In another verse of the Qur’an, Allah Almighty (states that one) should not say “Uff” (I am fed up with this!), “What a heavy burden I have been afflicted with.”
Similarly, in the 214th verse of Surah al-Baqara Allah Almighty declares:
“(O believers,) do you think that you will enter Paradise while there has not yet come upon you the like of what came upon those who passed away before you?” “Do you think that you will enter Paradise while there has not yet come upon you the like of what came upon those who passed away before you?”
In other words, Allah Almighty tells us that He will constantly test us with afflictions. Living life in ebbs and flows, sometimes manifestations of mercy and at other times manifestations of trial…
How is a servant to draw near to Allah during these manifestations of mercy? How are they to turn to Him at times of difficulty?
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, (demonstrates this to us) stage by stage:
There is the Battle of Badr, a victory. Then there is the Battle of Uhud – we are all familiar with its outcome. His other military campaigns are also thus.
Allah Almighty says, “We alternate them.” “We [constantly] deal them out in turns among people.”(See 3:140)
In other words, how will our efforts increase when events turn in favour of Islam? When destiny turns against Islam, how will our efforts increase?
Allah Almighty declares:
thumma latus’alunna yawma-idhin ʿani l-naʿīm
“And on that Day, you will most surely be questioned as to all the favours (bestowed on you).”(102:8)
The Messenger of Allah states:
“The parable of my community is like that of (abundant) rain, the good of which is not known to lie in its beginning or end.” (Tirmidhi, Adab, 81)
Now, when we look at the first era, we see an age of ignorance. An age where people lost their humanness and bid farewell to humanity. An age where immorality and shamelessness (increased) and truth and justice disappeared. It is called the Age of Ignorance.
A Messenger came and removed those people from that age of ignorance and enabled them to acquire a morality at the peak of virtue, and to be adorned with morality. The clearest example of which is the Age of Happiness.
In other words, what kind of civilization of virtue did those people of the age of ignorance, who lived in an age of semi-savagery build under the education and guidance of the Messenger of Allah? Their stories continue to our day and will continue until the End of Time.
The Messenger of Allah, refers to the “beginning” and “end.” (See (Tirmidhi, Adab, 81)
This means that people at the end will enter an era of ignorance also. Being able to be a drop of rain and drop of mercy during such an era of ignorance.
When we look today at our time, what difference is there between now and 1400 years ago? There is a difference in form, a geometrical difference, but no other. In other words, being a drop of mercy in our day.
Then there is television, there are countless channels, a carnal, worldly life is being presented, to make people forget the Hereafter.
The Internet provides all those who seek it with the wrong address. And human beings are being destroyed at these wrong addresses, they are losing their humaneness, they are bidding farewell to humanity, and are moving towards leading an animal-like existence.
Then there are fashions; these are crazy incitements. How (else) will certain cartels and monopolies sell their products? This is why fashion changes constantly. Certain colours are in fashion; certain styles, etc. become fashionable. Even sloppiness comes into fashion. Walking around in ripped pants becomes fashionable. Walking around in dirty dyed, bleached clothing becomes fashion.
There is advertising. Advertising is just trickery. And our people are turned into robots. Just like remote-controlled children’s toys, like logs drifting in the flood, humanity is drifting away. An era of ignorance… A second age of ignorance… Back then, they buried baby girls alive. Now, they pull them out alive from the womb and rip them to pieces.
A world without any concern for an afterlife was sought then. That is why the Qur’an gave the tidings of a Hereafter:
ʿani l-naba-i l-ʿaẓīm
“…the awesome tidings.” (78:2)
They had no such concern.
alladhī hum fīhi mukh’talifūn
“About which they are in disagreement.” (78:3)
The debate started among the people, immediately, to the effect of, “What if there is a Hereafter, what will we do if this is true?”
The same thing applies for some circles today. At one cemetery is written:
kullu nafsin dhāiqatu l-mawt
“Every soul is bound to taste death.” (3:185) There are some who want to remove it.
“This depresses us,” they say.
There is a certain segment that does not want to buy a place next to a mosque. They will see funerals, remember death, and will be “depressed,” as they say.
In short, a great responsibility falls to the Muslim community during this era.
Allah Almighty declares:
“You are the best community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind, enjoining and promoting what is right and good, and forbidding and trying to prevent evil… (3:110)
So, they are to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Bringing up individuals to this end. Exerting oneself for the human being. Exerting oneself for those institutions which serve Islam. Exerting oneself for producing magazines, books, publications, and such things.
This means that this ought to be the goal for our time.
We need to be fully aware of our owing a debt of thankfulness. For Allah Almighty, gratuitously, without any effort on our part, made us a community to the most exalted of the 124,000 Prophets. We did not choose our own Prophet. This is a great blessing. We owe a debt of thankfulness for this too.
Allah Almighty declares:
thumma latus’alunna yawma-idhin ʿani l-naʿīm
“And on that Day, you will most surely be questioned as to all the favours (bestowed on you).” (102:8)
We could have been born in another nation, amongst other peoples. In mention of the attributes of theMessenger of Allah, Allah Almighty says:
laqad manna l-lah
“Assuredly, Allah has done the believers a great kindness…” (3:164)
That there is a greatest kindness, that the greatest kindness or favour is the Messenger of Allah. However, we need to be thankful for this favour, to follow in the footsteps of his guidance, in a sense of gratitude for this bounty, as our show of thankfulness.
Allah Almighty says:
wa-ij’ʿalnā lil’muttaqīna imāma
“…and enable us to lead others in piety (to become a means of the promotion of piety and virtue).”(25:74)
We have to both to possess piety while at the same time being a guide to piety through our own way of life and manner of being.
We are required to hold up the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, as our example in every regard. In other words, not just by offering the prayer. The prescribed prayer is the most difficult task. Observing the five daily prayers, as much as is possible, in congregation.
Our other acts of worship should be offered in such humble reverence that they will increase the spirituality of our heart. Fasting is the same – all bodily limbs and organs must be made to fast. The prescribed annual alms, charity, spending in the way of Allah, are all to be done in great joy and jubilation.
And thanking Allah Almighty saying, “O Allah, You have favoured me with being able to give.” For:
“…surely Allah is He Who accepts what is offered as charity…” (9:104)
It is Allah Who is to take charity.
And so, the servant is to advance spiritually through their acts of worship. There has to be noble character. But this alone is not sufficient. Noble character needs to become manifest in one’s acts of worship.
Pitying, compassionate… the Messenger of Allah was very merciful, very compassionate. A believer, too, must be very merciful and very compassionate. They should not be self-centred, but altruistic. They need to share what they would want for their own self, with their fellow believer. They need to be with the forlorn and suffering.
They need to say, “You have given to me, but not to them, O Allah. This means that they are my responsibility.” They are to thus receive the reward of doing so and attain salvation in the Hereafter.
A human being, a believer must engage in constant contemplation:
“How did the Messenger of Allah lead his life? How did he spend his 23-year Prophethood? What is my life like?” We have to question ourselves.
The thing that we need to dwell upon most is this:
The Messenger of Allah, while on the Farewell Pilgrimage, left the Qur’an and his Sunna to the Muslim community as a responsibility binding on them. And that Book and Sunna is the responsibility of all of us. We need to be able to lead our lives in accordance with these, enable others to do so, and exert ourselves to this end. We need to support such institutions. We need to raise our generations in this way. There needs to be a generation of the Qur’an and the Sunna. And we need to lead our lives with the joy and gratitude of being part of the Community of Muhammad, and exert ourselves throughout our lives, to pay the price of these bounties.
This is because:
Al-mar’u ma’a man ahabba
“A person will be with those whom they love.” This is what Allah’s Messenger says. (Bukhari, Adab, 96)
However, the measure of love is sacrifice. There is, for instance, Abu Bakr. How did he strive to be with theMessenger of Allah? How did the other Companions strive to be with him? To what extent are we trying to be with him through our worship, worldly transactions, our morality, and the like? Did the Companions ever make concessions? Did they ever make concessions in worship, in worldly transactions, in morality? Did they ever make concessions in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil?
The Messenger of Allah put forth great sacrifice for the deliverance of all humanity. He patiently endured the most harrowing of tribulations. In spite of this, he made not the smallest complaint, at any time. He lost six of his seven beloved children, but was in a constant state of gratitude. He was at times in the ascendant, and sometimes not, but he was in a constant state of seeking refuge in Allah Almighty. But never was there a wry expression on his face before the changing unpleasant scenes before him. He never once made a wry face at all the betrayals, the betrayals of the polytheists. He paid no mind to their doing so. He taught the Suffa Companions the Qur’an, tying a rock around his waist (out of hunger).