بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Some of us walk around carrying weights. We don’t realize it, but these weights stop us from doing great things or at the very least slow us down. The weight can be a feeling of inferiority. It can be that feeling of resentment towards your parents. Whatever your personal situation, the weight is that thing that comes to mind when you excuse yourself for something that is bad or that things that brings you down. For example, “I could have been something great but my parents never encouraged me”, or “I would do it, but I’m not good enough”.
We are all influenced and affected by the things that happen to us. But they do not have to define who we are. It may take a while to shed some of the baggage, but it is possible, God willing. That is why God invites us to rely on Him. Time and again He shows us His love and mercy towards us. He tells us that He has honored and dignified us. He encourages us by telling us our intention is special to Him. He tells us it doesn’t matter how many times we fall, He is here for us. Whatever pricks us in this world and causes us to be sad, even for a moment, is not forgotten by the All-Merciful. He will replace us with something better in Paradise.
Now if we truly lived with this knowledge the result would be an innovative, caring and dynamic people. Of course, the greatest example is the Prophet (pbuh), who lost so much and was hurt so much but was known by his goodness and determination.
But truly I reflected on this because of a story of a giant in Islamic history. His name is AbdelRahman al-Dakhil. AbdelRahman was an Ummayyid by blood. He was not of the direct ruling family, but when his father passed away he was raised by the Caliph at the time, Hisham bin AbdelMalik. AbdelRahman’s mother was a Berber. When he was young the Abbassids took the Caliphate from the Ummayyids. It was a bloody time. They killed all of the male Ummayyids. So AbdelRahman fled from Syria and spent years running away from them. He ended up in Iraq, staying in a small village by the Euphrates with his brother, wife and child; but they found him. He told his brother to jump into the Euphrates and swim to the other side with him. As they swam the Abbassid soldiers called out to them and said they would not kill them and they should come back. His brother told AbdelRahman “Let’s swim back! I’m not a good swimmer and they swore they will not kill us”. AbdelRahman didn’t believe them, but Hisham swam back. They killed him right then and there, in front of his brother.
AbdelRahman spent years fleeing and ended up in Morocco, staying with his mother’s family. But he knew he wouldn’t be able to stay there for long. So he had his eyes on Andalusia, which was a mess by then. It was marred by in-fighting between the Muslims. He crossed the sea and got there. Now, what would you do once you reached safety? Many of us would decide to live in peace, maybe seethe in anger over the Abbassid killing of his brother and family members. But he didn’t. He had a bigger plan.
Without going into too much detail, he was able to to unite the fighting Muslims in Andalucia. He then became ruler- but he didn’t decide to fight the Abbassids for what they did. He decided that his job was to protect Islam in Andalusia. And there he remained, and it was under him that the Muslim rule over Andalusia stabilized. Recently, a statue of AbdelRahman al-Dakhil was erected in Almuñécar, Spain, where it was said he first landed.
He is an example of someone who didn’t let things that happened to him define who he became. If we truly had hope in Allah, we would do the same and more inshAllah. We would shed the chains and do things because they are right. It sounds ideal, but we need to have something great to aspire to. Allah alone gives success.
On that note, a short talk by Sheikha Muslema Purmul on letting go of anger: