In Pursuit Of Allah's Pleasure


  • bookcover

  • In Pursuit Of Allah's Pleasure


  • Part Six: Our Provisions

     

     

    • Piety and knowledge.
    • Certainty and total reliance on Allah.
    • Gratefulness [to Allah] and patience.
    • Doing without the life of this world in preference to the Hereafter.

     

    Every traveller needs some provisions for his journey. The longer the way, the more arduous and greater the sacrifices required to complete it and the more provisions he requires.

     

    What then of someone travelling towards Allah and the Hereafter? Someone who will end his journey either in Paradise or the Hell-Fire? What could we say of a traveller who starts his journey with trials and tribulations in this world, spending the remainder of his journey in a state of dust in his grave, only to end up between the Hands of his Lord? What provisions does such a person need to take with him? What kind of provisions will benefit and help him on his journey? And what provisions will take him to a place of safety and save him from what he fears and strives hard to avoid? Does he need wealth and children or prestige and power? By Allah, he needs none of these as provisions on the way towards Allah and the Hereafter. Indeed, such worldly means will be of no avail to him on the Day of Judgement, as Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "But as for him who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, `O, would that I had not been given my record! Nor known what my reckoning was! O, would that [death] had made an end [of me]! My wealth has been of no avail to me. My power has perished from me."[Surah Al-Haaqqah (69), Ayat 25-28.]

     

    "O Mankind! Keep your duty to your Lord and fear a Day when the parent will not be of any avail to the child, nor will the child at all be of any avail to the parent." [Surah Luqman (31), Ayah 33.]

     

     "But when there comes as-Saakh-khah (the Day of Resurrection's second blowing of the Trumpet), on that day a man will flee from his brother, and [from] mother and his father, and [from] his wife and his children. Every man among them that day will have concern enough to make him indifferent [to others]." [Surah `Abasa (80), Ayat 33-37.]

     

     None of these provisions will avail us except that of Taqwa (fear of Allah),

     

    "And take a provision (with you) for the journey; but the best provision is Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.)" [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 197.]

     

     Knowledge is also our provision,

     

    "It is only those have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah." [Surah Faatir (35), Ayah 28.]

     

    Certainty is also our provision,

     

    "And we made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they persevered with patience and used to believe with certainty in Our Signs." [Surah As-Sajdah (32), Ayah 24.]

     

     Putting trust in Allah is also our provision,

     

    "And whoever puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him." [Surah At-Talaq (65), Ayah 2.]

     

     Gratitude is also our provision,

     

    "Why should Allah punish you if you are grateful [to Him] and you believe (in Him)?" [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 147.]

     

    Patience is also our provision,

     

    "Allah is with those who patiently persevere." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 153.]

     

    Zuhd is also our provision,

     

    "Refrain from the world and Allah will love you, and refrain from what people possess and the people will love you."[1]

     

     Preferring the Hereafter is also one of our provisions,

     

    "And whoso desires the Hereafter and strives for it as it should be striven for, and he is a believer - these are the ones whose striving shall find favour [with Allah]." [Surah Al-`Israa, Ayah 19.]

     

     Such are the provisions which are useful and suitable for our journey to Allah and the Hereafter. They are the right provisions which assist us to carry out the legal obligations that Allah has commanded us to fulfil in this life, avoid the prohibited and patiently endure hardships and afflictions. They are the right provisions that help defeat our enemies, achieve the means of material strength and help in inviting assistance from Allah. They are also the right provisions which assist in forming the distinctive Muslim personality; indeed, they are the proof of the correct formation of such a personality.

     

    Today we face all the forces of kufr and inequity while we are in possession of so little in terms of number and means. Our enemies have at their disposal virtually all the means of material might. Also, while we barely find a safe place in which to take refuge, our enemies dominate the world and stand united against Islam,

     

    "Verily, adh-Dhalimoon (the polytheists, wrongdoers, etc.) are awliyyaa' (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another..." [Surah Al-Jaathiya (45), Ayah 19.]

     

     So what is left for us?

     

    "...But Allah is the Wali (Helper, Protector, etc.) of the righteous."

     

     Indeed, He is the best Protector and Helper,

     

    "For Allah is Best and the Most Abiding." [Surah Ta-Ha (20), Ayah 73.]

     

    We have been commanded to make ready against our enemies all we can of power. But whatever preparations we make will, for the most part, be insignificant compared to those of our enemies. So how can we prevail?

     

    In fact, we can prevail because they do not possess the same provisions as we have. Our provisions will be the instrument that bridges the wide gulf in capability between us and them, and provide us with ultimate victory.

     

    We stand, despite our limited capabilities and our small number, armed with piety that will safeguard us against minor sins, let alone major ones, and will encourage us to perform voluntary acts of worship after the performance of the obligatory ones. The Prophet says,

     

    "Allah the Almighty has said, `Whoever shows enmity to a Wali (friend) of Mine, I shall be at war with Him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have imposed upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with voluntary acts of worship so that I love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hands with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask Me of refuge, I would surely grant him it.'" [2]

     

    We also stand in the face of our enemies, armed with knowledge which will prevent us from going astray and enable us to worship our Lord in the manner most pleasing to Him. We stand assured of Allah's assistance and support for this religion. Certainty prompts us to put our trust in Allah, so that if we are afflicted by a calamity along the way, we endure it with a patience fair to see, and if good befalls us, we express our gratitude to Allah in a way suited to Him, the Giver and Bestower, Exalted is He. We sell our lives in exchange for the Hereafter, loving death as our enemies love life. How could we possibly be defeated after all this?

     

     

    1. Taqwa (Piety)

     

     

    "O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 102.]

     

    Piety is an indispensable provision for the Muslim Jama'ah. Our Jihad and striving to establish the religion of Allah on this earth will undoubtedly fail without piety and all our work will be turned down by Him. The two sons of Adam (as) each offered a sacrifice to Allah, who accepted one and rejected the other. The reason was that:

     

    "Verily, Allah accepts only from al-muttaqoon (the pious)."[3]

     

    Piety made one of the two sacrifices worthy of Allah's pleasure and acceptance, while the other which was devoid of piety, was returned to its offerer unaccepted. The efforts of so many people, striving with words and deeds, are rejected because they do not emanate from the lamp of Taqwa.

     

    Furthermore, piety is a precondition for the success of our endeavours in this world and in the world to come. Moses (as) told his people, as the Qur'an says about him (which means),

     

    "Pray for help from Allah, and be patient. Verily, the earth is Allah's. He gives it as a heritage to whom He will of His servants, and the [blessed] end is for al-muttaqoon." [Surah Al-A'raaf (7), Ayah 128.]

     

     Victory and power in the land cannot be attained without Taqwa,

     

    "Surely, the [good] end is for al-muttaqoon." [Surah Hud (11), Ayah 49.]

     

    `Umar bin Al-Khattab wrote to Sa'd bin Abee Waqqas, the commander of the Muslim armies during the campaign against the Persians, "I command you and your soldiers to observe Taqwa which is the best preparation against the enemy and the strongest weapon of war. I command you and your soldiers to be more on guard against sins than against the enemy, for the sins of [your] army should be feared more than their enemy. Indeed, Muslims only triumph by the sinning of their enemy against Allah, for otherwise we would not have the strength and advantage over them. Our numbers are not like their numbers, nor is our preparation like their preparation. If we equal them in sins, they will prevail over us through their physical strength. If we cannot defeat them through our piety, we will not defeat them through our strength."

     

    Allah's support for His servants and His assistance to them with the angels is conditional upon piety:

     

    "Yes, if you hold on to patience and piety, and the enemy comes rushing at you, your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 125.]

     

     How true was `Abdullah bin Rawaahah who said on the day of the Battle of Mu'tah, "By Allah, we do not fight the people with the number of soldiers and preparation, but we fight them with this religion with which Allah has honoured us."

     

    There is a huge gulf between us and our enemies in terms of numbers, equipment and the various means of power, but Allah ( SWT ) has given us something with which to bridge this gap and prevail over them, despite our small number and meagre capabilities. He provides us with the means to achieve the greater triumph,

     

    "O you who believe! If you obey Allah and fear Him, He will grant you a Furqan (criterion [to judge between right and wrong])." [Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 29.]

     

    Muhammad bin Ishaq said, "Furqan is distinction between the truth and falsehood, with which we recognise truth from falsehood, with which we act with the truth and avoid falsehood, and with which we support the truth and overcome falsehood."

