I remember an incident from the time when my daughter was about a year old and I used to sew her clothes myself. One day as I was busy making her frock and was totally absorbed in the activity; she started calling me and wanted me to pick her. So I just looked up from my sewing machine and from there answered her. Again I got back to my work and she started crying that why was I not giving her my attention. I tried to assure her that I will just pick her up… and just let me finish my work but she crawled up to me and began to pull at the cloth. I was so exasperated that I yelled at her to have some patience and give me a minute…at this her crying increased even more. My brother who was in the other part of the room called out to me…what are you doing and why don’t you pick your daughter? I told him that I was trying to finish her frock…and so he asked whose frock is it anyway? Is it more important than the one for whom you are making it?
These words sort of got stuck in my mind and as life moved on I observed several manifestations of this truth. Sometimes parents will have no time for their children because they are too busy in their careers. If you ask them why are they neglecting their children they will readily give the reason that it is for the children that they are working so hard. Although it is true that you cannot pamper a child in your lap the whole day long and leave all the other tasks which are important for the child’s well being and survival but still there has to be some time out from those activities to look towards the people who are so important in your life. Sometimes they just need you to be there with them and no amount of material comfort can substitute your presence, and your love and attention.
It is so ironic that even in religious matters our attitude tends to be the same. We are so focused on the activity itself that we don’t remember who we are doing it for. Like in Salat we are more focused on our physical movements and the words of prayer and often forget the presence of Allah. That is the reason, why we are full of thoughts of the duniya and do not remember which rakah we are reading! Allah’s remembrance is not the top of the list of our activities. We might be doing great acts in His name like studying Quran and teaching it or doing social welfare and giving charity but our focus is more on the activity and less on the one for whom we are supposed to be doing it. That is why we lack the patience in dealing with others or putting up with the tests and trials which come our way. All negative attitudes result from forgetfulness of Allah and so we need to revise our concept and start thinking of “Zikr-e-ilahi” as more than just rolling of beads on a tasbeeh. Allah’s Zikr should be a conscious exercise of the mind through which we should be able to feel His Presence in a formal as well as informal way. The formal way of remembering Allah, apart from the Salat and Quran, is through the masnoon azkaar and duas; while the informal way is to talk to Allah and share with Him our thoughts and problems. This Zikr is so essential for our spiritual and emotional well being that Allah has promised great rewards for it too so that we get a greater incentive to make it an integral part of our life.
And the men and women who engage much in Allah’s remembrance…Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (33:35)