Sometimes we witness a terrible wrong that causes us much sorrow.
Its significance gets lost in the moment and the righting of this wrong may not be seen until many years later. But when it is, we get to see the brilliance and beauty of Allah’s Divine plan (qadr).
‘They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but Allah is the best of planners.’
Surah Al-Anfal 8:30
In the first year of getting married, my husband and I moved into a small studio flat in London. We lived above a row of shops on a busy road and although we were only there for a year, its memory is truly remarkable. The flat was shabby with threadbare carpet, old velvet curtains and a bed, table and two chairs for furniture. It was so grim I once accused my husband of eating pasta in the bathroom, only to discover it was fungus growing behind the sink on the damp carpet! The walls were bare, except for two scrolls that were given to us as a wedding present which we hung in the kitchen next to the fridge. The scrolls were made from black material and had the name of Allah (ﷻ) and Muhammad (ﷺ) sewn in Arabic calligraphy in beautiful golden thread. Although the flat was basic it was our home, and it sufficed our needs. Unfortunately, the landlord was not happy when he first met me as I was visibly Muslim wearing hijab and abayah, but by this point my husband had already signed the agreement and we were locked into a yearlong contract. I steered clear of the landlord whenever he was around, as his manner was unfriendly and hostile, and he would always ask when we were thinking of leaving. I worked most days, so it was easy to keep my distance and leave any interactions with him to my husband.
One dark, winter’s night I returned home from work and as I turned the key in the front door, something caught my eye on the ground. In the half light of a streetlamp, I could see one of the kitchen scrolls lying in a muddy puddle. I lifted the dirt, soaked material to see that Allah’s name had been desecrated. I felt sick to my stomach. I tried to think how the scroll could have travelled from the kitchen to outside the front door in the rain. Had it caught on my bag as I swung it across my shoulder? This scenario was practically impossible as the fridge was blocking its way. Added to which I didn’t carry my bag in that manner. I asked my husband when he got home, and he was just as perplexed as I was. It felt as though it had been deliberately moved, but by whom? The only other person who had access to the flat was the landlord. I felt angry and violated that he could have come into the flat without our permission, but there was no concrete evidence so we couldn’t confront him. I didn’t enjoy living there after that, but the months quickly passed, the lease ended, and we moved away. Several years later we moved out of London altogether and the incident became a sad, distant memory.
A decade later, whilst visiting family in London, we were driving through our old neighbourhood and decided to show our children where we once lived in the studio flat above the row of shops. As we drove past, we noticed that the store directly below our flat was no longer in business and instead had been converted, as too had the two studio flats above it. Outside the premises on a big wooden sign read the words ‘Islamic Centre’ in bold, capital letters. I was amazed that our old flat had been turned into a mosque and then I remembered the incident with the scroll. I suddenly felt a rush of emotion and a very strong God-connection (khushoo’). I remembered how Allah’s Name had once been smeared into the dirt and defiled on that very spot but was now being praised five times a day in congregational prayer and glorified with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Allah(ﷻ) had rectified that terrible wrong and raised His Name to the Highest Level of respect, honour, and prestige; a position that He (Glory be to Him) so rightly deserves.
“Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High”
Surah Al-A’la 87:1
The Prophet, Abu Bakr and `Umar used to start the prayer with “Al hamdu li l-lahi Rabbi l-`alamin (All praise is but to Allah, Lord of the Worlds).
Narrated Anas bin Malik. Bukhari
Every time I reflect upon this incident it reminds me that Allah’s Reckoning for any wrongdoing is often sweeter and more gratifying when left in His Hands (ﷻ). I’m not a person who seeks vengeance if offended or harmed but I do like to see justice being served. In circumstances like this one where there is little or no evidence against the perpetrator who continues to roam free, Allah (ﷻ) will leave justice to be served in the Hereafter and in some cases create a better or more positive outcome in this life as well.
There are several stories in the Quran and the Prophet’s Seerah showing how Allah (ﷻ) intervenes and turns painful events around for the better, especially when people reject the message or cause insult and injury to Allah’s Name or His Prophet(ﷺ).
One incident was when the Qurayshi chiefs signed a document in Mecca to boycott the Muslims. This parchment was hung in the Ka’bah in order to give it authority. No one was allowed to socialise, marry, or trade with the Muslims. They were outcast, starved and persecuted for three years. They lived a harsh, miserable existence until one day Abu Talib, the Prophet’s uncle told the Quraysh that Muhammad (ﷺ) had received revelation (wahy) from Allah (ﷻ) informing him that the document had been eaten by termites. An agreement was made that it if the revelation was found to be true, the Quraysh should end the boycott. The Quraysh agreed to this. When they retrieved the parchment, they discovered that it had, in fact, perished all except Allah’s Name with the words ‘In the name of Allah.’ Although the Quraysh refused to admit their wrongdoing and accept the religion, they still had to honour the agreement and end the boycott of the Muslims.
Another incident was when the Prophet (ﷺ) was stoned and rejected by the residents of Taif. It was the most difficult period in his life but years later they all embraced Islam and became Muslim. The Prophet (ﷺ)could have asked Allah (ﷻ) to destroy the people and the town, but instead he asked Allah(ﷻ) to guide them. Even today we see people who were vehemently opposed to Islam embrace the faith and become Muslim, but not before witnessing their many crimes against it beforehand.
So what lessons do we learn from these events and stories:
- Refer all situations to Allah (ﷻ) especially those that involve wrongdoing or oppression, and when there is no clear evidence against the offender, or power has been skewed in favour of the wrongdoer(s). Turn to Allah (ﷻ) and make dua. Ask Allah (ﷻ) for His justice and reckoning to be served and to turn the situation around in the most beautiful and positive of ways.
- Remain patient and do not act upon your anger or take the law into your own hands. Allah (ﷻ) will reward us in this life and the Next for our self-restraint and patience. Allah may eventually show us a better way for the situation to be resolved.
- Rely upon Allah’s Qadr. We may not like a situation but there is wisdom in it, even if we cannot it see it at the time. Years later we may look back and see the beauty in Allah’s Plan and how He (ﷻ) was able to turn a situation around for the better. And even if we never see it in this life, we will eventually understand the reason for it and see the rewards and recompense in the Next Life.
Aliya Vaughan has been a Muslim for 27 years and lives in the UK. Her award-winning children’s story ‘A Race to Prayer’ and her second book in the series, ‘Turning back to Allah’ are available from Kube Publishing. Her third book in the series ‘Tides of Change’ will be available soon, in sha Allah.
You can follow @aliya_vaughan on Instagram