Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything here in almost 2 months. I’ve been playing catch up on life… Yep… I woke up and realised I’m going to be 30 in just a few short months and I have sooo much backlog in terms of my career, self-development and entrepreneurial goals. So I literally went into overdrive trying to do a lot of things on my bucket list. lol.. *covers face*. Some of them will be featured on here soon… I’m soo looking forward to that.
So, to today’s topic, first day back at work after December holidays, my Divisional Head comes in to the general office to welcome us into the new year and deliver a motivational speech (background… my DH is a pastor). So she shared her pastor’s New Year message with us and I just couldn’t help but ponder.
The essence of the message was around 3 things all from Psalms 92:1-15 with focus on 13 – 15 “…The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing…”
I thought about these declarations of faith… And I wondered; do I trust God this much? Is my faith this deeply rooted? How about the people around me? What is our understanding of faith (Eeman)?
On our first few encounters with Islam, we all probably went through an introduction to Faith in Islam and we were taught the six articles of Faith – Belief in Allah, Belief in the Angels, Belief in Holy Books, Belief in the Prophets, Belief in the Day of Judgement, Belief in God’s predestination. Well that’s all true but my question is – What does it really mean to believe in these 6 things? When you believe in Allah, what does it mean to you? How do you interpret it? How do you feel?
Let’s start from here – Merriam Webster Dictionary defines belief as “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing”. Do we ever wonder to what extent having faith (or believing) in something goes? Over time, I noticed a few things about Muslims around me (myself included sometimes) and I’d like to share.
- I’ve noticed we tend to get complacent because we believe in predestination. So you’ll hear things like “Allah’s will is going to happen anyway”.
- We sometimes forget how great and merciful Allah really is. I don’t know how this is possible, but it’s almost as if we underestimate the power of Allah – He’s the Almighty! He created heaven and earth and everything in-between! How can we forget?!
- We forget the power of prayer. Prayers move mountains (it has happened before and happens every day). But we forget to pray. I’m not talking about worship. Yes we worship. We ‘pray’ our Salat; the Faradh and even the Sunnah ones. But we forget to pray. How can one forget to ask his Lord for his needs (and wants – in my case)? There are so many examples in the Quran and Sirah.
- We give up so, so easily. We pray once or twice and say “Allah probably doesn’t want it to happen anyway”. Hello!!! How long did it take for the prayer of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to get answered? Come on people! We can do this!
- Having faith is not something you just say or think because it’s part of the principles of your religion. Faith is deeply rooted in our hearts and our souls. When we say we have faith… it should go beyond the surface. Yes we believe in Allah and the messenger, the prophets, day of Qiyam etc. but do we actually understand the depth of this belief?
- Belief in Allah for me means – I KNOW that He is God Almighty. I KNOW that He created me and all around me. I KNOW that because He created me and He says in Quran 50:16 that He is closer to me than my jugular vein, I know that I can cry to Him and He hears me. He understands me. He knows how I feel. He sees my heart. His mercy encompasses the world – do you know what this means?! Allah has told us severally in the Quran that His mercy is greater than His punishment. This tells us Allah is more interested in blessing us than in punishing us. Remember the hadith of the man that had so many bad deeds on the day of Qiyam with just an ounce of Laa ilaaha illallahu and Allah forgave him. Also the hadith about the Prophet’s (SAW) journey to the hereafter where he saw people who were half ugly and half beautiful and they were asked to bathe in the river and they became beautiful. All of these are evidences of the extent of Allah’s mercy.
- When we were kids, we relied on our parents/guardians for sustenance and all. They would usually give us the according to their discretion but if we needed something other than what our parents gave, we had to ask. I remember lobbying as a kid (well now I realise that’s what it was). We did the sad puppy face, we even went as far as being on our best behaviour around those periods and basically go over and beyond to get what we wanted at the time. I even remember a few guilt-trips as we grew older. These are our parents who are limited in capabilities and we practically worshipped them. We looked up to our parents for everything and we learned over time that if we wanted something, we had to give something or ask. Yet, somehow, we grew older and ‘wiser’ and we forgot that Allah who created our parents and gave them everything remains the same and what’s more? He’s our PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOUR. Come on people! I mean seriously, it’s like living on a beach and using water on a budget.
- Having faith in Allah also means to me that I know I will be tested because Allah promised us trials. But I also know well enough Allah tests those He loves. So why should I lose faith during my times of trial when I know Allah’s got my back? Even the Prophet (SAW) was tested. Who am I not to be? The prayer is that Allah should not test us beyond our Eeman. Yes! Prayer is the Key. Lol… anyone remember that primary school rhyme?
- Belief in the Angels, Prophets, Holy Books for me mean accepting and understanding the perfection of Allah through the Angels, His examples and messages through the Prophets and the Holy Books. These are all reminders for us
- Belief in the Day of Judgement is as simple as it is complicated. So for me, to believe in this final day means I understand that this life is a journey that will come to an end and we will meet Allah on this day that no one knows its timing. This means in everything I do, I need to have at the back of my mind that a day of recompense is coming when I’ll have to give account. Hmm… May Allah forgive us our transgressions and keep us in His mercy.
- Belief in God’s predestination – now this is a tricky one. I mentioned earlier that I noticed my Muslim brothers and sisters sit pretty because “Allah has preordained everything anyway”. Well, yes, Allah has preordained everything. But He also gave us the opportunity to believe and pray for His Mercy. He alone has the power to ordain and re-ordain. My belief is our prayers are also part of preordainment. Refer to hadith of the Prophet (SAW) as reported by Anas ibn Malik: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.” Basically, this is my understanding, have complete faith in Allah (eeman), trust in Allah (tawakkul), and believe and accept Allah’s preordainment (Qadar)
Wallahu A’alam. May Allah guide us and have mercy on us. May he forgive our shortcomings and grant us ease in this life and the hereafter
PS: I hope you didn’t sleep off… I’d appreciate your thoughts and feedback; please hit the comment button.
Barakallahu lee wa lakum fil quranil kareem
السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
Click for reading passages
- Quran 50:16
- Quran 3:160
- Psalms 92:1-15
- Hebrews 11 Verses 1-30 (NIV)