“Allah is Subtle with His servants…” [42: 19]
It’s not difficult for Allah to show us His signs in elaborate and stark ways. It’s not difficult for Him to shake the earth beneath our feet or colour the sky above us if need be. But that’s not how He works with His slaves. He is subtle and He is consistent in His subtlety.
He teaches us in ways that are gentle and personal to each of us, and He alerts us to our mistakes on a very discreet level. I remember one time when I was studying abroad, a friend of mine asked me to listen to a lecture on a particular aspect of fiqh. I kept putting it off but it was strange because she kept asking if I had listened to it and I said no because to be honest it wasn’t a topic that interested me or concerned me. I had other subject areas that I wanted to learn more about. So I didn’t bother with it and completely dismissed it (may Allah forgive me).
Subhan’Allah, within a few days, out of nowhere I fell into a predicament which concerned that *exact* same fiqh issue. I was astonished to say the least. It wasn’t a major crisis but it wasn’t an every day matter either; it was something so far from my mind at that time. But anyway, the message was ever so clear. Allah was saying to me ‘Don’t dismiss any aspect of knowledge; it’s not for you to choose’, and He was alerting me to take His gifts and opportunities for learning. What brought me to tears was how subtle everything was and how it all unfolded; from my friend’s random suggestion and persistence, to the timing of it all.
Needless to say I rushed back home and listened to that lecture twice over Allah is subtle and He wishes only that we are humble enough to notice His gentle messages and act upon them. He wishes only to teach us in gentle ways because if He wished, He could’ve taught us harshly – but He chooses Mercy at every instance. O Allah, be gentle with us and guide us with Your kindness, Ya Lateef.