It’s either My Way or the Highway
A great Fitnah of our times. Everyone is disagreeing with the other. The ideology is: if you do not follow my belief, then you have clearly gone astray. This continuous fighting has divided the Ummah immensely. Many people don’t come near the religion because they cannot understand who is right and who has deviated. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says, “And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)” (Al-Anfal 8:46)
The enemies are rejoicing as the Muslims fight among themselves. Let us reflect on our behaviour, be forgiving and reduce the distances between the Ummah.
Consistency is the Key
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) loves those acts of worship which are done consistently. Doing them strengthens our Iman. And abandoning them can have serious implications on our heart’s condition. If you are content with worshipping and obeying Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), then you are among those who have understood their purpose in life; and know where they are heading to.
Test or Punishment?
As Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in ayah 53 of Surah Al-Anfal that He will not change a favour which He has bestowed upon His people; unless they change what was given to them. When that happens, then people deserve the gifts to be taken away. Having said that, we should remember that sometimes taking away of the favours is a test, instead of a punishment. How can one distinguish between a test and a punishment? Your heart’s condition will tell you. If your heart remains content and you say “Alhamdulillah” even in adversity, then Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) intends to increase your status by this test. On the other hand, if a calamity distances you from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), then it could be His punishment.
May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) forgive and protect us. Ameen.
We now begin Surah At-Taubah. Since it begins with the mention of Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) anger and wrath, we notice that unlike other Surahs it does not begin with Bismillah. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) not deprive us of His mercy and forgiveness. Ameen.
Be cautious – this World deceives
Again, there is a reminder to not to get deceived by the treasures of this world such as wealth and children. He says, “So let not their wealth or their children amaze you (O Muhammad ﷺ); in reality Allah’s Plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.” (At-Taubah 9:55) May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) make our wealth and children a source of comfort for us and means for entering Jannah. May these blessings don’t pave our way to destruction. Ameen.
Beware of mocking Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger ﷺ
Then there is a warning against mocking Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), His Messenger ﷺ and His ayaat. The hypocrites would come in Prophet’s ﷺ gathering, give their verbal acknowledgement to whatever they learnt and when they met each other in private, they would confess their disagreement. Each time that happened, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) would reveal their true condition to Prophet ﷺ. Sometimes, we receive jokes about heaven and hell, the angels and other matters of the Unseen. We read them and laugh with our friends and family. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says, “If you ask them (about this), they declare: We were only talking idly and joking. Say: Was it at Allah, and His ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger ﷺ that you were mocking?” (At-Taubah 9:65)
This is not something to be taken casually; read what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says next about such people, “Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you because they were Mujrimun (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, criminals, etc.)” (At-Taubah 9:66) Such a person is out of the folds of Islam. A Muslim leads a conscious life; he doesn’t get carried away by what’s happening around him. Delete such a message and reply them back with this ayah. It could be that they don’t even know this ayah is there in the Quran.
Heedfulness or Hypocrisy?
Among the many traits of hypocrites, one is that they will not leave anyone without defaming and ridiculing him in all circumstances, even those who give away charity. If, for instance, someone gives away a large amount, the hypocrites say that he is showing off. If someone gives away a small amount, they say that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stands not in need of this man’s charity. Al-Awfi narrates from Ibn Abbas (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) that one day while the Prophet ﷺ was collecting charity, a man brought a Sa’ of dates (a small measure of food grains). He said, “O Messenger of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)! This is a Sa’ of dates. I spent the night bringing water and earned two Sa’ of dates for my work. I kept one Sa’ and brought you the other Sa’.” The Prophet ﷺ ordered him to add it to the charity. The hypocrites standing their commented that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger are not in need of such small charity. What benefit could it bring? After that, came a rich man who wanted to give four thousand Dirhams in the way of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). About him the hypocrites said that he gave this much amount to show off. It is the characteristic of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that He exposes those who lie and defame His righteous believers.
Hence this ayah was revealed, “Those who defame such of the believers who give charity (in Allah’s Cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in Allah’s Cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers), Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and they shall have a painful torment.” (At-Taubah 9:79) A small or huge contribution does not matter. What matters is the person’s sincerity and that his wealth was earned from Halal means.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)