Written Friday night, February 22, 2013–Purulent nasal discharge and an internet glitch blocking further productivity, I’m nursing a nasty head cold. Wanting to maintain prolific gains of the week after designing presentations and writing their associated research papers, I cycle working a little, napping a little, to appease the swell of ambition egging me on. With so much I wish to do, and the frustration of not having stamina to sustain effort for long, I’m mindful to be patient and seek some good in it.
Compounded by the travails of winter, and stressors of all kinds, my heart holds an element of gratitude that those closest to me remain whole, basically healthy, and have positive expectations. Yet, I know of two young girls who have debilitating autoimmune diseases that struck hard. One can’t help but feel sad that they and their families suffer; yet, what can help bring relief from such trials?
Referring to an article by Yasmin Mogahed, titled “Dealing With Hardship” in Islamic Horizons, I found a firm inspiration to share. She began by citing the story of Asiyah, the righteous wife of renowned Pharaoh who pursued Moses and succumbed by drowning in the Red Sea. One of the most brave and virtuous women, she is mentioned in the Qur’an, “God sets forth an example for those who believe—the wife of Pharaoh who said: ‘My Lord, build for me with Thee a house in heaven, and save me from the Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from an unjust people.’” (Qur’an 66:11)
Mogahed continues in her article to reveal that she had recently faced a difficult test, and she asked people for their sincere dua’a, their supplications to God for her. She wrote, “And the beauty of having righteous, angel-like souls as your company is something priceless.” Of special strength and significance to her was a text message she received that read, “May you be shown your home in Jannah (heaven) so that any hardship is made easy on you.”
As Asiyah was bound to the most horrific husband, and as Ibrahim (Abraham) was pitched into fire for contesting with his elders that their idols were false gods, it is written that Asiyah smiled when Pharaoh tortured her and the fire was made to feel cool for Ibrahim, who did not burn.
For those skeptics, it must be acknowledged that “With every difficulty, there is relief.” (Qur’an 94:5) I can also attest that when I have come to points whereby I did not have the fortitude to prevail, when all was seemingly hopeless, painful, and gloomy, that when I deeply sought relief, it came. For me, I do believe in the power of prayer; and even if we are not the ones in dire straits, perhaps we have an obligation to others. Maybe we are also meant to help each other, through sincere dua’a. It binds us, keeps our hearts soft, supports us in tough times knowing that people care; and if we choose to believe, that there is hope for recovery, remission, healing.
“Everything for a reason,” I say, not believing in coincidence, but rather in destiny. With that, my dua’a are ways to express what little power I have. Perhaps that is why I’m sick today, because I’ve been heavily making dua’a for a lot of people, as I empathize with their dilemmas. Maybe it is useful for me to feel energy depleted, chapped, and needing a recharge from the One who can provide everything without measure, and once again thrill in the surge and return of creative drive, vigor, and secure relief from strife.
Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2013–After lots of garlic, chicken broth, hot tea, and rest…I felt that surge back to about 80%…”With every difficulty….”
For it is He who sends the winds bearing glad tidings before the rain-showers of His mercy–until when they lift heavy clouds aloft, We drive them to a lifeless land. Then upon it, We send down water, Then We bring forth with it fruits of every kind. Thus do We bring forth the dead, so that you may become mindful of your won resurrection.–(Qur’an 7:57)