Allah – The Best of Planners

KarakorumHighwayIt’s been four years, but for me Ramadan will never be the same. If I close my eyes, I can still relive the entire evening and subsequent days down to the smallest detail.

It was Ramadan 2008, two months before I was to be married. It was almost time for Iftaar and it was the first Iftaar of the month so the excitement was at its peak. The spiritual high of the initial fasts combined with the anticipation of eating pakoras, chaat, jalebis and samosas. My mother was wheeling the trolley laden with dates, sherbet and scrumptious snacks when the phone rang. Leaving the trolley mid-way in the passage, she reached for the phone while we all looked at each other wondering who could be calling five minutes before Iftaar. This was a time when most Pakistani households are busy engaging in Zikr (remembrance), last-minute frying and assembling the family for breaking the fast. I still remember the way she picked up the phone, responded to the greeting of the caller with a quizzical smile on her face and then froze. Simply froze.

Ending the call with “Allah Hafiz” (literally meaning ‘May Allah be your Guardian’, which in retrospect seems even more profound considering the news she was about to break to us), she gently returned the cordless to the cradle and sat down on the chair next to the phone. In a voice devoid of emotion, but with eyes that were becoming tenser by the second she said, “There has been an accident. Talat, Jalal and the children were returning from Umrah and their car has crashed on the highway. They are being taken to the hospital but it does not look good.”

Iftaar and the excitement of the first fast forgotten, we proceeded to make further calls – both, for gaining more information, as well as for informing others in the family – that my uncle (my father’s youngest brother), aunt, their daughter, second son and his two children had been in an accident. We then proceeded to my uncle’s house – my dad’s eldest living brother – where we sat in suspense, alternately making phone calls, praying for a miracle, lending each other support and just sitting in shock. Every time someone’s cell phone rang the sound was ominous. And sadly, so was the news. Each call we received lowered our hopes further.

Until finally, it was confirmed. Both my uncle and aunt did not make it along with their son and one of the grandsons – a five-year-old boy with Down Syndrome. The only survivors were their daughter and their three-year-old grandson.

I had never seen my father break down as he did that day. As tears streamed down his face, he seemed to be reliving the death of my eldest uncle in 1981 at the young age of forty-seven. As he cried out, “I lost my eldest brother and now the youngest is gone too”, I saw my father as a person for the first time. A person with feelings, fears, hopes; someone who had experienced losses and lived through them, perhaps becoming stronger in the process. We often think of our parents as ‘parents’ – the word denoting responsibility, strength and tranquillity. Most of the time we consider the ‘output’ that is our parents and rarely do we understand or comprehend the ‘input’ that went in to produce that output. I learned that day how much we take our parents for granted. We identify them as unbreakable pillars of strength which they are most of the time but they do need their ‘off days’. I also understood that we hold our parents responsible for a lot – too much at times. For their problems, our problems, familial problems, our upbringing, our day-to-day living, how we turned out and so forth. And that’s just not right. They do the best they can, just like we do. When we didn’t get the first prize in a contest or got less than perfect marks on that test, didn’t they tell us, “It’s okay, you did your best. That’s what matters”? Then, why can’t we do the same for them? Just because they are ‘parents’?

As the details of the accident unravelled, we were even more overwhelmed and depressed. My uncle had lived in Medina for thirty-odd years with his family.  That particular year he had wanted to do Umrah on the first of Ramadan and so the family set out to perform the minor pilgrimage. He was accompanied by his wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and their three children, and the daughter-in-law’s parents. They were returning to Medina on the second of Ramadan (first Ramadan in Pakistan) and had all planned to leave together in two cars. However, since it was extremely hot my uncle’s son advised his wife to leave from Makkah a little later with their three-month old baby and her parents, while he departed for Medina with his parents, sister and the older children earlier. Little did they know that this plan only came about since the Angel of Death was meant to come for them and not the rest. As Allah (swt) says, “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (216:2 Al Baqarah). In our imperfect comprehension of Allah’s ways, we can only understand that He created this intentional divide between the husband and wife so that she would not have to experience the horror of her husband and son’s death first-hand.

