Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Ali’ Imran

pearlIn this Surah we learn a powerful Dua that is a source of our peace, “(They say): “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.”(Al-Imran 3:8)

After you have been guided, don’t return to your old state. People start offering five daily prayers, and then suddenly drop down to four, then three, to eventually abandoning it. People have been modestly dressed for years but due to peer pressure or Shaytan’s whisperings they abandon the good dress for immodest clothing. Don’t regress. Move forward and earn the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Who can earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure?

As we are talking about earning the pleasure of Allah (swt), let’s learn about the ones who can earn it. Allah (swt) says, “(They are) those who are patient ones, those who are true (in Faith, words, and deeds), and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (give the Zakat and alms in the Way of Allah) and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of the night.” (Al-Imran 3:17) These are the ones who will attain Paradise – the home of eternal peace and contentment. May Allah (swt) make us amongst them. Ameen.

The honour lies with whom?

People search for honour and dignity through various means. Some earn it through their academic accolades and others through their financial status. Honour and dignity is in the Hands of Allah (swt). “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things..” (Al-Imran 3:26).

You want honour? Ask Allah (swt), Al-Muiz. When Allah (swt) honours people with respect and dignity; they sometimes become arrogant. Remember if He has given you He can snatch it away at any time. Have little earned from honest living and be content with that. Don’t cheat or look down upon others.

Love Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

The discussion then changes to an important matter. We all claim our love for Allah (swt) but how many of us actually fulfill the conditions of this love? Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa) to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”” (Al-Imran 3:31)

Loving Allah (swt) is one thing but when Allah (swt) loves a person, do you think that person will ever lose contentment? How does one know if Allah (swt) loves me or not? The sign of Allah’s (swt) love is, when one follows the footsteps of His Messenger (sa). May Allah (swt) grant us His love, and may we be among those who are resurrected with Muhammad (sa). Ameen.

Acceptance of Dua – based on strong faith in Allah (swt) and His will

Story of prophet Zakariya (as)

A beautiful incident is narrated from which many people derive comfort. People are married for years without children, and this is the Will of Allah (swt). May He make matters easier for them. Ameen. Allah (swt) mentions the story of Prophet Zakariya (as). Prophet Zakariya (as) and his wife were really old and they didn’t have any children. He was assigned the care of Maryam (as). “So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya (Zachariya). Every time he entered Al-Mihrab to (visit) her , he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! From where have you got this?” She said, “This is from Allah.” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” (Al-Imran 3:37)

Witnessing this miracle before his eyes, prophet Zakariya (as) got encouragement to ask Allah (swt) for a child. If He can provide Maryam (as) with off season fruits, then He can certainly provide him with a child.

The hopeful Dua of Zakariya (as)

“At that time Zakariya (Zachariya) invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”” (Al-Imran 3:38)

Moral of the story

This teaches us an important lesson that is whenever you see the Qudra (power) of Allah (swt), make Due for yourself. That is a time of acceptance of Dua. The next time you see someone bestowed by Allah (swt) or when you look at the mountains, the trees, the fruits and the sea; don’t forget to make Dua for whatever tiniest issue you have. Allah’s (swt) majestic creation should strengthen our Iman in Him.

Build relationships with true promises

One cause of lacking peace in our lives is over committing or not fulfilling our covenants. We fail to honour our contracts and commitments and that results in a great disaster. We risk our reputation and lose crucial relationships. When you promise something then deliver it. If you cannot deliver it do not promise.

Now emphasis is on keeping the promises, Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s Covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them, nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment.” (Al-Imran 3:77) Be as truthful and sincere as you can be in honoring the covenant of Allah (swt). We don’t wish to be among those with whom He will neither speak  nor look at them.

Break-free from the love of the material world

What happens when your child drops your S4 and the screen breaks? Does all hell break loose over a cell phone? How do you react when your maid burns your brand new dress while ironing it? Many people beat their children and servants over a small mistake to the point that it results in their death. Allah (swt) instructs us not to attach ourselves to the material possessions of this world.

He says, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.” (Al-Imran 3:92)

Your spirituality is your wealth

If your wealth is affecting your spirituality, then share it with those who don’t have it. Your heart will be at peace and make you humble. If our wealth is making us haughty and egotistical, then certainly it’s not worth it. The only time we should be really proud of ourselves is when in the Hereafter, we are handed our book in the right hand and we are given the glad tiding of Jannah. May Allah (swt) make us of those who are pleased with Him and He is pleased with them. Ameen.

