by Sabeen Mansoori
She stood very still and watched her daughter’s tear stained face melt into the crowd. The pain of her departure would tear at her heart and soul. The daughter on the other side willed her feet to step in leaden uniformity towards the door, and away from the beloved figure that gazed desperately, lovingly in her direction. As she heard the doors close behind her, she wanted to break through them and run back and embrace her mom. She wanted to gaze at her face and feel the love that glowed from her presence. But she could not. She had to move on…
Do you love someone dearly: a parent, a child, or a spouse? Does your heart feel fulfilled when you gaze at them? Do you feel incomplete without them? Is their pleasure the most desirable experience of your life? Would you move heaven and earth to make them happy? The quality of our life is equal to the quality of our relationships: if we have content relationships, then we are generally happy and satisfied in life. A single argument or dispute can wreck havoc over our peace of mind. There is, however, one very unique and important relationship that is increasingly overlooked in this equation of happiness: it is our relationship with Allah.
Is it a relationship of love or fear? Is it a relationship of ritual or reflection? Is it a didactic relationship of rules of haram vs. halal, or does the remembrance of Allah bring tears to your eyes and your soul overflows with gratitude? When you hear the recitation of the Qur'an, are you thinking of a checklist of dos and don’ts or are you so overwhelmed by the magnificent subtlety of His Words that you become incoherent with awe? If indeed you love Allah, how would you describe Him? Prophet Ibraheem alayhi salam expresses his love and reliance in the following words:
“Who created me, and He [it is who] guides me. And it is He who feeds me and gives me drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me. And who will cause me to die and then bring me to life. And who I aspire that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense. [And he said], ‘My Lord, grant me authority and join me with the righteous. And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations. And place me among the inheritors of the Garden of Pleasure.’ ”
(26,78 – 85)
(26,78 – 85)
Prophet Ibraheem recognizes the Majesty and Authority of Allah, and recognizes his own utter helplessness and dependence on Him. He praises Him and begs for His Mercy in the most eloquent manner and expresses the desire to be in the company of those that Allah loves.
Without those we love, we are incomplete. We are anchored to existence through those we belong to, and we desire that they should belong to us. I am not a mother without my children. I am not a friend without my friend. I am not a wife without my husband. Allah subhanahu wa tala however is Al-Ghani and free of all wants but we are nothing without Him. Our utter dependence upon Allah is eclipsed only by His Complete Independence of us. He calls upon us to remember Him; not for His Sake but for ours:
“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.”
When we belong to Allah, then we are connected in a meaningful way to all of Creation. So the sunset is mine because my Rabb made it. The birds, that swoop so close to the surface of the ocean so I can see their reflection on the waves, are there for me because My Lord created them all out of His Infinite Mercy. The crisp winter morning and the sultry warmth of a summer evening are all mine so that I can praise my Rabb. The times of joy are tailored for me to be thankful and the moments of trial are mine to bear so that I can learn patience. Nothing is accidental and nothing is meaningless because it is above the Majesty of Allah to create this vast universe and this plethora of experiences for no reason.
“And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this topic for more about our relationship with Allah and preparing to meet Him inshaAllah
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