So one of my teammates carries around with him a very simple piece of artwork. Basically it’s semi colon (one of these “;”) with an arrow going through it. Usually there’s a story behind pieces of art, so naturally I was inclined to ask him why he had possession of it. His explanation of it was that in literature, an author uses a semi-colon to signify the end of one part of a sentence and the beginning of a new one. Both sentence parts could be individual sentences by themselves, but if there is a link between the two sentences, a semicolon can be used instead of a full stop to continue the sentence. In literature a semicolon is used to construct a complex sentence as well (i.e. the kind that gets you lots of marks in an English exam haha).
His reason for having the art was simple; it reminds him that whatever happens in life, he is in control of how he deals with it (see how I used a semicolon?). He decides if he will let that moment define him, or if he will use it to help him grow. He decides to take a negative and make it a positive, or to take a positive and make it a BIGGER positive. Finally, the reason for the arrow through the semicolon was simply because “arrows are just cool”.
He went further to explain that when he decides to get up and help himself, he grows and becomes better, and it seems like “the universe” around him conspires to help him get better. He literally blocks negativity from ever affecting him and ending his “sentence”; he chooses to keep adding semicolons because he simply isn’t done yet. (Although, if you keep adding semicolons in your actual written sentences, you may not be hailed as an expert writer. This is kind of where the analogy breaks down, my bad.) He started all of this off by saying at some point (last year, I believe), he was ready to commit suicide. He then decided that he didn’t want to go out like that. He literally put a semicolon on his life.
This guy is literally my inspiration whenever I’m down now. He’s not a Muslim, but please make du’a that Allah gives him hidayah because a guy like that would be a serious da’wah GANGSTER. But his story is embodied in a verse from the Qur’an:
“For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.” – Surah Al Rad (Verse 13)
Basically his version of getting help from a higher power is “the universe”. But we can all apply this in our lives. Until we change what is in our hearts, we cannot hope to get the ultimate help from Allah. The way to do it is simple; stay positive. ABOUT EVERYTHING. Thank Allah FOR EVERYTHING. Praise Allah for EVERYTHING. Help yourself by changing your heart, and Allah will help you. Literally any time something happens that you may not like/want, take control of it by doing 4 things:
- Thank Allah (don’t be disheartened) for giving you the opportunity to grow. Pray to him to help you.
- Start straight away by actively trying to make your own situation better, don’t waste time sitting waiting for some sort of divine intervention.
- Have sabr (patience) and keep striving for what you want.
- SMILE. One of the greatest sunnahs of the Prophet (pbuh) was regardless of what was happening in his life, he would treat people with love and affection. So turn that frown upside down and all that.
You know when I said using a semi-colon gets your more marks in an exam because it helps to construct a more complex sentence? In the same way, when you have a hard situation and CHOOSE to reconstruct it into a learning experience/brilliant sentence by following the steps above (i.e. becoming closer to Allah), the reward from Allah is much greater. You can easily choose to give up and make your sentence simple, but it’s the choice to continue going that not only makes you stronger, but brings you closer to Allah.
Basically (if you can’t be bothered reading this whole thing, I appreciate it was VERY long (sorry)), be in control of every situation. You’re the author, put the semicolon wherever you want.
May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to take control of our actions, and may He help us to never lose sight of where the true hope is (in him). Ameen.