Ramadhan is indeed a month in which every soul yearns to connect with their Creator. As the Qur’an states; ‘And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.’ These reminders aim to present a reminder in a graphical form which can be appreciated by all, followed by a short excerpt from a book relevant to the reminder in order to shed light.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
O you who believe, if a sinful person brings you a report, verify its correctness, lest you should harm a people out of ignorance, and then become remorseful on what you did.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Al-Ḥujurāt (49), verse 6]
According to Ibn Kathīr, it is reported in Musnad of Aḥmad that Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith Ibn Ḍirār Ibn Abī Ḍirār رضي الله عنه, the leader of the tribe of Banul-Muṣṭaliq, whose daughter Ḥaḍrat Juwairiyah رضي الله عنها was one of the blessed wives of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, came up to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم , and he called him towards Islām and asked him to pay his Zakāh.
He says, “I embraced Islām and pledged to pay Zakāh, and said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم that I would go to my people, call them towards Islām and ask them to pay Zakāh. Those who would accept my invitation and pay the compulsory alms, I would collect their alms. I requested that on a designated date of a designated month, a collector be sent to me, so that the alms might be handed over to him.” Accordingly, when Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه had collected the alms of the believers and the alms collector did not arrive on the designated date or even long after that, he feared that may be the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is displeased with them for some reason or the other. Otherwise it was unlikely for the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم not to keep his promise!
Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه expressed his apprehension to the leaders of the new Muslims, and wanted them to go to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. On the other hand, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم had sent Walīd Ibn ʿUqbah to collect the Zakāh from them. However, on his way he thought that the members of that tribe are his old enemies and feared that they might kill him. With this fear he returned to Madinah, and said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم that they refused to pay Zakāh, and wanted to kill him. On hearing this, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم became very angry, and under the command of Khālid bin Walīd رضي الله عنه he dispatched a force of fighters in the way of Allāh. On one hand, this contingent was dispatched, and on the other hand Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه with his people was on his way to meet the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. The two groups met near Madmah.
Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه inquired: “To whom have you been sent?”
They replied: “We are sent to you”.
Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه inquired: “For what purpose?”
They narrated the mission of Walīd Ibn ʿUqbah who reported to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم that the tribe of Banul-Muṣṭaliq refused to pay Zakāh and planned to kill him.
Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه said an oath, “I swear by Allāh who sent Muḥammad صلى الله عليه و سلم as His true Messenger! Walīd did not arrive in the location, nor did I see him. Since no envoy had come to us at the appointed location, I apprehended that you are annoyed with me due to some shortcoming on my part. Therefore, I have come here. Ḥaḍrat Ḥārith رضي الله عنه says that the present verse of Sūrah Al-Ḥujurāt was revealed on this occasion.
On the basis of this verse, it may be ruled that if a mischief-monger, sinner, wicked or corrupt person complains about any person or nation, or accuses them of any wrong-doing, it is not lawful to act upon the sole information or evidence of such a person without making a thorough investigation.
[Maʿāriful Qur’ān, Volume 8, Page 119-121]
Say (on My behalf), “O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of Allāh’s mercy. Surely, Allāh will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful.
[Qurān, Sūrah Az-Zumar (39), verse 53]
Ḥaḍrat Ibn ʿAbbās رضي الله عنه narrated that there were some people who had killed a lot of people unjustly and had committed a lot of shameful acts. They came to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ and submitted before him, ‘The religion (Islām) you (ﷺ) invite us to is, no doubt, very good, but we have a problem. We think about all those major sins we have already committed. Now, if we were to become Muslims, do you (ﷺ) have hope that our repentance will be accepted?’ – thereupon Allāh ﷻ revealed the verse (mentioned above).
Well before death arrives, sincere repentance made from sins, no matter how serious, even from kufr (disbelief) and shirk (ascribing partners to Allāh ﷻ) gets to be accepted. And by the virtue of genuine repentance, all sins will be forgiven (inshāAllāh) and no one should lose hope in the mercy of Allāh.
