It is possible to learn a lesson in more ways than one. Take ‘gratitude’, for example. You could read and read about being grateful to Allah for what you have, think about it, put it into practice too but sometimes, one little incident will teach you what gratitude really is.
For the past several months, I would often think about and wish for one gadget that I felt I could put to so many beneficial uses – an ipod! Not wanting to demand an expensive toy of my father but hoping to save up for it myself, I knew it would be some time before I could possibly obtain one. We were talking about a year atleast, if my articles kept getting published by the newspapers.
I wanted an ipod so badly – the possibilities were limitless. All those audio lectures available online, Tajweed tutorials, Tafseer sessions, Quran recitation… imagine if you could carry them wherever you went, in your pocket, to turn long periods of nothingness into learning experiences. During long and dull classes at University, I wouldn’t have to put my head down and go to sleep – I could learn Islam! But it was a long way away… or so I thought.
Last month, on Eid-al-Adhaa, I was left stunned when, as I opened a small package from someone, out came a sleek, shiny, black, business-card sized thing… an ipod nano! I let out a small scream right there. It took an hour or two to make sure the package was really meant for me and not a huge mistake. I can’t get into details on this blog about who actually gave the package to me but sufficient it is, to say that it came from a never-thought-it-was-possible source.
Suddenly, the very thing I’d been dreaming of having, especially in the days leading up to that day, was lying in my lap. It took some days to get used to having it and a few more before I was able to download good stuff into it. It was as amazing as I’d always dreamed it would be, making it possible for me to do long and cumbersome chores like cleaning out my room all the while listening to Yasir Qadhi discuss the Book of Tawheed or Salem Al-Amry giving advice in a lecture titled “O Muslims! Mind your footsteps!”.
With all the excitement and joy came an added responsbility – being grateful to Allah(swt), both, by feeling it within myself and also by, as another meaning of thankfulness to Allah entails, using the ipod nano in the right manner. That meant I should fulfill the promises I had made to Allah(swt) in my heart – “If I ever had an ipod, I would learn such-and-such from so-and-so!” or “Pleeeeease Allah, I’d absolutely love to have an ipod! It must be soooo cool to have it all the time with you!” So, after all that, getting an ipod was also a major test from Allah(swt). Would I remain grateful? Would I keep to my word? Would I use a blessing from Allah in the right manner – to come closer to Him?
The whole experience has also taught me another valuable lesson for life – if you really, really want something (that’s halal), just ask Allah(swt) for it and place your whole trust on Him. Don’t place your hope in money or specific people to get you what you want. In the end, everything comes from and returns to Allah(swt).
(Note: Being grateful to Allah(swt) does not mean one shouldn’t say “thankyou” to the person who serves as a “messenger” for the blessing – the one who handed the gift to you. In fact, as a reminder to myself, the gift should be thanked for by replying in the same manner. =) )