The rude awakening
It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error;- 062:002
As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: And He is exalted in Might, Wise. 062:003
Such is the Bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He will: and Allah is the Lord of the highest bounty. 062:004
Allah (swt) blesses some with the gift of spiritual insight, and then there are those who are spiritually blind.
Rafana and Namera were neighbours and very good friends. Namera had three children while Rafana was barren. Namera had lots of fruit trees in her yard which were all filled with fruits, but there was one tree among the lot which did not produce any fruits. She would condemn this tree and rebuke it of being barren like Rafana; she would even say this in the presence of Rafana, totally disrespecting her feelings. Rafana would feel hurt and upset at such remarks, but never said anything to Namera, for she valued and respected their friendship dearly.
Namera also had a beautiful pond in her backyard, which had a constant supply of fresh black water leading from a nearby canal. Her husband built a bridge to cross over to the canal, and just beside the bridge was this tree which Namera hated.
As much as the tree was a nuisance to Namera, it was also very useful to her. Not in the form of bearing fruits, but it was providing cool shade on the bridge where she enjoyed doing her laundry. She was so obsessive over this tree not bearing any fruits; that she was totally blind to the goodness in it. She mentioned to her husband (Abdul) that she would like to get rid of this tree for it is useless. He was surprised at her request; he knew that she did not like the tree, but he never believed that she hated it this much, so as to get rid of it. He tried to talk her out of it by explaining that it is such a beautiful tree, and it provided cool shade over the bridge for her when she has to do her laundry, but she totally ignored him and insisted on getting rid of it. Abdul, who was a faithful husband, and who have great love for her, he always liked to please her, and so he gathered a few of his friends to help him cut the tree down. During the process of cutting down the tree, his heart went deep into grief, firstly for the tree and secondly for the blindness and stubbornness of his wife. He prayed, O! my Lord, expand my breast, make my task easy for me, remove the impediment from my speech so that my wife may understand what I say.
A few days later after the tree was gone, Namera was very unhappy and miserable; Abdul asked her, “What is the matter with you now? You should be happy for I have granted you your request, the tree is gone now.” She started to cry saying that she’d been having terrible headaches from the scorching sun after doing her laundry, and she would really like him to build a shed over the bridge for her. He told her, “Not until you go into repentance to Allah (swt) and go over to Rafana and apologize to her, for hurting her feelings. You were ungrateful and blind to the goodness and favours of Allah (swt); you despise that tree, even though it was useful to you. Allah (swt) created everything, including that tree, and you also hurt the feelings of your friend Rafana by taunting the tree, using her name in her presence as well, which is wrong. If you promise me that you will fulfill your duties to Allah (swt) and seek His forgiveness, only then I will build a shed for you, I do not want to pay the consequences for your mistakes in life.” She promised to fulfill his wish, but it was not her intention to fulfill her promise to him; it was mere lip service to get him to build the shed for her. Abdul waited to see if she was making any effort to repent, she kept on begging him to build the shed, and he kept on ignoring her, since he didn’t see she was making any effort to repent for her wrong doings as she promised. One day there was a very severe storm which completely destroyed the bridge. Now she was without the use of the bridge which made her daily tasks much harder. Abdul said to her, “This is the consequence of failing to fulfill your promise of seeking Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and Rafana’s as well; now you lost everything. It is indeed a lesson from Allah (swt).” Namera said, “I am sure it is a lesson for you, for failing to build me a shed, now you have to rebuild the bridge and at the same time you will build me a shed.” Abdul realized that he wasn’t going to get through to her heart, to make her repent for her wrong doings. He shook his head and felt pity for her over her blindness and decided to rebuild the bridge and also built the shed for her. In the process of doing the repairs, she came by and started laughing very loudly saying, “I was not wrong in the least, the bridge was destroyed for a reason, and that reason is for you to build my shed.”
He told her, “Even if the moon came down just above you, you will not see your mistakes in life, because you are heartless and blind towards the spiritual way of life.” (The kindness of Allah swt and His signs).
She was very annoyed; she grabbed hold of a piece of wood and threw it at him. In reaction, he jumped into the pond, landed on a log from the same tree that he cut down, punctured his heart and died shortly after.
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an:
And who does more wrong than one to whom are recited the Signs of his Lord, and who then turns away therefrom? Verily from those who transgress We shall exact (due) Retribution. 032:022
If we cannot grasp upon the signs of Allah (swt), in His creations around us, and we are told, or warned about it, and we ignore, laugh and mock at it (The signs of Allah), then we are totally wrong, for the worst and most hardened sinner is the man who Allah (swt) signs are actually brought home to him, but he ignore and mock at it. As we seen in Nameera’s action and the great tragedy that happened. Allah (swt) signs were in the blessed tree, which she arrogantly rebuked over and over. Her husband tried to show her several times, but she ignore him as well. Then Allah (swt) tried to warn her again by destroying the bridge, even to this she didn’t pay heed, but she mock and taunt her husband without any fear in her heart for Allah (swt) Almighty and His punishment. Indeed the good always pay for the bad, but on the other hand, the good (people) will achieve Jannat, while the bad will end up in the hell fire.
As to those who are rebellious and wicked, their abode will be the Fire: every time they wish to get away therefrom, they will be forced thereinto, and it will be said to them: “Taste ye the Penalty of the Fire, the which ye were wont to reject as false.” 032:020
When Allah’s (swt) punishment comes, there can be no turning back. He created man pure and virtuous and gave him intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. He surrounded man with all sorts of instruments of His grace and mercy. In spite of all this, if man distorts his own will and goes against Allah’s commands, yet Allah (swt) merciful doors of forgiveness will open to him, but if he turns a blind eye and change his own nature, or turn away from the beautiful things and gifts that he is blessed with and he becomes arrogant and ungrateful, then surely Allah (swt) will change his favourable position and send down His punishment to him. As we just learn from the actions of Nameera, how her arrogant and unjust actions towards her husband and her friend Rafana and to Allah (swt) favourable tree, caused her ill luck and tragedy.
This great tragedy made Namera realized how much she was wrong. She cried in regret, “My husband, my joy, my heart, my love and my pride, I have disobeyed you, I failed to fulfill my promises to you, I failed to recognize your spiritual light, which could have been useful to me, the chance to step out from the depth of darkness, now I am all alone. Your last words to me were, Allah’s (swt) beautiful moon, and right now I need this moon to light up my heart to give me peace and comfort, but as much as I need it, I will plead to Allah (swt) to forgive me for all my mistakes and to grant you the light of the beautiful moon, with everlasting peace and comfort, for you were indeed a loving, kind and very faithful husband to me. You have indeed suffered the consequences of my blindness, arrogance and stubbornness.
Some very valuable lessons we should pay heed to from this story:
- Listen to the people who have spiritual insight
- Do not rebuke a person of their illness.
- The importance of seeing the kind favours we are blessed with.
- The importance of being grateful to Allah (swt) Almighty.
- The importance of fulfilling your promises.