Oh Allah, thank you for not always giving me what I’ve wanted in life. You’ve taught me the patience to endure and keep moving forward and the doors further along this path of life that are opening for me never cease to amaze me. Thank you for giving me so much better than I have ever thought that I deserved.
If you grew up in my generation (born in the early 80s baby!) or before, I’m sure you remember the movies that come to mind when reading the title of this post. Look Who’s Talking was a comedy that I remember seeing when I was little but never really paid attention. The movie has no value entertainment, religious, or education wise when compared to another example that I have today of an infant speaking.
This is quite possibly one of my favorite Islamic stories that I have ever heard.
It is the story of the Companions of the Ditch adapted from a lecture given by one of my favorite Imams.
The story begins with an ancient king whose sorcerer (yeah, he had his own personal saa7ir/magician) was getting old. The king told the sorcerer to appoint an apprentice to replace him when he passes away. The sorcerer decided on a young man and the young man began going to the sorcerer daily but came upon a priest living and worshiping in the religion of Allah swt, and belief in the oneness of Allah. The boy sat and talked with the priest and was exposed to the deen of Allah and then went to the sorcerer. The priest offered to teach his religion to the young boy; he was to stop in at the priest’s home in the morning on the way to the sorcerer and again in the afternoons on his way home.
The day came that the boy was torn and wasn’t sure whether the sorcerer or the priest was teaching him the truth. While walking through the market, he saw that the people were all trying to kill a beast and no one was able to. The boy picked up a stone and said, “Oh Allah, if the religion of the priest is more beloved to you than that of the sorcerer, allow me to kill this beast,” and he threw the stone. The animal was instantly killed.
The boy went to the priest and related his story. The priest said, “By Allah, today you have surpassed me, for Allah swt has granted you a miracle. Beware, that in reaching this level of imaan you will face trials and tribulations and when you do, do not mention that I am the one who taught you.” (We all need to understand this point! There is no one in this world that says I have imaan, or I am a mu’min that Allah swt does not test– to prove the level of their imaan. Those with the strongest imaan have the hardest tests. — Think about it like a college major, the early introduction classes have tests that most people can pass, but to complete the major, as you continue to move forward, the tests get harder, are exhausting, and may break you. Tests of your imaan are the same way… never ask why– just say alhamdulilah and keep on going.) The priest was not scared that he was teaching the boy, but he was still attempting to protect himself.
The trials quickly came. The young man was performing miracles, healing the blind, deaf, and those with leprosy. One day the king’s friend went to the boy for a cure for his blindness. The man asked the boy to cure him and the boy said, Allah swt will heal only whom He wills. In this conversation, not only was the boy healing the man but he also was giving him dawah. The man walked into the king’s court the next day, sight returned and the king asked who had healed him. The man’s response was that Allah swt healed him and the king beheaded him after conversation/argument that the man took a lord other than his king.
He brought the boy forward and told him to give up his religion or he would be killed, the boy remained steadfast and had part of his scalp split. The king worried that if his friend was healed and now believed in Allah swt as the one true lord, the rest of the nation would do the same if the boy got to them. The king then sent off a group of his soldiers to take the boy to the top of a mountain and throw him off. While being dragged up, the boy made dua to Allah swt asking that Allah do with the soldiers what He will. The mountain began to shake and every single soldier fell off and died.
The boy returned to the king’s court (keep in mind that the boy was not making dua to Allah to save his life, but rather to save his dawah- which is why he went straight back to the king) and told the king that he would never be able to kill him unless he did exactly as the boy told him. The boy told the king to do this: “Gather the entire nation and put me against a tree, once the nation is gathered and watching, and as you ready your bow and arrow you must say, “In the name of Allah the Lord of this boy.” Only then will you be able to kill me.”
The king gathered the nation, tied the boy and said exactly that. At that moment, the boy was killed. He gave his life for his dawah and it worked. The entire nation (reportedly 40-60,000 people) reverted to Islam. This was the opposite of what the king wanted so he began to take even more drastic action. He had his soldiers dig a deep trench and light a fire in it and had each and every member of the nation choose between giving up his or her religion or dying in the fire.
Every member of the nation chose the fire– except one– A woman with her infant child was walking toward the fire when she hesitated. At that moment, Allah swt granted the infant the ability to speak and he said to his mother,
“Ya uma usburi fa inaki a3lal 7aq.” “Oh my mother, be patient and go on because you are on the path of the truth!”
and the mother continued walking into the fire filled trench. Sob7an Allah that day the entire Muslim nation was destroyed.
These people are mentioned in Surat al Buruuj and there is a huge lesson to be learned by it, and we truly need to take it to heart. Sometimes, when we are tested in this life, sometimes the trials, tribulations, and fitna that we face are so hard and we expect relief and our reward ;in the donya, but sometimes– sometimes it just doesn’t and won’t come in the donya. We need to not go through life seeking our reward in the donya and await our reward in the hereafter.
