Whatever our situations in life, each of our circumstances is already contained in the Qur’an. Whether rich or poor, believer or disbeliever, of noble descent or orphaned, we can see our life maps mirrored in the Qur’an, if we read the Qur’an with our hearts and while seeking guidance.
“And indeed We have sent down for you Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) that make things plain, and the example of those who passed away before you, and an admonition for those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Al Qur’an 24:34)
Therefore, even if the odds are overwhelming, we should not feel overwhelmed. Jalut the tyrant was killed by a young boy, Daud AS, even though Daud AS was vastly outnumbered and under equipped. Daud’s AS power was not in his slingshot or his aim, it lay in his connection with Allah.
We also see stories of believers who are reluctant, skirting on the borders of disbelief. Bani Israel were hesitant and uneasy when leaving Egypt, for they had to leave their possessions, property and fertile lands behind and head into the unknown, based solely on the promise of Allah which many of them were not fully convinced by.
The early Muslims had to abandon their homes, date trees, crops, livestock and reliable water supply when they migrated from Mekah to Madinah, but they embarked on that journey with utter and resounding faith in Allah, so much that each of the Muhajireen was himself worth an entire nation in terms of conviction and quality.
Having learnt of all these wonderful accounts in our Islamic history, we still stand at the brink, lacking in conviction. Our hearts are still tethered to dunia even when the Qur’an warns us repeatedly that the love of dunia is futile. Therefore, when we start our journey of iman, we impose conditions and restrictions according to what we desire. We strive for the best of dunia and yet expect the best of akhirah to come our way without any effort or sacrifice.
Victory brings with it total liberation, but we have to first free ourselves from dunia to start that journey. The more we release ourselves from the bonds of dunia, the freer we will be to pursue our journey of akhirah.
Majority of us are choked from every direction by the far reaching tentacles of dunia. If we are broke, we spend day and night trying to earn our living, neglecting our hereafter. Once we have the money we can’t spend it for akhirah. If we are not married, we yearn for a spouse. Once we get married and it is not that rosy, we have misgivings, fight and file for a divorce. If we don’t have children, we yearn for them. Once we have children, we complain about the lack of time, energy, sleep; and the escalating tuition fees. The cycle never ends, because we are setting our priorities, goals and resources only for the whirlwind of dunia.
Our slavery to dunia makes us pre-occupied with short term dramas, and also the irrelevant dramas relating to other people’s lives. We prioritise that which is not important, and drop things related to our journey of faith, which are both urgent and important.
We will never get quality until we are pure to Allah. However, despite the way that our lives have never gone as planned, being pure to Allah also means being prepared for conditions occurring which will be the opposite of what we desire. The journey of iman teaches us that when we pursue something or try to force a situation – jobs, friendships, marriages, relationships – the opposite is likely to happen. What we seek is beyond our grasp, and what we receive is not what we wished for.
This journey teaches us to succumb to the qadr of Allah, to develop the recognition and acknowledgement that despite our efforts and best laid plans, we are not the ones in control of our futures. This journey can only be a peaceful one when we submit, with grace, dignity, restraint and patience to what Allah has planned, whether good or bad.
Today we only believe in our eyes and in what we want. The majority of us are unable to surrender. When we get good exam results, we feel thankful to Allah, but when we lose our life savings in a bad investment, we weep bitterly, become depressed, resentful, ungrateful and blame everyone from the failing company to the government authorities. Belief in qadr is suspended or even totally forgotten or denied.
If our money is stolen, or our houses get burnt down, or even if we are working on an important paper and the computer deletes the file, we revert to the pre-Islamic jahiliyyah reactions of hysteria, wailing and crying. Our minds are still anchored to dunia benchmarks, which is why we have a crippling disability when it comes to handling reality.