Again we learn about calamities. One thing to remember is that a calamity is not always a punishment. While some people drown and die in floods, there’s someone in the same city who died in the state of prostration. Your heart gauges whether a calamity is a destruction or a blessing. If you find contentment and peace in your heart, then you are blessed. It could be a mean to raise your status in the sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. So be pleased with His decree.
Forbid Evil Whenever You See It
Sometimes we see images of calamity-stricken areas and we notice almost the entire settlement has perished except one house. Why it is that one house is saved while all the other houses collapsed?
It could be because the resident of that house was engaged in enjoining good and forbidding evil. He did his duty, he forwarded the knowledge that he had acquired. If people didn’t pay heed, he could not be held accountable for it. Read what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had forbidden evil and seized those who wronged, with a wretched punishment, because they were defiantly disobeying,” [7: 165].
What do we learn? The key to being protected from Allah’s punishment, after we have reformed ourselves, is to remind others. Tell the brothers to come to the masjid for Salah. Advise the sisters not to dress in a certain way. Remind, for reminders benefit the believers.
Listen to the Qur’an Attentively
How would one feel if the CEO of the company is talking and no one is paying attention? Sometimes, we turn on the Qur’an recitation and continue chatting on the side; paying absolutely no attention to what is being said. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns us about this in the Qur’an,
“So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy,” [7: 204].
Listening to Qur’an results in receiving Allah’s mercy, subhanAllah! Our mind and heart both should be attentive. Know that the one who receives the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is a person of high rank.
Right in the beginning, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes the qualities of a true believer. He says,
“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His ayaat are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely,” [8: 2].
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala strengthen our emaan, ameen.
These are those who say, “I have tried my best. Rest is all in the Hands of Allah.” And they are content with that. Their other qualities are that they “establish prayer, and from what We have provided them, they spend,” [8: 3]. We need to check ourselves. Do we have these qualities within us? If yes, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Those are the believers, truly. For them are degrees [of high position] with their Lord and forgiveness and noble provision,” [8: 4].
May He grant us Paradise and bless us some of the qualities of the true believers, ameen.
Obey Allah and the Messenger
He then says,
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn from him while you hear [his order]. And do not be like those who say, ‘We have heard,’ while they do not hear,” [8: 20-21].
Several times during the day we recite Surah al-Fatihah and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to show us the right path. When the right path is shown to us we turn away. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says when the message has reached you; when you have been informed what is right and what is wrong then do not turn away. Do not become of those who claim we are the followers of Muhammad ﷺ but when a command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala comes they cannot be bothered to act upon it.
Do Not Bring Bad Name to Islam Because of Your Bad Behavior
Once again we are reminded about the virtue of honoring contracts, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know [the consequence],” [8: 27]. Marriage is a contract similar to a business contract. By being Muslim, you naturally become an ambassador to Islam. Do not bring a bad repute to Islam because of your behavior. Many people do not want to engage with the Muslims because of their deceit.
Wealth and Children are a Test
“And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward,” [8: 28].
Your wealth and children are a test from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He can take them away whenever He desires. They are not yours; you have only been entrusted with their responsibility. He may never bless you with wealth and children; He may bless you with wealth but not give children; He may bless you with children but deprive you of wealth or He may give them both to you and then take them away during your lifetime or after you are gone. This is a great reminder to not get attached to that which in reality belongs to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He can snatch it any moment.
When an attachment is snatched away, a person loses his peace of mind and contentment. He complains and grieves for his loss. He utters ungrateful words. When that happens his emaan begins to diminish. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala strengthen us and help us accept that we will suffer loss in this world.
Nurture Taqwa to Always Choose the Best
In life, we are faced with miscellaneous decisions to make. We wish we had a counselor that we could consult with; Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty,” [8: 29].
What do we learn from this? The only thing required to make the right decision is Taqwa. If we are conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, He will grant us the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape town, Ramadan 2013.)