“Where did you learn all this?” I asked. “Is there a book I should read?” As if anything could be so easy.
“No,” she laughed. “Allah the Almighty puts His signs in the universe all around us. Anyone can see them and understand them, even if he can not read!
It is up to us to comprehend the messages He sends to us and learn from them, or situation is repeated situations until we understand. Our ability to do this depends on the state of our heart.
"If you look back at your life, and compare yourself in the past with how you are right now, you will surely see many changes and developments. You are not the same person you were ten years ago. Try to remember the signs you had along the way. Try to remember what guided you,” she explained.
I could remember.
“Change is a part of life, don’t resist it. Learn to ride out whatever happens, and know that joy is contained in and around hardships.”
“Tell me about your life,” I asked her. “What was the changing point in your life?”
"There have been many really. I learned that helping others always brings about something positive.”
“Well, if someone comes to you with a problem that is counted as negative. Then you try to help them, comfort them, and support them then that is counted as positive.”
“But won’t the negative of that person counteract your positive?”
“Remember what you've learned about Math at school? A negative and a positive make a what?”
“Yes. And a positive and a negative make a positive, and a positive and a positive make a positive…”
“Yes, only a negative and a negative make a negative,” I realized.
“That’s why we should always return evil – a negative – with goodness – a positive, then the whole thing will transform into something positive. Isn’t life amazing?”
“Most certainly. But you still haven't told me about the changing point in your life.”
“Oh yes, it’s quite a simple story really. There was a time in my life when I felt very depressed, almost broken. I felt like giving up. I’d lost faith in people and in myself. Yet deep inside I had this sense that I must never give up. Allah the Almighty guided me to a place that changed my life.”
“Where were you living at that time?”
“I was living in Malaysia. I visited a prison that had opened to the public as a tourist site. I went there alone because I wanted to see and feel what it was like for the inmates there long ago. I felt I was in my own prison; one I had built for myself.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I had constructed walls in my thinking, limiting myself and my choices. Telling myself that I can’t do this, and I can’t do that; that life is difficult, meaningless. I was always negative. I decided to face my greatest fear.”
“What was that?” I trembled at the thought. Isn't fear something to run away from?
"I went down into the depths of the prison into death row. In the room where they used to hang the prisoners there was a cage where the prisoner would stay for three days before his execution.”
“How awful!” I replied.
“I sat inside the cage and looked at the ropes hanging from the scaffolding. I imagined I was a prisoner there watching and waiting for my death to take place. I looked at the swinging empty ropes. I felt afraid. I felt more than afraid.
"I forced myself to stay there, and feel what the prisoners must have felt. My life flashed before my eyes. I felt regret, sorrow, and pain. I experienced what death must feel like. I have experienced it many times over.
" Then I told myself that I am lucky, so lucky because I am free to get up and leave. I wondered at how the prisoners would have wished for such a chance. I felt a wave of happiness and relief. I have never felt such happiness!”
“And this changed your life?”
“It certainly did. Every time I feel negative, I go to this place in my mind, and remind myself that I am free; that I still have time. That I can get up and leave, change, and my heart soars.”
“Such a negative place brought such a positive result.”
“Yes, that’s the lesson. Whenever you insert a positive, ,the negative changes, transforms – it disappears and becomes something that gives us life and spurs us on.”