If you are chosen by Allah, your quality will increase. It is not dependent on any external condition, family connections or situation. The moment you demonstrate consistent quality in your outlook, attitude and behaviour, Allah will open for you and show you the way.
The life of Yusuf AS was filled with intense hardship. Driven by envy and jealousy, all his brothers plotted against him, dropped him into a well and left him there to die. He was then rescued but sold as a slave from one owner to another: from the son of a prophet, he was degraded to the status of a cheap slave. As a slave he was tried by temptation, and suffered the oppression of a woman who desired him but was spurned. When he rejected her advances and preferred being in prison over committing a major sin, he was sentenced to an indefinite term in jail. Where are we in comparison? We have no standing to even claim that we experienced even a fraction of what Yusuf AS did.
Allah then extracted Yusuf AS from prison and made him the treasurer of Egypt. His position in society was so high that he even had the full trust of the King! His status of being responsible for the coffers of the country was so elevated that his own family, including his brothers, came and prostrated before him. Surely the irony is not lost here! Who engineered such a turn of events?
When you totally belong to Allah, and show Allah that you are only for Allah, with no other objective in your life, and demonstrate that you are willing to sacrifice whatever Allah has given you without hesitation, then your victory has arrived.
Allah does not need you to gather the numbers. Victory can be given at an individual level, even if you have no one else with you. If Allah wants you to be victorious, He will make it so, regardless of all the odds. What you need to do to earn that victory is to completely surrender and submit with your heart, mind, soul and ability to Allah, with pure and utter sincerity. When you do that, Allah promises victory and defeat to your enemies.
Allah will continuously place you in one condition after another to sift out the sincere from the liars and hypocrites. Some of the conditions can be bizarre, unpredictable and even impossible. I am sure you have experienced this first hand in some point in your lives. Allah is constantly assessing who the pure ones are. If we prove our steadfastness, we will be awarded the victory.
Why is it that today, we are unable even achieve a minor victory? It is because we surrender too easily and flee from one situation to another without solving the heart of the problem. We assume that by escaping a situation instead of fixing ourselves, the problem is solved. In actual fact, when someone runs away from a trial or fitnah instead of overcoming it, Allah places him in a more severe fitnah from that he is escaping.
You cannot run from your trial; you are supposed to survive it. There is no point escaping a geographical location – the sunnah of Allah knows not boundaries of place, time and nation. It will reach you wherever you are.
One of the main fitnah is to be scared and worried, loving something too much that the attachment and fear of loss overrides every other priority in this world. All these attachments, worries and preoccupations block us against our journey to Allah. We need to rise above such attachments to pass this test.
Spreading the Message
To achieve victory, we must belong to Allah. How and when that victory manifests itself is not in our hands and not our concern. We just need to fulfil our part, and Allah will grant victory in the way He chooses. The Companions never lost heart, they kept forging ahead regardless of all the resistance against them. They never despaired, not even when some of their own were slain in battle or were tortured and executed.
Once we have acquired the knowledge and iman, Allah wants us to accord victory to the iman by spreading the message, knowledge and understanding of Allah to others.
We cannot allow our journey to be emotional or reactionary. It cannot be a journey of blaming and finger pointing. The blame game does not exist in the sunnah of Allah. A muhsin is focused on the overriding goal, and not waylaid by knee jerk reactions or emotional meltdowns. This is why knowledge and consultation are needed to rein our natural inclinations to fear, panic and be hasty.
When trying to spread the message, we have to always assess the scale of benefit and harm in our actions. This insight can only be gained through knowledge and consultation. We have to guard ourselves against reacting hastily or by exercising our choices when we are emotional and unable to make a lucid and objective decision.
In spreading the message, we are also expected to mitigate and even avoid harm to others. If an action is likely to cause more damage than benefit, then it is best to delay it. Never use force. For example, don’t destroy someone’s music collection in order to force him to stop listening to music. The harm of the outcome will outweigh the benefit.
All this requires expertise. We need to consider the consequences of our actions, and whether they are harmful or beneficial to the individual and to mankind. We need to cultivate patience and wisdom to follow the sunnah of Allah and to be with Allah. We need to find a suitable individual to guide us, instead of reacting in whatever way we like, without reference to what Allah and His Messenger taught us. Once we have found someone with quality to guide us, we should quell our egos and learn from such person without rebellion or argument.
If we do things without any knowledge or manner, Allah will not give us victory. Da’wah nowadays has become a vindictive arena, with even famous Shuyukh bad-mouthing and slandering other learned scholars. Even those who try to spread Islam through the social media obey they own nafs and arrogantly articulate their own ideas to push their own personal agenda forward, without taking any Qur’an or sunnah into consideration. People are constantly fighting over status or dunia, determined to win arguments even at the expense of the message. At each stage, the message of Islam is smudged and cheapened. If this is our behaviour, where we inflame others to feed our ego, can we expect a victorious result?