Yesterday, I was sitting on my prayer mat after finishing my salah. My 18 month old toddler was throwing around this small, green, cube, plastic object. He was chucking it around the living room: from one end to another, onto the sofa, onto the coffee table. After throwing it, he would go after it, pick it up and then proceed to throw it somewhere else.
Lately, sometimes, my little one wants things that he can do, done for him. So he will see his favourite toy for example, his dragon, and say ‘ga!’, which means he wants me to pick it up for him and bring it to him. So I say to him ‘no, you get it, Hooyo, you can get it’. And then he will walk to it and pick it up it.
So as he was throwing this green, cubed, plastic object around, he at one point wanted me to get it for him, although he could easily retrieve it himself. So I gently encouraged him to pick it up himself, and he did.
After more chucking around, unbeknown to me, his little object landed on the coffee table; on the far end of the coffee table that was up against a wall, and was difficult for him to get to. I was doing my dhikr, I think, so I didn’t notice. I just heard a few toddler ‘I’m not happy’ kind of moans/whimpers. I looked up from my mat, and saw my prince trying to tiptoe, so that he could extend his arms further across the table, in order to retrieve his chucking-around object. I immediately got up and, I think, said something like ‘aww, Hooyo, I can get it for you’, grabbed the object and handed it to him. And subhan’Allah, something clicked. An analogy; a truth that is present in our relationship with Allah ‘azza wa jall. And it’s this: Allah will help us, but we have to try too, we have to make the effort, too. I immediately helped my little one when *I saw him trying*, trying to tiptoe his little feet to reach for help. He called out for help (well, rather whimpered), but he also *did his part*. This is how we have to be with Allah. We make du’a, we ask Allah for His help, but we also do our part, of what we can as well. *This* is the procedure that we are taught in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
If you look at the story of Musa, Musa AS is told to strike the sea with his stick (20:77), he does his part, and *then* Allah splits the sea. Maryam A.S. is told to shake the date tree (19:25), she does her part, *then* it yields its fruits to her. In the Sunnah, the Prophet SAW teaches us to tie our camel first, i.e. to do our part, and *then* to put our trust in Allah (At-Tirmidhi). He, SAW, also talks about if we put out trust in Allah like we should, He would provide for us like He provides for the birds that go out in the morning hungry, and then return full (At-Tirmidhi). What’s interesting to note here is this: before Allah SWT provides for the birds, what do they do? *They go out in the morning* i.e. they do something.
Subhan’Allah. We should make du’a…but we should do what we can too, using the ability that our Rabb endowed us with. It wouldn’t be proper to expect Allah’s help when we’re not doing what we can. So for us not to work, for example, when we are able to, and to say “I’m putting my trust in Allah” is incorrect…the correct way to seek Allah’s rizq, practise tawakkul and seek Allah’s help in attaining that rizq would be to do our part: look for jobs, get in our CVs, ask people who may know of vacant job posts, etc. Take some action, some steps, towards what we’d like to/need to attain. Just like when Isma’il doesn’t take a few steps to pick up his toy dragon *when he is able to* (when he *easily* can, in the case of Isma’il actually, lol, funny boy) and wants me to do it all, I don’t always get it for him…because I want to teach him that he has the ability to. So, in extention, shouldn’t we do our part in moving towards the things we want, and then asking Allah for His Help? (of course we can make du’a for Allah to help before taking our steps towards our goals; my point is that we should try to insha’Allah be doing, as well as praying/asking). A reminder to myself first, bi’ithnillaah. And to Allah belongs the Highest Example.
As Allah states in a hadith qudsi that if you take one step towards Allah, Allah will take many towards you; go to Him walking, and He will come to you running (Al-Bukhari). Subhan’Allah. So Allah is more keen to help us and will give us more than our efforts; we just need to make the effort.
So let’s look to our lives, Dear Readers…is there a situation that we want to see changes in? Is there something we are asking Allah for? Is there something we’re unhappy with? What small steps can we take to do our part, so that when we do make du’a to Allah for it/to change it, we know we’re serious about that du’a as we’re working towards it…? May Allah assist us all, ameen.
I think what triggered this whole thought process before Isma’il and his toy was that I had watched a lecture entitled ‘Praying for Success’ (Nouman Ali Khan lecture, which I’ll link below, insha’Allah) which spoke about exactly that…that we should pray for success but that success consists of two parts: your effort, and Allah’s barrakah. After watching the lecture, a few days/a week or so later, Isma’il and his toy object brought the lecture to life and cemented it (!), masha’Allah.
May Allah accept Brother Nouman Ali Khan, and Isma’il (:-D), from the righteous, for the lessons they taught me, ameen. Allahumma zid wa baarik, ameen.
Link to lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SPivf0ZQzg
*Any mistakes are my own and all good is from Allah ‘azza wa jall.
– © Umm Isma’il, 2014