Defying and defining darkness
Anne Frank once quipped “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” that remains to be a remarkable description of candroit (having or showing skill, cleverness, or resourcefulness in handling situations) of the candle. So much so that the candle in all its functionality, frequently deserves mention in imparting many a positive traits such as selflessness, enlightenment and above all as being a giver.
Martin Luther King Jr, in one of his spirited speeches said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Allah (SWT) has plced immense symbolism in the issue of light and darkness or day and night as He reminds us time and again in the Holy Qur’an as these being signs for those who reflect or understand.
Furthermore, one of the mustahabaat of performing ablution (wudhoo) is to think or recite accompanying du’as that lend meaning and credence to the symbolism of the action as it were. When we wash our faces the adjoining prayer is thus:
Alla humma bayyiz wajhi yawma taswaddufihil wujuh wala tusawwid waj hi yawma tabyazzul wujuh.
O Lord! Make my face bright on the Day when the faces will turn dark. Do not darken my face on the Day when the face s are bright.
The question we must address today is why we ask for such a favour from the Almighty, and why would having darkened faces be detrimental to us on the Day of Judgement. Shallow minds, armed with access to forums, have audaciously criticised the wisdom of such a prayer that purportedly chastises being black, and to back this up, they play the racism card. In truth, blackened faces and not black faces, are a symbolic reference to the time when those of humankind who will be bereft of any good deeds, will face damnation through darkness while those who have something to show for their lives, will see light. The reflection of these two independent yet polar environments, is what will cast the shadow of darkness or of light respectively.
As the months of azaa leave us quietly, it is now time for us to reflect donning a sagacious mind, of the potential things that can interrupt lights from our faces on a day when it will truly matter, and with that the drowning experience of one’s hopes will surface from their hearts. We need to ponder about the small actions we commit each day, in speech and in thought, as well as the sins that are more obvious that we engage in. Whether it is usury, gossip, slander, adultery, gambling, alcoholism, perverseness, allegations, character assassinations, envy, and so many other vices, we need to make a conscious effort and detach ourselves with the worldly warranties that deceive us of salvation. May Allah (SWT) protect us from the ill fate of Qiyamah.