Ḥaḍrat ʿAbdullāh Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنه said that out of all the verses of the Qurān, this verse (39:53) brings the strongest message of hope for sinners.
[Maʿāriful Qurān, Volume 7, Page 573-574]
“Let not a delay in the timing of a gift [response to your prayers] – despite persistence and firm continuance in making du’a – be a cause of despair. For Allāh has promised you a response, “Call upon Me and I will respond to you” (40:60) – in the time that Allāh chooses and not you. For He knows what is better for you than you do. Allāh has guaranteed you a response in the time that Allāh chooses, not in the time of your choice.
An author writes, “Sometimes Allāh gives while depriving you, and sometimes Allāh deprives while giving to you.” Sometimes, Allāh’s withholding from you is, in reality, a form of giving.
Ḥaḍrat Mūsā عليه السلام made a du’ā to Allāh against Fir’aun and his followers (Qur’ān, 10:88) which got answered 40 years later. Not straight away. Why? Because Allāh has perfect timing and only Allāh knows best when that is.
Maybe Allāh is delaying a response to your prayers because Allāh loves to hear your voice whilst calling out to Him.
Maybe Allāh is delaying a response because Allāh wants you to reach a certain status in Jannah which you can’t achieve just by your deeds so Allāh is testing you in different ways so you may become successful.
Patience and avoiding hastiness befits the servant. Do not lose hope in your du’ās as they are a weapon of a believer.
The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ has said: “The du’ā of any one of you will be answered so long as he is not impatient and says, ‘I made du’ā but it was not answered.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim]
Allāh has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and faith, but it’s worth the wait.
Most Scholars of the early generations were poor; needless it is to say, then, that they did not have beautiful houses or nice cars. Yet, despite this, they led fruitful lives, and they benefited mankind, not by some miracle, but because they used all that they were given, and spent their time in the correct way. Hence they were blessed in their lives, their time, and their talents.
On the contrary, there are many people who have been bestowed with wealth, children, and all forms of blessings, yet these blessings have been the very reason for their misery and ruin. They deviated from what their inborn instincts were telling them, namely, that material things are not everything.
If you’re a seeker of happiness, be satisfied with what Allāh has favoured you with. Certain educators go further than this by saying that you should imagine being contented with even less than you actually have now.
Your value is in your abilities, good deeds, manners, and contributions to society. Do not feel grief over that which has passed you by in life but be content with what Allāh has given you.
Remind yourself of Paradise, which is as wide as the Heavens and the Earth.
lf you’re hungry in this world, if you are sad, ill or oppressed, remember the eternal bliss of Paradise. lf you do, then your losses are really profits and the hardships you face are really gifts.
The most wise of people are those who work for the Hereafter, because it is better and everlasting. The most foolish of mankind are those who see this world as their eternal abode – in it reside all of their hopes. You will find such people to be the most grief-stricken of all when faced with calamity. They will be the most affected by worldly loss simply because they see nothing beyond the insignificant lives that they lead.
The happiness of Paradise will be absolute. So why do we not contemplate this fact? Paradise is our destination – and we ask Allāh سبحانه و تعالى for the highest of Paradise.
سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ ۚ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ.
“Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.”
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Ibrāhīm (13), verse 24]
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Fātiḥah (1), verse 5]
It has been reported from certain great scholars and saints of the earliest centuries of Islām that Sūrah Fātiḥah is the secret (i.e gist) of the entire Qur’ān. And this verse is the secret of the whole Sūrah for the first sentence of the verse is a declaration of one being free from shirk and from all desires to associate anyone with Allāh, and the second is an expression of one being exempt from all wish to trust in one’s own power and will. Such an affirmation would naturally lead to putting one’s self in the hands of Allāh تعالى in all concerns.
