To feel secure, trust God

Updated 13 August 2015

To feel secure, trust God

From their childhood, people always want to have someone on whom they can truly trust. They feel the need to insure everything they have, because the lower-self always fears that something wicked will befall them. Until they pass from this world, people can’t help but grapple with this feeling.

They either suspect that their closest friend would backstab them or fear losing their possessions, or getting sick and dying. Nevertheless, as a requisite of the test in this world, the lower self always feels insecure and concerned.
In family life, school life, married life or business life there is an environment of incessant conflict, and a damaging spirit of competition. People want to live at ease, establish friendships and share their sorrows and joys. Yet in order to experience such sincerity, they lack the necessary building blocks; the sense of security is under perpetual assault and people try to protect it by various measures.
These people can in no way relish the pleasures of this life not only because of the insecurity they feel regarding others but also for their lives. Concerns occupy every moment of their lives.
Let’s think of a person: He works for years, earns some money and ultimately accomplishes buying the house of his dreams. That house, however, becomes a source of concern from the very day it is purchased. He needs to make more effort to be able to maintain it than the effort he exerted to buy it. He has security cameras installed all over the house, the garden is enveloped with barbed wire fences and high walls. As if these measures were not sufficient, the security is upgraded with an alarm system controlling every part of the house and a watch dog in the garden, accompanied with signs hung over the gate saying, “Beware of dog.” But all these measures are still not sufficient.
That house which is bought after years of sacrifice and hard work can be burned down to the ground in no time. A single spark can all of a sudden reduce a house into ashes. Once these thoughts start to occupy one’s mind, people lose sleep and find themselves visiting their local insurance agent. They, at least, want to feel at ease in the case of ordinary damage. A house purchased to lead a peaceful and comfortable life turns out to be a source of concern, something that may at any time cause them trouble. In the uneasiness of not knowing what might befall them, they constantly strive to insure their possessions.
Indeed people have also made it a habit to sign a prenuptial agreement. This agreement is designed as a means of not losing one’s possessions to the other party in case they decide to divorce one day. This is a measure taken based on the possibility that that love, compassion and friendship would ultimately come to an end. It is not a practice that stems from the concern felt for someone, to whom one addresses as “My love” and intends to spend an entire lifetime together.
This is essentially a security measure taken to guarantee one’s own life and to eliminate the risk of being cheated one day. However, this is also meaningful in showing the dimensions of spiritual damage that insecurity inflicts on people.
It is not only possessions that cause trouble for people. As he grows older, he thinks that he also needs to protect his body. People are totally oblivious about what is happening in their bodies. Pondering over it also distresses them. As they think they can contract cancer any moment or become disabled, they feel even more distressed. Upon this, they purchase health insurance, thinking they can never be entirely sure that they would not become sick. They feel obliged to save some money for such unexpected health problems. This also causes a lifetime of worry. The money spent on health becomes an even greater annoyance than the fear of illness or death.
In brief, people can never find peace in their souls because of the persistent sense of insecurity that haunts them. They often find the solution in other methods. They think that once they secure their possessions, they will find peace. Alternatively, once they don’t have any health problems, they will be happy. The fact is, the key to peace and bliss is putting one’s trust in God. Once a person understands that everything is under God’s control, that not even a leaf falls without God’s leave, and that God has the might to create anything by His order “Be”, he feels a sense of relief in his heart.
It is God Who creates all incidents, whether favorable or not, with all their details to test us in this world; whether we can see the goodness in them or not, goodness and auspiciousness is concealed in each seemingly bad thing. Our actual guardian and protector is God. It is not an insurance company, a watchdog in the garden or cameras that will protect our house. God protects our houses, but He makes those measures instrumental for it. It is not an insurance company or physicians who will heal us when we get sick. It is God Who will keep us healthy or cure us when we get sick. It is an act of worship and obligatory upon us to take measures, but after taking all the necessary measures, we put our trust in God. After all the measures we take, if that adversity still persists, then we forbear, realizing that God puts us to the test with it. If God wills goodness for us in destiny, no one can ever hinder it. If He wills hardship, there is again no one who can prevent it. Whatever God wills in destiny, it will assuredly happen despite all the possible measures that could be taken.
Our possessions, lives, health, spouses, kids, everything belongs to God. It is God Who endows us with blessings and it is also God Who may take them from us as a part of the trial. It is the peace of being aware of these truths and having faith in God that renders the soul satisfied, not any temporary measures we take. Indeed, in one verse of the Qur’an God relates thus:
“We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast.” (Qur’an, 2:155)
Consequently, what we should do is to know that everything is under God’s control and that we must trust in Him with all our hearts. The sole remedy to insecurity, uneasiness and apprehension in the lower-self is to put one’s trust in God.

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

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.