“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children.” Qur'an 57:20
I don't think I ever really appreciated the sense of rivalry that Allāh mentions in the above verse (and elsewhere in the Qur'an), until very, very recently. I'm talking, the last two months or so. It sort of crept up over me, maybe because nearly every singleton in my life has suddenly gotten married, with other newly weds having babies, that I feel somewhat left behind in the personal life department.
A few years ago, I was on a quest to get married – but it was more like an adventure; one that I shared with friends and cousins. Alhamdulillah, one by one, my travelling companions left for the next stage of their journey, and we waved them off happily, so secure in our knowledge that we, too, would be moving ahead very soon.
Returning to the present, it seems that I am one of the few passengers left behind in the waiting room, wondering why my train is running so late. Shouldn't it have been here by now? Did I miss it? Maybe I read the timetable wrong?
And worst of all, I've become one of them. You know… the 'older' unmarried women, that the younger unmarried women use to make themselves feel better: “Oh, at least I'm not as old as so-n-so”. They become so shocked when they hear my marital status combined with my age. That is, until they realize the expression of disapproval at their tactlessness on my face, and try to cover it up with: “Oh, it'll happen soon, inshā’Allāh”. Yes, thank you. I feel totally reassured now.
Anyway, believe it or not, I'm not complaining about my fate. And if I did, I wouldn't be complaining to you. Rather, I wanted to share how one's perspective on the Qur'an changes with new life experiences. Now I actually feel the sting of rivalry in my heart from time to time. But the verse above reminds me of the bigger picture: it's only a game, Mehzabeen. So be a good sport, and play it well.