Damas, City Centre – I wish to remind myself and others that whenever we see something that is all too perfect, we must say MasyaAllah which means as Allah has willed. It is an expression which is widely used by many as a way of praising something that amazes them with its extraordinary existence. Some cite it ad lib because of their cultural language and some adopt this sunnah as part of developing the akhlaaq of their tongue.
On another note, I discovered this phrase is a zhikr that staves off harm or misfortune from the entity praised.
There is some truth to this second note, as I myself have witnessed some things or someone who seemed all too perfect suddenly went all wrong. Since then, whenever perfection flicks the state of awe in my mind, I would retreat and say MasyaAllah for I fear that reverence would lead to any calamity to befall upon this lucky one.
The Perfect One
In 1997, I had followed my best friend who was also a relative of mine to stay over at her aunt’s during the school holidays. I can still remember one of her cousin’s vividly. She was my age and also the last child in her family. With light honey brown skin, long black curly hair and sharp Middle-Eastern features inherited from her father, young Shahrazad was an exotic beauty at the peak of her adolescence.
For a girl of her age, she astounded me because of everything that Allah has endowed her with. She was a daughter that every mother would ask for, an excellent student any teacher would adore and a friend any person would love.
Naive as I was, I observed all that she had and thought how lucky this girl was. I looked up to her and was inspired to be a smart and excellent student like her. Shahrazad was one of the crème de la crème students at her school. She was very much active in sports and various school association actitivies. There was a point when she was selected as the representative of her school for a student exchange programme to Japan. She even performed a solo ‘oud piece upstage in front of a big multicultural audience while she was there. Shahrazad was artistically talented in ‘oud playing and not forgetting the various types of middle-eastern dances.
I looked at her witty disposition and her religious well-off family. I also could not help but notice her colorful thick notes she had for her SPM preparation. What would you expect a 17 year old would notice? At that time, I too was supposed to sit for my SPM exams in the following year and I had imagined myself to work twice as hard to ensure that success would head my way when the time comes. So, colourful notes and book wraps were definitely my craze those years.
In amazement, I thought to myself, “Allah must really Love her because He has Given her ‘everything'”. I had always thought Shahrazad was special because she was perfect to my young mind. She was an epitome of perfection that a girl would want to be or at least, I did.
Me and Nadia had enjoyed our brief stay at the Banafe’s family residence . It was Ezad and her eldest brother who had kindly sent us back to the hostel. We arrived a little late than the madrasah’s curfew hour but thanks to her diplomatic speaking skills, Ezad managed to save us from the wrath of our hostel matron!
A Twist of Perfection By Its Creator
A few months later, I was awakened by a shocking news that made my heard drop for a moment. Dear Shahrazad had passed away in a motorbike accident while she was on her way home after her SPM trial papers. The weird thing was that although she was found physically unscathed but still she had succumbed to death because of an internal neck-spine injury. Innalillahi wa inna ilaihirraji’uun… I wonder how Allah truly loved her to the extent that He had Protected her being, right to the final moments of her life. May Allah Bless her soul always.
The tragedy had opened up my eyes in many ways.
The first thing was that it had asserted my premonition that Ezad was a special soul in the eyes of Allah because he had took her away at such an early age.
Secondly, even though the Almighty had granted her “everything”, by Qada’ and Qadar she was not entitled with the rizq of a long lifetime. Within this humanly perceived perfection, there is always at least a tint of imperfection. Only Allah knows.
There is nothing that is perfect in this realm because only Allah who is Perfect and perfection is a characteristic that belongs only to the al-Kaamil.
Last but not least, it had made me more careful on passing judgments upon others. Even though admiration is a positive notion, it must always be supplemented with praises upon Allah. Remember, say MasyaAllah and pray that may He always Bless and Protect those beautiful creations of His whenever you see them.