Change is Inevitable

41

I was sitting on the balcony one day reading a book, when I saw a flock of crows, and they reminded me of something that happened ages ago, a time when I was only 5.

I was at my grandfather’s place with a piece of naan (bread) in my plate. I went to the garden to sit on the swing and enjoy that beautiful spring day. I put the plate with the naan on the table outside, and sat on the swing. I was looking up at the sky, preoccupied with thoughts of how big and beautiful it was, when I was suddenly distracted by something that landed on the table: a crow. The crow took the naan in its beak and flew far, far away.

As a young girl, I was terrified; and ever since, I have always been afraid of crows.

There are phases in our lives when something major happens, and we take hold of it, carrying that luggage of despair with us forever, until the day we die. We tell ourselves that we can never forgive and forget what happened in our past, and we live our lives musing over the same dreadful thoughts.

What happens next is that those thoughts spread like cancer in our heart, holding us back from becoming better people. Reminiscing over the unpleasant past puts a big hold on that achievement of the self Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks of us.

What we did in the past is over. Incidents of the past may reflect in our lives of today and the future, but we have the strength – believe me when I say this – to kill that feeling of remorse that clings to the heart.

Be it going to gigs and concerts, or dancing at mixed gatherings, or having a pre(post)-marital affair, or not observing the hijab properly, or defying our parents, or not working hard for that GPA, or neglecting salaah and not reading the Quran frequently, or having the company of those who lead us astray, or going to the clubs and having a drink or two, or shaking hands with a non-mahram, or hating people who just don’t make sense to us or who disrespect, cheat, hurt us – whatever it is.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Quran,

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [13:11]

So the decision is always ours, you see. If we want, we can keep those feelings of guilt in our hearts, we can continue sinning and neglecting our deen. Or we can strive to change ourselves. It’s always our life and our choices, and if we’ve made those wrong choices and decisions in the past, it’s never too late to change.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is just so forgiving. SubhanAllah, He is not like us humans who sometimes never forgive or forget. He is the All Knowing, the All Wise, the Most Merciful, the Most Kind and the Most Compassionate, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

We just have to knock on His door and we will be blessed with Mercy and Forgiveness… and that should mean the world to us.

It is reported that Luqman the Wise advised his son with the following:

“O my son, evil is not overcome with evil,
Set out two fires and see if one can put out the other.
Evil is overcome with good,
Just like fire is put out with water.”

Therefore we have to uproot the evil of our minds and hearts with good. We have to be the better one, and do the better thing.

We shouldn’t really care what people think about us or how they perceive us. We should care about what Allah ta’ala thinks of us, and we should strive to be His loving servants. We should strive to make Allah our friend, similar to how Prophet Ibrahim was “khalil Allah.” We should also emulate the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam in every way we can.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

“Your ally, indeed, is Allah and His Messenger and the Believers who establish the Salah, pay the Zakah and bow down before Allah. And whoever makes Allah and His Messenger and the believers his allies, let him know that Allah’s party will surely come out victorious.” [5:55-56]

It doesn’t matter if we weren’t that good before; change is inevitable, and it’s up to us to decide which direction we’ll go. Let’s just change ourselves for the better, let’s forget what we did, forgive what others did to us, and move on.

As for myself, I’m still taking baby steps towards change. Now when I see those crows, I’ll no longer be gripped with fear. Instead, I’ll shoo them away from the naan while I sit in my grandfather’s garden, and I’ll smile because the 5-year old girl I was is a much stronger, braver woman today.

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