Writing this reflection from Juz’ 10 (8:41–9:92) reminds me that we have entered year three of the Covid-19 pandemic. I remember the day I heard that my Model United Nations competition trip to North Carolina had been canceled, along with the subsequent email that classes would be paused. What was originally presented as a second spring break became weeks of waiting as students and teachers alike began maneuvering the jungle known as online classes. In the months to follow, graduations, proms, family vacations and even Jummah prayers were postponed, resized or canceled as mankind collectively wondered what to do next. My long-awaited golden birthday plans were put to a halt, and I celebrated my 22nd birthday in an improvised fashion. The way the world changed almost overnight with little to no warning brings me back to my childhood.
Growing up on the island of Jamaica I often heard my NaniJi (maternal grandmother) recite an old proverb, “Chobl nuh set laik rien,” which is to say that unlike rain, which is heralded by gray skies and rolling thunder, problems will often arise when you least expect it. Trials along with their counterpart tribulations are ultimately an inescapable part of life in this dunya, and we are all bound to have to weather the storm of grief, dread, disquiet or dolor at some point in our journey of life to the Akhirah. It’s during times like those that we must remember that Allah is Al-Wadud (The Most Loving) and he reminds us of his love for us in the Qur’an:
“And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” – Al-Anfal, 8:46
It might actually come as a surprise to some, but as a man who is a self-proclaimed lover and not a fighter, this juz’, which is centered around the fighting of war, specific battles in history, not to mention the rules regarding how the gains of war are to be shared (8:41), felt outside of my ability to relate. However, I soon saw the beauty and wisdom in the 46th ayah as I found myself being tested with the sudden passing of my eldest sister in Jamaica. Shortly after – a week before my mother and I would travel back home – I received a call from my employer informing me that I had been let go. SubhanAllah, if it was not for tawakkul and sabr I’m not sure how I would have managed.
Not only has Allah blessed us with the spiritual tools, to combat trials and tribulations, tawakkul and sabr, but he has promised that if we hold fast to patience then he will be with us. In fact, he even promises us that in times of trouble that he will help us in ways that may exceed our understanding or expectations.
unlike rain, which is heralded by gray skies and rolling thunder, problems will often arise when you least expect it
“… If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. For the present, Allah hath lightened your (task), for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you: But (even so), if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand, with the leave of Allah: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” – Al-Anfal, 8:66-67
This is the purview Allah gives to us through Islam, that life in this dunya is one of tests. Everything whether small or big that takes place in the lives of Muslims is for good, even if it should appear abysmal on the outside. In our times of ease, we are rewarded for our gratitude, and in our times of hardship, we are rewarded for our patience. The pinnacle of iman is when responding to these trials, we respond with a “beautiful patience,” sabr, and an unwavering trust in Allah, tawakkul.
As we continue to abstain during the daylight hours, practicing this beautiful patience, may Allah bless us with rewards beyond our own comprehension. Ameen.
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Djamil Ninsoo, a son of Jamaica, is a student of history and lover of culture who believes in education through representation. An African American studies major with a concentration in the Caribbean, Djamil has a primary interest in Islamic retention in the Anglophone Caribbean. Djamil, or DouglaBwoy as he’s better known on TikTok, utilizes his education and social media platform to curate content for his 70K+ followers centered at the intersection of his Jamaican, Afro East Indian and Muslim identities with videos on the history of Islam in Jamaica, on the impact of Indian culture on the island and shedding light on the retentions of African culture that survived the Maafa. Outside of TikTok, Djamil is a dedicated member of Art Prevails Project, a not-for-profit performing and literary arts organization that is committed to impacting South Florida and beyond by providing engaging, authentic artistic and cultural experiences through performance and education.