     

    Ibn Kathir said, "Whoever fears Allah by carrying out what He commands and abandoning what He forbids, Allah will help him distinguish between the truth and falsehood. This knowledge will induce his victory, safety and relief from the difficulties of this world and will also ensure his happiness and forgiveness of his sins on the Day of Judgement."

     

     109 Piety is the key to our salvation from the state of weakness, backwardness and humiliation in which our Ummah lives. It is the means by which, if we adopt faithfully, all the tools of success and victory will readily be at our disposal, and the causes of defeat and humiliation will vanish. It is piety which takes us by the hand, leads us to the Truth and makes us love it, succumb to it, work by it and for it, in sincere devotion to Allah. It guards us against deviation and guarantees us victory over enemies who are mightier than us in strength and greater than us in number.

     

    It is piety which rescues us, by the Will of Allah, from every difficulty and distress. Indeed, Muslims experience many difficulties and hardships today when our enemies are against us!

     

    "And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out [from every difficulty]." [Surah At-Talaq (65), Ayah 2.]

     

    "And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him." [Surah At-Talaq (65), Ayah 4.]

     

     It is piety which makes us adhere to the commands of Allah and His Messenger, though they might be arduous to obey. It is also piety which makes us committed to our Jama'ah, listening to and obeying our leaders in all good things. For all the above, as well as other reasons, Allah ( SWT ) has commanded us to observe piety and make it our best provision:

     

    "And take provision [with you] for the journey, but the best provision is Taqwa. So fear Me, O men of understanding." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 197.]

     

     While every journey requires a particular provision, the journey towards Allah requires piety which, alone, is suitable for the journey. For "the best provision is Taqwa." Indeed, if we lose this provision, we will not be able to carry on our journey and we will certainly stop and meet with disappointment. How excellent was the saying of the Prophet to one of his companions who was embarking on a journey, "May Allah provide you with piety."[4]He was, in other words, reminding him that Taqwa is a Muslim's provision for ever journey and endeavour in this life. Imam `Ali once described Taqwa as follows, "Taqwa means fearing Allah, the Almighty, acting in accordance with the Qur'an, contentment with whatever little we have, and preparing for the day of departure (death)."

     

    Al-`Irbadh bin Sariyah once said, "The Messenger of Allah gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said, `O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon.' He said, `I counsel you to fear Allah (have Taqwa) and to give absolute obedience, even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily, he amongst you who lives [long] will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for ever invented matter is an innovation (bid'ah), and every bid'ah is a going astray, and every going astray in the Hell-Fire." [5]

     

     Abu Saeed Al-Khudree said, "I asked the Messenger of Allah to counsel me and he said, `Observe Taqwa, for it is the peak of every matter.'"

     

    It was the Prophet's custom that, whenever he commissioned someone to lead a platoon of fighters, he would instruct him to observe Taqwa himself and with regards to the Muslims with him. It is also because of the paramount importance of piety that our meritorious predecessors used to exhort one another to it. Abu Bakr, prior to his demise, entrusted `Umar bin Al-Khattab with the Caliphate and gave him an all-inclusive counsel which started with the words, "O `Umar! Fear Allah."

     

    `Umar bin Al-Khattab wrote to his son `Abdullah, saying, "I counsel you to fear Allah, who protects those who fear Him, rewards those who lend unto Him, a goodly loan and gives more to those who are grateful. Direct your attention towards Taqwa, and make it the elucidation of your heart."

     

    But who exactly are the pious and what are their attributes?

     

    Mu'adh bin Jabal said, "On the Day of Judgement, it will be called out: 'Where are al-muttaqoon (the pious)?' The pious will then rise under the cover of Ar-Rahman who will not conceal Himself from them." Mu'adh was then asked, "And who are the pious?" He replied, "They are those who avoid shirk and the worship of idols."

     

    Hassan Al-Basri said, "The pious are those who avoid what Allah has forbidden them and carry out what He has commanded them."

     

    Abu-Dardaa' said, "Perfect piety is when the servant fears Allah so much that he eschews evil even, if it is an atom's weight, for fear of Him, and abandons some of the things he thinks are Halal for fear that they might be Haram. "

     

    Sufyan Ath-Thawree said, "Al-muttaqoon are called as such because they have avoided that which is not avoided (by others)." Maimoon bin Mahran said, "A pious person is more severe in bringing himself to account than a miser is with his partner [in business]."

     

    Indeed, the pious are those who possess all the attributes of goodness and righteousness. The Prophet rightly said, "Fear Allah, for piety brings together all good."

     

    The Prophet also said, "Piety is right here," and he pointed to his breast three times.[6]

     

     So how can we acquire this important provision and how can we feed our hearts with it?

     

    `Umar bin `Abdul-Aziz once wrote to a man, "I counsel you to observe Taqwa, for Allah accepts nothing but Taqwa, shows mercy only on those who observe it and rewards only for it. This is so because those who preach it are many and those who observe it are few."

     

    So how could we possibly observe it? It is really a hard task to attain piety, but easy for those who go towards Allah with open hearts. The first step in this direction is to cleanse the heart of any falsehood, of anything other than Allah, so that nothing remains therein except Allah, obedience to Him, remembrance of Him, gratitude to Him, love for Him, fear of Him, and reliance upon Him. For the heart is like a vessel. Once filled with something it accepts nothing else until it is emptied of the first. By the same token, if man serves anything or anyone other than Allah, there will be no place for Allah in his life until they are rooted out and his heart is purged. Those hearts that are filled with love for the life of the world are far away from Allah. Distant from Allah are also the hearts of those hearts which are filled with desires, those which associate others with Allah in worship and those that are sick with love for others than Allah. So, whoever wants that Allah be his Lord and Master and that his heart be filled with love, hope, fear and reliance directed towards Allah, must first cleanse his heart of any false gods and distance himself from all his desires and passions.

     

    Some might ask, "But how can we achieve this?" The answer is through the `awakening' mentioned in the verse (which means):

     

    "Say [unto them, O Muhammad].I exhort you unto one thing only: that you awake, for Allah's sake, by twos and singly, and then reflect." [Surah Saba (34), Ayah 46.]

     

    This devotion to Allah is made possible by the heart awakening to Him and contemplating His signs in the Qur'an and in the universe and all that is in it. By doing so the heart would find the verses of the Qur'an informing it that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and proving to it that any deity other than Allah is false. For these deities:

     

    "...possess neither hurt nor profit for themselves, and possess neither death nor life, nor power to raise the dead," [Surah Al-Furqan (25), Ayah 3.]

     

     It will also find the entire universe testifying that the Creator is One and that He is All-Wise, All-Aware, All-Knowing, Most Kind and All-Mighty.

     

    Only then does the heart learn that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that He alone is worthy of total obedience, constant remembrance and gratitude.

     

    But is this knowledge enough for the heart to devote itself to. Allah so completely? Surely it is enough for the sound heart. But those hearts which have strayed and worshipped other than Allah for too long will learn that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah but will, at the same time, continue their devotion to their false gods, knowing full well that these are of no avail to them. So what is the medicine for these diseased hearts? The cure is that the servant should stop and reflect. He should think that the life of this world is ephemeral and that the Hereafter is everlasting. He should then ask himself which one is more deserving of his efforts and devotion. He must think of his remaining alone in his grave with nothing but his deeds for company. The Prophet said,

     

    "Three things follow the dead person to his grave, two of which return and one of which remains with him. His family, money and deeds accompany him [to the grave], then his family and wealth return, and his deeds stay with him."[7]

     

     He should think about his standing all alone before his Lord,

     

    "And truly you come to Us alone (without wealth, companions or anything else) as We created you the first time. You have left behind you all that which We had bestowed on you. We see not with you your intercessors whom you claimed to be partners with Allah. Now all relations between you  and them have been cut off and all that you used to claim has vanished from you." [Surah Al-An'am (6), Ayah 94.]

     

    "There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes to Most Gracious [Allah] as a slave." [Surah Maryam (19), Ayah 93.]

     

     He should think about leaving the presence of his Lord either to the Hell-Fire forever, or to a Paradise which is as wide as the heavens and the earth and which no eye has seen, no ear has heard of and no-one has thought of.

     

    When Allah wills good for His servant, He assists and guides him to this awakening which will cause the servant's heart to quickly surrender and return to its Creator. The servant prostrates in total submission to Him and never raises from this prostration until he meets his Lord, who will then reward him for the most excellent of his deeds and forgive his worst sins.

