His eyes bulged, his jaw dropped, and he clapped his hands excitedly as he jumped up and down. And this was all before I took it out of the box. I had just bought my seventeen-month-old son, Ibrahim, a talking, singing Elmo. When I opened the box, Ibrahim grabbed Elmo and hugged him. They’ve been practically inseparable since. Elmo eats with him, sleeps with him, rides his toy car with him, and even takes medicine with him. Ibrahim was in love.
When I saw Elmo at the store, I knew Ibrahim would like him, but I didn’t predict this memorable reaction. He had never reacted to any other toy like that. When I thought back, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had gone out and bought him a toy myself. But who could possibly be better suited to pick out something he would like? I carried him in my womb for nine months, I spent practically every waking hour of his life with him—I know him best.
I know where he is most ticklish; I know what color food he particularly likes to eat; I know how he likes to be held when he’s sick. And he’s never expressed any of these things to me in words; he can barely speak. As I reflected in awe at how well I knew my son, a thought struck me: Allah (swt) knows me—and knows you—even better than that.
Allah knows the last fleeting thoughts that drift through my mind before I sleep; He understands the complex motivations behind my actions; He is with me when I cry into my pillow at night and no one is there but Him. As Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein [50-16].” The jugulars veins are large and are located at the neck, making them quite vulnerable to attack. It is as if Allah (swt) is telling us that He is with us at our most vulnerable. He is entirely aware of what nobody else seems to understand; He understands what we wish we could put into words.
I imagine that when Ibrahim can say more than Mama and Daddy, I will be more capable of meeting his needs. This reminds me that Allah tells us to simply call on him when we are in need. In Surat Al-Naml , He reminds us, “Is it not He who listens to the distressed soul when it calls on Him and who relieves its suffering”. It’s not a coincidence that He says something similar in Surat Al-Baqara : “And when My servants ask you about Me, then indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls Me.” It ‘s not that Allah needs us to tell him what we need; rather, when we call on Him, we testify that He alone can calm our fears, ease our pain, and bring peace to our hearts.
Bushra is from Toronto, Canada. She has a Master’s degree in business and has now put her Phd in Organizational Behaviour on hold to stay at home with her toddler, Ibrahim. She loves to write because, unlike toddlers, writing makes sense.