Last week I was honoured to attend the launch of the very beautiful book written and produced by Daniel Thomas Dyer entitled ‘The 99 Names of God’. So today, the exalted day of Friday, as I sat in reflection and supplication, I was reminded of the beautiful names attributed to God; the Compassionate (Ar-Rahman), the Merciful (Ar-Raheem), the Majestic (Al-Jalil) the Ever Forgiving (Al-Ghaffar) and I thanked the Almighty for all those blessings that he has bestowed upon me and my family. I prayed for the souls of the departed; my wonderful parents who taught me that faith and the world go hand in hand. Do not over-indulge in either that we neglect and forget the other. I remembered my wonderful husband and children, working hard in the world to enable them to succeed (whatever that success might look like) and prayed that Our Creator protect them and keep them safe, grounded and focussed on what is right and moral. I remembered my friends’ mother who died just a few weeks ago and how I was reminded at the funeral of my own mothers’ final journey 27 years ago. I prayed for another friend who cares so beautifully for her elderly parents whilst working yet still finds time to support the homeless every week. And above all I beseeched our Lord to cure those who are suffering, sick and in pain and grant them healing.
We must always remember that the world is not just about me and mine. We are just one tiny dot in a much bigger picture. This week, the terrorist attacks in Pakistan and the indiscrimate killing of men women and children have left me nauseous – especially as I was in both the affected cities in December. I remembered those who are living their lives under constant threat of death in war zones and I thought of those whose lives are dominated by fear and the despair that is sweeping across the world that doesn’t look like dissipating.
As Muslims we say ‘God knows best’ why these things happen and why the world is in the mess it is. But I recall the verse in the Quran “And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.” (Verse (6:59) Sura Al An’am) We bear our pain and our burdens with the belief that God is with us. He helps and supports us through the bad times and shares our joy in the good. And whatever befalls us we say “Alhamdulillah” – all praise belongs to God. For he is indeed The Knower of All, Al Alim.