People leave each other. But do they return?


Why Do People Have to Leave Each Other? Part I | Part II

Leaving is hard. Losing is harder. So a few weeks ago I asked the question, ‘why do people have to leave each other?’ The answer took me into some of my life’s deepest realizations and struggles. But it has also led me to wonder: After people leave, do they ever return? After something we love is taken from us, does it ever come back? Is loss permanent—or just a means for a higher purpose? Is loss the End itself, or a temporary cure for our heart’s ailments?

There’s something amazing about this life. The very same worldly attribute that causes us pain is also what gives us relief: Nothing here lasts. What does that mean? It means that the breathtakingly beautiful rose in my vase will wither tomorrow. It means that my youth will neglect me. But it also means that the sadness I feel today will change tomorrow. My pain will die. My laughter won’t last forever—but neither will my tears. We say this life isn’t perfect. And it isn’t. It isn’t perfectly good. But, it also isn’t perfectly bad, either.

Allah (glorified is He) tells us in a very profound ayah (verse): “Verily with hardship comes ease.” (Qur’an, 94:5). Growing up I think I understood this ayah wrongly. I used to think it meant: after hardship comes ease. In other words, I thought life was made up of good times and bad times. After the bad times, come the good times. I thought this as if life was either all good or all bad. But that is not what the ayah is saying. The ayah is saying WITH hardship comes ease. The ease is at the same time as the hardship. This means that nothing in this life is ever all bad (or all good). In every bad situation we’re in, there is always something to be grateful for. With hardship, Allah also gives us the strength and patience to bear it.

If we study the difficult times in our lives, we will see that they were also filled with much good. The question is – which do we chose to focus on? I think the trap we fall into is rooted in this false belief that this life can be perfect—perfectly good or perfectly bad. But that’s not the nature of dunya (this life). That’s the nature of the hereafter. The hereafter is saved for the perfection of things. Jannah (paradise) is perfectly and completely good. There is no bad in it. And Jahannam (hell – may Allah protect us) is perfectly and completely bad. There is no good in it.

By not truly understanding this reality, I myself would become consumed by the momentary circumstances of my life (whether good or bad). I experienced each situation in its’ full intensity—as if it was ultimate or would never end. The way I was feeling at the moment transformed the whole world and everything in it. If I was happy in that moment, past and present, near and far, the entire universe was good for that moment. As if perfection could exist here. And the same happened with bad things. A negative state consumed everything. It became the whole world, past and present, the entire universe was bad for that moment. Because it became my entire universe, I could see nothing outside of it. Nothing else existed for that moment. If you wronged me today, it was because you no longer cared about me—not because this was one moment of a string of infinite moments which happened to be tinted that way, or because you and I and this life just aren’t perfect. What I was experiencing or feelings at that instant replaced context, because it replaced my entire vision of the world.

I think in our experiential nature, some of us may be especially susceptible to this. Perhaps that is the reason we can fall prey to the “I’ve never seen good from you” phenomenon which the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) referred to in his hadith. Perhaps some of us say or feel this way because at that moment, experientially we really haven’t seen good, because our feeling at that instant replaces, defines and becomes everything. Past and present becomes rolled up into one experiential moment.

But, the true realization that nothing is complete in this life transforms our experience of it. We suddenly stop being consumed by moments. In the understanding that nothing is limitless here, that nothing here is kamil (perfect, complete), Allah enables us to step outside of moments and see them for what they are: not universes, not Reality, past and present, just that—a single moment in a string of infinite moments…and that they too shall pass.

When I cry or lose or bruise, so long as I am still alive, nothing is ultimate. So long as there is still a tomorrow, a next moment, there is hope, there is change, there is redemption. What is lost, is not lost forever.

