Love and loyalty for Allah (swt) – Divine legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (as)

maqam“And Allah did take Ibrahim (Abraham) as a Khaleel (an intimate friend)” (An-Nisa 4:125)

All of us are going to leave our footsteps and traces behind in this world. And when we die, we will be remembered and judged according to those traces. They can be either good or bad. That will be the legacy we leave behind.

Surely our legacy should be powerful and inspiring. But what should that be? What can we do that will outdo other common legacies? How about delving into one of the most brilliant legacies ever left behind? The legacy of Ibrahim (as). For the Quran says,

“Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Abraham and those with him” (Al-Mumtahinah 60:4)

People leave behind their stories which the world remembers and cheers upon. But, the legacy we are going to mention here is unique. It is unique, simply because, it is not only a legacy of power and a great vision- but more importantly-  it is a legacy of loyalty and pure heart-felt love; a legacy of loving Allah (swt).

Ibrahim (as) was a man of vision and deep insight. He thought of not only his immediate children, but rather, his entire progeny. His concern for their spiritual well being and his constant prayers to Allah (swt) depict his deep vision; the vision of making pure Tawheed stay alive in his descendants.

Spiritually enriched legacy of Ibrahim (as)

1. Pure love for Allah (swt) and living La ilaha illa Allah

“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Allah (swt) praised his friend in His Book, the Quran,

Verily, Ibrahim (Abraham) was an Ummah (a leader having all the good righteous qualities), or a nation, obedient to Allah, Hanifa (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, and those who joined partners with Allah).”(An-Nisa 16:120)

Due to his love for Allah (swt), he found what we all keep looking for all through our lives; and, it is the most hard-to-snag things of all – peace!

1. Devotion.
2. True in faith.
3. No shirk (which means absolute Tawheed)
The pure concept of Tawheed etched in ones heart + devotion + truthfulness in faith = 100% pure love for Allah (swt) and Him alone.

This was Ibrahim (as)!
2. Attainment of peace through struggle and sacrifice

Strangely, if you see Ibrahim’s (as) life in a quick glance, you see no fruits- because what you find is, either struggle or sacrifice. But, analyzing much more deeply, you find contentment behind those struggles; and extreme love behind those sacrifices. Due to his love for Allah (swt), he found what we all keep looking for all through our lives; and, it is the most hard-to-snag things of all – peace!

Contrary to what Ibrahim (as) had for Allah (swt) – i.e. pure love and firm belief in Tawheed – what we have is another story. Simply put, we do not have that peace in our lives; we cringe at the very thought of separation with our loved ones. We cannot even begin to imagine the idea of sacrificing something small (like to quit smoking) for Allah (swt) – let alone something big! Our lives revolve around obsessive love for our spouses, crazy children-centered homes, overwhelming desire for a friend, excessive love for wealth, extra hope pinned in some human being…
You can go on and on as the list is pretty much endless.

We seek for love in all the wrong places, and hence, come back heartbroken.

Fault with our theory of love

We seek for love in all the wrong places, and hence, come back heartbroken. The moment we love anything more than our Creator, that very thing we love more becomes the cause of our greatest pain. But, Ibrahim (as) found love in its right place with Allah (swt), and that’s why, he had “Qalb-e-Saleem” – a sound heart.

We profess with our tongues that we believe in La ilaha illa Allah, but our actions seldom actualize the Kalimah. We claim we love Allah (swt) the most, but fail to give Him priority every time.(You delay Fajr prayer for sleep, you miss Dhuhr for work, Isha for the World Cup, take interest based loans to please your wife etc.)

We are taken over by the love of this world, and that leaves us with less or no room for the love of the Creator in our lives. The famous novel “Twilight” teaches us obsessive love for humans- which involves loving the creation more than the Creator; breaking all the boundaries of Halal and Haram in the name of love for some other creature.

Nowadays, other forms of love are creeping in a Muslim’s heart.  Muslims need to make the love of Allah (swt) superior to all other love ideologies.

Ibrahim (as) found love in its right place with Allah (swt), and that’s why, he had “Qalb-e-Saleem” – a sound heart.

Know that people will continue their lives when you die. Indeed, when you die they will stop calling you by your name: they will ask, “Where is the Janazah? Where is the body?” Once you’re buried, they will refer to you as “his grave”; and will say, “I’m going to visit the grave of so and so.”
Hence, do not sacrifice your relationship with your Lord for the sake of your family and friends.
Focus on a relationship that is for eternity: your relationship with Allah (swt).

