Anyone else remember the phrase “Impossible is nothing”—that old adidas slogan? That was plastered all over my basketball magazines and on ads during games on television. It was an inspiring phrase, a little play on the oft-repeated verse “nothing is impossible” or “anything is possible,” what Kevin Garnett (one of the faces of adidas) passionately screamed when he won the NBA Championship in 2008 after playing more than a decade in the pros.
The more I thought about the versions of this phrase over the years, the more I realized it’s true—but it has a condition. Sure, impossible is nothing and anything is possible…with the help of Allah.
Let me explain a little.
When I was in my early years of college, nothing seemed more of an impossibility to me than marriage. Yes, I’m referring to the ever-so-talked about topic in our Muslim community—The Big M. It’s the very aspect of life I ran away from in my own mind countless times for various reasons.
People tried to convince me I’d been through changes before. They used college as an example. Like, college seemed scary before you started, but you got through that fine, right? Or driving. Or Physics class. Or whatever else that could be considered a new chapter in life. But in my head, The Big M was on a whole ‘nother playing field that I was far too unfamiliar with. I felt like I had no hope to make that foreign world a little less frightening without going all in (i.e., getting married). That was too much of a risk for my 20 something-year-old self to handle.
Whenever a number with an unfamiliar area code would ring our house phone, my ears would stand up. Who’s on the phone? Who’s my mom talking to? If I had the slightest inclination that the phone call had anything to do with me, I’d tell my mom to hang up. I need to finish school. We aren’t considering a thing before that. Etc., etc.
I put on a face outwardly. A stern, I’ve-got-more-important-things-to-do-right-now, kind of face. But inside, I was terrified. Like oh God, what if I never change? All these things about marriage—the part about growing up and having responsibilities and being there for someone and childbearing and raising a family and leaving my parents and being selfless and paying bills and maintaining a home and and and—was a little overwhelming. Considering marriage was equivalent to having three crying babies and a husband that wanted “a little more spark like we used to have in the beginning” by tomorrow.
And that’s obviously absurd. You can’t simply consider marriage (and I’m talking in general, not even a prospective spouse) and end up with three kids and an unsatisfied husband in 24 hours. It doesn’t work like that, thank God.
But my mind jumped to the stage of life I saw all of my older siblings and cousins at (the stage with three kids, and Alhamdulillah, a happy marriage—but still, a life I wasn’t yet ready for). And as much as I tried to remind myself of those verses and narrations I have bookmarked from the Qur’an and Hadith about trusting God and how He knows what’s best for His creation, it was still difficult to deal with. Like yeah I know about tawakkul, but how the heck am I supposed to tie this stubborn camel?!
As graduation approached, I noticed a shift in my mindset. While marriage was still scary, somehow I was able to take the first step of allowing myself to think about it as potentially positive instead of that previously held sudden death mentality. And that was a huge step for me. When I felt this tiny bit of progress, I actually thought my friends would consider me a traitor for coming around to the idea of marriage because I had built up such a reputation of NOPE about it. This goes without saying, but that thought was ridiculous.
Fast forward to now, about a year and some months removed from graduation, and can you believe it? Hah, no, not married just yet. But, I am looking forward to it for the first time in my life. Alhamdulillah. One of my friends asked me how I came around. There’s only One explanation.
During the years I described above, I knew I wasn’t thinking very rationally, that I made marriage a terrifying monster in my head when it’s not meant to be that at all. I made lots of du’a for whatever is best, and well—God’s timing is absolutely perfect.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Qur’an 30:21]
Marriage is beautiful. It completes half your deen. It bring blessings. It is a beloved Sunnah of all of the Prophets. It is a mercy from Allah.
It took some brain-rewiring and loads of du’a, but Alhamdulillah, Allah changed something in my heart. I still have a ways to go, but I’m in a much better place now than I was two years ago. What was impossible for me, was nothing for Him.
Image via Pixabay