The Qur’ān again and again commands us to do so:
فَاعْبُدْهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَيْهِ ۚ
‘Worship Him and put your trust in Him’. (11:123).
قُلْ هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ آمَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا ۖ
‘Say He is the All-Merciful, we believe in Him and we put all our trust in Him.’ (67:29).
رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلًا
He is the Lord of the east and the west, there is no God but He; so take Him for a guardian.’ (73:9).
All of these verses come to simply mean that a true Muslim should, in anything that he undertakes, rely neither on his own faculties nor on the help of another, but should entrust himself completely to Allah, He alone is All-Powerful (القادر) and He alone is the Absolute Helper (الولي).
[Maʿāriful Qur’ān, Volume 1, Page 85]
An Arab proverb says,
إذا اشتد الحبل انقطع
“If the rope becomes too tight it will snap.”
In other words if a situation reaches the level of crisis then expect a light and an opening to appear.
Whoever fears Allāh, Allah will bring forth a way out for him and provide for him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine. And whoever places his trust in Allāh, Allāh is sufficient for him. [65:2-3]
An Arab poet said:
Some eyes are restless while others are in sleep. In meditating about that which may or may not occur. So, leave worrying as much as possible as carrying the burden of anxiety is madness. There is your lord who provided you with solution to yesterday and He will similarly provide you for what is to come tomorrow.
Let events flow in their predestined path and do not sleep except with a clear mind. Between the period of the blinking of the eye and its opening Allāh it changes things from one state to another.
The fire didn’t burn Prophet Ibrāhīm عليه السلام.
The knife didn’t slaughter Prophet
Ismāʿīl عليه السلام.
The sea didn’t drown Prophet Mūsā عليه السلام.
The whale didn’t eat Prophet Yūnus عليه السلام.
Prophet Yūsuf عليه السلام wasn’t left in the well or in prison all his life.
Prophet Ayyūb عليه السلام wasn’t ill for the rest of his life.
Prophet Zakarīyyāh عليه السلام wasn’t left childless.
Ḥaḍrat Ibn ʿAbbās رضي الله عنه narrated:
“I was sat behind the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم one day when the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
‘O boy! I will teach you a statement: Be mindful of Allāh and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allāh and you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allāh, and when you seek aid, seek Allāh’s aid. Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you – you would never get any benefit except that Allāh had written for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you – you would never be harmed except that Allāh had written for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried.'”
Don’t be sad. Wait patiently for a happy outcome. Be with Allāh and Allāh will be with you.
There is a very popular Urdu couplet by Poet Ḥālī which states:
خدا نے آج تک اس قوم کی حالت نہیں بدلی
نہ ہو جس کو خیال آپ اپنی حالت کے بدلنے کا.
To this day, God has never changed the condition of a people
Who have no plan of changing their condition themselves.
For a person who has no intention of correcting himself, there is no promise of help and support from Allāh تعالى. Instead, this promise is valid under the condition that he himself thinks and does something about it:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ
And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our paths.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Al-’Ankabūt (29) verse 69]
The pathways of guidance from Allāh open up only when the urge to have such guidance is present.
Take our own existence and its countless blessings for example. These are not the outcome of our efforts, nor had we ever prayed that we are given such a presence with eyes, nose, ears and the rest of our perfect body. These are wonderful blessings – and we have them without having to ask for them – alḥamdulillāh.
However, the right to deserve blessings and to become worthy recipients of the fruits of the Divine promise cannot be received without making one’s effort to earn it.
Should a people keep waiting for Divine rewards without putting in due efforts and deeds, it would amount to nothing but self-deception.
[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 5]
There was a man of strong and dignified bearing amongst the Syrians who used to visit Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar رضي الله عنه. When he did not show up for longer than the usual period of time, Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar رضي الله عنه inquired about him. People said, ‘Yā Amīr-ul Mu’minīn رضي الله عنه, please don’t ask about him, he has become a drunkard.’ Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar رضي الله عنه called his scribe and dictated a letter to him in which he said:
‘From ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه), son of al-Khattāb to __, son of __, peace be upon you. After that, I praise Allāh before you. Other than whom there is no God worthy of worship. He is the One who forgives sins and accepts repentance, the One who is severe in punishment, the One who is the source of all power. There is no God but He. To Him is the ultimate return.’
