The Thunderstorm – Winning Short Story


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Shagufta Shehzad

Shagufta Shehzad was the first winner of "A Life-Changing Experience", a story writing competition organized by Hiba Magazine in 2013.

Latest posts by Shagufta Shehzad (see all)

Winning story of “A Life-Changing Experience” – a story-writing competition organized by Hiba Magazine

By Shagufta Shahzad

ThunderstormIt was the mid of July. I was sprawled on my comfortable bed and watching a movie, when my mother came in and asked me to get ready to go shopping; she wanted to collect her bangles from the jewellers. She said that she wanted to come back before Maghrib.

Fifteen minutes later, we were on the road. The sky had been cloudy since morning. As it began to drizzle, I became more conscious on the road. I had been driving fast, so I slowed down to avoid risks. The drizzle changed to sudden downpour as we neared the shop.

People on the road started to run frantically for shelter. Vehicles slowed down on the road as well.

Suddenly, we heard a very loud crack of thunder followed by a bright flash of lightning outside my car window. Within a few minutes, roads and streets had turned into streams and rivers. Many trees were uprooted. The storm plunged the city into darkness. Advertisement boards began to fall and damage vehicles around them.

We seemed to be frozen on the spot. It seemed impossible to move because I could feel water inside my car. I became confused and switched off the engine. My mother started reciting a Dua loudly. People from outside suddenly started to gesture and shout. They were asking us to move forward or leave the car because a neon sign board was about to fall on us. I immediately turned the ignition on, but the engine turned off. Just then, a man came and asked us to jump out. Throwing all caution to the winds, we did as told before it was too late.

“O Allah! Do not kill us with Your anger, nor destroy us with Your torment, and save us before that.” (Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Al-Hakim)

We walked to stand near a wall, desperately in need of a ride home. At the time, we were totally oblivious to the fact that the sign board had indeed crashed into our precious car. I have no idea how long we stood there, soaking wet with a huge amount of cash in our bags. There were no rickshaws or cabs to take us home!

People were frantically moving in groups, holding hands to save each other from falling into any open sewerage or gutter. Whenever they would pass by us, they would ask us to get moving too. Honestly, we were too scared and too confused to think straight. Suddenly, a boy came near us and asked us where we wanted to go. He told us that there was no option but to hold hands and move from here as it was already dark and we two women were all alone. My mother held his hand and we started walking. The whole place was flooded; we had no clue where we were placing our foot. We were just praying and moving. We recited the Sunnah supplication taught to us by the Prophet (sa):

«اللَّهُمَّ لَا تَقْتُلْنَا بِغَضَبِكَ، وَلَا تُهْلِكْنَا بِعَذَابِكَ، وَعَافِنَا قَبْل ذَلِك»
“O Allah! Do not kill us with Your anger, nor destroy us with Your torment, and save us before that.” (Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Al-Hakim)

Verses 19 and 20 of Surah Al-Baqarah related to my situation easily. Allah (swt) says:

“Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers (i.e. Allah will gather them all together). The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things.” (Al-Baqarah 2:19-20)

That was one of the most memorable nights of my life. It changed the way I interact with people. Now, whenever I am out, I try to find people who need my assistance, and help them in every way I can. No good deed looks too small to me. They are all significant in my eyes. 

Flashes of thunderbolts helped us to find the way and move forward. At that point, we all were hoping that these flashes remain calm so we could reach our destination.

People left us when they reached their houses and soon only that boy was left behind with us. When he reached his house, he offered us to come inside and stay there for a while. He took us through a narrow street. We were puzzled but he was the only hope.

It was very dark, as only lightning was showing us the way. He stood near a small curtain, behind which was a small door. He went inside, while we were standing outside confused and frightened. Then we heard a middle-aged woman approach us. She smiled and asked us to come inside.  As we walked in, feeling like we’ve just been on a battlefield, the lady offered us a hot meal and dry clothes.

In the morning, after praying Fajr, the lady prepared breakfast and her son went out to arrange a ride for us. It took us an hour because the roads were badly damaged, but Alhumdulillah, we finally reached home.

After the storm subsided, I decided to visit the family that had been of such great help to us that night. However, despite many attempts, I was unable to locate them. Maybe it was too dark when we had arrived and left…

I still pray for them whenever I can. That was one of the most memorable nights of my life. It changed the way I interact with people. Now, whenever I am out, I try to find people who need my assistance, and help them in every way I can. No good deed looks too small to me. They are all significant in my eyes.

O Allah, indeed, I am the witness to the day you saved us and in that dark night you sent thunderbolts and strikes as a blessing to show us our path. O Allah, bless my companions and myself with your guidance. Make us firm on the path of guidance and do not allow us to deviate from it. Ameen.

Image courtesy: http://www.walltor.com

  1. SubhanAllah! While I was reading your story I could almost imagine your fear and desperation; such an apt reflection of the ayahs in Surah Baqarah. Jazakillah khair for sharing, it was very eye-opening Alhamdulillah

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