One afternoon, as I was with a dear friend of mine, his sister reached for the ‘Mawrid,’ a dictionary. Immediately, we both jumped up to scoldingly ask her if she had wudu. Knowing it wasn’t the Quran, she apologized profusely and admitted that she was bereft of ablution. Obviously, we laughed at the situation…
…but today as I search in my dictionary, I am lost.
استطاع … to be able.
Simple enough. The light came in the darkness when I was searching for something to clarify my situation. My problem was simple enough, what is the meaning of istaTee’? I searched page after page, read through word after word. Guessed at the root, blamed its branches and wondered if I’d ever enjoy its fruits.
…then it fell, like the acorn upon chicken little, from out of sky, the sky was now falling. It had fallen on me.
It was under طوع , ‘to obey.’
استطاع was from طوع. Its root was obedience. The root of ability is obedience.
…and then the darkness was lifted.
Traveling out here, literally into the middle of the desert, trying to grasp the sharpness of the arab tongue, sometimes its easy to forget, there is no ability nor positive change, except from Allah. We strive hard, but its only from Allah that any success can be derived.
So what prize is given to the uncooperative slave? He disobey to expect reward? Awkward in thought, but almost too real in action.
لا حول و لا قوّة الّا باللّه
‘There is no ability, nor positive change, except from Allah.’