Eman Al Obaid
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Have you ever questioned yourself: “Am I pleased with Allah (swt)?” This is an embarrassing question for all of us as we usually think the other way round: whether Allah (swt) is pleased with us. Primarily, we need to ask if we are pleased with Allah (swt). If we are pleased, satisfied, and content with Allah (swt), He (swt) will be content with us. If we are not pleased with Allah (swt), He (swt) will not be pleased with us. Hence, we need to scrutinize our feelings about Allah (swt), account for our own actions for Allah (swt), and focus on how Allah (swt) deals with us. He is the most Merciful and Generous.
Consequences of being pleased with Allah
- Allah (swt) will be pleased with you in the world
Those who are pleased and satisfied with Allah (swt) will taste His sweetness and pleasure on this earth. When you look around, some people seem relaxed if something unexpected happens, while others get restless and angry. Those who are satisfied are not disturbed.
Being pleased comes to us naturally, unlike patience for which you have to struggle. A pleased person is completely content and calm. This contentment comes from Allah (swt). Some people attend anger management classes or workshops on how to be happy, but they forget about the One Who can make them happy: Allah (swt). He (swt) will pour upon you such tranquillity and peace that nothing will irritate you, and people may even think that you are weird, or that you have no feelings. You would be satisfied in a situation when everyone else is angry. Such individuals are the owners of a self that is at rest because Allah (swt) is pleased with it.
- Tasting the sweetness of faith
When Allah (swt) is pleased with you, you will taste the sweetness of faith which only Allah (swt) can grant you. Faith is not only about ritual acts of worship such as praying or fasting. You should not act like a machine. Involve your feelings. There are moments when you are alone, and a feeling comes to you, and you are just content and satisfied. It can be just for a second like a beautiful dream. Most people feel this sweetness of faith during Ramadan. You are so happy that you wish you could die in a state like this; your heart is at rest.
- At the time of death
If a person is pleased with Allah (swt), He (swt) will be pleased with him until the moment of death. When the angels will take the soul gently, they will say: “Allah (swt) Himself will not give glad tidings at the time of death because you will not be able to handle His sight; you just left this world.” See how gently Allah (swt) gives the reward. In the grave, such a person will be in delights and his soul will be in Jannah enjoying himself.
- Allah (swt) will be pleased with you in the hereafter
In the grave, some souls will enjoy more and more delights; at the time of judgement, at the time of accountability, and all towards the journey to eternity, Allah (swt) will be pleased with them.
- Allah (swt) will give you Paradise even if you do little
When Allah (swt) is pleased with you, He will give you beyond your imagination. Even if you do a few deeds, they can take you to Paradise. Ask yourself: am I pleased with Allah (swt)? Be sincere and honest. If it is a big ‘yes’, then Allah (swt) will accept even a few deeds from you. Some people will go to Paradise not because they fast or pray so much. They will go because they are happy with Allah (swt), and Allah (swt) is happy with them.
The journey to Allah (swt) is not about our strength and how much we can do; it’s about the quality and truthfulness of our hearts. If a person dedicates himself to Allah (swt) and does the obligations, then even if he drinks water, Allah (swt) will reward him.
Consequences of being displeased with Allah (swt)
Let’s look at the reverse and ask ourselves this time: “Are we displeased with Allah (swt)?” A person has to go through some stages to reach this stage – may Allah (swt) protect us from it. We will see what a big crime it is to be discontent with Allah (swt). It is embarrassing for a slave to be discontent with his Master, Who has given him everything. When we know these steps, we can fix ourselves as soon as we reach a certain stage – of course, the earlier the better. As we discuss each stage, we need to be honest in assessing ourselves. After passing all three stages, the person without realizing will become displeased with Allah (swt). We will also look at the solutions so that we can see at what stage we are standing (or heading towards) in order to save ourselves in time.
First stage: Desire
Most of us say: “I love this” or “I want this.” We don’t put any restrictions on ourselves; if we want something, we get it. We are controlled by desires. When the course of events does not go the way we have planned, how do we feel? We feel at loss. We cannot see the bigger picture. We want our way, but things will go according to Allah’s (swt) wish.
