Preparing Ourselves for Testing Times

Difficult times are from Allah swt to test the believers if they would like to keep their promises under all circumstances.

But, one should always supplicate Allah swt to spare us from hardships. My Shaikh, Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar sb RA used to frequently supplicate that ‘O Allah, always bring us happiness and please let us not have to face any hardships and worries.’ He used to say golden words “اللہ تعالی سے مانگو تو بریانی اور راضی چٹنی روٹی پر بھی رہو” means one should supplicate to Allah swt for the best and should be delighted with whatever He bestows us from His Ultimate wisdom.

A hadith provides us clue as to what should one do in order to receive help from Allah swt in case of testing times. What else does a person need if he receives Devine help when he is worried and helpless.

تعرَّف إلى الله في الرَّخاء، يعرفكَ في الشِّدَّةِ

Don’t forget Allah swt in your peaceful and affluent days, He will remember you in your difficult times.

It is a common practice that we turn towards Allah swt when we are in misery and when all hopes are lost. And, we just forget Him when we are celebrating parties, casting evil glances and advances, illicit activities while on Internet and when no one else can see us, etc..

If we keep Him in our hearts and refrain from evils while we enjoy happy moments of our lives, He will come to our rescue when we will badly need Him.

Re-Embracing Islam

During the Hajj season, a small group of men and women from Madina came to Allah’s apostle (Sallalaho Alaihiwassallam) and invited him to Madina. “Don’t think that we are like Bani Israel, who told their prophet to go alone and fight with the enemies”, said one person. On another occasion they said, “We are the people who have made a promise that we will obey you in whatever situation … till the last drop of our blood”.

In those days, everybody knew that embracing Islam was not a piece of cake. They knew that they will have to obey Allah’s Prophet at any cost. AbuBakr
(RadhiyAllaho anh) knew that he might loose all his wealth, might face a social boycott and bear animosities just by accepting Islam. Bilal (RadhiyAllaho anh) knew that he would no longer be an ordinary slave; he might be subjected to a bed of red-hot coke just by uttering the kalima. These are not just two examples; every Muslim from as weakest as Sumayya RA to one from the affluent class Mas’ab bin Umair RA was more or less in the same situation. Can we visualize the horrible situation Muslims had to face at that time?

But wait a minute. Why were they getting fanatic? There could have been ways of pleasing everybody, which most of the hypocrites were adopting, but the Companions were rigid in their oath, “We have promised that we will obey Mohammad (Sallalaho Alaihiwassallam) ………..”. Why were they so stubborn?
Why they did not opt the easy way instead of sacrificing their lives? Why were they going against their society, their descendants, and even their own human desires? Was there any lust behind their actions? No.

They knew they had embraced Islam; which means now they would not pay attention to whatever was forbidden, no matter how advantageous it looked, no matter what the circumstances were, at any cost! And not only this; they would adhere to Islamic code of life; no matter how inconvenient the Islamic alternative “looked like”; no matter what the circumstances would be, at any cost! Although it is not part of
this discussion, but it is worth mentioning that in less than 25 years and by strictly obeying the Prophet (Sallalaho Alaihiwassallam), peoples from Mauritania to Iran accepted Islam and a time came when there were no recipient of dunes of gold and silver in Madina.

The holy Prophet inculcated Islam into hearts and minds of his companions. The society, which was indulged in
idolism, injustice, falsehood, alcoholism, adultery, usury, and hatred towards women etc., was completely changed in its actions and the way of thinking just because of the spirit of obedience.

After that point, men were satisfied with their apparent business losses because of telling truth and not taking interest, women were happy to observe veil, even with those who otherwise they used to intermingle freely, in the deserts in scorching sunny days. It was easy for men and women to lower their gazes against all the desires. It was easy for them to leave their ripen date trees, their only source of income, unattended when they were called for the Battle of Tabuk. Men from Arabian Desert were happily wandering into lands of China, Armenia and jungles of Africa, living thousands of miles away from their homes just to spread Islam.

