To all my sisters in faith and humanity, and everyone seeking justice, liberation and empowerment.
Empowerment comes from TRUTH. Truth is the vehicle, the eye-opener, and the cause of all liberation and justice. And truth is the annihilator, the nullifier, and the abolisher of all forms of oppression and injustice. The truth is there for us. We just have to accept it, use it, and live by it. What truth am I referring to? It is the truth or the Haqq, given to us through Islam. Islam brings us from darkness into light, giving us liberation, justice, salvation, and thus empowerment. Through using a wide variety of channels and means, I hope to help others in finding the empowerment that Islam offers.
I used an example from Maryam (Mary, the mother of Jesus) as an inspiration, as her story is one of the greatest stories told in the Qur’an. And due to her piety and devotion to Allah (SWT), He raised her rank and specifically praised her as being superior and one of the best of all women. When we are faced with the challenges of life, I hope we can all remember this story and find the strength to ‘Shake the palm tree’.
The story behind ‘Shake the Palm Tree’
When Maryam, mother of Isa, was experiencing the pains of childbirth in the middle of a deserted area, she sought shade and rest against a palm tree. Weak, hungry, alone and frightened, feelings of hopelessness ran through her to the point where she wanted to die and be forgotten about. It was then when a voice cried out to her not to grieve, that her Lord provided a water stream beneath her, and for her to “Shake the trunk of the date palm tree” and fresh ripe dates would fall upon her.
Shake the trunk of a palm tree? This seems like an effortless, unimaginable act. Imagine a woman who just gave birth, holding a newborn baby in the middle of nowhere, completely isolated, in pain, bleeding, weak, hungry and scared. What could have been going through her mind?
Maryam (alayhi asalaam) put her complete trust and faith in Allah (SWT), as she knew this was an inspiration from Him. After all, it was Allah who blessed her with the good news of a baby boy and miraculous birth. As weak as she was, she reached for the trunk of the tree and shook it. Suddenly dates came pouring down around her, and along with the water beneath her, she received the sustenance she needed to regain her strength physically, mentally, and spiritually. And this, my dear readers, set off a chain of events that brought to mankind one of the greatest prophets by Allah’s will.
“Shake the palm tree” is an empowering statement, signifying the importance of having tawakkul (trust and dependance) in Allah, along with putting in the effort needed to fulfill our destiny. Our destiny is decreed, but we cannot have tawakkul without also exerting our efforts, nor can we exert our efforts without having tawakkul, and expect our destiny to be fulfilled. We must learn to have complete trust in Allah, the One who created us, sustains us, protects us and provides for us. At the same time we must do our part and seek the means to fufill our destiny. With these two components complimenting each other, there is no end to what our destiny holds for us!
“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from sources he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish this purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” Surah al-Talaq (65:2-3)