It’s All about Faith!
If I were to ask you, “What is Iman?” –you would probably say it is believing in oneness of Allah (swt) in your heart and also acknowledging the same through the tongue.
Did you know, our acknowledgment of Iman doesn’t stop with mere words of faith? And that our Iman is constantly being tested by Allah (swt)? The Sahaba, too, were put into certain situations, and their reaction became the reasons for the revelation of the verses of the Qur’an: it either confirmed their action or corrected and guided them towards what was right.
Similarly, every time we come across a scenario where we have to choose between the right and the wrong, it is a test from Allah (swt). It could be as simple as the day when we had forgotten to complete our assignment, and when questioned by our teacher, we had to come up with a false excuse, or the tough situation where we had to choose between our hijab and our favourite college, because the college authorities did not want any hijab-covered heads in their campus, and we let go of our hijab because we didn’t want to miss out on this great opportunity of studying in the most prestigious college in town, or it could be that tight struggle we had with our nafs – our inner self – to stop ourselves from watching what was immodest and haraam as per Islam.
Oh, good gracious! How could we forget every morning struggle we have for the fajr or pre-dawn prayer? That is definitely a biggest test for the slumber jacks. For some of us, it could also be criticisms and ridiculing gestures for doing something right, like for instance, if an adolescent girl or a boy intends to follow the command of Allah (swt), and refuses to shake hands with the non-mahram – that is, for a girl, it is every male except for her father, grand-fathers both maternal and paternal, brothers (only those born from her parents), maternal and paternal uncles(i.e., mother’s brothers and father’s brothers) and,for a boy, it is every female except for his mother, grand-mothers both maternal and paternal, sisters (only those born from his parents), maternal and paternal aunties (i.e., mother’s sisters and father’s sisters) – then he/she is called a rude and ill-mannered person, apart from the raised eye-brows they face around them.
A burqa-clad girl with niqab on her face has always been looked down upon in a non-Muslim country, as an illiterate, backward brat; little do they realize that nakedness was the characteristic of cave-men.
It is imperative on us that we face these tests from Allah (swt) with strong Iman in order to be successful. Allah (swt) has created the entire human race with the capability to comprehend and understand the oneness of God. Unfortunately, many fail to acknowledge it. Similarly, although we are aware of the fact that what has been prescribed for us in the Qur’an is actually what is required for a peaceful and successful society, we tend to run away from it. Who else could know the working and maintenance of a system better than its manufacturer?
What We Need To Do
Be conscious of the presence of Allah (swt) and intend His obedience. Be in the company of the ones who are truly pious, rather than what is apparent on the exterior. Acquire the knowledge of Islam, know yourself and the purpose of your creation. Know very well that when we struggle in the path of Allah (swt), He will guide us towards what is right and protect us from harm, and that is the ultimate success. On the other hand, if we choose to disobey Allah (swt) only to be successful in this world, then that success is short-lived. We may have achieved the purpose but in reality, we have failed.
The short narrative which follows amazes me with regard to the thoughtfulness of the little boy. Do read on to know more:
Not very long ago, a teacher once wanted to test his students, he called them and gave them all a fruit. He then ordered them to eat the fruit without being noticed by any one. Next morning, the students returned back to the teacher and narrated how they had successfully eaten the fruit without being noticed by any one. This was so for all boys except one; he hadn’t eaten the fruit, because he couldn’t find any place where Allah (swt) couldn’t see him. This little boy focused on the purpose of the task assigned while rest of the class focused on completing the task being heedless of the purpose. The little boy passed the test, while rest of the class failed.
There are two different yard-sticks to measure our success: that which has been set by the world and the one set by Allah (swt). The worldly yard-stick keeps changing – there are no set standard measures and rules. If we try to compare ourselves with it, we are sure to be misled. This is while the one set by Allah (swt) has been perfected and even been demonstrated for us.
So, adapt the Islamic way of life in every aspect; do not feel inferior on wanting to practice Islam, nor be intimidated by your environment. We all must strengthen our relationship with Allah (swt), to Him we belong, and to Him is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth.
The 1 AM Visitor
There was a poor family of three which consisted of a mother, a father and a young daughter who was in primary school. They didn’t have much, but they could just barely survive from day to day. Although they were not rich in terms of money, they were rich in terms of happiness and peace.
