*Dedicated to every single person that I love for the sake of Allah… and a special dedication to Nadimah for bringing this topic to my mind to begin with.
Last Friday, something wonderful happened. It was something I knew about all along but was in a hazy blur somewhere in the back of my mind, and it needed a specific incident to bring it out again and bring me the immense pleasure that it did.
Last Friday, I was having a bad day. Classes were fine and people were nice, but I was tired and stressed and effortlessly let some negative thoughts get the better of me that morning. I regrettably found myself feeling ungrateful and I decided, around noon, that I needed a nap to maybe wash it all away.
I found a nice comfy couch in the Club’s Lounge of SSMU, placed my backpack on my lap, and put my head to sleep.
It was a much needed 40-minute nap, and I woke up feeling refreshed and slightly foolish for my attitude beforehand. I then noticed that there was a paper carefully tucked under an elastic of my school bag. What? I thought in surprise. When do I receive letters this way?
I opened it up… and read:
…………… 0___O ……….. << (yes, that was my reaction. I was just stunned, and felt immense guilt to receive such a gift at a time I knew I deserved nothing less than to fall down the stairs.)
There was no name on it. It was anonymous. The only clue I could fathom from the note was that I’d known this person for “a few years”. But who did I know for a few years at McGill? Most people who fit that criteria had graduated, moved away, or we simply lost touch. I decided to expand my possibilities and interpret “few years” as “2 years or more”.
I took out my cell phone, and texted everyone I believed might have been the letter-author. I further Facebook-inboxed another 5 likely McGillians and emailed yet another 10.
I contacted around 30 people in total. And every single one of them replied in the negative.
To this day the kind soul who made my day and sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions (guilt at my emotions earlier and overwhelming gratitude to God) remains a mystery. And I’ve come to the conclusion, six days later, that if she really wanted to be known, she would’ve simply put her name on it.
To the sweet soul who brightened my day with your impulsive act of ripping a page from your notebook to scribble me a note: Thank you. I don’t know who you are, but you must be someone I know, and you must be someone I love for the sake of Allah.
My feelings of happiness did not simply stem from the letter itself– and it wasn’t even from the first paragraph that was complimenting me. It was the second paragraph that made me tear up:
Aya, Allah is with you. He will always be. Trust in Him, only. Have faith in Him, only. Do everything for Him, only. You are not like anyone, not less than anyone, and not more than anyone.
To me, this paragraph summarizes exactly what a friend for Allah’s sake represents. A sincere friend is she/he who aims to bring you closer to God and reminds you of Him, who is reminded of Him by you as well, who boosts you up but still keeps you grounded by reminding you that you are not above anyone else, just as you are not beneath.
True friendship (and ultimately, true love) is not about merely self-validating the other, but also keeping her/him on the path of His remembrance, keeping things in perspective, and giving feedback in the gentlest manner possible. (It’s interesting to note that the closest of people to me are generally those who have told me at one point I was doing something wrong, and steered me back to the right.)
So why did this letter make my day?
It wasn’t the content of it (though it indeed did seem to have fallen from the sky when I most needed it.) It was the fact that I contacted around 30 people whom I thought might be the do-ers of such a blessed deed.
Those were just the people I’ve known for 2+ years, and current students at McGill. I did not take consideration of those outside McGill, or people I’ve just met this year, or extended family…
But to think that I assumed that 30 people (at least!) were possible of such a deed reminded me that they have probably given me precious reminders in the past that made it possible for me to assume they might do so again (only anonymously). It reminded me that I am truly blessed with the most beautiful of friends– friends I can genuinely say I love for the sake of Allah.
White it still matters to me who wrote the letter, what matters more is that I have so many people in my life who could’ve (and DO!) give me the same reminders all the time.
I don’t deserve them of course… but God knows I love them for His sake!
I would like to conclude with a nice quote I read off a website:
“Loving for the sake of Allah means one loves an individual simply because of the connection he holds with Allah; either because he worships Allah and is doing something to further the deen of Allah, or, even more praiseworthy, merely because he is from the creation of Allah. There is no worldly motive behind this love such as a favour done by him, and is not subject to any fluctuation. As such, it is not increased by the character and kindness of the one loved and not decreased by his shortcomings.” (Ibn Allan, Dalil al-Falihin 2/240)
And Allah knows best.