Then he turned towards those around him and said ‘Let us all join in to pray for him that Allāh reverses his heart and accepts his repentance.’
Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar رضي الله عنه instructed the messenger to not hand the letter over until the man was sober. And he was to not hand it over to anyone except to whom it was intended for. So, when the person received the letter, he read it repeatedly and thoughtfully whilst realising that it carried a warning of punishment against him with a concurrent promise of forgiveness for him. Then he started weeping. Finally, he stopped drinking and made such a firm taubah that he never touched it again.
When Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar رضي الله عنه learnt about the effective manifestation of these words, he said to the people around, ‘In such matters, you too should do the same. When some brother falls into some slip of conduct, think of a way to bring him back to his normal and better self. Prompt him to turn to Allāh, to place his trust in Him, to rely on His mercy. Pray to Allāh for him, pray that he is able to repent and make his taubah. And do not become an accomplice of satan against him [that is if you chide him or infuriate him and thereby enstrange him from his religion, then, you would actually be helping satan].
[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 7, Page 588-589]
Ḥaḍrat ʿAlī رضي الله عنه was asked as to what ‘repentance’ is and Ḥaḍrat ʿAlī رضي الله عنه replied that it consists of six elements.
1) To regret one’s past evil deeds.
2) To carry out Divine duties that were missed.
3) To restore the rights that were usurped.
4) To ask forgiveness of a person who has been wronged by him – physically or verbally.
5) To make firm resolve of avoiding the sin in future.
6) To consume one’s self in the obedience of Allah as far as one had consumed one’s self in His [ﷻ] disobedience.
[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 8, Page 526]
“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion… Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful”. [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 185]
Allah didn’t describe Ramadan as the month of going hungry. It was the month in which the Qur’an was revealed. It is a month where Muslims can turn back to Allah and become righteous. It is not intended to be a month of hardship, but rather a month of benefit.
Ramadan is truly a special month, shaytan is tied up and there are unlimited rewards up for grabs. If you are someone who has struggled with enjoying Ramadan and making the most of it, then let this Ramadan be a change. If you are someone who loves Ramadan, but is feeling nervous about the long hours, then try to make this Ramadan your best Ramadan. Set yourself achievable targets in Qur’an and ibadah, and use this month to really make progress. Whether you make the intention at the beginning or middle of Ramadan, it is not too late!
Ramadan is not a temporary spiritual boost for thirty days – it is a glimpse of what you are capable of achieving everyday of the year so you can push yourself and realise your potential. It is a month of training to strengthen your relationship with the Almighty so that when the month is over, you are a better Muslim, who has hopefully shed bad habits and gained good ones!
Written by Zaynab Hamdi (via Productive Muslim)
You have blessed me with this blessed month, a month which many did not live to see. You granted me another opportunity to get closer to You. Though throughout the year I went on chasing the dunya, You brought this month to allow me to realise where my heart really belongs – with You.
Oh Allah, I have sinned and I continue to sin, but You enabled me to – it must consist of a greater wisdom. I have started to see it as a blessing, because in the aftermath of it, I turn to you with Tawba and Istigfar.
Oh Allah, I face trials like everyone does, but I found solace in Your words. I found comfort in the way shown by Your Prophet (peace be upon him). I read his stories and the trials he faced – my trials were no longer worth mentioning.
Oh Allah, I lost my path many times. I wandered afar often succumbing to my desires and the whispers of the devil, but I held Your book as my guide and You showed me the light – this religion.