The details of the accident itself are still a mystery. My uncle’s daughter only remembers her mother reciting supplications in the back seat while her father sat in front with her brother. Soon after they left Makkah, she recalls a splintering sound and then the car collided with the crash barrier on the roadside where it continued to move at a very fast speed against the barrier until the car started rolling over. Considering the speed at which most Saudis drive, especially on the highway, I shudder to think of the magnitude of the tumble and ultimate impact. Whether my cousin dosed off at the wheel or the car had some sort of a mechanical failure, we will never know. The car itself – a Ford Expedition – was reputed to be a ‘fault-free’ car and received a five-star frontal-impact rating in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests for both the driver and front passenger*. Even after the accident the experts could not find any defect that could have caused the accident. But then that is why we are taught, “Inna Lillahi Wainna Ilaihi Rajioon” (Surely, to Allah (swt) we belong and to Him shall we return) right? My uncle’s daughter had bruises on her face along with major injuries to her arm and leg. Her bruises were such that when her eldest brother saw her, he actually wondered why Allah (swt) had spared her. She had to undergo surgery, get rods inserted in both, her arm and leg and was confined to the bed for a long time. But by the grace of Allah (swt), today she is the happily married mother of a one-year-old baby girl. The scars that remain are all on the inside.

But instead of being consumed with the hardship itself, you learn from it. You learn to strike up a conversation with Allah (swt). You learn to hand over your griefs and miseries, your anger and lamentations, your aspirations and visions, your setbacks and failings.

The doctors confirmed that my uncle, aunt and their grandson had possibly died on impact while my cousin had sustained major head injuries, which may have left him a vegetable for the rest of his life. Again, we see the miracle of Allah (swt) here – had my cousin survived he may have been plagued with guilt for being in the driver’s seat in an accident which took away his parents and son’s life. We see the miracle of Allah (swt) for not letting the young wife be a witness to her husband’s horrifying death and for not burdening her with a possibly comatose husband. We see the miracle of Allah (swt) in taking away the life of the child with Down Syndrome and letting the other one live in order to ease life for the young widow. As callous as all these statements seem, they are our only consolation in the shocking tragedy that took away half the family; that removed three generations in the blink of an eye; that rendered a young girl a widow and a grieving mother in an instant; that left a daughter crying for her parents and older brother; that left a minor three-year old saying repeatedly, “Meri gaari toot gaee, Mere Baba mar gaye” (My car broke and my father died).

How do you get over something like that? You don’t. But instead of being consumed with the hardship itself, you learn from it. You learn to strike up a conversation with Allah (swt). You learn to hand over your griefs and miseries, your anger and lamentations, your aspirations and visions, your setbacks and failings. You learn to lighten yourself; cleanse yourself. As you talk to Allah (swt) you feel the burdens lift; as the tears flow down your cheeks you feel your heart lighten. As your hands reach out in supplication, you feel like you are all alone in the world but with the Greatest Presence beside you, behind you, before you, above you, beneath you. You learn that that is all that matters. That is all you need. You learn as Allah (swt) said in Surah Inshirah, Verse 5 – 6, “For indeed, with hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease”. You learn how short life is and how important people are. You learn who the important people are in your life. You learn to sort through the clutter of life and prioritize. You learn to love, to smile, to help, to forgive, and to move on. You learn to do everything with love – love for yourself as a creation of Allah (swt), love for people and moreover, love for Allah (swt).  You learn to make a home, build a family, work hard and smile. You learn how to make things work in your own unique way. You learn to say ‘Alhamdulillah’ for all you have.

Above all, you learn that Allah (swt) always, always has a bigger plan. You may not understand that plan till your last breath but you learn to submit to it and to trust in Allah (swt). You learn to sit back, relax and take life one step at a time.

*Source: http://www.edmunds.com/ford/expedition/2008/

My Journey Towards Allah’s Love

keep-calm-because-allah-loves-you-2It’s neither an inspiring story, nor is it life changing. But yes, it is a heart changing story. It has changed my perspective about Allah (swt). I have understood that ‘one cannot cheat Allah (swt)’. Most of us tell our children to ‘fear Allah (swt)’. When we do wrong, Allah (swt) will punish us.However, very few people teach their offspring that Allah (swt) does not like to punish; if He wills, He can guide us to the right path, but this will happen only if we understand His love and seek His forgiveness. I was also scared of Allah (swt), but I never really loved Him (swt). His existence frightened me, but never gave me the strength to fight the evil.

I was once a girl who was God-fearing but not exactly very pious. I fell prey to my own wrong desires and went astray from the straight path. Being a married woman, I started falling for someone else. In doing so, I fooled my husband and deceived my loved ones. This betrayal was like playing with fire, without thinking about my values and responsibilities. It was a trap of Shaytan and without realizing my mistake, I was attracted to it. Since life wasn’t easy for me, I found excuses for my behaviour. I convinced myself I was helpless.

