How a ‘small mercy’ transformed a horrible day
“So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?”— the Koran, 55:13
Have you ever read the story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst?
It's a children's story, a really good one, my grandchildren love the story and I've read it many times to them. The title summed up my day on Wednesday. Everything seemed to be going wrong; what should have been simple routine tasks were turning into disastrous situations.
My fasting also wasn't going very well. I actually was hungry, very hungry, and thirsty for coffee and in a foul mood. To top it off, I needed to go shopping. I decided to walk to the store with my knapsack on my back, thinking a good walk and breathing in some fresh air would help change my mood.
I did my shopping which put me in a better mood. By Allah's mercy, my hunger pangs went away and I began to feel the spirit of Ramadan returning to me, Alhamdulilah (an Arabic phrase meaning “praise be to God”).
So here I am feeling so much better as my day was finally shaping up. I had my knapsack on my back, filled to capacity with groceries, maybe too full – sometimes I forget, that I'm not that spring chicken I used to be and I overdo it.
Anyway, my back is strained with this heavy knapsack plus I had about seven items in a plastic bag that I was carrying. Guess what? The handle of the bag broke and out fell my groceries! I'm in the middle of nowhere with a handful of groceries tumbling onto the street … my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day had returned for sure!
After a few minutes of being in shock over my crazy situation, you'll never believe what happened. I certainly couldn't believe what came my way, blowing in the wind – a plastic bag; a strong one at that. I couldn't believe it!
I thought, is this for real? Will I pick up a bag off the street? Who might see me do such a thing? But then, I desperately need a bag. How could I let pride let this pass me by? I needed a bag!
Suddenly the ayat from the Holy Koran came to me: “So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?” (55:13). The name of the surah is so appropriate and rightly named “Ar-Rahman” which is one of Allah's names that translates into “The Merciful”.
And yes, that bag blowing in the wind towards me was indeed a mercy from The Merciful God who is always there to shower mercy upon us, no matter how big or small. I for one, was most grateful for that “small mercy”, what some may think was nothing.
I grabbed that bag, stuffed my groceries into it happily and gratefully. I then walked on with a pep in my step carrying my heavily loaded knapsack, my windblown bag in my hand and grateful that I did not deny the favours of my Lord!
So as we enter into the second part of Ramadan, the ten days of forgiveness, I know more amazing things will occur that involve Allah’s forgiveness because the past ten days of mercy have been full, in fact loaded with immeasurable mercy.
Allah has divided Ramadan into three stages: mercy, forgiveness, and protection. Even though the whole month of Ramadan is blessed, it’s good to consider each part in its own context. I eagerly look forward to the next ten days as we enter into the light of Allah's forgiveness.
Tell them, (O Prophet): “My servants who have committed excesses against themselves, do not despair of Allah's mercy. Surely Allah forgives all sins. He is most forgiving, most merciful.” (Koran, 39:53)
• Linda Walia Ming is a member of the Bermuda Hijab Dawah Team, a group of Muslim women who reside in Bermuda and have a goal of educating the community about the religion of Islam
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