There is a great temptation in life to view one’s past actions as mistakes. After all, upon reviewing them, it’s second nature to saying things such as, “If I could go back…,” or, “If I had it to do all over again.” I must confess, that yours truly is no different. That is, until reflecting on my life after the birth of my child, what I like to call Tafsir Ziyan.
It can be something of a balancing act to have remorse [nadm] about one’s past misgivings and yet still view them in the Light of Allah, the Qur’an, the Sunnah of our Beloved Prophet and our Tradition. I was never very good at juggling but my daughter has forced me to add another ball to the set and in doing so, I have discovered qualities not only of myself and my wife, but of Allah Almighty. As God says in Surah al-Taghabun , “There is no hardship or calamity except that it is from God,” verse 11.
Simply put, despite all of my glaring mistakes, missteps, gross errors, transgressions and more, God’s primary quality that He prescribed upon Himself is Mercy, and I have not seen that manifested for myself in any better form than in the birth of my daughter, for God says in the Qur’an , “Allah does as He pleases,” verse 253. I was only able to have this understanding when I had an event in my life so large that I had no choice but to submit to it. In the midst of that submission I am beginning to see the bigger picture, and not get lost in self pity [something Shaytan loves] about past grievances while still hoping that God Almighty will pardon me for my sins.
Drawing closer to God in the midst of calamity is supremely difficult, especially at the moment of that calamity. But when one steps back and views the tapestry of one’s life, the mosaic of calamity met with clemency, over and over again, the All-Merciful attribute that is God’s stands clear, humbling oneself in complete abasement. I am left thinking about Surah 3, verse 154:
Then He sent down to you, after the distress, security, restful sleep overtaking a group of you, whereas another group became prey to anxious thoughts, thinking other than the truth about Allah – thoughts belonging to the Time of Ignorance – saying, ‘Do we have any say in the affair at all?’ Say, ‘The affair belongs entirely to Allah.’ They are concealing within themselves things which they do not disclose to you, saying, ‘If we had only had a say in the affair, none of us would have been killed here in this place.’ Say, ‘Even if you had been inside your homes, those people for whom being killed was decreed would have gone out to their place of death.’ So that Allah might test what is in your breasts and purge what is in your hearts. Allah knows all that your hearts contain.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Tafsir Ziyan.