Nothing is Lost

Beautiful garden with flowers

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Nothing is lost. The years of your life that you poured like water into a now-failed marriage, or the immense love and attention you gave a child or brother or friend who now treats you like an enemy, or the work you did for a company that closed down, or the sweat you put into a project that ultimately failed… none of that is lost.

It’s particularly hard when a relationship collapses, leaving bitterness where previously there was passion. It’s galling. You feel confused, betrayed, depressed. Even years later you might feel that you wasted those years, that you poured love from your innermost core and watched it go down a drain.

The viewpoint of faith

I understand the feeling. I’ve been there. I’ve been perplexed and depressed, with the phrase “Everything falls apart” running through my head, thinking about how all things collapse in the end, and how good things never seem to last.

But that is the narrow viewpoint of depression. It is a singularly negative viewpoint, and therefore it is not the viewpoint of imaan (faith), because faith is the parent of hope. Faith gives you a window into the unseen, the world that Islam calls al-ghayb, and one of the elements of the unseen world that Allah has informed us of is that nothing is lost:

“And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another.” (Quran, Surat Aal-Imraan, 3:195)

Allah knows the frustration and pain we feel, so He assures us that none of our deeds are lost, not only because He sees all, but because we are “of one another”, in other words we human beings are all connected. We are all a part of each other, and so any love and work that one of us puts forward affects us all.

And Allah says,

“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (Quran Surat Az-Zalzalah, 99:7-8)

Your love did not evaporate into nothingness. Your sweat and blood were not poured down a drain. Those years of your life, those anxious moments and anxiety dreams, were not in vain. Your silent good deeds, and the most tender moments of your heart, were witnessed by the One who matters, for Allah sees all. Everything is seen and valued. Every good deed is blessed, every act of love is rewarded, everything is returned to you in barakah many times over. Nothing is lost.

The Prophet Nuh (pbuh)

When the Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) preached to his people, calling them to tawheed (monotheism) amidst the whirlpool of polytheism, they stuck their fingers in their ears and mocked him… and in the end the flood came upon them because of their wickedness, destroying them all except for a handful of followers… destroying even Nuh’s wife and one of his sons.

When this happened, was Nuh a failure? Were his ages of hard work in vain? Were his deeds lost? Do you find yourself saying, “Poor Nuh”?

If so, then you have missed the point. Nuh was a Prophet, a hero, and a survivor. He fulfilled his mission and delivered the message. That was his job and he did it. It was witnessed by Allah, so Nuh will receive his reward. Furthermore he was saved from the flood, and went on to have more children, and to leave his own legacy of offspring and teaching. And here we are, thousands of years later, knowing his name, repeating his story, learning from him! His story has become a part of universal human mythology. How then could he be a failure? He affected the world in a profound way until the Day of Judgment, and he achieved that only by doing his job.

So I would like to suggest a replacement for the negative mantra, “Everything falls apart.” A truer statement, and one based on faith, would be, “Nothing is lost.”

Karma, the universe and the Law of Conservation of Energy

But what if you don’t believe in Allah? Well, first of all I would say that’s a shame, because every time you put a bite of food in your mouth that’s a grace and a blessing from Him. Going back to Nuh for a moment, The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “When the death of the Messenger of Allah Nuh approached, he admonished his sons: ‘Indeed I would give you far reaching advice, commanding you to do two things, and warning you against doing two things as well. I charge you to believe that there is no God but Allah and that if the seven heavens and the seven earths were put on one side of a scale and the words “There is no God but Allah” were put on the other, the latter would outweigh the former. I warn you against associating partners with Allah and against pride.” (Saheeh al-Bukhari).

But even so, if you are Buddhist or Hindu then you believe in cause and effect on a cosmic level. You believe that the good you do returns in one way or another, and any evil you perpetrate also boomerangs into your own soul. These are the fruits of karma. So again, nothing is lost.

If you deny God and believe only in science and energy and matter, then you know that still, nothing is lost! The universe is a finite system. Our universe began at a single point in time – what scientists call the Big Bang. The cosmos is expanding, flying out in every direction, until one day in the unimaginable future it will reach the limits of expansion and begin to contract, slowly at first then faster, drawn inwards by gravity until it collapses into the nothingness from whence it came. Within this finite universe, energy can be transformed into matter, or matter into energy, but nothing new is created, and nothing is lost. There is no universal drain. In science this is known as the Law of Conservation of Energy:

“Energy in a system may take on various forms (e.g. kinetic, potential, heat, light). The law of conservation of energy states that energy may neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore the sum of all the energies in the system is a constant.”

The greatest love

Personally, as someone who has suffered from the tendency of all things to fall apart – what we might call the entropy of love – the purely scientific perspective is cold comfort. When I’m mourning the loss of a friend, it’s no comfort to know that the universe is a closed system, and that nothing is lost in the physical, atomic sense.

But it is a great comfort to know that all the love, work and good I’ve done means something, both in a spiritual sense, and in a human sense.

The American writer Washington Irving wrote, “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.”

Every act of mercy, every charity, every moment of love you have given another human being, ripples out through degrees of separation, affecting the world in a profound way. Even if a relationship is broken, even if the person now views you with enmity, it doesn’t invalidate what you did. The love that you gave is seen by Allah. On the earthly plane, that love affects your own heart in good ways, then it percolates out to those around you and changes the world. It matters. It was not in vain. Nothing is lost.

