FAST ASLEEP, WARM in bed, my eyes flashed open to the shrilling sound of the phone ringing within the family room. I deliberated for a few moments whether I really wanted to get up from my cozy blanket. A look at the clock displaying 12:30 a.m. broke my haze and brought me to reality. Oh no! This can’t be good. It is not often that you get a late-night call ushering good news. But fortunately, at times it does happen, although the initial emotions of panic and fear still manage to find a way through you.
Now running to grab the phone, I found my sister’s pain stricken voice on the other line directing me to the hospital. My mother and I were in the car within minutes, anxious yet excited. At last, my sister was going to have the first baby in our family.
Pacing the hallways while running various errands, praying for my sister’s ease, tending to my mother, and fighting off sleep, the night passed along with no new information.
The next morning bore dreadful news that startled all of us.
My sister who had no real problems the past nine months was presently having complications in delivering the child. The lives of both, the mother and child were in question. How can this be possible, now at the very end? Where are the doctors and why are they not solving this problem? I found myself growing angry while terror laid its seeds within my pounding heart. Seeing the stressed look on my face, my mother whispered to me, “have tawakkul ‘ala Allah, my dear. trust Allah.”
Complete trust and faith in Allah under every and any condition—we all have inner access to it. Yet we don’t fully understand the magnitude of power it holds. More importantly, we tend to forget it when it matters most.
The Gracious Quran reminds our Ummah:
Thus have We sent you to a community, before whom other communities have passed away, in order that you recite to them what We have revealed to you, but they disbelieve in the Most Gracious. Say: He is my Lord; there is no deity except Him; upon Him I rely and to Him is my return in repentance. [Surat Al-Ra‘d,13:30]
So does this mean I can purposely do poorly in my studies yet still hold hopes and expect that Allah will allow me to attend my dream college? Not exactly. Rather, it means that I must do everything within my power to excel and then leave it to Allah. ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab heard the Prophet saying:
If you trust Allah with the right kind of tawakkul, He will provide you sustenance as He provides for the birds – they go out in the morning with empty stomachs and come back in the evening with full stomachs. (Tirmidhi)
Notice how the birds don’t sit around waiting in their comfy nests for food to miraculously appear. Similarly we must work to the best of our abilities, carefully fill out that application and then patiently wait, keeping faith that our Provider will do what is best for us. Allah reveals in Surat Hud:
My potential and inclination is only through Allah, upon Him I rely (in Him I have tawakkul) and to Him I turn. [Surat Hud, 11:88]
It is essential that we take precautions within our reach in any circumstance and thereafter leave the results to our Creator. This is beautifully illustrated through our role model, Prophet Muhammad who first took all possible safety measures in emigrating to Madinah and then kept faith in Allah. And even when everything seemed to hang in the balance, he calmly assured his Companion (Abu Bakr) to worry not. “Indeed, Allah is with us.”
There are some things that are beyond our control, things that we cannot change even if we want to. I may try time and again to sprout a few inches, but my five feet one inch height isn’t going to alter (at least upward) if Allah has not willed it for me to attain more than it. So I might as well simply accept it. Nor can I bring back my grandmother, to see that special smile come across my mother’s face. The Prophet said,
Allah condemns powerlessness [that is, hopelessness]. It is incumbent upon you to take a stand with hope and intelligent resolve. If you are overpowered in a matter, then say: ‘Sufficient is Allah for my means and He is the best supporter.’ (Abu Dawud).
Allah works in His way, which we often cannot immediately understand, testing His servants, yet with no more than they can bear. Whether the situation is dire or blissful, if handled properly it proves beneficial. The Messenger of Allah said,
How wonderful it is for a believer that he always ends up with goodness: If he suffers and remains steadfast, it is rewarding; if good things happen and he thanks Allah, that is also rewarding. (Muslim). Truly Allah loves His servants!
Let us create the most peaceful mindset, once aware that life is full of tests, some difficult, others gratifying—yet regardless of their severity my actions and my efforts all need to be working toward gaining the pleasure of my Lord. Whatever hardships, trials, and sufferings I endure in the course of my servitude to Allah are all part of His plan for my ultimate success. Enduring them with contentment without a word of complaint, nor becoming disheartened in any way is a part of my earthly assignment as His slave, which I perform to prove the trueness of my faith, at His pleasure.
Indeed, there is no authority for him (Satan) over those who believe and rely upon their Lord. [Surat Al-Nahl,16:99]
This is the lesson I learned that memorable day during my sister’s arduous delivery, a day that nearly drove me to insanity with worry and apprehension. The doctors can try with mighty efforts to solve a problem, and we can make du‘a’ with all our hearts, but in the end it is for Allah to decide how things will unfold and for me to be content with what befalls.
Being kicked out of the room to anxiously wait outside, I stood by the door making every du‘a’ I know, ready to pounce in when time called for. A shrieking cry suddenly made my throbbing heart fall into my stomach and without thinking twice I barged in and beheld the most beautiful creature in my mother’s arms. Trembling, I took hold of the infant still covered with blood and felt I had just witnessed a miracle of Allah, the Most High.
Alhamdulillah! our Lord blessed us with a baby boy that day while additionally blessing us with my sister’s good health. Little did I know that the birth of my pride and joy would teach me such a profound lesson that I continue to work and improve upon till this day. Now whenever faced with a calamity or a moment of happiness, instead of whining and complaining, I try recalling:
Whoever relies on Allah, He is sufficient for him. [Surat Al-Talaq, 65:3]