Keep Treading

        Every single day of our lives, we go through a multitude of situations that cause us to feel a plethora of different emotions. Some of these emotions are fleeting, while others seem to stay with us a bit longer. However, one of the greatest characteristics a Muslim can possess is being able to subconsciously understand what Allah is trying to tell us. While it is not necessary that every moment of our lives deserves an in-depth analysis, the overall truth is an often occurring one–which is–“everything happens for a reason.” I feel that as a Muslim, the key to being at peace all the time, as opposed to being stressed out, is to truly understand the greater message Allah conveys to us through the moments in our lives.

        Let’s go back to June 2015. It was a joyful time. Senioritis was at its peak, the weather was great, and the thrill of high school graduation approaching was greater every day. My senior year was a careless one involving my friends and I taking part in immature things which basically meant driving recklessly and doing burnouts in the school parking lot. Finally, graduation day was here, but more importantly, it was also the first day of Ramadan. The first fast was always the toughest, but I powered through the day due to the excitement of finally graduating high school. Once I received my diploma and gave my parents a tender hug, I thought, “this day couldn’t get any better.”

        That evening, my mom was preparing a hearty iftar to welcome the holy month. As I walked into the kitchen, the smell of oily, fried goodness was all around. My mom needed me to stop by the local Pakistani grocery store to buy a final ingredient for her iftar preparations. I took my own car and  rushed to the store. Within twenty minutes I was home but it turned out that I had bought the wrong ingredient. My mom—a little disgruntled— had wanted me to go back and return it. I was tired, and had thought, “come on, I just graduated, let me chill for a little bit.” I had argued with her for ten minutes and tried to make the excuse that I didn’t have enough gas in my car. However, she told me to take my dad’s car instead. Annoyed, I had agreed. While pulling out of the parking lot to return home, I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. I had to cross three lanes to make a left turn, it was one of the most dangerous roads in town. All I remember as I pulled out of the lot was my head slamming against the driver’s side window and my hat flying off as my car spun around until, finally, the car came to a stop. In this split instant I realized that I had truly screwed up. My heart started racing at a hundred miles an hour.  I stumbled out of the car and walked to the front, in disbelief at what was before my eyes. The hood of the car was  up, and there was  smoke everywhere. The front of the car was in shambles. The radiator was smoking. The headlights were both destroyed. The bumper was 20 feet away from the crash. I called the cops and I called my parents, telling them everything that had transpired. Within minutes I had found myself in the middle of a busy street, the sound of sirens blaring and  red and blue lights flashing. Everyone was staring at me. As quickly as it had come, one of the the happiest days was snatched away right before my eyes.

        A couple of days passed and I was still shook. The insurance company claimed that it was a total loss, meaning it would have cost more to fix the car than what it was worth. I had watched the tow truck come to my house, drag the car out of the driveway and whisk it away. Thoughts had flood my head as tears had welled in my eyes, “Why did this happen to me? I didn’t deserve this. I’m a great driver. It wasn’t even my fault. I ruined a perfectly good car.”  Thankfully, my parents weren’t mad and no one was hurt. The only actual consequence of this accident was that my dad needed to drive my car until we bought a new one to replace his, which meant I was car-less for the summer.

       That summer was a depressing one. I sat at home all day and watched Netflix or hung out with my sister.  Since my dad took my car, I couldn’t go out or do anything. I felt like a prisoner in my own house. At the same time, my closest friends had started to go down a dark path. Since I went to a majority non-Muslim high school, I wasn’t surrounded by the best company at the time. My best friend’s dad owned a liquor store, and he had slowly started sneaking in the back and stealing bottles. He’d smuggle the bottles into his basement, and along with my other two best friends in town, would start day-drinking. Any opportunity my friends had, they would make the most absurd drinks and just sit in the basement all day blazing weed and listening to music. The only thing missing from all this was me. They pleaded everyday, asking me to come join them. But without a method of transportation, I had no way of joining them. Although my intentions were never to smoke and drink, I just wanted to spend time with my friends, who knows… I may have joined them eventually.

        The whole summer passed by just like this. Eventually, my dad got a new car and I got my beloved Mustang back. The days were more enjoyable, as I was able to spend the last few days of the summer before college doing things I liked. The only missing piece from these last few days were my friends. Quite frankly, I drifted so far apart from them due to their newfound hobbies that I found myself all alone. However, as I thought about it more it hit me and I felt as if I had a new outlook to life. Maybe the reason why I had the worst summer of my life confined to my house was so I wouldn’t go down the path of drinking and doing drugs. Maybe Allah did this to me because he cares about me. All of a sudden, a switch flipped and I was no longer angry at Him. In fact, I was so grateful for that car accident. While it may not be direct, that car accident saved me from unsurmountable sinning. I would go through the same ordeal again and again, if it meant not sinning.

        In conclusion, I would like to urge everyone who took the time to read this to develop a deeper understanding. Slowly but surely, start looking at your life as if major events are a sign from Allah. This will allow you to strengthen your relationship with Him beyond what you may have perceived before. Who knows, maybe you’ll realize that some of your worst moments in life are all for the better. When you find yourself at your lowest, keep treading. Allah willing, it will only get better.

By, Azam Naqvi

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