A couple of weeks ago, I saw what might arguably be the most extraordinary experience as far as the improvement of my tawbah goes. A young man frantically wheeling a physically challenged woman in the direction of the Mosque. It was as sunny as it can get here in Lagos (32 degrees ish) and here is the kicker: we were already done.With Jumaah duh. So picture this: Friday afternoon with people trooping out of the mosque (indictaing Jumaah was just concluded and there’s this young man coming from God knows how far away, wheeling a physically challenged woman, dripping a Number2-load of sweat, determined to get to the Mosque.
This stayed with me for a long time and in all that time it got me thinking about a lot of things in relation to my own life and my relationship with Our Rabb. One of such thoughts revolves around Ramadan. I started to think of how it’s only a few weeks to this year’s Ramadan and I cannot determine whether I stuck to all of the improvements I had made during the last Ramadan; whether I’m mentally or even physically (stomach stamina-wise) prepared for Ramadan seeing as I shamefully haven’t done much voluntary fasts this year AND how I definitely haven’t attained the goal of preparing for Ramadan by completing the Qur’an before the month actually arrives in order to make it easy during the month.
I know I am not.
In all of these shortcomings I have listed, it is not my lapses that I am disappointed in. Far from it, what I could beat myself for and what my experience of seeing the Young man I described earlier made me realise is the fact that I am not as repentant about all these lapses as I should be. The most significant thing about the Young man running was the fact that he knew he was late for Jumaah; he already knew he and his passenger were going to have to pay all four Raka’ats of Dhuur YET he didn’t slow down upon realising all of these. He kept running and I’m almost certain with a heap-load of tawbah in his (again I’m almost certain) disturbed heart.
There I was, all of the weight of my shortcomings on my back realising how much repenting I had not done and how sadly, I was yet to begin a frantic race to fix myself in time for Ramadan.
It’s extremely funny how we (I) manage to take matters of consistently improving my Deen with levity, all the time thinking there’s enough time to make amends and that Allah is Al-Ghaffar and AS-Sabbur, and Ar-Rahman, and He is. But then I read something recently about the different types of people in relation to Repentance:
- the soul in complete rest: the one that repents from his sins and is in constant repentance till he dies. The person is foremost in good deeds although isn’t free from “minor” faults we are all doomed to.
- the reproaching soul: the one that performs major matters pertaining to religion even though he unintentionally falls into sins. He blames himself and tries to stay away from what causes him to sin.
- the responsible soul: the one that repents and stops to commit sins for a time until the desire overcomes him and he does while also carrying on with some good deeds. He’s repentant but he is danger due to his delay because death may attack before his next repentance.
- the soul inclined to evil: the one who is repentant for a while and then returns to sins without thinking remorsefully of repentance.
I suppose it’s easy to get carried away with how Merciful and loving and forgiving Allah is sometimes because He is unseen and sometimes because we relegate matters of the deen to the backburner in our pursuit of prosperity in the Dunya. As such, while we make the conscious effort to improve upon ourselves in terms of manners, finances, work ethic, and essentially every other thing; we take much longer to catch our fall when it comes to matters of worship and most especially in terms of continuously increasing our Taqwa.
So yeah, you get what I mean when I say, the Young man running frantically to catch a prayer he already missed stayed with me a really long time. LoL. I guess all I’m trying to say is that it’s not enough for us to realise our shortcomings in the hopes of meeting with Allah’s Mercy, we must always frantically run towards Allah in an attempt to fix ourselves. And I pray that Allah forgives and loves that young man here and in the hereafter.
P.S: The featured images were taken at The Muslimah Hub, an event organised by @themuslimahstyleguide last month. She handed these amazing pieces of paper containing random questions/requests for guests to introduce themselves with and also to bond.