So in answering the question of whether what is lost comes back, I study the most beautiful examples.  Did Yusuf return to his father? Did Musa return to his mother? Did Hajar return to Ibrahim? Did health, wealth and children return to Ayoub? From these stories we learn a powerful and beautiful lesson: what is taken by Allah is never lost. In fact, it is only what is with Allah that remains. Everything else vanishes. Allah (swt) says, “What is with you must vanish: what is with Allah will endure. And We will certainly bestow, on those who patiently persevere, their reward according to the best of their actions.” (Quran 16:96)

So, all that is with Allah, is never lost. In fact the Prophet ﷺ has said: “You will never give up a thing for the sake of Allah (swt), but that Allah will replace it for you with something that is better for you than it.” (Ahmad) Did not Allah take the husband of Umm Salimah, only to replace him with the Prophet ﷺ?

Sometimes Allah takes in order to give. But, it’s crucial to understand that His giving is not always in the form we think we want. He knows best what is best. Allah says: “… But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not.” (Quran 2:216)

But if something is going to be returned in one form or another, why is it taken at all? Subhan’Allah. It is in the process of ‘losing’ that we are given.

Allah gives us gifts. But then we often become dependent on those gifts, instead of Him. When He gives us money, we depend on the money—not Him. When He gives us people, we depend on people—not Him. When He gives us status or power, we depend on, and become distracted by these things. When Allah gives us health, we become deceived. We think we will never die.

Allah gives us gifts, but then we come to love them as we should only love Him. We take those gifts and inject them into our hearts, until they take over. Soon we cannot live without them. Every waking moment is spent in contemplation of them, in submission and worship to them. The mind and the heart that was created by Allah, for Allah, becomes the property of someone or something else. And then the fear comes. The fear of loss begins to cripple us. The gift—that should have remained in our hands—takes over our heart, so the fear of losing it consumes us. Soon, what was once a gift becomes a weapon of torture and a prison of our own making. How can we be freed of this? At times, in His infinite mercy, Allah frees us…by taking it away.

As a result of it being taken, we turn to Allah wholeheartedly. In that desperation and need, we ask, we beg, we pray. Through the loss, we reach a level of sincerity and humility and dependence on Him which we would otherwise not reach—had it not been taken from us. Through the loss, our hearts turn entirely to face Him.

What happens when you first give a child a toy or the new video game he’s always wanted? He becomes consumed by it. Soon he wants to do nothing else. He sees nothing else. He doesn’t want to do his work or even eat. He’s hypnotized to his own detriment. So what do you do, as a loving parent? Do you leave him to drown in his addiction and complete loss of focus and balance? No.

You take it away.

Then, once the child has regained focus of his priorities, regained sanity and balance, once things are put in their proper place in his heart and mind and life, what happens? You give the gift back. Or perhaps something better. But this time, the gift is no longer in his heart. It is in its proper place. It is in his hand.

Yet in that process of taking, the most important thing happened. The losing and regaining of the gift is inconsequential. The taking of your heedlessness, your dependence and focus on other than Him, and the replacing it with remembrance, dependence and focus only on Him was the real gift. Allah withholds to give.

And so sometimes, the ‘something better’ is the greatest gift: nearnesss to Him. Allah took the daughter of Malik Ibn Dinar in order to save him. He took his daughter, but replaced her with protection from the hell-fire and salvation from a painful life of sin and distance from Him. Through the loss of his daughter, Malik ibn Dinar was blessed with a life spent in nearness to Allah. And even that which was taken (his daughter) would remain with Malik ibn Dinar forever in Jannah.

Ibn ul Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) speaks about this phenomenon in his book, Madarij Al Salikin. He says: “The divine decree related to the believer is always a bounty, even if it is in the form of withholding (something that is desired); and it is a blessing, even if it appears to be a trial and an affliction that has befallen him; it is in reality a cure, even though it appears to be a disease!”

So to the question, ‘once something is lost, does it return?’ the answer is yes. It returns. Sometimes here, sometime there, sometimes in a different, better form. But the greatest gift lies beneath the taking and the returning. Allah tells us: “Say, ‘In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they hoard.’” (Quran, 10:58)

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89 Comments

  1. Laila says:

    Subhanallah T-T

    Thank you so much!

