This day last year I made a trip to a nearby waterfall and I saw a rainbow. It was almost a month before the day I lost my baby girl.
The photo just popped up in my newsfeed today as a memory from last year and I couldn’t look away. I had been thrilled to see the rainbow that day and thrilled to have made that refreshing trip to the falls just before it had started to get cold, dark and gloomy.
I found myself thinking about the symbolism of what I saw that day. I had no idea what was coming. I had no idea about the storm I was about to face in a month’s time. I had no idea about the waves that would come crashing over me. I had no idea about how my heart would never be the same.
But I also had no idea about how despite the storm that would send me crashing down, I would be able to stand up again. I had no idea I would be able to get through one of the hardest tests a parent can go through. I had no idea how much closer I would feel to Allah in that test. And I had no idea how Allah would pick me up in my lowest times and give me hope.
And I think that day Allah was showing me the rainbow as a promise of the good that comes after a storm. I would be facing a storm, but I would be able to get through it. Allah would give me strength and tranquility through His reminders. Allah would strengthen my heart and grant me peace. There would be mercy from Him even in this test. My little girl, even though she would be born sleeping, would be a mercy from Allah. She would be a source of bringing us closer to Allah, a source of strengthening our faith, a constant reminder for us of the Jannah we must strive for to join her in one day, inshaAllah.
We often fear the storms that life brings, but we forget that sometimes it is that very storm that drives us to find shelter with the only true shelter in this world and the next – Allah. Storms make us understand how vulnerable and powerless we really are and teach us to submit to Allah’s decree. And only that submission brings us the peace we were seeking all along. We realize that we can plan all we want, but only Allah’s plan prevails.
I read this quote by Yasmin Mogahed and it really struck a cord:
“Just as storms change the landscape of the earth, our hardships change the landscape of the heart.”
If we are able to weather the storm, we are able to emerge out of it stronger than before. After storms come promises of rainbows and sunshine. There is mercy from Allah even in the most difficult of situations. Allah promises endless reward for patience, the washing away of one’s sins and strength and tranquility of the heart and a focus on the greater treasure – Jannah. This world was never meant to be perfect and only when we see its imperfections and experience its pains do our hearts really yearn for the place where there will be no pain, no heart ache and no more tests – Jannah.
Muslim narrated the following hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ):
“A believer is like a stalk. The wind constantly shakes it; the believer is constantly struck by misfortunes. A hypocrite is like a cedar tree (seeming to stand firm) but once it is shaken it is rooted out (not to rise again.)”
Difficulties in this life strengthen us and act as a means of washing away our sins. And sometimes they bring with them a promise of tremendous reward if we are able to hold on firm to our belief.
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) also said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.” (Tirmidhi)
Allah says in the Quran: “Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah ” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised. We [angels] were your allies in the worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish].” (Al-Fussilat 41:30-31)
So, the next time you find yourself in a storm, turn to Allah’s shelter and don’t forget the rainbow and sunshine that will inevitably come after it. Allah will get you through it. He will heal you. And you will emerge much stronger than before.