We can't run away from Allāh, and cannot avoid Him. No matter which way we turn, and no matter what we seek besides Allāh, His power and awareness will still be there in front of us.
And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then I am indeed near… (Qurʾān 2:186)
Since we can't run away from Allāh, why not run to Him instead, and be embraced by His guidance, love and care? Let us be happy to meet Allāh, and He will be happy to meet us, as Allāh said in a Hadith Qudsi, “If My servant likes to meet Me, I like to meet him; and if he dislikes to meet Me, I dislike to meet him.” Let us have hope in Him, and call to Him, and we will find the answers we seek.
“Ask and you will be given,” the Prophet said, ”Ask and you will be given.” (Tirmidhi). It's such a simple formula, isn't it? Ask and you will be given. And yet we sometimes complicate it, or neglect it, and then we wonder at the lack of fulfillment in our lives.
Or do those who do evil deeds think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge.
Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allāh – indeed, the term decreed by Allāh is coming. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing.
And whoever strives only strives for [the benefit of] himself. Indeed, Allāh is free from need of the worlds.
And those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do. (Qurʾān 29:4-7)
Notice Allāh's saying that He will reward us according to the best of what we used to do. SubḥānAllāh!
I was recently driving home from Los Banos, in the San Joaquin Valley. The drive takes me through the countryside, and at this time of the year there's a lot to see. The corn has been harvested, and the dry corn stalks are being hewn by huge combines, after which they will be composted or turned into cattle feed. A few farmers still burn the stalks, which is unfortunate as it contributes to the poor air quality here in the Valley.
The grapes are ready for harvest, while the cotton is just beginning to flower. The calves, lambs and goat kids that were born in the spring are gamboling around the fields, while their parents seek shelter from the sun beneath the occasional tree. Late summer is dust-dry here in the Valley, so the San Joaquin and Fresno rivers are sandy beds, and the East Side Bypass is a wide, white gulch. The lakes are down to one third full. The sky is huge and hard, like a sheet of hot aluminum.
My trip also takes me near my father's grave. He passed away in November 2012, and is buried in the Islamic cemetery north of Madera, out in the country. I find myself wondering how much he sees of the activity around him. Does he witness the growth of the new crops and the death of the old? Is he aware of the hot summer breeze that blows in late afternoon, and the way it whips the palm leaves, and creates dust-devils on the plowed fields?
When I visit with my mother and my daughter, does he hear my daughter's hesitant, “As-salamu alaykum Giddo…” Does he hear my mother's sobs, or my recitation of Sūrat'l-Fātiḥah?
Or is his gaze firmly fixed on the vastness of the ākhirah (Hereafter) in all its glory and terror, unaware of the comings and goings of this material world?
Thinking about this, I wrote a poem and sent it to a few friends. One friend replied that if the dead could indeed see and hear us then she hoped that they saw the best of us, or the perfection within each of us.
What strikes me now is that whether or not the dead can see such things, Allāh can and does! He chooses to reward us according to the best of what we do! He chooses to overlook our faults, and forgive them, and see the beauty in us. He chooses to give us the benefit of the doubt, and to see the pure striving soul within each of us.
I am so touched by that. Why would I not run to Allāh? Why would I not seek His embrace? Al-Wahhāb (The Giver of All) gave us life, and created this amazing world for us, and put love and mercy in our hearts. He did not do so out of capriciousness or vanity, but out of kindness and care, and as part of a grand purpose in which we play a pivotal role. I am humbled to be a part of Allāh's plan, and humbled even to have been given this life, in this world, and the opportunity to strive every day for a Garden beneath which rivers flow, where we will feel no sadness, nor will we grieve.