I admit; it wasn't an easy decision to write this. Everyone appears to be in a state of panic and defensiveness. I seek to merely give a reminder, the rest is up to you.
Members of our communities appear to be grieving and feeling weak and lost. Some of us have gotten so confused and are in a state of denial while others have turned quite aggressive in defense of their views. What has happened to our Ummah? I am not sure whether to grieve over the martyrs and the state of turmoil on the ground in our homelands or to grieve over the reactions of those watching everything unfold. A good intention can only go such a long way and if it is not accompanied by akhlaq (good manners) and an open and honest heart, the means will corrupt our ends. We can't fight fire with fire.
"And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do." [6:108]
This post is in no way a response only to current events as though they are the only ones worthy of mention and significance. Our whole Ummah is under trial at the moment. From wars to famines to racism and beyond; happening in every corner of the Muslim world. There is no escaping Allah's decree.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Time will pass rapidly, good deeds will decrease, miserliness will be thrown (in the hearts of the people) afflictions will appear and there will be much 'Al-Harj." They said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is "Al-Harj?" He said, "Killing! Killing!" (Al-Bukhari; Hadith No. 63, Vol. 8)
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, Most merciful, I humbly pass over some thoughts for us to ponder about:
1) Every Muslim will be tested:
As a Muslim, our sole purpose in this world is to serve Allah (swt). That means that trials and tribulations are connected to that main goal and that our default state as Muslims is to be tested. Whatever ease we receive is from the mercy of Allah. No one will escape from Allah's will and if He intends harm on a nation or individual, there is no deterring it.
"Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried?"[29:2]
2) Helpless Muslims cannot be valuable and productive members of society:
Weak Muslims do not increase the quality of the ummah as a whole. Feeling helpless and victimized is the opposite nature of the true believer; who takes on calamities with their head held high in pride of having been chosen by Allah to prove their iman and to gain the extra reward. A passive member of society cannot contribute to the bettering of those around him/her and ultimately cannot help themselves for their next life. Those that trust in Allah's decree look to Him for strength and are always positive despite all they have been inflicted with.
"No doubt! Verily, the Auliya' of Allah [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allah and fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve."[10:62]
Imam Muslim reported that Abu Hurayrah has narrated that the Prophet ﷺ has said: “A strong believer is better and dearer/more loved by Allah than a weak believer and both are good.”
Abu Musa Al-Ashaari narrates that the Prophet ﷺ has said, “Believers are like a structure, parts of which support one another.”PS. Post Traumatic stress disorder could be holding back. Symptoms of PSTD include: haunting memories and nightmares, sleep disturbances, excessive guilt, impaired memory extreme mental and physical distress, flashbacks, sucle pain, sensitivity and gastrointestinal problems to name a few.
3) Trials are a reminder from Allah to be thankful:
Allah (swt) never inflicts us with what we cannot handle. So, if you are inflicted with the toughest trials, know that it is because Allah (swt) believes you can bear what most people cannot. Isn't that an amazing thought? He holds up those people highly and if they accept and have patience with their trials, Allah will reward them immensely. Isn't that enough of a reason to be thankful? Alhamdoulillah.
4) Trials are an opportunity to express the extent of your patience:
Allah wants to test our patience when He inflicts upon us a tragedy. Do we take an extreme and practice hate bigotry and anger? Do we blame Allah for not helping us and fall into shirk? Do we complain or get depressed and feel helpless? Or are we accepting and thankful?
"Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?"[3:142]
"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient"[2:155]
5) Trials are a reflection of our state from within:
This is a difficult concept to grasp for some of us; because it assumes that what was inflicted upon us was from our own actions. How does that make sense when Allah (swt) is the one responsible for everything? Allah (swt) allows the calamity to occur yet we forget that each one of us is the world. Why is this a comforting fact? Because it gives us back the sense of the control we feel we've lost. We must change the state of our inner being to cause real change. I wrote about this in a earlier post:
"Sometimes we get pessimistic and lose hope. Humanity seems to lose its way and our efforts are getting lost and seem to be leading us nowhere close to where we'd like the world to be. That's because we forget that we are the world. Each one of us is the world. So the best we can do to our world is to better ourselves and to set expectations high for our own benefit. No amount of waiting and complaining on our communities to live up to our expectations will provoke any true change. We mustn't forget the power of leading by example. The more we better ourselves and keep humbly to our own faults, the more others feel inclined to follow. And maybe sometimes people won't follow and that's okay. So set your face directly towards your Lord and He will guide whom He wishes. You are not responsible for the faults of others."
