While at work, I’m often daydreaming about my Halal Foodie moments and how I can share them with you. I enjoy recounting about my misadventures with the Halal Guys in New York or how my old school mom always finds a way to order the same thing no matter what restaurant we go to. Most of the time, they make for a funny story, but sometimes, like in this case, they can have profound impacts on my life perspective. In this case, I had no idea food would impact me in such a way that it would shake my faith and soul.
This story begins with a tough day at the office. It was a particularly hard morning. I had spent the entire time handling complex problems and putting out fires, figuratively. It was already past 1pm and I was heading back to my office. My feet were dragging. My shoulders were slouched over. My eyes, heavy from all the chaos I had witness that morning. Spontaneously, I muttered under my breath,
“Oh Lord, I just need chocolate.”
I dropped in to my office chair like a sack of potatoes. I looked at the mountain of paperwork that had built up on my desk in my absence. What magical elves brought all these papers to me, I wondered.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It’s just one of those days. A day when you’d like to just jump out the window, run to your car and drive off. But I knew I had to get back on the floor with my co-workers to finished the day. Hopefully the afternoon would run more smoothly.
I started signing off on some of the paperwork and putting in my outbox, hoping those elves would come and whisk them away. The phone started ringing. I knew they were ready for me back on the floor.
It rang, and rang, and rang.
Maybe if I let it ring one more time, they’d give up and forget about me.
Nope. It kept ringing, and somehow louder. So I picked it up. They wanted me back on the front line. They were ready for me. As I got up, I didn’t feel as tired. My legs weren’t as heavy.
As I walked back, a co-worker approached me with a colourful box. She said one of her friends had just arrived back from England and had brought her a box of Cadbury Chocolates.
Before I could even get any words out, my hand was already in the box fishing out one of the individually packed chocolate pieces. I had grabbed a classic milk chocolate, the one in the purple wrapper. Those were my favorite. I ripped open the package and popped it in my mouth. Those Brit sure do make a good milk chocolate. I wonder if they will still be able to make chocolate after Brexit. Anyway, it melted in to a thick sweet chewy gooey-goo in my mouth. I couldn’t even open my mouth to say “thank you” so I gave a thumbs up (super cool, right ).
I felt so much better. The sun was shining again.
It wasn’t until an hour later, when I returned to my office that it hit me. I had specifically asked Allah for chocolate earlier. I had unwittingly made a prayer, a dua. My dua for chocolate was answered! I had whispered an informal dua under my breath and within minutes, it was answered.
My eyes and hands turned up to the sky as I thanked Allah for the chocolate. Such a small insignificant dua. A dua made without any expectation of it being fulfilled, let alone heard. Yet it’s impact changed my whole day and turned it right around.
My late father, often mentioned to us as children that Allah was closer to us than our own Jugular Veins. It was a famous verse from the Holy Quran.
” And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.”Quran 50:16
I had always understood it to be in a passive context. I understood He was everywhere, but only observing and watching. It had not occurred to me that this verse was to be interpreted in an active context. True, He is so close to us, but is also intervening in our lives in real time. He was there throughout the day and night, not just watching over me, but also helping me at each moment to ensure I had everything I needed to move forward. Allah is always there, closer than you realize, acting when you don’t even know. It was such a profound realization about my Creator for me.
All it took was a piece of chocolate.
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