When you conceive a child, your hopes and dreams for that child overwhelm your heart. You discuss with your partner the way you’ll raise him, what you’ll feed him, how you’ll set a sleep schedule for him. You plan our her first few years – where she’ll go to school, what kind of friends she’ll have, what extra-curricular programs you’ll put her into. You’ll dream about how he’ll surpass all academic expectations, how he might invent things to revolutionize the way we live.
You want him or her to change the world.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs…” (31:34).
Only Allah (swt) knows who our babies will be before they even come into existence. He knows what they’ll grow up to do, what dreams and goals they’ll have, and whether or not they’ll follow the footsteps of their parents.
(I thought I was having a boy until the minute my daughter was born and the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” All the advanced equipment and multiple sonograms turned out to be wrong.)
Only He knows how many lives our wombs will hold and give birth to, and how many lives the wombs of our daughters and granddaughters will hold, too.
The ayah continues, “…And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (31:34).
Even the most thoroughly researched genealogies will never capture all of the names of our ancestors.
The graves of our great great grandparents are scattered in every corner of the earth. We are not tasked with knowing who is buried where. We are not asked to plan where we will die. It is in a record with Him. We are only asked to pray for our parents’ and grandparents’ forgiveness, and to prepare for death as though it is coming tomorrow – as though its icy fingers are reaching towards our throats at this very moment.
There is such beauty in knowing that there is a Lord who is controlling and caring for the all the lives of all the creatures on this earth, and their offspring – past, present, and future. We are not tasked with knowing all of our past ancestors, or ensuring the propagation of the future generations.
We are only tasked with living as honestly as we can, worshipping Him the best we can, and caring for the one or three or six little ones that we’ve birthed. And perhaps more, if we are able.
We think we have the weight of the world on our shoulders, but we don’t. Yes, we have stress and struggles and pains that we have to experience and overcome. But there is a Creator who is carrying us forward, Who knows where we came from, Who knows the names of every person who ever existed and where their bones and remains are, and Who knows every person who will exist in the future. He is a Creator Who is holding everything in the universe and in our lives in perfect balance at all times.
And He will raise us all up, out of our graves on the Day of Judgment to stand before Him and to live a second life of eternity.
Our lives are small dots on the timeline of this grand existence. But in the space of that small dot, that brief moment of time between our birth and death, our fates in the afterlife are determined.
Do not become busy with other people’s dots on this timeline and ignore your own. Don’t obsess over the past or worry nonstop about the future – Allah (swt) is carrying it all, has knowledge of it all, has all the capacity to change it and move it forward. Care for your own dot because soon, very soon, your brief moment on this earth will be all used up.