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When encountering closed doors

Sometimes it feels as though life is a long corridor full of locked doors. You knock on each door, only to find that your entry is barred, no matter how many times you try to pass through.

You are not alone in feeling this way. Opportunities present themselves to us, in the form of marriage proposals, job offers and leadership positions, and then slip through our fingers by no fault of our own. I’ve been there. It’s hard to accept Allah’s decision over our own sometimes, especially when it’s something we want very badly.

How many times have we walked down that route? If only I had not done such-and-such I could have married him by now. If only I had put more effort into my application I could have received admission! I don’t understand why I didn’t get the job when I had all of the qualifications! And the list goes on and on.

Allah says in the Quran, “Indeed man was created hasty.” Our vision for ourselves is so shortterm that we can’t see beyond the immediate. The vision that Allah has for us is larger than our ability to foresee. We need to trust that Allah is taking care of us. His plan is complete in a way that we cannot fathom.

Closed doors are my biggest trial in life. They are the moments when I almost forget to say, Allah’s plan is long-term and far-reaching, and He knows the unseen and seen. He knows what I do not. They are also the moments when I draw the closest to Allah, because I learn to accept His decisions over mine. I learn to meet His care halfway with an equivalent amount of trust. I learn to accept that Allah loves me infinitely more than I love myself.

We burden ourselves with anxiety of the future, forgetting that the details of our life are already plotted and decreed. I’m tickled when I think about it. Seventy thousand years before the sky met the sea, it was written that I would meet my life partner. Yet, this reality is so easy to forget. It was one such instance when I had forgotten, that I heard this hadith:

A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, so and so would not have happened, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your “if” opens the (gate) for the Satan.

Depression and longing for that which Allah has not decreed for us makes us weak, be it a missed job opportunity, lost friendship, or failed competition. By the grace and mercy of Allah, there is good in both the strong and the weak believer. There’s something amazing about that thought. Even as a weak believer, who lost sight of Allah’s wisdom, you are still beloved to Him. However, as a strong believer, you are more beloved, because you are more of a benefit to society. You retain the capacity to assist more individuals, to provide sincere advice, and to develop the community as a mentally strong individual.

We are advised through this hadith to avoid the road leading to doubt and let our heart be filled with conviction that our fate was preordained. And if we do begin to lose heart, our words should be none other than:

QaddarAllah wa ma shaa fa’al

Allah decreed and He does whatever He wills

How firm were the Sahabah and Salaf in this conviction that any aspect of life, whether grief, sorrow, harm, benefit or provision, was Allah’s decision and that was the best for them. From a young age, they were taught that whatever hit you could never have missed you, and whatever missed you could never have hit you, whether harm or benefit.

As I close each chapter of my life—this book that is a never-ending work in progress—I am learning to come to terms with each decision that Allah has made for me. Sometimes, on quiet reflective nights, I ask myself: Is it easy to acknowledge that each missed opportunity was a blessing in disguise? No. Is it easy to look to the future instead of staying stagnated in the past and reminders of what could have been? No. Is it easier to give it all up and entrust all of my affairs to the One who loves me best? Always.

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