Today I had an amazing experience. Every Friday, we arrange these guest sessions (called ConnectWithQuran Friday Specials) at our university where we invite a speaker for a different topic each week, for an hour-long lecture. It has been a regular thing for about two years now and there are many regular attendees.
We didn’t have our Friday session today. There was no guest speaker available. So we thought we’d play a video lecture instead. I kept looking for videos but didn’t find anything really really good like I wanted. But I had a few kind of good ones anyway. When we’re playing a video, we don’t put up flyers and stuff. We just advertise it on text. I didn’t even send out the text this time, partially because I wasn’t sure which video to play, so I couldn’t advertise any topic. And also because I was just being kind of lazy and not-so-motivated. So then today at uni we were talking about what video we should play, and for some reason, we were unsure about whether to even have the friday session or not. We NEVER used to skip the session ever. But somehow the energy, and the motivation and the spirit was low. We hadn’t advertised it. We weren’t well prepared or hyped up about it. It was just feeling like a very half-hearted thing. So we decided not to have the session. And to be honest, I wasn’t really bothered, since I can’t attend all of it anyway because I have to go to Fiqh ul Quloob. There was this guilt I had though, and a persistent nagging question at the back of my mind: was it more important to have a really well-prepared, advertised session, or was consistency more important? Should we have had it anyway, just for consistency? Even if we weren’t really prepared or feeling up to it?
So with that hovering somewhere in my mind, I went to Fiqh ul Quloob. Where the beauty of the writing kind of drove the question from my mind. But then we came to this passage in the book. That went kind of like this.
The author has previously talked about the intense struggle that writing this book had been. He worked on it tirelessly for 25 years! At times he would almost give up, then walk on again. So now he says something beautiful:
ووددت أني خليت بين المطي وحاديها.. وتركت القوس وباريها.. وما تجهمت ما لست له بأهل.. وما ليس لي فيه ناقة ولا جمل.. ولكني رأيت سوق الباطل رائجة، وساحة الحق راكدة، فألقيت حسب استطاعتي بذرة طيبة.. في أرض زاكية.. لعلها تؤتي أكلها كل حين.. حتى يبعث الله من يزرع البساتين.. ويفجر الأنهار في العالمين.
The gist of this is: I would have left people to their activities, and I would not have worked so hard at something that I felt incapable of, but then I saw that baatil was flourishing, and haq had grown still and stagnant. So I planted some seeds, to the best of my ability. And I hope that if Allah wills, gardens will one day be grown from these seeds, and someone will come along and make rivers flow in the world (i.e. spread the ilm in this book far and wide and make it very useful). He says that I would never have done this difficult work if I had not known that amaanat needs to be given to its owner, and ilm has to be passed on to those who are seeking it and are eager for it. And I would have looked for alternate, easier ways to gain reward if I had not known this.
This was an amazing message. He felt incapable of this huge task. He wasn’t always very confident. It was difficult. At times he would want to give up. Sometimes he just felt like he could not go on. But he went on. He says that I was incapable of such a task – but then I did what little I could. Because while seekers of knowledge existed, ilm HAD to be passed on. It was an amaanat. Did he know when writing this that there would one day be people in far off country studying his work, and there would be a blog on it that so many read and follow and take benefit from?:) Allah takes care of the results – you have to make the effort only!
So what this tells us is that sometimes we need to let go of perfection in our work, and we just have to do our best. We have constraints and we can’t always work at the level of excellence. That does not mean we should stop the work. For the little good that will come out of it, is better than no good at all! The points of weakness, the dips, that come in our lives, will always come – they humble us and tell us we are human. We CAN’T work at the same high level all the time. But we just need to remember that when there is a chance to do good, we must do whatever we can. Consistency is the key.
When Allah gives us a chance to do some good, to spread knowledge for example, and we refuse that chance saying, oh not today, I’m not prepared, i’m tired, this isn’t the right time, and in seeking the PERFECT time and circumstances, we give up that chance, that is ingratitude. And saying ” I can’t do it” is kufran e naimat – we are denying the blessings of Allah: the opportunity, and the ability and the ilm He has given us.
See, what we need to always remember is this. That spreading knowledge, teaching people, connecting them to Allah – these are things that are crucially important for people’s AKHIRAH. Its a VERY serious matter. We cannot neglect it. The potential damage to the people from whom we are withholding knowledge is simply too great! if we really have that PAIN that the Prophet felt, for people’s akhirah, we would never let laziness come in the way of teaching people what we know.
And at the end of this, the author reminds us:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ
Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture – those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse. (Al Baqara, 159)
And part of yaktumoon al haq is keeping your ilm to yourself just out of laziness, just cuz you can’t be bothered! Astaghfirullah! Another aspect of hiding the truth is that when someone asks you a question and you don’t bother to answer cuz you’re too busy or whatever. Never refuse to give time to a questioner. How do you know how IMPORTANT it is to take them out of their confusion and worry that day? As Allah tells us,
وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ
“And as for the petitioner, do not repel him…” (Ad-Duha, 9)
And at the end of it all, we need to remember one key thing. We need to remember always that when OUR resources and abilities are very very constrained, but despite the constraints we do the work we were doing, for Allah, that is when Allah puts His barakah and His help in it, in miraculous ways. While at times we prepare so perfectly, yet the whole thing turns out not at all well. So it is up to Allah what the results will be. Our job is to continue our work even with our human limitations and not stop it in pursuit of perfection! And I can think of so many examples when we DID continue our Quran class despite limitations, simply for consistency, and it did so much good and it taught us so much. That was Allah’s help and barakah. And I can think of times when we did ALL the preparation and advertising we could and the impact was much less than expected. That’s Allah telling us, hey, I’m the one in control here! Your job is to WORK. Its MY job to bring what results I want!
Amazing, isn’t it, how Allah answers our questions? SubhanAllah!