Lessons of Faith.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah Almighty is pleased with you by three things and displeased by three things. He is pleased for you to worship him without associating anything with him, to hold fast to the rope of Allah altogether, and to not become divided. He is displeased for you to gossip among yourselves, to ask many unnecessary questions, and to waste your wealth.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1715
The mountain’s edge was steep and gutted with slippery rocks and two climbers tugged to the peak with great courage. Suddenly, the climber below slips and clutches on a jagged rock with one hand and reaches for his friend above. His friend reached down and gave his hand to his friend below who in desperation clasped it. Hope flooded his heart and he pulled his mind together and his sinews tightened to high action and began his climb to safety. Once up on the crest, he hugged his friend and cried out: “You saved me!”
If you were in that scenario how would you thank the friend that saved his friend? Furthermore, what would be the situation if the friend was not there? Death most certainly would be the end result. What is important to think about is the help you require at the most vital time of your life. In times of adversity, there is apprehension and fear. Fear drives irresponsible actions. In the ensuing despair hope dissipates and anxiety sets in very rapidly. In this situation one clutches onto straws as the adage goes therefore, slips further into the abyss of negativity because the handhold is weak. The point made is that in times of despair help is of utmost importance. What we tend to forget is that we are resilient but vulnerable. Our vulnerability is what we give into because it’s very close to our immediate reaction response whilst, our resilience demands that we take a few steps back and look at the situation in more detail.
A covenant or agreement that gives you lots of power can only be strong, solid and resilient. Therefore, you would appreciate it and keep to it. Similarly the covenant we have with Allah is characterised like a handhold that does not break and its all encompassing connecting the earth with the heavens. To get the handhold of Allah requires a connection with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Nabi Muhammad (s) because these are only two unbreakable cords that make the rope ready to grip. An anchor of a colossal ship is held by a huge rope. If the rope snaps the ship will be lost at sea. Similarly, our anchor is our iman and the rope that ties it to Allah, the Compeller (Al-Jabbar) is the Quran and Sunnah. If we snap away from it then we will be lost in ignorance and spiritual destitution.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Family of Imran
سورة آل عمران
﴿١٠٢﴾ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ
102. O you who believe! Revere Allah with due reverence, and do not die except in Submission.
﴿١٠٣﴾ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
103. And hold firmly to the rope of Allah, all together, and be not divided. And remember Allah’s blessings upon you; when you were enemies, and He united your hearts, and by His grace you became brethren. And you were on the brink of a fiery pit, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes clear to you His revelations, so that you may be guided.
In the first ayah (evidence) Allah, the All Powerful makes it clear in saying that we must die as Muslims is evidence that Islam is the religion has perfected and completed HIS favours upon us with Islam therefore, we should work on our submission to Allah, the Irresistible. The emphasis on death as a Muslim means that our lifestyle has to be in the obedience of Allah because every other lifestyle is not approved. This whole ayah (evidence) points to the Taqwa which in essence means to avoidance and to abstain. We have come to interpret it as fear because it makes us refer to the punishment of Allah when we sin. Taqwa is the quintessence of Iman (faith) and it should in its lowest degree make one stay away from associating partners with Allah and to fall into disbelief. The discussion of Taqwa is very lengthy therefore, it must be understood that it has various stations and the highest is that of the Prophets (as) their very reverent companions. This high and lofty station of Taqwa is the standard we have so that we can aspire to follow in their example and the prime example is the sunnah of Nabi Muhammad (s). Taqwa means giving Allah, the Majestic His due and this is best described by Hasan al Basri as: “A fear which is due means that one obeys, then does not disobey; remembers then does not forget; and is grateful, then does not become ungrateful.” (Al-Bahr Al Muhit)
In ayah 102 (evidence) the wordبِحَبْلِ (the rope of Allah) is means the Holy Quran as cited by Mufti Shafi making reference to the Hadith of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (ra) in which Nabi (S) is reported to have said: “The Book of Allah is the cord of Allah, extended from the heavens to the earth.” Unity is the pillar of strength and the pivot on which success hinges because it combines the collective energies and abilities of all people to one desired goal. The world over for centuries mankind tried to unite on some man-made program but it has led to misery, failure, oppression and wars. Allah, the All Knowing is showing us that when the Ummah unites on the Quran which extends from HIM to the earth there can only be success in this world and the akhirah. This illustrates that man must leverage himself above all tribal connections, race relations and more to realise that it is only what Allah prescribes in the Quran and the life of Nabi Muhammad (s)’s life that will be accepted. Why? Allah the All Knowing sent the Quran as a guide and Nabi Muhammad (s) as mercy to all mankind to show the path that Allah favours and not the one that Allah disfavours.
I found this anecdote instructive in teaching the lesson on the point made knowing what you got.
Ali al-Nasafi had lost his donkey. Setting out to look for it, he met an unbeliever along the way. Turning back at one, he fell in prostration. In that position, he prayed:
“My God, I may have lost my donkey, but this unbeliever has lost his faith. His misfortune is much greater than my own. I offer thanks and praise to You for not having made my misfortune the same as his. I went in search of a donkey worth a few dollars, while he was going along without bothering to look for what he had lost, though it was no less than his God and his religion, more precious than this world and all it contains. O Lord, do not cause me to lose my religion and my faith, for the loss of these is the greatest misfortune of all.” – Irshad. Wisdom of the Sufi Master.