It was the heat of battle.
After defeat at Badr, the Quraysh had come out against the Muslims with their strongest cavalry.
Some Muslim archers disobeyed the Prophet and that allowed an assault by the Quraysh. A lot of Muslim casualties were counted, and the Quraysh were planning for one last move to finish off Islam and the Muslims for good.
It was at this time that many of the hypocrites of Madinah feared for their lives. They raised their fears with the Muslims and the conversation has actually been recorded in the Quran.
Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” (Quran 3:173)
It was one thing that the best of the believers disregarded the fear of the people. However, what is most amazing is that Allah says that: “it [merely] increased them in faith”.
At a time when their faith must have been shaken, when word was out that perhaps even the Prophet (peace be upon him) might have died, and a group from among them were fleeing, Allah says that the words of the hypocrites actually increased them in faith? How can that be?
The answer is difficult, but the core lies in the fact that the companions were among those who perfected “Ihsan”.
Linguistically Ihsan is commonly used to define excellence or perfection. Ihsan in worship is as defined by the Prophet in the famous hadith of Jibreel,
… To worship Allah as if you see Him, and even if you do not see Him, He sees you. (Al-Bukhari)
The worship of Allah with full consciousness and with the feeling that Allah is watching, and that He rewards for good and punishes for evil, is among the greatest factors for change. Even western research tends to show that religious people tend to be more resilient in their lives, and are more likely to overcome challenges and difficulties.
Let us take some examples.
In our current hypersexualized world, one of the greatest temptations that young men and also women are facing is the challenge of maintaining chastity. Whether it is illicit relationships, pornography, zina itself or other forms of shamelessness, everyone would agree that it is turning into a problem in our society.
Perfecting Our Prayer
Unfortunately, not much is being done to counter the trend either. One of the paths to starting that struggle is by perfecting the prayer.
Allah says in the Quran:
Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing. (Quran 29:45)
If a prayer is done with Ihsan then every word of the prayer reminds the believer of Allah. When he says “Allahu akbar”, he is reminding himself that Allah is Greater than all of his urges and desires. When he recites “Alhamdulillah”, he is praising and thanking Allah, and that reminds him that it is an act of ungratefulness to be disobeying Allah.
If one has continuously been falling into sin and almost despairing, then the recitation of “ar-Rahman ar-Raheem” is going to fill him up with hope and encourage him to give up any of the bad habits he might be involved in. Such is the power of prayer.
Moreover, the prayer is a station at certain points of the day, and thus is a constant reminder. There isn’t much time to engage in sinful behavior between each of the prayers, and that is also a barrier to sinful behavior.
Moreover, someone who prays better will have a better relationship with Allah, and that will help him in getting over his sins, and if and when he does sin, as all human beings do, he knows just the right track to get back.
Moses (peace be upon him) and his brother Harun (peace be upon him) were given the most difficult of tasks- go and give dawah to Pharaoh. And in that address, Allah said something that seems very out of place for the conversation. Allah told them:
…do not slacken in My remembrance… (Quran 20:42)
But were they not going to talk to Pharaoh? What does the remembrance of Allah have with talking?
In the same chapter Moses shared his fears with Allah. He shared that he is scared that he might be killed and thus the message won’t be properly delivered. And the answer from Allah is to make lots of remembrance.
And as the conversation goes it shows that Moses was not at all afraid and rather he was bold and brave. This was an example of the fact that the remembrance of Allah made Prophet Moses strong and able to get over his fears. It helped him overcome his worries and do the job well.
Among the various adhkar that we say is “la hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah.” The saying means that there is no true might, no true power except with Allah.
This is one of the sayings that shows us that ultimately, the world and everything in it is in the hands of Allah. He has ultimate authority. He has the authority to turn our misfortune into a blessing, to turn our fears into our strengths and to help us master our inner demons.
Similarly, reflection is another act of worship that is often neglected today.
Allah encourages us to reflect on the signs of nature, because in them are signs for our life.
One example is the night and the day. The night is a guarantee that the day will arrive. Similarly our hardships are a guarantee that easy times will arrive.
After the darkest part of the night comes the light of dawn. If we are patient through the most difficult point of our hardship, ease is the next step. In winter the night is long and the day is short, in summer it’s the opposite. Similar is our cycle of hardship and ease.
Reflection makes us more in tune with the world and how Allah is controlling it. It helps us master our own selves and learn from the subtle messages of Allah in nature.
However, all of this is well and good. What if we actually want to be more resilient, patient and better people? How do we take the first steps?
We will suggest a three step start inshallah:
Get to Know Allah’s Names and Attributes
He mentions His names as a way of knowing Him. His names reveal to us about who He is. And thus, knowing His Names, and internalizing them has a great reward.
The one who truly knows Allah, will definitely fall in love with Him. And the one who falls in love with Him will worship Him sincerely, and the one who worships Him sincerely will enter the ultimate abode of Paradise.
If you are worried that you are failing in your prayers, know that God is Al-Ghaffar, the Perpetually Forgiving.
If you feel the deeds you are doing for Him are not up to the mark then know that He is Ash-Shakoor, the Tremendously Appreciative. If you feel that you have wronged Allah, then know that He is At-Tawwab, the Acceptor of Repentance.
If you feel that life is constricting upon you, know that He is Al-Fattah, the Opener who can open new pathways. If you see darkness all around you, then know that He is An-Nur, the Light of the Heavens and the Earth, and He is Al-Haadi, the Guide.
The God who brought you this far will not suddenly let you go into ruin today. He is Al-Aleem, the All-Knowing, and He is Al-Khabeer, the Best Informed. He knows your pain, He sees your tears, and He understands your struggles even when no one does.
Know that God is the best friend you can have. He is Al-Wali, the Guarding Friend, and He is Ar-Ra’uf, Extremely Kind. He is Al-Wadud, the Excessively Loving. He loves you. And He is waiting to hear from you.
Turn your hands up to the sky, knowing that Al-Mujeeb, the Responder is ready to respond. Know that As-Samee’, the Listener is there to listen, and express it all to Him.
Focus on Improving Your Prayer
When you know the greatness of Allah, you would want to build a relationship with Him. And that is done by salah (prayer).
Learn the meanings of the words you say in your prayers, make more du’a in your prayers, put them as the first priority in your life, and see how things all fall into place
Start the Morning and Evening Du’as
The morning and evening du’as are a great way to start and end your day. They are a bedrock upon which we find strength, guidance and tranquility of the heart.
There are many of them. Start with one, then add another and then another.
Make a habit to make these du’as, and see how Allah beautifies life.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)