Put Down the Stone

Wael and Salma, February 15, 2013

Wael and Salma, February 15, 2013

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

As-salamu alaykum everyone,

What’s up? How is everyone?

My apologies for not updating this page quite as often recently. Many of you know that my father died of a heart attack on November 28, 2012. I went through a period of deep sadness that lasted for a few months. Alhamdulillah, I’m doing better now.

I’m doing a lot of writing these days, but the reason you don’t see it here is that I’ve been working on a novel featuring Muslim characters. I’m about half done, Insha’Allah. I’ve also been nurturing my “I Love Islam” Facebook page, which now has almost 100,000 followers. I don’t write articles for that page, but you can see some inspiring images and little blurbs that I’ve written.

Of course I continue to manage the IslamicAnswers.com advice page, and that takes time every day, as it is a high-traffic website. It provides common-sense advice on marriage and family issues.

As far as my own work goes, I’ve been developing a website with a variety of text tools for writers and web publishers. It’s called TextElf.com. Feel free to check it out, though it’s still in development, so not everything looks perfect yet.

And of course amid all this, I care for my daughter Salma – she is six years old and is my joy ma-sha-Allah – and I practice martial arts fairly intensively. Salma has become an amazing reader for her age, and is also an imaginative and resourceful artist. In the martial arts arena, I am hoping to test for nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Jujitsu this year, Insha’Allah.

Since I’m here anyway, I’ll take a moment to say a few words, inspired by something that I read recently:

Put Down the Stone

Imagine you take something light – say a stone that weighs one pound – and hold it out at arm’s length, with your arm rigid. In the beginning it’s easy, right? But after a while your arm begins to tire. Your shoulder aches, your muscles tremble, and the stone begins to feel like a boulder. The pain becomes agony and the only thing you want in the world is to set the stone down. All other considerations are forgotten.

Did the stone become heavier? In absolute terms no, but because you could not set it down, it became a mountain.

That’s how it is with the burdens of life. You’re anxious about how you’re going to pay your bills or your debt, worried about your parent whose health is deteriorating, worried about your job or school grades, fearful that you will not find a good husband or wife, stressed about problems in your marriage, self-critical because you are not the kind of good Muslim you feel you should be…

The longer you hold on to these worries the heavier they become, until life itself feels like a burden.

We all know the feeling.

Just as with the stone, you must set these burdens down.

The only way to do that is to hand them to Allah. This is called tawakkul, or trust in Allah. It doesn’t mean that you flutter through life carefree as a butterfly, no. You strive to excel in every aspect of life, but you realize that the outcomes belong to Allah; so you trust Him to handle them. You hand over your fears to Allah. You set that stone down by giving it to Allah, Who feels no fatigue, and for Whom all things are easy.

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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
7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Sara says:

    MashaAllah beautiful article, beautiful reminder!

  2. friend says:

    Dear brother Wael,

    Asalamalikum,

    good to see you back on this page. i really enjoyed reading it and so much needed it. i was indeed carrying a lot of weight and finding myself so tired. just ging through the process of letting go and trusting Allah has meant best for me.

    you and salma in your ‘new look’ look fantastic.

    jazakallah kkair and may Allah bring ease in all your difficulties.ameen

    PS -can this maths be placed above the blue submit comment box as i kept submitting without doing maths first.

  3. Amy says:

    Salaams,

    I think the obstacle for a lot of us -myself included- in leaving things to the trust of Allah is that we get sidetracked with the idea that we are in control of things that in reality, are way outside of our control. It’s so easy to get caught up in the cause/effect dynamic that we sometimes forget that Allah can override that anytime, as He likes.

    When we get into a habit of thinking that everything depends on us, that the choices we make have fixed outcomes that we influence no matter what, then we start to live our lives taking on responsibility for things that aren’t our concern. We end up not leaving enough to Allah’s management and trust. We try to hard to make things as we think they should be, instead of trusting His guidance for our lives that what happens (especially if it’s something we didn’t expect or don’t like) is exactly what is best for us.

    I’ve found when I take the time to actually peel away all the things that are outside of my control and submit them back over to Allah, there is not much left to worry or obsess about. I am free to focus on my character, my deeds, and my intentions as they are the only things we take with us to the hereafter. I am left to manage the day to day responsibilities set before me, and the stress of everything else is lifted away. There’s no guilt or regret that I “shoulda woulda coulda”, because I can be assured that entrusting Allah with the outcomes means I did my best with the part I had in anything.

    Leaving things to Allah means truly having faith that He knows better what we need than we do. We all struggle with that, if we are honest with ourselves. We all wonder if Allah is really seeing the pain we are going through, or how difficult things are, or how much we really want or need something. We sometimes let ourselves get tricked into thinking that Allah is not caring or not listening or working against us, and start to try to take back that control and management of our own affairs. Then we wonder why things are so challenging, because we are carrying things never meant to be our concern.

    • Foz says:

      Amy…

      Sleep is the only time I have peace. When I wake up, my head starts spinning with thoughts and doesn’t stop again till I sleep.

  4. María says:

    Ma sha Allah, beautiful photograph. Love to hear you are doing better, I was worried specially about Salma and your mum. Thank God Salma is doing good.

    All my Love to all of you, specially to your mum.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

  5. HAWAZIN says:

    MASHALLAH BROTHER, WHAT A LOVELY STORY….I LOVED IT BECAUSE IT MADE ME REALIZE SOME OF THE STRESS I HAVE BLINDLY PUT MYSELF THROUGH!!! INSHALLAH I WILL LIVE A LESS STRESSFUL LIFE BY LETTING GO OF UNECESSARY BANGING MY HEAD ON THE WALL…..THANK YOU, JESAKALLAKHEIRAN INSHALLAH!!!

    SALAM

  6. Umm Zakariya says:

    I have been carrying around a stone for a year now. What I’ve really wanted to do was throw it at somebody. Inshallah, today I will lay it down.

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