"For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah . Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron."[13:11]
"What comes to you of good is from Allah , but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself. And We have sent you, [O Muhammad], to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is Allah as Witness."[4:79]
6) You are not obligated to choose sides:
Politics is like gambling. Some of us dive so deep and take significant care for the minor details concerning sources and minuscule facts that we lose sight of the obvious. We cloud our hearts and lose our common sense and ultimately our humanity. The truth is, whatever the calamity may be, it doesn't take an expert to know that killing your brother in Islam is haraam and thing like the right to nutrition, security and equality are all basics to a dignified human life. I wrote about this earlier in "20 Life Lessons That Took Me by Surprise":
"Nowadays, there is a growing trend of individualism along with ignorance and extremism. You find yourself being pushed constantly to take a position and choose a side. If you decide not to do so, you face being labelled as careless, ignorant or simply not tough enough to stand your ground and face opposition. I'm here to tell you that none of that is true. You are not ignorant or careless if you choose to not associate yourself with anyone or anything. We are only so when we decide willingly to let matters pass which we believe are not of concern to us and when we to choose to stay ignorant rather than continue seeking fact from fiction. We must be the middle path of all sides so that our eyes remain open to the shortcomings of all parties. Relinquishing our biased perspective enables us to become a witness to any injustice. Choosing this path will also allow our lack of defensiveness, since this is not a personal matter attached to our worth, to speak only with which we know rather than with which we wish to know. There is no shame in admitting lack of knowledge."
Keep in mind that this doesn't mean being neutral in the face of oppression, but it means being respectful of all parties and keeping our eyes open to everything.
"Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you." [Al-Baqara: 143]
"O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful." [49:6]
We have a background and manual to follow with regards to how to handle these tough times. So, why do we look towards anything other than the word of Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him)?
Narrated Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman:
The people used to ask Allah's Apostle (pbuh) about the good but I used to ask him about the evil lest I should be overtaken by them. So I said, "O Allah's Apostle! We were living in ignorance and in an (extremely) worst atmosphere, then Allah brought to us this good (i.e., Islam); will there be any evil after this good?" He said, "Yes." I said, 'Will there be any good after that evil?" He replied, "Yes, but it will be tainted (not pure.)'' I asked, "What will be its taint?" He replied, "(There will be) some people who will guide others not according to my tradition? You will approve of some of their deeds and disapprove of some others." I asked, "Will there be any evil after that good?" He replied, "Yes, (there will be) some people calling at the gates of the (Hell) Fire, and whoever will respond to their call, will be thrown by them into the (Hell) Fire." I said, "O Allah s Apostle! Will you describe them to us?" He said, "They will be from our own people and will speak our language." I said, "What do you order me to do if such a state should take place in my life?" He said, "Stick to the group of Muslims and their Imam (ruler)." I said, "If there is neither a group of Muslims nor an Imam (ruler)?" He said, "Then turn away from all those sects even if you were to bite (eat) the roots of a tree till death overtakes you while you are in that state."
We are in these times of confusion. With no proper Muslim leaders to turn to, we must take care of our deen and remember Allah.
8) We will all die:
Death is not a tragic event; it is quite natural. Allah (swt) has decreed upon us our timeline on this earth and it's bound to end. No matter how high up you are in this world, we will all die. Some of will die from war famine and other trials, but we all die. Does it matter how? You will not be judged and made responsible for the work of the whole Ummah and the world. You are not the savior of everyone on this earth. You will only be judged for your deeds. So try your best to do as much good in this world while you can before it's too late.
"Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion."[3:185]
Allah's Apostle (pbuh) said, "If Allah sends punishment upon a nation then it befalls upon the whole population indiscriminately and then they will be resurrected (and judged) according to their deeds. "
Another reason to be thankful and steadfast. Alhamdoulillah.
Allah raises the Dua of the oppressed on the clouds and the doors of heaven are opened for it and Allah says, “Oath of MY Majesty and Honor! I will help and aid you. Even if the help is after few days.” (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, Three Duas are such in which there is no doubt of their acceptance: 1) Father’s Dua 2) Traveler’s Dua 3) Dua of the oppressed”. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: Keep yourself from the wronged one’s curse, for his Dua will go further than the clouds so much so that God will look at it saying: bring it up so that I will fulfill it for him. Also keep yourselves from the parents’ curse, for it is extremely effective.”
10) What has been inflicted upon you has been inflicted on those before you:
I am currently studying the life of the sahaba and I'm fascinated by the way they looked at the world and the strength of their iman. We tend to assume that they are from another time and place, with no relevant significant life lessons to teach. But in fact they have been tested with so much of what we are being tested with right now; famine, torture and fitna. We are not that special actually. So let's look back to our proud history and learn from those of the best of akhlaq on how to handle these times.
"If a wound (and killing) has touched you, be sure a similar wound (and killing) has touched the others. And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns, that Allah may test those who believe, and that He may take martyrs from among you. And Allah likes not the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)."[3:140]
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