How a lesson from Surah al Kahf can help you reflect on your divorce
It may seem like a big jump from a failed marriage to a beautiful story from Quran, but keep reading...
If you are looking for a tafseer then this is not it. It's just something that occurred to me as I read Surah al Kahf this morning.
There are four incredible stories mentioned in Surah al Kahf, and they include numerous lessons, which is why I believe we as Muslims are encouraged to read it every Friday.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reports that the Prophet SAW said: “Whoever recites Surat Al-Kahf on Jumu’ah will have illumination from the light from one Jumu’ah to the next.” (an-Nasa’i, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim)
What is that light? Is it the illumination of emaan? Is it guidance? Allah knows best and the scholars of tafseer have discussed it. What we know for sure is that we need more light in our lives, don't we?
In the beginning of the surah, Allah reminds us about the men and the two gardens. You probably know that it is about two men, one a lot richer than the other who brags to his neighbor about what he has. The poorer neighbor reminds him to remember Allah and be grateful, and warns him that Allah could ruin his garden as a lesson, yet the rich man actually commits kufr in his praise of himself and his wealth by saying he doubted the day of judgement would come! This is a result of focusing too much on this life, and Allah destroyed the man's garden.
It is at this point in the story where I wanted to interject into the story.
It is ayaat 42-46 in particular, which mention what could mean:
"And his fruits were encompassed [by ruin], so he began to turn his hands about [in dismay] over what he had spent on it, while it had collapsed upon its trellises, and said, "Oh, I wish I had not associated with my Lord anyone."
And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor could he defend himself.
There the authority is [completely] for Allah, the Truth. He is best in reward and best in outcome.
And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.
Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope...."
There are a few reflections on this man and his reaction to Allah ending his garden I would like to present:
1. The man's mistake in attributing his garden to his own efforts
We do quite a bit as women to ensure our marriages are solid. We get into a daily grind of chores and errands and self-beautification to make sure it's not our fault that the husband has a bad day. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Whether or not we get the result of a happy husband, just as planting a seed and providing water to a garden, is with Allah alone. When we forget Who is in charge, we do injustice to ourselves.
2. The man's mistake in disbelieving in the Judgement Day due to his distraction with his blessings
Obsession with this life can lead people to distraction. There are times that married life can be so overwhelming and marital duties can become so distracting that we may sin in order to make married life so smoothly. If we fall into this mistake, then we have forgotten Allah, just as the man in the gardens had forgotten Him.
3. The man's reaction to the ruining of his gardens
When the man's garden was destroyed, he wrung his hands, despairing that all he spent on it, all his hard work and money had been lost. He wished he had behaved differently, remembering Allah and thanking Him for his bounty.
Here's the thing about this ayah that reminds me of divorce: as women, when our marriages go sour and end, we tend to think we wasted our time.
Allah does what He likes with His creation. Nobody was able to prevent the storm. Sometimes there is just nothing you can do to prevent a disaster, including in marriage.
Just like the man with the beautiful garden, your marriage may have been lost, but this man's regret was that he had made partners with Allah over it. He thought that his hard work and his spending was the reason the garden was beautiful and fruitful. But Allah taught him through this test, and it was good for him it happened in this life. At the end of the story, he learned his lesson and remembered Allah. He didn't, as many people do, say 'if only'...
Sometimes when women are divorced they think that demonic 'if'. If you were younger, thinner, more beautiful, more quiet, or less quiet, more chubby, your marriage might have been a success...but it ended with the plan of Allah.
All we can do is look back and be retrospectively grateful. Nothing the believer does is a waste.
“Our beloved Prophet Muhammad explained our situation: "Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him” (Saheeh Muslim #2999)