Allah swt says in Suart al Buruuj:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the MercifulBy the heaven, holding mansions of the stars, (1)And by the Promised Day. (2)And by the witness and that whereunto he beareth testimony, (3)(Self-)destroyed were the owners of the ditch (4)Of the fuel-fed fire, (5)When they sat by it, (6)And were themselves the witnesses of what they did to the believers. (7)They had naught against them save that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Owner of Praise, (8)Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is of all things the Witness. (9)Lo! they who persecute believing men and believing women and repent not, theirs verily will be the doom of hell, and theirs the doom of burning. (10)Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs will be Gardens underneath which rivers flow. That is the Great Success. (11)Lo! the punishment of thy Lord is stern. (12)Lo! He it is Who produceth, then reproduceth, (13)And He is the Forgiving, the Loving, (14)Lord of the Throne of Glory, (15)Doer of what He will. (16)Hath there come unto thee the story of the hosts (17)Of Pharaoh and (the tribe of) Thamud? (18)Nay, but those who disbelieve live in denial (19)And Allah, all unseen, surroundeth them. (20)Nay, but it is a glorious Qur’an. (21)On a guarded tablet. (22)
RasoolAllah has said:
This world is a prison for the believer and paradise for the non-believer. [Muslim, Book 42 (Kitaab Az-Zuhd wa Al-Raqa’iq), Hadith 7058]
Remain steadfast in your imaan… even through hardships and insh’allah you will be counted among Allah swt’s beloved servants.
Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salaam a3la Sayyidina Mohammed wa a3la ahli wa sa7bihi saleeman katheera. Oh Allah, I ask that you guide me along your straight path and count me among your rightly guided and most beloved servants and I beg of you not to leave me without your guidance for even the blink of an eye. Ameen.
Have you ever taken a moment– or heck lost yourself for 10… 20… an hour looking at yourself in the mirror, a parent, loved one, your child, a picture, statue, sketch or painting of the human form? Sometimes I find myself doing just that– (not staring at myself in the mirror- ha! the vanity!!) As someone who has dedicated my education to the study of biology and more specifically medicine from the Islamic perspective, I am confronted every single day with the tiniest things that before– I took for granted but after really studying them, they’ve become the most profound miracles.
Sob7an Allah, there are times when everything becomes so automatic, so scheduled and we forget that just about every aspect of our very existence is a miracle.
From a scientific perspective your eyes are easy to understand. Initially, the light waves are bent or converged first by the cornea, and then further by the crystalline lens (located immediately behind the iris and the pupil), to a nodal point (N) located immediately behind the back surface of the lens. At that point, the image becomes reversed (turned backwards) and inverted (turned upside-down).
The light continues through the vitreous humor, the clear gel that makes up about 80% of the eye’s volume, and then, ideally, back to a clear focus on the retina, behind the vitreous. The small central area of the retina is the macula, which provides the best vision of any location in the retina. If the eye is considered to be a type of camera (albeit, an extremely complex one), the retina is equivalent to the film inside of the camera, registering the tiny photons of light interacting with it.
Within the layers of the retina, light impulses are changed into electrical signals. Then they are sent through the optic nerve, along the visual pathway, to the occipital cortex at the posterior (back) of the brain. Here, the electrical signals are interpreted or “seen” by the brain as a visual image.
But when you read the science, do you give yourself a chance to be awed by how incredibly beautifully it all comes together? Or what it means to be able to see?
I remember reading a story about 6 months ago that really brought this idea home.
Angel Jibrail (AS) told RasulAllah (SAW) the following story about a man in the past who worshiped Allah Ta3ala continuously for 500 years. He was granted a shelter on top of a mountain that was surrounded by salty water. However, Allah SWT caused a stream of sweet water to flow through the mountain for that individual. The man would drink from this water and use it to make ablution. Allah Ta3ala also raised a pomegranate tree from which the man would eat one fruit every day.
One day, this person supplicated to Allah SWT that, “Oh Allah, bring my death while I am in the state of prostration.” Allah SWT accepted this dua of his. Whenever Jibrail (AS) came down to the Earth, he found this man prostrating to Allah. Jibrail (AS) said that on the day of Judgement, Allah SWT will tell the angels to take this individual to Paradise through His mercy. However, this man will insist that he should enter paradise through the good deeds that he had performed.
Then, Allah SWT will tell the angels to compare his good deeds with the blessings that were given to him in the world. It will be seen that 500 years of his worship does not even equal to the gift of eye sight that was given to him by Allah. The angels will be asked to take him towards the hell fire. Then the man will plead, “Oh Allah! Enter me into Paradise only through Your mercy.” At that point, the following discussion will take place between Allah SWT and that man.
