A few weeks ago my mother had invited her friends over, and I was pleasantly surprised to meet with a girl who used to be a grade lower than me in school. I was meeting her after 7 years, and her story was sad and a great reminder. I meet her after taraweeh sometimes, and everytime I see her, it reminds me of this one sentence she said, after I asked her, "but what do you do with your time all day??" [She never managed to complete high school because of moving to Pakistan temporarily, and then she attempted GED, but GED wasn't accepted in most colleges in UAE/Al Ain at that time]
"What else? Clean the house all day. Sit at home. Get married some day and produce kids."
In her situation, the sarcasm is understandable. I had so many questions in my head, especially how and why her parents just let her sit at home. And she's a year older than me as well. Why don't they just get her married? But I kept quiet, feeling very guilty inside.
I felt guilty not because I have the blessings of choices in life more than most people. And many people have that blessing, just like being blessed with a perfect form, limbs, organs, etc. But because of the numerous times I abuse that blessing.
To me, she's a constant reminder of humbling myself and being responsible about the choices I have to make. Many times I become irresponsible or carefree, knowing that someone will take up the consequences for me if things go wrong.
Like the time a few months ago, after I picked up my sister from school, I took a turn onto the main road despite knowing that the incoming car was speeding. I thought I'd swerve into the second lane, but I wasn't fast enough. It was an impulsive decision. The car hit me, and the poor guy's car was badly damaged. I remember not panicking (and I don't panic mostly) because despite it being my fault, my father would be able to set things straight for me @ the traffic police department.
Or all the times I choose to drive instead of walk and abuse my environment nonchalently. Everytime I've driven to somewhere, I'm very aware of the environmental consequences. It nags at me, but my passion is not strong enough to make me let go of the car. [of course, I would not have this problem in Toronto since I'd just bike and secure my groceries with a mesh of bungee cords at the back...ah, fun!]
This blessing applies in all spheres. When you realise that the choices you have in life are a blessing, you take them more seriously and weigh your options better.
And it's not that the girl I met did not have choices. In her life, her choices were of the different type. But this is a blessing that Allah (swt) has given to all of mankind. She had the choice of studying at an institute (instead of a college), but she didn't. For the sake of analysis, I can say she made an irresponsible decision. Some education is better than no education, and because her parents support her, she chose to stay at home.
This reminds me of an article I wrote: The Choice within You- Developing a Positive Attitude. It has some good tips.
How do we define success? The definition of successful believers in the Qur'an is much simpler:
Successful indeed are the believers
- Who are humble in their prayers,
- And who shun vain conversation,
- And who are payers of the poor due;
- And who guard their modesty
- And who are shepherds of their pledge and their covenant,
- And who pay heed to their prayers.
These are the heirs who will inherit Paradise: There they will abide. [Surah Mu'minoon: 1-12]
And this reminds me, so far, I've come across the statement: Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear, four times: 2:233, 6:152, 7:42, 23:62. (Perhaps it occurs again but I haven't reached the end yet) This is a great reminder.
You can be successful in this dunya, in a way that's good for the akhirah if you follow the above, and at the same time you should be able to do it without bearing a burden greater than you can bear.
So, what do we complain about?