The fact is, for the vast majority of people, being in lockdown isn’t just another holiday or period of relaxation. We rarely get to take a sabbatical throughout the year amidst the hustle & bustle of everyday life. Sure we have been given an opportunity to focus on other, more beneficial activities, but many people might be inclined to succumb to worry & concern over what lies ahead.
We all know of the challenges we face in our respective countries, financially and otherwise. It’s natural to stress about how we will support ourselves & our families in this uncertain economic terrain. After all, we are only human. We have bills & we have needs.
I just thought I’d share some inspirational words of wisdom that I find to be a source of comfort & admonition in these distressing times.
You know, we don’t have as much control over our Rizq’s (livelihoods/sustenance) as we may think. We need to reconcile with the fact that our destinies have already been preordained (this isn’t to say that effort, dedication & perseverance is not required of us). In the Beautiful words of Umar Ibn Khattab (R.A.), “What is destined will reach you, even if it be underneath two mountains. What is not destined, will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips.”
Recently, I have been reading a lot about the teachings of the late Imam Shafi’i; whom I have always admired. He possessed so many admirable qualities, which set him apart from the average mortal. He was way ahead of the game when it came to his firmness in faith, his superior intellect, his contentment of heart as well as his level of understanding. Each poetic piece, literary work or quote I come across causes me to develop an even greater appreciation & respect for the man. His teachings are universal, timeless jewels that address the exigencies in our world; they would find an application even in the unfamiliar times we find ourselves in.
The following poems are two of the more well-known pieces by the learned Imam, and I’ve decided to post them due to their relevance:
”It is upon you to have Taqwa (mindfulness/awareness) of Allah (God) when you are forgetful,
sustenance will come to you from where you do not know.
How do you fear poverty when Allah is the provider,
indeed he provided for the birds and the whales in the sea.
And whoever thought that sustenance comes with power,
when the bird ate something with the eagles.
This world goes by you and you do not know,
if the night covers will you live until Fajr (dawn)?
How many healthy died without a reason,
and how many weak live forever?
How many youth go to sleep and wake up laughing,
and we buried him at sunset and he didn’t even know?
So whoever lives a thousand then a thousand years after that,
no doubt there will come a day when you will go to the grave!”
“People will live amongst people, for as long as they live,
For without doubt, fortune and goodness will come and go.
The best of people amongst others is a man who,
Upon his hands, the needs of others are settled.
Never withhold your assistance from anyone,
As long as you are capable, for fortune tends to come and go.
And give thanks for the bounties of Allah,
If you are the one to settle the needs of others.
Indeed, people have died, and their virtues died too
And some have lived, but they are truly dead among the people.”
Don’t, for a second, think that you have certain bounties in your life due to your intellect, enterprise, physical strength or family wealth. We praise the mind that invented electricity, aeroplanes & the internet, but we forget about the mind that invented the mind.
The thing about life is that we are on borrowed time – everything comes and goes, be it wealth, loved ones and material possessions. When these things disappear, we feel hard-done-by and cheated, as though life has been unjust to us. “Who will take care of us now and attend to our needs?”… and to that I say, my friends, “The very same one who fed you in the womb of your mother; who brought you up, fulfilled your needs and continuously provided for you”. You received everything you were meant to receive no matter how much you transgressed, faulted or drifted off the path of righteousness.
All things are fleeting and so are these moments – we should enjoy what is and never let the stress of tomorrow steal from the happiness of today. Even when people turn their backs on you (and at some point, they surely will), just remember that the almighty is always there and that his mercy is infinite (even the amount of droplets in the oceans are minute in comparison). ✌