“The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who takes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.” [29:41]
The ayah uses the word “awliya’a” which is often translated into ally or friend but even that is not a sufficient explanation. Imam AlQurtubi explains a “wali” (singular of awliya’a) as a caretaker and maintainer. It is someone that you can depend on, someone that you rely on for safety and comfort. It is a security net or blanket.
Oftentimes we make the mistake of believing that what we have in this life is what provides us security. We think that this job will always provide for us, we believe that our home is the source of safety, we at times even think the reason we have what we have is because of our status. We forget that “everyone upon this earth will perish, and all that remains is the Face of your Lord” [55:26-27].
We take away from this ayah, two valuable lessons:
- When our hearts are connected to Allah (swt) and our lives are dependent on Him alone; we can not be hurt. No one can break our house because it is a solid house.
- If we are like the spider, dependent on our own creations and means then we are not strong - rather we can be knocked down just as easily as a spider’s web.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson we can truly learn is to self-assess and evaluate our own dependencies and reliances. Do we have “awliya’a” besides Allah (swt)? If we lost that job we depended on - will we feel lost? Or will we remember that sustenance is from Allah (swt) regardless of whether or not we are employed? If we have car issues - do we ask Allah (swt) for help immediately? When we get a headache, are we asking Allah (swt) to heal us before reaching for a painkiller?
We NEED to ask ourselves these questions. Omar bin AlKhattab (RA) once said:
كتاب محاسبة النفس لابن ابي الدنيا
“Take yourselves into account before you are taken to account and to weigh yourselves [your deeds] before you are weighed [by Allah (swt)]. As our judgement in the hereafter will be easier if we hold ourselves accountable in this life. And beautify yourselves for the great parade where on that day you shall be exposed - no secret shall remain hidden.”
To ask ourselves these questions, is to prepare for our meeting with Allah (swt). Are we ready ready for that meeting or do we have some hidden spider webs we need to take care of first?
- Dua Aldasouqi (content presented in a retreat by Dr. Haifaa Younis on the Parables of the Quran in St. Louis, MO 2016)