Reflections With the Divine

Lessons on a Journey by Train

By Syed Hanzala Rahman

It was 2:30 PM when we reached Bandra Terminus, Mumbai. Fifteen minutes back, we had come to know that our ticket to New Delhi (19 hours away) had not been confirmed, which meant that we would have to look for new tickets. There were three of us, about to leave for Delhi after a successful trip winning a National-level Competition. We were extremely confident that we would get the tickets.

Money can get us anything. If you have money in your pocket, you do not need to fear. Don’t worry, we will get to Delhi comfortably,”, said one of our friends, as we all smiled and nodded in approval. Suddenly, a travel agent appeared and he said that he would get us the tickets, but for that he will charge extra money. After some haggling, we ended up paying three times the amount for the tickets and got two separate tickets – our seats were confirmed only up to Surat, four hours away from Mumbai. However, the agent said that at Surat, the tickets will be confirmed in the same train, and we need not worry.

We boarded the train, and adjusted our luggage. The occupancy in the train was pretty low, and we sat comfortably, chit-chatting about whatever happened in the last two days in our Mumbai Trip. The Ticket Examiner came and asked for the ticket, and we told him the story. To our surprise, he said that we will not get any confirmed seat after Surat as seats were not only booked, but were also heavily wait-listed. He said that the agents at the Railway station always paint a rosy picture, and that nothing could be done. It came as a shock to us. We were duped. Surat was still two hours away, and we had started to worry as to what our journey would be like once we crossed Surat. We would either be asked to sit on the floor, or forced to leave the train.

We sat thinking about what to do next, when a sudden thought came to mind. Allah subahanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) says in the Qur’an:

“If Allah helps you none can overcome you, and if He forsakes you, who is there, after Him, that can help you.” (Qur’an, 3:160)

This verse so manifested itself at that point, and the fact that no amount of money can bring you comfort unless Allah (swt) wills became extremely evident. I felt guilty, as for a moment, I had believed that money would get me what I needed.

This verse however continues with the following:

“And in Allah (alone) let believers put their trust.” (Quran, 3:160)

And so I believed that Allah would take me out of this trouble. It was time for Asr, and then for Maghrib, and I offered my Salah (prayer). Thirty minutes now remained to reach Surat. I was getting edgy, although I believed that Allah (swt) would help us. Time quickly passed, and Surat arrived. Looking out of the glass panes, I grew more anxious as there was a huge crowd waiting to board the train. Suddenly, a bearded man wearing a skull cap appeared. He held a big suitcase and stood in line to get down the train. Suddenly, he turned back and said in a loud, yet pleasant tone to someone in Urdu—“Mushkil ke baad raahat aati hai” (After hardship comes ease). The next moment, he was gone.

Yes. I had got it. That was the moment I was looking for. My friend looked at me and said, “What hardship, what ease?” I had understood. I smiled, and then forgot everything that bothered me. Ease is around the corner, I felt. Allah says:

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.”(Quran, 94:6)

Just two minutes had passed that people started boarding the train. We found ourselves in a mess, as our seats had been occupied and we had been asked to stand up. But, now I was absolutely calm and I knew ease was near. As we started to move towards the next compartment, I saw a place where I could fit my suitcase in. It was a big suitcase and required a lot of space. There were six people sitting in that compartment, and when I asked them about the vacant space, they happily allowed me to fit my suitcase there. Not only that, they gave us places to sit, and we gratefully accepted their offer. Ease was here.

After some time had passed, I started feeling hungry and ordered food for myself. The food arrived, but the seat I was in wasn’t big enough. I stood up and asked a person for his vacant berth, and he too offered it to me without any hesitation. Ease, again. I rested on that berth for about two hours until he politely asked me to vacate, as he had to go to sleep. It was 10 PM and slowly people were getting their berths ready for sleep. I was continuously praying that we get a respectable place where we could at least sit, if not take a nap. We chatted with our co-passengers, telling them about the course we are pursuing, and out of nowhere, we found that one of them had booked three berths, but his child started to insist to sleep with her mother. This meant that he had an extra berth which was of no use for him. He gave us the berth and eventually, we slept till the morning with very little difficulty. Although it was not the most comfortable journey, we were saved from the disgrace of moving out of the coach or sleeping on the floor. By 5am, all three of us had got separate places to sleep. Allah (swt) says:

“Whoever fears Allah, Allah will find a way out for him (from every difficulty) and He will provide for him from sources that he could never have imagined.” (Quran 65:2-3)

We just cannot imagine, or put to words how Allah’s system works. He has His own ways, His own plans by which He helps us and teaches us that no matter what we do, we will never be successful in our endeavor if we do not have His support. He is the ONLY Sustainer, and the ONLY Helper.

Hundreds of train journeys like this happen every day, and thousands of people face similar situations, but what is important for us is that we try to understand the deeper meanings behind these Signs that Allah (swt) puts forward.

“And these examples We (Allah) put forward for mankind, but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allah and His Signs, etc.)” (Quran, 29:43

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  • Such beautiful lessons from such a mundane event, SubhanAllah. JazakAllah Khair for this great article.

  • Salam Oulaikum

    Brother, Thank you for sharing your story. I always face similar situation every time I am looking for plane tickets to go home with my wife and 2 kids. When I see the shocking prices on line I make a Duaa and ask Allah to help me find the cheapest and most convenient way to achieve my travel goals. Allhamdoulilah, I always come out a winner.

    Jazakum Allah Kheir

  • Assalamu alaikum wr wb
    I can so relate to this as whenever i have found myself in a situation which apparently seems impossible to overcome, Allaah helped me through sources i couldn’t even imagine, from being stranded and rescued in a completely remote area with a broken car to reaching home without even having enough fuel to make through otherwise, to being financially aided through someone everytime, right when i was completely broke, Subhan Allaah! There was a time when i’d panic in a situation like this and call almost everyone i knew for help and would end up being disappointed most of the times. I never called the one who was most near, who sees, hears, and responds in subtle ways. Merely placing trust in Him and knowing with full conviction that Allaah has the power and might to get me out of any situation. Oh Allaah, you have always been kind and Generous, even when disobeyed YOU. Illahi, make us all thankful and amongst those who truly believe and rely solely on YOU aameen.

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