You will be Well-Pleased with what He Gives you.
To my daughter,
We were at your cousin’s house and his father rang the doorbell. Your cousin, as he ran towards the door, yelled “Baba’s here.” And you ran, too, not really knowing why exactly – just running because he was running.
Then, our eyes met as you waited for the door to be opened, and you asked me something. You didn’t mean to burst me, you didn’t mean for the taut happiness around my heart to suddenly tear and let out the pain that was bandaged up tight. You didn’t mean it, but you asked me:
I have a baba, too, right?
I paused and held your face with my right hand, looking into your eyes and simply said, yes, you do have a baba.
Then I went on like nothing happened, like you hadn’t torn a hole in me, like the world was bright and peachy and my only concern was whether we were going to get stuck in traffic on the way home.
Then when you fell asleep that night, I stood up to pray. I recited Surat Al-Duha, my favourite surah.
By the morning brightness
And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,
Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].
And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present (life of this world).
I stopped at the fourth verse and I repeated it and repeated it. ‘And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present.’ And when I couldn’t repeat it anymore, I repeated it in my heart as I cried.
All because of your little, big words.
Sometimes my fears get the better of me. I wish that this test of losing a parent hadn’t fallen on you. You of a sweet year-round suntanned complexion and dark, mischievous eyes. You of wild tantrums and honey-laden girly laughter. You of innocent flesh still inhabiting this earth.
You’ve been tested even before you understand what a test is. I cannot do a thing about it, I fear, except hold onto you tightly, swing you wildly, laugh with you incessantly, then cry only after you fall asleep, repeating under my breath:
Indeed the Hereafter is better for you and me than the present.
You will learn this verse, I promise you. You have to know it, you have to engrave it into your heart, seal it into your soul, sew it into the very fibers that make you you.
To answer your question permanently: you have a baba. Not had. Have. He is not gone – he is, we hope, in the presence of those close to God. His blood runs through your veins, and in time you’ll understand how much that means.
You’ll grow up around friends who have their fathers’ hands to hold and shoulders to sit on. I won’t lie – it won’t be the same for you or us. But we have to believe that it will be better.
Better because God doesn’t leave the believers to themselves even for the blink of an eye. Better because He is the Wali, close friend and protector, of the believers. Better because everything He plans for us is to strengthen us and push us to stand up and walk forward with faith confidence.
The very next verse in Surat Al-Duha is, “And verily, your Lord will give you so that you shall be well-pleased.”
Expect good to come. Don’t just hope for it. Expect it from Him and Him alone.
I pray you are always well-pleased with what He gives you.