As a Muslim, born and raised in Australia, you are faced with challenges that test your faith. You are questioned about your beliefs, you are different from the norm around you, and you are dealt situations where you must defend certain aspects of your religion to counter people’s misconceptions.
One key feature that comforts me is that God is all-knowing. He is aware of the struggles that I face, and I will be rewarded for my efforts. I experience this world with the awareness that I have a greater purpose; whether it’s my career, day-to-day errands and chores, or practising my faith. To be able to cope, I rely on God.
I reflect on the trials in my life, the interactions I have with family, friends and complete strangers and I see it all as a test – a test that God has chosen for me. I remembered this life lesson while I was completing pilgrimage (Hajj).
We are taught to stay patient during this time and not quarrel with others. Imagine 40-degree heat. Tens of thousands of people from different cultures and walks of life moving in the same path around the Ka’ba (the cubed structure covered in a black cloth located in Mecca).
Personal space is non-existent. You can only take a step at a time, seeing just a centimetre of the white floor in front of you. Everyone is there for the same reason. It feels as though people are pushing and shoving you. You are being swept in the direction to follow. But you look around and they are walking at the same pace.
I remember thinking to myself, that God has placed me in this position, and it’s as though He is asking me, how will you deal with this? Are you going to get angry at the stranger that accidently trotted on your toe? Are you going to be patient? That’s where my reliance on God comes into action.
I know that God would not put me through something I was unable to handle. “Allah does not burden any individual more than his/her capacity” (Quran 2:286). This gives me a sense of empowerment and I have a choice in my actions. I choose how I respond. I have to be patient. All these people are gathered here to surrender to God, just like me. They are my brothers and sisters whom I must be kind to and look after.
One of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to “Tie your camel first, and then put your trust in Allah (God)”. This highlights the ideal Muslim relationship between God and creation. The rituals completed during Hajj date back to Ibrahim AS and his family. Perched on top of the mountain with nothing and no one around her, his wife Hajar peered into the distance. She saw no one. She ran down the mountain and across the valley and climbed another mountain, peering into the distance again. Yet, nothing could be seen.
Her son Ismael AS was crying from thirst. His mother, not having a single drop of water to give to him, continues running back and forth between the mountains, with the harsh ringing of her child’s cries. Hajar took action to the best of her capabilities. God sent the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) to strike the earth and bring out water for her and her child. To this day, this run of Hajar is performed by millions of pilgrims who perform Hajj, as well as a constant supply of fresh pure water that serves to quench the thirst of millions. She took action, entrusted God and received her reprieve.
In recent times we’ve all faced a global pandemic. The buzzword was “unprecedented”. Humanity has been impacted upon in various ways, some losing their jobs, some with having to home-school their children, some facing health concerns. The not knowing could have been seen as problematic. What were the next steps?
Through the Muslim’s perspective, life during Covid was dealt with in the same way as any other trial. I do what is in my capacity and rely on God. I take the precautions stated by the health authorities, as this is in my control. However, I don’t live in fear of the “what ifs”.
“Whoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him” (Quran 65:3). And what more can a person ask for?