“Life begins at forty.” - W. B. Pitkin
I just realized a few nights ago that I will be turning the big 40 in a couple of months. That thought got me thinking about my life as a whole. As I look back on my life’s journey, I must say that it has been quite a roller-coaster, full of ‘incidents’ and ‘accidents’. Over the years, I learnt about love and friendship. I met new friends and lost some also. I lost 2 babies and I learnt about grief and heartache. I was taught about being patient and taming my fiery temper. I was also taught about humility and humanity.
I must say that I am quite surprise to see where I am now and what I have become. About twenty years ago, I had imagined my life to be differently. It is very true that we only have the ability to plan but the Master who decides our fate is God Al Mighty. God Al Mighty had indeed decided my life’s journey to be different from what I had planned. Not that I’m complaining but quite the opposite. I am truly thankful that things did not go as I planned because now, I know, my ‘plan’ was not a good for me.
“it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know. “
Surah Al Baqarah 2:216
God has sent 2 wonderful people to me who had taught me many things about Islam. I was very ignorant then but thanks to these two noble souls, I learn to appreciate the beauty of Islam.
“Has taught man that which he knew not.”
Surah Al Alaq 96:5
I am a firm believer that if we are seeking for knowledge in Islam, then God will send us someone who will teach us. My two teachers have patiently put up with my antics and silly questions. They reprimanded me when I needed to be scolded but most importantly, they have guided me through my most difficult period when I was looking for God. I know I can never repay their kindness and not a day goes by that I am grateful to God for sending me His servants.
Now I wonder what is in store for me in the future. One thing for sure is, that I know I will still be doing is, ‘learning’. There is no full stop to gaining knowledge. One can never have enough knowledge. I also noticed that the number ‘40’ is quite significant in Islam.
Did you know that our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW received his 1st revelation from Angel Gabriel when he was 40 years old. I suppose the saying that ‘life starts at 40’ is true for our beloved Prophet Saw because Prophet SAW started his life as a messenger of God at the age of 40. Why God chose Prophet SAW to become a His messenger at the age of 40, and not 30 or 20, I honestly don’t know but if you have the answer, please share with me. To me, there must be something special about that age but God knows what we do not.
The number ‘40’ is even specifically mentioned in the Quran.
“We have enjoined man to be kind to his parents. In pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give birth to him. The carrying of the child to his weaning is a period of thirty months. And when he is grown to full maturity and reaches the age of forty, he prays: "My Lord, dispose me that I may give thanks for the bounty that You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and dispose me that I may do righteous deeds that would please You, and also make my descendants righteous. I repent to You, and I am one of those who surrender themselves to You."
Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:15
This a special supplication that we are highly encourage to recite when we attain the age of 40. From my reading, I come to understand that the age ‘40’ is when we reach our maturity level from the Islamic perspective. We are considered as wiser when we attain the age of ‘40’. I suppose being 40 is when we reached our peak.
Am I wiser? I do hope so! Am I looking forward to turning 40? You bet I am! I have so much to be thankful for. God had granted me an abundance of barakah and blessings. I may not have everything that I want but I certainly do have everything that I need. I am grateful for the obstacles God had thrown my way because it taught me valuable lessons especially about patience and acceptance. I am thankful for all the sickness that I was inflicted with as it gave me an opportunity to reduce my sins. I am thankful for the privilege for being able to be a daughter, sister, wife and mother.
“Umm Al-Ala reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, visited me when I was sick, and he said, “Be cheerful, O mother of Al-Ala, for when a Muslim becomes sick, Allah takes away his sins just as fire takes away impurities in gold and silver.”
[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 20, Number 3092, Hasan]
Most of all, I am very thankful that God had implanted many very important people in my life, who had helped to guide me and ensure that I stay on the correct path. These are the people who would give me the slap of reality when I needed it. They would pick me up when I fall, become my pillar of strength when I falter, be my shoulder to cry on and love me unconditionally.
Now, I have a different check-list for life that I hope to achieve before I die. One of the items on my check list is to try to live my remaining lifetime in accordance with AlQuran and Hadith. My ardent hope and sincere prayer is that when I am called to meet my Maker, I have tried and succeeded and can finally declare myself a ‘Muslim’. Ameen….