Our emotions should not be connected to our desires. Whatever Allah (swt) will do is the best for us. Sometimes we get irritated about small things. We blame people, which is totally wrong. If something is delayed or does not happen, it is from Allah (swt). Our relation is not with people but with Allah (swt).
Our test will come in the areas where our desires are the strongest, whether it is related to worship or worldly matters. If we are bothered that our plans got ruined, it is as if we are not happy with Allah’s (swt) decree, as if our choice is better than His angry choice. It can be regarding anything from relationships, marriage, travel plans, or even the changing of traffic lights.
Throughout the years of your life, how many times have you been upset and thus angry with Allah (swt)? If someone is late, we get angry, but who decreed for him to be late? Allah (swt). In order to be pleased with Allah (swt), we have to fight our desires. It doesn’t mean we can’t dream or have desires at all, but you cannot allow your desires to control you. Don’t allow them to make up your judgements of when to be happy or sad.
Allah (swt) knows that when something doesn’t happen according to your plans, it is because He knows it can destroy or spoil you. Allah (swt) brings forward what is good for you. This is the mercy of Allah (swt). Sometimes, we wish to attend a gathering but it gets cancelled. It could be that this gathering was a means of destruction.
If you are not happy with Allah (swt), nothing will make you happy. If you are pleased with Allah (swt), you will be satisfied even with very little. When you control your desires, it shows your submission to Allah (swt). How many times have we really wished for something, and when we got it, it became a trial for us?
Sometimes, we want to marry a certain person, but we don’t know that that person might lead us away from the straight path. So trust Allah (swt); He will marry us to the person who suits us the most. We should not dream about people as we get disappointed and disturbed. You need to tell your desire: I will control you, and you cannot control me.
Imagine, there is a weak girl sitting and a flood is coming; the flood will take her far away but the girl says that she will see what she can do when the flood comes. Desires are just like flood – once they overpower you, they are out of your control. They will throw you somewhere so far away you cannot even imagine. So once the desire arises, control it from the root.
There are people who do not do so many good deeds, but their heart is content with Allah (swt) – so Allah (swt) will give them the best place in Paradise. Allah (swt) knows whether or not we are pleased with Him, just like He knows what is in our hearts. Your desires will show your submission to Allah (swt). This is a test of your Shahadah: La ilaha illa Allah.
Second stage: Forgetfulness of blessings
If a person does not overcome the first stage of desire, he will enter the second stage of forgetfulness. We are humans, and it is our nature to forget; however, this is not what we will discuss. In this case of forgetfulness, what is discouraged is the forgetfulness of blessings.
For example, we go to the kitchen and find that we do not have the food we like, despite other food being there. Not only are we discontent because of our desire, we are also forgetful of the other blessings of food available. We should not forget the good about Allah (swt) Who gave us all these blessings.
Your memory should be full of the blessings given by Allah (swt). For example, imagine that for years you have had a good friend in your husband, and then just one thing goes the wrong way, due to which you end up forgetting all the good years. In a relationship, never forget the good days and the memorable times. We tend to remember the bad things which are minor and forget the good things. Even animals remember when a person gives them food and treats them well. Our mind should accumulate whatever good people do to us. Bad things are always less than all the good things. All the blessings we enjoy are from Allah (swt) – even if it’s a relationship with people.
A Hadeeth states that the Prophet (sa) said: “I was shown the Hellfire, and the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful.” It was asked: “Did they disbelieve in Allah (swt)?” (Or were they ungrateful to Allah (swt)?) He replied: “They were ungrateful to their husbands and ungrateful for the favours and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them, and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say: ‘I have never received any good from you.’” (Bukhari)
When people remember the good done to them by others, there will be more goodness and less misunderstanding between them. The same applies to the highest degree to Allah (swt). We need to remember to always think good about Allah (swt). Allah (swt) will deal with you as you deal with others. He will forgive you. If people are good to you, thank Allah (swt) for that. If all the people support each other, they will form a healthy society. We need to use our memory to remember good times. We are not happy because we forget the good done by Allah (swt).
