1. Islam. We must have Islam, embrace and submit towards Allah. Submission and surrender to Allah form the main core of the journey of victory.
2. Justice. Allah commands with justice and ihsan. Allah is the Just and He wants us to also be just. Any lack of justice reflects on our lack of Islam, and any lack of Islam will erode justice from our actions. The more Islam we have the more we deal with others in justice. Justice includes being just to yourself, the environment and the people around you, and is implemented through the proper knowledge of Islam.
Justice is not limited to the allocation of rights between two people. Any action of ours that impacts others adversely is an injustice to us and to them. For example, if we stink, display bad manners, lack punctuality and civic mindedness or have any other poor qualities that affect other people, we are being unjust. Our actions may cause people to question Islam, and a single careless gesture may tarnish the reputation of the whole religion.
Any time you perform an injustice in this life, you will pay for it in the moment of death, in the grave and on the Day of Judgment. If you have been subject to injustice, you can claim your recompense from the offender on the Day of Judgment. However, if you have been unjust, you will pay the price. Those whom you have unfairly insulted, backbitten, slandered and wronged will claim their rights from you on the Day of Judgment, and such rights are paid out by the re-distribution of your good deeds to them. What if, in the final calculation, your good deeds are so depleted that you do not have enough to admit you to jannah? This is why when you have been unjust to people, you have also being unjust to yourself.
3. To develop the characters of a man or a woman. We need to feel responsible and carry this with a zeal and sense of duty. We need to develop the strong attributes of manhood and womanhood, with character and manner, who can carry the noble message of Islam with dignity and composure. Those who acquire these characteristics are natural magnets to others, and attract others with their quality. We need to have upstanding characters who can be the fathers and mothers of the ummah.
4. Ancestry. Our children will inherit the traits of our ancestors, which is why we have to be careful in the selection of our spouse, who will later be the co-parent of our offspring. If we choose from a bad seed, then we should not complain why our children are lacking Islam – they merely inherited characteristics which were already rooted in their bloodline. Can we plant a seed of eggplant and expect a watermelon to sprout? Geneology does not just affect the physical attributes. Certain characteristics will surface over time, regardless of their education and upbringing. If there is a bad seed in the child’s ancestry, the trait will eventually manifest itself. The essence of their genetics will be revealed, unless Allah gives us repentance of the original seed. Rasulullah SAW advised us to choose well for our future children, because the seeds, good and bad, are deeply rooted.
5. Al Huriyyah. The freedom here means the freedom within and outside and the freedom to be, which is an essential teaching of Islam. Surah Al Baqarah reminds us that there is no compulsion in religion. When we force Islam on our children instead of educating them with freedom, free will and wisdom, they will rebel when they grow up, and we will suffer the backlash of it.
Imam Abu Hanifah RA came home from a journey and his son complained to him about a slave girl who was part of a war booty, and whom he wanted to marry. She was a fire worshipper and refused to embrace Islam. The son tried to force da’wah upon her but she did not want to listen. Imam Abu Hanifah RA asked him where she was, and discovered that he had locked her in the basement as a prisoner. He treated her badly in terms of food and other basic conditions. She was deprived of her dignity and freedom. Imam Abu Hanifah reprimanded his son and advised him to first set her free, restore her dignity and only then attempt any da’wah on her.
We are not allowed to invite people to Islam by placing them under duress, or by oppressing them or denying them their rights. There is no compulsion, spying, jail, threat or torture in Islam. We need to liberate them and let them make their own independent choices.
We also need freedom from our own bad habits, nafs and diseases of the heart, the genetic dispositions and the weaknesses. We need to strive for freedom from the bondage of dunia and material life, and the freedom of the slavery of anything except Allah.
Everything in life is an amanah. We do not own anything, not our husbands, wives or children, and not even the money in our pockets. We need to view everything from the right perspective. When we compromise the message of Islam with the devotion to dunia, we have surrendered our freedom.
One of Allah’s attributes is Al Malik, the King and Owner of all dominion. If we try to accumulate in life, we are challenging Allah in His own kingdom. When Allah gives us, we are expected to return it to Him by using it for Him to benefit mankind. But if we keep it for ourselves to enjoy and accumulate, we are inviting trouble upon ourselves.
We should thank Allah if we are not well off, because on the Day of Reckoning, the rich will have to account for every excess penny of their fortune and what they had accumulated in this life.
Consider the frantic lives of the rich merchants, traders and bankers. They are always short of time, lacking in calmness, security and internal freedom, despite their wealth. When they die, they will have to justify how their wealth was spent. They have no freedom in life and will have none in death until Allah has exonerated them of every drop of their money, ability, time and effort that they did not spend for sabeelillah.
Liberty increases with your belonging to Allah. This freedom grants you joy and tranquillity, regardless of how much or how little you own. Subtract this freedom from your life, and you will become prone to moodiness, anger, depression, jealousy and rebellion. Diseases of the heart will fester, where you will develop the compulsion to compare with what others have. Jealousy and envy will spill from our diseased hearts.
Why are we trapped in this cycle of competition? It is because we are not free from our desires, which values are dictated by the superficiality of dunia. To validate ourselves, we spend excessively and waste money on luxurious weddings, designer clothes, cars, jewellery, children’s parties and so on. We force our children to enter this arena too so that the competition and rivalry continue generation upon generation. Why can’t we spend the same amount of effort and expenditure to feed the poor or to do goodness? How much love of Allah we can earn that way!
Without iman, justice and freedom, we are held captive within the invisible jail of our own sickness. Arrogance keeps us shackled, preventing our liberation. We are not able to escape. Whereas if we are humble, with good manner, we will be free and victorious.
6. Puberty This does not just mean physical puberty, but also maturity, which makes us stable, and this stability in Islam comes from istiqama (steadfastness).
7. Aql This refers to our intellect, when it is applied in the correct way. In jahannam, the disbelievers will claim that had they comprehended or listened while they were alive, they would not have been sentenced there. However, their lack of comprehension was not caused by any defeciency of intelligence and faculty. Rather, it was their arrogance that veiled them from the ability to listen and comprehend the message. Therefore, one needs the humbleness and humility to expose his intelligence to the proper guidance. Any arrogance or stubbornness is the destruction of the whole journey.
8. Knowledge This is the knowledge of iman and the knowledge of trusting in Allah. Many people are highly qualified and extremely bright, but are atheists. They consider themselves astute and multi-talented, but they don’t believe in Allah – hence all their learning and intellect bears no eternal fruit for them. If one’s ultimate destination is hellfire, how can one claim himself to be victorious? If one is living in abject emotional and spiritual misery, despite all the academic achievements, and even commit suicide because life is intolerable, surely it is a defeat.
This is why we need the knowledge of wisdom, guidance and cure to cope with life. This knowledge has to be applied relative to our conditions and current circumstances. We cannot use the knowledge of Musa AS and apply it to our contemporary times.
Knowledge also means self-awareness. Numerous people falsely claim that they can tell you who you are – there are plenty of self help courses and books in the market on this. In Islam, if we get closer to Allah, Allah will give us the knowledge of ourselves. Allah is the one who created us, and He knows us inside out better than anyone else. He is the only one who can allow us to see the reality of who we are.