Most have heard this saying before, but to have it dawn on me as I was listening to the story of the life of the Prophet (SAW) was unexpected. The speaker was talking about the Divine Revelation to the Prophet (SAW) and the process in which it was sent down. He spoke of how Allah put a hold on the Message for some time after the initial Revelation. The reason for this was to make the Prophet (SAW) fall in love with the Message he was receiving.
Remember that Allah says that had He revealed the Quran to the mountains, they would have crumbled from the weight of its magnitude.
“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.” – Quran (59:21)
Imagine the weight and pressure this must have placed on the Prophet (SAW). It would have been painful and difficult at first. Allah knows best. But still, when Allah put a pause on the Revelation for some time, it was to make the Prophet (SAW) fall in love with the Message, despite the physical hardship it may have caused him.
Subhanallah, with this distance that Allah had placed between the Revelations, the plan of Allah fell into place and the Prophet (SAW) became attached to the Message. Some scholars (according to the speaker I was listening to) say that this attachment became so strong that it lead to the Prophet (SAW) falling into depression and making some attempts at suicide. Subhanallah! It’s a thought we would never consider to relate to the Prophet (SAW)! But, to consider it only humbles us more, to recognize that he too was human, and was truly an example to all of Mankind. Of course, suicide is not from Islam, but the point is to see how intense this love for the Message became for the Prophet (SAW).
Despite these hardships, he loved the revelation and yearned for more. Allah then continued sending him the Message when He found that the Prophet (SAW) was ready. And from then on, it was a lifetime of commitment to the Deen, because THAT is what true love is.
“The word “love” in the Qur’an appears on over 90 places but interestingly it doesn’t define the word “love” but speaks about the very first consequence of love…”committing”, Islam talks about commitment, if you truly love, then commit, if you do not commit then your claim of love is not real.” – Sheikh Yassir Fazaga
How Does This Relate To Us?
This comes as a reminder to us all, first and foremost, that it is in the nature of humanity, in the way that Allah has created us, to yearn for something when we feel it drift away. Unfortunately, we consider this to be a weakness nowadays, when it truth, there may be a greater meaning behind it. Allah is the best of planners. This, we know.
“But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” – Quran (8:30)
And so, He would not let us experience something without it having its purpose. If something drifts away from us, it may be because He is allowing us the opportunity to have our love or appreciation for it grow. Sometimes, he allows a drift so that we may learn what we deserve, and can appreciate what may come afterwards. Either way, we are growing, and finding our paths. Each situation is different, but it’s important to remain positive and understanding, as we do not know what struggles those involved are going through, nor do we know what stage of Allah’s Plan and Process the other person is at.
Consider it at a more basic level. When parents want their child to learn responsibility, they stop giving their child money, and tell the child that he/she must earn the money now. Because of the attachment to the comfort and sense of freedom that comes with having money, a child will feel inclined to work hard and earn his keep. But, this would only work if a child truly had an attachment to that wealth.
Break it down even further, using a non-materialistic example: when a child is in a store with his mother, he would play and run around, because he would know that his mother would be where he left her when he came back. But, as soon as the mother turns a corner, and the child returns to find his mother is no longer where he left her, he begins to panic.
This is the nature of humanity. It’s normal, and is a good thing. In the first example, the child learns a life lesson about his need to work hard in order to survive in this world. In the second example, the child learns to appreciate his mother more, and becomes more attached to her. These are examples of children, but there are many that can make this more relatable to adults. In the cases of children, the chances of them returning to their old ways is not in the least unexpected. With adults, however, it is important to learn from these experiences in order to grow.
One of the most common examples we see this quote of distance makes the heart grow fonder come into play is in the matters of the heart. With situations like these, we find that this saying holds true only in matters of true, sincere love. When a relative you truly loved passes away, every day becomes another process of strengthening that love. Whether you realize/acknowledge it or not, it happens. When you truly love someone in the romantic sense, and you go your separate ways, that love never truly dies, and you continue to think about that person, connect them to everything, and hold a small shimmer of hope that they would return, because you truly, sincerely loved them. When you really love Allah, and you find your Imaan (faith) beginning to weaken, you begin to miss Him, and fear losing your connection with Him. Even though you know that He is closer to you than your jugular vein, and that He will not leave you as long as you yearn for His Love and make an effort towards it, you still fear Him leaving you.
It’s nature. It’s how we have been created. We need to reflect on these different aspects of our lives and truly connect with and appreciate what Allah has blessed us with. We allow our fears of loss or a lacking of hope to pull us away from embracing our blessings. If you love someone, don’t be fearful of trying to make things work. Do it right by Allah and have faith that He will show you the way. If your loved one passed away, make Dua for them and ask Allah to give you strength to move forward, while never forgetting those you love. If you feel yourself drifting in your Imaan, push yourself to get back on track. Even if you feel like there is no hope, keep trying.
In every situation where distance is brought between us and what we love, take it as a blessing from Allah, learn from it, love what has been separated from you, and if possible, embrace it again (remember, nothing is impossible if done with faith and trust in Allah). If your love wasn’t true, you wouldn’t still be holding on to it. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re holding onto things. We naturally stopped trying to let go, because our hearts have already come to terms with the fact that these things are a part of us. It’s our minds that need convincing, and the solution to that is Tawaqqul (i.e. to make an effort while having faith and contentment with Allah’s Plans). If you are struggling with coming to terms with things, work on your Tawaqqul.
Take lessons from your experiences, appreciate what you love, and appreciate those who appreciate you. Don’t lose hope or optimism in Allah. Embrace what truly makes you happy (as long as it’s halal), and watch how Allah makes all your concerns and worries fade away. And trust Him, because He gave you this distance, perhaps so that you may become stronger in what you lacked the first time you were blessed.