True Muslims believe in destiny

Updated 11 June 2015

True Muslims believe in destiny

A very important secret underlies the testing that takes place in this world. Believers who possess this secret, confront everything that befalls them with great patience, joy and enthusiasm. The fact of “destiny” lies at the heart of this secret.

Muslims know that Allah has created all things within destiny and that what befalls them does so solely because He so wishes. It is Allah Who creates people’s lives, right down to the finest detail. The Qur’an in its chapter Sura Al-An’am describes how everything, great or small, that happens on Earth occurs because Allah wishes it to: “The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur’an, 6:59)
Human beings are entities who live constrained by time and by looking at events solely from the current moment. And since people do not know the future they may not always be able to see the long-term wisdom, beauty and goodness in events. Allah, however, Who is unfettered by time and its Creator, sees and knows the lives of all entities from “outside time.” It is the fact of destiny that confronts us at this point. Destiny is Allah’s knowledge of all events, past and future, as one single moment. In other words, events the outcome of which is unclear are all “mysteries” for us. But Allah knows all these things that we cannot.
Therefore, the trial of human beings is one of which beginning and end are pre-ordained. The past, future and present are all one in the sight of Allah; all are already over and done with. We can only learn about them by experiencing them when the time comes.
This “knowledge of destiny” is great knowledge not granted to unbelievers. It is by means of this knowledge that Muslims are able to display such splendid fortitude in the face of all difficulties and tests in the life of this world.
Qur’an says: “No kind of calamity occurs except by Allah’s permission. Whoever believes in Allah, He will guide his heart. Allah has knowledge of all things.” (Qur’an, 64:11) Believers enjoy the ease and comfort of knowing that everything befalling them is destined to do so.
As a great blessing, Allah has made trials easy for believers. But this applies to genuine believers who resign themselves to destiny. A Muslim who truly believes and who sincerely submits himself to Allah watches the constant change of images before him with excitement, thanks and gratitude. Someone sitting in a chair and watching a film in comfort also watches the destiny appointed for him with trust and joy. All the images of that destiny, that are sometimes highly active, sometimes frightening, sometimes appeal to the physical senses and are sometimes very calm, contain the joy and excitement of faith. Frightening images have been specially prepared. They have been planned right down to the finest detail. But at the end of the day they are all within the knowledge and under the control of Allah.
A Muslim aware of the fact of destiny and who grasps this secret of the test, regards all difficulty, hunger or poverty, as positive things and takes great pleasure from them. Because he knows that that the moral values he displays in the face of this test are very valuable in the sight of Allah. This is a pleasure unique to believers. Muslims never suffer such feelings as worry, stress, pain, panic or fear in the face of such woes. Because Muslims know that Allah will make all events that appear to be evil or unwelcome turn out well in the end. In one verse, Allah tells believers that “Allah will not give the unbelievers any way against the believers.” (Qur’an, 4:141)
However, there is a point here that must not be misunderstood: Believers may encounter all kinds of trouble and difficulty in this world, they may lose their worldly goods, grow physically weak, fall ill or get injured and killed. However, none of these are “evils” for Muslims. Allah tests His servants by means of these and recompenses the fortitude they display many time over in this world and the next. And as a result of the trial in this world, Muslims are finally rewarded with the eternal life of the Hereafter.
Aware of this truth, Muslims therefore feel great joy in the face of difficulty. This joy experienced by believers is also a special condition that neutralizes the traps set by the unbelievers and denies them success. When unbelievers see that joy and enthusiasm at times when they imagine they have made things difficult for believers they realize they can never do them any harm. Muslims’ words at times of trouble also reveal to the unbelievers their fortitude and submission. The words of believers faced by difficulties are reported in the following terms in the Qur’an: “Say: ‘Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust’.” (Qur’an, 9:51)
There is no doubt that all these things are the results of their submission to the destiny created by Allah. Nobody who places his trust and faith in Allah will ever suffer any fear or distress again: “Those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then go straight will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” (Qur’an, 46:13)
Yes, the friends of Allah will feel no fear and will know no sorrow: Those who have iman and show taqwa, there is good news for them in the life of this world and in the hereafter. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory! (Qur’an, 10:62-64)
In other verses Allah reveals that servants who believe in and surrender themselves to Him are bound to a bough that will never break: Those who submit themselves completely to Allah and do good have grasped the Firmest Handhold. The end result of all affairs is with Allah. (Qur’an, 31:22)

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


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

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.