If you have ever given a speech, taught a class or just had a conversation with someone, one of the most remarkable things to observe is which of your words stick with your listeners. Which bit did you say changed their heart?
I can think of numerous examples where I thought the audience would take one particular message away, but in fact, benefited from something completely different. Over longer periods of time, the events you had often forgotten as insignificant are the ones which turned the hearts of the listeners.
Just today, I had a friend who recalled how I had offered him a place to stay with me when we first met. I had considered this as a common courtesy and gave little thought about it, yet he was so moved by it that it still lived with him today.
Another friend once told me he started practising his faith after we warmly welcomed him into the prayer room at university. As a non-student, he thought he would be shunned as an imposter. We just shared the #Bromance, welcomed him as one of our own, and never even thought to turn away someone coming to a sacred space. Till this day he remembers that incident.
When I lived in Egypt, a near complete stranger was adamant to help me upon my arrival because, 10 years earlier, my father had helped his father when they first arrived in the UK. When I asked my father about it, he couldn’t even remember what he did!
On the flip side; how often do we speak with our children at length about one thing, only for them to pick up something entirely different to what you intended? How many couples seek mediation for their problems, only for them to hear and quote the things they like and ignore all the rest? How many teachers spend hours refining a lesson, only to realise their students forget the key parts of the message they had emphasised?
In the age of soundbites and social media, we search for the perfect words to say. We want to go viral. We want to have an impact. We want people to benefit through the work we do.
But the truth is guidance does not come from us, it comes from God. Even our Beloved Prophet ﷺ, the greatest guide to have walked this earth, was told:
إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
“You surely cannot guide whomever you like ˹O Prophet˺, but it is Allah Who guides whoever He wills, and He knows best who are ˹fit to be˺ guided.” [28:56]
The words you speak and work you do are yours, but which of them transform the heart is down to Allah ﷻ. He honours us by allowing us to take the credit for them, but in reality, it is Allah ﷻ who is turning the hearts of those who seek.
As-salaam Alaykum Wa-Rahmat Allah
This is Talha from Quran Club.
Have a think about the conversations you have with family and friends. It’s a really common experience for people to see that what they say isn’t actually what people take away, but it’s more often what you do or things you didn’t even notice that transforms people. This really shows that Allah ﷻ that’s doing the work here. And it really humbles you to realise that none of what you do in reality means anything unless Allah ﷻ gives it that tawfiq.
Share some experiences you’ve been through with us. It would be nice to hear some more examples. I’m sure it’s a common experience. Remember to share this podcast with family and friends as well. Perhaps some of the words in it might change their hearts.
As-salaamu Alaykum Warahmat Allah!