Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali
It was related on the authority of Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari that the Prophet (sa) said, of what he related from his Lord, the Magnified and the Exalted be He, Who said:
“O My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you. So do not commit oppression against one another. O My servants, all of you are liable to err except for those, whom I guide on the right path, therefore seek guidance from Me so that I should direct you to the right path. O My servants, all of you are hungry (needy) except for those whom I feed; therefore seek food from Me so that I may feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked (need clothes) except for those whom I provide garments, therefore seek clothing from Me so that I should clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day and I am there to pardon your sins, therefore seek forgiveness from Me so that I should grant you pardon. O My servants, you can neither do Me any harm nor can you do Me any good. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns become as pious as the most pious heart of any one amongst you, it will not add anything to My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns become as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone amongst you, it will not decrease anything from My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns gather together on a sector of land and all ask of Me and if I were to give every one of them what they asked for, that will not in any way decrease what I have any more than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it. O My servants, these deeds of yours which I am recording for you I shall reward you for them, so he who finds good should praise Allah and he who finds other than that should not blame anyone but himself.” (Muslim)
This Hadeeth is a ‘Hadeeth Qudsee’, meaning a Hadeeth where the Prophet (sa) relates what Allah (swt) has said, His actual words. This Hadeeth demonstrates our relationship with Allah (swt) and teaches us to rely exclusively on Him for all our needs. Allah (swt) informs us of His attributes; Merciful, Forgiving, Powerful and Compassionate, compared to human beings, who are needy and weak. We need Allah’s (swt) Guidance and His help in all aspects of our lives. We are told categorically that no form of oppression or injustice will be tolerated in Islam.
Allah (swt) – the Light of Guidance
Allah (swt) is the originator of all guidance, be it from a book, a lecture, a person or an article. We as individuals are incapable of providing guidance unless Allah (swt) wills. We may attempt to show people the right path, but the true guidance comes from Allah (swt) alone. Guidance is a great mercy and blessing from Allah (swt). This guidance, in the form of the Quran, was revealed to us by Allah (swt) through His Messenger, Muhammad (sa). Allah (swt) showed us the right path to follow and warned us against Shaitan, who is our greatest enemy. Reciting Surah Al-Fatiha in every Rakah reminds us of our extreme need for our Lord’s Guidance and Support. (An-Nawawi)
Types of guidance:
- Hidayat Al-Bayan – guidance related to the knowledge. Allah (swt) never forsakes us; He will bring us some means to guide us, guidance to know Allah (swt) and His attributes. Allah (swt) will never forsake us or leave us without showing us Who we need to worship. When Allah (swt) provides people guidance, not all will accept it. Allah (swt) offers guidance through different means but it will be your choice and free will to accept, reject or think about it. Some people know this is guidance from Allah (swt) and they accept it and Allah (swt) increases their level of guidance. If we accept, appreciate and act upon it; Allah (swt) gives us more and makes it easy for us to follow.
- Hidayat Al-Tawfeeq – the guidance to do. The guidance will not just be in your heart. For example, someone is always angry and she needs guidance to become a calm person. She will listen to a lecture about patience and see examples of people who are angry and how they deal with it. She will realize and then change. Hence Allah (swt) will change her heart. Allah (swt) will give her the Hidayat Al-Tawfeeq so that in the most stressful situations she will not get angry.
Don’t be unjust towards Allah (swt) by seeking guidance from a slave just like us. Maybe that way of guidance will turn you away from the truth. With Allah (swt) it is always different than what you expect. You think something, and Allah (swt) does it differently; contrary to what you thought. Guidance resembles light and misguidance resembles darkness.
Allah (swt) is Ever-Forgiving
Repentance is a tool Allah (swt) has provided us with, in case we slip. Islam recognizes that humans have weaknesses and will occasionally do wrong. We may neglect/postpone our obligations or indulge in sins, but Allah (swt) reminds us He is Forgiving.
How to Seek Allah’s (swt) Guidance?
Allah (swt) is the Provider
Allah (swt) provides us with all our material needs: food, clothing, shelter etc… You need Allah (swt) to clothe you even if your wardrobe is full. Allah (swt) loves that His creation has a connection with Him all the time; we must ask with humility and Allah (swt) will increase our sustenance for us.
Allah’s (swt) Treasures and Bounties are Endless
Allah’s (swt) resources will not be reduced by the least in giving us what we ask for. The Hadeeth shows Allah’s (swt) generosity. Allah (swt) gives His servants a lot of bounties and favours. The more they ask Him, the more He gives. He wants us to ask Him more and seek His help and support. This is different from human beings because humans do not like to be asked frequently. The more you ask a human, the more he hates you and eventually turns away from you. He wants us to come closer to Him and show Him our needs and humbleness. (An-Nawawi) Allah (swt) protects you from harm and Allah (swt) benefits you. So you rely on Allah (swt) exclusively. If you make rules and everyone follows your rules; you will benefit. If people do not follow your rules; you will despair. Allah (swt) created us not because He needs us, but because of (wisdom) Hikmah. Allah (swt) created us and we benefit from having been created. Allah (swt) does not need His creation to worship Him.
Allah (swt) is the Most Rich (Al-Ghani)
If you don’t worship Allah (swt), He can create a billion other people to worship Him. Life does not stop because of one person. Everyone being pious will not add anything to Allah (swt). If you do good, it is good for you and nobody else.
- Allah (swt) does not need anybody.
- Allah (swt) does not need anybody to worship Him.
- We need Taqwa; Allah (swt) does not need our Taqwa, we need to become
- We need to obey Allah (swt); Allah (swt) does not need our obedience.
- We need to be close to Allah (swt); Allah (swt) does not need us to be close to Him.
- We need to be humble; Allah (swt) does not need our submission.
- Nobody can harm Allah (swt); nobody can benefit Allah (swt).
- Nothing can increase Allah (swt) in His dominion, nothing can decrease His dominion.
Do not worship or follow Allah’s (swt) commands as if you are doing Allah (swt) a favour. Allah (swt) enriches all creation. An example of a parable is given – except what is decreased from the ocean when a needle is dipped into it. Imagine you put a needle in the sea, it would have no effect, and it would not decrease anything in Allah’s (swt) dominion or treasure. Whatever Allah (swt) gives, it does not affect Allah (swt); our actions do not affect Allah (swt), He is our Rabb, and nobody is like Him.
Accountability on the Day of Judgment
At the end of the Hadeeth, it is mentioned and stressed that everyone will be accountable for their deeds. Whoever finds a good record; should be thankful to Allah (swt) and praise Him for that. Those who find other than that should not blame anyone except themselves. This is a clear statement that shows the personal responsibility we have for our actions (An-Nawawi). When your time in this world comes to an end, then the accountability starts. At the time of death, you can see the result. What you see at the time of death is preparation of what is to come. If you did well, you will be among the successful ones. And if you did not do well, you will be in trouble. Your actions are your responsibility.
The lesson we take is that when we express our needs to Allah (swt), it must be with humility for Allah (swt) is the only One who can guide us and forgive us. We must repent when we err. Thus gaining the pleasure of Allah (swt) should be our major goal in this world.