“If Allah knows [any] good in your hearts, He will give you [something] better than what was taken from you, and He will forgive you. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Anfal verse 70)
Being a (young) person at a weirdly precarious stage of life makes you optimistic, and hopeful that you’ll attain certain things, like an internship, getting that job or into that university programme, or being with that specific person.
Coming back to university after the winter break has made me face some of these things, and in some cases, I have to deal with disappointment because something didn’t go to the plan that I had meticulously laid out for myself. Instead of feeling disappointed and dealing with this rejection by attempting to move on, I’ve taken to feeling apathetic towards my situation and remained in a state of stagnation by not fully accepting the reality of it.
But this ayah is such a stark reminder that our plans don’t matter! Allah knows what is in our path because He has created it, and He knows what is of benefit to us whilst we have such a narrow conception of what we want or need. Earlier on in this surah, we are told: “But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” (Surah Al-Anfal verse 30).
For me, this is a reminder that I need to exercise sabr (patience) and trust that Allah knows the good in my heart and will plan for me accordingly, as He is the Most Merciful. Allah also tells us in this verse that He is the Ever-Forgiving – as flawed humans, we often ask for things without understanding all of the implications that may follow, for example, I might ask Allah to be accepted for a job which may pressure me into compromising some of my Islamic principals in the future. Allah (swt), as our Creator, understands this lack of foresight – after all, He tells us: ‘And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.’ (Surah Al-Baqarah verse 216). And this is why Allah (swt) gives us practical tools to inform our decisions in life, as we are encouraged to take shura (consultation) and to make istikharah:
‘Allamah Aini (RA) writes: “Man should never overlook any matter due to its insignificance and discard Istikharah. How many matters are regarded as insignificant and Istikharah is not made for them, due to which great harm is suffered when carrying them out or abandoning them. It is for this reason that Rasulullah (sws) is reported to have said: “(Every) one of you should ask his need from his sustainer to the extent that he should ask Him for salt, and for a shoelace when it breaks.”’ There are a lot of misconceptions I’ve heard about istikharah, but the way I like to see it is asking for Allah’s permission to do something, and receiving guidance in moving away from something which isn’t meant for you. This makes me seek refuge in Allah in a way that I didn’t before, as who could ever be a better confidante than Al-Waliyy (The Protecting Friend) and Al-Khabir (The All Aware).
Getting over disappointment won’t happen instantly – it’s a process. But remember: ‘If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely.’ (Surah al-Imran verse 160).
The Sunday Circle is a safe space for young Muslim women of all backgrounds to learn and discuss matters of life and faith. They’re also an opportunity to make new friends, to gain valuable skills, to help the community and to socialise in a comfortable environment. We meet, come rain or shine, on Sunday mornings at 11.10am – 1pm at Kingston Mosque.