Do you know that moment when everything you have believed in scatters around you and simply ceases to exist? And you realize for the first time how alone you really are even in a crowd of thousands of people. How vulnerable and — at the risk of disgusting some by sounding “weak” – *weak*?
You might be wondering the difference in expressing the ‘weak’ twice in the last sentence. The former with the “ ” refers to people’s sarcastic opinion, the latter states the fact of our natural state of being.
“..and mankind was created weak.” [4:28]
Have you ever considered how fragile our life is? We, humans, so many of us living in high raised apartments and acting all high and mighty by conquering the science of robots and visiting outer space – and a few micrometer long virus can be the cause of our end – just like that? Or the fact that our mind shuts down and we go through a mini-death for hours every night for us to function normally the next day? How about scrambling to protect your body when a temperature falls a few degrees? The earthquakes with the power to throw you out of your cozy bed even behind the alleged safety of closed doors. That a single harsh word from a loved one is sometimes enough to leave you crying for days and lying awake, heartbroken, for nights. The fact that for almost half of our lives, we are blatantly and completely dependent on the care of other *humans* – on parents when we’re young and small, on our offsprings when we are old and wrinkled. And all this time.. we believe we are safe, trusting our family and our own abilities to protect us. But what happens when that illusion is blown to bits?
Yes, an illusion, because that’s what reality of “safety” is. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed us with parents, siblings, friends to act as a *means* of comfort and protection for us from external threats, and with an amazingly intricate immune system inside of us to provide us with protection from the internal ones. And too many people go through their entire lives never even realizing the extent of that blessing, never thanking their Creator; the Source of that safety they blatantly enjoy, for something that they never knew to ask for but could *never* have survived without in this world – a world filled with sick predators hiding in plain sight in broad daylight and in the darkness of shadows at night.
And it is enough for a single moment of pure terror to burst that bubble. For a hand to pull you into a dark alley when you’re heading home alone from work, carefree. For a predatory gaze in a crowded bus filled with naked lust to make you feel dirty and small. For a stranger to slap your hands on your mouth to keep you from screaming while they rob you of your purse to make you wake up screaming in a cold sweat, weeks after the actual event. And it doesn’t matter if you are a tough, strong man who went to the gym thrice a week, or an intelligent woman, respected and looked up to in her community. Once you are a victim of an assault, no matter how “small” – and it’s never “small”, believe me – your life as you know it changes. Because your perspective changes, so does your priorities. Suddenly, you are scanning the faces around you with wary eyes instead of walking blindly like before in the same road you traveled through half of your life. Suddenly you are walking faster in certain “safe” areas. You feel wariness and sense danger in situations most don’t even think twice about.
And while all these precautions are certainly *necessary,* it’d never be enough. So now, every time you step out of your home, your heart sends up a silent prayer. For safety. The real kind.
You may also like: Wish to Gain Allah’s Protection? Become a Hafeez
“Allah is the Helper and Protector of those who believe in Him: He brings them out of the depths of darkness into the light.” [2:257]
And that’s what it comes down to when our false sense of strength and security is stripped bare, leaving us raw and reeling. You recognize that it never was in your hands in the first place. It was never supposed to be. Protection comes from Allah, The All Mighty and All Knowing. He knows what’s around that bend that your wary gaze can never reach. He gives you the sense to walk faster with you never knowing that that truck would have hit you, had you been a second too late in crossing that point. He knows that those words that your best friend spewed out in anger would have shattered your heart so he makes you somehow miss that event you were so looking forward to. He knows and He protects, physically and emotionally, over and over and over again, without us ever even knowing that we were facing danger of any kind, much less a fatal kind.
But sometimes, in His Divine Wisdom, He doesn’t. And those are the times you are tested because Allah said that He “created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed.” [67:2] Some react by lashing out in anger and pain, blaming God for their grief, for their loss. Not realizing that He is the One who, out of His Mercy, allowed them to enjoy that blessing in the first place when they never even asked for it, never did anything to deserve it. Do you rage at someone who allows you to borrow a car to enjoy for a road trip and then takes it back when your specified time is over – or do you thank him?
The truly blessed ones are those who find meaning in their grief, a purpose in their struggles. Who realize “safety” for what it is. It’s not a permanent state anyone is entitled to. It’s a mercy from above, something that can be snatched away at any moment. It’s realizing every time you step out of your home, or even sitting in your own bed, that it is Allah who ultimately protects you whether you are alone or with an army of bodyguards. So you remember Him and call out to Him, knowing He is The All Seeing, The All Hearing The All Powerful. Al Hafeedh, The Protector. He will hear you and save you in the depths of darkness, when no one else would ever even know of you being touched by it – just like He saved Yunus ‘alaihissalam when he called on Him from the darkness of the belly of a whale under the darkness of the ocean in the darkness of the night. He is the only real refuge that exists, waiting for you to call on Him so that He can shade you under the cover of His protection – will you turn to Him or turn away?
“Who is it that could be an *army* for you to help you other than the Most Merciful? The disbelievers are in nothing but delusion. Who is it that could provide for you if He withheld His provision? Nay, but they continue to be in pride and (they) flee (from the truth).” [67:20, 21]
“HasbunAllahu wa ni’mal wakeel; Ni’mal maula wani’man naseer.”
Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (ra) reports: “One day I was riding (a horse/camel) behind the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when he said, ‘Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of God, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of God. If you need help, seek it from God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if God had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry.’ ” [Tirmidhi]