Sometime last week, we had visitors from the Philippines at the mosque. They were given a guided tour of the mosque by Brother X. I tagged along to assist. After showing them how to do ablution (wudhu'), Brother X explained a little bit more about why we need to do ablution before praying. I couldn't remember how exactly the question was from the visitor but it goes along the line of, can you talk to God? So Brother X said of course, and He even answers our doa in 3 ways.
Number 1 - He says YES and then you get what you prayed for
Number 2 - He says YES and gives you what you prayed for, a bit later
Number 3 - He says 'I have something better in store for you.'
Brother X continued, "Sometimes God doesn't give you what you want because He knows that if you get what you prayed for, you will forget about Him. For example, you prayed for career success. He knows that if you get the career you wanted, you would have no time to do your prayer on time, or you neglect your prayers completely."
I listened attentively and reflected about my past life. My jahiliyah days, so they call it. And true enough, I did pray to have something I wanted so much. And when I finally get it, I neglected Him. I did things He wasn't pleased with. Looking back on those awful times, I just pray that He will forgive me and accept my repentance.
I remember seeing a video about one of Allah's nature is that He is the Most Forgiving. So in this particular video, in a land full of humans (it is actually padang masyar where we will be resurrected one day) there is a human talking to God, answering to all of his sins and asking Allah to forgive him. But when it came to confessing about this particular big sin, Allah made sort of like a curtain surrounding that human, so that no one else can hear about that sin that the human is talking about. It was like the sin was erased completely on his book of sins/deeds and the only one who knows about it is Him. That is how merciful and forgiving He is.
Anyway, back to Number 3, Brother X explained that sometimes we don't get what we want because He has something better in store for us. Like our health. One of His favors which we always take for granted. I've had good health since I was young. Occasional fevers and stress-induced migraines but other than that, everything else is ok. 2 weeks ago, I have been diagnosed with something . I had to go for several blood and urine tests, going in and out of clinics and hospitals just to get it confirmed and probably fixed. It couldn't be fixed, but it can be controlled. So I am currently under medication until forever, I guess. There you go for not really taking care of myself.
After listening to Brother X's explanation, I had tears welling up in my eyes. Sometimes kan, Allah really sends certain people in our lives to deliver certain messages or to protect us from harm. And for this masjid tour, I really believed that some visitors are just meant for the correct tour guides themselves. I wouldn't know what to answer to some of the more challenging questions from the visitors.
Another thing I've learnt is that most of the times, things like charity and volunteering, people usually and generally think that we are helping others out. But what they don't know is that sometimes, we are actually helping ourselves to find our inner peace and to fix our relationship with God.
I guess that IS the whole idea.