     

    This is the way to purify the hearts. Only those hearts that are devoted purely to Allah are truly pious. It is a mistake to think that achieving piety and maintaining it is a job for the heart alone and that the body can by no means do that. In fact, our bodies have the greatest effect on the heart and must be prevented from committing acts of disobedience even though the self might incline to do so. Furthermore, they should be encouraged to carry out acts of obedience even when they are disliked by the self. By engaging in a mujahidah (struggle), the situation changes: Allah endears obedience to His servant and makes disobedience hateful to him,

     

    "And those who wage Jihad in Our [Cause], We will certainly guide them to Our Paths (Islam). And verily, Allah is with those who do right." [Surah Al-'Ankabut (29), Ayah 69.]

     

     

    1. Knowledge

     

     

    "Say: `Are those who know equal to those who do not know?'" [Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 9.]

     

    "Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His verses (al-Qur'an) and purifying them, instructing them [in] the Book (al- Qur'an) and al-Hikmah (Wisdom and the Sunnah of the Prophet), while, before that, they had been in manifest error." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 164.]

     

     The Muslim Jama'ah which strives to raise the word of Truth and carries out the instructions of Allah, enjoins good and forbids evil, fights to protect the Religion of Allah, strives hard to establish the Islamic Caliphate, and aims to bring people to the worship of their - Lord, is specially in need of knowledge to guide it and outline its course of action.

     

    This Muslim Jama'ah of has inherited these duties from the Prophet and should therefore take this bequest as a provision for the journey. The Prophet

     

    said: "The Prophets transfer neither dinar nor dirham by inheritance. They only transfer knowledge by inheritance. Therefore, he who acquires this [knowledge], receives an ample share."[8]

     

    Mu'adh bin Jabal put it so eloquently when he said, "Through it (knowledge), blood ties are preserved and through it Halal is distinguished from Haram. It is a leader and conduct is its follower. It is given to the fortunate and withheld from the unfortunate."

     

    If the Muslim Jama'ah wishes to work for the faith of Allah, it should seek knowledge of the Deen. It must learn the Aqeedah of its meritorious predecessors, lest it should go astray and become heretic. It should acquire this knowledge to understand its religion best, teach it to others and call to Islam through it,

     

    "Say: this is my Way: I call unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and those who follow me." [Surah Yusuf (12), Ayah 108.]

     

     The Muslim Jama'ah must learn how and when to enjoin good and forbid evil. It must learn how to wage Jihad and against whom it must be waged. It must learn about whom we should take as friends and whom we should we should take as enemies. If, however, the Muslim Jama'ah fails to learn these things, it will certainly experience defeat, loss, and misguidance, for he who worships [Allah] without knowledge is like a traveller taking the wrong road. Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee said, "He who travels along a path without knowledge, thinking that it leads to Paradise, has indeed taken the most difficult of paths which will not take him to his destination, despite its difficulty."

     

    Knowledge is a necessity for those seeking Allah's Pleasure and success in the Hereafter. For such a person, the need for knowledge is greater than his need for food or drink. The Prophet said, "He who sets foot on a path in the quest of knowledge, Allah will facilitate for him the path to Paradise."[9] Ibn Rajab Al- Hanbalee said on the explanation of this Hadeeth, "Knowledge leads to Allah through the shortest and easiest paths. So, whoever sets foot on Allah's path and does not swerve from it will definitely reach Allah and Paradise through the shortest and easiest paths."

     

    For those who wish to be among the pious, knowledge is the road to piety. One of the Salaf said, "How could one be pious if he does not know what things to avoid?"

     

    Ma'roof Al-Karkhi said, "If you do not know how to fear Allah, You will certainly eat riba (usury)."

     

    Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee said, "The essence of piety is that the servant should know first what to avoid and then avoids it."

     

    Those who want to be reliant on Allah must learn what reliance is, for otherwise they will omit to adopt the necessary means and tools of success and fall into error, while at the same time delude themselves that they are reliant on Allah, such as a man who goes out to fight without weapons, claiming to be relying on Allah's assistance.

     

     

    Those who seek to be patient and enduring should take knowledge as their vehicle to this aim; otherwise, they will be humiliated, thinking that their suffering is a kind of endurance.

     

    Knowledge is the guide to every deed, whether it is a deed of the heart, of the limbs or of the tongue. Indeed, knowledge is the `door' of every deed; and Allah commands us in the Qur'an to seek knowledge. This is the reason why men of knowledge are accorded such high status and regarded as heirs of the Prophets,

     

    "Say: `Are those who know equal to those who do not know?'" [Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 9.]

     

    "It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah." [Surah Faatir (35), Ayah 28.]

     

     It is for this reason that knowledge and the Ulama who possess it assume great importance in Islam to the extent that it has been said that a single alim is more formidable against the devil than a thousand devout persons. This is also the reason why Imam 'Ali bin Abee Talib divided people into three categories: an Allah-fearing alim, a learner seeking salvation and unruly masses who follow any call or banner.

     

    Adherents of the Muslim Jama'ah who work for Islam can either be of the first type or the second, but woe to them if they are of the third.

     

    The knowledge we need has been concentrated by the scholars into two areas: knowledge of Allah, and knowledge of His instructions.

     

    The first type concerns knowledge of Allah's Names and Attributes. Such knowledge provides the Muslim with fear, humility, obedience and submission to Allah. It is the most honourable and highest type of knowledge because its subject is Allah ( SWT ). Many of our pious predecessors said, "Knowledge is not a matter of many narrations, but it is a matter of fearing Allah". Others said, "Sufficient is knowledge which brings about fear of Allah." Hudhaifah bin Al-Yamaan said, "The first aspect which is lifted from knowledge is humility."

     

    The second type concerns knowledge of what is Halal (lawful), what is Haram (prohibited) and also the knowledge of such things as the various legal rulings and how to reach them. Every Muslim is, therefore, required to learn enough of this for his worship and social conduct to invite Allah's acceptance. He should learn what he needs to do to in order to carry out the acts of worship such as performing ablutions, Salah and fasting. Furthermore, every Muslim who has wealth should learn about what he is obliged to do with it with regard to Zakah, Hajj and Jihad. Merchants should learn which transactions are permissible and which are not. This is why `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "Only those who have understanding of religion can sell in our markets." Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said, "The knowledge a person must have is that which he has to acquire in order to perform his Salah and establish his faith."

     

    The second type of knowledge is an obligation of two types: obligation of individual responsibility (Fard Ain) which every Muslim is required to undertake to validate his worship, his dealings, and his belief; and an obligation of collective responsibility (Fard Kifaayah) which all those qualified to undertake it will be deemed sinners if they fail to do so. This type includes Hadeeth sciences, transmitters of the Hadeeth, inheritance and source methodology in Islamic jurisprudence (Usool al-Fiqh al-Islami).

     

    So, what is the type of knowledge that the Muslim Jama'ah needs? And how much should it drink from its nourishing well?

     

    All members of the Jama'ah are required to possess sufficient `knowledge of Allah' to enable them to obey Him, undertake His commands and shun disobeying Him. They should compete with one another to acquire this knowledge, for those who know the most are the closest to Allah. Then they should acquire the knowledge whereby their 'Aqeedah, as well as their worship and dealings with others, is correct and acceptable to Him. This is an obligation of individual responsibility, each in accordance with what he requires for his faith and worldly affairs.

     

    Every member who is responsible for carrying out a given task should acquire the required knowledge so as to discharge his duty in the best possible manner. Those entrusted with the responsibility for the treasury, for example, should learn everything concerning the appropriate and acceptable sources of income and its ways of expenditure. Likewise, those charged with the task of Hisbah ought to learn the relevant knowledge relating to their duties.

     

    In addition, there should be a group of people whose duty is to acquire the knowledge considered an obligation of collective responsibility, especially that which relates to the role played by the Jama'ah and its functions. These are entrusted with insuring that the Jama'ah is always regulated in its moves by the Shari'ah.

     

    Above all, the Jama'ah must not admit in its ranks those scholars whose 'knowledge of Allah' is so little, because, despite their knowledge of what is forbidden, they persist in practising it and may even issue a verdict deeming the prohibited, permissible. They also know full well the obligations, but they abandon them and license others to forsake them.

