By Hena Din
“O Allah! Grant me Your love, and the love of a person whom my loving him will be of benefit to me near You. O Allah! Whatever You have granted me from what I love, make it a means of strength for me to use in the way You love. O Allah! Whatever love (of things) You have removed from me then grant in its place the love (of things) that You love.” (Tirmidhi)
My aunt and I were having a conversation the other day, and this du`a’ (supplication) came up. It’s not uncommon when I speak with her that the conversation flows to an ayah (verse) from the Qur’an or a hadith (narration) of the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) that she reflected on and that her heart desired to share with me. But when she recited this du`a’, she didn’t realize that my heart had a connection with this prayer too and it was with these words that I often found serenity.
While discussing the du`a’ with her, I learnt that for some reason, she had not been able to grasp and memorize this du`a’. At first she did not pay too much attention to this but it continued to tug at her consciousness until she decided to sit down once and for all and fully learn it.
It wasn’t until then, she said, that she immersed herself in its beautiful meaning and reflected on these words the Prophet ﷺ uttered, and it hit her. The depth of meaning and the sincerity of love that is present in this du`a’ was a sudden epiphany.
My aunt’s heart has experienced a lot of loss in her life. She lost her eldest son suddenly when he was only 13 years old. He was hit by a bus on his way to school and died instantly. She has always been patient masha’Allah (by the will of God) but try as they might, neither she nor her husband were ever the same after this loss.
She lost her husband about 8 years ago after he slowly became bedridden from his illness and suffered to the point that he was barely conscious. The loss of someone so dear and who was such a support truly shook her, not to mention she was left behind as a single mother in a developing country with 4 children to raise. And if that was not enough to exhaust the tears that came from her patient eyes, her 2nd eldest son who had just completed his degree and was going to begin a new job suddenly passed away only a year or so after his father. To understand how suddenly this young man was taken, picture a healthy youth of 23 years, a recent graduate from college, a whole future ahead of him, so many plans up his sleeve, and within three days his health drops and leaves him. Three days.
Subhan Allah (glory be to God), may Allah grant them all peace and His light in their graves.
After all this it was as if Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) had created the prayer and sent it especially for her. Even though she had experienced so much loss in her life, after reading this du`a’ she felt as though what she used to consider suffering and hardship may actually not have been. Rather the losses she experienced gave her space and time to fill those voids with something better—Allah (swt).
If her children had not been taken from her, if her husband had not gone through what he had with her, the patience she had experienced might not be with her today. Instead of spending her time in the remembrance of Allah (swt) and studying His deen (religion) and guidance, she might never have fully turned to Him (swt) as she has. Instead she might have been encompassed by her dunya (life)—of a husband, of children and Allahu `Alim (God knows best) even of grandchildren. All this she may have had, she says, but she would not have had Allah (swt) like she does now. She would not have drawn closer to Him as she has.
And this is exactly what I only began to scratch the surface of when I recited this prayer with tears in my eyes. “O Allah! Whatever love (of things) You have removed from me, then Grant in its place the love (of things) that You love.”
Sometimes we cling to things because we think that they are the source of our happiness, they are what will make us happy and bring us closer to something blissful in this world. And when we feel like those things and those people are leaving us, we cling harder, we fight harder. But I am slowly starting to realize the blessing that comes when a void in my heart is created, when a void in space is present.
It can be filled with something more beautiful and more fulfilling than what we had before. Maybe this is the meaning of the losses we experience in this world.
Only Allah is our everything and only He (swt) can truly fulfill and complete everything we are.