything but conviction and the certainty that Allah will provide for you.
I could never imagine such great trust. It is absolutely mind-boggling. It is like everything I ever thought about trust in Allah is rattling around in my head, refusing to take hold now that I have read this story.
I used to think that trust meant simply believing in Qadr, destiny or predestination –and that is a part of it- but now I know that it means so much more. It means literally (well, maybe just figuratively or mentally) placing your heart and life in Allah. Placing everything you find most important to you –your education, career, loved ones, endeavors, hopes, dreams, just everything- in the certainty that Allah will be there for you when all of those are gone. That when the dust settles and everything comes to its eventual and timely end, Allah will be there, and He is all we have.
I also learned that when it comes to this beautiful deen, I am always learning. I have realized that nothing is ever one-sided, or black and white, but rather everything is multi-faceted and has many different meanings and connotations.
Another feeling that this story evoked in me was complete shame. It made me see how much Allah has blessed me in my life, and how much more I can do with regards to my worship and becoming closer to Him. This story showed me an orphan with nothing but Trust in Allah- a valuable asset that would be enough for him throughout his life. It showed me a young boy with such strong iman, that I could only hope to strive and reach that level of complete trust and faith in Allah. Most importantly, it showed me that there is always hope. So long as I am alive, I can always do better in my worship to try and receive the pleasure of Allah.
However, this story was obviously not directly intended to make people feel bad- rather to display the amount of trust and conviction in the hearts of those with true faith. When we read stories like this, it is to inspire us to do better. But you know what? Sometimes you need to feel bad before you can move forward. If you do not feel like something is wrong with your lifestyle, why would you feel the need to change it? If you do not know of something, you would never question it or wonder if there is anything better the world has to offer.
If you do not feel that you lack the amount of trust in Allah that that orphan boy had, you will not strive to seek it and you will never feel the sweetness of contentment and pure, unadulterated trust in Allah.
Think of it as similar to taubah, repentance. To make true repentance to Allah, one has to feel such shame over his/her sin, and an unwavering promise to never go back and commit the same sin again. Similarly, once we feel bad that we do not rival the Companions of the Prophet (SAW) or the Pious Predecessors in faith –not nearly- we will work harder to try and attain that level of iman because we know that it is a possible achievement. Not to mention the best of achievements and the most worthy.
Subhanallah, I know that I am desperate to have that type of close and strong relationship with Allah, and the stories of the true faith the Companions and the Pious Predecessors only serve as proof that it is an attainable goal. At the end of the day, the most we can hope for is to have the capabilities to do good deeds, to take advantage of them, and to hope that Allah rewards us for our good actions, and forgives us for our sins. We should remember that the promise of Allah SWT is true, and if our intentions are true He will reward us with Jannah, insha’Allah.
“Whoever submits his whole self to Allah, and is a doer of good, has grasped indeed the firmest hand-hold: and to Allah shall all things return.” [Surah-Luqman:22]
“…Verily, the promise of Allah is true: let not then this present life deceive you, not let the Chief Deceiver deceive you about Allah.” [Surah-Luqman:33]