Parachute Packers?

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From Stories of Hope & Faith by Sister Sabrina

Bismillaah - As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

race carLast Sunday, I spent my evening watching Formula 1 Car Racing.

The race was full of suspense, and to my disappointment, my favourite team did not make it to the podium, again.

Ahh, well, there will be another race next week in Monaco, I hope! Maybe, my team will win. Insya'Allaah.

Although some people say Formula 1 ('watching 22 cars going in circles') is as silly as watching '11 men chasing after one ball' , my adrenaline just refuses to accept that perception. I love the thrill, suspense, glory and frustrations that come along with the race.

From the first day I fell in love with Formula 1, I understood that to win a race, every single tiny little bolts, screws and nuts are as important and critical as the engine, tyres and even the drivers. Every person in the crew plays a significant role, even if his responsibility is just to pump gas into the car! No one is less significant than the others.

That makes me think. If a success of a team is so interdependent, perhaps the success of a person needs the same kind of support too. Could that be the way?

Read . . .

The Story of . .
Parachute Packers

When we were born, we were surely born to someone, right? We were these innocent babies, and our brains were like these eager learning little ‘sponges’, ready to absorb anything that was either passed or passed to us

  And Al Mighty Allaah has provided us with some ready-made ‘tools’ to help us learn. Who are these God-given tools?

They are our dear parents (who teach us what is right or wrong) , brothers (who teach us that fire does burn that tree!), sisters (who teach us that it is ok to use mum’s lipstick on our Barbie, and later get grounded, still it will be fun!) , teachers ( from whom we understand that homework is critical for learning!) and so many more people who I cannot mention here.

They help to prepare us for the many smiles, tears, laughter and pain that we will face in this world. And we can’t deny, if that is the case, that we ourselves, are a ‘tool’ of learning to someone else.

Prophet Muhammad has made it clear that we are accountable and responsible to someone, somewhere, sometime.

The Messenger of Allah said, “Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and children and is responsible for them; a slave is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The idea and concept of interdependence, living our lives as a part of a whole, is very 'sexy' indeed. If each one of us can perform our roles, duties and responsibilities given to us, regardless of what it is, and understand the importance and significance of our roles, we will have many winning teams in this world and hereafter, Insya’Allaah.

For an example, if a man understands his role as a father to his son, he would know that every action and decision that he makes shall have an impact on his son. There is a relationship here. His son then is dependent on his father’s good judgment to shape his future. Interdependence once again. That’s the keyword. His son's future thinking and behaviour will depend on his father’s input. How the father wants to 'color' his son's canvas is really up to him.

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) and his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?"
Volume: 2, Book Number: 23, Hadith Number: 467 Sahih Bukhari

Therefore, if parents uphold their responsibilities, their children will then receive proper upbringing and thus, Insya'Allaah become successful Muslim. And later, that pious son shall be a tremendous asset to the ummah, and the parents shall be rewarded by Allaah. I acknowledged that I am being a little bit simplistic here, but, then again, this is just a linear example to demonstrate the concept of interdependence.

Let me share with you a story I found which beautifully captured the concept of interdependence in life…

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Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now giving lectures on lessons that he learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"

Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have bumped into him or seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of
each chute, holding in his hands each time, the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what he needs to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory -- he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching to safety.

There you go. Have we ever given a thought of who packs our parachutes? Who are these people who had made or are still making significant contributions to our lives? And how do we, as another being, contribute to someone else’s life?

Islam has recognized the critical role that the concept of interdependence and brotherhood plays in the life of a Muslim. But first, to receive the benefits of interdependence, we should make peace with each other and fear Allaah.

The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: so make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy. Surah 49 : 10.

Then, only then we can support each other.

Narrated Abu Musa: 

The Prophet said, "A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other." While (saying that) the Prophet clasped his hands, by interlacing his fingers. Volume: 1, Book Number: 8, Hadith Number: 468

Subhanallaah, can you imagine how interdependent we are with each other? Like fingers that are being laced together… tightly…

Not only that we are reminded that we should be supporting each other, but, we are also warned not to harm one another.

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:
The Prophet said, "A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands. And a Muhajir (emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden." Volume: 1, Book Number: 2, Hadith Number: 9

However, we should all understand that no matter how interdependent we are with each other, the ultimate and only dependence that we should have is only to Allaah, the AlMighty.

Nay, Allah is your Protector, and He is the best of helpers. Surah 3 : 150
Knowest thou not that to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And besides Him ye have neither patron nor helper. Surah 2 : Verse 107

But Allah hath full knowledge of your enemies: Allah is enough for a protector, and Allah is enough for a helper. Surah 4 : Verse 45

You (alone) we worship; and You (alone) we rely for help. Surah Number: 1, Ayah Number: 5

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So, my dear friends, let us take a moment to ponder and reflect on who are our parachutes packers. Do we know them? Do we acknowledge them? Have we said thanks to them? Or have we actually hurt them, in any way? I am going to sit down now, and list the names of all my parachute packers. Care to join me?

Oh yes, I already know one. You. You are one of my parachute packers. For being a friend, for your lovely emails to me, for being a reader to my writing, for being a fan to my blog. You know who you are. You have a part in inspiring me to be where I am now and become what I want to be, Insya’Allaah. Thank you to you, my parachute packers. Alhamdulillaah. I cannot thank Allaah enough :)))

Sis Zabrina

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