Life is topsy turvy. One day you are feeling high and the next day low. Every coming day is, well… just unpredictable.

Life is like a seesaw, it’s just like that

One up one down, tit for tat

You a ball one day, and the next you a bat

Be happy like a child, bear patience till the end

Old became gold, just like that

This phenomenon affects everyone, without exception. Every Nabi that set foot on this planet experienced these feelings and emotions. The rich in their high rise apartments and the poor in their crumbling huts, the pious on their prayer mats as well as the sinful on their sofas and couches – every single one rides the changing tides of fortune. All shake the hands of prosperity and poverty. Everyone’s bowl is filled with his share of happiness and sadness, as well as the excitement and disappointment.

What we fail to observe is that no one has any influence over what has been decreed for him. One cannot command the amount of wealth that is desired, or the happiness that is cherished and dreamed about. Neither is it possible for an individual to avert the problems and pains that are destined for him. None have any say whatsoever, in the matters of destiny.

This is because we are the creation and Allah Ta‘ala is the Creator. We are owned and He alone is the Owner. What He has decided will happen, regardless of anything and everything else. In short, every man will receive and live through the full spectrum of life’s offerings at the time, place and condition that Allah Ta‘ala decides… not at his own behest and desire.

What He wants to decide, by it shall we abide

Never can we His will avoid, with His pleasure we walk side by side

Heads bowed down to His command, His word never denied

In His presence no arrogance, in His court no pride

We are just like passengers on a plane, train or any other commuter. One might either sit grumpily for the entire journey, whining and complaining all the way. When the journey’s end is reached, physical exhaustion and mental fatigue accompanied by darkness, doom and despair shall be his only companions. Ah, the end-result of helpless whining, carping and complaining!

The other option would be to make the best of it. Share a smile. Have a good word. Be patient, positive and productive. The trip remains the same; but one’s a winner at the end.

This was the theme of the life of the Queen of Paradise (Jannah) – Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). She was born as the youngest of four siblings and her childhood was ‘rocked’ by extreme abuse and persecution that her noble father, Nabi Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had to endure. But she was brave. Her courage reached to such an extent that she openly defied the abuse of his enemies and removed the entrails of a camel off his back, in their presence. It was such a time that men lacked the courage to do what she fearlessly did. Did she choose to be in a difficult situation? Not at all! The challenge never put her down. Instead, she was daringly and boldly pro-active. She accepted the challenge, threw down the gauntlet and defended the truth.

She was just entering the second ten years of her life when her elder sister Sayyidah Ruqayyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) leaves Makkah Mukarramah and migrates to Abyssinia. She bids her farewell knowing very well this may be their last meeting for it was a trip into the unknown… a journey to the wild jungles of Africa. Would they return alive? Would they come back safe and sound? This was life’s bitter pill that she had to patiently swallow. It may not have suited her idea of the perfect family setting but she knew that Allah Ta‘ala had a better plan.

A few years down the line and the brave and young Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) joined her family when they were forced to abandon their homes and ‘dumped’ in a valley. This was the evil boycott imposed by the Quraish. No one was permitted to trade with this banished group. Effectively, the boycott was frightening, cold and totally inhuman.

 Society was forbidden to interact with them and vice-versa. Starvation had reached such a point that the babies’ cries of hunger could be heard resounding through the valley. People had to suffice on eating the roots of grass and shrubs for some nourishment for there was nothing else available. What could this feeble human being, who was the beloved daughter of the most beloved of Allah Ta‘ala, do? She knew and understood that this was indeed, the decision of Allah, The Mighty and The Wise. The earth belongs to Him and He decides what His creation should receive and experience.

With time, the boycott ends and relief barely sets in when her loving mother, Sayyidah Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) falls ill and passes on, leaving her forever. She was never to see her again. It just happened. It was all over. This was not any small problem. This was her mother. There was no replacement. But she knew that her mother belonged to Allah Ta‘ala, who takes life and gives life. She could only turn to Him for solace. 

The period that followed, recorded an unprecedented increase in pressure, persecution and harassment. The inhumanity became more intense and continued unabated. The pillars of support that her family once enjoyed had now fallen away and the horizon appeared dark, dingy and daunting.

It was just a matter of a ‘brief pause’ and the next big change and challenge befell her arduous life. She had to move house. Not from one street to the next! She had to abandon her homeland and move to a place new and foreign to her. She had to leave behind fond memories, friends and family. Young Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had learnt a long time ago that the mindset of a Muslim was to be happy and contented with the decree of Allah Ta‘ala, in any and all situations. Why wouldn’t she live out this lesson, when she was, after all, the daughter of the leader of both the worlds (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Queen of Jannah (Paradise) in waiting?

The ‘wheels of time turned on’ and she soon found herself living in Madeenah Munawwarah as a young woman who was married to Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Things were difficult and became even harder with four children to tend to. Food was hard to come by. Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would carry out her daily chores by herself. She had no assistant whatsoever. 

When she had requested for a helper from her loving father (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) he turned her attention towards the Hereafter. He recommended the famous “Tasbeeh Faatimi” to her. An intangible in exchange for a tangible! He gave her something she couldn’t feel, see or even talk to in response to her request for physical help! But accepting it was a breeze for her and for anyone who Allah Ta‘ala has guided.

Why this mindset? Indeed, it was simply because she had decided to be happy with the ultimate decree of Allah Ta‘ala. How could she not be pleased? Indeed, she was Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), the beloved daughter of the most beloved of Allah Ta‘ala, Nabi Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)… she understood that everything that happens, positive or negative, is the will of Allah Ta‘ala and is backed by the wisdom of the All-Wise. Simply because she understood that pious deeds like salaah, reciting the Quraan Majeed, zikr and abstaining from sin have a telling impact on our physical daily lives. She accepted it and it worked wonders for her. It will work for you too. Make it part of your daily life and experience it first-hand.

Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)’s life was a manifestation of the verse: “We will afford a good life to those people whose actions are pious and carried out in the condition of imaan, be they male or female”. (Surah Nahl v97)

A good life is not based on hoards of riches, good health and happy families. Rather it is the blessing of an empowered heart to take on the world and still smile from within.

Life’s a rollercoaster, enjoy the ride.