بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

While I remember emotional and psychological reactions to people in my dealings, I am notorious for not remembering names. One such sister was referred to as "Khala Chibbies" or something to that effect. She used to make fries (or chips as the British might say) at the girls' boarding school that I visited a few years ago.

One late afternoon when a couple of my housemates stood in line in front of me waiting to purchase some fries, one of the girls - a native English speaker around 18 years old - decided to whine about the wait. And that she did. I listened to her for a while, just as I had done on a few previous occasions, before I finally suggested that she not address the khala in such a way. What really impressed me, however, was the blank reaction from the khala. She neither frowned at the girl's rude behaviour nor did she verbally respond. She simply attended to her work in what appeared to be peaceful silence.

During one of our chit-chats, I learned that this khala's day started early in the morning. She had to take a long walk to get to the school to make fries for hours because that was a necessary source of income for her. If my memory serves me correctly, her husband had passed away. Allahu yarhamuhum wa yubariku lahunna, ameen. She would carry large buckets, by herself, filled with potatoes from the kitchen, sometimes putting one bucket on her head while carrying the other in her hand. I once offered my help, but she refused me with a smile. Perhaps it would have been more difficult for her to watch me trying to carry the burdensome load than to carry it herself. May Allah bless her and all the others working hard for His sake, ameen.

There were other "khalas" that would frequent the school each day to sell a variety of random items including henna, jewelry, snacks, stockings, and a lot of other stuff that I cannot recall. I wondered about their stories, but my interactions with them were severely limited due my weakness in Arabic and my absolute ignorance of the local colloquial dialect.

I wonder to what extent women work in such countries out of necessity compared to those who work for the sake of indulging their interests or time. My family is what some might call "traditional" in that my sisters and I weren't raised with the idea that we need to have a profession nor do we need to work except if conditions made it necessary. Alhamdulillah wa ash shukr lillah 'ala kulli haal. Rizq is from Allah. My parents, however, always encouraged us to learn and to strive to do good. I'm grateful for this because I hope to never find myself working for the sake of earning alone.

While I recognize that I'm saying this with a sturdy roof over my head, a filled stomach, good clothing, and more luxuries than most people in world would even think of, I hope that if I ever find my circumstances changed, I will remember that Allah is Ar Razzaq, the Sustainer and the Provider. I hope to never find myself dependent on my efforts for my needs, but rather that I depend on Him entirely - most Glorified is He.

As I face the idea of entering a short-term commitment, I remind myself to be grateful. It doesn't matter where my heart is when Allah is the One who governs my affairs. Ideally, my heart should be in complete submission to His will.

My hope is that I can enter into that which He facilitates with the right intentions and to behave in a way which is most pleasing to Him. For this reason, I'm especially looking forward to the upcoming opportunity, inshaAllah, to sit at the feet of our teachers. Perchance I may take something of their wisdom and knowledge. Perchance I will be able to gain clarity in my life and rectify my actions before my death.

InshaAllah wa ameen.

اللهم افتح علينا و تقبل منا إنك السميع العليم العظيم... آمين

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]