By Romina Afghan
“How?” is a common question that springs to mind when we think of asking Allah for something that we really want, and many times this question hides a shadow that lurks upon our hearts; a shadow of doubt and incredulity about whether or not we think a certain outcome is possible for us, and it actually exposes our own weak thoughts about who Allaah is and our own faulty understanding of duaa.
Allaah addresses this shadow in the story of Zakariyya (peace be upon him), a prophet who had reached old age without having had any children, and who then, in his nineties (some say) received news that he would have a child:
” How can I have a child when I am old and my wife is barren?” (Quran 3:40)
Zakariyya’s (alayhi-salaam) question is a symptom of the human condition we all live in: we inhabit a world which we try to make sense of by making connections between cause and effect, between stimulus and response, action and reaction. We try to make sense of an infinite range of possibilities through a finite and limited range of senses and sensibilities: this is all good and proper and part of the knowledge that Allaah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed us with, and which helps us to take appropriate action in our lives by predicting with a degree of certainty what may or may not happen- if we see grey clouds, we know rain is likely and therefore we should take an umbrella when we go out. No doubt, this understanding is part of the “fitrah”, the natural state that Allaah has given us in order for us to be able to navigate our path through this dunya (this world).
The problem occurs when we limit Allaah to these rules, when we try to bind His Abilities into the narrow constraints of our own understanding of cause and effect. So when Zakariyya (alayhis salaam) asks (in surprise and not disbelief), ” How can I have a child when I am old and my wife is barren?” That is an example for us of all the ways that we do this in our lives and in our duaas too – “How can this happen when I don’t have that..? How can I get there, when I can’t move from here…?”
He( Zakariyya) said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when I have reached old age and my wife is barren?” The angel said, “Such is Allah; He does what He wills.”
“Such is Allah; He does what He wills….”
That is the ayah ( verse) that we need to internalise. Allah’s actions are not limited by the rules that govern our understanding of “reality” because He is the Creator of all Reality – what we know of it and what we don’t know of it. Allaah exists without these limitations of cause and effect- He is Al-Awwal, The First and nothing came before Him: He is Al-Aakhir, The Last and nothing will come after Him; He is the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth, He says only “Be” and things come into existence that were not in existence before. So, let us free our understanding of Allaah from these boundaries and limitations, and ask of Him plentifully, hopefully and expectantly, knowing Who it is that we are asking of; knowing that when we make duaa, we are not asking a weak human being who is subject to the laws of nature and this world as we know it: we are asking the Master and Creator of all the Worlds!
Let us free our duaas from the limits of our understanding of cause and effect – just because you and I can’t see how something may happen, doesn’t mean that Allaah cannot make it happen! We may not know the cause or the ‘how’ of something happening, but that shouldn’t stop us surrendering our duaas and knowledge to the will of Allaah. In fact, when we do that, it is proof of our acknowledgement of our own weakness and inability before the One who is All Able and All Powerful. So let us take Zakariyya as an example, who, despite his human conditioning which left him wondering, “How can I have a son..?” Carried on making duaa to Allaah regardless:
قَالَ رَبِّ هَبْ لِى مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ ٱلدُّعَآءِ”
Oh my Lord, grant me from You good offspring, You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation,”( Quran 3:38)
Everything that we need to know is conveyed to us by Allaah in this ayah- that we simply make the duaa, and that He is “Samee’ ud-duaa” – the All-Hearer of duaa. We don’t need to know how Allaah will make it happen before we start making duaa for it; we don’t need to know how before being certain that He can make it happen. So, let us choose to make that a part of the human condition we live in, even as we ourselves live and act within the understanding of cause and effect in this world.
Ask yourself: where have I been holding back in my duaa because I wasn’t certain of how Allaah can make it happen?
Which of my duaas do I need to free of my own limited understanding and my own limitations of what is possible?
Where in my duaa can I show Allah that I know without a doubt that He is Al Qadeer, al- Muqtadir, The All-Able, All-powerful who plans and does what He Wills?
And then go ahead and just do it. Let go of the “how” and just believe and leave it in the Hands of the One Who controls and creates all things.
About the author:
Romina is a happy mother to four children, a Master NLP-practitioner in training, part-time teacher, transformation coach 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 and children everywhere! You can connect with her on Instagram at @connected.muslimah.coaching and listen to her podcast of Quranic reflections “Grounded in Guidance” on Spotify.
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