Since I’ve been speaking of love, let me finish with a reminder of the most important love of all. The famous scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote:

“Truly in the heart there is a void that can not be removed except with the company of Allah. And in it there is a sadness that can not be removed except with the happiness of knowing Allah and being true to Him. And in it there is an emptiness that can not be filled except with love for Him and by turning to Him and always remembering Him And if a person were given all of the world and what is in it, it would not fill this emptiness.”

The greatest love we can have is our love for Allah, and it is always requited. Allah’s love descends upon us in every moment, in more ways than we can see or understand. Alhamdulillah.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , Read 266 articles by
9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Shireen says:

    MashaAllah, a great reminder for us all. In the end of the day it’s out intention that either makes us or breaks us, wa Allahu Alim! I like the way you articulated this very fragile topic; hurting but learning to appreciate the blessings.

  2. María M says:

    As salamu alaykum,

    I would like to have wings and that the thoughts you have written about were in the air, then this way, I could move my wings and send to everyone the message that is inside of your articles, I would love to touch with my wings everyone and tell them, listen: this is inspiring, this is wholehearted, this is True, this will ease your pain, this will help you to walk, make it the air you breath, make it your blood, make it yours as I already made it mine, Alhamdulillah.

    Laa ilaha il-Allah.

    Thank you very much for sharing. Never stop of surprising me, Wael, Barak Allah feek.

    María

  3. Melissa Diaz says:

    Thanks a lot, Akhi. It’s been few years I’ve feeling empty inside me for the worst betrayal I’ve ever got. A heart without a home… and I feel lost. I’ve always tried to become a perfect wife, a perfect friend, a perfect lover to my husband. But it was not enough for him since I wasn’t the kind of woman he wanted to fall in love with. He really wasted me with all my potentials. But as a Muslima, I know that Allah never waste my eeman. And now here I am reading your article and just realize that nothing is vain. My efforts for being a good wife and a good mother… Allah saw that… and all i can say is I’ve already done my best… and now just try to let Allah take the rest. I sometimes feel strong for this….but sometimes I fall down. But insha Allah I will always try to be strong…
    Jazakallah for this inspiring article. May Allah bless you…

    • wael says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your difficult experience, but you are exactly the person I wrote this article for (and all who have experienced betrayal, heartbreak and loss). So Alhamdulillah, I’m glad that it benefited you. You are exactly right, your efforts were not in vain, Allah saw and valued all your effort, and He will reward you in this life and the next.

      Wael

  4. Morbid says:

    Would all the love care and attention put in a haraam relationship be considered wasted? Haraam, in terms of speaking to the brother u were considering marriage with over the phone. No physical haraam was committed just communication over the phone.
    I discovered the brother who I was seriously considering marriage with had been meeting up with other sisters.. When I confronted the brother he kept saying that as we were not married he owed me no loyalty.. But even to this day I feel I wasted my years love and epic devotion for a man who wasn’t worth an atom worth of care. How was I so wrong. I’m so scared of looking into marriage cause I’ve lost my sense of judging someone’s true character to a fake one. He would cover he’s lies by swearing by his sick mum.. I had no choice but to beileve him. Now everytime someone swears by Allah I can’t help doubt their words. N I don’t know what’s inshore for me.. Happiness or further trials.

    • María M says:

      Trust your guts, sister, your first instinct will tell you, Insha´Allah.

    • Moazzam says:

      Salaam Alaykum wrwb

      InshAllah you are in the best of Imaan, health and spiritual excellence (Ihsaan.)

      What you wrote above has moved me to the point of replying. I hope to share some of my own thoughts through my own understanding, although bereft of wisdom i hope it can minimally help to console you.

      My first advice is to give Sadaqah, for with charity calamaties are avoided. Also make sincere dua to Allah, for none have ability or might to help you save Him.
      Secondly in my opinion it is better to construct boundaries at the beginning of a relationship, if your getting to know someone for marriage, it is better to keep it formal and precise. You can check if you ‘click,’ but talking for the sake of enjoyment is a path to spiritual deprivation.
      Remember every action should be for God, if you feel yourself distanced from God through an action then your instinct should tell you its wrong. Its important to study Shariah also which helps you to develop a strong foundation within halaal and haraam.
      Dont think things like ‘Makruh,’ are a small matter either – God being displeased is not an option for a true seeker.

      Also when you try to understand another soul for the sake of marriage, know that you can only see a portion of what they choose to display to you, but this does not mean all hope is lost. Look for the way he talks, the character he shows and the ikhlaak he displays rather than the content of what is said. Ultimately if a man is saying inappropriate words or flirting to you before marriage, that is a strong indication that he will not make a good husband after marriage!
      Ultimately Istikharah is needed when judging whether a person is best for you or not!!!
      Seek advice from his friends, how is he like. Observe his family background. Everything contributes to shaping him. Even ask his neighbours whether he has ever given them their rights. Remember actions speek louder than words. Dont listen to what he says until he has proven himself to be worthy to listen to through his actions.

      Does he visit graveyards?
      Does he read the Quran regularly?

      So many questions u can ask him to assess better.

      I hope that helped a little.

      Im sure there definately will be a good practising muslim brother out there for you. Theres plenty around, just a matter of finding one 🙂

      ps) The more you give out for Allah, the more he gives back. This experience should humble you.

      JazakAllahu khairun

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