We all aspire, we have a desire, we hope to inspire. As I sat in my room alone, I gazed at the window hoping for a sign. Then I saw it, my 6 year old neighbour Zainab was running after her brother in their garden, but something was wrong. I got up from my bed and walked to the window sill and observed this beautiful child. As she ran, she limped and with a smile on her face she continued to play. I had grown up watching Zainab limp, but today was different. Today I had begun to appreciate her dedication and passion to be better, live better and do better than what others expected from her.
The words of my beloved Messenger come to mind when he said, “…so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise.” [1. Reported by Abu Hurayrah and reported in Bukhari Book #93, Hadith #519]
Islam is a way of life focused around aiming high, going for the best of the best, becoming the best of the best. Going past our own insecurities and the iron hand cuffs placed upon us by society, and by people who don’t believe in our potential. Just like a storm comes to an end, our insecurities will be blown away, shattered to dust, if only we are willing to let the storm pass and be that tree that remains standing, when everything is beaten to the core.
A blast from the past
We have Superstars from the past who taught us when you dream, you dream big, because Allah doesn’t want us to play small. Rather, if we’re going to show off, then we need to show off for Him!
Ibrahim and his clear vision
Ibrahim dreamed big! He asked Allah to make his nation believers. Ibrahim didn’t limit his prayer for his people, his family or community, he asked for you and I, he had long term vision and he worked for it. And look at you and I now, we are a living example of his dream, his aim and du’a. Truly Allah is AlMussawir, the Fashioner of all dreams. This genius is a man of du’a, he does not tire in asking, because he is aware that Allah is Al-Qadeer [The All-Capable] and if he’s going to ask the King of Kings, then he’s going to ask like a Superstar. And he does exactly this.
Musa and his sadness
Then you have Musa who was surprised that a man younger than him would lead a greater nation, his dream was huge! His aim was so high, and Allah did reward Musa as his nation will be the greatest nation after ours, the people of Muhammad .
Yusuf was the man!
This is a characteristic known in all of the Prophets, we have Yusuf who not only overcame every struggle, but when he was thrown into Prison he asked the prisoner to mention him to the King. “And he said to the one whom he knew would go free, “Mention me before your master.” [2. Surah Yusuf; 12:42]
He was thinking beyond what his eyes perceived. He was a Dreamer!
Asiya wants to close to her Beloved!
Asiya was no different; in her immense pain when she was being tortured she sought solace and asked Allah for a house next to Him! “And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.”” [Surah Tahreem; 66:11]
Did Asiya think small? She didn’t just ask for Jannah, she asked for the company of Allah , subhanAllah can it get any better than this?
The Messenger refuses to give up…
I want to bring you back to the Messenger of Allah when he was rejected by his own people, did he give up?! Never! In life we have aspirations, and these aspirations are broken by the easiest of tests. You can be stronger; you need to be a survivor!
He sent Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr to Medina to call them to Islam, and he did! Mus’ab aimed so high that in every household there was a believer, all through the efforts of this young man . Mus’ab wasn’t old, he was young like you perhaps. His passion for this religion led him to excel, he nurtured his zeal and he excelled. It started with the intention of living for the sake of Allah regardless of what happens, and that is what made him special, the very reason why I’m writing about him today.
A mother produces a mighty messenger!
Another example is of a mother , this mother wanted a child so she could dedicate him to the service of Allah , she had a vision that her child would be great. Did she let anyone stop her from aspiring so high? She didn’t, even when she unexpectedly had a girl, she made her vision a reality, she continued in her resolve even when she supposedly hit a dead end. She saw a light in the darkest of days and as she focused on this light and her hope caused her to believe.
Her daughter was the mother of Jesus one of the Mightiest Messengers known to Mankind.
Nuh (Noah) goes against nature
Then you have Nuh , he was ordered to build a ship in a desert.
Allah commanded: “And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Inspiration and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned.” [3. Surah Hud; 11:37]
Noah chose a place outside the city, far from the sea. He collected wood and tools and began to day and night to build the ark. His people’s mockery continued: “O Noah! Does carpentry appeal to you more than prophet-hood? Why are you building an ark so far from the sea? Are you going to drag it to the water or is the wind going to carry it for you?” Noah replied: “You will come to know who will be put to shame and suffer.”
As he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they made a mockery of him, they made him feel like nothing, dumb almost. He said : “If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking? And you will know who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace and on whom will fall a lasting torment.” [4. Surah Hud; 11:3738-39 Quran]
Nuh dreamed, he believed that he will be safe when those who have transgressed will face death.
The evil dreamer!
Then we have another type of dreamer, unlike the rest his aims are far from noble. Let me introduce you to my final example, Shaytan.
Shaytan is a spectacular dreamer; he aimed so high that his passion and determination lead him to conjure up the worst of plots. He is so original in his plan, it’s hard to think anyone can resist. His intelligent mind plots and plans, but truly the plan of Allah will always supersede.
Allah says, “And then Iblis said, ‘Because You have put me in the wrong, I will lie in wait for them on Your straight path: I will come at them – from their front and their back, from their right and their left – and You will find that most of them are ungrateful.’” [5. Al-Araf; 7:16-17]
He led Hawa and her husband to possible destruction and they almost failed. The only thing that saved them was their repentance, they aimed high, and in the depth of their depression they fought back and dreamed of a lofty station, that Allah being pleased with them.
And that’s it. These amazing examples are for you and I, so if you’ll feeling down, then use them to excel and if someone or something had made you feel like you’re not good enough, then you are, because you are a creation of the Divine.
Stay Real. Stay Strong. Allah is by your side.
Alima Ashfaq is the founder of I am Alima and hopes to transform it into the forefront of assisting women come closer to Allah (swt). She is the author of a number of publications, most notably Du’as of the Superstars.