I was not being punished but actually Allah (swt) was showing me that He loved His mankind and doesn’t always punish one for the sins. Instead, He gives us a chance to go back to Him. I have realized how much Allah (swt) loved me.

It all ended, when one day I found out that my husband was suffering from a life threatening disease. I was sure this was because of my misdeeds. I was struck by a shocking realization of what would happen if I lost him. My dead conscience was reprised finally. I prayed to Allah (swt), weeping bitterly and repenting for my astray thoughts.

Suddenly, things started to take a different turn and I found they were getting better. Astonishingly, the doctors told me it was a miracle that he was coming back to life. The first thought that struck me was that I was not being punished but actually Allah (swt) was showing me that He loved His mankind and doesn’t always punish one for the sins. Instead, He gives us a chance to go back to Him. I have realized how much Allah (swt) loved me. I was amazed that Allah (swt) could show me the right way without tearing my life apart. Now, I always tell my kids that when you do something wrong, don’t be scared; only feel the love for Allah (swt) and ask for quittance; He blesses, and grants us forgiveness. Stand firm with Him and He will never let you go alone in the darkness. We cannot dodge Allah (swt), because at the end of the day, ultimately we have to go back to Him. He is the absolute love of a true Muslim.

We all need to love Allah (swt), the Merciful, rather than being scared of Him. Islam is a religion which teaches that loving Allah (swt) can overwhelm your heart. Majority of us are scared of Allah (swt). That is why we aren’t true Muslims. I have come back to my real path and feel like a better Muslim: more patient and more content. My faith has become firmer and stronger. It is all because now, “I truly love Allah more than I fear Him, and His love is enough for me”.

A Lesson in Nature

ayubia-national-Park-and-hiking-trackA few days back I was touring the beauty of the northern areas of Pakistan. Being at Ayubia, after a long tiring day we sat on a bench to relax in the evening. There beside our bench was a family of four people; parents and two kids. The boy was about six years of age and the girl was two. That family, like us, was also relaxing. In some time there was havoc on the benches where that family was sitting. The mother who was feeding her daughter left the daughter and the cereal bowl and ran a distance away shouting. The boy was standing nearby and the father had went away to fetch some snacks. When we looked back, there was a monkey near that bench who very silently picked up the baby’s meal and started eating it. The panicked mother started to shout but the monkey didn’t move. When the brother of that baby tried to make the monkey run away it attacked the boy and scratched his face. In a few minutes some locals gathered with small catapults in hand and made the monkey run away with the stones.Soon the condition was under control and the mother ran and picked up her kids. She had become quite hysteric.

I at that moment could only think of the Day of Judgement, when the horrific events will be such that mothers will leave their babies and will run away. The all loving mother who can give her life for children when confused by the monkey initially left her baby and ran away. However, soon she realized the jeopardy her kids were into and became worried for them. But on the day of judgement she will not think of anything and will only run to save herself.

This was a learning experience for me, giving me high thoughts of the less time we have left and the more we have to do in this world. May Allah guide us to right path and save us from the horrid events of the Day of the Judgement and the ultimate hell fire. Ameen.

A Whiff of Fancy

rollercoster2I can still remember that day down to the smallest detail at 1:08 in the morning, on the 11th of September 2004 when he said, “After you graduate from grade school, we will go to Enchanted Kingdom, there we will ride on a Roller Coaster and Carousel, let’s see on which of these rides we’ll spew!” I stared at him questioningly then he answered, “Never mind. Isn’t it obvious? Of course it would be the one that can lift and pull you up to the highest peak and move back and forth along the same section of the track!” he replied with pupils unfocused but a smile so serene, “Hindi rin…(Maybe not…)”

That promise was never brought to reality because four months later, my Daddy passed away. Since then I was left with this question, “What is the essence of making promises if they are made to be broken?” That simple promise of my Dad was like a whiff of perfume — it brought memories, bliss and excitement, but as it does, just like a whiff of perfume, it faded away so quickly. I still wonder if I could ever have the chance to see him again and tell him everything I should have said before.

A fearful fact is the undeniable truth that this day could be our last. It is better to be prepared to face our Creator on a daily basis rather than wait or guess when our last day might be

September 11, 2004, my warrior had flown away from me. I found it hard to have the strength to let him go. Things happened so fast, fate took him away and left me vulnerable to misery. In a blink of an eye, his promise as well as his presence vanished out of sight. This unexplainable amalgam of hatred and longing was always there and I cannot deny the fact that I was broken.

