Day 4: Pachtawa
The feeling of regret often comes in waves. Sometimes you regret not saying enough, sometimes you regret saying too much. Sometimes you regret not doing enough, and sometimes you regret doing too much. You learn this after everything is said and done, and how much regret you’re filled with in the end depends solely on how much something (or someone) meant to you. In any case, regret is something you’ll be faced with, and there’s no escaping it.
When faced with the ups and downs, I never gave up. I assured myself, that if it comes easy it’s not worth it, and for something to be special you have to go the extra mile for it. Everything that is made to last, requires you to work hard for it. I also believed that sometimes when you don’t make efforts towards your goals, you’re going with the flow.
Had I gone with the flow, I would have drowned. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again. I used to be one of those who had absolute confidence in the Decree of God (Qadr), and don’t get me wrong, I still do. In fact my confidence has only grown in the mercy and the benevolence in God through the mistakes that I’ve made. But I’ve learned that the Qadr is a beautiful thing. It seems absolute, but it is in fact more flexible than we think.
When you go with the flow with blind trust in God, you forget that the Source of all Authorities has given you certain authorities of your own. While you trust God, you forget that He trusted you… and in your failure to do what was expected of you, you compromised that trust. For example, if you’re literally swimming in a river, and you decide to go with the flow… inevitably you will suffer, for the river will lead to the edge of a waterfall which will require you to make an effort of your own beyond the trust in God. God has given you the arms and legs to swim, and your survival is conditional upon swimming and going against the flow, for the flow will only lead you to drown. Do you get it? If it is decreed to you, to survive the current… it is conditional upon you having to swim, as opposed to going with the flow. That is an important lesson.
They say, if it is written for you, never in a million will it belong to anyone else. I’ve also heard that if it is yours, it’ll find its way to you. Indeed it will, but many provisions that are decreed to you, are dependent on certain conditions that must be met. For example, if a man dies without a child. Would it be reasonable to say that no child was decreed to him, for if it were decreed, he wouldn’t have died childless? That would be foolish. Perhaps he was destined 10 children, but it was conditional upon getting married and engaging in the act of sexual intercourse. How else would he have had the children?
If you starve to death, would it be reasonable to say that no provision (Rizq) was decreed to you, otherwise you wouldn’t have died out of hunger? Indeed that would be foolish, wouldn’t it? Perhaps you were destined lavish meals in 5 star hotels for the rest of your life, with the ability to not only feed yourself, but many others as well, but it was all conditional upon you making the effort of finding a job, and through that job immense sustenance was written for you. Instead you did nothing, but went with the flow. Clearly the flow did not work in your favor, for it required of you to utilize and take advantage of the means that God had written for you.
They say prayer (Du’a) is the weapon of the believer. However, I would like to assert that it is not only a weapon, but it is a super power. You are so much more powerful than you give yourself credit for. God has given you the gift of Du’a. They say Du’a changes Qadr, but what that essentially means is that Du’a has the power to unlock the “otherwise withheld provisions” written to you in your Qadr. God has written many things to you, and for many of them Du’a is the absolute condition.
In Surah Ghafir, God says: “Call upon me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell. [Holy Quran, 40:60]
This is essentially God telling you, that “Whatever it is that you need, know that I am its Ultimate Source, and call upon me, I will respond to you.” This is God enforcing your super powers within the Holy Quran itself. What more of a reminder do you need?
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may God be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
God the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. (1) Another possible rendering of the Arabic is: “I am as My servant expects Me to be”. The meaning is that forgiveness and acceptance of repentance by the Almighty is subject to His servant truly believing that He is forgiving and merciful. However, not to accompany such belief with right action would be to mock the Almighty. It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah). [40 Hadith Qudsi, Hadith 15]
God is the Source of all Forgiveness and Mercy, and His forgiveness is conditional upon sincere repentance. If you ask, and if you ask with sincerity, God has promised that his mercy exceeds his wrath. [40 Hadith Qudsi, Hadith 1] Thus when you make Du’a and ask for forgiveness, have so much Yaqeen (faith) in His acceptance, that nothing could convince you otherwise.
Just like forgiveness, there are provisions such as love, marriage, peace of mind, happiness, etc. which could also be decreed to you upon condition of Du’a. Therefore, all you need to do is ask and it is yours. Make Du’a for it, perhaps what you desire is a few more prostrations in prayer (Sujood) away, perhaps it is a few tears away, perhaps it is dependent on being prayed for at a certain time of day, perhaps you must invoke God by a specific name, perhaps there is a course of action you have yet to take to avert a calamity or to avoid something that is not in your favor. Never fail to take advantage of your super power. If you chose to go with the flow, know that it is beyond foolish of you to say, “God will do what is best” – and then inevitably drown. Do what God has given you the power to do, and remember that only dead fish go with the flow. Use your Du’a, to create a new flow, and just keep swimming.
As much as we are all dependent on the will of God, He has asked you to always remember that He is there to respond when you call upon Him. Don’t give up on what your heart desires, invoke God through Du’a and have absolute faith in its fulfillment. It might take a while, but it is important to be as absolute in faith as you were the first time you asked for it. Sheikh Uthmayeen may God have mercy upon him said:
“People must not give into pessimism because it will make their lives miserable. Rather, it is obligatory to follow the example of the Prophet (SAW) and he loved optimism. Therefore it is a must to be optimistic about good and avoid being pessimistic. Some people, when they attempt something time and time again they become pessimistic, believing they will never succeed in that matter, so they abandon it. This is a mistake. If you find something that is beneficial for you; don’t lose interest in it after the first attempt; rather keep trying until God opens up a way for you.” – A Collection of Islamic Rulings by Sheikh Uthaymeen (Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee)
I tried with everything I good, and now I need to come to terms with the fact that the one thing I can not fight is Qadr. I can’t fight God, because I know if He’s decided something its for the betterment. What Lord would ignore sincere pleas if he hadn’t planned on something better? I have full faith in Him, and at times of weakness this is everything I need to remind myself of, and so do you. As for the regret that I feel in waves, that is something I need to come to terms with as well. At this point I really don’t know how. Regret often turns to anger towards myself; it turns to disappointment in myself. Perhaps you too feel the same. Perhaps you ask yourself as well, “how could I waste so much time over someone who disregarded everything I did for him or her so easily?” Personally, I almost feel like a fool, and sometimes when the thoughts come to mind I’m ashamed to look myself in the mirror. How can I give so much importance to someone who I meant nothing to? I feel worthless and that is a feeling I wish to never feel again.
If you’re feeling the same, or if you’ve found yourself in a similar place I’m sure at this point you’re looking forward to me providing you with an explanation of how to get over this feeling? You’re expecting me to give you the answer to how I got over it, or what I plan to do, aren’t you? To be honest, I don’t have an answer at this point. Perhaps one day as we go along this feeling will go away on its own, or I’ll eventually find the answer for you. For now this feeling is a burden that weighs me down.