By Fatima Hasan
As a mother, there is so much that I wish I could teach you from my experiences. And I constantly worry that I will not be able to do so; that I will fail to teach you the most important of life lessons, getting caught up in the grind of everyday happenings. I also fear I will not be able to protect you from all the harms and hurts that will come your way. At times I wish I could build a shield, hug you tightly in my arms and never let you go. And yet I know that one day, this bundle of joy in my arms will grow up. She will leave the nest and go face the world. And I also know, deep in my heart, that every good, bad, ease, hardship, pain and joy that comes your way is not in my control and never will be. All I can do is help prepare you for this journey we call life. So if there is one lesson I wish I could teach you about life, it is this:
Don’t let your source of happiness be the externals in your life. Rather, let your sense of happiness derive from the internal, that is, within yourself.
It is true; there are many external things that will give you happiness. Toys, new clothes and shoes, yummy food, mouthwatering desserts, vacations, hanging out with friends, love from your parents, a new room, a fabulous job, admission to a prestigious university, your life partner and your children. All these things will undoubtedly bring much joy to your life, insha’Allah (God willing). However, what one needs to realize is that all these things are temporary, and hence the pleasure they cause is also temporary. Those very same friends who brought so much laughter into your life may one day move away from you and get busy with their own lives. That cake on which you were happily munching will finish. That new room/house you were excitedly decorating will get old. That spouse whose words made your heart melt with joy will say words that will make your heart ache with pain. Those same people who were admiring and praising you yesterday will be criticizing you tomorrow. Those parents who showered you with love and care will also scold you, discipline you and one day, they will die, leaving you feeling broken and empty.
Such is the nature of this world. It is a roller coaster ride. The more your happiness depends upon places, things and people, the more disappointed you will be. Why? Because the very things upon which you are depending are temporary and imperfect by nature. So what should one do? Lose all hope and thrive on hopelessness? No, the answer is for us to have hopes in the being that is perfect, free from flaw, the ever-living, the best of helpers. And that, my dear daughter, is Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). He alone will help you when all else fails. He alone knows your fears and will remove those fears from your heart. He alone knows the number of teardrops you have shed and why. He alone will respond to your calls whenever you call upon Him. He alone will love you unconditionally even when you have messed up. He alone will forgive you, even when you do not deserve to be forgiven. He alone will continue to care for you even when you have forgotten Him. He alone will heal your heart, when the world has broken it.
Whoever holds on tightly to Allah (swt) has held on to the best of handholds. Such a person will never feel lost, alone or scared.
Your strongest weapon in this world, my beloved daughter, is the light of iman (faith) in your heart. It is this light which should be your source of happiness. Trust me. You will be able to face all kinds of situations and circumstances, even the most difficult of them, with happiness and ease, if you make Allah (swt) your source of happiness. This is the path to ultimate peace and joy.