     

    These scholars who do not fear Allah and are devoid of piety will undoubtedly bring calamity to the Jama'ah and its activities. `Umar bin Al-Khattab rightly said, "What I fear most for you is a hypocrite with a knowledgeable tongue."

     

     

    1. Certainty

     

     

    Books of Seerah recount that upon his return from his `night journey and ascension to the highest heavens (Al-Israa' wa-l-Mi'raj), the Prophet informed the disbelievers of Qur'aish about the experience he had had that night. They did not believe him and rushed to Abu Bakr, hoping that once they told him of this 'extraordinary' story, he would desist from following and supporting the Prophet. Abu Bakr simply said to them, "If he has told you this, then he has spoken the truth".

     

    Also, after the revelation of the verses (which mean),

     

    "The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land (Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine), and they, after their defeat, will soon be victorious, in a few years." [Surah Ar-Rum (30), Ayat 2-4.]

     

    The disbelievers rushed to Abu Bakr and said, "Your friend [meaning the Prophet ] claims that the Romans will be defeated." Abu Bakr said, "He has spoken the truth." He even made a bet with them that this prophecy would be fulfilled. This was before betting was prohibited by Islam.

     

    This is the certainty with which the Muslim Jama'ah must be equipped. It is certainty concerning what the Almighty has told us and what He has promised,

     

    "Allah's promise is the truth, and whose words can be truer than those of Allah? (Of course, none)." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 122.]

     

     "Allah [has made] His promise, and Allah fails not His promise." [Surah Ar-Rum (30), Ayah 6.]

     

     It is the certainty that whatever the Prophet said is the absolute truth. Indeed, this is the certainty that we lack. Certainty that Allah ( SWT ) defends those who have faith. Certainty that this religion will inevitably prevail. Certainty that there is ease after hardship. Certainty that trials and tribulations precede victory. Certainty that victory will be granted to those truthful and patient servants who strive hard for Allah's sake, no matter how small their number may be. Certainty that no-one gives or causes himself or anyone else harm, good, life, death or resurrection except Allah ( SWT ).

     

    Indeed, there is a big difference between a movement in possession of such absolute certainty and one without it. It is as wide as the gulf between life and death. A movement without certainty is like a body without life. The movement imbued with certainty is a steady, confident movement which stands the test of trials and tribulations.

     

    The faithful and the hypocrites stood shoulder to shoulder in the Battle of the Trench (Al-Khandaq) and together they heard the prophecy of the Prophet that the Muslims would conquer the Persian and Roman empires. The hypocrites did not believe this promise, while the faithful were certain that it was true and took it for granted that it would be fulfilled. The hypocrites abandoned the faithful, saying (which means),

     

    "Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!" [10]

     

    while the faithful stood firm, certain of the promise of Allah and His Messenger, saying (which means),

     

    "This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 22.]

     

     If the Muslim Jama'ah lacks a high degree of certainty, its actions and words will be like those of the hypocrites.

     

    It saddens us deeply to hear the words of those with weak faith and those with diseased hearts spread in the field of the Islamic work and being transmitted by some of those who work for Islam today. This is happening as a result of the lack of certainty that the promise of Allah and His Messenger will be fulfilled. They do not believe that the weak few will prevail, repeating the same words of the hypocrites (which means),

     

    "Grant me leave (to be exempted from Jihad) and put me not into trial." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 49.]

     

    "March not forth in the heat." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 81.]

     

     "Truly, our homes lie open [to the enemy]." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 13.]

     

    "Our possessions and our families occupied us, so ask forgiveness for us." [Surah Al-Fath (48), Ayah 11.]

     

    "There is no stand [possible] for you [against the enemy attack!], therefore go back." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 13.]

     

     Despite all these discouraging words, the faithful, however, stand firm in faith, certain of Allah's victory, repeating the believers' words (which mean),

     

    "How many a small party has triumphed over a large party by Allah's command! And Allah is with the steadfast." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 249.]

     

     They also repeat the words of Moses (as) (which mean),

     

    "By no means! My Lord is with me! He will direct me aright." [Surah Ash- Shu'ara' (26), Ayah 62.]

     

    They also repeat the Hadeeth of the Prophet who said, "Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake and I have seen its eastern and western ends. The dominion of my Ummah will reach those ends which have been drawn near for me."[11]

     

     Indeed, we pin our hope on this small party of truthful believers who, equipped with certainty of Allah's promise, will turn a deaf ear to those who try their best in an effort to discourage them and sow weakness and fear in their hearts. We are in need of a high degree of certainty, because the Jahili people are stronger in number and weaponry and more fierce. We must believe that Allah is with us, that He is Mightier and more vengeful, that He is omnipotent, that He assists His truthful servants and carries them to victory, makes His faith prevail and defeats all the sects ranged against it. We cannot work for Islam if we do not believe in this, neither can we practise Jihad without moving forward.

     

    "And We made from among them leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe in Our signs." [Surah As-Sajdah (32), Ayah 24.]

     

     

    1. Total Reliance On Allah

     

     

    Once certainty is firmly rooted in the heart, it bears the fruit of true and sincere reliance on Allah. Therefore, none of those people with weak faith and those with diseased hearts would have the smallest share of reliance, for they have lost its direct source, namely firm belief in Allah and His promise.

     

    Such people always try to frustrate the believers and hold them back from moving forward. They do not believe that their heroic achievements are reached by mere human beings. They see them fight, despite their small number and meagre equipment, and say about them (which means),

     

    "These people are deceived by their religion..." [Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 49.]

     

     They do not realise that they have in fact put their trust in Allah and relied completely on Him,

     

    "...But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise."

     

    They see their small number and say to them

     

    "Verily, people have mustered against you, so fear them..." [Surah Ale- Imran (3), Ayah 173.]

     

    This discouraging remark serves only to increase the faith of the faithful and increase their level of certainty and confidence in Allah's promise. This certainty enables them to rely more on Allah and march on to the very end,

     

    "...but this [only] increased their faith, and they said, `Sufficient for us is Allah, and an excellent Guardian is He."

     

    We therefore repeat with the true believers, "Sufficient for us is Allah." "And whoever puts his, trust in Allah, sufficient is [Allah] for him." [Surah At-Talaq (65), Ayah 3.]

     

    "Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?" [Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 36.] "But if they turn away, say, `Allah is sufficient for me. There is no god but He. In Him do I put my trust, and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 129.]

     

    "O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and for the believers who follow you." [Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 64.]

     

    "So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight Path (the truth)." [Surah Hud (11), Ayat 55-56.]

     

    "I put my trust in Allah. So devise your plot, you and your partners, and let not your plot be in doubt for you. Then pass your sentence on me and give me no respite." [Surah Yunus (10), Ayah 71.]

     

    "In Allah do we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for those who practise oppression; and deliver us by Your mercy from the disbelieving folk." [Surah Yunus (10), Ayat 85-86.]

     

    "No reason have we why we should not put our trust in Allah. Indeed He has guided us our ways. We shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you cause us, and in Allah [alone] let those who trust, put their trust." [Surah Ibrahim (14), Ayat 12.]

     

    Books of Seerah inform us that upon the Sahabah's return from the Battle of Uhud, The Prophet called them to arms. He instructed Biial to tell the people that the Messenger of Allah instructed them to seek their enemies and that only those who had fought the previous day should join in the fight. Usaid bin Hudhair, who had sustained nine wounds the previous day, obeyed the orders promptly and without the slightest hesitation or rest to nurse his wounds. Forty injured fighters from the tribe of Banu Salamah joined the Prophet seeking the enemy who had only the previous day defeated Prophet in Battle. They set forth, weaker and fewer than they had been the day before, armed only with faith in Allah and complete reliance on Him. The Qur'an records this incident thus (which means),

     

    "Those who answered [the call of] Allah and the Messenger, even after being wounded; for those of them who did good deeds and feared Allah, there is a great reward. Those unto whom the people said, 'Verily, the people have mustered against you, so fear them.' But this [only] increased their faith, and they said, 'Sufficient is Allah for us, and an Excellent Guardian is He.' So they returned with Grace and Bounty from Allah, while no evil had touched them; and they followed the good pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the Lord of great bounty." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayat 172-174.]

     

    This is the type of reliance we need as equipment for the Islamic movement. Allah ( SWT ) commands His Messenger to put his trust in Him and entirely rely on him,

     

    "And put your trust in the Ever Living One who dies not." [Surah Al- Furqan (25), Ayah 58.]

