In memory of Alan Kurdi: A self reflection
Sometimes, a picture says a thousand words. The picture of drowned Syrian boy washed ashore echoed throughout the world and stirred up a lot of sentiments: grief, anger, agony and shame. Shame for what has become of humanity and how we have failed to do anything to help prevent a disaster like this one. I sat there looking at this picture and felt so helpless. I wish I had never seen this image but there it was staring at me. Now, it keeps coming back to me and forces me to reflect. Why it happened? What can I do? What should be done to prevent this? As a mother of a three year old myself, I cannot help but ask myself these questions. I cannot fathom what his dad must be going through. To him all I can say, I feel your pain. In my heart, I can imagine the hurt loss of child would bring and you are in my prayers. And to myself I keep on saying, time to wake up!
We have certainly created man in the best of stature; Then We return him to the lowest of the low, Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for they will have a reward uninterrupted (95: 4 – 6)
The verse above speaks volume and such an eye opener in these times. Human beings are indeed the best of creations. However, the very next ayah talks about humans being lowest of low. This is when they don’t fulfill their true purpose: to believe and do righteous deeds. So what does it mean to believe? Who is a believer?. A believer is the one who submits and bows down to His creator in prayers with humility. A believer is the one who fears His Lord and is aware that his time here is limited. A believer is the one with excellent character. A believer is the one who has deep concern for other Muslims and humanity at large. A believer is the one who is patient in times of difficulties and thankful to his Lord for all the blessings.
I stood in front of the mirror and asked myself if I have been living my life as a true believer, have I fulfilled my purpose and lived a life with these values? If I were to die tomorrow, will I be able to stand in front of my Lord with all my deeds? If I knew today was my last day, would I still browse aimlessly or run to pray when the adhaan is called out? Would the way I deal with the people around me be different? What would I do to share the pains and grief of other Muslims?
I also realized how fragile life is. My time here is fixed and short. My life is an amanah (trust) and I have to return to my Lord one day with all my deeds alone. I don’t even know when I’ll die. It could be tomorrow so I need to ask myself if I am fulfilling my purpose and living a life that is pleasing to Allah. Each and everyday I wake up is a gift from Allah SWT, another chance to fulfill my purpose. I need to value each day more and be thankful to Allah for giving me another day, giving me beautiful children and relationships. I need to work for Allah alone to make my relationships better, feel the pain of people around me and do something for those suffering.
A journey begins with first step and a believer’s first step is always a sincere and humble prayer full of fear and hope. If I wish anything to change around me, I have to bow down to my Lord and cry to Him. I have to admit my weakness to the Most Powerful and ask for help. I have to pray for all the Muslims suffering throughout and I have to pray for the change in our hearts. A change that will make us better humans, better mothers, better fathers, better sisters, better brothers, better members of community and better Muslims. I have to pray to Allah to forgive us for we have fallen short and we haven’t fulfilled our true purpose.
Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (13:11)
Allah has changed the fate of many nations but pre requisite for this is change within our hearts. By criticizing each other and fostering hatred, we just close our hearts and fail to learn anything from anyone. We become self centered and narrow minded and it reflects in all our actions and dealings. We need to remove hatred and envy for each other from our hearts. We need to forget the differences and instead focus on helping each other. We need to unite together for a greater purpose, a bigger goal: to please our Lord. We need to stand up against oppression, injustice and greed. There is so much we can learn from each other by recognizing each other’s strengths.
May Allah make us amongst those who are true to their faith and bow down to Him alone in humility. May Allah unite our hearts and put peace within our families and communities. May Allah forgive our shortcomings and our failures for surely He is the Most Merciful (Ameen)
This little boy passed away and he is in a better place now. But he left a message for us: we are failing at individual level, at family level, at community level and national level. We need to change our ways. We need to worship Him as He is meant to be worshipped, pray to Him for that is our true purpose and realizing that we might not be there tomorrow so today is all what we have to make a change. Then only Allah will change our condition.