“Do you know what it feels like to pray your best for something you thought (and something you thought God too, thought) was the best and not get it in the end?”
“Do you know what it feels like to have sincerely thought something was a good thing for you (and a thing you thought God too thought is good for you) but it turns out to be the opposite?”
Questions like these reflect hypocrisy. You didn’t truly believe that God gave you what’s best for you. You just thought that whatever your mortal brains thought was good, you thought God too should side with you on that. And when you don’t get it, you turn your back, belittling God’s ability to give you what is truly the best for you.
You don’t just tell God what to do.
Alhamdulillah for Islam, firstly. This is what it boils down to at the end of the day. La Ilaha Illa Allah. Muhammad Rasul Allah. If I didn’t have Īman, I would have totally lost my mind. Anyone would, really.
If I truly believed that what God gave/is giving/will give me is the best thing for me after I’ve asked Him to grant me what is best for my affairs and Deen, then I should not ever despair in what’s been fated for me. Yes, it’s extremely painful and bitter to digest the fact that the matter you sincerely thought was something Allah is pleased with (enough to ordain it for you) + and you never had a greater Yaqeen in anything else like this before, turned out to be, perhaps..
1. Not a good thing at all; something that is harmful to your affairs and Deen (but how could it?! Allah Knows!)
2. Or not a good time; not yet (maybe)
3. Or not good enough intention to start off with (….Allah Knows what is in the hearts of man)
Now whatever it may be, it was not granted. Time to reflect. Fix all the crookedness. Maybe the duaa you keep making wasn’t even perfectly done. Maybe all the tears were superficial. Maybe Allah was going to give it to you but along the way you lost patience and thought it was too good to be true. Maybe you were sincerely making duaa but at the same time you also keep sinning, rendering your good duaas invalid. Maybe there’s just something better for you out there.
But why am I so shocked? Am I not used to it? I’ve made many, many misjudgements in my life where I thought something was bad for me and it turned out to be good for me and where I thought something was good for me and it turned out to be bad for me.
But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. [Al-Baqarah: 216]
Did I already forget that I was already mentioned in the Quran? So why did I forget about this precious verse?
…just maybe, O Allah, I thought this time, I was learning from my past misjudgments. Maybe this time I was right, I thought. And that showed my arrogance? You remind me again that I know not. Such a much-needed reminder. We as humans must admit that we can never make the right judgements for ourselves. Remember after Badr, even the Prophet (sallallhu alayhi wasallam) made a misjudgment about whether to free or kill the prisoners of war? That CLEARLY highlights that he too was a man (but Allah pardoned him). So why did I think, I, a mere mortal knew what Allah Knows?! The lesson to be learnt here is to learn and understand what having Yaqeen in making duaa actually means. It doesn’t mean to have confidence that He will definitely answer your prayers. It means to have confidence that He will definitely give you what is purely good for you!
But there, there.. I can only assume. Have I not considered the possibility that it might be a punishment for me? It’s funny how all that I’ve read or heard regarding unanswered duaas revolve around “maybe there’s something better for me than this” (be careful with this statement. Don’t let arrogance seep in for such an ‘optimistic’ statement is a bold and sharp assumption) and rarely is it ever “maybe this is an admonishment; a reminder to me“. Even considering this possibility, you aren’t leaving out the key feeling that is to exist in all matters about Allah’s Qadr and that is: “there is something good out of this”. Whether the outcome is as you wish or the opposite, it’s always something good- in one way or another. THIS is true optimism. The former one labelled ‘optimism’ isn’t it, really.
Alright Yasmin. So if it was indeed a reminder, now what? Ask to be and do better. Ask for perseverance. Ask to never give up. Ask for determination in sinning less. Ask for strength to repent more. Ask for patience. Ask for how to show gratitude in the right way. Ask for strength. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask if Allah’s pleased with the way you’re asking. Ask for humility before Him. Ask for sincerity. Ask to be cleansed from hypocrisy. Ask for contentment in the alternative Decree which, in essence, is much better for you. Ask to be removed from wanting what is bad for you.
اسأل الله. Ask Allah.
Another excellent example of the Prophet’s prayer in times where a good was being done but the outcome wasn’t as he wanted it to was the one at Tāif. Surely inviting the people to Islam was a good thing to do, yes? Yet he was rejected and was tested emotionally as well as physically. What did he do? He asked Allah. He made duaa. Did he slacken in his duaa? No, in fact it was one of his most beautiful, heart-gripping duaas.
Oh, Allah, I appeal to you for the weakness in my strength,
and my limited power,
and the treatment of contempt and humiliation from people.
To you, the most Merciful of all the Merciful ones,
you are the Lord of the oppressed, and you are my Lord
Under whose care are you leaving me to?
To an enemy oppressing me?
Or to a friend you have given control of my affair?
If there is no anger from you on me I will forever be content.
However, your blessing is vastly important for me
I seek refuge with the glory of your light,
which the heavens and earth are lit form,
your anger will not befall on me,
nor your displeasure descends on me
To you is the supplication until you are pleased,
and there is no control or power except by you.
A BIG PET PEEVE WARNING: Some people love complaining when someone quotes something the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did: “He was a Prophet, therefore he is a 1000000x better and we could never match him, why not quote someone who is like us.” Stop right there you. He (s.a.w.) was sent down as a man to be followed, he was exemplary in everything, even in his duaas. If he was meant to be extremely perfect then wouldn’t an angel be better to be sent down? I mean really. But no, the messenger was a man who eats and drinks like us. If he does any mistakes, they’re to show me and you of how to correct them in the way Allah wants us to. His obedience to Allah is perfect for a human being. And thus we should follow his footsteps. And plus, remembering him helps ease everything! His trials, tribulations and his Death are all far greater (in intensity) that any of mine or yours.
Now back to my topic, no one can deny the amount of sadness you feel when you don’t get what you want. Especially when you think it is what you need most. Especially in a time like this. With the ongoing unrest in the Muslim world, no doubt we all have one in our hearts and minds too. It is time to reflect. Trust me, it helps to ease the anxiety, the fear, the sorrow and the rage altogether.
I am used to unanswered duaas, but I am not weary of them.
If Allah wants me to make more, I will. And I’ll perfect them for His sake. InshaAllah.
I also mentioned Patience somewhere didn’t I? It would be relevant to include this beautiful statement:
“But patience is the struggle to maintain your trust in Allaah. Patience, is the struggle to overcome the desire to give up, to be hopeless, to surrender. Patience is the struggle to not only mute the whispers of the Shaytaan, but to fill the quiet with the remembrance of Allaah; Subhan Allaah. Alhamdulilaah. Allaahu Akbar. Laa Hawlaa wa Laa Quwaatu illaa Billaah. Patience is the struggle In not just knowing, but understanding that being given what you need, is far greater than being given what you wanted. Patience is appreciating the blessings of being given what you seek and in having what you sought taken from you. This is patience, it is a struggle. ” (source)