  2. hhhhhhhh says:

    thank you

  3. rossie says:

    Subhanallah. Thank you so much Sis. This is really inspiring

  4. Sara says:

    i broke up with my fiance..we were that close to our marriage.I spent really long time wondering why or who is responsible for that..I cried a lot.But now i found the answer..and waht an answer!!
    jazak Allah Khayran Katheran

  5. Hayat says:

    thank you…may Allah swt loves you as I love Him..

  6. Tasnia Alam says:

    this is the best article i have ever read! everything i could relate to. Thank you soo much Yasmin! May Allah grant you Jannah and please make dua for me also!

  7. Zahrawi says:

    Subhanallah..May Allah bless u..

    I cried reading both your writings =)

  8. Moses says:

    Subhanallah

    I just could not hold my tears from falling anymore after i read this. The realization come to me that all this while I’ve been putting a lot of dunya in my heart. It has been my only focal point. SO when i started to lose it one by one, i feel like i’ve lost everything. So thank you again for writing such a beautiful yet a vert inspiring article for us to ponder.

    May His blessings be always with you.
    :)

  9. Juwayriyyah says:

    Assalamu alaikum wr wb ukhti!!!

    subhanAllah this was an excellent reminder will always be, I came across this article long ago and read only part1 not knowing about part11 and then sent it to couple of my mates ALH it helped so many, was going through a hard time lately so was looking for a solution and ALH I was directed to this article again and found part11 sA it sooo helped.. we try to live life without the guide~Qur’an that’s exactly why we go the wrong way…
    ALHAMDULILLAH so much to learn with every problem. =) ALH

    JazakiAllahu khairan katheeran <3

  10. Sibel says:

    Sister, Again a very thought provoking article. I only can say SUBHANNALLAH, ELHAMDULLILAH, MAASALLAH…!!!

  11. Sadia says:

    Can someone kindly give me a perspective? I love the article. Mashallah it is beautiful! There was a time in my life when I lost everything and I kept praying and praying for a blessing, to get married. Soon after I got engaged to the man of my dreams and he is a blessing for me. However, we are having many problems and I have this intense FEAR he will be taken away from me? I need a perspective.

    This is the third time its happening. I was nearly engaged to someone and it got called off, second time, pretty much same thing and this is the third time and I am so sure this man is the man for me (the one I am engaged to now)…Im really worried and so scared :(

    • Salam sister. I pray you are out of the painful situation and have found your peace of heart insha’Allah. If you ever need to reach out to a Muslim sister, please don’t hesitate to contact me via my blog.

  12. Heba says:

    Jazaki Allahu Khairan sis,
    i read ur article from about a year, when the dunia was really injected in my heart, i was feeling that the loss is comming, but i was not able to extract it from my heart, till the day came(that i was waiting for and knowing it), the day of losing what i love (i get divorced from the man i loved so much)… he appeard to be a mirage, i used to tell him that he is all i want, but i then realized that he was sent to me just to represent the dunia (not real).. All the things i used to love him for, was just a lie, he was just a liar, even his job was a lie… I wonder if i can heal from this… may Allah help me recover

    • Deserted says:

      JazakAllah Yasmin for this inspiring article!! I felt like this article was talking to me the whole time, as if was directed towards myself.

      Lots of duas for you!

    • Shi says:

      I pray dear sister you recover in time to trust Allah again. I have lost my precious husband to divorce a few mths ago. Am devastated.

  13. SR says:

    Beautifully written. Appreciate the power of correlation you have.

  14. zn says:

    Subhanallah. I cried reading through the post. Allah is indeed the Most Merciful. Ive recently loss the love of my life, and has been really sad for the past few months. i kept on thinking, why would Allah took him away for me, why Allah set us apart, i couldnt see any rational behind what was happen. To my defense, i love him because of Allah, i see myself being married to him, having a blessed relationship, and truly he made me so happy, i felt so despair upon losing him.

    I seek comfort in reading Quran, i pray and i didnt stop praying to Allah to bestow me with some peace of mind and try to accept and try to look at this as a new starting point. Maybe, Allah has a better plan, but at night, i cant help but to wonder, why this happen. I keep on questioning and when i failed to find any answer, i got frustrated with myself and almost started to blame myself for all of this to happen.

