by Khawlah bint Yahya
Welcome to this week’s Jumuah Quran and Productivity Special!
Imagine that there is no partition between you and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Imagine you had this chance every day.
Well, you do!
Where is your musallah (prayer mat)? That’s where it all happens.
What happens when you pray?
Look at this amazing pearl of wisdom; if you truly understand it, it will change your life:
“When the servant stands up to pray, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Remove the veil between Me and My servant.” But when the servant turns away— from Allah to something else— He says, “Replace the veil.”
When you turn to something else in your prayer, the veil between you and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala comes down again. But when you turn your heart to Allah and don’t turn away, Shaytan cannot find a place between that heart and Allah.
But . . . How Do You Turn Your Heart to Allah?
When I entered Islam I started praying and I loved every single movement. But that was all it was for me, movements. I asked my friends if they knew what they were saying in prayer, and guess what? Many of them didn’t even know the translation of Surah al Fatihah!
Then I came across a story. That very story made me realize my salah was a gift to me and at the same time I realized I had been offering “empty gifts” to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, prayers with my heart not there.
That story was the story of Israa’ wal Miraaj, the Night Journey.
The Night Journey and the Gift of Salah
In order to fully appreciate your salah, you need to know about The Night Journey. This mind-blowing journey was an honour only given to Rasulullah salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in a time when his hardships had reached a peak with the loss of his beloved Khadijah radiyallahu ‘anha, the loss of Abu Talib, his protection, and the dramatic experience in Taif. Allah, the Mender of Hearts, al Jabbaar, comforted the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by this breathtaking journey and revealed the gift of salah to him.
From then on the only thing I wanted was to understand in Arabic what I said in my prayers. By first understanding the meaning of Surah al Fatihah and then the meaning of other short surahs, the journey of my heart to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala began.
Here are Four Lessons From the Journey of Wonders!
Israa wa’l Miraaj is a journey that all of us should spiritually perform.
These are four crucial lessons we can take:
1. The Unseen as the big motivator
When Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala showed the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam the extent of His power and command, he came back more calm and reliant on Allah. Through Israa wa’l Miraaj, you have been given a glimpse of what awaits you in the Hereafter. The lesson in it for us is that time, space and distance are all the creations of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and similarly Paradise and Hellfire are not concepts, but real places which exist physically. One of them is your final destination.
The Qur’an gives you enough descriptions of each to decide for yourself which path you should take and, Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, with his beautiful rahmah helps you to choose the right path. Israa wa’l Miraaj is a milestone in the journey of Emaan for every believer— to believe in the unseen and to have faith that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is sufficient for us.
2. Patience brings wonders
Remember that this journey happened at a time of extreme adversity during the Prophet’s life and although the circumstances around him were shaking, his faith never did. Hence he salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was rewarded with this wonderful journey.
The lesson for you is that whenever you face hardship and you feel all your means have been cut, you should turn back to Allah, while relying on Him, al Fattah, to show you the solution. And be patient.
Someone once said: Emaan + Suffering + Patience = Jannah!
Remember at all times that this world is just a testing ground and who we really are is determined by how we deal with tests and tribulations. Believe that whatever is happening is best for you.
3. Pass the exam of character
Enduring all this adversity, the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam showed amazing character. It is easy to be generous to a generous person and kind to other kind people but the true test of your character and faith is when you are still able to treat people well who aren’t kind or generous.
A true believer doesn’t get angry with the situation or circumstances but looks for a productive way out. True self control is to the point that you do not even raise your voice in anger. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala strengthen us in training ourselves!
4. Realize and live by the blessing of Islam
Instead of questioning your situation, you should always question yourself about what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala expects from you. Before you experience victory, you will be tried. If you understand Islam, you will understand that no situation is too tough to handle for a believer.
Did you know that next to the five daily prayers Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gave you a beautiful Qur’anic dua to enrich your life? During Israa wa’l Miraaj Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed the last verses of surah al Baqarah. During this very journey, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also promised that He will forgive the sins of true believers even if they are major sins. As long as a believer does not associate anything with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, he is promised forgiveness from his Lord. So aren’t these some of the most beautiful gifts you could get?
The prayer, beautiful duas, and forgiveness—that’s what the Israa wa’l Miraaj means to you!
The answer: how can you turn your heart to Allah [swt]?
Now, going back to the question; how can we be of those whose hearts are turned to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
In our prayer and during the rest of the day?
The first step of your heart being present in both your salah and reading the Qur’an, is by knowing what you are saying. The true linguistic miracle of all these different surahs, which will open your heart, will be unraveled if you start to learn them in the original form Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed them— in Arabic.
Someone once advised to end your day by reading the Qur’an and start your day by reading the Qur’an, so the very last conversation and the very first conversation of your day would be with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
That’s what I call a great productivity tip!
The productivity ayah of the week is . . .
Isn’t the Israa wa’l Miraaj a proof of Allah’s boundless generosity to us, and sufficient encouragement for us to remain strong in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? We should honour the message and purpose of this Journey by living our daily lives according to the lessons it holds for us.
“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.“ [Surah al Israa; 17: ayah 1]
Please remember these four daily life lessons when you read Surah al Israa and be thankful for your Salah!
—Khawlah bint Yahya
THE AYAH JOURNAL, Qur’an & Productivity is a global project with the exciting goal to inspire every Muslim worldwide to open the Qur’an every day, pick one ayah and apply it to your own life by making acting on the ayah your mission for the day. Let’s bring back the message of the Qur’an to our daily life! Check www.ayahjournal.com and follow us on www.facebook.com/ayahjournal for vibrant Qur’an & Productivity tips.