They were good practising Muslims, always praying their five daily prayers on time and always obeying Allah’s rules and fearing His punishment. They were afraid of displeasing Allah (swt); so they always chose to follow His laws no matter how hard it got. It was difficult living in this place, but they persevered on. Their village back home had no available jobs and times were bleak. Therefore, they had to migrate to this big, old, town for a better life. School was also free for needy students there.
One day, the father of the family was tested with a huge test. He had to leave the country for many months for his job. His wife and daughter had no choice but to stay with the wife’s father. He had an apartment in the next town. So the man left the family with a little amount of provision with his wife’s father. It was just enough for them to survive those months without him.
A month passed and the daughter suddenly fell very ill. She had a terribly high fever and her right side was aching. The mother was very worried indeed. But she didn’t have any money to send her daughter to the clinic. There was just not enough cash to spare. She wanted to call her husband but she did not want to worry him. Furthermore, they did not have a telephone in the house. She would have to go the payphone at the milk bar to call her husband. And that would cost money. Calling overseas was not cheap at all. Therefore, she decided not to tell her husband yet.
All she could do was to pray tworakáahs to Allah (swt) every now and then. She put a small wet towel on the girl’s head and a bigger one on her body and made duáa to Allah (swt), again and again, asking Him sincerely to help them. She read some Qur’an every few hours and tried to calm herself down. Alhamdulillah, Allah (swt) was keeping her hopeful, patient and at peace, generally. She knew Allah (swt) would take care of them.
She kept giving her daughter cuddles and Paracetamol. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah (swt), the Paracetamol was working in keeping the daughter’s high fever under control but the medicine was running out. They had to even use the grandfather’s fever medication. But her fever was not going away. No doubt, the mother was still a little scared and worried for her child, but she had no choice. Her eyes were wet with tears whenever she made her duáas. In her heart, she knew that everything that is given by Allah is good for her, but it was becoming difficult to cope.
Asking the neighbours for assistance was out of the question. She was too shy. She knew no one in her father’s neighbourhood. She was also very careful about not asking people for money. She was not raised to beg or ask people for loans.
The grandfather was also a very quiet man, always keeping himself busy with just praying at the nearby mosque and reading books from the library. He made more duáa too, seeing how hard the situation was for his daughter and granddaughter.
A few days went by. Both the mother and the grandfather were getting more and more worried. The little girl was still not improving. In fact, her temperature seemed to be slightly increasing with each passing day. The last dose of medicine was almost gone. Then, suddenly, at 1 AM one night, they heard some loud knocks at the front door. The mother put on her hijab quickly and went towards the door. The grandfather was awakened and rushed as well. They were both nervous and anxious to find out who it was, but neither of them wanted to open the door. Until finally, they agreed to open the door together. “Bismillah!” they both said as they unlocked the door rapidly.
“Assalaamuálaykum,” said the visitor, who was dressed neatly in his suit and tie. In his hand was a huge black briefcase.
“Waálaykum salaam,” said the mother and grandfather in unison.
“Can I come in to check on your sick granddaughter?” said the man.
Surprised, the mother and grandfather looked at each other, turned back to the man and said, “Sure! Please do come in!”
The man turned out to be a doctor! SubhanAllah!
He did some medical procedures on the little girl, one after the other and he finally came to a conclusion after about 20 minutes. The mother and grandfather just looked on anxiously. They could not believe what was happening. They didn’t say anything, but in their minds, they had so many questions.
Who told this doctor to come? How did he know they needed help? Why did he come although all clinics are closed? When did he hear about them? The questions were endless.
“Your granddaughter’s case is a little difficult. But I’ll give you a prescription for some more medications that you can buy in the morning from the pharmacy. I have some extra painkillers and antibiotics right now with me. I’ll leave that with you so you can give to her now, for the next several hours. I’ve already injected her too. But don’t worry. Her fever will subside and she should start feeling better within the next two hours or so, in shaa Allah! Get her to drink water as much as she can. We need to keep her hydrated. In two days, bring your granddaughter in to see me at my clinic, I’ll check on her progress,” the doctor said as he handed them his name card.