    After reading this article, it got me thinking. Maybe i just love him a little bit too much that i become greedy, and i neglect every thing else that happen (in denial, but this may or may not be true). I feel at peace reading this article, knowing that soon, when the right time comes, he will come back, and i shall not lose hope for Allah is indeed the Merciful, He listens to our du’a and soon or maybe in Hereafter, i will be reunite with my lover. InsyaAllah.

    Thank you for the great article. It opens my eyes and forever i will be thankful.

  15. ASMA says:

    Anyone out there that I could talk to, I badly needed a listener. Some advice maybe. Please. Someone broke my heart.

    • Amina says:

      Hi Asma,

      I can listen and inshaAllah give you advise. I have a feeling you’re going through what I am going through.

      … how can I help?

  16. Abdul-Azeez says:

    Beautiful. Both parts I and II.

  17. Shi says:

    Can anybody please tell me how to cope with the grieving for my broken marriage. I am so so lost right now and even though I am a Moslem I am struggling to see a brighter day and upset I have lost him forever. Heartbreaking.

  18. jules says:

    A beautiful and indepth writing which has such significance in life. It is true that sometimes we love someone who is then taken from us… maybe for a reason. When we are hurt and broken when a relationship ends it is indeed difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe we can only rely on the present moment in time as things change and we cant hold onto people forever. hold fast to your memories and these are all you ever really have forever..

  19. Mehwish N says:

    In times of depression I often come across this article. The title itself is so soothing.. Just like something is taken, it can be given back again..its so simple for Allah swt !

  20. Roxy says:

    Hi,,
    I’m not sure about the verse,,,,Verily with hardship comes ease.” (Qur’an, 94:5).
    I’m 40, a widow with 5 children….& still suffering
    I’ve been in pain for a year & a half….after losing my much loved husband. He went to attend a wedding abroad & was murdered by his own aunt,,by poison.
    I read Quran regularly, 5 times namaz,,, do everything I’m supposed to. We had always kept ourselves to ourselves.
    He was the most soft spoken, humble person you could find. I loved him with all my heart…But isn’t that what a good wife is expected to do. ???
    Not so sure why this has happened,,, what good can there be in making children suffer,,,, my 5 year daughter goes to a special school & still cries for her dad….she has been & is stilll badly effected now…
    Why are children made to suffer ?????,,,it breaks my heart,,,,,,children don’t know anything so they are innocent,,,,,arnt they,,,
    If Allah burdens not,,,,more than a person can bear,,,,,,then tell me please
    Why are Muslims committing suicide??????,
    I mean religiously praying people. Not people who lack faith,,,,
    I mean people who truly can not cope ???
    Please she’d some light on this as I feel I doubt my faith now,,,,,,
    Many thanks
    Your sister in Islam

    • Anonymous says:

      Allah is all knowing, all merciful. Remember the hadith which says that ALLAH LOVES HIS SLAVES MORE THAN A MOTHER LOVES HER CHILD.

      Allah is not there to see us suffer. When He gives us a test, He will definitely bring us through it. Allah wants us to be near to Him, by elevating our ranks through the trials and tribulations. What matters is the way we respond to these tests.

      About those who committed suicide, most likely they lacked their trust in Allah. We as muslims need to put our trust in Allah, make constant dua to him for the strength. Insyallah the pain of this life will end, soon we’ll be in His heaven and everything will be fine.

