By Hiba Khan
Have you ever felt so exhausted, so crushed and so in despair that you simply could not fathom your world being good again? One thing after another crashes against your weary, bruised existence and the color begins to drain from your life. I have been there, and however bizarre this may sound, I would not change it for the world.
It was during this difficult time that I reached what felt like an epiphany. I came across a plant called ‘The Rose of Jericho,’ originating from the same family as Lichen. They are known commonly as Resurrection plants, and as suggested by the name, are capable of some extraordinary feats. These incredible entities can survive months and even years of extreme dehydration and desiccation, during which they shrivel up and appear entirely dead. But add a few drops of water and within hours, leaves unfurl and color shifts from brown to green, life appears to return. A phenomenon that baffled scientists for years, because, to put it simply, according to basic accepted laws of biology, this should not happen. In the face of such adversity, lack of sustenance and ruthless battering of the elements, they should die and be gone for good. But they do not. They defy all odds, all that is expected and logical, and they spring back into beautiful form.
God constantly places signs for us in His creation, but He requires us to see them. For me, this almost surreal encounter was a wake up call and a restoration of spirit during my time of adversity, when sustenance seemed scarce and the elements ruthless. We are not in control of our circumstances, but we are in control of ourselves, and that is what defines us. I decided not to fall victim and fail the tests I was presented with, I would fight, defy the odds, and survive. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes years, and everyone’s fight is different, but while we have faith, we have hope.
Prophet Ayoub (Job) `alayhi as salaam (peace be upon him) lost his livelihood, his wealth, his family and then his health. Picture this for a minute, one by one, everything you consider important and essential, gone. Through the loss, the devastating and infuriating pain he must have felt, he kept his sights on His Lord. He saw that God brought him to this position on the physical plane in order to elevate him on the spiritual one. And after years of steadfastness in faith and utmost patience despite a broken heart, difficult conditions and an agonizing disease, God gave back to Ayoub (as) everything that had been taken, along with much, much more.
Nothing good comes easy. Know that the best of humanity were tested almost to breaking point, and Your Lord is the Most Compassionate and Most Wise. Step up your worship, focus your sights on He who is able to do all things, He who gives life and takes it, He in whose hand is the entire world. No matter how many pieces your heart has broken into, how disenchanted and disheartened you feel, if you have become even a tiny bit closer to Allah, subhanahu wa ta`la (exalted is He), it was worth it. Hang in there, and no matter how hopeless your situation may seem, things will get better insha’Allah (God willing).
There is a Japanese tradition called kintsukuroi, in which cracked pottery is repaired using gold or silver. Just as the pottery is even more stunning and precious for having been broken, so will you be. Now etched with the beautiful tracks of survival, the piece takes on an even more valuable lease of life, as will you.
Turn to Allah (swt), and through Him, make up your mind to survive. Like the Prophets and the plants, repair your existence with the metaphorical gold that is faith, and be all the more beautiful for it.