In the name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful.
Some days, I just want to cry. What a real pickle I have gotten myself into. And today, I feel it even more so when I had to buy a deodorant using twenty-cent coins from my piggy bank…because I ran out out one-dollar and 50-cent coins earlier this year.
Even the officer at the mosque kind of sighed when I gave him coins for the Muslim’s obligatory alms, otherwise known as Zakat Fitrah. In a sense, it made me look like I am some stingy monster who doesn’t even want to pay a mere $7 properly and used coins to be rid of loose change so I can hoard my notes for stuff that ‘matters more’. When really, I am that short of money. I feel absolutely upset by this.
Maybe I’m a monster after all, which is why I’m like this.
But other days, I realise that others have it worse than me. Their struggles are far more real than mine. I still have a family I can lean on for a bit until this wave of diffculty tides over. I still have a roof over my head. I still have access to information. I still have freedom of choice. I still have electricity to meet my basic needs. I still have food on the table. I still have my health.
If anything this Ramadhan has taught me so far is to 1) remain humble and humbled; 2) do not be stressed by things that are beyond my control; and 3) God’s tests are great but His wisdom is greater and He will continue to test me during times of difficulty and test me during times of ease.
How am I doing in His tests so far? I’m still doing very poorly. I still need to exercise patience and I still need to have more concentration and sincerity in my prayers.
The only good news though is that I’m about 90% done with settling my housing issue, Alhamdulillah.
Even better news is that I’m slowly rekindling my relationship with Allah. I have sinned in the process, yes, but I’m still trying to be a better Muslim.
A concrete example is my change in mentality regarding Terawih prayers, the supplementary night prayers that can only be carried out during Ramadhan. I used to convince myself, “It’s just supplementary, not mandatory, no sins for not carrying them out”. I must tell you I really struggled with having to start Terawih again to the point where I had to force myself no matter how much I didn’t want to do them. Now, I find myself saying to the lazy bugger in me, “Terawih is only during Ramadhan, you can’t do them on other months and there are only a few days in one month”. And then it wasn’t such a hard thing to do after all.
I even managed to read the Quran before performing the obligatory night prayer, Isya’, followed by the supplementary night prayers, Terawih. Alhamdulillah.
I know, to you, dear readers, it seem like my acts of worship are only in vain. That my faithfulness doesn’t lead to me having a better situation in life. And it seems that even when I tried my best to practice my religion properly, it does not seem to reap any benefits for myself or my life.
But dear readers, this is where our purpose in life differs. What is your purpose in life? My purpose in life is to worship the one who created me, whom I will return to again in the Afterlife. If my acts of faith and worship benefits my life on earth, that is a bonus for me. I am more concerned about reaping benefits for my Afterlife, which is eternal. Life on earth is temporary. I’m not saying I won’t be making an effort for my life on earth. No, I will always make an effort. But I recognise that my efforts are never in vain. I may not reap what I sowed now but I will definitely reap them in the Afterlife, where it truly matters. Isn’t it meaningless, to put so much effort into bettering your life only to have someone take it away from you unfairly by killing you for example? What is the point then? Every good thing we do, is never in vain. It will one day save you. Even an atom’s weight of good deeds on the scales of Judgment Day will be accounted for. And you never know if that very atom might be the deciding factor between heaven and heathen as your final destination.
Yes, I prayed for patience. Do I have a job yet? No. Why? Because patience can only be exercised when you feel gan chiong (I still can’t spell that properly, shucks) or harrowed.
Yes, I prayed for good health. Can I tolerate motion sickness in land transport? No. Why? Because if I don’t have motion sickness, I won’t have empathy for those who do and will most probably accuse them of being the cause of delays or ruined fun in travels. And I certainly can’t suggest ways to counter it.
Yes, I prayed for wealth. Am I rich yet? No. Why? Because I needed to appreciate wealth in other forms. I still have a complete family. I still have my health. I came across a very powerful quote online:
Some people are so poor, all they have is money.
I can be rich with all the money in the world but at the same time, if I am poor in values, poor in morals, and poor in good deeds and worship for my Afterlife investment, then I am just one of those with a loss. I cannot put all of my money and properties on the scales of Judgment Day to gain access to heaven. And I may even end up having to wait longer before I can enter heaven because I have to account for every single penny I own and spent, granted that I spent wisely and/or on enough good causes for me to go to heaven.
With that said, yes, I will continue working hard on getting a job while seeking help in patience and prayer. I will also make a special prayer this Thursday night, Solat Hajat, directly translated as Request Prayer. I have never done it in my life. So far I have only needed to pray as usual. However, given the almost dire situations of Baeda and Beedin, I am a desperate Muslimah now. Whatever the outcome may be, whether my request will be fulifilled immediately or later on or never, I know Allah is the most wise and He is the best of planners so I trust that His decisions are the best for me in this world and in the HereAfter.
May Allah guide us onto the right path and let us not be among the losers, especially in the HereAfter. Amin.
And Allah is Al-Baari, the Maker. – MM