Ready for the inevitable?

The various reminders of death in the Quran tell us that we need to be prepared for death at all times. Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:102).

How does one prepare for death? By submitting to Allah (swt); submitting to whatever He has commanded us to do and whatever He has commanded us to abstain from.

Being compassionate is our Deen

Allah (swt) says, “You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:110).

This means a believer is not selfish. He is not just concerned about his Hereafter but also encourages others to do good and stops them from committing wrong. Similarly, a believer does not make fun of someone who is going through a trial; it is a trait of an enemy to laugh at someone’s misery.

Allah (swt) says, “If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqun, not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.,” (Al-Imran 3:120).

Here vs. Hereafter

Why do you want to risk your Akhirah over a temporary situation of this world? If a person is going through distress, we don’t say, “He deserved it.” Why if Allah (swt) makes that happen to us? A believer lives between the state of fear and hope at all times. He is neither too content with his life nor negligent. He certainly isn’t jealous of others. He knows if Allah (swt) can provide a fellow human being with something then He can certainly provide him as well.

May Allah (swt) humble our hearts and not make this world the main focus of our lives. May we be more worried about the Hereafter then the petty issues of this world. May Allah (swt) grant us peace. Ameen.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

 

My Faith Rescued Me…

faithI grew up in a Muslim family but I hated Islam and the Muslims. I was not happy to be called a Muslim. I was looked at with terror and called a troublemaker. I did not like to pray and hated to wear Niqab. I wanted to fly free like a bird, intermingling with the opposite sex and staying overnight at parties. However, my mom never listened to me. Moreover, she would force me to pray and compel me to cover. She would make me say all my Duas and made me learn the Quran as well. She would make me recite Surah Al-Falaq and An-Nas for my protection.

Once she was invited to her cousin’s wedding, held in a village that was a day distance by train. I refused to accompany her. Until the last moment, she warned me and requested me earnestly to read the Duas, recite Quran, offer Salah and wear my Niqab when I go to college. She said:

أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللَّهَ دِينَكَ وَأَمَانَتَكَ وَخَوَاتِيمَ عَمَلِكَ

“(I make) Allah (swt) responsible for your Deen, your trustworthiness and for the results of your actions.” (Tirmidhi)

After bestowing me with the Dua, she left. Her departure meant an arrival of entertainment in my life. I had all the fun pre-planned days ago. My friends had invited me for a sleepover at their place. There would be party, music, and fun!

I was ecstatic. In the evening, my friends picked me up in their car. As soon as I entered my friend’s home that was candle lit, I found something fishy. My heartbeat sped up.

There were not only girls as promised by my friends. There were boys too who were smoking!
Ya Allah (swt)! In what a mess had I stepped in! I was glad I had obeyed my mother by reading the Duas and wearing my Niqab and I was still in it. I had offered Maghrib too. My friend and host Nadia, who was busy talking to a boy, turned to me and said, “C’mon now!” and stretched her hand to my Niqab saying, “Remove this disgusting thing and learn to enjoy!” I defended my Niqab. I saw her dressed in a low cut T-shirt and a very short skirt. Her long legs stood bare and I told her curtly: “I am very comfortable like this Nadia.”

Her parents had a bungalow in a posh area of the city. But she had left them and rented a flat in an apartment.

Music was blaring loudly. Soon, all were couple-dancing. Ryan had no one to dance with and so he was approaching me! He offered his hand to me but I kept mine locked behind. I knew it was Allah (swt) who was helping me to stay away from the evil temptations (for which I had craved earlier). Then he sat next to me with a huge thud! Now! What was I going to do? Should I run away from the house?

I stood up with a firm resolution to leave. He tried to hold me back by my shoulder, but I pushed him down. To my amazement, a gentle push made him fall on the ground and he fainted. Nadia was furious at me. The lights were switched on. They tried to revive him by pouring water on him. But he was gone! There were no pulse beats!

All the girls and boys were shocked! I saw the bottles of the deadly drink laid on the table that was placed in the terrace. This overnight party and sleep over was not something simple. It was like a bar – a Zina centre.

All were Muslims! They had tried to shake my faith. They had already lost theirs. The point to ponder is that how Ryan’s life ended in just trying to touch a woman! I was feeling happy and grateful to Allah (swt) for I had a lovely mother who protected me with the armour of Islam and moulded me into a modest woman. It was a changing moment in my life.

Ryan’s death was a warning bell for all of us. We never know when would be our turn.

(Based on a true story with names changed to protect identity)