People think that religious people are always missing out on life. When I went to the UK this summer to attend a family wedding, I’m sure my extended family was thinking this about me. One lady even said to me, “You don’t like getting ready, you don’t even put any [makeup] on.” Right…I cover my face, but you want me to put layers of makeup on the only part that shows…good idea. Hey, when I’m done, can I borrow some earrings? I wanna hang them from my hijab. So I answered her, “No, I can’t get ready because it’s not properly separated.”
I would pray Salatul istikhara before every part of the wedding, to seek Divine Counsel on whether or not I should even attend. At times, some of the women would say things like “You’re not going, are you?” They probably meant well, knowing that I would hate the environment of the music and mixing, but it wasn’t their decision to make. The decision wasn’t always a simple one. And I knew that there were times when it was better that I come along, just so that I could pull my family away, and so that I could remind them when they forgot. So I would pray istikhara and then I would attend with these intentions in mind. I would put on my abaya, and my hijab and niqab. And I would pray and hope that the stereo system would break.
I attended 5 days like this, entirely covered, sitting away from the men, and often darting outside hoping to get as far away from the music as I could. Others may have looked at me, seen my discomfort with the surroundings, and felt pity for me. But I always felt more pity for them, because they didn’t feel discomfort. And I fully expected a reward from Allah swt for all of my efforts. And I fully trusted the fact that if you leave something for the sake of Allah, He will grant you something better than it.
But I didn’t expect to be paid back so soon.
Within the very same summer, and only weeks apart from these 5 days of struggle, I was invited to:
1 bridal shower
Total: 5 days
Five days…just like those 5 days. Except these were entirely separated and without music, and would be attended people I knew and loved.
“… And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.“
Surah At Talaq, ayaat 2-3
Allah swt is Al Kareem, The Generous. And He swt rewards His believing slaves in this world and in the Hereafter (I still anticipate a better reward in al Aakhira, inshaaAllah!). And He swt shows them miracle after miracle to increase them in imaan. And yet the slave still hesitates to put forth those good deeds. You still hesitate to be different, and to be singled out, and to be seen as a stranger. You dread being left out and missing out on anything. Have you ever stopped and thought about the terrible agony that you would be in when you are standing on Yawm al Qiyaamah, and believers are pouring into Jannah in front of your very eyes, but you are held back from entering because of your sins? Wallahi, that should be enough to make you weep.
Mark my words…No one on this entire planet (or under it or above it) will ever appreciate what you do the way that Allah swt appreciates it; He is Ash-Shaakir (The All-Appreciative), Ash-Shakur (The Most Ready to Appreciate). So stop chasing people that you cannot please. Instead, chase Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala.
Surah Al ‘Ankaboot, ayah 69
And Allah Knows Best.