     

    "And put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful." [Surah Ash- Shu'ara' (26), Ayah 217.]

     

    This divine instruction was directed to the Prophet , and to those in his Ummah who are on the path of manifest truth. Those who undertake to carry the message inherited from the Prophet ,

     

    "So put your trust in Allah; surely you are on manifest truth." [Surah An-Naml ( (27), Ayah 79.]

     

     Muslims have entered many Battles with a small number of poorly equipped fighters, but they went forth with no hesitation, for they were certain that Allah ( SWT ) would carry His soldiers to victory and establish His religion. This certainty gave them a perfect reliance on Allah and true dependence upon Him. They entered those Battles with certainty of Allah's promise of victory and carried the day. The following Qur'anic verse clearly shows that the reason behind the Muslims' defeat in the first stage of the Battle of Hunain was due to their pride because of their great number and the absence of total reliance on Allah,

     

    "Surely, Allah had helped you on many a Battlefield, and on the Day of Hunain, when your great numbers made you proud, but they availed you naught; and the earth, with [all] its vastness, became straitened for you, [and] then you turned your backs retreating." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 25.]

     

     One of the Sahabah, realising the great number of Muslims, could not help giving vent to boastful utterance, "We will not be defeated today owing to a small number." While expecting a sure victory, defeat struck and 1200 Muslim fighters fled the battlefield. Then, only eighty fighters gathered around the Prophet and snatched victory from the tribe of Hawazin.

     

    The Muslims learned a great lesson on the Day of Hunain, namely the importance of true reliance on Allah. They learned that only reliance on Allah, not on numbers and weapons, will carry them to victory. They learned that once reliance on Allah is lost, Muslims will abandon Jihad and will sit back and shy away from fighting for Allah, repeating what the Children of Israel said to Moses (as) (which means),

     

    "O Moses! We shall never enter it (this Holy Land) as long as they are there. So go you and your Lord and fight you two, while we sit here." [Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), Ayah 24.]

     

    They refused to fight, putting forward the following excuse (which means),

     

    "O Moses! In it (this Holy Land) are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it until they leave it." [Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), Ayah 22.]

     

     They declined to enter the Holy Land (Palestine) that Allah had assigned to them, but only two men of those who feared Allah and on whom Allah bestowed His Grace said (which means),

     

    "Assault them through the gate, for when you are in, victory will be yours, and put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed." [Surah Al- Ma'idah (5), Ayah 23.]

     

     They abandoned true reliance on Allah and were consequently denied victory and were apportioned humiliation in this life and punishment in the Hereafter,

     

    "[Allah] said, `Therefore it (the Holy Land) is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So be not sorrowful over these people who are Fasiqoon (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)." [Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), Ayah 26.]

     

    Indeed, when reliance upon Allah is lacking, everything else will be lacking, and nothing will remain but humiliation and lowliness in this life and the Hereafter. When reliance upon Allah is missing, we become overwhelmed by Satan who then subjugates us to his control,

     

    "When you recite the Qur'an, seek refuge with Allah from Satan the rejected. Surely he has no power over those who believe and who put their trust in their Lord." [Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayat 98-99.]

     

     Apart from those who believe and put their trust in Allah, all others are the awliyyaa' of Satan (those who obey and follow him),

     

    "His (Satan's) power is only over those who obey and follow him, and those who join partners with Allah." [Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 100.]

     

     "It is only Satan who frightens his awliyyaa' (those who obey and follow him); so fear them not but fear Me, if you are believers." [Surah Ale- Imran (3), Ayah 174.]

     

     When reliance on Allah is lost, a servant's resolve, will and courage become replaced with cowardice, weakness, despair and fear. He also loses the love for Allah ( SWT ),

     

    "Allah loves those who put their trust in Him." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 159.]

     

    As a result of this the servant also loses true faith,

     

    "[True] believers are those whose hearts tremble when [the Name of] Allah is mentioned, and when His verses are recited to them it increases their faith, and who put their trust in their Lord." [Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 2.]

     

     "And in Allah [alone] let the believers put their trust." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 160.]

     

     "And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed." [Surah Al- Ma'idah (5), Ayah 23.]

     

    Saeed bin Jubair said, "Reliance upon Allah is total faith." Wahb bin Munabbih said, "Reliance upon Allah represents the utmost degree [of faith]."

     

    Indeed, true worship cannot be undertaken without total reliance on Allah ( SWT ). This is the reason why Allah ( SWT ) mentions them together in many a verse of the Qur'an,

     

    "And to Allah belongs the Ghaib (unseen) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him return all affairs (for decision]. So worship Him and put your trust in Him." [Surah Hud (11), Ayah 123.]

     

     The Muslim Jama'ah will only be able to play its role with a sufficient degree of trust in Allah and reliance upon Him. The Jahiliyyah surrounding it today possesses more weapons, greater numbers and more material wealth. If the Muslim Jama'ah does not put its trust on Allah in the prescribed manner, then surely it will not have the courage to take one single step in the way of Allah. While, on the other hand, if it puts its trust in Allah, excels in this reliance upon Him with total sincerity, it will undoubtedly be able to defy the entire world, east and west and say what Prophet Hud (as) said to his own people,

     

    "So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight Path (the truth)." [Surah Hud (11), Ayat 55-56.]

     

     How beautiful was the answer of Hud (as)!

     

    "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord!"

     

    He is my Lord as well as yours. How could I not rely on Him when He is capable of protecting me from you and giving me victory over you, in spite of your superior numbers and strength, for "There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its forelock."

     

    It is appropriate to note here however that employing permissible means and methods does not impinge on the excellence and acceptability of reliance on Allah and trust in Him. For putting one's trust in Allah reflects the true reliance of the heart on Allah alone. When the servant's heart is sincerely and totally reliant upon Allah alone, employing legally acceptable ways and means does not do any harm to the servant, as long as his heart is not completely attached to them to achieve his aims. Conversely, those who do not utilise the appropriate ways and means and claim that they put their trust in Allah are in fact sinners. Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war..." [Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 60.]

     

    Making preparations against the enemy is a legal means and a Divine command. Whoever abandons it and goes out to Jihad without it, claiming that he has put his trust upon Allah, has in fact committed a sin. Allah ( SWT )

     

    commands the believers thus (which means),

     

    "O you who believe! Take your precautions." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 71.]

     

    Indeed, He commands them to carry weapons while praying on the Battlefield for fear of surprise attacks by the enemy. Ash-Shafi'ee deems carrying weapons in these circumstances compulsory (or wajib). No-one could possibly claim that they will succeed while abandoning the legal ways and means and depending solely on their reliance on Allah. In fact, we have a good example in the Prophet . The Prophet

     

    used to adopt the necessary means of precaution when the circumstances required. He used to protect himself behind shields during combat; he hid in the cave during his flight from Makkah; he said on the Day of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates), "I need someone to [spy on the enemy] and bring us their news." He also said to Nu'aim bin Mas'ood, "Try to deceive them (the enemy) if you can, for war is, in fact, deception." He also said, "Who will stay up to guard us tonight [against the enemy]?" He once saw a Bedouin entering the mosque to perform Salah, saying, "I put my trust in Allah," after having left his camel untied outside the mosque, "Tie it, then rely (on Allah)." Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "Verily you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example to follow." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 21.]

     

     

    1. Gratitude

     

     

    The servant's life is a fluctuation between afflictions which he patiently endures and blessings for which he is grateful to His Lord. This is the reason why many of our predecessors used to say, "Faith is divided into two: gratitude and endurance." The Prophet said, "The condition of a believer is a wonder, it is all good. Only the believer enjoys this situation. When he enjoys good fortune, he thanks Allah and this benefits him. When he undergoes afflictions, he patiently endures it and this is also good for him."[12] `Umar bin Al-Khattab once said, "If gratitude and endurance were two camels, I would not mind which of the two I mounted." Both gratitude and endurance are provisions for the Muslim on his journey towards his Lord. This was why the following verse has been repeated many times in the Qur'an,

     

    "Surely, therein are signs for ever patient [and] thankful person." [Surah Ibrahim (14), Ayah 5.]

     

    Furthermore, the Qur'an has divided people into two groups. The first denied Allah's benevolence and the second recognised it and thanked Him for it. Allah ( SWT ) says (which means):

     

    "Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful." [Surah Al-Insan (76), Ayah 3.]

     

    Gratitude is the reason for which Allah ( SWT ) has created man. The Qur'an says (which means):

     

    "It is Allah who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers while you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks [to Him]." [Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 78.]

