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Islamic Society ( 28 Apr 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Graceful Acceptance


By Nigar, New Age Islam

28 April, 2015

Some days ago, my friend Sarah called me to say that one of our common friends, Ramya, was not answering her sms-es and phone calls. “Why doesn’t she keep in touch with friends, as she used to earlier? I have so many things to tell her. I want to find out how she is doing,” she said. There was a tinge of sadness in her tone.

I explained to Sarah that Ramya’s lifestyle was different and she believed in simple living. “Let’s accept her as she is,” I said.  But Sarah went on, narrating to me about the times that Ramya and she had spent together, their long conversations on the phone and their visits to each other’s houses.

Sarah was not going to give up, I knew. So, I explained to her with a real-life experience that happened with me.  “My closest friend since college days was Shabana,” I began. Shabana would share all her problems, her joys and her sorrows with, me. Not a day went by without us calling each other. I stood by her side at her wedding, welcoming her guests. I was there for every birthday of her child. I was there when she suffered the trauma of living with an abusive husband. I was there when she left him for good. I was there with her when she was going through an emotional vacuum in her life after the break-up of her marriage. I was also there when she found a new life-partner, and was the happiest for her. As years passed by, I continued the tradition of visiting her house for every Eid with sweets. I never missed wishing her on her birthday.

Life continued, with both of us busy with our own work. Over the years, however, I observed that Shabana seemed to want to remain aloof from me. Her birthday wishes stopped. Her Eid wishes stopped. Her emails stopped. I tried to think of why she might be behaving like this. Yes, there were moments of anger, too, at being “treated” this way by her.

It took a while for me to accept all of this. It was during these moments of slow “acceptance” that I realised that Shabana was now complete. She did not need me to complete her. She was happy!  That really was the day of my own complete acceptance of the fact that she could handle her life well enough now.

As her friend, this gave me immense joy. The feelings of bitterness, hurt, or sadness that I went through simply vanished. “There was no need for me even to confront Shabana and question her about her behavior,” I told Sarah.

“Sarah, don’t try to change Ramya. She is happy, and let’s be happy that she is happy with her way of life. Let’s accept it with grace. She remains our friend for all time to come. What is the meaning of love between friends if we are not able to rejoice with each other about our respective habits and lifestyles?” I said.

Sarah slowly allowed the thoughts I had conveyed sink into her heart.

The people whom we meet in our lives and the situations that we find ourselves placed in are designed by God with a purpose. We may not know the purpose of these encounters with people and situations, but we need to believe that they all happen for our own good and accept it. The more we deny or resist try the person or the situation, the more distress it causes us. 

Acceptance comes with 100 per cent surrender to the will of God. It is His will alone that prevails over all things, from the smallest to the biggest, in our lives.

Deep meditation, reflection and contemplation will help us to understand the true meaning of gracefully accepting the Will of God in all situations.

Years ago, I attended a talk by a wise spiritual scholar. He mentioned that people come to him, requesting him to pray for them for different things. Someone wants a big house or a job. Someone else wants to be cured of an illness. And so on. The list never ends. The scholar said, “I tell them, ‘Don’t tell me all your demands. I will pray for all of you, but my prayer will be, ‘Let Allah’s will prevail over all your situations!’’” 

That’s really a great prayer to help us accept our situations and experiences, with grace from God!