Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Eid that took us by surprise

I hope that you all had a fulfilling and blessed month of Ramadhaan (May Allah Almighty accept all our efforts). And I also hope that you had a beautiful day of Eid. Let me tell you a little about my Eid.

We were really all expecting to fast for thirty days instead of twenty nine this year. Many people including the experts were adamant that the new moon would be too young and we would not be able to site it in South Africa. We were so convinced that Eid would be on Tuesday that when the announcement was made that the moon was sited briefly and thus Eid will be on Monday, many of us were taken completely off guard. Not only had we not bid a final farewell to the month of Ramadhaan, we also had Eid preparations that we were still planning on doing. What resulted was a bit of a scuffle as many women hurried to complete their Eid preparation in time for the unexpected day of Eid.

Alhamdulillah, Eid came and went and I am sure that it was a joyous day for everyone, despite the previous evening’s hurriedness. As we tried to see what to do first on the night before Eid, my mother pointed out something crucial which was so relevant. She said, you see, just like that, at the end of our lives, we will wish that we had one more day.

And this statement is so profound when you actually think about it. Just like we hurried to do whatever we could at the last minute before Eid, so too will we hurriedly try to do what we can before we meet our Lord. Just like we were not ready to bid Ramadhaan farewell, so too will we be reluctant to bid farewell to this world when our time comes. Just like we felt that the Eid announcement was unexpected, so too will the announcement of our death be unexpected. If this isn’t a perfect reminder to us then I don’t know what is.

But here’s the important difference- the day of Eid was still a success, even if we hadn’t managed to prepare all the foods we wanted, or to get all the Eid goodies that we had hoped to get, but the day of reckoning will not be a success if we hadn’t manage to prepare appropriately (may Allah save us from destruction on that day and accept us amongst the true Believers, Inshaa-Allah Ameen!)

So this reminds us once again that our preparation for things in this world should be nothing in comparison to our preparation for the Hereafter. We should not spend our lives preparing for various things in this world, while forgetting to prepare for what is still to come. When we put things into perspective, nothing in this temporary world is a big deal, because everything passes. And this is contrary to the Hereafter, where things will last forever.  

May Almighty Allah guide us all and save us from futile pursuits and may we be granted success in the hereafter and in this world Inshaa-Allah!

Image from here 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Unity seems to be the default

Recently I was reminded that unity, instead of disunity is the normal human disposition. I re-learnt this from people in a psychiatric ward, strangely enough. These people have come together in the same space, sharing similar experiences for a certain time. These are people from different cultures, races and religions and yet they had managed to form strong bonds of support and care.

They told me things like, ‘we are here for each other’, ‘we support each other’, ‘ we've become very good friends’, ‘ we have grown so close’. This was such a beautiful thing for me to see and as I watched these people, bound together in a united group, ready to stand together as one I couldn't help but feel some hope for humanity. 

I've seen this before and experienced it myself. When people are able to find some common ground, no matter what this may be, unity seems to be the default. People can easily come together as one unit when they have a common goal, even if this is momentary. This may seem like something obvious to you, but the implications of this are far reaching.

Consider this-If unity is the default then why does disunity prevail more often in today’s times? Why does it seem like efforts at unity are easily broken down? Why do we see people doing whatever they can to get to each other and to prove that they are better? If unity is the default, then why are we so intent on disunity?

There are many reasons for this, competition, the need to win approval and so on, but the central issue is that we live in a power driven world, which has made us selfish, arrogant and proud. It’s made us believe that we are in a constant race, competing to get limited resources, jobs, homes, whatever it is that we need. It’s made us believe that the next person is our enemy, or at least our opponent, and helping the opponent will result in us losing. We are in a constant game, fighting to be the winner, and if we live like this then obviously we cannot have unity.

But if unity is the default then this means that we are actually taking great lengths to go against our nature, and this usually doesn't end very well. The consequences are obvious, disunity everywhere, even families cannot be united these days, and it’s no wonder, just look at the world we are living in!

So it’s refreshing to see people coming together, uniting for a while, standing together and supporting one another. And although I know that this unity is possible for a short while in a confined space because the stakes are not high and there’s nothing to compete for, it still makes me feel optimistic. It reminds me that people are not inherently bad. Perhaps people are misled, confused, consumed by greed and the need for more, but the potential to care for others is still there, and the ability to come together as one prevails.

May Allah Almighty, most Glorious save us from selfishness and guide us to understand that we do not need to compete with one another because our sustenance and everything in our lives has already been written down by Allah and will be given to us in due time. May Allah Most Glorious unite us and keep us firm in this unity. 

A beautiful teaching of Islam is something to the effect that if Allah wills something for us we will get it, even if the whole world tries to prevent us from getting it, and if Allah does not will something for us we will not get it, even if everyone comes together to try and give it to us.

May Almighty Allah help us all, Inshaa-Allah!

Image  1 from here
Image 2 from here

PS: I hope that all the Muslims are having a wonderful Ramadhaan, and remember these first ten days are the days of mercy, so let us beg Almighty Allah for His mercy because ultimately it is only through Allah's immense mercy that we are able to do anything, be anything or get anywhere. 

May Allah shower His abundant mercy on us all, Inshaa-Allah!