By Sumayya Anis
I chose this topic almost as a reminder for myself because a lot of new things are happening right now. This past month, I’ve been trying to adapt to:
A change of home; I’m now in London.
A change in circumstance; I took a gap year so literally had a year of chilling and now I have copious amounts of reading.
And a change of friendship circles which obviously comes with new beginnings.
I know a few of us are in the same position and how easy it is to get anxious with the pace of change. So I felt that we should reflect and consider why change can actually be beneficial for us all.
It’s so easy to remain in our comfort zones; safe in the routines of what we do and the people we know- but we have to realise that growth depends on change. We have examples of this from the life of the Prophet peace be upon him. He was faced with the weight of change I can’t even begin to imagine. From losing his parents, grandfather, uncle and wife to escaping for his life to Medina. Throughout these struggles and tribulations, the Prophet (saw) displayed constant sabr and, most importantly, embraced the changes that presented themselves.
In the Quran, Allah states that He ‘will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.”
So change is good... We should aim to change, to grow and to learn. We should aim to better our character through prayer and positive practice and we should aim to change and adapt to the situations Allah has handed us. The hurdle we see now- whether it be a test coming up or a challenging friendship are all tests which allow us, as humans, to move with the circumstances.
It often irks me when people talk about growth through a trial as if it’s easy and as though we are meant to jump out of bed and embrace it. In reality, it’s a struggle and not meant to be easy. It might be painful and it might be difficult and it may sometimes feel like we are going backwards or even have to stop for a while but through active patience we can still develop. A Hadith that really resonates with me is, ‘Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case for anyone except the believer. If he is happy then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.’ I love this Hadith. Feeling pain isn’t abnormal in a difficult situation. However, when we face this pain with sabr, we accumulate blessings.
We can reflect on the positive impact change actually gifted us with this year. Obviously, the pandemic was unexpected and has taken such a toil on the global community. That cannot be underestimated.
The use of platforms like Zoom allowed us as ISB campus to host a Qiyam Al Layl for everyone, regardless of gender which is quite unusual in many Muslim spaces. Further, as a fresher this year, I’ve been able to find good friends more easily than I expected as there was less focus on parties late at night.
Ultimately, change is inevitable. My three top tips, in all of my wisdom(!) would be:
I would like to end with a quote from Malcom X;
“Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.”