The early hours of a Sunday morning are mine. No work, No school assignments and Hubby is not often around to be taken care of. I am completely alone “freewheeling” to do anything I like. Most of these days, I have spent the time going through my school work, cuddling up in bed with a pillow and a book, sometimes with a cup of coffee on the bedside stool and most times, just penning down a few reflections of mine in my random journal. As long as I can remember, I never fully appreciated how 24 hours of my day could slip through the spaces between my fingers and I end up asking myself at the end of it all “What have I learnt today?”. As the days come and go, routines double up and difficult choices must be made if only to live a productive life.
In addition to being a full time post graduate student of International law, having to meet up with a deadline within which to complete my dissertation, I have a “writing challenge” of 50,000 words before the end of the next three months and just how I’m supposed to achieve that is the least comprehension for me right now. Plus, I have also been thinking about what to do with my life. Should I enroll myself in an Arabic class? Which I think is very important for me at the moment or should I just concentrate on setting up my own office? All these thoughts flow in and out of my overcrowded head and in the middle of it all, I take a deep breath and think more of how to be thankful to my creator, reminding myself that my life will take a course that has been destined for me even though, by my own will, I try to set things straight. My mind flashes back to what happened at a military parade a few months ago and how I had learnt in the most beautiful ways the interwoven relationship between Qadr and free will.
My mind flashes back to what happened at a military parade a few months ago and how I had learnt in the most beautiful ways the interwoven relationship between Qadr and free will.
The intricate relationship between Qadr and free will had always been a difficult puzzle for me to solve. As a child, I tried to make sense of how I could possess a free will when Allah was in total control of everything. How could I possess a free will when Allah remains the All knower, the All seer, the omnipotent and the best disposer of the affairs of the whole universe. But then, something happened in October 2015 during a military parade and that veil of confusion was totally lifted.
The whole of 2015 found me deeply engaged in a compulsory National Youth service in my country. Corps members were required to go through a three – week military training in a military camp. During that period, we went through a lot of rigourous exercises which included physical training, routine training and military parade which I loved so much. All these were not new to me as a result of the experience I acquired as a high school student in a military school. However, I experienced a lot of setbacks considering the fact that I was observing the Hijab against the provision of the bye law on dress code which was to the effect that corps members were to be fully kitted in their face cap, crested vest and khaki trousers tucked into their jungle boots. I complied with the requirement except that I wore a comfortably sleeved thigh length hijab on top of my crested vest. At first, no one complained about my hijab and as a result of my outstanding display of knowledge and skill in the parade, i was one of the few who were selected for the final military parade during the passing out ceremony.
To my utmost dismay, a week before the final parade, the camp commandant announced that hijab was not allowed for the parade and that if I couldn’t take it off, I would be automatically disqualified. I was left with a choice; to comply or not to comply. I decided to leave the training ground for it was better to sacrifice what I craved so much for the sake of Allah. If taking part in the parade meant that I would displease Allah, then, I would rather opt out. And so I did.
But then, the Qadar of Allah interceded when I least expected it.
The day came; my last day in the service, which was automatically the day of the passing out parade. I was sitting quietly in the midst of my other spectating platoon members, ready to watch how the whole ceremony unfolds. The programme was about to commence when I heard my name from a roaring voice. “Wardah! Where are you?” It was my platoon commander. I spontaneously rose to my feet in response to his call. When he spotted me, he walked down to me and told me to get fully kitted to join the parade to which I replied that I couldn’t be involved if it meant taking off my hijab. “Who cares about hijab?” He blurted out. “Double up and join the rows”.
I was dumb founded. “subhanAllah!”, I muttered to myself, close to tears. This was destiny. For the very first time, I fixed the puzzle. The relationship between Qadr and free will was unraveled before my very eyes. It was Allah’s time to teach me what I couldn’t comprehend for almost a lifetime. It was my destiny to take part in the final parade. If I had taken off my hijab, of course, I would still be amongst the rows. But it was by free will that I chose whether or not to compromise my hijab. This seemingly minor event became a life teacher. The result was the same at the end – I took part in the final parade and I ended up wearing my hijab.
So as I worry about what readings to download for the next chapter in my dissertation and simultaneously think about how to go about realizing my dreams of becoming a smart, financially independent Muslimah and maybe enroll myself in Arabic classes at the same time, I am reminded to leave all my affairs to Allah and concentrate on what I have handy at the moment because I never can tell when Allah might just bless me with the gift of another unraveling knowledge to proceed in life.