by Raiiq Ridwan

Muslims are in the headlines— again, and again for the wrong reasons. There are the children killed in Peshawar. There are the Paris shootings. Then there was the Sydney hostage crisis. A situation where a group of Muslims have literally gone insane and deeds were done in the name of Islam that have no basis in our pure faith.

There is also the ongoing crisis in Syria, the decades-long situation in Palestine, and the suppression and persecution of Muslims the world over. Hate crimes toward Muslims have largely increased, and somehow they are now becoming more “justified”  as well.

Through it all Muslims have made some great strides as well, ma sha Allah. They have written brilliant op-ed columns in various newspapers, put up good Facebook statuses, have discussed it all on national and international TV channels.

Overall there have been wonderful acts done by we Muslims the world over to try and combat the extremism within our own ranks, to try and respond to the bigotry and racism from others, and to try and put up a good representation of our faith as well.

With so much said already, I do not want to add in more where there has already been something said by people more qualified than I am, and in ways in which I could probably not articulate. Rather this article seeks to look at another side to our lives, a side that probably gets a little less attention in all this chaos.

Islam is a practical faith, and it is a spiritual faith as well. There is no “spirituality” without engaging in dhikr of Allah, without praying our five daily prayers and fasting Ramadan. Similarly, all the “practical” things in life can and do in Islam have a spiritual side, too!

We give in charity, and we remember that it is for Allah that we are giving the charity for and that Allah will reward us for it. Behind every action of the limb lies at least one action of the heart. So how should our hearts respond to the recent crises? How does Allah want our hearts to respond?

1. Tawbah and Istighfar

Repent to Allah. Allah says, “O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance.” [1] Repentance is the source through which we will be successful. Allah also says, “And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [2] Success in both this life and the next is directly proportional to how much we turn back to Allah in repentance.

It is also a means for us to find a way out of every difficulty. The Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” [3]

The evil on earth is a direct consequence of the actions of man, and thus our collective repentance and our collective seeking of forgiveness is what will in sha Allah bring the peace back on earth. Allah says, “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return.” [4]

It is a result of our actions that Allah has allowed corruption and evil to spread on earth. It is a sign to us of what will happen if we continue in our sin and disobedience. And it is a chance that Allah gives for us to turn to Him in repentance, and seek His forgiveness through which we will earn success, a way out of every distress and a relief for all our anxieties!

2. Taqwa and Dhikr

The next and most important thing we need to have after repentance is God-consciousness or taqwa and to remember Allah at all times, dhikr. Taqwa has been defined by scholars in various way since the earliest of times. To absolutely simplify taqwa is to be conscious of what Allah wants of us and thus to do that which He asked us to do and to avoid that which He asked us to avoid.

Allah says, “O you who have believed, have taqwa of Allah . And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow” [5]. The easiest way to have taqwa is how Allah asked us to do- “let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow”- that in every single moment of our lives for every action that we do, we choose to do that which is pleasing to Allah, rather than choosing to disobey Allah.

And what are the fruits of taqwa? Allah says, “And whoever has taqwa of Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect” [6]. He promises a way out, and He promises to provide from a source we cannot expect! He then goes on in the same Surah to promise more, “And whoever has taqwa of Allah – He will make his matters easy for him.” [7]

He promises to make our things easy for us, is that not what we seek? He promises more. In the same Surah he says, “Whoever has taqwa of Allah – He will remove for him his misdeeds and make great for him his reward” [8]. Not only do we benefit in this world but He promises us a great reward in the hereafter. Is there a better win-win situation?

Part of the way to nurturing taqwa is to make lots and lots of dhikr of Allah. To remember Allah in every time and place, as much as possible. Allah says in the Quran, “O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance. And glorify Him in the morning and afternoon. It is He who sends blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful.” [9].

Allah will send His blessings upon us, and from all of this darkness He will take us to light. Be conscious of Him and remember Him, that is the path to peace in these times. “Most certainly in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.” [10]

3. Hasbun Allah

“Allah is enough for us, and He is the best caretaker of our affairs” [11] is what the Sahabah said during the battle of Uhud when people told them that they should be afraid of the enemy. Hasbi Allah “Allah is enough for me” is what Ibrahim alayhi salam said when he was about to be flung into the fire for worshipping Allah. The most important thing that our heart needs to understand is that Allah is enough for us, and He is the best caretaker of all that we face. It is to understand that no matter what attacks come upon the people of Syria and Palestine, that Allah is enough for them. It is to realize that all the good we do is actually a benefit for ourselves and that Allah and His Messenger are enough, they do not need us. It is to fathom the fact that no matter how bad things get, Allah is al-Wali, the Guardian Friend to those who believe and do good deeds. Saying Hasbun Allah is to remember that no matter how bad the situation gets, Allah will never let go of a nation, the first of whom was Muhammad and the last of whom will be Eesa, alayhimassalatu wassalam.

[1] Quran 66:8

[2] Quran 24:31

[3] Narrated by Abu Dawud

[4] Quran 30:41

[5] Quran 59:18

[6] Quran 65:2-3

[7] Quran 65:4

]8] Quran 65:5

[9] Quran 33:41-43

[10] Quran 13:28

[11] Quran 3:173

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