By Shariffa Carlo Al Andalusia
Asalaamu Alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu wa maghfirtuhu. I greet you all on this great Ramadhan night in the greeting of our beloved Prophet. Tonight, I was blessed with a gift of insight. I had slept a bit, and woke in the middle of the night unable to continue sleeping. I started to read a story in the Reader's Digest. On the surface it was a sad, tragic story of loss and death of a children mended by a selfless act. But when I really looked at the story, I was able to see much more, and the true sadness of it all really hit me.
The story, in short was of a man who wrote a book about, among other things, a woman who had lost a child and had mourned this child by placing a flower at the base of a stone angel that adorned the child's grave. This image was so powerful to so many of the readers of the story that they, who had also lost children at an early age, wanted to know where this angel resided. They wanted to also place flowers at its base to "remember" their own children. From his "great generosity" he commissioned the sculpturing of an angel for these people. It was placed in a cemetery and has been visited and is still visited by thousands of people annually.
How far the human nation has fallen that they have to travel to a carved idol to find comfort for what we, as Muslims, know is actually a great blessing in disguise. True, the loss of a child is a painful test, one which, I, alhamdulillah, have been spared, and pray I will always be spared, but in it is also a huge bounty of blessings. We have been promised:
Narrated Abu Sa'id: The women requested the Prophet, "Please fix a day for us." So the Prophet preached to them and said, "A woman whose three children died would be screened from the Hell Fire by them," Hearing that, a woman asked, "If two died?" The Prophet replied, "Even two (would screen her from the (Hell) Fire. "And Abu Huraira added, "Those children should be below the age of puberty." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 23, Number 341.
Allah shows us that we do not need to look further that to Him to gain perspective on our "tragedies" We all know the story of the Prophet Musa and Khidr, where Khidr killed a child because it was Allah's decree to protect the deen of the parents. (18:60-82 and Sahih Bukhari: Volume 6, Number 249).
Allah has taught us that in tragedy comes good. We just have to be open to see it. Reflect on the story of Abu Talha:
Narrated Anas bin Malik: One of the sons of Abu Talha became sick and died and Abu Talha at that time was not at home. When his wife saw that he was dead, she prepared him (washed and shrouded him) and placed him somewhere in the house. When Abu Talha came, he asked, "How is the boy?" She said, "The child is quiet and I hope he is in peace." Abu Talha thought that she had spoken the truth. Abu Talha passed the night and in the morning took a bath and when he intended to go out, she told him that his son had died, Abu Talha offered the (morning) prayer with the Prophet and informed the Prophet of what happened to them. Allah's Apostle said, "May Allah bless you concerning your night. (That is, may Allah bless you with good offspring)." Sufyan said, "One of the Ansar said, 'They (i.e. Abu Talha and his wife) had nine sons and all of them became reciters of the Quran (by heart).' " Sahih Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 23, Number 388.
We do not need to go to idols or statues or great Wisemen or any such nonsense to make sense of the moments of our lives, we need only see the wisdom Allah provided us in his great book and through His beloved Prophets.
We may do so, without meaning to do so, by trying to rely solely on ourselves when a trial occurs. We may "idolize" ourselves, thinking we have the power to affect a change in our conditions. Or, like these people who were looking to the angel for relief for their grief, we may place too great a value on the worldly, including those who fill our lives briefly - the small loans from Allah among us. We may act like they are ours to keep, not just ours to briefly enjoy. I fell into this trap myself recently, and I thank my friends for helping to guide me back to remembering to rely SOLELY upon Allah. May Allah magnify their blessings for through them, I saw the value of surrounding ourselves with strong believers who will gently push us back towards the path when we start to fall.
You see, recently, I, too, experienced a small trial, not nearly on this scale, where I was less than patient. I forgot the lessons Allah had given me, and it was not until I sincerely recited the dua: "O Allah, it is your Mercy that I hope for; so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except you.", that I was able to attain a measure of peace, and my trial was lifted completely. Alhamdulillah, Rabi Al alameen.
I thank Allah for the Wisdom to finally give up my petty attempts to rectify my life alone, and giving me the foresight and wisdom to leave my affairs to Him. I pray he always guide me so, and always protect me and guide me in my trials. Most importantly, I thank Allah for His guiding me to Al Islam, without which I would be of those who are lost with no salvation. Ameen.