Slow down!

Abdur Rahman Umar invites us to ponder over the obstacles in our life.

“Can you believe this!” lamented Yusuf, as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast, leaving his plaster stained toes exposed.

“This is so frustrating!” he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, “Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?”

Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone, paying little attention to the monologue, until Yusuf turned to him and asked: “Did you hear what I said? I really didn’t need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean…”

“What’s so special about now?” enquired Ridwaan, not bothering to look up from his cell phone.

Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast – “Mojo was here!” “Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.” “On the other hand, you have different fingers.” – and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.

“I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! And at a time, when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There’s so much to do …. preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work.”

Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, “So what’s the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!”

“You don’t understand, do you!” said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, “You don’t know what it means. I really didn’t even have enough time to eat, let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?”

“I know exactly what it means,” replied Ridwaan, “it means you were moving too fast, so Allah (swt) put down a speed breaker.”

“What!” he exclaimed, “what you mean… speed breaker?”

“You see, sometimes when we rush through life and forget the important things, then Allah (swt) puts down a speed bump, so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we’re doing and what we should be doing. And that’s it! You were chasing like a madman, so you got hit with a speed bump.”

He paused, allowing his words to sink in, then continued, “You know, most of us get so caught up in life that we forget about Allah (swt), our Salaah becomes just a ritual and the family… well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?”

“Hey, it’s not that bad,” said Yusuf, struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, “But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter’s pre-school Jalsa, my son’s graduation and dropped a couple of Salaahs on the way… and Allah (swt) knows what else I gave up for this tender…” Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, “So this wasn’t all bad then. Actually…”

“It was for you own good,” Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, “too often we forget the real things in life: our Allah (swt), our Deen, our families and those so-called little things we tend to forget.”

“Yup,” chorused Yusuf, “I remember a clever guy telling me once – pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really, we can’t believe Allah’s (swt) mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him.”

Allah, The Most Wise, 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.” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

A calamity that makes you turn to Allah (swt) is better for you than a blessing, which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah (swt). Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us in the transitory life of this world but more so in the eternal life of the Hereafter.