    • Stockport, England. Thank you for your comments on Part 2 of Yasmin’s article.I think it is in our hearts Roxy, the loss that is.The writer is thoughtful.so thoughtful,she looks at her own earlier distress and seeks its causes.I found that very act of my ex-wife’s wanting to divorce me painful enough to shatter my dreams of the good &conscientious work done on a smallholding of land and as you may agree with work * youth come degrees of hope & idealism.I even left America and came back to England. Now I appreciate that this is not akin to having one’s husband cruelly murdered and one’s child in distress..After a year or two I met someone who smiled and whose eyes shone in my company,again I worked but alas she died thousands of miles away whilst working as a teacher.I remember the small things like a camp site in Northern England near a footbridge over a river.We had our washing drying on a line in the clean air.To such people as came walking over the footbridge we offered hospitality and courteous conversation if addressed.It has always seemed to me that one of the greatest of Allah’s blessings is the very daylight itself and certainly the natural world.I am far from practicing the requisite daily prayers tho’ I am sure this is because of the work I,m called to do by others, even my daughter who now is 20yrs and a student.You see I tried a third time and yet her mother, for her own reasons, left us when our child was l5 months old, I have to believe that the author of the article understands more than I do why with hardship comes ease, for the truth is one does turn to Allah with such perceived losses.I went about cleaning up polluted fishing ponds, or sweeping neglected lanes where blackbirds feed, yet people disposed of their trash.I might not have the appropriate scholarly things to say or answers to your valid questions, but I do think that as a community of believers we should stand in support of others’ distress.I imagine your own experiences will have given you much compassion for any of your brothers and sisters who have experienced similar loss.May your family be well & help you as the God given days go by. Your brother Inshallah in Islam. Brian Cokayne. N.England

  21. hus says:

    “Allah frees us…by taking it away.”
    A moment yet moving lines of awakening words. Thank you for writing this. At least this words enlighten me up upon my few confusion about God. SubhanAllah.

  22. hus says:

    Quote from this article : “Allah frees us…by taking it away.”
    A moment yet moving line of awakening words. Thank you for writing this. At least these words enlighten me up upon my few confusion about God. SubhanAllah.

  23. Sara says:

    By the end of the article, I was waiting to read something like: “And this, Sara (my name), is what you’re going through in this time of your life.” And I wouldn’t have been surprised! You described everything, things I only thought and couldn’t put out in words or in prayers, things only came to my mind without having any prior reference to and therefore I was always doubting them. But here you came, here God has sent me to read this, to fathom what I have longed doubted! .. Nothing I could possibly add but to thank you deeply, and ask you kindly to never stop writing.

  24. Fatima says:

    Sister Yasmin, This is so inspiring! Every bit of it seems adressed to me, and it is refreshing! Jazaak Allah!

  25. Skeena says:

    Jazak-Allah what a great work is done by you. People leave each other in this belief that they got better than them. We get people better than them but not that people. The presents of that people gives us comfort. The impressions of their faces are the comfort of our heart. This article has got a place in my heart and mind. A great work is done by you in the right way.

  26. jz... says:

    I am going through the worst days of my life…loved a person whome I knw I can never b with.. I he is having so many flaws..but still my heart cant stop thinkng abt him…I knew he would never love me bavk but still I told him abt my feelings….he didnt bothr…rejected me becAuse I wasnt pretty enough fr him thatss heartbreakingg..it shattered me completly….and den I lost him…infact never had him but still…
    Every day every nite I kept on thinking is it possibl that someday he comes to me and ask fr my hand in order to have a marriage…..confused…every one told me my frnds that he doesnt love u and he will never love u …so stop waiting…..I knew this thats a reality…..but den I thought..its impossibl fr me to creat love in his heart fr myself….but not fr my ALLAH SWT….in tha 100% there is still 1% hope in my heart , someday mayb he will come to me….I ask ALLAH that only HE can make this impossibl to possibl…. even if the whole world gets against me …or says that he doesnt deserve because I am not capabld enough or pretty enough fr that man..evdn than I wont leave my faith on ALLAH SWT… because I asked him from my full heart…I believe on HIM and my duas as well……
    Ehen I read this blog…M.A so much motivation fr me… if u lost something ….it is with ALLAH and what is with ALLAH Iis never lost….we can still have It….just by asking HIM…
    and I am waiting fr thst day when he will come to me asking fr my hand…. because ALLAH will change yhat man ‘s heart fr me …. and no other human can take him away from me neither he himself…
    I.A…..:)

  27. Zayed says:

    Beautiful writing masha Allah heart rejoicing carry on ….

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