Difficulties are linked to destinies

Updated 26 March 2015
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Difficulties are linked to destinies

Some people refer to events not going their way as mishaps. However, although they think of such things as ‘mishap,’ that is in fact how things are meant to play out in destiny.
You have a date with someone at a given time, but they do not turn up. You do a very successful piece of work, but someone else fails to appreciate it properly. You put a lot of work into giving someone a nice present, but the person concerned fails to realize. You say something with the best of intentions, but the other person misinterprets it. You want to go to sleep, but someone thoughtlessly makes a loud noise. You ask someone for help in an emergency, but that person forgets you. You entrust something valuable to someone, and they lose it. You spend years preparing for university exams, then that very day you fall ill and can’t make it to the exam. You put a substantial amount of cash in your bag, then someone steals it. A close relative suddenly falls ill, but the ambulance arrives late and he dies.
Many people will regard themselves as ill-fated under such circumstances. And they will imagine that the whole fault lies with someone else. They become angry and direct their emotions toward the person they regard as being to blame.
People then say things, either to the other person’s face or behind their back. They imagine that if only that person had not behaved so thoughtlessly or made that mistake, everything would have gone their way. That is in fact a major error. If people only realized the truth their whole attitude to life would change.
Without faith, people are condemned to sadness and despair
If God were to show the wisdom behind events described as mishap that sadden, irritate or otherwise trouble people at that very moment, one would immediately realize how wrong it is to become upset, and would on the contrary be in a very happy state of mind. If destiny were shown as a whole, or if a person were to see events regarded as mishap within destiny, he would never be saddened by them.
Most people imagine that destiny does not apply, may God forbid, other than in matters such as birth, death or the hour of death, and that other events happen for reasons such as foolishness or lack or forethought and therefore have nothing to do with destiny. However, that error may lead them to rebelliousness in the face of events ordained in destiny and to be saddened by them. In addition, evaluating all events as working against them also inflicts unending sadness on them. The result is that joy in such emotional people is very brief and short-lived. After rejoicing over something, they soon think of something that will sadden them instead and assume a pessimistic state of mind.
These things are all inescapable consequences of not living by religious moral values. In the absence of faith one is condemned to sorrow and unhappiness.
God may test one with various troubles and difficulties in the life of this world. But unlike people who are ignorant of the Qur’an, the believer never falls prey to sorrow and despair or becomes emotional in the face of troubles created by God to test him. He knows that God is testing him to see how he will behave in the face of adversity. For a Muslim who is aware of this there can be no trouble or adversity or mishap, and these things are all gifts from God. They are instrumental in increasing his faith and in his enjoying the ease and comfort of submission to God and destiny.
Everything that happens in the world does so solely because God so wishes. If one thinks of everything that happens in one’s life as a video tape, in the same way that you see the same scenes every time you watch the tape, that is also the case in terms of one’s life, and there is not the slightest difference. Even if the tape is kept stored for hundreds of years and then put in a player and watched again, the same film will appear on the screen. The things that happen in one’s life are also a single and unchanging whole. If a person is intended to arrive somewhere late, then that is what he will do.
The cause may be traffic or illness or forgetfulness. But the outcome never changes. In the same way, nothing can prevent one dying when the time of his death arrives; the ambulance may be late, or the doctor may be neglectful. But the outcome will happen. A person must have a very different view of things that occur during the day. If someone’s wallet is stolen, that means that he must no longer be in possession of the money in it. And God creates the theft as a cause. If a person cannot enter the university entrance exams, that means God does not wish him to go to university that year, but to do something else instead. If someone is late and the planned meeting does not happen, then that is because God does not wish it to.
Nobody will be late, or forget, or misunderstand, or lose something he has been entrusted with, or get stuck in traffic or drive badly unless God so wishes.
There is only one fact that needs to be known on the subject: “It is God Who creates everything that befalls one.’ And ‘God always creates a cause for whatever needs to happen.’ That cause never comes about of its own accord. Nobody can make it happen unless God so wishes. Our Lord tells us this in the Qur’an: “But you will not will unless God wills. God is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Qur’an, 76:30)

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.