The title of this article sounds pretty mind blowing, right? How could a simple historical fact change anything in your life today?
To give a brief history, the original Qiblah (direction in which Muslims pray), was Bayt al-Maqdis (Masjid al-Aqsa), in Jerusalem. The Prophet (PBUH) was mocked by the Jews for praying in the same direction as them, yet he continued to abide by the commands of Allah. Approximately eighteen months after his migration to Medina, the command was delivered to change the direction of the Qibla to the Ka’bah.
“We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a Qibla with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. “(Qur’an, 2:144)
And, that was it! The direction of the Qiblah was steered toward the direction in which Muslims pray today.
How can this event benefit you?
It’s a pretty simple story and you may be aware of the facts already, but from this particular event, we can extract a wealth of beneficial practical applications in how to deal with change – a topic of particular relevance to our youth – a generation who, perhaps, deal with the most significant amount of change in their lives. Our youth experience changing schools and curricula, general life circumstances, employment, relationships and family status, financial status, etc.
Allah the Almighty did not leave us to deal with these changes alone, but instead has implanted vast amounts of wisdom throughout the Qu’ran and hadith, that can be derived from historical events providing us with hints on how to deal with such challenges.
The change regarding the Qiblah is an event that can be drawn upon to provide guidance on dealing with change in accordance with Allah the Almighty’s wisdom.
In our youth, with the guidance of parental and peer support, we also faced changes. Passing through this stage, we were thrust into early adulthood; forced to face the associated changes and challenges independently for the first time.
This new reality also encompasses accountability for ones actions in the sight of Allah the Almighty, so youth must now give priority to being conscious of their decisions and actions being favourable to their Creator.
Coping with change
Learning to cope with and manage change effectively will increase the chances of getting through life’s changes successfully. The establishment of strong coping mechanisms also improves physical and mental health, and aids in the development of solid personal and social relationships.
This is where lessons from the change of the Qibla can be of particular use.
What can we learn about dealing with change from the Qibla incident?
In reframing the prospect of change as a test from Allah the Almighty, including both the opportunity for blessing and submission to His will – seeking His pleasure and the promise of great reward in this life and the next – we see by the Prophet’s (PBUH) example, an exhibition of courage in the face of change, whereupon both he and the Ummah prevailed.
A great reward for the challenge of embracing change
There is much wisdom in change, as Allah the Almighty will replace what is changed with something better.
“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?” (Qur’an, 2:106)
In the case of the Qiblah change, the intention was to unite the Ummah as one; setting Islam apart from other faiths with Muslims all turning in the same direction in submission to Him.
Going forward in striving for success through change
Be yourself and don’t be influenced by others. Allah the Almighty is with those who remain strong and steadfast in faith.
“The foolish among the people will say, “What has turned them away from their Qibla, which they used to face?” Say, “To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (Qur’an, 2:142)
This is a lesson of particular interest to Muslims living in the West where, as a minority group, they may face discrimination due to their faith. In embracing change, we can be sure that Allah the Almighty is always with us whatever adversities may arise, provided we remain on the straight path under His guidance.
Focus on the values you have learned as a Muslim through Islamic teachings. It can become easy to discard and hide them – especially for those in the West who may fear being mocked – but be wary of falling into a false sense of security if choosing that path; instead remember how Allah the Almighty protected the Muslims in all times and types of hardships.
Ask yourself, what can you control? Manage what you can – no matter how great or small – accept what is not within your means to manage, and take comfort in knowing that Allah the Almighty is in ultimate control. Don’t become fixated on what may seem impossible or improbable; leave these things to Allah the Almighty.
Identify your priorities and the positives. In the incident of the Qibla, because the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prioritised his deen and the Ummah, despite being mocked, he still prevailed until this day.
Shift perspectives by asking how you might benefit from an impending change. In the instance of the Qibla change, it was a chance for Muslims to be united as one and has continued to be so.
On reflect we realize that it is normal to experience anxiety with change. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? Reflect back to times you have experienced change in the past, and how Allah the Almighty guided you through it successfully.
Be proactive, not reactive. Don’t complain about change; rather, view it as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow.
Manage the stress of change by always remembering Allah the Almighty and His mercy. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) suffered at the hands of his oppressors whilst turned to the original Ka’bah, yet with patience, Allah the Almighty answered his call and changed the Ka’bah for the benefit of himself and the Ummah.
Seek support in times of change from your Muslim brothers and sisters, or family when necessary. It’s okay to be overwhelmed sometimes. As Muslims we are united as one and should help each other in times of difficulty.
However, should you despair of finding solace or support in humanity in times of change, despair or calamity; always remember that a true believer who faces difficulties with a positive state of mind – hoping for reward that comes only from Allah the Almighty; not mankind – can find solace in knowing that Allah the Almighty says in the Qu’ran:
“… and give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient).” Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e., who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones. (Surah Al-Baqara: 155-157)