By Romina Afghan
We are living through a unique moment in history. A moment where the things we had taken for granted suddenly seem fragile and the regular routines of normality have become a distant dream of the past; where we mourn the loss of all that normality and more – we mourn the loss of opportunities wasted and people now absent.
Yet you and I have made a decision and a choice about our lives that colours how we see everything, giving perspective and meaning to things that may seem meaningless, so that we realise that there is no such thing as loss. When you live your life for a greater purpose than yourself, when you (try, as much as you can) to live your life for Allaah, there is no such thing as loss.
There is pain, yes. There is fear, sometimes; there is doubt, there is even darkness, anger and a desire to escape it all and be “free” – free from feeling, free from all those turbulent thoughts that can almost drive you insane; free from the noise and whispers that call you in different directions and confuse you and threaten to throw you off the cliff of happiness and belief and conviction….into despair and darkness and maybe even forms of disbelief ( may Allaah protect us all).
And yet, there is no such thing as freedom in an absolute sense in this world– there is no complete freedom from everything that distracts you, attracts you or thwarts you. There is no complete freedom from responsibility, because that comes with the gift of having choice, so in some way, that struggle to navigate our way through all of those distractions, feelings, thoughts and desires will always continue, whether you choose to believe or disbelieve; whether you choose to ‘practice’ Islam or not – there will still be a struggle.
So we will all struggle in some way, but the choice of who and what we struggle for is entirely ours: we can involve ourselves in a struggle for the fleeting things of this dunya where our shiny new toy of today ( insert here whatever it is that your heart inclines towards, be that money, wealth, friends, popularity, cars, homes, achievements..) makes us happy for an hour or two until the next shiny new toy appears in a better and more appealing form; or, we can choose to struggle for something eternal that transcends the happiness of a few days here, something more meaningful, something that satisfies our deepest inner need to be seen, loved, and matter, and not just by any human, but by our Creator Himself.
This dunya (world) is the realm of struggle, it is the realm of that darkness and the fight within, and the only real way to free yourself from it, is to strive to tame it within yourself, to submit yourself fully to Allaah, to face Him fully and honestly with all of your heart. And that inevitably involves yet more struggle…yes to have freedom from struggle involves more struggle! That STRUGGLE- the one to free yourself from distraction and the shackles of this dunya- is the sauce, the sea of this dunya that we never stop swimming in until we reach the Shore of His Love and Acceptance.
The important thing to note here is that the degree to which we resist embarking upon this struggle against our nafs, ( our selves, our egos and desires) is the degree to which we will elongate and exacerbate our own pain in a worse kind of struggle – the kind of struggle that involves getting yourself tied up into more knots as you try to free yourself from the rope that binds you; the kind of struggle that stops you from seeing that the rope you think is binding you, is actually your lifeline that is going to save you. The struggle for and towards Allaah that you think is so hard, is the struggle that will set your soul free from this dunya and whatever is weighing it down. And in that incessant struggle to stay afloat, to swim, to maybe even try to thrive, there is no such thing as loss, not in an absolute sense.
Any sense of loss we feel is due to an incomplete understanding and acceptance of the nature of our life in this dunya; it is perhaps due to a misconception that we “deserve” something, that we have “earned” something, or that we “own” something. It is due to an attachment that our hearts made to something which was gifted to us by the Mercy and love of the One Who takes care of us, and due to us mistakenly taking that gift to be a “cause” of our happiness and its removal as a “cause” of our sadness and feeling of loss.
There is no such thing as absolute loss because our lives and our actions are all being watched by al-Khabeer, al-Lateef, the All-Aware, The Subtle, Who is intimately acquainted with every feeling we are experiencing, Who will account and compensate us for even the prick of a thorn, as the Messenger of Allaah ( sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said :
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” ( Bukhari, 5641).
So how much more will He compensate us for fighting the storms and hurricanes, the bleakness and the weakness that rage almost constantly in the hearts and minds of every single one of us?!
بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good, will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
There is no such thing as loss, when we live our life in “Rajaa”, in hope: in hope of meeting our beloved, of being rewarded and of being finally free from all the different darknesses and pains that threatened to engulf us, in a hope that is underpinned by our knowledge of the Mercy, the Wisdom and the Love of the One in Whom we hope and our acceptance of His Decree.
There is no such thing as loss when you know that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better.” (Musnad Aḥmad 22565 Sahih, according to Al-Albani).
There is no such thing as loss. Yes, there is pain, there may even be moments of throbbing despair and anger that borders on lunacy; there may be internal and external screaming, shouting, calling for help or just plain collapsing and exhaustion. There may be crying like the Prophet Muhammad sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam at the loss of his son, there may be weeping like the prophet Yaqoob alayhi-salaam when he lost one son at the hands of his others, there may be a need for reaasurance as the Prophet Ibrahim alayhis-salaam needed when he asked Allaah how He brings the dead back to life, but there is no loss, because Al-Hakeem is the All-Wise, Who does everything for a reason, and that reason is always for us and never against us, or upon us.
It is for us: for us to be complete, for us to learn to grow, for us to adapt and become better, for us to teach others, for us to be an example, for us to learn to rely on Him. For us to trust Him. For us to learn to love Him more completely than we have ever done before, for us to thrive in our struggle and arrive at His Shore, for us to be bathed in the warmth of His Mercy and acceptance, inshaaAllaah.
So know that there is no such thing as loss, because:
“The condition of the one who relies on Allaah is like the condition of the one who is given a dirham by a King, then it gets stolen from him; so the King says to him,”I have many times as much as that, so don’t worry. When you come to me, I will give you much more than that from my treasures.” Thus if the person knows the truthfulness of the king’s statement, and trusts him, and knows that the King’s treasures are full of that, then what he missed will not make him sad.”
( Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Madaarij As-Saalikeen)
About the author:
Romina is a happy mother to four children, a Master NLP-practitioner in training, part-time teacher and passionate believer in unlocking the wonderful potential of each and every soul by connecting them to Allaah and His Book. She has been blessed to be a part of Solace for some years now, and loves connecting with sisters everywhere, so if you happen to come to a Solace event where she is, come on over and introduce yourself!