Why were they all satisfied? Why were these things easy for them but not to us? Just because of the spirit of obedience. Because they knew that they had submitted themselves wholeheartedly to Islam. Now they could not do or think whatever way they wished; now they were under the shelter of Islam, which automatically prevents them from whatever was harmful to them and will provide them with all the benefits of lives of both worlds. They indoctrinated this belief into themselves.

When we claim ourselves to be Muslim why are we not ready to submit to Islam and throw away all other ideas, thinking, and philosophies?

Are we ready to submit ourselves to Islam? Ask yourself. Are we ready to mold ourselves according to Islamic values,
ideology and obligations no matter how much hardships we have to face?

نہ شود نصیب دشمن کہ شود ہلاک تیغد

سر دوستاں سلامت کہ تو خنجر آزمائی

Istikhara – Seeking Divine Guidance

Each one of us find ourselves in perplex situations where we are hesitant to select between the available options.

These situations could vary from crucial crossroads in the life to common day-to-day business. Decisions such as while choosing an elective, science or commerce, on choosing between some particular job offers/ business deals, while sending/accepting this or that marriage proposal or even while purchasing a house, mobile phone, car, etc require Allah’s help and advice too which one can easily seek through Istikhara- Divine guidance.

                                                                     وَمَاۤ أُوتِیتُم مِّنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ إِلَّا قَلِیلا

                                                                                (Surah al-Isra)

Everybody use his or her available knowledge and intuition and takes a decision which he/she thinks is the best. But our knowledge is neither complete nor we can think of all possible outcomes through our intuition.

Allah SWT loves us and has provided us a simple method for receiving divine guidance in our worldly matters. Allah SWT has the perfect knowledge about our past, present, and the future and knows (with perfection) which decision will lead us to the best outcome or what’s best for us. Consulting Him or rather seeking His help in decision making will definitely help us with the best outcome.

This consultation or seeking help is known as Istikhara. It is advised to make consultations with the domain-experts and perform Istikhara before taking decisions in our lives.

Jabir RA reports in Bukhari shareef that the Prophet [PBUH] used to teach us about Istikhara just like he used to teach us verses of Quran.

                                                      يعلمنا الاستخاره فى الامور كما يعلمنا السورة من القران

The process of Istikhara is quite simple. Offer two rika’at nafil salaat and make the dua of Istikhara with depth of the heart while think of the option you are perplexed about at the time of reading ھٰذَا in the dua. That’s it! Go and grab the world. Inshaallah.

The dua of Istikhara is as follows:

اَللّٰہُمَّ اِنِّیْ أَسْتَخِیْرُکَ بِعِلْمِکَ ، وَ أَسْتَقْدِرُکَ بِقُدْرَتِکَ، وَ أَسْأَلُکَ مِنْ فَضْلِکَ الْعَظِیْمِ ، فَاِنَّکَ تَقْدِرُ وَ لاَ أَقْدِرُ، وَ تَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ ، وَ أَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُیُوْبِ ․

اَللّٰہُمَّ اِنْ کُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ ھٰذَا الْأَمْرَ خَیْرٌ لِّیْ فِیْ دِیْنِیْ وَ مَعَاشِیْ وَ عَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِیْ وَ عَاجِلِہ وَ اٰجِلِہ ، فَاقْدِرْہُ لِیْ ، وَ یَسِّرْہُ لِیْ ، ثُمَّ بَارِکْ لِیْ فِیْہِ ․

وَ اِنْ کُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ ھٰذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌ لِّیْ فِیْ دِیْنِیْ وَمَعَاشِیْ وَ عَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِیْ وَ عَاجِلِہ وَ اٰجِلِہ ، فَاصْرِفْہُ عَنِّیْ وَاصْرِفْنِیْ عَنْہُ ، وَاقْدِرْ لِیَ الْخَیْرَ حَیْثُ کَانَ ثُمَّ اَرْضِنِیْ بِہ․(بخاری،ترمذی)