The deep green leaves of the ivy covering the wall that ran along the sidewalk fluttered in the cool spring breeze as I made my way downhill on a morning errand. The sky was clear blue with the occasional puffy cloud. Having the sun to brightly highlight and warm all it touched, others too were out taking advantage of the fine day.
Ahead and to my right, a covered Muslim lady had come out of a shop and was making her way toward the intersection where she could come cross the street. Seeing two men headed up the sidewalk toward me and the lane nearest us empty, I stepped off the narrow sidewalk and made quick to get back up on it as soon as I passed them. I could see a new red and black mopad was buzzing its way up the hill followed closely by a bright yellow taxi, so I hopped up onto the sidewalk ensuring the driver plenty of space. I was glad that I had timed it well enough that he didn't have to compensate for my temporary presence in his lane.
Just a few more steps and I would reach the intersection. But then out of the corner of my eye something flashed white and turned across the lane in front of the fellow on the mopad and into the street perpendicular to the sidewalk. The mopad driver was stunned. There was no chance he could stop in time, so he seemed to resolve to attempt to pass just around the back of the car as it pulled out of the way. But having slowed to deal with the narrow, crowded side street's traffic, the white car did not clear the lane rather remaining partially in the main road. Still I thought the mopad driver was going to make it by without a hitch, but then the buzzing sound of the mopad came to an abrupt end with an intense crushing sound of metal and hard plastic on metal.
Instinctively, I flinched away from that frightful noise as I watched the mopad and its driver flip through the air from under the arm I had raised to protect my face from flying debris. Silence reigned as all around held their breath in anticipation of the worst. And then in an instant the silence was broken as the shattered bike made impact with the pavement ten feet from where it had taken flight and scrapped to a screeching halt. Somehow and to everyone's amazement, the young driver had managed to land on his feet and catch himself from behind preventing any damage to his back as he too slid to a stop in an almost backbend position.
Utterly shocked by it all, he stood up so quickly it was as if nothing had happened. Immediately, he ran his hand over his head as if to check for an injury or brush away some debris. With that, he looked at his now mangled motorcycle as it lay there in fragments on the street. Upset and devastated, he turned to the driver of the car, who had since gotten out to face the damage. "Why didn't you look before you turned?" the mopad driver said. Defensively the driver of the car responded, "I did, but you were driving too fast." With tremendous strength, the young man restrained the anger welling up inside him by looking down at his hand at a small gash on his knuckle that had not yet started bleeding. The other man too did not say more even though he also had suffered a loss with the damage to his car. With both of them leaving it at that, everyone around was slowly able to exhale with relief that the accident and confrontation had not been much worse. The self-restraint that both drivers displayed was truly impressive. It reminded me of a saying of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) as related by Abu Hurairah:
A strong man is not someone who knocks other people out in a fight.
A strong man is one who can control himself when he is angry.
Now that it was safe, the lady who had been on the other side of the street waiting to cross took the opportunity. Still wide eyed and short of breath from having had been so close to becoming a part of the accident herself in a sympathetic voice that conveyed for us all how sorry we felt for the young driver of the mopad especially, she gave him her condolences and wished him well commenting that he truly had been protected by Allah.
As the Prophet put it in another hadith reported by Suhaib:
It is an astonishing thing that everything turns out well for the believer; and this
applies to the believer alone. If happiness comes to him, he gives thanks, so it
turns out well for him, and if misfortune comes to him, he shows endurance, and
it turns out well for him. (Muslim)
How amazing it is that we are so blessed. How wonderful it is to realize that this is all temporary...a test, a preparation for the true reality. How magnificent it is to have the knowledge of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) available to us to help us find meaning and purpose in it all and to know that it all works out in the end. As the Prophet said in two other hadiths:
Related by Abu Said Khudri, "Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by any hardship,
whether it be chronic sickness, anxiety, grief, harm, a disaster, or even a thorn-
prick, Allah wipes out some of his minor sins. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Related by Abu Hurairah, "A believer, whether male or female, continues to
receive trials which afflict himself, his children, or property, until he or she meets
Allah Almighty, with all sins wiped away. (Tirmidhi)
May Allah increase us all in knowledge, understanding, and faith thereby helping us to succeed even when it seems we are suffering a loss.