It was just like in the movies. Life paused for a second and I was lost in a sea of blankness. All of a sudden reality came rushing in. The sound of my 2 and a half-year-old daughter screaming in terror was followed by the sound of my heart pounding and heavy panting as I scrambled to look for my glasses.
We were hit from behind as we were making a left turn in the car.
I hugged my daughter tightly after I took her out of her car seat. As I stumbled out I heard a voice behind a blurred face saying, “I am so sorry, I did not see you.” Sirens came rushing in from the distance, police redirected traffic and EMTs checked us out and announced that we were okay. The police officer finished his report and I walked over to the Wrangler and grabbed some personal belongings before the tow truck took it away.
It was all a deafening blur.
A week later I went to see the mechanic. He stated the car was totaled as he showed me where it had buckled in the back and in the middle. I saw the trunk door bent in only a few inches from the back of my daughter’s car seat. Shards of glass glistened all over the backseat. The mechanic looked at me and said, “That was a big hit. You are lucky you walked out of this okay.”
Lucky? No such thing as luck.
“And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.” (Qur’an, 6:59)
Subhan’Allah (glory be to Allah). When I recount the story, I actually start a couple of days before the accident. My mother-in-law was visiting so I moved my daughter’s car seat from its usual location to make room. I also did something different. I decided to tether the car seat to a hook in the back of the Wrangler. It was completely random, at least I thought. That tethering saved my daughter, by the will of Allah, because when I went back to look at the car seat the buckle had come off and the car seat was not attached to anything except that tether.
“And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an, 16:18)
I would have been justified had I yelled, screamed or even charged the guy whose car hit us. The accident took place four hours after my wife gave birth to our son. I had taken my daughter out to lunch to celebrate and to give my wife a couple of hours of rest. Our beautiful day of joy was marred by his negligence and the outcome could have been much worse for me or, God forbid, for my daughter. But, subhan’Allah all I could think of as I staggered out of my wrecked car with my daughter tightly in my arms was, “Alhamdullilah, praise be to God, we are both safe.”
It was at that moment, the moment when I made the conscientious decision to accept God’s plan and be thankful – not bitter, that I was overcome with a sense of peace and serenity. It was at that moment that I fully understood what Allah says in Surat al-Hadeed,
“No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah , is easy – ”
“In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful – ” (Qur’an, 57:22-23)
Trials and tribulations are part of life. We all get tested and in various ways. Allah says in Surat Al-Baqarah:
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient.” (Qur’an, 2:155)
The constant in the above ayah is the fact that we will be tested; the variable is our response to the test. For us to gain the Boshra (glad tiding) promised by Allah, we must be patient and patience is strengthened by faith and faith is strengthened by being tested. Hasbuna Allah wa ni`m al-wakeel (Verily Allah is most sufficient for us and He is the best sustainer) is a statement that always rolled off my tongue; but I never really fully grasped what it meant until the accident.