Oh Allah, I am sorry. I know I forget You when I am awake, and You remember me when I am asleep. I forget You when I laugh, You remember me when I cry. I forget You when I love, You remember me when I hate. I forget You when I eat, You remember me when I am hungry. I forget You when I speak, You remember me when I am silent. I forget You when I am angry, You remember me when I am patient.
But please, Oh Allah, don’t forget me when I am dead. I will remember You now I am alive.
A striving soul
And We have fastened every man’s deeds to his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open.(It will be said to him): “Read your book. You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day.” Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden. [Qur’ān, Sūrah al-Isrā’ (17), verse 13-15]
It means that one’s book of deed stays with the doer no matter where or in whatever condition one is. What he or she does continues to get recorded there. When death comes, the ‘book’ is closed and set aside safely. After that, when comes the Last Day, the Day of Judgement, this book of deeds will be placed in everyone’s hand in order that he would himself read it and also decide himself whether he is deserving of reward or deserving of punishment.
It has been reported from Qatādah رحمه الله that it will be a day when even an illiterate person will be able to read his book of deeds. On this occasion, al-Iṣbahāmī has reported on the authority of Sayyidinā Abū Umāmah رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: On the day of Qiyāmah, when the book of deeds belonging to people will be given in their hand, someone will notice that some of his good deeds were not recorded there. He will tell his Lord about the particular deeds missing from there. His Lord will tell him that He had erased those deeds for he used to speak ill of people on their backs. (Maẓharī)
[Maʿāriful Qur’ān, Volume 5, Page 473]
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Āl-ʿImrān, verse 190]In the creation of the heavens and the earth are great signs of Allāh ﷻ. All those divinely created beings and things in the heavens and the earth are included. ‘The heavens’ is inclusive of all heights and ‘the earth’ covers all lows.Ḥaḍrat ʿĀishah رضي الله عنها narrates that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said to her, ‘Allow me to worship my Lord’. Nabī ﷺ rose from his bed, made ablution and stood up for Ṣalāh. In this standing position of qiyām, Nabī ﷺ wept, so much that his tears trickled down his ﷺ blessed chest. The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ went into rukūʿ and there too wept and in sajdah (prostation) he ﷺ wept also. The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ raised his head and continued weeping till it was morning. Ḥaḍrat Bilāl رضي الله عنه came to inform the Messenger ﷺ that it’s time for Fajr Ṣalāh. Ḥaḍrat Bilāl رضي الله عنه asked the Messenger ﷺ, ‘My Master ﷺ, why do you weep like that? Isn’t it that Allāh ﷻ has forgiven all your past and future sins?’ The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ replied, ‘Should I not continue to be a grateful servant of Allāh? And in offering this gratitude of mine, why should I not shed tears, especially tonight when Allāh has revealed this verse to me, ‘Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom.’ – After that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘Ruined is the person who recites these verses but fails to deliberate therein.’
For this reason, Imam Ḥasan al-Baṣrī رحمه الله said, ‘An hour spent in thinking about the signs of Allāh is better and far more useful than a whole night standing in worship.’[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 2]
So remember Me (Allāh); I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Baqarah, verse 152]
The merits of Dhikr (remembrance) are indeed innumerable. What greater merit could one wish for than the assurance that when man remembers Allāh, Allāh too remembers him.
Abū Uthmān – may Allāh have mercy on him – once claimed that he knew the time when Allāh remembered His servants. The listeners grew curious as to how he could determine this. He replied that according to the promise made in the Book of Allāh (Qur’an), when a Muslim remembers Allāh, Allāh too remembers him and thus everyone can know for himself that as soon as he turns to Allāh and remembers Him, Allah too remembers him.
[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 1, Page 399]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا الله وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا
يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ الله وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allāh and fear Him, and (always) speak the truth.
He will direct you to do righteous deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allāh and His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم he has indeed achieved a great achievement (saved from the Hell-fire and enter into Jannah).
