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December 22, 2004

Reflections (edited Thursday 1:36 am)

I’m amazed in all amazement when I realize how Allah always seems to show us His Signs in the forms of dualities. God tells us in the Qur’an, “And We shall show them Our Signs in the farthest horizons and in their own selves until it is manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not sufficient that thy Lord is witness over all things?“. In other words, Allah shows us sign after sign–some big, some small, some that are readily apparent to us, some that are not–in order that we may look at these Signs, reflect on them, and fully understand what it means to have faith. One can profess faith and indeed feel it; but it is only when one understands after reflecting on these Signs does a stronger level of faith take root and establish itself in one’s heart. It is like a well designed building: those who know nothing of architecture can only appreciate the building according to their level of knowledge; but for the architect, the one who knows the theories and aesthetics of construction, he can truly understand and appreciate the value of such a building. Faith is no different, and since Allah wants us to increase in faith, He helps us to elevate our levels by displaying these Signs.

On the topic of dualities, I think one of the beautiful things about Signs is that Allah shows us Signs often in comparison to one another. For example, the ayah above mentions macroscopic and microscopic signs–a juxtaposition that tells us no sign is too big or too small to derive a lesson from. Another ayah of the Qur’an says, “Indeed God is not ashamed to set forth any parable, even (as small) as a gnat or anything above it…“. Even here, the gnat, representing a metaphor for unimportance is juxtaposed with something grander so as to stimulate one to appreciate the duality of Signs.

Specifically, the dualities of life and death always seem to occur together as well. And there always seems to be a connection between the two events as well. A few months ago, many of us witnessed the passing of our dear friend (who attended UIC) Mohammad (‘Hammoudi’) Hussein back in June. However, not many knew that the same day, Naeem Hussaini’s (another UIC alum) wife gave birth to a baby girl. Also on that day, Sa’ad Quadri, brother of Suhaib Quadri had his walimah on the same night of June 18th. More recently, this past Saturday, in an unfortunate tragedy, Zain Bengali’s cousin, Muhammad Bengali, passed away in a car accident as he was on his way to the airport to visit his family in Pakistan for winter break. Earlier that same day, one of Zain’s closest friends, Suhaib Quadri, became a father for the first time as his wife gave birth–interestingly enough, to a baby girl. In each of these cases, the deceased was named Muhmamad. In both cases, the grief of one family contrasted with the joy of the other family. Mohammed Hussein returned to Allah on June 18th. Muhammad Bengali returned to Allah exactly 6 months later, on December 18th. Zain Bengali got married in Michigan on July 30th; the very next day, Sa’ad Quadri suffered his accident in Michigan as well.

While some may pass these off as mere coincidences, I instead offer that these events of life and death, joy and grief, are related, not only as they are opposite manifestations of the Attributes of God (al-Hayy and al-Mumeet) [the Life-Giver and Death-Giver], but by the relatedness of the people involved. This is not to say that every time something good happens, one better be wary that something bad will happen. Instead, realize that God is sending us all a Message in the relatedness of this all. While our natural reactions are to pray for the forgiveness and ease in account for the departed, and to ask God to keep the new-born on the path of righteousness and away from temptation, I offer that we as observers of such events reflect on such dualities to begin to truly appreciate Allah by understanding these Signs. I do not think these events are mere coincidences; not only did they happen for a reason (that we probably do not fully know), but I think they occurred to send the rest of us a message to get our lives together.

Reflect on the dualities of such Signs and you cannot help but be amazed in all amazement at what kind of Lord has created us and is eagerly wanting us to reconnect with him. Just as when we want to contact a loved one, we may use e-mail, phone calls, text messages, snail mail, etc. to connect with them… Allah uses an uncountable number and variety of Signs to connect with us. The only thing that remains is whether or not we choose to reply.



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  1. jazakALlah khair for this post.  i too was thinking the same thing about the immense joy of birth in the Quadri household happening on the same day as my cousin’s death.  Both of these are mandated transitions of our souls, yet one is celebrated and the other is dreaded.  may Allah reward all of you for your du’as.

  2. There is an interesting balance between these simultaneous births and deaths. The two cases in which the death of a Muslim brother preceded the birth of a Muslim sister shows us the balance in Allah’s will. It reminds me of three ayahs in Surah Rahman:
    “And the Firmament (heaven) He has raised high, and He has set up the balance,
    In order that you may not transgress the balance,
    So establish weight with justice and do not fall short in the balance.” (55: 7-9)
    Reflect on these verses.
    Also, brother Kamran, when you wrote  “Is is not sufficient that thy Lord is witness over all things?,” I believe what you meant to write was, “Is it not sufficient that thy Lord is witness over all things?”
    Allah knows best.

  3. that was a typo. thanks for the heads up, i just fixed it.

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