Years went by and I became a lifeless robot, doing things just for the sake of finishing them. Then it started to intensify when I saw a carousel, it almost crushed my heart and broke me into pieces. Back then, I never believed that time is a big healer. I always thought it depends. I always believed that sometimes you only get to be healed when you decide to be cured. But Allah is so good and time indeed is a healer. During those times when memories weakened me and I felt like giving up, it was as if a small voice spoke to me and reminded of the people around me – of the family and friends that I had. It occurred to me that I was apparently gifted… that I was blessed. I realized that life should not be spent on crying over spilled milk. Yes, my father was gone but I still had a mother, a sister and a brother who could ride with me on a roller coaster and carousel. I realized that Allah was teaching me to trust in His timing. I should not be in a hurry. I should not be impatient. I should not try to make things happen in my strength because God has a timetable for all our heart’s desires. I learned that I should let God do it in His way and what I can really do is to trust Him and surrender my whole life to Him.

A fearful fact is the undeniable truth that this day could be our last. It is better to be prepared to face our Creator on a daily basis rather than wait or guess when our last day might be – for life is random. Who knows what will happen next? We’ll never know for sure.

I realized that Allah was teaching me to trust in His timing. I should not be in a hurry. I should not be impatient. I should not try to make things happen in my strength because God has a timetable for all our heart’s desires. 

I am Giselle M. Manabat, 20 years old. Though I already accepted the fact, for a hundred times over, that my father’s gone, I am still a girl who weeps like a frightened child and seeks for her father in the darkness of the night. I put in mind that his promise had been a fantasy and will always be a fantasy. But it still would be a pleasure if one day he would come back to me and bring that promise into reality. I still wish, deep in my heart, that one day, against all odds, he would be coming back to the door he walked out of… and I guess, I will patiently wait for that day to come, forever and always…

image courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

An Influential Friend

2 frndsRising up at 4:30 a.m everyday was a normal routine. The senior boys stormed our dormitory waking up Muslims to prepare for Fajr. This was one of the most difficult tasks we had to cope with as junior students in my early days at high school. I seldom attended Fajr prayer in the Masjid, thus as soon as the seniors arrived; I jumped out of my bed space pretending to have left for Salat. While the duvet would be over my body to begin a third round of sleep. This was constant on a daily basis. The cold in Kaduna was like that of the Hazzle-Glend and the distance to the Masjid was similar to crossing the Niger Bridge on foot. Sometimes, I hurriedly observed the prayer before others returned and in a few instances, even missed Salat. I recall having bad experiences on the days I missed Fajr . Either seniors sent me on difficult errands, extorted me of my belongings or I would misplace something precious – however, all these never taught me a lesson.

It was not as if observing Salat was a major chore because I grew up in a family where Salat was an  essential start to the day. However, the sways of my bunk mate and friends influenced me negatively in the boarding house. We were a clique of four: two Muslims and others non-Muslim.  Our non-Muslim friends were not the conscious Christian types who attended morning devotion and evening fellowship. We collectively –went on fruit-picking voyages of mangoes and guavas while other students attended the chapel or mosque for weekly convention. We attended social gatherings where we mimed and thrilled with the vibes until midnight. This was how I lived my life in the Machiavellian jungle of FGC Kaduna.

In the eighth grade, I was appointed the class captain to my class. This was after my predecessor was removed owing to his bullying attitude towards his classmates. At this point, I had access to teachers and made more friends – especially among the female folk. This easily paved way for the Fitnah of intermingling with the opposite gender. We played, chatted and enjoyed the company of each other. I saw no harm in listening to music, shaking hands and even hugging the other gender; all in the name of socialization. I was accepted and adored by many, owing to my sense of humour, oratory skills and brilliance. But to what avails were these traits if championed in the wrong course. My journey to self recognition, better orientation and personal reformation began when I met a friend –Muhammad Mukhtar. He emerged as the best student in my class after the second term result computation. It was the first time a Muslim student victoriously led my class: a class of over 70 students. It was awkward to many because they believed ‘Malo-boys’ were not fit to compete on academic grounds. It became apparent when our Business Studies teacher pronounced it in class during one of the lessons. This incident left a mark of rejection and intimidation as well as motivation for us to strive better in our academic ordeal.