The command given to all Muslims in this verse is: اِتَّقُوا الله (Taqwā, that is, fear Allāh and act accordingly). The reality of taqwā lies in one’s total obedience to all Divine injunctions whereby one carries out everything enjoined and abstains from everything declared prohibited. And it is obvious that doing so is no easy task for human beings.
Therefore, immediately after the guideline of اِتَّقُوا الله (ittaqullāh: Fear Allāh and act accordingly), there comes an instruction to start doing something particular, that is, the correction and reform of one’s speech. Though, this too is nothing but a part of taqwā itself, yet it is one such part of it that, should this thing come under control, all other remaining components of the comprehensive requirement of taqwā would start becoming achievable automatically, as the verse itself has promised that, as a result of one’s making his speech truthful and straight, Allāh will correct his deeds.
Should you succeed in holding your tongue and avoiding errors of speech and get used to saying what is correct, straight and right, Allāh Taʿālā will correct every other deed you do and make all of them better.
Then, another promise was made: يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ (He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins). It means: ‘One who gains control over his tongue, learns to harness his power of speech and becomes used to saying what is true and right, then, Allāh Taʿālā will take care of the rest of his deeds, have them corrected as well as forgive any errors or slips made therein.’
[Maʿāriful Qur’ān, Volume 7]
Islām teaches us to be merciful to the entire creation, to Muslims and non-Muslims, to friends and enemies and even to the animals. Mercy (raḥmah) in Islām has a very wide meaning that includes kindness, compassion, love, tolerance, patience with people, and to treat others the way we would love to be treated. This is at the core of the prophetic message and meaning of faith, just as it was in all of the revealed religions before Islām. Every Muslim needs to strive to be an agent of mercy on earth for all human beings and creatures.
Allāh intends for the mercy of Islām to touch every person on earth. It is not as some have claimed, that Islām is only merciful to Muslims. Rather, Islām teaches us to be mercy to the entire world and everyone in it.
The Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
لَنْ تُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى تَحَابُوا أَفَلا أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى مَا تَحَابُونَ عَلَيْهِ
You will never have true faith until you love each other. Shall I tell you what will make you love each other?
They said, “Of course, O Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه و سلم.”
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
أَفْشُوا السَّلامَ بَيْنِكُمْ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لا تَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى تَرَاحَمُوا
Spread peace between yourselves. By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you are merciful to others.
They said, “O Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه و سلم, all of us are merciful.”
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بِرَحْمَةِ أَحَدِكُمْ خَاصَّتَهُ وَلَكِنْ رَحْمَةُ الْعَامَّةِ
Verily, it is not only mercy between yourselves, but rather it is mercy in general.
[al-Sunan al-Kubrā lin-Nasāʼī]
Not only should we be merciful to human beings, but also to animals. All of Allāh’s creatures have rights in Islam, plants, humans and animals, so it is the duty of Muslims to uphold, and protect their natural rights.
الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمْ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ
The Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.”
From an Islamic perspective, tribulations aren’t meant to oppress individuals. Instead, their aim is to enable people to realise the truth about their existence and their potential for spiritual growth. Although they may appear to be bad on the surface, tribulations are, in reality, good and beneficial. Out of Allāh’s mercy, Allāh ordains only goodness for human beings.
As part of Allāh’s wisdom, Allāh tests individuals with trials and tribulations that are tailored to match their specific needs, weaknesses, circumstances and abilities. This is to provide as much benefit as possible and to facilitate the spiritual and personal growth that they require. Although we may not always be aware of them, the meaning and values are inherent in these trials. Often, they are recognised later during insightful moments of retrospection.
Everything on Earth is part of the Divine test that Allāh has put forth for humans. Hardship and ease, wealth and poverty, good and bad; all are intended to be tests. During times of both ease and blessings, we are expected to be grateful. During times of difficulty and hardship, we should be patient.