Look at this profound piece of writing:

“Allah (swt) has decreed that he who loves something other than Him will surely be tormented by it; that one who fears something other than Allah (swt) will come under its control; that one who involves himself with something to the exclusion of Allah (swt), will find it a source of grief; that one who prefers another over Allah (swt) will not be blessed therein; and that one who tries to please a fellow creature by anything displeasing Allah (swt), will without fail, bring His anger upon himself.”
(Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya)

[To be continued Insha Allah]

Struggle All the Way to Jannah

steppingstonesA believer’s faith in the meta-physical aspects of Islam: Iman, is not something that is in a constant state, but is in a constant state of flux. Every Muslim experiences highs and lows of Iman, and often at times these highs of Iman empowers a believer to make some life changing decisions. Similar is the case with a young Muslim girl, when she decides to start taking Hijab, and guard her modesty for the sake of Allah (swt). Slowly and gradually, the way she dresses up, the friends she hangs out with, the way she thinks and responds to things around her, everything changes, and Hijab becomes an essential part of her personality. But with this comes an extra responsibility. And some extra struggle.

So when she goes to a wedding (a typical Desi wedding), people stare at her or some aunties constantly give her smiles, as if she really needs it to feel comfortable in the crowd.  Ironically, it actually does the opposite; but she struggles.

When her mother wants her to loosen the scarf a bit, so that the flashy and glamorous neckline of her dress is visible; when she can see that her mother is a little uncomfortable with the piece on her head, and that she wants her daughter to look beautiful (according to what our society defines it), she struggles.

And when somebody asks her the reason for doing Hijab, and says: “But you are so beautiful.” Her heart sinks, not because she understands their point but because they don’t understand hers. And she struggles. She struggles within the boundaries of her heart.

When we have the right to look glamorous for the society, why don’t we have the right to guard our modesty for the sake of Allah (swt)? Suddenly, people give you a suspicious look, as if there’s been something wrong in your life, may be a tragedy, which made you take the decision. Parents think that there’s something wrong with their daughter and that she needs to comply with the society norms. Taking Hijab becomes something “abnormal” and the girl becomes an “extremist”. “She just needs to be normal!” So Hijab is for the ones who’re not really a part of the society. “They are different. They are not like us. We are not like them.” And this is something that is said by a mother, or father, or a friend, of a Muslim family.

How can one expect to have a distinction, without taking an exam?

In this materialistic world, where glamour is everything; a few hits on a profile picture or a few flattering comments about how beautiful you look, defines your worth and at times your dignity. It is indeed difficult to stick to your decision. And I don’t think it’s wrong to have these feelings. It’s human, perfectly human to fall. But how you strive and fight against your Nafs to rise up again (for the sake of Allah (swt)), is what defines your worth and you as a true submitter to Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) doesn’t want us to have an empty heart, cold and indifferent; He tests us by observing as to how we deal with everything inside it. Iman, love, and faith (Aqeeda) rest in the heart and so do hatred, jealousy and doubts. The point is not to clear your heart, but to beautify it with what is good for it, according to the Master who owns it.

How to deal with criticism

How do I deal with it? How do I answer them back? How do I tell them that this is not for anyone who wants to see me all dolled up, to please their eyes? But do I really need to give these explanations to feel good about it? Well, this has already been addressed in the Quran, to answer this restlessness.

“The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?” (Quran 6:32)

Beautiful! He knows. He knows what you’re going through. And it was actually “meant” to be this way. So she struggles. But now we know, the struggles are indeed blessings. He repeats “Do you not understand?” Actually she missed the point. How can one expect to have a distinction, without taking an exam?  He is providing her with some bonus points to reach Jannah. By practicing patience, by being even extra polite to her mother and the aunties, by holding back her tears when she is alienated in a gathering, and by having complete faith in Him, and only Him. Her struggle would pay immense rewards Insha’Allah

Remember, “Isn’t Allah enough for His servants?” (Az-Zumar)

[Poem] Confessions of a Trembling Heart

Image Prophet sa humour

Fear of your presence.

Fear of my heart’s brittleness.

My words insufficient.

My actions wasted.

In this air of intoxicated love,

my language cannot explain;

Except the melody of my tears,

Except the trembling of my heart,

Except the molecules of my body- shaking and rushing,

With awe and excitement!

Oh our beloved Prophet (sa).

My words will fail, I can’t explain.

Seeing the land in your life,

Gives strength to your Ummah,

To Struggle,

To Preach,

To Love,

Words seem less today.

Translator of my heart seems mute today.

Encounter with you has made the dictionary of love insufficient.

Your sacrifices for me.

Your blood being shed for me.

Your pain ridden body for me.

Your long prayers for me.

Ummati, Ummati, Ummati!

Even before I opened my eyes.

Walking on the Earth, how should I pay thanks to you?

Except that I adorn myself with the Sunnah ornaments.

My heart is drenched in your love.

One day,

My soul will aspire for your intercession.

My brain will be dazzled by your beauty.

My eyes would yearn to see you.

And My Thirst?

Would remain unquenched for the drink you would offer the believers

And that will restore my heart and soul

One day – Insha’Allah!

Confessions of a Trembling Heart