Allah: Oh my servant, who created you?
The worshiper: Oh Allah, You have created me.
Allah: Were you created because of the good deeds you have done or because of My mercy?
The worshiper: Because of Your mercy.
Allah: Who granted you the ability to worship for 500 years?
The worshiper: Oh the Almighty! You have granted me that ability.
Allah: Who placed you on the mountain surrounded by the ocean? Who caused a stream of sweet water to flow in between the salty water? Who caused a pomegranate tree to grow for you? Who granted you death while in the state of prostration?
The worshiper: Oh the Sustainer of the Worlds! You have done all of these.
Then Allah will say, “All these have happened due to My mercy and you too will enter Paradise only through My Mercy.”
Have you contemplated the blessings of your beautiful eyes today? What would you do if tomorrow you woke up without the use of them? I cannot imagine the sadness that I would feel if I wasn’t able to stare up at the sky every day and night, see the smile on my parents’ faces, or the pure unadulterated joy of a child running around outside.
Alhamdulilah, for everything– truly.
Until next time, besos amores.
Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam a3la nabina Muhammed, khatim al mursaleen wa a3la ahli wa sa7bihi saliman katheera. Oh Allah, I pray that you guide me in each and every one of my actions and that you count me among your faithful and rightly guided servants. Ameen.
Sometimes I lose track of what’s important– or maybe the seemingly insurmountable levels of pressure that I’ve been dealing with nag me to distraction. Although I do say Alhamdulilah for everything good and bad, sometimes I don’t realize how truly good I have it.
I came home to my parents’ house this weekend with very mixed feelings. I was coming home for a wedding and I wasn’t really feeling it. I was excited to see my mom, sisters, brother, but I also was driven to utter preoccupation over thoughts of a dear friend going in for medical tests that would basically spell out her future for her, thoughts over work, what I’m doing education wise, and some major steps and changes that are happening in my life as we speak. Combine all of that with the serious levels of guilt that I was feeling over leaving my dog for the weekend (normally it isn’t bad, but he seemed to notice that I was packing and became so needy!) and my dad and brother to go have fun and the beginning of my drive was blurred with tears.
And then about 20 minutes into this drive, in a terrible rain storm mind you, there was a cleft in the clouds and the sun was shining so brightly I could swear I was on a beach in Yaffa and I just looked up, smiled, and thought to myself– “funny, my silver lining is gold today.”
Sometimes it takes the awesomeness of Allah swt’s power and ability to create beauty EVERYWHERE to kick a gloomy feeling and to remind myself that right now– this very moment is the best moment of my life. Every moment is the best moment of my life. How can it not be? My parents are both alive, my siblings are all healthy (although they can get on my last nerve- I’m so lucky to have every last one of them), I’ve got a great job, a great future insh’allah and as a Muslim, I’m surrounded by the blessings of Allah swt every single moment.
And if you were to count Allah’s favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Sūrah al-Nahl: 18]
I was driving home on Friday, so I figured, on the drive, I should listen to and recite Surat al Kahf and I was just calmed, I began to center myself. Sob7an Allah I have reached a point in my life where I’ve stopped giving thought to certain things, stopped wondering what my future holds and am just going insh’allah day by day, I stopped worrying about the next 2 years, 2 months or even 2 weeks and focus simply upon getting through the next two minutes and saying and truly meaning it when I say, Alhamdulilah for everything. Doing this– amazingly, has made all those things that I worry about happening just fall into my lap. I have a friend that always used to yell at me and say, “D, shut up, calm down and just stop worrying- a watched pot doesn’t boil.” such true words!
I still haven’t heard how my friend’s tests went and haven’t really been sleeping or even able to eat thinking about her, but one thing I do know is that Allah swt loves that girl so much, He wouldn’t be testing her with everything that she’s dealing with if she wasn’t among His most faithful servants. She has the patience of Ayyub (as) and my constant dua. Insh’allah Allah swt will bring her shifa2 and a response to her patience and strength. She so deserves to have constant joy in her life, after all of the pain she’s dealt with.
I have some major life decisions and changes coming up over the course of the summer and I’m feeling like I’m a blind man reaching and I don’t know what I’m reaching for. So this is going to be the end of my post. I’m taking the night off from absolutely everything and just going to sit with my Quran and hear in my heart Allah swt’s words to me and I know that He won’t guide me astray.
Peace, love and Besitos amores.
Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam a3la nabina Muhammad wa a3la ahli wa sa7bi saliman katheera. Oh Allah I ask that you count me among your faithful and rightly guided servants and that you keep me on the straight path. Ya Allah, do not abandon me even for the blink of an eye. Ameen.