     

     If the Muslim Jama'ah seeks to achieve the pleasure of its Lord, its members must be among the grateful. It is its duty to teach them how to thank Allah for His benevolence and caution them against ungratefulness to their Lord, for such ingratitude will only bring His wrath upon them.

     

    The firmness and perseverance of the Muslim Jama'ah in its adherence to the truth greatly depends on the gratitude of its members to Allah,

     

    "Muhammad is no more than a Messenger, and [indeed] many Messengers have passed away before him. If he died or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels [as disbelievers]? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful." [Surah Ale-Imran (3). Ayah 144.]

     

     Allah ( SWT ) had instructed Moses (as) to take the religion with firmness and be grateful,

     

    "O Moses, I have chosen you above men by My Messages and by My speaking [to you], so hold that which I have given you and be of the grateful." [Surah Al-A'raaf (7), Ayah 144.]

     

     The Muslim Jama'ah, therefore, should pass on the same instruction to all its members. It should also teach them that Allah ( SWT ) tests His servants with good fortunes as well as with afflictions,

     

    "And we shall make a trial of you with evil and with good." [Surah Al- Anbiyaa (21), Ayah 35.]

     

    Allah ( SWT ) can readily open the flood gates of good fortune and wealth and inundate a servant with them. The servant will then either be helped by Allah ( SWT ) to remain steadfast. This will enable him to be of those who are grateful, who give what is legally due from them and acknowledge His benevolence. Alternatively he will rejoice in the world and its fleeting pleasures, forgetting the source of his good fortune, only to destroy himself by turning the blessing into a curse. He has indeed spoken the truth the one who said, "If you continue to enjoy His benevolence while persisting in disobeying Him, then be careful because you are going to be punished gradually from directions which you do not perceive."

     

    Therefore, the Muslim Jama'ah should thank Allah ( SWT ) for His benevolence; otherwise, they will either lose it or it will continue in the form of a veiled affliction and, a testing enticement. If the Jama'ah sees its supporters growing in number and its Da'wah spreading and its knowledge increasing, it is gratitude which will perpetuate these blessings and help it receive more of them,

     

    "And [remember] when you Lord proclaimed: `If you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshipping none but Allah], I will give you more (of My bounty), but if you are thankless (i. e. disbelievers), verily! My punishment is indeed severe." [Surah Ibrahim (14), Ayah 7.]

     

    This was why the Ulama called gratitude Al-Hafidh (the maintainer) and Al-Jalib (the bringer) because it maintains the favours that one already has and brings others that are missing.

     

    `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz once said, "Secure Allah's blessings by expressing gratitude [to Allah]." Hassan Al-Basri said, "When Allah bestows His favours upon a people, He asks for their gratitude. If they offer their thanks [to Him], He is able to increase their good fortune, but if they deny His favours, He is able to turn these favours of His into torment and affliction."

     

    Someone however may ask, "What do we mean by gratitude?" Is it a few words that one utters with one's tongue when one receives some of Allah's favours or does it mean something else?

     

    The answer to this question is that the type of gratitude we are talking about is wider in meaning and more complete and comprehensive than this. It expands to include all the actions, utterances and conditions of the servant. The gratitude that we seek as a provision for us consists primarily of three things:

     

    1. Gratitude of the tongue:

     

    This means that the servant constantly praises Allah ( SWT ) with his tongue, thanks Him and recounts His blessings, favours and his own failure to express sufficient gratitude for them. Sulaiman said, "Remembering Allah's blessings with one's tongue increases one's love for Him."

     

    1. Gratitude of the heart:

     

    This manifests itself in the heart's constant recognition of Allah's blessings, its constant witnessing of His favours and its admitting of its own shortcomings in expressing gratitude for them.

     

    1. Gratitude of the deeds:

     

    This means making use of every blessing in a manner pleasing to Allah ( SWT ) alone,

     

    "Work you, O family of David, with thanks." [Surah Saba (34), Ayah 13.]

     

    Abu Haazim said, "Every blessings that does not bring a servant closer to his Lord is in fact an affliction."

     

    The Muslim Jama'ah, therefore, should teach its members to thank Allah ( SWT ) for His favours by the tongue, the heart and the limbs. The Qur'an tells us about the Messenger Sulaiman (as ) who said,

     

    "This is by the grace of my Lord! -- To test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for [the good of] his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself]. Certainly! My Lord is free of all wants, Bountiful." [Surah An- Naml (27), Ayah 40.]

     

    We warn them strongly against allowing the continuous favours of their Lord from distracting them from their path, or from causing them to neglect saying the truth or carrying out Jihad in the way of Allah under the pretext of fear of losing these blessings, be they money or any other worldly gains, for blessings survive through gratitude and vanish by ingratitude.

     

     

    1. Endurance

     

     

    Any group of people who want to work for Islam must have their share and provision of endurance. Otherwise, they should leave this path to those who are more deserved of it, namely the truthful and patient believers.

     

    In his biography of the Prophet , Ibn Kathir wrote, " Messenger of Allah spent ten years in Makkah, preaching to the people in their homes and in public gatherings and saying to them,

     

    'Who would shelter me and support me until I convey the Message of Allah, and [such a person] will receive the [reward of) Paradise.' But he did not find anyone to shelter and support him, until the Ansaar (or the helpers) believed him and embraced Islam. Seventy-two of them came to meet him at a place known as Al- `Aqabah. The Prophet promised them Paradise if they accepted his conditions. The youngest of them, As'ad bin Zurarah, stood up and said, `Slow down, O people of Yathrib[13]. We did not tire our camels [on the way here] for him without knowing that he is the Messenger of Allah . Supporting him today will be in defiance of all the Arabs, it will result in the killing of your best men and the blow of swords upon you. Either you endure this, in which case take his offer and expect your reward from Allah, or if you are unsure of yourselves and afraid, in which case abandon him to his fate. So tell him your choice now, for either way he will vouch for you before Allah. ' They said, `Stand aside O As'ad! By Allah, we will never leave this allegiance to him, nor will we cancel it.'"

     

    The Muslim Jama'ah that wishes to support this faith and aspires after Paradise by doing so must have sufficient endurance to enable it to fulfil this commitment, assume the responsibility and confront the enemies. If, however, it does not know what endurance is, cannot stand what it entails and has no intention to exercise it, it must admit to its failings and step aside. Doing so might excuse it before Allah and is better for Islam than going forth carrying the banner and then soon turning on its heels, drooping the banner, only to cause great tumult and oppression in the land.

     

    The Messenger of Allah said, "And know that victory comes with endurance."[14] So whoever wants victory must show patience and endurance. Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "And the fair promise of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because they had patience and constancy." [Surah Al-A'raaf (7), Ayah 137.]

     

    "And We made from among them (the children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our signs." [Surah As-Sajdah (32), Ayah 24.]

     

    The Muslim Jama'ah, therefore, must teach endurance to its members, train them and cloak them with it. The Prophet said, "He who tries to endure is assisted by Allah in his endeavour." The Jama'ah must teach its members that endurance is a vehicle that must be alighted in order for them to attain the honour and success that are the dream and aspiration of the Muslim Ummah. It must also teach them that endurance is the conduit to all the degrees and stations of faith. Those who cannot endure will not achieve anywhere. Whoever wants to acquire some knowledge must patiently learn and memorise. Whoever aspires to the higher stations of piety will not achieve this aim without patience and endurance. Likewise, those who wish to rid themselves of sinful habits and conduct and cleanse their hearts and limbs, need patience and endurance to carry them through this process. Indeed, patience and endurance is the key to all good and the light of all guidance. Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "As for those who wage Jihad in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i. e. Allah's religion). And verily, Allah is with those who do right." [Surah Al-'Ankabut (29), Ayah 69.]

     

     Furthermore, maintaining any of the stations thus achieved requires additional endurance. Those who cease to strive and abandon endurance will be stripped of their gains, their status will be reduced and their progress reversed.

     

    The need for patience and endurance is especially important for those who work in the cause of Allah. Preachers need patient perseverance so as not to lose hope when they see that no-one has responded to their call. They also need to endure any reaction to their activities that might be harmful to them. Educationalists need patient perseverance to deal with the mistakes and inattention of their charges. The leaders need it to lead those who are not inclined to obedience. Those who undertake enjoining good and forbidding evil need it to I endure harm. And those who undertake Jihad are without doubt most in need for endurance in order to keep up the struggle under all conditions and in all circumstances,

     

    "Fighting [Jihad] is ordained upon you though you dislike it." [Surah Al- Baqarah (2), Ayah 216.]

