Spiritual Sustenance – Reflections on Family by Sr. Chloe Idris
Why were we born at this time, in this place, to these parents, along with these siblings? Why has God chosen this family for us, out of all other families? God in His infinite Power could have caused us to live at any time and place throughout history, yet in His infinite Wisdom He chose this time for us, this place for us, and this family for us.
Why? Allahu ‘alam (God knows best). All we know is what God has told us in the Quran:
“…’Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers, and give you increase in wealth and children, and provide for you gardens, and provide for you rivers.” [Quran, 71:10-12]
Nourishment and Sustenance
Family are mentioned among the blessings that God bestows upon us in His kindness and mercy, along with nourishment and sustenance. Our families are a means of nourishment and sustenance for us – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is through our families that we first learn about kinship and connection, love and mercy. From the time we are small, it is our family that support us. We learn to depend on them for our well-being, to trust them with ourselves, and to love them unconditionally.
It is important to be grateful for our family, and to thank God for giving us our loved ones. The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah.” [Related by Imam Tirmidhi]. Where would we be without them? Too often we can take our family for granted, by not giving them the love and attention that is their right, by not honouring and valuing them as they deserve.
The Trials & Tribulations
God tells us that our family is a trial for us:
“And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” [Quran, 8:28]
Sometimes we are blessed to have an easy relationship with our family – personalities click, values line up, and we find peace in each other’s company. This in itself is a test, a chance to show our true gratitude to God by being thankful for this blessing.
For others, it can be difficult at times to deal with family. All people have been created uniquely, with their own traits and quirks, their own beliefs and values. It can be challenging to work together as a family in a harmonious way – and therein can lie our test. Perhaps we have been given trying family relationships as a chance to strengthen our character, as a chance to show our patience in God’s will by extending love and mercy even when it is difficult.
Patience in Adversity
The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Strange indeed are the affairs of the believer, for all their affairs are for their good. If pleasing things happen, they are thankful, and that is good for them; and if distressful things happen, they remain patient, and that too is good for them.” [Related by Imam Muslim]
Everything that we have in our life is given to us by God as a means of becoming closer to Him. Times of ease are a chance to show gratefulness, and times of trial are a chance to show patience, both of which are pleasing to Him. Whatever situation you find yourself in, know that God has placed you there for a reason, and He is always there with you.