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|Turning to the Qur’an for remaining steadfast in I|
|06/09/05 at 23:43:19|
Turning to the Qur’an for remaining steadfast in Islam
Published: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 10:17 AM Doha Time
By Sheikh Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid
Praise be to Allah; we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides cannot be led astray, and whomsoever He leaves astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone, with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Steadfastness in the religion of Allah is a basic requirement for every sincere Muslim who wants to follow the Straight Path with determination and understanding. This matter is of great importance for a number of reasons, including the following:
1. The present situation of the societies in which Muslims live, the types of temptation to which they are painfully exposed and the kinds of whims and desires, doubts and confusion which have caused religion to become something strange, so that those who adhere to it are likened to something weird, and people say: “The one who holds on to his religion is like one who holds on to a burning coal.”
2. Anyone who has a brain will not doubt that Muslims today need the means of steadfastness more than their predecessors among the salaf did, and that the effort required is greater, because of the corruption of our times, and the scarcity and weakness of brothers and supporters who could help.
3. The high incidence of apostasy (riddah) and backsliding, even among those who are working for Islam, which causes Muslims to fear ending up the same way, so he seeks the means of standing firm so that he can reach dry land, as it were.
4. The relationship of this issue to the heart, of which the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “It changes more than a pot of rapidly boiling water.” (Reported by Ahmad, 6/4; al-Haakim, 2/289; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1772). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also gave another example of the heart: “The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub – alteration, variation, ups and downs). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.” (Reported by Ahmad, 4/408; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2364).
As a later poet said: “He is only called insaan (man) because of his nasyaan (forgetfulness) And it is only called al-qalb (the heart) because it constantly varies (yataqallib).”
Making the one stand firm who is tossed about by the winds of doubt and confusion is a serious matter which needs tremendous means as befits the seriousness and difficulty of the task at hand. It is part of Allah’s mercy towards us that He has shown to us, in His Book and through the words and life of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) many ways of being steadfast in Islam. I will discuss some of them below:
Means of Steadfastness in Islam Turning towards the Qur’an
The Qur’an is the foremost aid to standing firm in Islam. It is the strong rope and clear light of Allah. Whoever adheres to it, Allah will protect him; whoever follows it, Allah will save him; and whoever calls to its way will be guided to the Straight Path. Allah has stated that the reason why this Book was revealed in stages was to help His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to stand firm in his faith.
In the context of refuting the doubts of the kuffaar, He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And thkse who disbelieve say, ‘Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once?’ Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. And no example to similitude do they bring (to oppose or to find fault in you or in this Qur’an), but We reveal to you the truth (against that similitude or example), and the better explanation thereof.” [al-Furqaan 25:32-33]
Why is the Qur’an such a source of strength?
* Because it cultivates faith and purifies the soul through contact with Allah.
* Because these aayaat bring peace and tranquillity to the heart of the believer, so he will not be tossed about by the winds of fitnah; his heart will be content with the remembrance of Allah.
* Because it provides the Muslim with the correct understanding and values with which he will be able to evaluate the situation around him. It also gives him the standards against which he may judge things in a proper and consistent manner, without varying from one situation or person to another.
* Because it refutes the doubts that are stirred up by the enemies of Islam, kuffaar and munaafiqeen alike, as in the following examples from the early days of Islam:
- The effect of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither forsaken you nor hated you” [al-Duhaa 93:3] on the heart of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), when the mushrikoon said, “Muhammad has been forsaken...” (See Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 12/156).
- The effect of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “... The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur’an) is a clear Arabic tongue” [al-Nahl 16:103]. The Quraysh claimed that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was taught by a human being and that he took the Qur’an from a Roman carpenter in Makkah.
- The effect of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “...Surely they have fallen into trial [fitnah]...” [al-Tawbah 9:49] on the hearts of the believers, when the munaafiq had said, “Grant me leave (to be exempted from jihaad) and put me not into trial.” [al-Tawbah 9:49 - interpretation of the meaning].
Is it not the greatest of help, strengthening the heart of the believer, refuting doubts and silencing the voices of falsehood? Indeed it is, by Allah.
