This iman then has to be followed up by actions. Devote yourself to Allah, doing the utmost zikr to achieve unity with Allah. This makes up the whole journey of iman. We have to submit to what Allah wants, each individually, rather than dictate the circumstances that we want. We do not know what Allah has planned for us and why, so we cannot choose or bargain.
Think of a slave – he has no right to choose or bargain. He acts at the bidding of his master. It is the same with our qadr – we are slaves to what is destined for us, with no negotiations. When we hate our own destiny our journey of iman is eradicated, and again, we head towards defeat.
If our hearts are corrupted with the love of dunia, that we compromise everything for a piece of gold, a person or real estate. So instead of being a believer shining with quality, the faith is tarnished and the heart is infested with spiritual diseases. We become destabilised because we are always placing our happiness on things which can be taken away from us in an instant. We hover between the competition of accumulating and the fear of losing what we have.
Abu Talha (RA) once donated his orchard to Rasulullah SAW because every time he made salat, he was distracted by thoughts of his orchard. The love of his orchard created a veil between he and Allah, and in order to remove that veil and gain victory, he gave the orchard away. Can we do the same with our favourite cars, diamond bracelets, or the real estate we own?
This journey is so beautiful and full of harmony if you value your iman. If you cherish your iman, you will be prepared to lose anything but your iman. You will sacrifice your material life to gain paradise.
Who is blocking you from acting? It is your nafs, desire, etc which descends as a veil between you and Allah, getting darker and thicker with each priority that you give the material world.
Nowadays desires, not principles, form the backbone of our actions. We have seen many pregnant women who do not nourish themselves properly. They eat according to what they desire – over indulging in unhealthy food and eating too much at the expense of the unborn child's physical and mental development. They are willing to have an ill child because of their bad eating habits, dictated by desire rather than principle. I know of a lady who disobeyed her doctor's orders and secretly ate while during labour, the result being that they were then unable to administer proper medication, and the baby went into distress and almost died. This is defeat.
By the same token, if a parent has a bad eating habit, this will also influence the child's diet. I have met middle-aged men who have childishly refused to eat greens all their lives – how can they then be a role model of healthy and balanced eating for their own children? If we cannot suppress our desires for things where the results can be seen immediately, then what about suppressing our desires for long term goals or delayed gratification?
When we shift our focus away from Allah and towards dunia, we are allowing ourselves to be governed by our desires and inborn characteristics. This is what dictates our thoughts, actions and emotions. We become preoccupied without principles or directions. Thus, even at the most sacred moments of salat, when we are to clear our hearts and minds for our conversation with God, Shaitan can penetrate into our hearts, keeping our minds whirling with topics which are irrelevant, and thoughts that can be both dark and lead us to dark places. Our salat then becomes an empty ritual, the connection with Allah is not established, and we emerge from our salat in a sullen and moody temperament.
If we can rise above the pettiness, trivialities and clamour of issues ringing in our head, and instead enter salat in a calm state, by the time we finish we will have a new vision in life, with new strength and ability. The salat was a successful meeting with your Lord and this meeting yielded crops.
We should be even more vigilant during the blessed times of the year, and not let these small windows of opportunities slip through our fingers. One of the signs of defeat is when Allah does not give you the blessed time for Allah. One of the signs of victory is that Allah makes you gain the most blessing time. If you are otherwise occupied with drama, hostility, conflict and trivialities, you are defeated. Once, on the potential night of Lailatul Qadr, a man complained that his wife had a fight with him! Again, we lose the plot, getting tangled in conflict at the most inappropriate times.
Allah has promised that Shaitan has no power over His slaves. Being in a state of iman grants you a shield which Shaitan cannot pierce. Even if you succumb, it is only a short while before you recover towards your state of iman.
When a situation arises in your life how long does it take to transform from the state of moodiness and anger to the state of iman? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? One day? Even 15 minutes is too long, because a mu'min would not even allow the situation to get that far. 15 minutes will drag into many hours, and then many days in of anger, multiplying until one is trapped. This is a journey of defeat. Shaitan is laughing at our inability to contain the situation.
If the heart is not ready or pure or has diseases, it is a defeat. We have to defeat our nafs! If we don't go to journey of freedom from the attachment and love of material status until we reach the pure level of slave to Allah, then we are defeated.