Similarly (to complete My Blessings on you) We have sent among you a Messenger (Muhammad s.a.w.) of your own, reciting to you Our Verses (the Qur'ân) and purifying you, and teaching you the Book (the Qur'ân) and the Hikmah (i.e. Sunnah, Islâmic laws and Fiqh - jurisprudence), and teaching you that which you used not to know. Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer). Truly! Allâh is with As-Sâbirun (the patient.) (Surah Al-Baqarah: 151-153)
Many people don’t believe in God. They say it’s irrational and illogical. I say they’re complicating their lives by choosing not to see the grandeur of His creations and His blessings as a sign of an Almighty Creator. To each his or her own.
Unfortunately, I also see this becoming more prevalent with Muslims but to a lesser degree. I see Muslims who choose not to be associated with Islam by becoming less practicing or not practicing at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging them. Not one bit. I just feel sad that many of my Muslim brothers and sisters are missing out on the spiritual enlightenment that Islam has to offer. I was once like that too so I know what it feels like.
Sometimes people complicate their Deen by being arrogant with God. Consequently they put a barrier between themselves and God.
What do you mean by that?
I think there are many ways we can be arrogant with Allah and may not even know it. Simply put, arrogance towards our Creator is rooted in the feeling that we know better than Him. We close our hearts to His guidance and the knowledge He has bestowed upon us through the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. We don’t make an effort to learn more about Islam and think that by following His guidance it is going to make us appear ‘uncool’. We neglect our relationship with Him by purposely missing salah (prayers), overlooking the importance of dhikr (praises and supplications to Allah) and other forms of worship.
Just because I don’t agree with all of Islam doesn’t mean I’m arrogant. I still believe in God. Doesn’t that count for something?
Of course it does but you’re not putting your complete trust in Him and His Messenger. I know it isn’t easy having faith in an entity and a person we cannot see and a religion we don’t always understand or agree with but as His creations we must try to humble ourselves. Trying to have complete trust in God is probably one of the most challenging things anyone can do but the proof is this: what you believe or don’t believe in today can very well change tomorrow, next month or next year. Hasn't that ever happened to you? Aren't we always changing and developing due to our life experiences and doesn't our level of knowledge follow suit?
But I don’t believe in following anything blindly. Some of these things don’t make sense to me. How can I trust in Him if He made me feel this way in the first place?
I don’t believe in following blindly either but there’s a difference between questioning the logic behind God’s commandments and questioning His Divinity and Sovereignty. There is a difference between having questions and criticising Allah's Wisdom. The difference lies in your intention. Do we question because we want to know more or do we question because we have already made up our minds about Islam? If you're having serious doubts don’t let your feelings control you. You are not your feelings. You are not your mind. You are stronger than these two elements that only make up who you are but do not define you infinitely. Instead quench your thirst for knowledge. Deepen your understanding of tauheed and what it means to say the shahadah that we recite in every prayer we perform. Every time we profess the shahadah we are renewing our commitment to our belief towards Allah swt and His Messenger.
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrates that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said: Renew your Iman! It was asked: O Rasulullah! How do we renew our Iman? He said: Say frequently La ilaha illallah.
(Musnad Ahmad, Tabarani, Targhib)
One of the reasons we struggle with our iman and aqeedah is because of the way we approach religion. We don't put as much emphasis on the matters of the heart and instead force ourselves to practice Islamic teachings without sound understanding of Islamic principles. As a result we may be inclined to think of religion as a bunch of rules that limit the way people live their lives.
We need to start thinking of religion as something that God has given us so we can better ourselves and our lives.
We need to start thinking of religion as something that God has given us so we can better ourselves and our lives.
But isn’t it true? Alcohol, pre-marital sex and drugs are some of the many things that are forbidden in Islam. Where’s all the fun? What about satisfying our desires?
Perhaps we need a paradigm shift. Let’s step out of this mentality for a moment.
One of the biggest problems we have today is the complication of our deen by ourselves. Unfortunately what’s worse is that there are Muslims out there who complicate Islam for others. The truth is there is more halal than haram in Islam. There is ample room for fun and enjoyment. God has only forbidden the things He has deemed as detrimental to our heart, body and soul. He has forbidden actions that don’t serve us any real purpose or benefit.
Shouldn’t we put our trust in The Creator of all the universes, The Most Intelligent and All-Knowing? Didn't Allah say that He has perfected our Deen, our way of life, for us? (refer to Surah Al-Maidah: 3)
There is also something else we need to get used to believing. We haven't been placed on this Earth to merely satisfy our desires even though yes, it was He who made us beings that have feelings and wants. Our test is to realise that our purpose is much, much bigger than the constant fulfillment of our worldly desires.
"Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?" (Surah al-Mu'minoon: 115)
"Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things. Who has created life and death that He may try you which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving." (Surah al-Mulk: 1-2)
It’s not as simple as it sounds. I’m struggling with a lot of things in my life including my faith. Does that make me a bad Muslim?
Only God has the right to judge whether we are good or bad Muslims. Everyone struggles with their faith at some point, or many points, in their lives and sometimes it’s going to feel like a continuous battle. The most important thing is for us to be patient and keep both our hearts and minds open. Surround ourselves with positive and knowledgeable Muslims. Always make sincere dua to ask for guidance from Him.
Sometimes when we are going through a rough patch in life our faith in God is affected. We tend to want to blame Allah for the troubles that befall on us. For some reason we just feel like rebelling against Him. The most important thing to remember is that Allah usually gives trials and tribulations to those He loves. They are means for us to increase our remembrance of Him and become closer to Him so we can purify ourselves and our intentions in this life. Otherwise we are so quick to forget Him and the ways He has blessed us.
And sometimes we fail to distinguish whether the problems we are facing are social or divine ones. If you’re married to someone who treats you like dirt, that’s a social problem. If your boss doesn’t appreciate you at work, that’s a social problem. Don’t let it affect your relationship with God by blaming Him for problems that are caused by people.
But I don’t want to seem like a religious freak. What will my friends and/or family think?
Again, a paradigm shift is needed. Becoming a better and practicing Muslim doesn’t make anyone a bad person. If it does, they’re not doing something right. The biggest misconception about piety is that it makes you less of a ‘cool’ person.
Life on Earth is temporary. It’s not worth impressing a bunch of people who won’t be able to help you when you need to cross the Sirat al-Mustaqeem on Judgement Day. Besides, what’s not cool about entering Paradise?
Uthman (radhiAllahu`anhu) said, “The one who observes the five daily prayers in their proper times and is constant in this, Allah will honour him with nine miracles – Allah will love him, his health will be good, angels will protect him, blessedness (baraka) will descend on his house, the sign of the righteous will be apparent on his face, Allah will soften his heart, he will cross the bridge of al-sirat al-mustaqim [in the Hereafter] at the speed of a flash of lightning, Allah will save him from Hellfire, and Allah will place him amongst the people who have no fear nor are they ever sad.”
How do I make things right? How do I not complicate my Deen?
Perform salah frequently. Read and recite the Holy Qur'an as much as you can. If that’s a challenge, say dhikr as much as possible until performing prayers start becoming a habit for you.
Alhamdulillah. La ilaha illallah. SubhanAllah. Allahuakhbar. Astaghfirullah.
We need to purify our hearts from all arrogance towards Allah. We need to strengthen our heart's intuition and ability to use our 'aql (spiritual intellect) with confidence. When the heart has been neglected for a while it will be hard at first. You probably won't even like saying these praises for Allah at first but inshaAllah He will make it easier for you as time goes by and as the heart becomes more purified. It's like when you first start exercising. In the beginning you don't have much stamina and your body isn't very flexible but with time you enjoy working out more and more and you get better at it.
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrates: Rasulullah (s.a.w.) passed by me one day as I was planting a sapling. He asked: O Abu Hurairah! What are you planting? I replied: Saplings for myself. He said: Shall I not tell you of better saplings than these? I said: Yes O Rasulullah!
He said: Say
SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah who is above all faults)
Alhamdulillah (All Praise be to Allah)
La ilaha illallah (None is worthy of worship but Allah)
Allahuakhbar (Allah is the Greatest);
For each of these words a tree will be planted for you in Paradise. (Ibne Majah)
The way to simplify your Deen is by removing all arrogance towards Allah. First and foremost, let go of that baggage. Don’t hold on to feelings and thoughts that are not healthy for you. We need to choose our battles in life. Don’t feed your anger with more anger. Don't feed your sadness with more sadness. Secondly, be humble, sincere and grateful. Trust in Him and His Infinite Wisdom. To be Muslim and have an understanding of the true meaning of this life is more precious than all the pleasures and success of this world. Thirdly, don’t stray from the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
"O you who believe! Do not make your decisions (and yourselves) ahead of Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah: Verily, Allah is All Hearing (Sami'), All Knowing (Aleem)." (Surah Al-Hujraat: 1)
Lastly, always remember that everyone has been given a different path and journey. No one's spiritual journey is identical to another person's but that's the beauty of it. Despite our differences we can always find a positive common ground between us and we should use it to support each other and not let our differences become a reason for us to judge one another and bring each other down. InshaAllah, I am reminding myself as much as I am reminding you.