A lady whom I have known for a long time is very keen to work in the way of Allah but her family is not in favour of her going out to spread the religion and so she feels quite frustrated at this restriction. She often talks to me about this dilemma in her life and shares her deep concern at what is going to become of her if she dies without fulfilling this right of Allah??
On one hand she wants to give the right of her husband and obey him because it is the command of Allah but then Allah has also commanded us not to obey someone if they force you to do things against the religion. So when she thinks on these lines and goes out despite knowing that her husband is going to be cross with her, then she has to face two problems. One is the discomfort of knowing that her family life is in distress because of her and the other is that maybe Allah is also going to be angry with her that why didn’t she convince her family before going out?
So she starts convincing again but then despite all her efforts to change the opinion of her family, she remains unsuccessful and has to stay home in order to maintain her relationships. But all the time she is blaming herself for giving more priority to her husband while it is definitely Allah who has the most right upon her. So what should she do? Will Allah be happy if her family is not happy with her? Will Allah be angry if she stays home and does not fulfil her duty of doing dawah?
Today I found the answer to this question when I forced myself out of bed for an early morning walk. I used to feel such a pleasure in this activity during summers but since the weather has turned cold it is extremely painful to bear the harshness of the freezing cold wind on my face… something I used to love before having this strange disease called celiac in which the body’s resistance to temperatures becomes weak and so a slight cold can feel devastating. So I stopped going… but since a few days I have been feeling that my eyes are becoming weak and I went to see the doctor. I was afraid that he will recommend me to start wearing glasses but to my good luck he announced that my eye sight was quite alright… only the muscles of the eyes had gone weak due to remaining indoors and not focusing on distant objects. This made me start the walk regime even if it meant fighting the cold because surely my eyes are more important to me than my comfort.
So this morning when I went out in the cold and misty morning, I got something which I had not expected at all… the long awaited answer to that lady’s problem. And in getting that answer I felt like someone had put a comforting hand on my heart because it is an answer which solves all such problems in which we are being obstructed by other people… or so we think!!
Initially all I could feel was the sting of the cold air but slowly as the face became accustomed to this painful feeling, I started to look around and thanked Allah for giving me such a peaceful spot to walk around. Thanked him for the views and the eyes that can see… thanked him for waking me in this hour while so many people who don’t pray are still asleep… thanked him for making me aware of the responsibility to pray fajr… thanked him for so many other things and also for the heart which can feel and express the thanks that is due to Him.
As I looked at the scattered clouds, I thought to myself that it was going to be a cold day because there would be no sun… but after a couple of rounds when I sat down on a bench I saw with amazement that the sun was beginning to peep through a very small opening in the clouds… and sure enough, as the sun got brighter, the dull grey morning was transformed into a bright and cheerful day… by the will of my Lord… the Lord of the heavens and the earth!!
This made me think of the difference between our attitude and the sun… when there are clouds in our life we tend to take them as permanent obstructions and so we stop shining and start complaining against the clouds. But the clouds are there by the will of Allah… not to stop us, but to test our obedience and perseverance.
What did the sun do? It woke up at the same time which was commanded by Allah. It didn’t say that what’s the use of burning when its light isn’t going to pass through the clouds…?? It kept burning anyway because its job is to burn and to produce the heat and light… whether that light reaches us or not; that is the decision of our Lord…
And then the sun didn’t just burn and stay in one spot… it kept moving on its path which was commanded by Allah and that is how it reached the open passage in the clouds… it didn’t wait for the clouds to disappear before moving on… it didn’t change its path either… just kept moving as commanded by Allah because its job is to move and to obey.
My heart became so full of gratitude and wonder at Allah’s way of giving me this lesson that I forgot all about the cold air… it seemed as if the warmth of my heart to experience this moment of inspiration reached to each and every cell of my body… made me so very optimistic that if we continue to obey Allah and keep our passion alive to spread his message in the world then he will make a way for us no matter what the obstruction might be.
So we should not be angry with the obstructions but focus on our own level of obedience and good character. If that lady is forced to stay home then she should take it as an opportunity to serve her family in the most beautiful manner… with the aim to please Allah… that she is obeying Allah by being a good wife and mother. At the same time she should use her time and talents in the way of Allah. There are so many examples where people work from home for worldly jobs; so why can’t she do the same for spreading the message of Allah?
The fact is that our real problem is not the opposition of people (clouds) but the problem is of our own ego… we want things to be the way we like them to be. We don’t want to bear the burden of hard work and consistency. We want immediate results while in fact our job is to obey Allah in whatever situation he places us in. Obstacles are a test from Allah in which he allows us to see our true picture and make corrections where needed. To go out and work with people one needs a lot of patience and forbearance. If it cannot be practised with a handful of individuals at home then how can we expect to be generous and forgiving with others?
Therefore keep alive the sparks of passion and keep moving ahead in terms of acquiring good habits and developing the character of a true believer. The opportunities of doing good work are abundant… May Allah give us barakah in our insight and eyesight so that we can use both to please our Lord… the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them… ameen