There’s that child or adult in our lives we desperately want to give advice to but it seems like nothing ever works. Lets refer to them as the shell. First let me put it out there that I’m referring to good advice that is ignored, a person who ignores bad advice might actually be wise. Now you speak, sing and preach the advice unrelentingly to the point where your final words to the shell is; may God help you. Although it’s a prayer, if you’ve ever heard these words or something similar its most likely the person has 9.9/10 given up on you. Not to worry the 0.1 is still there and still counts so far as the prayer is said when you are living on top and not six feet below the ground in which case the prayer might actually work in your favour.
There are many ways a person can become a shell. It could be a character flaw in a person you are trying to correct but to no avail and it could be something they do that they shouldn’t be doing or something they don’t do that they should be. Whatever the case may be, wisdom and patience are two key things that are needed if you want to help the shell. The knowledge is what we are first bent on passing across and it’s not enough to bring about the change we want; and most of the time the shell already even knows what it is you are trying to tell them. A simple example is you have a hypothetical father who is a medical doctor but he is an ardent smoker and you are really concerned about his health. What can you or anyone else tell him that he doesn’t already know? Your general knowledge and maybe the biology class you took back in high school cannot be weighed against his knowledge and many years of experience. I did not say that to discourage you, the reminder will still be there but wisdom plays a key part here as your solution would not lay in what you tell him but how you tell him. Also, some shells can tell you they’re willing to face the consequences of their actions, which is admittedly fair on their part but nonetheless reckless. The shells forget the role they play in other people’s lives and how if something directly affects them it affects you too. It’s true you live your own life, but what you do with it sadly doesn’t affect you alone.
Let’s create a girl called Zainab. Zainab has an ocean; of bad company. She spends more and more time with this bad company and as time passes by she sinks deeper into the ocean. You notice this and try everything to pull her out, my question for you is what do you think will happen at first? I’ll paint a picture that can hopefully help you answer. If you remain in the dark for a long time probably you were asleep and you were suddenly exposed to light two things can happen. Either you get really uncomfortable, cover your eyes and shout at the person who switched on the lights to switch it off! Or it takes some time for your eyes to adjust to the light again.
We often get the first reaction from people we try to give advice to but you have to understand with the example of Zainab who is sinking deeper into the ocean, that its going to be dark down there. You might be reaching out to her from above but cause it’s dark down there it’s likely she can’t see your hand as hard as you wave or stretch it. So remember this, the shell you try to give advice to don’t expect him or her to rise to the surface quickly. It took a process for the shell to get to where s/he is, don’t you think it will take a process to get him/her out of it also? This is where patience comes into play. Don’t give up on your shell, if there’s ever a point in their life they need you it’s then and how much you try to help them will define the kind of person you are as well as the relationship.
And if you feel you’ve tried everything possible and your shell remains the same or worse remind yourself of the verse in the Quran where Allah says in suratul nur (24:40) “Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, darkness, one above another, if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And whoever Allah wouldn’t provide light to; then he wouldn’t have any light”. This shows it’s not you, you didn’t fail it’s just how God has allowed it to be so far. You may be giving your own light, but God’s light is really what does it. So instead of relying on your own light to change your shell ask God to provide His own light cause you know it’s the only thing that could work. As long as the shells are still alive you and I cannot believe God will not shine his light on them or that they have strayed so far that it’s impossible for them to change.
I pray for each and every one of you as well as myself that our shells receive Allah’s light.
See you in my next post ^.^