As Muslims, when we look at the clouds of misery casting their shadows around us in terms of hunger, wars, killings, persecution, and the many injustices being committed and reported daily, it raises many questions.
What did we do to deserve this? Where are we heading? And what can we do to prevent this free fall?
As we ponder and assess whether we have lived up to our responsibilities in terms of following Allah’s word – the Quran – and what the prophet (s) instructed us, the answers can become quite obvious. We live in times when many of us have put Quran and the Sunnah (prophet’s traditions) on the backburner. The Quran has been left to rest on our bookshelves and electronic devices and barely makes it to our hearts. The sunnah is something that rarely shows in our behaviors and lives.
We seem to be living during times, which was accurately portrayed by the famous scholar, ibn Al-Qayyim many centuries ago as follows. He said:
The earth trembles, the heavens have darkened, evil has appeared on land and on sea because of the injustices of the wicked, and evil doers. Blessings have disappeared, good deeds are less, and life has become corrupted because of the wickedness of the wrong-doers. The morning light and the night’s darkness shed tears, because of the awful deeds that are committed. Honorable writers among the angels and others from among them have complained to their Lord because of the prevalence of misdeeds and the supremacy of atrocities.
Why have we reached such a state? Here is what he had to say further to explain this phenomenon:
When the Glorious Quran, and the Sunnah are abandoned, because it is thought that they are insufficient, and when human opinions, analogy, discretion, and the words of (other so called) scholars are sought, people’s natures are corrupted, their hearts become dark, their understandings become confused, and their minds become distorted.
Specifically, he mentions that we have reached this state because of the following:
- Inclination has replaced wisdom.
- Vain desires have replaced reason.
- Going astray has replaced guidance.
- The wrong has replaced the good.
- Ignorance has replaced knowledge.
- Hypocrisy has replaced devotion.
- The unlawful has replaced the lawful.
- Lying has substituted truthfulness.
- Flattery has substituted (sincere) advice,
- and injustice has replaced justice.
If you see the superiority of such evils, and their slogans are set up where their armies are invading, surely the bottom of the earth would be much more desirable than its surface, the peaks of mountains would be more preferable than the plains, and accompanying beasts would be better than accompanying people.
What can we learn from such a situation?
Here are some of the points that he mentions that we can start doing to start digging out of the hole that we may have created ourselves. This applies to all of us as an Ummah and also as individuals when some may find themselves as lost and unhappy.
1. Repentance to Avoid Further Afflictions
Ibn Al-Qayyim states that:
By Allah! This is a warning of approaching torment, and forthcoming afflictions, so you have no resort except sincere repentance as long as repentance is still available.
Let’s, therefore, not wait until there is no escape, as Allah says,
which means, “And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned.” (Quran: Ash-Shu’ara, 26:227)
2. Buy Success Through Good Deeds
As a lesson, he recommends:
Buy success for yourself today (by doing good deeds), for the market still exists, and the price is affordable, and goods are low-priced, and do not wait until the market and the goods are inaccessible, as Allah says,
which means, “(And remember) the Day when He (Allah) will gather you (all) on the Day of gathering – that will be the Day of mutual loss and gain.” (Quran, Surah At-Taghabun, 64:9)
3. Avoid the Situation When Many Will Be Sorry
For those, who take Allah’s message lightly, they will be sorry one day for the opportunity they had but missed instead. As Allah states about those people:
which means, “when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, etc.) will bite at his hands (with remorse), he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger.” (Quran: Al-Furqan, 25:27)
4. Get Back to the Message of Quran
Before we complain to Allah about our plight, let’s pick the Quran from the shelves and get it in the depth our hearts. Let’s study the noble life of the prophet (s) who was sent as a mercy for the entire humanity, and fashion our lives according to his teachings. Once we do that, we can expect a change in our lives – both at a personal level and overall. Allah says in the Quran:
The verse means, “Say: Obey Allah and the messenger…” Quran (Surah Aal-e-Imran:32) (Surah Aal-e-Imran Facts)
Reference: AL-FAWA’ID: A Collection of Wise Sayings – By ibn Al-Qayyim