Allāh is al-ʿAdl (العدل), the Just. In accordance with Allāh’s mercy, Allāh would never test humans with tribulations that are beyond their capacity to bear. Allāh reassures us:
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Al-Baqarah (2), verse 286]
The above verses indicate that every trial you face in your lifetime is within your ability to cope with and manage. No matter how difficult the trial is, it will never exceed your capacity to endure and overcome it. This is a promise from Allah, and Allāh never fails in His promises.
An intelligent and skillful person transforms losses into profits; whereas, the unskilled person aggravates his own predicament, often making two disasters out of one.
The Prophet ﷺ was compelled to leave Makkah, but rather than quitting his mission, he continued it in Madīnah – the city that took its place in history with lightning speed.
Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal رحمه الله was severely tortured and flogged, and yet he emerged triumphant from that ordeal, becoming the Imām of the Sunnah.
Imām As-Sarakhsi رحمه الله was held as a prisoner, kept at the bottom of an unused well; he managed therein to produce twenty volumes on Islamic jurisprudence.
Ibn Athīr رحمه الله became crippled, after which he wrote Jam’ey al-Usūl and An-Nihoyoh, two of the most famous books in the Science of Ḥadīth.
Imām Ibn al-Jawzī رحمه الله was banished from Baghdad. Then, through his travels, he became proficient in the seven recitations of the Qur’ān.
Mālik ibn ar-Rayb رحمه الله was on his deathbed when he recited his most famous and beautiful poem, which is appreciated until this day.
When Abī Dhu’aib al-Hadhali’s children died before him, he eulogized them with a poem that the world listened to and admired.
Therefore, if you are afflicted with a misfortune, look on the bright side. If someone were to hand you a glass full of squeezed lemons, add to it a handful of sugar. And if someone gives you a snake as a gift, keep its precious skin and leave the rest.
Before its violent revolution, France imprisoned two brilliant poets: one, an optimist, the other, a pessimist. They both squeezed their heads through the bars of their cell windows. The optimist then stared at the stars and laughed, while the pessimist looked at the dirt of a neighbouring road and wept.
Look at the other side of a tragedy – a circumstance of pure evil does not exist, and in all situations one can find goodness and profit and reward from Allāh.
. [Don’t be sad, Â’id al-Qarni, page 49-50]
Literally, ‘Sawm’ (صوم) means ‘to abstain’. One must abstain from certain things continuously from dawn to sunset with an intention to fast.
Fasting is an ʿibādah – an act of worship in Islām. This verse makes it obligatory for Muslims to fast in a specified period, which is also accompanied by the statement that the obligation of fasting is not peculiar to them. Fasting had also been enjoined upon the earlier nations also.
By saying ‘لعلّكم تتّقون’ (so that you become God-fearing), the verse has pointed out to the inherent quality of fasting which contributes significantly to one’s ability to abstain from sins and become God-fearing.
Fasting creates within man a power which helps him control his desires, which is really the foundation of Taqwā.[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 1, Page 453-454]
كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ
Your Lord has decreed mercy upon Himself.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Al-Anʿām (6), verse 54] .
Allāh has taken it upon himself that mercy shall be shown towards the creation.
First of all, by using the word ‘Rabb’ (رب), the assertion in the verse has been provided with the proof – that Allāh تعالى is your Nurturer, Nourisher and Sustainer.
It’s obvious that no Nurturer would let what is being nurtured go to waste. Then, the mercy which has been promised by that Rabb has been further clarified through a weighty, yet endearing, statement that Allāh has ‘decreed this mercy on Himself.’
The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘When Allāh تعالى created the creation, Allāh wrote in a book which is with Allāh above His Throne: ‘My mercy overpowers My anger.’
Ḥaḍrat Salmān رضى الله عنه says: We have seen written in the Torah, when Allāh created the heavens and the earth and the entire creation in them, He divided His mercy in 100 parts. One part, Allāh distributed all over the creation – and wherever any effect of this mercy is found amongst human beings, animals and other creation, that owes itself to this same part. The rest of the 99 parts of Mercy have been kept by Allāh for Himself.
