21st November, 10 am: All schools close and everyone is sent home in preparation for the storm that would soon make its way to the city.
Citizens wait in anticipation, wondering when the heavy, looming grey clouds will decide to unload their burden and shower the Earth with their boon.
Their patience finally pays off at 12:30 am on the 22nd of November, as a flash of lightning brightens up the sky. In order to get a perfect view of the rain throughout the night, I made a makeshift mattress just beneath our window and fell asleep with the cool breeze blowing on my face.
At 3:45 am, I was awoken because of rain drops falling all over my feet. As I turned to the window, a series of lightning flashes met my eyes, and I prepared myself to enjoy the stunning view.
The flashes got more frequent, the rumbling got louder, and the rain started falling faster. I held my blanket close. My thunder phobia started creeping all over me, and I sunk deeper and deeper into my blanket until I finally covered my ears with it to block out the fearsome sounds.
I made my way to the hall balcony to distract myself, dragging my blanket with me. Even though my blanket was nothing more than a bunch of cotton threads weaved together, having it with me made me feel safe. I had a shield to protect me from the dangers of the storm going on before me.
As I sat on the sofa to watch the stormy scene, my eyes fell on two men, absolutely drenched, scampering beneath the building, looking for shelter from the pounding rain and raging wind. And as bolts of lightning cracked the sky, I realized that sometime in the future, I’m going to see this exact same scene again, on a day commonly known as The Day of Reckoning.
The ongoing storm was a preview of the Might of Allah (SWT) that we will all glimpse on that day, a day that mountains will crumble, the sun will descend, Heaven and Hell shall be brought forth and the Earth shall split to allow all its inhabitants, from Adam to the End, to make their way to the courtroom of The Almighty.
The scampering men were the sinners, oppressors, God-deniers, ungrateful servants, running helter-skelter, in search of any refuge from the disaster they will be made to face.
Then there were the Believers, clinging on to their book of good deeds, the way I held onto my blanket. The deeds that we shall have to present to Allah (SWT) on that day are in reality, as capable of saving us from the Wrath of Allah (SWT) as my blanket would be able to prevent a bolt of lightning from making its way through my window and electrocuting me. Yet, we shall hold on to our insignificant deeds, taking them where ever we will go on that day, hoping that they may provide some protection, some help against the events of that Yawn ul Hashr.
And lastly, there will be those people who shall be calm, oblivious to what’s going on, relaxing on thrones and eating fruits to pass their time, like those who peacefully slept through the thundering city storm.
As I continued to watch the full-of-life sky, a plane made it’s way towards it, almost flinging itself onto the thunder, and I stared amazed as not one, not two, rather 6 daring planes took off into the night! I watched shell-shocked as they disappeared into the flashing sky.
I smiled. When you’re staring awe-struck at a cosmic display of power, imagining what this thunderous scene would look like from above the Earth, your mind tends to get overwhelmed with the Ultimate and Complete power of Allah (SWT), and you start to think about your own insignificance and may even question what, if any, is your worth?
But those planes reminded me, that though we humans are, at an average, 5 feet tall beings, with small digits for fingers and toes, a hole for a mouth, a collection of grey mushy stuff for a brain, living on one tiny planet in one tiny solar system, in one tiny galaxy, of an ever-expanding universe, YET, we humans, if we put our mind to it, can manage to come up with ways of overcoming the challenges of nature itself. We were capable of the impossible, and with will power and determination, the Human Race was invincible, because, from all of Allah (SWT)’s Magnificent Creations, it is we, and we alone, who are The Best Of Creations!
A Hadith of Imam Ali (as) springs to mind:
‘You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe … … Therefore you have no need to look beyond yourself. What you seek is within you, if only you reflect..’
As the storm subsided, the rain slowed down and clouds cleared, the sound of the Adhaan reached my ears from the Masjid nearby. It reminded me of a fashion show, how the designer comes forward to take their final bow, after displaying all their amazing work. After God showed off His Absolute Power to the world, His servants then came forward to proclaim and admit His Greatness. As two Adhaans clashed with each other, I realized that there could have been no better ending to this wonderful night, than the sounds of Allahu Akber echoing everywhere…
May Allah (SWT) Guide us to use our intellect and potential as Human Beings in the best possible way, and may we be Blessed with an abundance of opportunities to do good deeds in order to help us on the day when man shall have no helper. Ameen.
To explore more on the themes of this blog post, take a look at the following texts on the Al-Islam.org library:
Hadith e Mufaddal
God and His Attributes
Resurrection Judgement and the Hereafter
Reflections on the Munajaat of Imam Ali (a)