I returned to the DC Hidayah Conference this weekend to keep the spiritual momentum of the retreat going, but I was largely disappointed. I know, I know–it wasn’t a retreat, but if I’m going to sit in lectures all day, can’t I expect the speakers to humor me? A little? I felt like I was sitting in my old art history classes in college, being talked at, rather than spoken to on a conversational basis. That being said, I must be honest–I left around 3pm. Sure, I wanted to see Eddie of The Deen Show and the premier of his autobiographical movie, From Dunya to Deen–I’m sure I would have loved that, but as is always my excuse, motherly duties called. Truly, the main highlight of the conference while I was there was the bazaar. I’m sporting a henna tattoo alongside the Al-Amanah Designs Graphic Tees and Modern Mary designs that I picked up this weekend. But if I could offer some advice…what would really help this conference perhaps is 1) starting on time, 2) having a bigger turnout which goes in hand with 3) having more motivational and inspirational speakers rather than lecturers. Nevertheless, we need to support the good efforts of our brothers and sisters! So I was there–there is always something to learn or to be reminded of, and I did pick up one particular gem from the talks on Saturday morning that inshAllah will be of benefit to you as well.
A young man by the name of Taha Adeseun presented a talk on Allah’s Attribute of Al-Wadud (The Loving One) especially in relation to forgiveness. In particular, he contrasted Allah’s Name, Al Wadud with the more commonplace term for love in Arabic (hob, habeeb), evincing that Al Wadud is an active, dynamic love demonstrated by Allah’s Actions, not a passive feeling of love that we often find solely expressed in our hearts (hob). He called his lecture, “A Royal Proclamation of Love.” And in it he said that one of the greatest signs of Allah’s Love is that no matter how many times we offend Him, He is accepting of our repentance and turns to us. Furthermore, He descends to the lowest heaven on account of us, ready and willing to hear our pleas and forgive us.
But we don’t do the same when someone offends us.
We usually don’t want anything to do with the one that offends us, whether we forgive him or not. And if we do decide to forgive him, he must prove himself in so many ways before we trust him again. We don’t descend, we get up on a high horse about the matter, turning away from those who wrong us.
But Allah turns towards us and comes towards us, when we are the ones needing to turn toward Him and come toward Him.
He is always Able and Ready to accept us, while we are the ones who oppress ourselves by depriving our souls of turning to this beautiful, unconditional Love.
Just some thoughts to ponder…and two hadith qudsi…
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
Allah revealed to my dear brother Uzair, “Oh Uzair! If a calamity befalls you, do not complain to my creation (to the people). How much wrong you have done to me and I never complained to my angels (about you). Oh Uzair! Disobey me as much as you can bear my punishment, and ask me your needs according to your good deeds towards me, and never feel secure of my decision (punishment) until you enter my paradise.” Then Uzair started shaking and crying. So Allah revealed to him, “If you disobey me out of ignorance, I forgive you out of my mercy, because I am Generous and don’t wish to punish my creation, as I am the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”
“I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”
May we be of those who turn to Him, dusting our foreheads in sajdah where we are closest to Him and find the tranquility and peace of Al Wadud. May we be of those who descend in order to ascend in the Most Loving Atmosphere. Amin!