Trenches of Protection


A friend of mine, who is also a fellow blogger, often comments on the following ayat: “And whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Quran 65:2-3) I never tire of the emphasis he puts on the part about Allah delivering us in ways we do not expect, but in recent months I would secretly wish that I myself would find this surprising rescue whenever I read his posts.  I was enamored with the beauty of the idea, but I felt that I was being excluded from the experience of it.

…Until last night. After writing yesterday’s post, I was dejected all day. Not in any corner of my mind did I anticipate that I would find relief from the variable emotions that have been besieging me in my current freefall.  I knew that one’s outlook is the key to all victories, but I just could not muster the inspiration to change my own.

When I came home from work last night, my husband and children were watching an animated movie detailing the life of Prophet Muhammad (saws).  I sat down with them to enjoy the movie, feeling some sense of comfort as I took in the beautiful accounts of Muhammad’s (saws) life.  I was nearly moved to tears several times, and I felt that the inspiration of his life is ever so timeless. It truly seems like I am hearing his story for the first time, every time it is recounted.

The film came to the part where the companions and citizens of Medina were fearing yet another battle with the Meccans, who had steadily increased the number in their army against the Muslims.  Indeed, these believers felt that all hope was lost as another attack was being planned to overtake their city.  The Muslims decided to dig a large trench around the city with the hope that the Meccans would not be able to cross it and enter the city gates. Fortunately, their strategy worked, and the Meccans were finally overcome when a dust storm ravaged their military encampments. Finally, the Meccans would surrender to the power given to Muhammad by Allah alone.

As I sat there, it was hard not to be reminded of the deep chasms that I wrote about in my last post. It was impossible not to compare the chasms that I felt we were surrounded by in the dark room with the trench around Medina. When I wrote yesterday about my fear while being in darkness and danger, the assumption I had been making was that the danger was in that room where we were.  I didn’t even stop to think that maybe we were safer in that room than out of it.

Seeing the reality from another angle, as inspired by the Medinian trench, I began to realize that perhaps those crevices are not fatal traps. Perhaps they were placed as protection to keep us in safety and to keep those that would harm us away from where we are.  Perhaps the darkness is not to frighten and confuse us, but to hide us in a protective covering.  Perhaps we are being hidden from our own enemies, much as the Prophet (saws) and Abu Bakr were when they hid in the dark cave as they fled from Mecca. Perhaps the darkness is really to confuse those enemies and blind them from where we safely are.  Perhaps those snakes are not a threat to us, but a threat to whomever would come and harm us. Those snakes, those chasms, and that darkness, they are helping us…not harming us.

Being able to see things from this perspective, such a contrast from the one I shared yesterday, was indeed a rescue from Allah from a direction I did not expect.  I began to see that I don’t have to spend my days desperately looking for a route of escape, because in truth we are in the safest of places. I don’t have to spend my time trying to plan a way to an exit, all the while feeling frustrated and futile.  I don’t have to fall asleep with anxiety about our circumstances, because we are in the best of circumstances. One day, at just the right time and when it’s perfectly safe for us, the lights in that dark room will  brazenly ignite and the exit route will be clear and easy to navigate. Instead of crawling in the darkness and vainly seeking freedom, we will be able to walk easily and swiftly to our release.  Liberation will be effortless and sure, instead of exhausting and uncertain.

Since this realization, I have been more at peace. I have had no compulsion to try to “figure out what to do” as I have been for so many weeks and months. What to do will be made perfectly clear, and the means to do it will be readily accessible. I know now that my only duty is to patiently wait and share joyous stories of hope with my husband. I will be grateful for the pits, the snakes, and the darkness, because I know now that they are keeping our greater enemy outside of these walls at bay.

The truth is, when that time comes, that moment of freedom, I still may be the only one who makes it there. There is still a chance my husband is given a different freedom than mine, and we may part at that time.  However, Allah unexpectedly rescued me from that concern as well, by sharing with me the words of a wise and well-spoken sister.  What she said is too long to recount or expound on at this moment, but feel free to explore it for yourself here:

Thank you Allah for showing me a way out of the prison of my mind, my circumstances, and my fears in a way I would have never expected.


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