Nobody’s life is perfect; there will always be ups and downs, not always up and not always down; the lower we go, the higher we rise. Sometimes, we are in a good relationship, and it gets ruined; we become poor after being rich; we get sick after being healthy. The problem is that people always look at the glass as half empty, rather than half full. Even when they tell their stories, they recall their miseries and hardships rather than the blessings. Sometimes people will write diaries, and they will write about all the bad moments. If you think about it, it is like blaming Allah (swt) for putting you through these hardships.
If you look at the story of Prophet Yusuf (as), you will realize that he went through ups and downs; however, at the end of the Surah, he did not recall his bad times; instead, he said:
“…Allah has indeed been gracious to us…” (Yusuf 12:90)
He never complained about his brothers or the ruler’s wife. He did not mention that he went to jail. He said that he came out of the jail and his brothers came to him. Yusuf (as) mentioned all the good that had happened to him.
“…My Lord has made it come true! He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of the prison, and brought you (all here) out of the Bedouin-life, after Shaitan (Satan) had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He will. Truly He! Only He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.” (Yusuf 12:100)
Look at the Prophet (sa). When his wife Khadijah (rtaf) passed away, he didn’t forget her; instead, he always recalled her goodness.
Sometimes we are asked about what happened to us, and we say we got sick, but we don’t say that Allah (swt) cured us. Allah (swt) has given you good children; however, some of them may not be so good. You need to accept it and look at the positive. Be like a bee, not like a fly. The bee always has her eyes on the flowers. We need to rely on Allah (swt) to attain such a character. Say the good and attribute your blessings to Allah (swt).
Third stage: Magnifying the negative
We have looked at the first two stages: we don’t get what we want which is followed by becoming forgetful of our blessings. Now comes the third stage. We magnify something we dislike, and it dominates our thoughts night and day. It is part of human nature, but we need to suppress it from the first stage. What are the reasons for magnifying the negative?
- Environment, culture, and surroundings
Imagine that your child is getting married. You want to host a small party, and give the extra money to your married child for acquiring a new home or travelling. However, people mock you and put pressure upon you. Who would do something like this? We do not need to comply with the wishes of people. It is too stressful. You will never be able to please everybody, because each person has different desires.
Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “If Allah (swt) loves a person, He calls Jibrael (as) saying: ‘Allah loves so and so; O Jibrael love him.’ And make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven: ‘Allah loves so and so, therefore, you should love him also.” And so all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
It is a test for us. If we live according to people’s desires, they will never be pleased with us, and Allah (swt) will not be pleased with us. However, when we please Allah (swt), He (swt) will be pleased with us and so will the people – it’s a win-win solution.
If you have one house, you want another. People always want more and more, no matter how much they have acquired already.
There’s a story of a king, a minister, and a servant. The king was sad, and he could see the servant happy, coming and going, smiling all along. He thought: “This servant doesn’t have anything; he’s serving people, and yet he’s happy.” So he asked the minister to solve the problem. The minister followed the servant to his home and put ninety-nine gold coins outside his house. When the servant found the coins, he counted them. When he discovered they were ninety-nine, he said it should have been a hundred coins. So he spent the day searching for that coin; he became greedy. That day, the servant came in looking sad, and the minister told the king that the reason for sadness is greed. We all have ninety-nine coins, but we are upset about that one coin.
We don’t have complete knowledge. We do not know what’s good for us and what’s not. Only Allah (swt) knows what’s best for us.
If you are pleased with Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will be pleased with you. In life, you’ll be pleased and content because you are a slave of Allah (swt).
O Allah (swt), increase us in guidance and keep us on the way of guidance until the last moment of our lives. We ask Allah (swt) for His forgiveness and His mercy. I ask Allah (swt) for His forgiveness and to put forgiveness in the hearts of those who read this. Ameen.