How Our Habits Construct Our Fate

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By Zulfia Hayrutdinova – Writer

Besides following the obligatory practices of Islam, belief in Allah (swt) and adherence to the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa) entail that we strive towards high morality, continuous self-improvement, and perfection of soul and body. Every believer would like to be in special favour with the Most High: to be the best in deeds, have the most important standing, and be most beneficial for the society. All of us work on ourselves to some degree: every one of us in our own ways, according to our own capabilities and in line with our own understanding of perfection.

When we analyze the results of our work on ourselves, sometimes we realize that we have not achieved much in this life – we have not become better; in some ways, we are even worse than we were a few years ago. We wish to be healthy and fit; however, we do not play sports more often than once a month, thus with every next year becoming more and more ill. We wish to be kind and polite; however, we once again lose our temper on our close ones due to trivial matters. We wish to get up every night for the night prayer; yet, we achieve it only in Ramadan. The endless list of failures goes on and on. Why don’t our efforts bring the desired results? Are we capable of changing towards the good, or maybe that is only for those singled out by Allah (swt)?

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Unwavering Faith – An Empowering Asset!

arrow-target1As I reel back into time, I perceive I was not a very easy child. My mother brought me up and made me what I am today, with a mountain of patience and forbearance. I was a disgruntled girl, who would just need a small mishap to get piqued. I hated when things did not go my way. A tad bit of hiccup in my routine, arrival of unexpected guests, unsatisfactory grades at school or an unwanted meal could rotten my mood and spoil not only my day but also the day of those close to me. But my mother’s warm embrace and ceaseless prayers nurtured me. I learnt many lessons. Lessons that are eye openers and undoubtedly responsible for keeping me afloat.

I grew up watching my sweet mother. Her attitude towards troubles, her problem solving and her trust in the greatest treasure and faith in Allah (swt). All this taught me lessons and changed my perspective about life. When did it happen? I cannot specifically point it out, but the magic did happen.

Her solution for all calamities would always be to kneel before Allah (swt), offer Salat–ul-Hajat and leave everything in His hands.

I can very vividly recollect how my mother’s poise at times of distress stung me and made me erratic. But her voice – the echo of which I can still hear, as I write this out – slowly killed all doubt, all dissension and all anger that I had towards my fate and life. Her solution for all calamities would always be to kneel before Allah (swt), offer Salat–ul-Hajat and leave everything in His hands. After getting up from her prayer mat, she would set aside a sum of money as Sadaqah, as much as her purse allowed, and then seemed as calm as the early morning sky. All she would then say would be, “Allah (swt) is Great; He never leaves His servants in distress.”

Every time she performed this act, Allah (swt) proved her right, and this consolidated her faith and my family’s, too. Our ship never sank. Her faith in Allah (swt) and her tears on the prayer mat brought my family out of our worst times. There were times when we were so cramped emotionally and financially that I had to muster all my strength to keep myself from despising every happy being on the planet. However as I watched my mother confront challenges after challenges with nothing but the sword of unwavering faith in her hand, my faith in this panacea “Faith in Allah (swt)” grew stronger and stronger and all the resentment and discontentment that was in me transformed into Sabr (patience). Although there still is a lot that I need to learn but my mother’s resilience and strength has acquainted me with the path leading towards eternal peace and success.
My mother often quoted the verse of the Holy Quran wherein there is consolation for every perturbed soul. It says, “ Allah (swt) burdens not a person beyond his scope.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

If we truly believe that this life that we are living is only an exam before the permanent after life then nothing in the world would upset us or deaden our spirit to fight back and hope for a better tomorrow.
Today, as I look back, I cannot help marvelling at how my mother changed me by presenting herself as an example. At times, her calmness irritated my sulking nerves. But when I found myself helpless in the face of hardships, I was forced to submit and wait. And this helped the power of endurance to grow.

Surrender – we all have to either happily or grudgingly! However, doing so wilfully has its own sweetness

As I saw my mother’s faith in Allah (swt) winning every time, I realized that we all have to, one day or the other, submit to Allah’s (swt) will. As He alone is the Master and He alone has the power over the past, the present and the future. Surrender – we all have to either happily or grudgingly! However, doing so wilfully has its own sweetness and can be implemented and cherished by only those, who seek Allah’s (swt) love and closeness over all other benefits.

Life may teach us many lessons, but some lessons make us who we are. Today, I may be away from my mother, but whenever I am beset by a problem, I am reminded of my mother’s sword. And honestly, this is “The Weapon” that never misses its aim.

A Day in the Cancer Ward

Hospital-Ward-1While amusing oneself with a sand clock, a person feels his influence over the fate of sand particles. If left undisturbed, each particle will fall in its specified time but when interrupted by human hands, everything changes for those particles. We as humans are nothing more than those sand particles in the hand of God. He lets us live a routine peaceful life until the trails in our fate take the driving seat in our lives and in a blinking of an eye everything changes completely forever.

The incident that I will narrate entirely changed the perspective of life for me. Not only did I acquire experience about life but it also played a vital role in decreasing the love of this world from my heart.

Four years back, I was a student; a hospital trip was planned by our institute. The aim of the trip was to train us for Dawah work in hospitals.As young girls you could imagine, we were laden with different kinds of emotions. We were exceedingly motivated as we were doing something that would gain us reward. We were excited as no matter where you go, trips with friends also mean fun and enjoyment. We were also curious as what would we see there? We had made Dua cards and gifts for the patients with immense enthusiasm.

