Conversation 1. Last week Mikhail shared an observation with me. “You know, papa, my friend isn’t very close to his father.” I asked for further information. “Well, not just with his father. He is also not that close with his mother and brother and sister too. I noticed.“
“Really?” I said. “Yes, Papa. His father builds a wall between them. And my friend helps him build that wall.”
How poignant, I thought, for a twelve-year old.
Then out of curiosity, I asked Mikhail, “Gee, that’s too bad, Mika. But compared to your friend and his dad, how would you rate our relationship?” In reply my son simply smiled and gave me an unqualified thumbs up.
Conversation 2. “You know, Papa…” Began my son one morning. “You actually look like a tourist. You don’t look like a lawyer.” I asked Mikhail why he thought so. “With your hat, walking stick and that pouch you look just like a tourist!”
I am not sure if this is a good thing. After all, I always wear a sling pouch. Where else would you carry your cellphone, wallet, book, rosary, pills, car keys, house keys, office keys, etc? And my constant hat-wearing is perhaps a little Victorian (and not to mention being a sunnah – tradition of the Prophet Muhammad) but that is simply who I am. Perhaps Mikhail noticed my disquiet and hesitation, because suddenly my son said, “It’s like every day you are excited to go out!”
Feeling Good. I don’t know why, but I am very gratified by the two observations of my boy. Firstly, I think we always like to think we have a close connection with our child, be it a daughter or a son. It is nice to know our child thinks so too!
But perhaps most importantly, Mikhail is indeed right. On most days I am excited when I step out of the door of my house. To the extent I am able to, I feel the world is my own private oyster, and we can partake whatever good we desire from it …As long as it is goodness we are looking for. Because I believe God does give us what we desire. So if we go about a misery-gut, looking at the world and its creatures in all that negativity that mankind so easily generates, well, can you blame Allah Almighty if that is what we find? …Sadness and sorrow, every where. World-weariness and hate around every corner. Who wants this?
Feeling God. No, I am happy to be happy and to look for happiness. But it is no good putting a bag over our head and expect people to all be like saints and angels. Because people like you and me, we are weak. We can be sincere of course, but we can also be sincerely wrong and foolish. It is hard for humanity to carry alone the weight of expectations of an unconditional love. But at the end of the day, that is what we still desire – Unconditional love, a love that does not finish however much that love is given and shared, a love that exists pre eternity and post eternity. A love undiminished over time, no matter our sins, no matter our mistakes. A love that sustains our existence for every second we live, regardless if we are even aware of such a love. A love that assures but also tests us to raise us closer and closer to His love. To make us the best that we are meant to be, particularly unique to our own individual fitra (essence). It is this love, truest and all-encompassing, that we all manifestly need.
Such a love is only with God, Allah (swt), and His Habibullah, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws) is the master, guide and God’s own manifestation of His Divine love. Thus we are advised by our shaykh (master) to step over the threshold of our home and our breath to search for this True Love, and that is ultimately God – as reflected by one of His ninety-nine names, being al Wadud, the Most Loving, the Most Affectionate, the Source and Originator of all love and loving kindness. And we are encouraged to seek Him through His Habibullah (Beloved of Allah (swt)). Our acceptance of this quest, this mission, this purpose alone is a victory in itself. So how can one not step out into the world feeling excited, feeling good, feeling God?
He he he. It is funny, sunshine. You know, I never plan where our conversations will end. It started with a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart talking to my son. And now it has led me here, to you. I am thankful to God for such mercies…
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way