By Khadija Mortorwala, Mumbai
I wanted to share my Eid story, an incredible experience highlighting to me some of the most profound lessons that I have learn from Sadathullah Khan Sir’s Discover Yourself workshop.
As Allah commands us not to cut what He has ordered to be joined and Sadath Sir gave us an assignment to forgive and ask forgiveness from our relatives, I’ve been working on it since last Ramadan along with my mother. Alhamdulillah we’ve been able to ask forgiveness from almost all the major people we needed to and we are working towards rebuilding our relations. Just a couple of them remain, one of who is my paternal aunt. She lives in another town and we tried to travel multiple times yet failed. We made dua this Ramadan for our family’s unity again and with God’s grace we got to travel to the town due to death of a relative on Eid day. So this made this Eid day experience one out of ordinary.
Now, I always got hurt, worried or emotionally affected whenever I had any hard conversations with someone close to me. I would pick on their emotions, words and opinions and then had a hard time healing myself. Sadath Sir advised me to be detached with the people and circumstances when dealing with them for I could never be there for others if I myself break.
So now back to my aunt’s incident: My mother and I made the intention to go and we decided that whatever be her response, it would be her responsibility. We were going only for the sake of Allah to play the role we were meant to as part of the family, and we were only concerned and responsible for our part. We decided to knock the door of her heart and invite her to unite, irrespective of whether she opened the door or not.
Somehow we managed to search and reached her house. It was a surprise for her! She behaved in a very hostile way right from the beginning. The first words she uttered were like: “Why have you come here, after all these years of absence?” It went on like: “23 years is too long and you were away. Now what’s the use?”…..”You should have come when our mother (i.e. my grandma) was alive. It’s too late now.” And on she went with similar rigidity.
Aunty reacted as if we had come to her because we needed her for something, that we wanted some kind of personal benefit and so we are approaching her softly. She seemed to feel in power over us as if she was doing a great job by keeping her heart closed. Still, we managed to calmly convey our purpose for coming. We let her know about our understanding of Allah’s command. And we took leave. Even when we were leaving and my mom held her hand warmly, aunty stood like a stick looking like a stubborn child.
Had I been the earlier me, it would have certainly affected me a lot. I would have been attached to the outcome I expected. So, when things turned out the opposite, I would have had a lot of heaviness, been angry, defensive, hurt, made judgements about what a bad person she was and how rudely she behaved.. I would have said things like, “It’s no use talking to her! Now we know again why we had enmity! Better stay away in future…” Blah blah blah!
Now, I did notice all the rude behaviour. She didn’t even ask us how we are doing, how we came all the way, and so on. But it did not affect us at all. Instead, we could observe her immature behaviour and notice how she was losing herself and even the opportunity Allah bought in front of her. I felt pity on her. I could see her as a human being, and I had enough kindness to give her. I donned a warm smile and didn’t hesitate in making eye contact. My own response amazed me! It happened because we were on a mission for the sake of Allah alone. We were focused only on our deeds, our ibadah. We were only concerned about our own role as part of our family life. That we just wanted to clean our slate from sins.
So, I learned this powerful lesson of how to be detached. Sometimes, you may feel hurt and it’s ok it’s part of being human but do not let the hurtful feelings consume you. Come from the background of doing things for Allah alone. Focus on the ibadah, on your deeds, rather than on what people are thinking, doing or saying to you. Never stop doing good deeds just because others are wronging you. Do not blame the injustices in your life and fall in despair. Rather, live in reality and act on what you can do to bring a difference. It will make you more grateful.
If you do your part for Allah, He intervenes and strengthens your heart and protects you from breaking.
There is thin line between striving to achieve something and being attached to the outcome. It’s not about desensitizing yourself, denying what comes forth or making yourself hard.
Yes, you desire something, you have goals and dreams, you strive with all your potentials and resources, you make dua, but please don’t get stuck on the outcome or have unrealistic expectations: you are burdening others if you do. Leave it to Allah. Surrender to His will. His will is with His wisdom. And when you do, then even if you fail, it won’t break you, for it could not have been better than this.
And remember, if you slip (for you will and I always do) it’s ok, don’t beat yourself up. We are created imperfect and we are all on a journey towards Allah. Just keep learning, keep moving, and be gentle on yourself.
By Khadija Mortorwala, Mumbai