Surah Al-Kahf (contd.)
Another sad reality is that our children as young as seven and eight years old know the names of the entire football or cricket team but they don’t know the names of the Prophets and their Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum.
These were the people who strove with their life and wealth to spread and protect Allah’s religion. These were the people who were given glad tiding of Paradise, and we are not interested in learning about them.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Say, [O Muhammad], ‘Shall we inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work,” [18: 103-104].
What a scary reminder!
The efforts of such a person are limited to the worldly life only and he has no concern for the Hereafter. When you invite them to study Qur’an, learn one ayah or a du’a, they come up with countless excuses. Whose loss will it be if we turn away from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? How many hours does man put at his day job to get a salary at the end of the month? On average we spend at least eight hours at work every weekday. Then we get our paycheck. We work approximately for 208 hours in a month like slaves to get that check.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala offers us much greater reward not only in this world but an eternal life of bliss in the Hereafter but we are the most lethargic when it comes to obligatory prayers.
How many times did we wake up for fajr before the call for prayer was even given? And how many times did we wake up at 3 a.m. without hitting the snooze button when a football match was on? Those who do wake up, they wake up to get done with it. Let us commit to fall in love with our prayer because we love Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and we seek His love and mercy and His angels’ too.
Fix Your Priorities
The way we have messed up our priorities shows how confused we are about our purpose in life. Not only are we confused about our purpose in life but our worship too. We have strayed away from the path of Muhammad ﷺ and invented our own ways of worship which were neither taught by the Prophet ﷺ nor practiced by his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum. The proponents of innovations say, “I want to do more because I love Allah.” So does that mean the Prophet ﷺ did not love Him? (We seek refuge with Allah from uttering such a statement).
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone,” [18: 110].
Hold on to the Qur’an and Sunnah and let not Shaytan deceive you.
Surah Maryam talks about the birth of Prophet Eesa alayhi salaam. But there is another story that is equally meaningful.
In the previous post, we discussed the incident of a few young strong men who distanced themselves from the community because of their deviant beliefs and self-invented forms of worship. In the Tafseer, we read they were involved in idolatry and grave worshipping. In Surah Maryam, we learn about Prophet Ibraheem’s people who were engaged in idolatry including his father and this disturbed Prophet Ibraheem.
Sometimes People Younger than Us Are More Knowledgeable
Unconvinced by their need to bow before clay idols carved by themselves, Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam asks his father,
“O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear and does not see and will not benefit you at all?” [19: 42]
He invites his father to follow a path that is straight,
“O my father, indeed there has come to me of knowledge that which has not come to you, so follow me; I will guide you to an even path,” [19: 43].
It might come to some as a surprise that a son is correcting his father.
Sometimes people younger than us are more knowledgeable or have a better understanding of a subject. We should be open to listening to the words of goodness irrespective of speaker’s age, skin color or worldly status. We also learn a dawah tip from this story. Kind speech has been a repetitive reminder in the few ayaat that we have studied.
We should be mindful of our tone and words when we call people to Allah’s Deen. We need to soften their hearts so that they may actually listen and not repel them with our harshness or disrespect. Moreover, we should be prepared to expect a repulsive or rude behavior from the other person. When that happens we should not lose our cool. Recall the times Prophet ﷺ endured abuse and hostility for Allah’s sake. If we are truly concerned about someone’s guidance we will let go of their uncouth behavior.
Hold on to Your Prayers
Straying away from the path of Muhammad ﷺ is not a small matter that can be pushed aside by arguments and justifications. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet the evil,” [19: 59].
They have an evil end waiting for them because of their pursuing their desires.
A person who is worried about his prayer will be protected from immoral behavior. A person who is not worried about his prayer, how will he have a link with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Let’s commit to being regular in our prayers. The outcome will be attaining nearness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, increased provision, and peace. It will not happen all at once but it will happen one day. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection,” [19: 96].
We learn through hadeeth when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala loves a person he calls out to Jibreel ‘alayhi salaam and commands him to love the person as well. So all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth [Bukhari and Muslim].
Sometimes we look at people who are better than us in religion and we feel a kind of anger in our heart. The anger is there due to our distancing from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. How can we get rid of it? By asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to allow us to excel in religion just like them or even better. Make du’a for the people who inspire and remind you of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We ask Him to open up our hearts to goodness, ameen.
Our Relationship with Allah – Self Analysis
How often has it happened that our best friend calls and we catch up with them as if we have been separated for twenty years? In reality, it could be that we spoke to them only yesterday or a few hours ago. For how long does this phone call continue? It would be hard to find a person who hangs up in ten minutes. If that happens then we are certainly not close enough. Now, let’s look at our prayer. For how long do we remain seated at our prayer mat after the prayer is over? Most people jump off the moment they do tasleem. What does this tell us about our relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? It requires no further explanation.
When Musa ‘alayhi salaam was called in the valley of Tuwa by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and informed that he has been chosen as the Prophet of Allah, a brief interview takes place.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks Musa ‘alayhi salaam about his staff, he does not give a one-word answer. He goes on describing his staff and stating the different purposes he used it for,
“It is my staff; I lean upon it, and I bring down leaves for my sheep and I have therein other uses,” [20: 18].
Did he not know the Lord who is addressing him from up above can see and know more about his staff than himself? But he cherished this meeting so much that he could not contain his excitement. He wanted to extend this meeting so goes on talking. This Ramadan let us commit to correcting ourselves and giving our utmost attention and respect to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Let’s take out time to speak with Him in sujood, in du’a, at suhoor and iftar times and whenever and wherever we can steal a moment of privacy.
Be Gentle in Your Dawah
When it comes to correcting people often we admonish them such that they would not want to see our face again. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala picks up his best man of that time to invite the worst man towards the right path.
With what instruction did Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala send Musa ‘alayhi salaam? He said,
“And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah],” [20: 44].
This was Pharaoh that he was being sent to and the instruction was “speak gently.”
Let us reflect on our interpersonal skills and be kind to one another for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Use encouraging words to bring them closer to Him. Do not rebuke them lest we widen the gap. Our job is only to take the message to them. We are not hakim (ruler) over them, for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“…whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life,” [20: 124].
Don’t Be Deluded By Worldly Pleasures
Why do people turn away from the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Because they are distracted by the things around them. Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns us,
“…do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring,” [20: 131].
Material wealth of this world will remain in this world. Let us not make it a source of our ingratitude toward Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Let us apply the wise principle that our Prophet ﷺ taught us. In terms of material wealth look at those below you, and when it comes to good deeds and religious status, look at those who are way ahead of you.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to keep our perspective right, to us the reality of things and to be more focused on the life of the Hereafter, ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)