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How to Reach the State of Serenity in Islam?

My dear friends, I’m going to say a few words to you today about serenity.

In Arabic we call it Al-Sakinah, but I’d like to change the word from serenity.

I would like to change it to how do we find calm and peace?

How do we ground ourselves?

You know our world is so busy. We’re rushing around all the time.

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You know we set off to work 9:00 in the morning, we come back at 5:00, we’re so tired. All what we want to do is watch the TV and sleep.

Life is very busy. And when we are at work, we have to meet this deadline, see this person, and answer this telephone. When we get home, the kids are rushing around upstairs and the kitchen it’s noisy. So often that serenity and calm that we are looking for in life is illusive, we can’t find it.

Well, it is to be found in Islam.

What Does Islam Mean?

You probably know the word Islam comes from a root Arabic word that means two words: submission and peace.

Now this is very interesting. You know, “submission” is not a politically-correct word at the moment, we don’t like to talk about submission.

But when we’re talking about submission, we are not talking about submission to men. We are not talking about bending the knee and kissing the hand and obeying men. When we talk about submission in Islam, we talk about submitting to Allah. What does that mean?

It means that, for example, when a Muslim prays, he or she, their forehead touches the ground in prayer five times a day, and they say to Allah All-Mighty:

“O Allah, help me to be a better person, help me to be a better Muslim. Without You I’m nothing at all”.

So we are submitting to Allah, we are saying there is nothing I can do, there is no success I can have without You. With You, You will bring success to everything I do, but without You I’m just a noisy gong, it’s just me I’m talking about.

So, when we submit to Allah, this is when the second word comes in: we find peace and serenity through submission. This is the extraordinary thing. This is not the way the world thinks.

The way the world thinks is that we want to be on-top, we want to be number 1, we want to be the most important person, we want to have more rather than be better.

Well, Islam teaches us submit to Allah, accept what Allah wants and we will find peace in our lives.

Mobile Phones & Life: Which is More Important?

Let me give you an idea.

You know, if you went off to buy a new mobile phone for example, you buy the phone and you bring it home in the box, and you’d be very foolish if you didn’t read the instructions in the box.

If you start using the phone without reading the instructions first, very likely you won’t get the best out of your phone. It tells you how to charge the battery properly, how to plug it in… so you follow the instructions, you follow the maker’s instructions, and by doing that you get the best out of your phone.

Well, as Muslims we believe that we have the Maker’s instructions for life. In the Quran and in the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) we find how we live our lives, and our lives are much more important than a phone.

So we listen to what Allah wants us to do, and by submitting to Him, by saying to Him: “You O Allah are in charge”, then we find this peace that we are looking for.

At Funerals

I want to share another idea with you. You know, imagine a funeral in the West, and the coffin is brought in to the church, and the minister is asked to say a few words about the person who has died.

Well, I’ve been to many funerals in my life, but I’ve never heard anyone say with the dead person in front of them, this man had twelve suits. I’ve never heard anyone in a funeral say this woman, she had so many dresses in the wardrobe, or he took so many foreign holidays a year, or he had this car…

At your funeral, those things which are important are what people would say: he was a good man, he was a good husband to his wife, he was a good father to his children, he was honest, he was kind, he was a man of faith, he was a man of prayer.

So in death, we all realize what is really important. But sometimes you know in life we miss the point because we’re rushing around because we want to have more things. We miss the point about what life is about, so that happiness we’re always looking for, that rest we seek… Allah All-Mighty tells us in the Quran:

Verily, in the remembrance of Allah will hearts find rest. (13:28)

Finding Peace

In the remembrance of Allah, not in how many pairs of shoes you’ve got, that won’t bring you happiness. Shoes won’t bring you happiness. You know how you look for a new car, “all will be well if I get a new car.” Or “all will be well if I get a new job”, or “if we move to a bigger flat”, or if… or if…

And the thing is we’re never happy. Once we’ve moved to a new flat we want a bigger flat. Once we’ve got one new suit, we want another, or a new pair of shoes, or a new hijab,… or whatever it might be. Things will not bring us happiness, and the mistake we make in life is in thinking that acquiring more things will settle our hearts.

You know, was it last year or the year before, in the United Kingdom in the summer there were terrible riots, and young people were breaking shop windows and stealing televisions and burning things, and when I watched it on the television, immediately I said to myself  “I know what’s happening here.

These young people, they don’t want televisions, they don’t want fighting and violence, what they want is Allah, they are looking for Allah, but they don’t know where to find Him, because only in the remembrance of Allah will our hearts find rest.”

So how do I find that elusive peace?

As Muslims, the answer is very simple. First of all in prayer. Five times a day, God All-Mighty (Allah) tells us, now why five? Why not fifty five? Why not seventeen?

Because Allah chose that at five particular times of the day we pray. When do we pray?

Pray and Find Peace

We pray in the earliest part of the morning, even before it’s light. We pray at noon, when the sun is at its height in the heavens. And we pray in the middle of the afternoon when we are busy with our work. We pray when the sun goes down, and we pray at night. The rest of the time we don’t pray because we are asleep.

So Allah All-Mighty gives us these five times to perforate the day. It’s not a matter of numbers, we pick five, five seems a good idea.

The idea is that in praying five times a day our lives become holy, because five times a day we leave the business of life and we think about Allah All-Mighty instead.

So for Muslims, when we pray and our foreheads in a gesture of submission touches the ground…

You know you might be a king in our job, we might be a millionaire in our job, we might be a road sweeper, but when our forehead strikes the ground we’re all equal in the sight of Allah, and we all say Allah All-Mighty, give me that peace that only You can give. Let me be one of those called Muslims because I have submitted to You.

I invite you to find that peace in Islam.

Islam, remember, comes from submission and peace.

It is a message of peace for my heart and for the world.

In-Shaa-Allah, you will find that peace too.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive)

About Idris Tawfiq
Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.