It was a cancer ward. There had to be cancer patients in it, and cancer does not see who its host is. Is it a young girl with motivational dreams about her future life or a wife who looks forward to a beautiful relationship or a mother who has to take care of her children.

Finally when we arrived at Jinnah Hospital Karachi, a new kind of feeling over took us. Was it sadness, sympathy or just soberness? Especially at government hospitals, the misery of the patients is two-fold. When we reached, our class was divided into three groups. It was decided that one of our groups would visit the suicide ward, one would visit the TB ward and the third one would visit the cancer ward.

I don’t know the reason for this, but most of us wanted to visit the suicide ward. Maybe because we wanted to satisfy our selfish curiosities, as mostly suicides cases are surrounded by dramatic stories. To my disappointment, I was chosen for the cancer ward.

As we were advancing towards the cancer ward, I was visualizing the image of the ward: severely ill people, who were physically weak, with gloomy eyes, low spirits and depressed faces. I was also thinking about the sentences I would utter, as fear of the unexpected had crept inside me.

Along the corridors of the hospitals we were still chattering, talking slowly to each other, making sympathetic remarks whenever a patient came our way.

If this life is so unreliable and we are completely in darkness about our future then what is that Allah (swt) wants from us? He wants us to live each day at its best. The most important day of our life is the day we are living. 

When we reached the ward, to my astonishment it was just a normal hospital ward. It was well maintained .Clean white sheets were spread on beds. Silver side tables with medicine and food items laying on them. It was a female ward, so as usual, ladies were busy talking to each other, and it was very peaceful. Patients were fine looking people, having bright eyes and cheerful faces. The severity of their disease had not broken their spirits.

We started our work, talking to these patients, making them memorize Duas, and telling them about the Sabr stories of Quran and the reward one has for Sabr (patience). We also told them that Allah puts to trial those people whom He loves. Along with that some of my friends were also applying henna on their hands. We also gave them the gifts we had brought. Our fears had vanished and we were working composedly, until!

A young girl lying on the last bed of the ward caught my attention. The woman accompanying her (who was her mother as we came to know later) had seen us. When I saw her, her face was making a request to us, to come towards them. I asked one of my friends to go to her. We went towards them and gave a cheerful Salam; their reply was very feeble.

Why have been I living in this false delusion that I will be living a long life? Why I have been fancy dreaming about my future when I have no surety about my next breath? I have been living in a wonder land where death only exists for others. But today! I felt I my eyes were functioning properly for the first time.

The woman and girl both smiled but nervousness could be seen on their faces. We could not dare ask the patients what was wrong with them, so instead we just talked about their life. This family had come from the outskirts of Karachi; they were underprivileged innocent people, also not well literate. The girl was Mariam. She was probably 15 years old. She had given her Matriculation exams. Her mother told us that her brother’s marriage was about to be celebrated and they wanted to go home as soon as possible .She also informed us that my daughter wants to study more and wishes to become a doctor.
I smiled and replied “Yes, she will Insha’Allah.” “She was perfectly fine, just at times she used to have pain in her legs but a few days back it became very severe” her mother said.

Continuing her story, “We came to this hospital yesterday morning and in the evening they sent her to this ward.”

“Do you see this medicine?” She handed over the tablets to me. “Please read, what is this medicine for? What is wrong with my daughter?”

What’s wrong with my daughter? Her question started echoing in my ears. Momentarily I was taken aback by her question. Her question struck my heart like something dreadful, traumatizing my emotions. Explosions of thoughts were occurring in my mind but I could not move my lips. I was scared to speak. I tried to force a false smile and said faintly, “She will be fine Insha’Allah.”

Is this the reality of life? In a single day you can be diagnosed with a deadly disease breeding inside you. From the safety and comfort of your home you could be shifted in a ward where death is more certain than life.

Her mother wanted to talk, but I could not stand there. I did not want to cry neither wanted to speak, I just wanted to apprehend the new picture, life had formed for me for the first time.

As a reader you must be thinking why was I so shaken. It was a cancer ward. There had to be cancer patients in it, and cancer does not see who its host is. Is it a young girl with motivational dreams about her future life or a wife who looks forward to a beautiful relationship or a mother who has to take care of her children. Roots of cancer clench to the body where destiny has written for them to be planted. Then why was I so startled? I was surely shocked at the uncertainty of life. Is this the reality of life? In a single day you can be diagnosed with a deadly disease breeding inside you. From the safety and comfort of your home you could be shifted in a ward where death is more certain than life.

Only in my imagination I placed myself in her bearing; I felt a shiver in my body and was over whelmed by fear of Allah (swt). Only a single thought encircled my mind and it was causing pain in my heart. Why have been I living in this false delusion that I will be living a long life? Why I have been fancy dreaming about my future when I have no surety about my next breath? I have been living in a wonder land where death only exists for others. But today! I felt I my eyes were functioning properly for the first time.

If this life is so unreliable and we are completely in darkness about our future then what is that Allah (swt) wants from us? He wants us to live each day at its best. The most important day of our life is the day we are living. The future is unforeseeable and the past has been locked in the books that would only be opened with our death.

On our way back home, silent prevailed in the bus. Grief prevailed in our hearts, yet each of us had learnt a lesson that we would carry all our lives.

This story was submitted to “A Life-Changing Experience”, a story-writing competition organized by Hiba Magazine in 2013.