Surah Al-Anfal (contd.)
Do Not Be Divided
A great Fitnah of our times – disagreements! 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 and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient,” [8: 46].
The enemies are rejoicing as the Muslims fight among themselves. Let us reflect on our behavior, be forgiving and reduce the distances between the Ummah.
Be Consistent in Worship
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala loves those acts of worship which are done consistently. Doing them strengthens our emaan, 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, you are among those who have understood their purpose in life and know where they are heading.
As Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in ayah 53 of Surah ‘Anfal that He will not change a favor which He has bestowed upon a 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 favors 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 “alhumdulillah” 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 your from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then it could be His punishment. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala forgive and protect us, ameen.
Let it Go
How else can we nurture contentment in our hearts? It is by letting go of disputes and disagreements and forgiving people. Read what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says about the confrontation with enemies,
“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah,” [8: 61].
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is asking us to make peace with the enemies if they give up fighting too. What do we learn by this? If there’s someone who has had an estranged relationship with you, and he now wants to mend it then hasten to make peace with him. It is a sign of a good believer that he is the first one to apologize and forgive. Keep forgiving others and keep your heart calm. You might want to deal with that person differently but do forgive them. “But if they intend to deceive you – then sufficient for you is Allah,” [8: 62]. If they deceive you after making peace then make du’a for them instead because du’a has the power to alter conditions. In this, we have the best example of Rasoolullah ﷺ. When two greatest enemies of Islam were creating hurdles for him, he made du’a for the softness of their hearts so that either of the two would come and work for Islam.
Reflect on this du’a. Truly Muhammad ﷺ was the mercy for mankind.
Within moments we hear ‘Umar ibn Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhu has embraced Islam. Subhan’Allah! See the power of du’a? One of the mightiest opponents of Islam became one of the strongest proponents of Islam. A seemingly impossible situation was made possible. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us some of the strength that ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu was blessed with, ameen. Continue making du’a and you will witness the fruit.
Since it begins with the mention of Allah’s anger and wrath we notice that unlike other Surahs it does not begin with Basmillah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala not deprive us of His mercy and forgiveness, ameen.
Do Not Be Deceived by the Blessings of this World
Again, there is a reminder to not be deceived by the treasures of this world such as wealth and children. He says,
“So let not their wealth or their children impress you. Allah only intends to punish them through them in worldly life,” [9: 55].
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make our wealth and children a source of comfort for us and a mean for entering Jannah. May He not use these blessings to destroy us, ameen.
Don’t Joke About Deen
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 gathering, give their verbal acknowledgment to whatever they learned and when they met with one another in private, they will confess their disagreement. Each time this happened Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala would reveal their true condition to the 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,
“And if you ask them, they will surely say, ‘We were only conversing and playing.’ Say, ‘Is it Allah and His ayaat and His Messenger that you were mocking?’” [9: 65]
This is not something to be taken casually because read what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says next about such people, “Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief,” [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 such an ayah is there in the Qur’an.
Allah Looks at Quality Not Quantity
Among the traits of the hypocrites 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! 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 and His Messenger are not in need of such small charity. What benefit could it bring?
Then 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 criticize the contributors among the believers concerning [their] charities and [criticize] the ones who find nothing [to spend] except their effort, so they ridicule them – Allah will ridicule them, and they will have a painful punishment,” [9: 79].
A small or huge contribution does not matter. What matters is the person’s sincerity and that this wealth was earned from halal means.
Don’t Put Conditions with Allah
Talking about sincerity sometimes when we want something we passionately make du’a and put a condition in it. We say, “O Allah! If such and such happens I will be regular in my prayers,” or “I will give so much amount in charity.” You know what was better than that? That we made ourselves punctual in our prayers and gave sadaqah out of our will rather than putting a condition on it. Why treat Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala like a baby who you can trick with a candy for getting some work done?
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And among them are those who made a covenant with Allah, [saying], ‘If He should give us from His bounty, we will surely spend in charity, and we will surely be among the righteous.’ But when he gave them from His bounty, they were stingy with it and turned away while they refused,” [9: 75].
Know that if one can cheat their Maker, they can cheat anybody else. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala forgive us and correct what is wrong in us, ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)