     

    Endurance is more needed today than ever before. We live with our Da'wah in countries controlled by our enemies whom we aim to remove and replace their rule with that of our Shari'ah. They will frequently attack us and seek to destroy us, and without endurance they will undoubtedly succeed in uprooting our Da'wah and wiping us off the face of this earth.

     

    Endurance is not what many people today think it is, namely not speaking up for the truth and making compromises with falsehood. This is in fact no more than humiliation, degradation and disgrace, and has nothing to do with endurance. The endurance which our Shari'ah commands us to observe is of three categories.

     

    1. Endurance in obeying Allah and His Messenger :

     

    While the self inclines to comfort and inaction, religious obligations entail a degree of hardship that varies from one commission to the next. Jihad, for instance, is more onerous than Hisbah; fasting is more onerous than making ablutions (wudu'); making wudu' with cold water in winter is harder than making it in summer. The degree of effort also varies from one individual to the other: those who are closer to their homes and families find emigration extremely taxing; and those with a hardened heart find prayers laborious, but Jihad remains the most exacting of absolutely all acts of worship. This is the reason why some said, as the Qur'an recounts (which means),

     

    "Our Lord! Why have You ordered for us fighting? Would that You had granted us respite for a short period?" [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 77.]

     

    This means that every Muslim needs endurance to compel his self into obedience, for patience is needed before performing any act of obedience, to bring the self to start it and be sincere in devoting it to Allah. It is also needed while doing the act to make the self see it through in the best possible way. It is also needed after completion of the act to prevent the heart from admiring the act of obedience and the tongue from boastfully talking about it.

     

     

    1. Endurance in avoiding the disobedience of Allah and His Messenger :

     

     

    This task is more difficult and demanding. For the human self, as the Qur'an said, is inclined to evil and wishes for it, and Satan entices and encourages the servant to commit the sin. Those who habitually indulge in sinful deeds advocate them and invite the faithful to join in, while society does not frown upon vice nor criticise the sinful. To the contrary, it sometimes praises the sinful because of the general corruption in which it wallows. So how can the limbs give succumb to the call of disobedience? Indeed, it is endurance which prevents the limbs from committing the sin. We definitely need the type of patience and endurance showed by Prophet Yusuf when he resisted the advances of Al-Aziz's wife, saying (which means),

     

    "Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of those who do right to be lost." [Surah Yusuf (12), Ayah 90.]

     

     The Muslim Jama'ah is in need of teaching this type of patience and endurance to its members, for we will surely be defeated if we are disobedient. `Umar bin Al- Khattab spoke the truth in his instructions to the army commander, Sa'd bin Abee Waqqas when he said to him, "I command you and your soldiers to observe Taqwa which is the best preparation against the enemy and the strongest weapon of war. I command you and your soldiers to be more on guard against sins than against the enemy, for the sins of [your] army should be feared more than the enemy. Indeed, Muslims only triumph by the sinning of their enemy against Allah, for otherwise we would not have the strength and advantage over them. Our numbers are no match for them and our preparation do not compare. If we equal them in sins, they will prevail over us through their physical strength. If we cannot defeat them through our piety, we will not defeat them through our strength." He also said. "And do not say that our enemy is more evil than we are, and that Allah will not send them against us even if we sin. For so many are those against whom Allah sent a people who are more evil than them, as happened with the Jews when Allah ( SWT ) sent against them the disbelievers from amongst the Magians who entered the very innermost parts of their homes, and it was a promise completely fulfilled."

     

    The Muslim Jama'ah also needs to teach its members how to patiently endure and persevere in their resistance to the inequity and oppression of people, and how to detest and abhor this evil quality. For if they do not learn to dissociate themselves from injustice, those of them who might, in the future, be in positions of power and responsibility might then succumb to the temptation of oppressing others.

     

    Another great vice and abhorrent act of disobedience which members of the Muslim Jama'ah must avoid is the love of leadership and influence, for so often has the struggle over leadership split the Muslim community and weakened its resolve.

     

    1. Enduring trials and tribulations:

     

    It is necessary that every Muslim must exercise this type of endurance, for otherwise he will rebel against the Divine Destiny, thus committing a major sin,

     

    "Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, `We believe', and that they will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make fit] known [the truth of] those who are true, and will certainly make [it] known [the falsehood of] those who are liars [although Allah knows all that before putting them to test]." [Surah Al-'Ankabut (29), Ayah 2-3.]

     

     These tests are important for separating between the good and the bad, and casting the bad away from the ranks of the caravan; the caravan of the people of truth and endurance.

     

    Prevailing in this life is no easy task, for it implies the carrying of the burden of ruling the people by the tenets of this religion of Islam. ' This is why the laws that Allah established in the universe stipulates that only those entitled to occupy the positions of leadership should be allowed to govern. Trials and tribulations are, therefore, indispensable to distinguish the wicked from the good. Those who survive these tests are those worthy of authority and power,

     

    "Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 179.]

     

     "In order that Allah may distinguish the wicked (disbelievers, polytheists, evil-doers) from the good (the believers), put the wicked one on another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell."[Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 37.]

     

    The Muslim Jama'ah must preach endurance to its members if it is to deserve power. Day and night it must preach to them what Moses used to preach to his people (which means),

     

    "Seek help in Allah and be patient. Verily, the earth is Allah's. He gives it as a heritage to Whom He will of His servants, and the [blessed] end is (best) for the righteous." [Surah Al-A'raaf (7), Ayah 128.]

     

     The Muslim Jama'ah must teach them thus,

     

    "Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such [trials] as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, `When [will come] the help of Allah?' Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!" [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 214.]

     

     It must rear them to be true men, so that when the testing times come, they say what true men say (which means),

     

    "This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 22.]

     

     Only such people are deemed qualified to carry the trust of this faith. Their enemies will soon be discharged as fire discharges impurities from smelted metal.

     

    Patiently enduring hardships and calamities require the following:

     

    1. To restrain the heart from rebelling against and complaining about the fate that Allah has ordained and to strive to achieve the station of acceptance and rejoicing in whatever fate brings them.

     

    1. To stop the tongue from showing fright, or uttering what is forbidden, and to strive to achieve the higher station of saying what Allah has instructed us to say,

     

    "Innaa lil-laahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji'oon (To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 156.]

     

    1. To restrain the hands from committing acts of disobedience, such as slapping the cheeks and tearing the clothes, as such actions reflect the lack of one's pleasure with Allah's destiny.

     

    This is the type of endurance which is legally commendable, and how excellent this provision is!

     

    "And Allah loves the patient." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 146.]

     

    1. Doing without the life of this world in preference for the Hereafter

     

    Allah ( SWT ) says (which means):

     

    "Whatever is with you will be exhausted, and whatever is with Allah [of good deeds] will remain." [Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 96.]

     

    "And the life of this world is but amusement and play! Verily, the home in the Hereafter, that is the life indeed, if they but knew." [Surah Al-'Ankabut (29), Ayah 64.]

     

    "The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception." [Surah Ale- Imran (3), Ayah 185.]

     

    "Say: `Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is [far] better for him who fears Allah, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly in the very least.'"[Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 77.]

     

     "Nay, you prefer the life of this world; but the Hereafter is better and more lasting." [Surah Al-A'la (87), Ayat 16-17.]

     

     The Qur'an is replete with verses which tell us to do without the life of this world and its fleeting, short-lived pleasures and which encourage us to work for the Hereafter, which is better and more lasting.

     

    Abstaining from the transitory pleasures of this life and preferring the Hereafter are by no means inseparable, for only those who forsake the pleasures of this world long for the Hereafter. Ibn Taymeeyah said, "To eschew [the pleasures of this] life is [in fact] to forsake what is of no benefit to the Hereafter."

     

    The Prophet said, "By Allah, the life of this world, compared to that in the Hereafter, is but like someone who puts his finger in the sea, so let him see what it brings out. "[15]

     

     He also said, "The most truthful word ever uttered by a poet is that in which [the poet] Labeed says, `Verily, everything apart from Allah is but falsehood'." [16]

     

     And, "What have I to do with this world! I am no more in this world than a traveller who sought the shade of a tree then left it and continued [his journey]. "[17]

     

     And, "If this world had the value of a mosquito's wing in the sight of Allah, no disbeliever would have had a drink of water from it."[18]

     

     And, "Eschew the life of this world and Allah will love you."[19]

     

    The Qur'an and the Sunnah both encourage people to eschew this evanescent life and long for the everlasting bliss of the Hereafter. Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "The description of Paradise which the righteous are promised is that in it are rivers of water, the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and forgiveness from their Lord." [Surah Muhammad (47), Ayah 15.]