The mother and the grandfather smiled at each other. “Alhamdulillah! Alhamdulillah!” they whispered. They were certainly relieved, but at the same time, they knew that they could not afford further medication. Nonetheless, they remarked, “JazakAllahkhayran, Doctor. We appreciate it greatly. Thank you. Thank you so very much.”
The doctor then walked to the front door and waited awkwardly next to it for several long seconds. The mother opened the door, intending to let him out. Her mouth was uttering, “JazakAllahkhayran, thank you, barakAllahufeek,” again and again.
“Waiyyakum, waiyyakum,” the doctor promptly replied, walked through the door-frame, but he didn’t walk away yet. He just stood there, outside the apartment, still waiting awkwardly.
“Sorry, sister. This is hard, but I have to ask you for the fee for this after-hours, in-home, private consultation,” the doctor explained.
“Fee?The fee? Oh my! I’m sorry, doctor. We didn’t know we had to pay,” the mother shuddered.
“What do you mean, sister? You called my clinic and requested for a doctor’s immediate visit to your home tonight. You said that you couldn’t wait for the morning as the situation was quite urgent. I had to travel for a couple of hours out of the city to your faraway town. It was not an easy trip too, sister. I’m sorry, but it is not right for you to pretend that you didn’t know you had to pay for this private visit,” the doctor barked.
“By Allah, we…. we…. nnn…never called you!” the mother stuttered.
“Oh my! I can’t believe it. You are stingy and a liar too?” the doctor accused abruptly. He was tired. It was a long day and now he thought he had to go home empty-handed.
“No, doctor. I swear, by the One who created me and you, we don’t even have a phone in this house. We cannot afford it, doctor.”
“What?? Aren’t you so-and-so? Isn’t this the apartment number so-and-so? Of so-and-so street?” the doctor asked gruffly.
“Er…… No, doctor. That’s my neighbour, next door,” the mother wept, feeling over-whelmed.
“Yaa Allah! SubhanAllah! Astaghfirullah!” The doctor regretfully cried. He understood and felt remorse immediately, “By Allah! I had no idea that I had come to the wrong address! Wallahi, it is Allah who sent me to you tonight! There is no such thing as coincidence. SubhanAllah! It was fated by Allah that I treat your daughter tonight. Sister, I’m sorry. I’ll go to your neighbour’s house right now and I shall return soon, in shaa Allah.”
The doctor left at once to treat the neighbour’s daughter and true enough, he came back soon after.
“I’m sorry, my dear sister and my beloved older brother. I have been horrible. I shouldn’t have accused you without checking. I am at fault. I have made you anxious, upset and sad. Do forgive me. I was too tired and I had let my anger control me. If you don’t mind me asking, can I know your story please? Please let me know of what has happened to you and your family,” he earnestly requested.
“My husband is currently away on a difficult job overseas. He’ll be away for several months. He can’t find any other job, you see. But, Alhamdulillah, we always have enough. Yes, we are poor, but we never beg or ask for loans. We always work hard and Allah has always given us just enough. Alhamdulillah. Although my husband hasn’t left us much. But it is supposed to be just enough. This is my father’s house and I am staying with him until my husband returns. Every night, I pray tworakáahsSunnah and I make a sincere duáa, asking Allah to help us in all matters but now, since my daughter is very sick, I make even more duáa. All I can do besides making plenty of duáa, praying and giving her a bit of medication is just putting two wet towels on her to keep her fever down,” the mother disclosed between her sobs.
“SubhanAllah! It is Allah who sent me to you. Don’t worry, alright? I will pay for all your child’s treatment and medicines. I will also give you a monthly allowance until your husband comes back,” the doctor calmly offered.
The mother and grandfather were shocked at the doctor’s generosity and cried tears of happiness, “Alhamdulillah! Alhamdulillah! JazakAllahkhayran.” The grandfather hugged the doctor so hard that the doctor had tears in his eyes too.
Moral of the Story
In times of desperation, make duáa while raising your hands, brothers and sisters in Islam. Have wudu’. Start making duáa by praising Allah (swt) and sending salutations to Prophet Muhammad (saws). All these are additional things that we can try to make our duáa more accepted by Allah (swt). Don’t get me wrong. All duáas are answered to by Allah (swt). It’s a matter of how it is answered.
