Things Could Be Better. And then: a Tuna Sandwich

Things could be better. We know they could. And: the burdens that you are shouldering, currently… How are you doing, with that heaviness?

Things could be better: what we see, and thus think we know. The expectations, ideals, and how mundanity — the very stuff of this world — falls short. That upcoming outing is not going to ‘save’ you somehow, and nor will any ‘future happening’ in this world, or any excessively-romanticised conceptualisation of ‘romance’, for example, anyhow. It is customary for the Muslim to respond, when we’re asked how things are, with words of thanks and gratitude. There are good things, to be focused on. And, still… things could be better:

‘The Theory of Forms’: a Platonic idea I came across, a recent while ago. The notion that this physical world is not the ‘real’ one, and that there is an Ultimate Reality beyond this one. [What a Muslim idea, right?!*] So when we find our hearts and minds filled with all these… expectations, ideals, which ‘should’ be the case…

What if they are our souls’ way of explaining to us that, yes, there is something far better than this. And, yes, of course you want it: it’s Jannah, wherein we will (we hope,) abide eternally, faultlessly, happily, and where nothing, including our own selves, ‘falls short’. We find we are Earthly beings, with these innate understandings that this is not our Home. You’re homesick, and heartbroken, afraid, and:

Dear reader, I am not personally acquainted with the sadnesses, worries, and such which might sometimes, or these days, keep you up at night. But this much I know for sure:

Allah does not let you shoulder a burden that is more than you can bear. After this, you’ll see how strong you are (Masha Allah, Tabarak Allah) and why it happened the way it did. For now: I hope you’re comfortable. I don’t know what your current battles are: maybe you’re struggling to eat or rest much at all.

There is no (fair) comparison between your realities, and the images you may see, or think you know, of others and their lives. We all have our own burdens: boulders, the dark parts of the icebergs; we could all do with a hug, a kind word or two, things like this. In Allah’s Eyes, you are precious, dear reader. Perhaps He guided you right here, because He wanted you to know.

*’Wisdom’ is Islam. Thus, a lot of what we find in western (secular) psychological/philosophical discourse matches up well with what Islam says. Recently I found out that a colleague of mine from this year — who teaches Arabic at the school — did her degree in Clinical Psychology, back in her home country (Lebanon). She notes, and tells her students, how much the Muhammadan Way validates modern understandings of social psychology and such.

Well, Subhan Allah, I was feeling kind of sad today: I can’t quite touch upon why. And I’d also been craving… a tuna sandwich for the past couple of days. Today I went to the shop (Best One) and didn’t find any tuna sandwiches there [I got a chicken one instead]. But my dad (who just came back from work… so he couldn’t really have known) randomly called me from downstairs, and then came up and knocked on my door to give me, specifically and out of the blue, a… tuna sandwich…?

This… tuna sandwich… teaches me, again, that I believe that Allah Knows. And that things do not necessarily happen how we want for them to happen. That there is Khayr in the waits for things: we plan, but Allah plans better. Can’t wait to eat this sandwich. Alhamdulillah.

With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.

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