When the believers were coming back from al-Hudaybiyah, Allah promised them much war booty which they alone would go and take (i.e., the booty of Khaybar). [He told them that] the munaafiqoon would ask to accompany them, but the Muslims would say, “You shall not follow us.” They would persist in trying to change the words of Allah, and they would say to the believers, “Nay, you envy us,” to which Allah responded by saying, “Nay, but they understand not except a little.” [al-Fath, 48:15 - interpretation of the meaning]. Then all of this happened to the believers, step by step, word by word. From this we can see the difference between those whose lives are connected to the Qur’an, who read it, recite it, memorize it, study it, ponder its meanings and take it as their starting-point and their refuge, and those who are preoccupied with the words of man.
Would that those who seek knowledge would devote most of their efforts to understanding the Qur’an properly! Adhering to the laws of Allah and doing righteous deeds Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause to go astray those who are zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), and Allah does what He wills.” [Ibraaheem 14:27]. Qataadah said: “As for the life of this world, Allah will help them to be steadfast in doing good and righteous deeds, and in the Hereafter (He will help them) to remain steadfast in the grave.” A similar interpretation was narrated from more than one of the Salaf. (Tafseer al-Qur’an al-’Azeem by Ibn Katheer, 3/421).
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “... but if they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them, and would have strengthened their (Faith)” [al-Nisa’ 4:66], i.e., it would have strengthened them in their adherence to the Truth. This is clear, for how can you expect steadfastness on the part of those who are too lazy to do righteous deeds when fitnah raises its ugly head and calamity increases? But Allah will guide those who believe and do righteous deeds by their faith to the Straight Path.
So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to persevere in doing righteous deeds, and the most beloved of good deeds to him were those that were continuous, even if they were small. When his Companions started to do anything, they would persist in it, and when ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) did something, she would keep it up. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say: “Whoever perseveres in doing twelve rak’ahs [i.e., the sunan rawaatib or sunnah prayers which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did constantly], Paradise will be his right.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2/273; he said, the hadeeth is hasan or saheeh; see also Saheeh al-Nisaa’i, 1/388 and Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1/131). According to a hadeeth qudsi, Allah says: “My slave will keep drawing near to me with naafil acts of worship until I love him.” (Reported by al-Bukhari; see Fath al-Baari, 11/340).
Studying the stories of the Prophets and following their example
The evidence for this is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad) of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers.” [Hood 11:120]. These aayaat were not revealed at the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for the purpose of mere entertainment and amusement. They were revealed for an important purpose, which was to strengthen the heart of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and likewise the hearts of the believers.
Think about the meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “They said: ‘Burn him and help your aalihah (gods), if you will be doing.’ We (Allah) said: ‘O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibraaheem!’ And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers.” [al-Anbiya’ 21:68-70]. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The last thing Ibraaheem said when he was thrown in the fire was, ‘Allah is Sufficient for me and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.’” (Al-Fath, 8/22)
Do you not feel how he stood firm in the face of oppression and torture, when you read this story? Think about the aayah in which Allah tells us about Moosa (interpretation of the meaning): “And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Moosa said: ‘We are sure to be overtaken.’ Moosa said: ‘Nay, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me.’” [al-Shu’ara’ 26:61-62]. Do you not feel how he stood firm when he was being pursued by the hosts of Pharaoh and was surrounded by cries of despair from his own people?
Read the story of the magicians of Pharaoh, which is an example of a small group that adhered firmly to the truth once it had become apparent to them. Do you not see how they stood firm in the face of threats issued by the oppressor who said, “Believe you in him (Moosa) before I give you permission? Verily! He is your chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of date-palms, and you shall surely know which of us [I (Pharaoh) or the Lord of Moosa] can give the severe and more lasting torment.” [Ta-Ha 20:71 - interpretation of the meaning]. The small group of believers stood firm, with no thought of retreat, and said: “We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for can only decree (regarding) the life of this world.” [Ta-Ha 20:72 - interpretation of the meaning].
Also think about the story of the believer in Soorat Yaa-Seen, the believer of Pharaoh’s household, the people of the Ditch (al-ukhdood), and others, which teach us the greatest lessons we could ever learn about standing firm in our faith.
Source: Gulf News
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