My new friend and I had a chat regarding this during a long walk soon after. On our way, he made me realize the natural gifts Allah bestowed upon me. My oratory skills channelled towards comedy can be reserved for Dawah activities. He made me see reasons why we need a new breed of Muslims who will understand the rudiments of the Deen and remain focused individuals who aspire to make a change positively. His words were soft and sank through my nerves like the blood flowing through my veins. And for the first time, I was inspired by this young lad who was barely 13 years of age.

Without delay, I packed my baggage from the cubical and moved to the long corridor section of the hostel –this was where he resided. Then we became roommates, slept on the same bed and dined from the same plate. We walked together to the class, class to Masjid, Masjid to dining hall and dining hall to prep. We apparently spent more time together to love and care, share and learn, forgive and overlook. He helped me overcome my addiction to music by replacing songs with Nasheeds and through him I knew Yusuf Islam – Cats Stevens. We started reading Islamic books and sharing summarized reviews with each other.

I admired his poetry such that it enhanced my writing skill and my weekly article was consistent on the mosque notice board. One of the greatest challenges he gave me was when he said: ‘next week Insha’Allah we shall deliver a lecture at the Muslim students gathering so be prepared Abdulkabeer’. I said to myself, this guy must be kidding me. I did not see myself as a knowledgeable person and I feared the fact that I will be mocked and called an Ustadh by many who knew my background and may assume this as an act of derision. However, I prepared myself and delivered the speech with shaking hands in front of a dazzling crowd.

Mukhtar was of a humble personality, simple character, neat attire, easy going and never trouble making. He was a lover of peace and preacher of perseverance. He taught me patience through difficult times, act of seeking to understand before being understood and the love of your brother over yourself. I was gradually doing away with my bad habits viz negligence of Salat, shaking hands with girls, doing musicals and attending informal parties. There and then I understood the adage ‘show me your friend and I tell you who you are’.

I was gradually doing away with my bad habits viz negligence of Salat, shaking hands with girls, doing musicals and attending informal parties. There and then I understood the adage ‘show me your friend and I tell you who you are’.

My quest for knowledge continued while striving to attain academic excellence along with spiritual strength. I memorized more verses of the Qur’an and learnt several Ahadeeth in order to broaden my scope ahead for public presentations; for verily students must ask questions. I was gradually improving academically, spiritually, morally, intellectually and even physically. We became active members and volunteers for the Muslim Students’ Society through the pen and mouth. Our Dawah activities intensified, creating a platform –Islamic Youth Awareness Forum [IYAF] – through which young Muslim students were tutored and tailored towards a sound creed, intellectualism and Islamic propagation.

The good side of this story is that the legacy still lives in that school ten years after we have left. I recently met an old student who finished in 2011 and narrated to me the success stories and meaningful impacts IYAF has made in the life of young Muslims in Northern Nigeria. This was with the help of Allah who guided Mukhtar – and some of his friends – to start that meaningful project in the year 2001.

Alhamdulillah! Today, I am a better me who aspires for tomorrow to be the best when I meet my Lord; I hope He is pleased with me and I am forgiven. I have had it rough and tough, however my understanding of the Deen has always been a light in the dark, a guide when I am lost and a torch-bearer leading me to felicity.

A Life Transforming Experience

villages-of-punjab-pakistan-2It was late in July when I came across a vision so touching in its splendour. It was indeed, a pleasurable morning with stillness all round, the sun was smiling gently down upon us, sounds of chirping birds were also gratifying to my ear, and the weather was as calm as sea in the fresh atmosphere.

My dad was sitting in his chair reading the newspaper while my mom was busy in the kitchen as she was preparing breakfast for us. My younger sister Sadia came rushing down stairs, shouting,’’ Dad, dad!’’ I asked if something was wrong but that little fellow just wanted the attention of her father. She went to him and said in a whining tone, “another month has gone and we have not yet been to a picnic.’’ Our dad never turned down a request from his daughter. He replied,’’ Well, you are right about that, but where to go?’’ My father moved into deep thought and said after a moment with excitement in his voice, ‘’ Oh yes, we can go to my friend who lives in a village!’’ I did not know much about villages so I thought it would be something new and I along with my mother and sister happily agreed.
Few days later, we were packing our bags; my mom and younger sister were putting on their jewellery and make up while my younger brother and dad together with me were waiting for them in the car. We prepared for the journey with great enthusiasm. Our cheeks flushed, boots were shining and excitement seemed to fill our body. My family was looking forward to a thrilling, sizzling and stimulating new adventure!

