An Open textbook test
In spite of my tawakkul in Allah I was still feeling anxious. My heart was not at rest. Not being able to know what tomorrow holds for me. Will it be a success or a huge failure? Failure would actually mean fatal. My heart was racing not being able to see beyond that huge wall that was in front of me. Not being able to know what is behind that wall for me. Will things work out fine or will they not? Not liking the state of my heart at that point despite my tawakkul in Him, especially because I felt it contradicts tawakkul, as proper tawakkul is supposed to bring serenity to the heart, I decided to open the quran and read, hoping that the soothing words of the One I've put my trust in will bring serenity to my heart, for "verily in the remembernce of Allah do the hearts find rest"(13:28)
"So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, "O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think." He said, "O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast." And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, "O Ibrahim, You have fulfilled the vision." Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favorable mention] among later generations. "Peace upon Ibrahim." Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. " (37:101-110)
I read a few pages. But my mind went back to particularly these ayahs. I went back and read them again. I pondered over these verses. I read this again and again as though something was there in it for me. Some treasure. Some code I needed to break. There were other ayahs that followed it which I did read. But THIS. This had something. My heart kept telling me.
"And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, "O Ibrahim, You have fulfilled the vision." Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial."
When Ibrahim AS and his beloved son Ismail were given this super difficult test from Allah, that is to sacrifice his son whom Allah Himself had gifted him after a really really long wait, they both submitted themselves to it without any second thoughts. And when they did, they believed that they were indeed going to go through that tremendous pain. At that point they did NOT know or even have the slightest hope that Allah will actually waive it. And yet they submitted themselves to it whole heartedly. Definitely it must not have been easy for them as they were also just as human as we are. In fact, if you think about it, the prophets had the softest hearts, as softness of the heart is always linked to piety. Yet, the difference is, that didn't stop them from submitting themselves to Allah's will, His qadr. They trusted Him. Blindly. And the result of which is what Allah reveals to the world - to the rest of the mankind till the end of time...
The life of this world is a test. It was a test for Ibrahim and his son then and it is a test for each one of us now. BUT... there's a difference. Their test was a closed textbook test, and ours an open textbook test. They did not KNOW that Allah would actually NOT make them go through it and that He would give them something better in its place. We, on the other hand, through the narration of their test, have been taught in our "textbook" that Allah will NOT actually make us go through it IF we put our trust in Him and submit ourselves completely to His will. Ibrahim and Ismail did not know what was behind that huge wall for them, just like how I don't know what is behind this huge wall in front of me. They didn't know, but they trusted Him blindly. I don't know and I must too trust Him blindly, if I want the same result as what they got. I have a "textbook" which I can open anytime and search for the right answers during my tests, like how I did just now. And if I can't trust Him in spite of that, then what kind of a "believer" does that make me?! I have to close my eyes and trust Him. Believe that everything is safe in His hands. "If Allah pushes me to the edge of a cliff, it is to teach me how to fly. And IF I don't fly, He'll catch me when I fall..." I told myself. That moment serenity surged through me. My heart was at rest. Because my heart had submitted. Completely. And as expected, when the wall in front of me had been removed, I could see what it had held for me behind itself was one like that of Ibrahim's and Ismail's - a good news! Alhamdulillah! Allahu Akbar!
To Allah what matters is our attitude. Yes, actions do count. But only if they are accompanied by the right attitude. Belief in Allah can only come from your attitude of trust towards Him. In any relationship trust is vital. To be able to trust someone you need to know who and how he is. And when you trust him after you have known him, you don't question him anymore. Well, that's called "trust", isn't it? That's the attitude Allah wants from us in our relationship towards Him. And when we fulfill this, He never fails to fulfills His part.
"It is not the flesh and blood of your sacrifice that pleases God. What pleases God is your piety. God has made subservient to you the sacrificial animals so that perhaps you will glorify Him; He is guiding you. (Muhammad), give the glad news (of God's mercy) to the righteous people." (22:37)