     

    "[It will be said to the true believers]. My worshippers! No fear shall be on you this Day, nor shall you grieve, [you] who believed in Our Signs and were Muslims. Enter Paradise, you and your wives, in happiness. Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them, [there will be] therein all that the one's inner-selves could desire, all that the eyes could delight in, and therein will you abide forever. And this is the Paradise which you have been made to inherit because of your [good] deeds which you used to do [in the life of the world]. Therein for you will be fruits in plenty, of which you will eat [as you desire]." [Surah Az-Zukhruf (43), Ayat 68-73.]

     

     

    "Verily, al-muttaqoon (the pious and righteous) will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (paradise). In a seat of truth (Paradise), near the Omnipotent King (Allah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour)." [Surah Al-Qamar (54), Ayat 54-55.]

     

    "Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty) - looking at their Lord." [Surah Al-Qiyaamah (75), Ayat 22-23.]

     

     [Other] faces, that Day, will be joyful, pleased with their striving [for their good deeds which they did in this world, along with the true faith of Islamic monotheism]. In a High Garden (Paradise), where they shall hear no harmful speech nor falsehood; therein will be a running spring; therein will be thrones [of dignity] raised high, and cups set at hand, and cushions set in rows, and rich carpets [all] spread out." [Surah Al-Ghaashiyah (88), Ayat 8-16.]

     

     The Prophet said, "You will see your Lord with your own eyes, just as you see the moon, never tiring of seeing Him." [20]

     

     He also said, "The space taken up in the Hereafter by something as little as the whip of one of you is better than the whole of this earth and what is on it." [21]

     

    He also said, "The smallest distance from Paradise is better than all the land over which the sun rises and sets." [22]

     

     The life of this world, therefore, is not a place of abode for a Muslim. It is rather a place of testing and trials. The Prophet said, "This world is the prison of a believer and the paradise of a disbeliever." [23]

     

    Indeed a Muslim has another abode, of which he is aware and for which he longs. He wants no more of this life than the provisions of good works necessary for completing the journey to his true home and that of Adam (as) before him. A journey towards Paradise, the width of which is as the width of the Heavens and the Earth. And if this life, with its pleasures and joys, stands as an obstacle on the road to Paradise, the believer will step over it by eschewing it and emptying the heart of any desire for it.

     

    Az-Zuhd is to abandon all that is of no benefit in the Hereafter. It is therefore of utmost importance to forsake this life, which is bound to stand as a barrier between us and the Hereafter. Imam Ahmad said, "Eschewing worldly pleasures (Az-Zuhd) is to shorten the hopes."

     

    It has also been said that Az-Zuhd is belittling the world and wiping affection for it from the heart.

     

    Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "Those who possess knowledge are in accord that the eschewing of the world means the departure of the heart from the abode of this world to that of the Hereafter."

     

    He also said, "Desiring the Hereafter can only be achieved by eschewing life of this world; and eschewing life of this world could only be achieved after taking two correct looks. The first is to look at the shortness of life, its quick disappearance and vileness. The second is to look at the Hereafter, its inevitability, eternity, constancy, the excellence and honour of its pleasures and joys, and the difference between it and what is here in this life. Allah ( SWT ) says (which means),

     

    "But the Hereafter is better and more lasting." [Surah Al-A'la (87), Ayah 17.]

     

     Ibn Al-Qayyim also said, "The servant's love for this life and his acceptance of it is proportionately related to his slowness and prevarication in obeying Allah and seeking the Hereafter." How true are Ibn Al-Qayyim's words! This is why we have said that eschewing the worldly pleasures and seeking success in the Hereafter are important provisions for a Muslim who seeks to serve his religion, a provision without which there could be no sacrifice or selfless offering of the self required for the victory and superiority of Islam.

     

    Once this provision is lacking, all efforts come to an end. The Qur'an has chided those believers who have taken pleasure in this life, saying (which means),

     

    "O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah (Jihad), you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world, as compared with the Hereafter." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 38.]

     

    Then Allah promised them the severest punishment if they neglect this duty, saying (which means),

     

    "If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people, and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is Able to do all things." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 39.]

     

    Love for the life of this world, the attachment of the heart to it and the striving of the limbs for its sake all deter the servant to fight Jihad in the way of Allah. On the other hand, selling this life for the Hereafter is the catalyst for fighting in the way of Allah,

     

    "Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 74.]

     

    Indeed, it is the selling of this life for the Hereafter which makes one disdain all the harm one might suffer for the sake of Allah, "So decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) the life of this world." [Surah Ta-Ha (20), Ayah 72.]

     

    It is the selling of this life for the Hereafter which enticed Anas bin Nadhir to fight bravely in the Battle of Uhud until he sustained over eighty injuries, before finally falling as a martyr in the way of Allah. He sensed the winds of Paradise near Uhud, so he rushed towards it and Allah honoured him with martyrdom before anyone else.

     

    It is the forsaking of life of this world in preference to the , Hereafter which filled the heart of `Umair bin Al-Hamam when he heard the Messenger of Allah , saying on the day of the Battle of Badr, "Rise to a Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heavens and the Earth." He said, "O Messenger of Allah, is Paradise as wide as the heavens and the Earth?" He replied "Yes." To which he said: "Excellent! Excellent!". So he said: "What induced you to say `Excellent! Excellent!'", he said "O Messenger of Allah, I hope to be of its inhabitants." The Prophet said, "You shall be of them!" `Umair then produced some dates and started eating them, then he said, "If I were to live for as long as it would take me to eat these dates, it would be too long a life." He threw the dates to one side and then fought until he was killed.

     

    This is the type of men that we lack today. It is the only typ e capable of working for Islam. We will never be able to be like these men in their courage, daring and sacrifice unless we become like them in their forsaking of this life in preference to the Hereafter. Books of Hadeeth and Seerah are replete with shining examples of such personalities who have sold this world for the Hereafter. We can only acquire their qualities of bravery, boldness and selfless sacrifice when we follow in their footsteps regarding their eschewing of this world. We will surely fail, however, if we wish to fight Jihad and strive hard for the cause of this religion without employing the ways and means to achieve such a goal and without severing the material ties that hold us down to the earth.

     

    What we mean by eschewing worldly pleasures (Az-Zuhd) is not the forbidding of the permissible and lawful, such as money, food and marriage. Nor does it mean lowering our heads, keeping low profiles and insisting on assuming inferior appearances. The type of Az-Zuhd which we mean is represented in three points:

     

     

    1. Forsaking what is forbidden

     

    This is an obligation of individual responsibility (Fard Ain) for every single Muslim.

     

    1. Eschewing undesirable things and the peripheral aspects of the legally acceptable things

     

    This type of Az-Zuhd is commendable and necessary for members of the Muslim Jama'ah if they wish to prevail in this life. We have little time for such peripherals, besides the fact that they will distract us from firmly adhering to and working for our faith.

     

    1. Eschewing life in general by `having it in the hands' and not making it a preoccupation of the heart

     

    If worldly gains disappear after having enjoyed them, one is not saddened by the loss, nor does one rejoice in making such gains after long having been deprived of them.

     

     

    [1] Ibn Maajah.

    [2] Bukhari, on the authority of Abu Hurairah.

    [3] Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), Ayah 27.

    [4] Tirmidhi and Ad-Darimi.

    [5] Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi, who said that it was a Hasan Sahih Hadeeth.

    [6] Bukhari and Muslim.

    [7] Bukhari and Muslim.

    [8] Ibn Maajah.

    [9] Ibn Maajah.

    [10] Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 22.

    [11] Muslim.

    [12] Muslim.

    [13] Yathrib was the name of the city which later came to known as Al-Madeenah.

    [14] Tirmidhi.

    [15] Muslim and Tirmidhi.

    [16] Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi.

    [17] Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah.

    [18] Tirmidhi.

    [19] Ibn Maajah.

    [20] Bukhari and Muslim.

    [21] Bukhari.

    [22] Bukhari.

    [23] Muslim.

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