It goes without saying that no ʿIbādah (worship) or ʿIṭāʿah (obedience) can be good enough to be considered as presentable before Allāh. If we were to look at them from the highest of the high, we would realise that we have not been able to do other than what is simply bad. Still, one has to be thankful for being able to do what was possible, especially when no human is free of sin – unless protected by Allāh.
Under this situation, justice would have been demanded that no one remains safe from a general punishment. But, what is actually happening is that every human being is being showered with the blessings of Allāh, all the time.
This is the direct outcome of that mercy which the Rabb of the universe has put down in writing as His responsibility.
[Maʿāriful Qur’ān, Volume 3, Page 355-356]
…وَ مَا تَسْقُطُ مِنْ وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ.’
. ‘..and not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And nor is there any grain within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.’ [Qur’ān, Sūrah An’ām (6), verse 59]
Every leaf that falls, before it falls, whilst it’s falling and after it has fallen, remains within Allāh’s knowledge. Nor a grain within the darkness of the earth is Allāh تعالى unaware of.
Allāh’s knowledge is vast. Allāh is العليم. The All-Knowing. Allāh is also الخالق. The Creator. Allāh created you, so wouldn’t Allāh know His own creation? Allah knows and understands your innermost thoughts, regardless of whether you express them through words or not.
وَأَسِرُّوا قَوْلَكُمْ أَوِ اجْهَرُوا بِهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ. And whether you make your talk secret or make it aloud, Allāh knows well what lies in the hearts.
[Qur’ān, Sūrah Mulk (67), verse 13]
Don’t you think that if Allāh knows and cares about each leaf, would He not care about you, a unique creation of His? A precious soul that struggles and strives in this life only for His Pleasure and Happiness in this world and the Hereafter?
Indeed, Allāh knows you, and sees you, and cares about you more than you can imagine.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ.
And when My slaves ask you (O Muḥammad ﷺ) concerning Me, then I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.
. [Qur’ān, Sūrah Baqarah (2), verse 186]
“But you prefer the life of this world. Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting.”
[Qur’ān, Sūrah A’lā (87), verse 16-17] –
The highest degree of comfort and pleasure in this life is not free from hardships and grief. Secondly, this world isn’t permanent. We experience in our daily life that a king of today becomes a pauper tomorrow. A vigorous youth of today becomes old tomorrow. Whereas the Hereafter is free of these defects. All its comforts and blessings are much better and cannot be compare to that of this world.
Consider this scenario: It is said to a person that there are two houses, one of which is a magnificent mansion, the other an ordinary, substandard house. He has a choice to take the mansion but only for a month or two thereafter he will have to vacate the mansion. Or he may take the ordinary house which he will permanently own. Which of the two houses would a wise person prefer? Obviously, the second house. On this analogy, one should prefer the blessings of the Hereafter which in this case are not only ever lasting but far more superior to the worldly comforts which are only temporary. Only an unfortunate fool will prefer the blessings of this life compared to the hereafter.
[Ma’āriful Qur’ān, Volume 8, Page 769-770] –
Rūmi was once thrown into the cage of a lion from which Allāh تعالى saved him from its claws. He was later asked, “What were you thinking about at the time?” He said, “I was considering the saliva of a lion – whether it is considered by scholars to be pure or impure! (whether, when I die, will I be in a state of purity or not!).
People of the past had no interest in this world. In fact, they used this world to get the best of the hereafter. Whatever situation they were in, they would always link it back to Allāh تعالى and Allāh’s religion.
The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “If this world were worth the wing of a mosquito to Allāh تعالى, Allāh تعالى would not have given the disbelievers (even) a drink of water.
This world is not even worth the wing of a mosquito! If this is the worth of this world, why are we so attached to it?
[Don’t be sad, Â’idh al-Qarni]