We learn many of life’s most profound lessons through paradox. Here we are – human beings with a soul that yearns for the eternal and lasting, yet living in a world of the temporal and ephemeral. Our hearts seek spiritual highs, yet all the while are encased within bodies which have physical and mundane needs. We seek control over our lives, we plan and prepare for days ahead although we know that each major and minor point of our lives have been decreed long before we even had consciousness.
It is in the spirit of this paradox that while preparing for bringing new life into this world, thoughts turn to death. Though sanitised and with first-world healthcare, the process of childbirth still poses very real threats to the life of the unborn and the labouring woman. At the very least, I was reminded that this is a milestone in my life in which the child I gave birth to will, insha’Allah, outlive me and carry on whatever legacy I am able to leave in the world after I leave it myself.
With all the anxieties, excitement and uncertainties which come with having your first child, you take every decision with consideration and time. You believe that you have done the best kind of research possible and that the conclusion you have reached is the best one you could have made at the time. Then all your plans go out the window and you are faced with dealing with a whole different reality – one unprepared and as a result, terrifying.
Although expecting to go to hospital for a planned induction resulting in a natural delivery, reality delivered a labour which began spontaneously and ended in an emergency caesarean section. So what’s your biggest fear about labour? Having to have a c-section of course. But that’s not likely to happen, right? Of course not, only a life or death situation would allow for that.
When you are told the only way to ensure the health of your child is to have major abdominal surgery, your head immediately swims with all the protests. But! But the recovery time from that is over 2 months for healthy women. You have family willing to take care of you and look after you. But! But I want immediate skin-to-skin contact with my newborn so I don’t ruin my chances of breastfeeding successfully! There are millions of women who successfully breastfeed after a c-section. But! But what about my future children? I want to have natural deliveries! And that is fully possible.
And so comes the moment of surrender. Allah! Make this easy for her, make this easy for her, make this easy for her. Make this easy for me, make this easy for me, make this easy for me.
What does it really mean to believe that Allah is the best of Planners? That whatever happens was what was always meant to happen and that, undoubtedly, was the best thing for you all along? What does it mean to be able to sincerely say with both your tongue and your heart that you are pleased with what happened in your life because it came from Allah and everything from Allah is perfect only because it’s Source is Perfect? What does it take to be equally content during the times where your plans come through and where your most dreaded outcome becomes the reality?
What was written to happen, happened. The only outcome which was possible came to be and waiting on the other side was the most perfect, most beautiful human being I have ever laid eyes on. All 4.01 kgs of her. All 54 cms of her. All of her. Allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd (Allah is Greater and He is praiseworthy). He brings life from life and lays the path of our destinies for us to discover and surrender ourselves to.
Every “eventuality” comes with trials and blessings
Whether things were going to be this way or that way, there would have been hardships and ease associated with every eventuality. Nothing meets us in life without being a blend of potential harm and potential opportunity for greatness. Only a heart alive with iman can disentangle, appreciate and seek the goodness of all eventualities.
The most straightforward proof of your helplessness lies in health
At any point, in a million different ways, your body is a proof of how utterly weak and helpless you truly are. Not the most exceptional polymath, nor the most despised of outcasts can escape the corporal limitations of their bodies. And every part of good health we have is given to us and taken away from us. In both states are we tested for our gratitude and in both states does Allah demonstrate His Absolute Power over us over and again.
Your times of weakness bring out the goodness of those around you
Human weakness brings out the human compassion of those around you. To be exposed in all your vulnerability taps into the part of somebody’s consciousness which reminds us that we are all just as vulnerable and in need. So you see, you experience, and you are often awed at the goodness of those around you. You reaffirm your gratitude towards the people Allah has surrounded you with and chase away any thoughts of feeling alone or abandoned. Allah sends you the right people at the right time to help you in just the right way. And in this are lessons abounded.
Whatever happened was for the best simply because it happened
Reflection brings up everything that ‘at the time’ could never give insight into. When you reassess your priorities and see how beautifully they have been met, you can say with a new level of yaqeen (certainty) that this was for the best. It happened and it was for the best. You are here now, there is barakah (blessings) in abundance, and yet again, Allah has taught me lessons in His Most Sublime Way. Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks is to Allah). Allah is Truly the Greatest. The One, The Inimitable, The Perfect.