By Maimoona Iftikhar (in Collaboration with Team AYEINA)
Life on this planet is an array of complex relationships and associated emotions. Parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, friends, teachers and the list endlessly goes on …
Some people drive themselves crazy and work hard to fulfill their duties towards everyone. Money, time, energy, desire, ego are just a few of the sacrifices they make in the process. A mother goes berserk over how to keep her child happy: feeding him with his favorite meals, giving him to wear what he loves the most, almost kills herself to give him a life. There’s an Arabic proverb: “Every container gives out what it contains.”
But despite the mother putting so much love and care into her child’s heart, what do you usually see when he grows up? Tantrums, disobedience and selfishness – forgetting each sacrifice she made for him. Imagine the state of an old mother at that time … Heartbroken and shattered seeing all her life’s hard work going into the drain. Though she fulfilled her duty, why does she feel what she does?
Because she expected! That became her sin. A grave sin.
Expectations in life drive you nowhere. They’ll give you sadness, gloom, hurt and tears. A regret that you wasted your life after people who don’t care. You expect, and you’ll be broken.
Malaise erases off which is replaced by a number of health problems rooted to depression. It becomes a silent poison whose factory was your very own heart.
We say that love with itself brings expectations. But who are we loving? An imperfect man. Built to make mistakes. He can’t fulfill his own set goals, and we expect him to comply to our goals. Funny, isn’t it?
So love the Perfect ONE. Expect from Him. He controls the whole world. And His word is what truth looks like. You ask, and He gives. You trip, and He sets you right. You fall, and He picks you up. You are lost, and He guides you. You deny Him, and He still provides you. You cry, and He consoles you. You are dubious, and He fixes your heart. He returns each act of yours with goodness. Always. Forever.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “My Lord says, ‘If My slave comes nearer to me for a span, I go nearer to him for a cubit; and if he comes nearer to Me for a cubit, I go nearer to him for the span of outstretched arms; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ ” [Bukhari]
That’s the right source to expect from! And when you realise this reality, this hidden secret of life – You suddenly are at peace. Everything seems to be fine because you never expected and so what you get seems sufficiently suffice. Life melts down to ease and comfort. Nothing really hurts then. What duties you fulfill are for God alone, you don’t expect its return from people here because you expect a reward from Him in the Hereafter.
That’s the only way to put your turmoiled heart to tranquil. Pacify it. Free it from all bounds. And that’s the ultimate reality…
Although the following was written in the context of Eid-ul-Adha but it makes sense here because sacrifice, be it in any form, isn’t easy! and it does not come without expectations of course! But it can have a beautiful direction nonetheless!
Back in Pakistan, we used to get the animal well before Eid sometimes and fall in love with it as we’d feed and pet it. When the day of sacrifice used to come, the legacy of Ibrahim used to feel so real…
Eid ul Adha is the most tangible form of how sacrificing what you love for the sake of Allah looks and feels like…
Abroad, you may not know the feeling of seeing the animal you fell in love with getting sacrificed for the sake of Allah, but may be you know what sacrificing for the sake of Allah feels like in general…
May be you sacrificed money and fame for the sake of Allah, may be you sacrificed career and success for the sake of Allah, May be you sacrificed freedom and love… In whatever form you may know a sacrifice, know that Allah – who doesn’t waste away even the hair strands of a sacrificial animal in terms of reward – won’t waste away each breath you held while curbing your desires for His sake. He won’t waste away the times your heart bled a little when you sacrificed your passions for His sake…
Doesn’t the verse recited in each Eid prayer:
بل تؤثرون الحياة الدنيا و الآخرة خيرا و ابقى
makes so much more sense now?