By Shalisha Smith
To truly love someone or something you have to become well acquainted with that person or thing. One way to become acquainted and draw closer to our Lord is to know his names and attributes, but it cannot stop there. For a Muslim to know and memorise the names of Allah is truly a virtue. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“Allah has ninety nine names, one hundred less one; whoever comprehends them all will enter paradise” [Sahih al Bukhari 2737]
Not only must we have knowledge of His lofty names but the comprehension of them is imperative, and being able to apply them to our daily life is key! While in this state of pondering, I began to think about Allah’s name Al Muqaddim & Al- Mu’akhkhir (the Expeditor and the Deferrer).
These two names of Allah always appear together and highlight the fact that Allah alone expedites, causing things to happen quickly, or defers it, thus delaying the outcome. Allah has appointed a time for everything – from the time the fasting day begins and ends, to the fact that ablution must come before the prayer can take place.
If Allah is al-Hakim(The Wise) how can I question He’s precise timing in my personal affairs?
A few years ago as I approached my 30’s I noticed my anxiety begin to increase. Not because I was getting older, because for me, being able to attain old age is a blessing. The first time I noticed a silver strand of hair I jumped for joy and squealed in glee (no, really I literally did ! ), for I have known so many who were not able to have that luxury. My anxiety was born from getting older without having achieved anything I felt was substantial.
My younger self had imagined that by 30 I’d be married, have children and a career I loved. Suffice it to say I attained all those things but not quite in the way I had imagined. I had come full circle and ended up somewhat back in the same position I was in at the beginning of my 20’s. I was in a well paid job I kind of enjoyed, but had zero passion for; I was single, searching unsuccessfully for a husband like a needle in haystack- whoever coined the phrase “men are like buses…” was wrong!
Social media didn’t help. Although any sane, logical person knows that social media is a facade, and that more than half of what people post is not actually a true representation of their life, that it’s just the ‘snapchat’ filter version, yet still, seeing images of exotic holidays, entrepreneurial success and couples goals can take its toll on you when you feel you are not where you had hoped to be in life.
I digress…going back to the precise timing of Allah. One of my main goals this past Ramadhan, along with a vast majority of believers, was to get closer to Allah. But what did that mean? I had to take a long honest look at the current state of my relationship with the Most High and ask myself, How well do I really know Allah? How much of what I do know about Him, was manifesting in the way I think about Him and in the lense with which I was viewing my life?
As I pondered on Al Muqaddim and Aal- Mu’akhkhir, it was a Friday, and I was reading surah’tul Kahf. On this day the story of Musa (Moses) and Al Khidr hit me in a different way. It was as if the story actually came alive saying, “Girl, are you really out here second guessing Allah -you better check yourself!”
You see, Musa wanted to learn from Al khidr because he had knowledge from Allah that Musa had not been taught. Knowing the nature of man, Al khidr told him, when you see me doing things you don’t agree with “Verily, you will not be able to have patience with me.” Musa insisted that he be allowed to accompany him, and Al khidr agreed on the condition that Musa did not question him about any of his actions.
I could relate to Musa right here – I know Allah is the most knowledgeable and that everything that happens is by His wisdom and the hidden interests that we cannot see. In theory I know the best thing to do is to have patience…
Having reached an understanding, Musa and Al Khidr set out. They boarded a ship for free, and as they are sailing Musa notices Al Khidr damaging the boat and he reprimands him, “Verily you have committed an evil thing!” Al khidr reminds him that there is a reason and purpose for it that he does not know. They then meet a boy and Al Khidr kills him. Musa is appalled, “Have you killed an innocent person!”
I could almost hear Musa gasp in disbelief. How could Al Khidr do that just out of the blue. Again, I saw myself reflected in Musa. When my life takes an unexpected turn and it comes to crunch time, I am quick to forget that Allah is al-Wakil (The Disposer of Affairs). In my shock I ask a barrage of questions: Allah really, why now!? What have I done to deserve this? When will it be my turn?
Musa apologises a second time and vows that if he is impatient again then the lesson can end. They came to a town and the people of the town refused to host them. As they were leaving they came upon a collapsed wall which Al Khidr proceeded to fix and Musa said, “If you had wished surly you could have taken wages for it.”
To this Al Khidr states, “This is the parting of you and I!”
Musa was able to learn the reasons behind Al Khidr’s actions. In short, the boat was damaged to save it from being seized, the boy was killed because he was going to grow up to oppress his righteous parents and the wall was fixed to safeguard the inheritance of two orphans, from the miserliness and greed of the towns people.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I am professing to know that Allah is al-Hadi (The Guide), yet I question the path he sets me on at every turn.
I realised that although I know Allah is al-Mujib (The Answerer of Prayers), I was becoming impatient with my du’aas seemingly not coming to fruition.
Although I know Allah is Al-Fatir (The Bringer into Existence), in my private thoughts I would wonder since Allah can say ‘Be’ and it comes into existence, is He punishing me by not changing my situation?
I know Allah is Al Wahhab (The Bestower), yet I was failing to truly appreciate the countless blessings He bestows upon me everyday.
When we truly contemplate upon the meanings of Allah’s names and gain a true realisation of how it relates to our lives, it enables us to stop ruminating upon what we feel we are lacking and remain focused upon the progress- however small- we have made in our lives. We must stay determined to continue pushing ourselves to achieve our personal best and our own version of success.
Each of us have responsibilities before Allah that others do not share, and Al Muqaddim & Al- Mu’akhkhir may not always reveal the reasons why he expedites some things in our lives and defers others, but it is of a certainty that Allah does not decree anything for the believer except it is good for him.
We are human and as such we will forget, but when we do, let us call upon our Lord with his most lofty names let us say as Musa ( alyhis-salaam) said:
“Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair(with you)” Surahtul Kahf 18:73
About the author:
Shalisha Smith was born and raised in South London and reverted to Islam in 2009. She is a Freelance Virtual Assistant based in London, providing digital marketing support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Connect with her at: www.malikamai.com or on instagram: @malikamai_reads