Resentment or Reward?

I have a vision of how I want to earn the pleasure of Allah (swt). This vision is filled with intensive learning, spiritual halaqas, and being in the company of those who fill me with His remembrance. I yearn for a deeper understanding of the Qur’an, learning the etymology of the rich Arabic words that are pregnant with meaning. I dream of going abroad, praying fajr in different masaajid, sitting at the feet of learned scholars, going from one spiritual high to the next. I find myself daydreaming of Mecca and Madina, making sajda in the Prophet’s mosque, performing tawaaf around the Ka’ba.

A tiny part of me tries tirelessly to hold on to this vision and I hope, with the permission of Allah, that I will be able to fulfill at least a small fraction of it. Another part admonishes me for being so egocentric. “I mean, really, how self indulgent can you be?,” I hear it snickering.

“Do you want to go to Reviving the Islamic Spirit in Canada this year?” yes!

“Bayyinah is having a summer intensive in Texas. Would you like to sign up?” of course!

“There’s a revive tonight, can you make it?” umm..umm…

When the yeses transformed to only yeses in my heart, I began to feel a bit of resentment towards the responsibility I had towards my daughter. Gone are the summers that I can spend traveling abroad for intensive study and the nights of Ramadan devoted to worship in the masjid. “This is ruining my plan to get closer to Allah,” I would lament. Of course, the thought was never that blatant, but with every missed opportunity to learn and grow, desperation grew in its place.

These thoughts, never vocalized but always present as unwelcome guests, are the reason for much agitation during my day to day activities. However during one long car ride to New York, I realized something strangely reassuring that has helped subdue those feelings. This is my plan to attain the pleasure of Allah and maybe what Allah really wants from me is to change a dirty diaper.

Maybe what He wants me to do is stay calm when I see Sumaya eating paper like a termite.

Maybe, through the destruction of my own ego and focusing instead on nurturing the beautiful soul that I have been given custody of, I can turn the emotions of resentment into a great reward.

And just maybe if I focus on wholly submitting myself to Allah’s plan, I will experience those spiritual highs through a kiss on the cheek, a playful smile, or the warmth of a long overextended bear hug.

Now, if I could only figure out how to jar it.

Marwa Aly

Marwa is a mother living in West Hartford, Ct. who constantly worries about the inedible objects that somehow find their way into her daughter’s mouth.

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