I don't know about you, but life can be a real roller coaster. Some days, I wake up and think, “This is going to be a good day, inshā'Allāh.” The kids are listening without talking back, food tastes particularly good, people seem unusually positive and supportive, time for worship is plentiful and beneficial, life is good. Then, the downward spiral of the roller coaster begins. Suddenly the storm clouds come out and crisis sets in.
Allāh challenges the believers in the Qurʾān, asking “Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” without being put to the test? No, we have tested those before them…” (Qurʾān 29:2-3) Indeed, Allāh has decreed for mankind a life of hardships and struggles, tests of one's true faith and resolve. Each person feels their individual trial as intensely as the next person, and life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Perhaps the test is in your relationship with your spouse, or with even finding a spouse. Maybe obeying your parents or taking care of them in their old age brings on hardship. Of course there can be problems at work, difficulty in finding work, financial instability, trials with parenthood, academic struggles, health problems; the list of possibilities goes on and on. Sometimes, the trial is long and your patience grows thin. You begin to believe the trial will never end, that this will become your permanent life situation.
It is during these times that one most needs a “Subhan'Allāh” moment, a remembrance of purpose and a refuge in the beauty of creation.
I wanted to share with you some of my “Subhan'Allāh” moments. These are moments I return to when I am feeling most distressed that help bring back balance and perspective to my situation. I encourage you to try to slowly read each of the following moments out loud, one by one, allowing each to enter your ears and travel to your heart. Close your eyes after each one and experience the sights, smells, and feelings of each moment until your tongue responds with the thikr of Allāh.
Moment #1: Embracing my child as he sits in my lap and softly explores my face with his tiny, roaming fingers
Moment #2: Listening to a new Muslim nervously struggling through their shahadah for the first time in front of the entire masjid
Moment #3: Feeling the hint of coolness in the air on the first day of fall, and wrapping my sweater tighter around me
Moment #4: Finally pondering a Quranic verse I have skimmed over numerous times and understanding it to the extent it brings tears to my eyes
Moment #5: Inhaling the wonderfully intense smell of brewing coffee on a cold winter day
Moment #6: Passing a grave site and thinking of the possible torture of its inhabitants
Moment #7: Feeling the first drops of water roll down my parched throat and fill my belly with cool relief after a long summer day of fasting
Moment #8: Reading a hadith about the Prophet (SAWS) that exemplifies the beauty and compassion of Islamic manners, comforting me when I am feeling tested by the outside world
Moment #9: Listening to the imām struggle through his recitation as his voice weighs heavy with tears and fear of the hellfire
Moment #10: Finally getting confirmation of the first day of Ramadan, and anxiously calling my phone tree to spread the good news to friends and family
Moment #11: Being humbled by a new Muslim's sincerity and struggle for the deen that I take for granted
Moment #12: Staring at the dark night sky as a million stars dance around the crescent moon
Moment #13: Standing at Arafat during Hajj with millions of believers from all over the world, mutually grieving from the fear of the Day of Judgment
Moment #14: Realizing the weight and immensity of Allāh's favor upon me when He guided me to the Truth
The next time we are driven to the brink of insanity from the so called realities of life, let's seek refuge in the true realities, and say Subhan'Allāh!
So, what are your “Subhan'Allāh” moments?