It was the third night of Ramadan already. Two days of fasting had whizzed by and I was still trying to get a grip on my Ramadan goals.
I hastened into the first empty spot and joined the congregation in Taraweeh with a number of thoughts floating through my mind. Thank God we made it to the masjid on time. Thank God I found a comfortable spot to pray. So and so forth.
After a few raka’a had elapsed, something caught my attention – the people I was praying between. To my right was an elderly lady who was using a chair to perform her ruku’ and sujud. To my left was a little girl of about 9 years old – the granddaughter, I assumed – who could barely sit still because she wanted to go home and finish her two pages of homework.
I tried to hold back a giggle at the little girl’s dissappointment when her grandmother refused to let her leave the masjid. So cute.
Back to prayer; trying to concentrate.
Something knocks at my conscience.
Woah. Deep message, Allah…
I thought about the significance of being placed between them…
When we are growing up we have trouble making time for acts of worship because we are caught in the pursuit of worldly success. If we are not in the pursuit of success, we are at least trying to keep up and not get left behind. Homework, assignments, exams, parties, sports meets, etc. We think we’ll get down to business after school life is over with.
By the time some of us “get down to business” we may have become grandparents who can barely perform a sajdah of shukr with our forehead on the floor.
(Note: This is not to judge the elderly lady or the little girl praying next to me. Allah alone knows their records. This is more of a general observation.)
And then there’s me in the middle – caught up in the blur of managing a household, making a living, studying and socialising. I don’t have the excuse of school nor of old age.
So what’s my excuse?
Here I am with youth and a reasonable amount of health and what exactly am I doing? What is this speedboat that I’m on which is continuously chopping through the waters and making a big enough distraction that I need to be reminded of my purpose here?
We excuse ourselves for years and years over getting a foothold in life. When that’s over with, we settle into the comfortable bunker of family life; hiding under a minimum quota of religious obligations and shoving the rest under the carpet with the too busy and tired excuse.
Of course we want to do more, but there’s this thing, that thing, and the other thing and by the time it’s all done we’re just so tirrrrrred, you see.
A hadith flashes through my mind.
“Take from your health for your sickness and take from your life for your death.”
This won’t do. What a powerful reminder I’ve received. I need to fix my situation.
Back to prayer; trying to concentrate.
Iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nasta’een. Ihdina as-ssiraat al-mustakeem. Siraat al-lazeena an’amta alayhim ghayril maghdhoobi alayhim wa la adh-dhaalleen. Ameen!
(You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help. Show us the straight path. The path of those who earn Your favour and not the path of those who earn Your anger nor of those who go astray.)
Subhanallah. The first step of the fix right there – asking Allah with sincerity that He should help you… I taste these verses after a long time.
Allah has made acts of worship easy so that we earn reward by a mere switch of intention.
Allah has made the earning of reward easy by multiplying them for us on different occasions.
Even the reminder is easy because we recite the above ayath so frequently that we should realise the need to check ourselves throughout the day.
“And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the Hereafter for those who are Al¬Muttaqûn (the pious). Will you not then understand?” (Qur’an, 6:32)
Check where the speedboat is headed and steer it before it’s too late. May He make it easy on all of us to use our time, youth, health and energy in a manner pleasing to Him and to avoid displeasing Him.
This incident was a lesson for me. What other lessons can you see in this that I may have missed? Please share below.