A not-so-expected answer to my prayer!
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful [towards all mankind], the Especially Merciful [towards the believers]
“The following day was very important and I did not want anything to ruin my chances….”
One evening earlier this month I turned off my laptop and sighed. I had spent the last few hours busily preparing/swotting/studying without being sure how productive the effort had been. The following day was very important and I did not want anything to ruin my chances. Not wanting to feel tired or sluggish in the morning, I decided an early night (early by my standards at least!) was the best course of action. Given the importance of the impending occasion I had done my best to “tie my camel” (my own efforts to prepare) and had supplicated to the Almighty to do His part by granting me whatever was best. I failed to anticipate how perfectly this prayer would be answered in a few hours time!
The next morning I woke up early, hoping to cram in some last minute preparation before getting ready. As I lay in bed and first opened my eyes, something didn’t quite feel right. Hmmm…. I headed to the mirror and staring back at me was a right eye pretty similar- or more puffy!- to the image attached to this article. My first instinct was panic! I remembered rubbing my eye a little (ok, well maybe a little too much) after lying down the night before, but had thought nothing of it. Now- on the important morning itself- I was looking like I’d had a round with Muhammad Ali in his boxing prime and had come out the worst for it. The time in between this discovery and leaving the house was spent imitating a somewhat- but not total in my defence!- headless chicken :P. My efforts included grabbing some ice-cubes to make an impromptu ice pack at 6 a.m. in the morning and telling myself that I would NOT be leaving the house in such a state if freezing off the right side of my face didn’t work.
What a disaster! you may be thinking sympathetically. You may even be smiling despite yourself :). Although I certainly wasn’t smiling at the time(!), I had a good laugh about the whole thing later in the day. Because you see, even though my eye was not restored to its normal self by 7 a.m. when I left the house (although thankfully it was less swollen than when I first woke up) it was actually exactly the tonic I needed that morning. To explain this seeming contradiction I have to fill you in with one more detail about my feelings the night before. Despite being a very confident person generally, I was feeling uncharacteristically nervous about the following day. The best way to sum it up would be that neat little expression of realising a little too late that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. I went to bed nervous and tingling nerves accompanied me when I woke up. And then my bust-up eye took over, leaving no room for nerves or fears about not being prepared enough! My plan of last minute swotting- which would have probably only made me more nervous- went out of the window as I tried to deal with the fact that at that time my swollen right eye was obstructing my vision!
By the time I got in the car to leave the eye had calmed down some, but my nerves almost completely. The bust-up eye was the best reminder to calm them for me that morning! I did not even have control over one tiny part of my body (or would I not have waved my magic wand for instant eye repair?), so why stress about what was ahead? I had tried my best to prepare; everything after that is in the hands of the Almighty and the essence of being a believer is trusting that He will grant you what is best. As I supplicated Allahumma ‘aafinee fee badanee, Allahumma ‘aafinee fee sam’ee, Allahumma ‘aafinee fee basaree…* (O Allah make me healthy in my body, O Allah preserve for me my hearing, O Allah preserve for me my sight….) I focused on what was the most important- asking the One who provides to aid me and grant me the outcome which would mean success for me. The eye also helped to humble me in another unforeseen way. As someone who mostly wears contacts outside of the house I had no intention of wearing glasses that morning, but there was no way my right eye was going to take a contact lens in that state! On came the glasses begrudgingly. Not exactly according to plan, but again a timely reminder that it wasn’t my appearance- or any other similar trait- which would grant me success. That lies with Allah (SWT) alone.
The day (though still challenging) went far better than I had anticipated- no sign of nerves throughout alhamdulillah– and I ended up with the very best possible outcome :). If I had started this post telling you I performed a voluntary prayer of thankfulness because God had given me a bust-up eye on a very important morning, you would have probably raised your eyebrows. Some of you may still do so having read the post, but from the point of view of a believing and grateful slave (what else is a Muslim?) nothing would have made more sense. As unexpected as the response had been, my Lord had completely answered my prayer and granted me what was best.
وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۚ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ
With Him are the keys of the unseen, the treasures that none knoweth but He. He knoweth whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf doth fall but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry (green or withered), but is (inscribed) in a record clear (to those who can read). [6:59]
يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Allah creates what He wills for indeed Allah has power over all things [24: 45]