In 2022 be like the butterfly – By Prof. Afis Oladosu
Successful indeed are the believers…(Q23:1-7)
And today’s date is 31/12/2021. By tomorrow, we would have entered a new year, 2022! If you happen to be the perceptive type, you would have discovered that the passage of time from yesterday to today, the passage of one year into another, is like the passage from life into eternity. In other words, nothing extraordinary usually takes place to herald the ‘birth’ and ‘death’ of a year. The same way darkness pervaded the horizon last year, the same it does till this day. What has actually changed is you and me. What is changing is the clock; the unseen clock which ticks inside me and you. I looked at my hair the other day and I discovered I have more grey hairs than I did last year. I contemplated my face in the mirror I discovered some miracles. Somehow the Abdul Hafis of today looks completely different from that of yesterday. I knew my face has changed. How it did without me knowing is a miracle. I knew something has changed in me. I know I am changing. How did I change without knowing, it remains a miracle.
Now dear brethren, of all lessons life keep teaching me is that for me to be successful not only on a yearly basis but on a daily I must constantly be in touch with my Creator. The line connecting me with Him must be active. It should be a direct line; a line which admits of no intermediary or intervention. To be connected to the Almighty means I must avoid all frivolities and shun vain talk. To shun vain talks implies pitching your tenth with the truthful. This, no doubt would be a very difficult virtue to imbibe particularly in this clime and time. The truthful, in this clime is usually an enemy of earthly principalities; the truthful in this time is often a loner, the wretched. The truthful usually finds the doors of the rich and powerful ever unattractive and loathsome. He is seen as an enigma if not someone suffering from dementia. The truthful amongst human beings would most likely not be found in the circle of the politicians, he would most likely not be a comrade to the moral Lilliputians who luxuriate on a daily basis in the vanities of the temporality of earthly positions and the illusions of bodily enchantments.
To be successful in life you need to guard your loins. You need to be faithful to your partner. One of the greatest sins and in fact the major source of human perdition is the sin of the loins – the incontinence of the phallus, the infidelity of the bearers of the womb.
To be successful in life means I should be patient with my creator. Lack of patience is responsible for the way Nigerians change their center and places of worship on a daily basis.
To be successful in life, you need to keep up your prayers. Cultivate the virtue of observing tahajjud (night prayers). (Q73). If you desire to succeed and overcome the turbulence of this year you need to cultivate the habit of waking up at night when everyone else is asleep in order to connect with your Creator.
To be successful in 2022, please ponder this story: “A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Allah’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.Brethren! Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If the Almighty allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong. We would never be able to “fly”!
Afis Ayinde Oladosu Ph.D
Professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies,
Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies,
University of Ibadan, Nigeria