Sunday, 2 September 2012

Removing Our 'Onion Layers'

As parents we know very well how much our children, especially when they were babies, trust us with their lives. As they grow older, they start to learn how hurt they can be when they have personally experienced unpleasant events and trauma. This creates a layer of “onion skin”. The more they go through such experiences, the more layers of onion skin there will be. Just like them, we go through precisely similar encounters in our daily affairs as well. In particular, being hurt by someone is something which we tend to go through many times in our lives. Let me share some thoughts on this.

Allah SWT said: Requite evil with that which is good. We are best acquainted with the things they utter. And say: My Lord, I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the devils. And I seek refuge with You My Lord. Lest they come near me (Quran 23:96-98).

To requite evil with that which is good is to repay evil deeds done unto us with the best of qualities – forgiveness, politeness, kindness, and in general, noble manners. This means defending yourself from the person who wronged you by treating him well and by showing him good manners. If one does this, then the person who wronged him will have a change of heart, as Allah SWT says: He, between whom and you there was enmity, will become as though he was a close friend.

By treating well the person who treats you badly, you will win in the end; your acts of kindness towards him will infuse love for you in his heart, until he, with his reciprocal feelings of compassion and acts of kindness, will be like a close friend to you.

Allah SWT says: But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of a great portion (of the happiness in the Hereafter and Paradise).

No one will apply Allah’s command to do well by those who do others harm, except for those who are endowed with the quality of patience, for it is among the most difficult of things for the soul to do, to follow this particular command. To sum it all:

Allah SWT said: Good deeds and evil deeds cannot be equal. Requite the evil with good, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity will become your close friend. But none is granted the attribute except those who are patient, and none is granted it except those who are truly fortunate (to receive a large portion). And if Satan tempts you, seek refuge in Allah. Verily, it is He who hears all and knows all (Quran 41:34-36).

Throughout my journey as a Muslim, I must admit that Allah constantly challenges me in areas which He finds me to be weak. By merely leaving the decision to Him while I continue to do my best with constant supplication, I find that He blesses me in so many ways and I am thankful for all the little things and the big things He has provided for me and my family. Today, while I know that it is painful to endure what others have done to me, I have left it all behind - removed my onion layers, so to speak - because Allah has taught me the virtue of patience and having strong faith in Him. I still remember my first lesson in faith from the New Testament. It came from Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Looking back, I am glad that I have diligently and continually sought Him. Praise be to Allah.

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