There is a hadith regarding this.
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no Muslim who supplicates to Allah without sin or cutting family ties in it, but that Allah will give him one of three answers: he will hasten fulfillment of his supplication, he will store it for him in the Hereafter, or he will divert an evil from him similar to it.” They said, “In that case we will ask for more.” The Prophet said, “Allah has even more.” [Source: Musnad Ahòmad 10749]
Did You Know That….?
- Around 50 percent of orangutans have fractured bones, due to falling out of trees on a regular basis.
- Giraffes have no vocal chords.
- Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
- A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime.
- It is possible to hypnotize a frog by placing it on its back and gently stroking its stomach.
A Sacred Conversation
There is a time of night when the whole world transforms. During the day, chaos often takes over our lives. The responsibilities of work, school, and family dominate much of our attention.
Other than the time we take for the five daily prayers, it is hard to also take time out to reflect or even relax. Many of us live our lives at such a fast pace, we may not even realize what we’re missing.
But there is a time of night when work ends, traffic sleeps, and silence is the only sound. At that time— while the world around us sleeps—there is One who remains awake and waits for us to call on Him.
We are told in the hadith qudsi:
“Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness
that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari and Muslim)
One can only imagine what would happen if a king were to come to our door, offering to give us anything we want. One would think that any sane person would at least set their alarm for such a meeting. If we were told that at exactly one hour before dawn a check for $10,000,000 would be left at our doorstep, would we not wake up to take it?
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has told us that at this time of night, just before dawn, He will come to His servants. Imagine this. The Lord of the universe has offered us a sacred conversation with Him. That Lord waits for us to come speak with Him, and yet many of us leave Him waiting while we sleep in our beds.
Allah (swt) comes to us and asks what we want from Him. The Creator of all things has told us that He will give us whatever we ask.
And yet we sleep.
There will come a day when this veil of deception will be lifted. The Qur’an says:
“[It will be said], You were certainly in unmindfulness of this, and We have removed from you your cover, so your sight, this Day, is sharp.” (Qur’an 50:22).
On that Day, we will see the true reality. On that Day, we will realize that two rak`at (units) of prayer were greater than everything in the heavens and the earth. We will realize the priceless check that was left on our doorstep every night as we slept. There will come a day when we would give up everything under the sky just to come back and pray those two rak`at.
There will come a day when we would give up everything we ever loved in this life, everything that preoccupied our hearts and minds, every mirage we ran after, just to have that conversation with Allah (swt). But on that Day, there will be some from whom Allah (swt) will turn away… and forget, as they had once forgotten Him.
The Qur’an says: “He will say, ‘My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?’ [Allah] will say, ‘Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.’” (Qur’an, 0:125-126)
In Surat al-Mu’minoon, Allah says: “Do not cry out today. Indeed, by Us you will not be helped.” (Qur’an, 23:65)
Can you imagine for a moment what these ayat (verses) are saying? This is not about being forgotten by an old friend or classmate. This is about being forgotten by the Lord of the worlds. Not hellfire. Not boiling water. Not scalded skin. There is no punishment greater than this. And as there is no punishment greater than this, there is no reward greater than what the prophet (saws) describes in the following hadith:
“When those deserving of Paradise would enter Paradise, the Blessed and the Exalted would ask: Do you wish Me to give you anything more? They would say: Hast Thou not brightened our faces? Hast Thou not made us enter Paradise and saved us from Fire? He would lift the veil, and of things given to them nothing would be dearer to them than the sight of their Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim]
But one does not need to wait until that Day to know the result of this nighttime meeting with Allah (swt). The truth is, there are no words to describe the overwhelming peace in this life from such a conversation. One can only experience it to know. Its effect on one’s life is immeasurable.
When you experience Qiyam, the late night prayer the rest of your life transforms. Suddenly, the burdens that once crushed you become light. The problems that were irresolvable become solved. And that closeness to your Creator, which was once unreachable, becomes your only lifeline.
India’s Snakebite Burden
India accounts for about half the global snakebite deaths. Data about disfigurements, disabilities and amputations due to snakebites only add to the grim statistics.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “as many as 2.8 million people are bitten by snakes, and 46,900 people die from snakebite every year” in India.