It was Monday so the roads were busy but my father smoothly drove to the village. After an hour or two, the car had reached its destination safely by the grace of the Almighty Allah. As we stepped out of the car, we saw a vast plain area. There were small houses of bricks, mud or clay. The people were not delighted to see us; we looked alien to them. I said in amazement,’’ Where are we?’’ My dad was not surprised and he called a pedestrian and asked if he could tell us about the residence of Hayyat Mohammad, the man replied, “right there,’’ pointing this finger towards a mansion. That was not far away but we had to cover that small distance on foot. After a walk, we were standing at the gate of the huge dwelling house which was a trendy flavour of structural design.

Extreme poverty was there, such that even their vessels were cracked. This made me realize that people work really hard for things that we take for granted.

At first the guards did not allow us in but as soon as our names were approved they were no more a hurdle for us. I walked into the mansion, observing the tallest ceiling ever, I could also see the wonderful garden that was covering a large area and the beautiful flowers there were also a fascination.

We waited for my dad’s friend in a luxurious room. He did not take much time and appeared just after five minutes. A tall middle-aged man with a broad chest, his beard was mostly black, with a few grey hairs sprinkled in it. My father saw him and stood up and embraced him warmly, he came to meet me too with his hand stretched out in welcome. We returned the greetings and got settled in the sofa which was quite comfortable. It was a perfect drawing room with a beautiful centre table, a book shelve in the corner along with a big TV that had two units on each side. Afterwards, that tall man served us coffee, biscuits and other snacks. Perhaps he was a rich land lord of the village that could afford such an arrangement of top class. Eventually, he turned his face towards me and said, ‘’in which school do you study?’’ I replied, “I am a student of ninth class in Beacon Light Academy that is in Karachi.’’ He was glad to know of it and further inquired about my studies which made him happier. He said to my father, “Your children are in good hands.’’ For a moment, silence had dominated the room when Mr. Hayyat looked at his watch and said, ”I will have to leave but my servant would lead you to your rooms.’’ The room was very well kept and it was a consolation for us. After a while all of my family members had fallen asleep except me because restlessness existed in my nature. I decided to visit the village.

I moved outside the mansion as curiosity forced me to explore the village life, although I was dead tired. Stepping outside the mansion was like leaving a bed of roses and welcoming a bed of nails. The common men of the village were leading a miserable life! They had dressed themselves very simply; most of their children were wearing ragged clothes living in small houses of clay that had insufficient space for the expanded families with empty stomachs. I was surprised, I never knew of people with such a pathetic life style. I felt blue and felt sorry for them, drowning in a sea of grief maybe because I was not at all familiar with that.  Only a cold blooded could pass by calmly. Extreme poverty was there, such that even their vessels were cracked. This made me realize that people work really hard for things that we take for granted.

On that day I made a promise to myself that I would not let a single morsel of food or a single drop of water go in vain because these are precious. Moreover, instead of whining, I would always be grateful to my Lord who has bestowed upon me so many uncountable blessings. I saw their elders working with their fingers to the bone in their farms yet they were unable to make enough money. ‘Why is that so?’ I asked myself. Perhaps it was education, I thought. Maybe education could have made their situation better.

On that day I made a promise to myself that I would not let a single morsel of food or a single drop of water go in vain because these are precious. Moreover, instead of whining, I would always be grateful to my Lord who has bestowed upon me so many uncountable blessings.

I found myself as empty as a lake without water. I did not pay much attention towards my studies although my school and teachers were very good. At that instant, I had recognized the significance of knowledge. I became even more acquainted with the importance of knowledge when I noticed a baby crying and her mother was preparing medicine for the child. The mother could not read and this is why she did not perceive the expire date on the label, I told her that it had expired and would rather be harmful but she refused to obey saying that she did not have enough money to get another one. I came to know of why we say that ‘knowledge is power’. It is because knowledge is a light that comes from the lighthouse in order to guide the ships when it is dark. My heart was sinking and I made a pledge to myself once again that from now on wards I will put my heart in gaining knowledge. Furthermore, I will try to spread the light of knowledge as much as I can. I said to the villagers that time would heal all their wounds but that was a cold comfort to them.

All that I had observed and pondered over turned me into a new leaf. It had transformed me into a careful and mature young man from a reckless and stubborn teenager.Whatever I saw had a noteworthy optimistic effect on me!