Friday, 9 April 2010
When We are Low on Hope...
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Consider this. When we are low on hope, just like Noah (a.s.) on the ark. It has been almost forty days. And there is no land in sight. There is water, water everywhere. Water all around and below. Nothing but sky above. And this was no normal flood. These are the Waters of Wrath. They did not merely drown everyone; they burned them as if they were the fires of damnation even though the water was not hot.
According to the sirah, a raven was sent forth first. It never came back. And then, Noah (a.s.) sent a dove. It came back, cold and miserable and shivering. It had flown all night and found no place to roost. All it saw was water and more water. In the morning, he tried again. He said a du’a and let the bird go. He watched it until it was a mere speck on the horizon. And then that speck was gone. And with it, seemed to go his hope. But he was a Prophet of Allah (s.w.t.).
All day he looked for the dove's return. From fajr, until zhuhr until ‘aswr. And then it was maghrib. The sun was setting; the skies were darkening. There were streaks of red and rivers of silver where the Milky Way could be seen. Noah (a.s.) looked one last time. And all he saw around was water. All he had was Allah’s (s.w.t.) Promise that the time of Deliverance was at hand. And is He not the Keeper of Promises?
And how many times have we stood there? In the floods in our lives. When we are islands of misery in an ocean of humanity? When we are the ark of self in the flood of dunya? When all we had was a Promise from Allah (s.w.t.). And since we are not prophets, we seem so far away, with no direct access. All we have in that ark of self is grief, sorrows, hurts, the pieces of a shattered heart? It seems the Ka’bah of the qalb is torn from its very foundations and we are searching for that faith we thought we had. But the ruh is the Domain of Allah (s.w.t.). It does not belong to us. And that is when we learn what it means to be like the prophets, like Abraham (a.s.), and Moses (a.s.) and Noah (a.s.). And of course, Muhammad (s.a.w.). And what makes them different from us is that they did not despair. They turned to their Lord and they said, “I accept, I accept, I accept.”
At that moment, like those before us, we needed assurance. We needed hope. We needed a place to rest our heads knowing that it is over. We dare not ask for an instant solution. What we seek, each and every one of us is that glimmer, that possibility that Promise of an eventual solution. And that is what we always get. And more. For Allah (s.w.t.) is the Answerer of Supplications, and the Keeper of Promises, and the Most Generous. But we have to be patient. And wait. And the sun rose again.
The story is actually described in detail in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible:
11 And she came to him in the evening carrying a bough of an olive tree, with green leaves, in her mouth. Noah therefore understood that the waters were ceased upon the earth.
There is subtle beauty in all Revelation, if men but only knew. Noah (a.s.) wanted to see the dove. But he got an olive leaf. It was a piece of a tree. It was more than hope. But its legs were red where they touched the Waters of Wrath. And that was proof that there was going to be a new beginning. There is never any doubt that Allah (s.w.t.) is the Most Merciful of the Merciful. Beneath the ‘Arsh lies his Rahmah. And for those who surrender, they are rewarded by al-Ghany. So do not despair. And do not doubt. There will always be floods in our lives. But the waters will recede and there will always be a new beginning.
… “O my Lord! Truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that thou dost Send me!” … (Surah al-Qaswasw:24)