Allah bestowed upon one of His prophets, Sulaiman AS, control over the elements and creation such as the wind, rain, the animal kingdom and the kingdom of the jinn. Allah allowed everything in His earthly kingdom to become a slave to Sulaiman AS. When Ibrahim AS was flung into the fire, Allah changed the nature of the flames so that they became cooling and welcoming for him.
These were miracles granted to the Prophets and Messengers, to show to us that Allah is the controller of the conditions, and that creation will obey one who is with Allah.
To a lesser degree, while we are not entitled to be granted the same miracles, we should understand that the condition around us will change towards or against us according to our iman and slavery to Allah.
The Companions of Rasulullah SAW, led by Abu Ubaydah RA, was on an expedition for sabeelillah. They ran short of supplies and were so hungry that some reports mentioned that they had to eat the leaves of trees. When they were on the brink of starvation, Allah sent them a huge fish from the ocean, which they found washed up on the shore. The size was so legendary that seven men could sit in the eye socket. They not only feasted on its flesh, but derived oil from it, dried its meat, and used the bones for weapons. After that, they had enough from the remnants of the fish to last them many weeks. Who sent the fish but Allah, and in His wisdom, He swept it ashore given that none of them would have had the ability to kill such a huge beast.
There are also many other wondrous accounts. A group of Companions were trapped in the jungle, and Allah sent them a pack of lions – not to devour them, but to shelter them against the cold. There are so many accounts of stories of support by Allah that it would challenge the creativity of even the most illustrious novelists!
The consistent theme is that the promise of Allah is true, and if you give Him victory, He will give you victory. If you belong to Allah, He will belong to you.
This journey is easy if you have iman, and this means undergoing the whole process of conquering your nafs and distancing yourself from dunia. Remember that no matter how high your station is, you come tumbling down if you forget Allah. Look at Pharaoh and his downfall, all caused by his slavery to dunia.
The effort to increase our iman has to be constant and we have to be unrelenting. Ayyoub AS did not reach his level except after 18 years of surrender. Musa AS was in the desert for 18-20 years before he was sent to invite Pharaoh to Islam. Yusuf AS had to wait for over three decades before being reunited with his beloved father. For every story in the Qur'an, the good people had to reach the level of almost zero support, financially, politically, emotionally and even socially. Their faith was continuously tested, and they continuously passed.
Time is the one commodity that we can never recover. Time marches on, and with it opportunities come and go. Time and health are the ultimate gifts we have from Allah. Therefore, we should do what we have to do in these windows of opportunity, and surrender the result to Allah SWT.
You cannot say that you are not ready. Instead, we should ask Allah forgive to us for our weakness, the wastage of our precious moments and to give us the ability to utilise the time for our own goodness. We have to aim high and strive, and if so, Allah will change condition.
We have to achieve tranquillity and trust in Allah. External circumstances, such as loss, pain or misfortune are just fleeting conditions to check how deeply our faiths are anchored in our hearts. They are filters for establishing whether we will stay with Allah or will leave.
The majority will leave... for a house, child, piece of desire, gold.
Allah explains to us that power, dignity and provision belong to Allah only. Where are we in all this? Everything is from Him, even the tranquillity, feeling of being loved, stability and happiness. Yet mankind keeps attributing these feelings and emotions to jobs, money, hobbies, or a marriage.
There is a blessing on every occasion we are backed into a corner. Will you turn to Him for help or will you seek relief from somewhere else? The higher the surrender, the greater the rewards. Dr Lawrence Brown, an atheist, had a daughter with a medical complication. The doctors had told him that her condition was incurable, and in a moment of desperation, he prayed to a Creator which until then, he did not believe existed. He struck a bargain, saying that if his daughter was cured, he would find the Creator and accept His guidance. It was the sincerity of the prayer, the acknowledgement that all control is distilled into His hands only, that his daughter was miraculously cured. He then kept his promise, sought the truth and became Muslim.
All this sounds good in theory, but it is only put to the test once you try to implement all of the above principles. This starts with cleaning the core of your heart. Like a weed filled garden, all the infestation must be uprooted first before something new life can grow. If the soil is contaminated, then it has to be replaced with healthy soil. Good seeds will never be survive in corrupted soil.
Hence, the seed has to be good, the water and farmer and soil have to be good. There must be consistent care, with no neglect in water or sunshine.
We can't tell Allah that we want a journey of faith but we don't want to clean up the weeds. And once planted, you have to guard and water the tree.
Think of someone who has given you a fragile sapling. It has the potential to grow into a tree which yields beautiful fruit and provides abundant shade, yet during its tender years, the plant needs constant care. It cannot be exposed to the harsh elements, for it will die. It cannot be ignored for it will wither. Instead, it needs regular attention, and protection from the storm, drought, weeds and pests, until the roots are firmly embedded in the soil and its branches have reached the sky. This process takes years.
It is an ongoing process, requiring constancy, patience and dedication. It is the same with nurturing and safeguarding our spiritual knowledge.
“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.” (Al Qur’an 14:24 – 27)
If we could know the unseen, we would accept the present. When we belong to Allah, we know that everything has a wisdom. But because of the temptation and weakness, and because we are blinded by the glare of dunia, we do not see the wisdom of Allah. Maybe the wisdom is to give humbleness and humility to us. Maybe we are the kind of person who, when we have dunia, we are spiritually destroyed. We have to be practical and still have our affairs of the dunia, but we also need to attain spiritual stability first.
Achievement has no end until we go to the grave because we don't know what will be accepted and what will rejected. So the effort continues.
Quality comes from your heart and goal. The Companions were ready to do anything to elevate the name of Allah. Today, we are ready to sacrifice the name of Allah, the deen, everything for a piece of material.
This journey is something that we have to live and die for. Who will be accepted?