One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, "Why don't you tie down your camel?" The Bedouin answered, "I put my trust in Allah." The Prophet then said, "Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah" (At-Tirmidhi).
this hadith teaches us to prepare as much as we can before we leave to the will of Allah (swt). only then, can we really be excused from any blame if anything goes wrong. i love this hadith – it has such a profound meaning to it. and the impact it has made on my life is immense. or so i thought. let me explain what i mean...
once upon a friday, a brother asked me if i would be attending the local mosque for friday prayer. “of course”, i replied. i asked him to meet me at my workplace at 12:50pm latest so that we could set off by 1pm. we both live about 15 miles from the nearest mosque and my routine at work was to take a 2 hour lunch break to be able to fulfil this obligation. that’s enough time to drive at a comfortable, safe speed for half an hour to the mosque, catch the sermon and prayer, mingle with the brothers at the mosque, then another half hour drive back to my workplace after having lunch.
at 12:50pm, i went up to my office and noticed that i had a missed call from the brother. i immediately called him back, expecting him to say that he was waiting for me outside. but instead, he told me that he wasn’t able to make it, as he had only just gotten ready and was not able to do the 20 minute walk down to my workplace in time to set off by 1pm. i told him to stop being a joke and start running. now.
i fled my workplace like a bat out of hell and made the half mile run to my car. then, i sped off towards his house in my risky attempt at being the hero of the day.
anger started to fill my mind – as i hate rushing while driving. and the fact that i was rushing because i might miss friday prayer made it worse. in fact, several things were going through my mind – why am i risking missing my obligatory friday prayer for this person, when he can’t be bothered to make sure that he is ready by a particular time? any other person i know would have said “forget it” and left him.
but i have superpowers. soulseek can confirm the fact that with my driving abilities, i am able to cut a normal journey time by 33%.
so i used my abilities to the max and raced to the brother’s house and then onwards to the mosque.
as soon as he entered the car, my anger evaporated and instead, it turned into concern. why would anyone have such a laissez-faire attitude to such an important obligation? surely, if you know that in order to fulfil the obligation of friday prayer, you need to catch a lift with someone (and let’s say, for example, that this was the only way to get to the mosque), then surely, you should make sure that you are ready for that lift, right? and to make sure you are ready for the lift, then surely, you must be ready on time. and to be ready on time, you need to make sure that you have everything to need to be ready. surely that’s the train of thought that one should possess, should one wish to fulfil one’s obligations? right? or am i talking gibberish?
and if you are running late, then cut down on the non-obligatory things. And. Do. Things. Faster.
i didn’t want to be the one to let this brother think that he can get away with not going to the mosque. that’s being irresponsible to the brother and his welfare. after all, i’ve heard that if a muslim man misses friday prayer 3 times in a row, then you have to re-take your shahadah. so as you can see, the severity of missing friday prayers is not to be taken lightly.
we then continued to have a conversation regarding the hadith i quoted in the beginning and i was explaining to him how if we don’t understand this hadith, then we would never take things so seriously. and as a result, we would be held accountable, since we did not do everything that was in our control to prevent the worst from happening.
that’s why i always leave slightly earlier to go to the mosque. and why i usually go to the mosque which has the earliest congregation – so that if i am late, i can attend a different mosque. that’s why i learned how to drive fast and cleverly avoid traffic jams. that’s why i learned which actions are obligations and which actions are recommended – so that if it were imperative that i be somewhere at a certain time, i would only complete the obligations and leave the recommended. that’s why i make sure my car is in tip top condition, ready for friday. that’s why i make sure i’m wearing my contacts on friday (i don’t wear them every day). that’s why i make wudhu at work before i’m about to set off. in fact, it’s why i do a lot of things.
after speaking so passionately on the subject for the entire 20 minute journey to the mosque (33% driving time reduced), i came to the conclusion that i had not at all implemented this hadith while looking for a wife.
so what had i expected? that she just appears and happens to be the one? that i bump into a sister at the supermarket and suddenly start talking to her then end up marrying her? that some sister will just approach me and ask me to marry her? i think i’ve been watching way too much bollywood.
fact is, when i used to tell people that i was looking for a wife, i would just TELL people. but would never ask for leads, never go out there to try and impress people, never talked to the elders; who were usually the key or barrier to marriage depending on how you look at it! never took any action to get what i wanted. just made du’a. and thought that would be enough.
bottom line is, i expected marriage to come to me when i was ready. i don’t know why. but looking at it now, i realise that if i want to get married, surely i have to take certain steps and do certain things to TRY to get married. i mean, i am ready for marriage, but it hasn’t come to me yet. We all know that success is from Allah (swt) and that He (swt) shall give it to you when He (swt) so wishes. it’s like an exam... you can’t expect to pass if you haven’t even studied the subject, no matter how many du’a (supplications) were made for you to pass. no; when we want something, we ask Allah (swt) for it, then we work our hardest to try and get it. and Allah (swt) will decide when and if He (swt) gives it to us.
which means i have to work hard to get married.
that’s not a scary statement.
actually, i take it back. It’s... slightly scary.
it’s time to tie my camel up.
that sounds better.
and now things are clear. I need to tie my camel before i leave it. I’ve got to do everything in my power to make sure i get married.
Now how do i do that???