Thursday, April 5, 2012

Watch Out - It's a Blessing!

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

I recently thought of something that spurred this post. I can easily see the blessings in tests and I write frequently about that. What I haven't written about is the tests that lie in blessings. When I first mention there being a test in a blessing, for some the first thing that springs to mind is the test of giving due thanks. That, most certainly, is one test. We must always remember that the blessing is a gift from Allah and give thanks to Him. However, we also need to look at the thing we perceive to be a blessing and see where else we are being tested by it. Here are some examples that I can think of from real life experiences.

Women are often tested with their beauty. They may be blessed with certain beautiful or attractive features, which Islam requires them to conceal them from general public view. The blessing is a test; will she guard her modesty and fight the desire for public praise and admiration? Will she take care of herself properly, mindfully maintaining the blessing Allah has given her?

The successful man, be it in financial status, work, education, or Islamic knowledge, is blessed. The blessing is a test; if he receives compliments, will he be humble and attribute all good to Allah, or will he start believing in his own self-made excellence? Will he use his success to worship Allah sincerely?

My daughter recently reflected on this subject and asked me how her doll can be a test. I told her to think about it for a moment, after which she almost instantly said that it is a test because she could spend too much time playing with it instead of doing her work. It could also be a test because she could be tempted to put a face on it and try to make it more realistic. Just a simple doll, a child's toy, but most surely a test.

Although it isn't always easy to see the test in a blessing, it is like a pulse - sometimes hard to find, but it is always there.  

May Allah, subhaana wa ta'ala, open our eyes to the tests He sends us and increase our emaan, taqwa, and tawakkal in order to pass them - ameen.

What Currency are you Dealing in?

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

How do you estimate the value of something?

Subhaan Allah, those of you who know me, know that I tend to come up with analogies for things. For the various things I guard and warn against, I often find new and different angles from which to approach them. Just recently I was faced with someone who was comparing people's worth in terms of their physical attributes.  Girls here are fed the exact same stereotypical "princess" concept as in the West. So many children (and adults, sadly) think that the stereo-typical Disney princess characters are the ideal. Even here in Madinah, many girls show off their princess pictures, notebooks, stickers, and bags. Fortunately ours, and those children of our good friends, do not get such items, but there is still the underlying ideal planted in their minds.

Having pretty dresses, nice hair, slimmer figures, and beautiful faces are the benchmarks for being "better." Yes, I know I've written about such things before on the post, When We Stand Before Allah, but from the aspect of pride (kibr) and arrogance.  However, the aspect I'm addressing is how we value such things. Looking at such things as valuable, or being something that has great weight or worth, is dealing in dunya dollars. When they are presented in front of Allah as proof of achievement and good in this life, those dollars won't be worth the paper they are printed on.

However, when we look with admiration at those who have beautiful manners (akhlaaq), are modest in all situations (hayaa), take care of their speech and actions (taqwa), recite the Qur'an correctly and implement it, learn and teach Islam as practiced by the Salaf, and truly worship Allah in all situations, then we can see that they are dealing in a completely different currency. They are holding Islamic ingots that are worth their weight in gold when presented to Allah. Rather than the dunya dollars, which will burn into ashes, they will be dealing in a currency that reaps Allah's rewards, which last for all eternity.

If anyone innovative and creative would like to take these three concepts and make up a family game or reward system, you have my wholehearted support. However, if you do, please let us know so others may know and benefit from it. We need to teach our children (and remind ourselves) that accruing dunya dollars might get us to the finish line, but the Islamic ingots will make us the real winners of Allah's rewards.