Deeper than the ocean
-an advice from the wisest teacher
A few days back while preparing for my examinations, I underwent a great deal of anxiety and many hopeless dips. I would often take breaks and listen to motivational advice by influential personalities but none could provide the level of calmness inside that my heart was in need of. The words would give me a high, which would then fade eventually… every time. The words seemed to work on a superficial level. I felt the thirst for deeper advice on a quite personal level.
I should have realized I needed Allah for who else can be closer than Him! I prayed and felt better. A few days later while I was working, I happened to open up a screenshot I had taken some weeks ago. Aha! This is it! I almost jumped. I wanted to read more and further write about it. So I ended up switching from my half done blog project to this topic. Stay with me & InSha’Allah, if there is something in life bothering you, it will soon leave you in calm & peace…
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is our teacher and guide. His advice is the ideal advice to be sought. Irrespective of the role we are playing – student, parent, sibling, spouse, we can always find guidance in the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and problems we face in life seem to be solved on its own. SubhanAllah!
Here is some wisdom which he ﷺ left behind as a map & compass to make our journey fool proof & easy…
Abdullah bin Abbas r.a. reported- “One day I was behind the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and he said to me:
“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of
Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find
Him in front of you. If you (have a need to) ask, ask of Allah; and if you seek
help, seek help from Allah. Know that even if the Nation (or the whole
community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they
would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already
recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with
something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that
which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted
and the pages have dried.”
(In another version of the same Hadith, it is mentioned):
“…Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in
prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed
you by was not going to befall you; and that what has befallen you was not
going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief
with affliction, and ease with hardship.”
SubhanAllah! What words of advice can ever stand parallel to these?
A scholar once said “What a pity for the one who is ignorant of this Hadith and has little understanding of its meaning.”
Points to ponder over:
Adding gravity to words-
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ starts the Hadith by getting the attention of Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. by saying “O young man” and then he follows it with “I shall teach you…” due to which Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. understands the importance of the advice that he is about to receive.
This teaches us that when we are in any form of conversation or speech, it is important that we start with words that catch the attention of the listener so that the speech is effective and words have an impact.
Being conscious of Allah-
Then Prophet Muhammad ﷺ says “Be mindful of Allah” which includes a number of things:
- To observe or fulfill Allah’s obligations
- To adhere to His commandments
- To avoid His prohibitions
…for which one needs to be conscious of:
- Praying Salah in the best way possible and by performing it on time.
- Maintaining cleanliness and purity.
- Observing our oath if we swear by Allah for something because we have to abide by this commitment we make.
- Guarding the senses and should ensure that whatever we see or hear or say earns us Allah’s pleasure.
- Ensuring that we consume only those foods or drinks that are halal.
- Observing that our dealings and transactions are through halal means.
- Protecting our hearts from being involved in sins & the moment a person is weak and does a sin, he should repent because of his fear of Allah.
The protection of Allah-
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ then states “and Allah will protect you” (if you are “mindful of Allah”).
Allah’s protection is of two kinds:
- Allah will protect or look after His servants in the matters of this world. We will be showered with Allah’s mercy in our sight, hearing, and speech all of our lives, even as we grow old. He will take care of our intellect and mental health. Also, Allah will protect our family and our property and belongings. And if one is mindful of Allah during his youth, Allah will protect him during his adult years.
- Allah will protect His servants’ deen (religion) and iman (faith). He will protect us from misunderstandings and being misled or influenced by misconceptions and self-desires.
He will give us guidance so that we are protected from negative influences.
Allah will also protect our deen & iman when we leave this world. We will be protected from shaitan’s influence to lead us astray right at the very last moment in our life.
We may not be aware of when Allah is protecting our deen. It might so happen that Allah prevents us from doing something which we want to do and it is actually a protection from Allah from some problem or from committing a sin.
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Then Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said “Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you”, which means that if we are mindful of Allah, we will find Him close to us. Allah is close to His servants by giving them guidance, support, help, protection, victory, etc.
If we become beloved to Allah during times of ease, He will know us during times of hardship. During our times of ease or prosperity, if we strive to earn the pleasure of Allah, He will be with us to look after us in our times of hardship, weakness, sickness, etc.
Ask of none but Allah-
The statement in which the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ tells Abdullah bin Abbas to “ask of Allah” and to “seek help from Allah” is something we utter in every Salah i.e. “iyya ka na’budu wa iyya ka nasta’in”. This shows us the importance of dua, the importance of continuously asking Allah for His support and guidance. We need to realize our complete dependence on Him.
Next, Prophet Muhammad talks about Qadr (predestination) in beautiful words: “Know that even if the Nation (or the whole community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”
Allah subh’anahu wa ta’ala has already written in Al-Lauh-ul-Mahfuz what is going to take place.
Things happen in life which we have no control over and to face these events the way they should be faced; we need to practice contentment (Ridha), which is the highest level where we are pleased or content with whatever Allah has chosen for us, whether positive or negative. The second highest level is tolerance (Sabr), where we need to be patient and not panic or say anything that displeases Allah subh’ana wa ta’ala.
Though Allah recorded the Qadr (fate) of all creations 50,000 years before He created the heavens and the earth (Sahih Muslim), that does not entitle us to sit idle and do nothing simply, waiting for everything to happen by itself.
Al-Qadr can be broadly broken down into two categories:
- Things which we do not have any control over so we have to surrender to the will of Allah and be patient.
- Things which we had control over. These events happen as a result of our recklessness, laziness, of not being alert, etc. Even though the moment these things happen, they already become qadar, but those who are responsible for the actions will be answerable to it. Thus, whatever we do, we should do it carefully, completely and to the best of our abilities. Generally speaking, we are responsible for what we do, whether it is in worldly matters or whether it is in our Ibadah.
The matter of Qadr can be explained by the following example:
The food we consume needs to be Halal & Tayyib (good). We shouldn’t take in foods that are bad for health. Even while we are healthy, we should avoid consuming foods unhealthy for our bodies since our bodies are an Amanah.
If we do not take care of our eating habits, then we can not blame it on Qadr when we fall sick. It does not mean that there isn’t anything as Qadr. It simply means that we are required to do that which is right and then after we have given in our efforts, if we fall sick, that is a part of Qadr wherein we will not be answerable.
Another important point in this regard is the myth concerning seeking treatment on falling ill. Many Muslims tend to interpret this hadith (on qadar) negatively and believe that since my sickness is the will of Allah and a part of Qadr, treatment shouldn’t be sought for if Allah wills, I will be cured without the medicine. Well, this way of thinking is not correct.
Similarly, any other matter of life can be understood in the light of the above understanding of Al-Qadr.
If we are faced with a problem, we should try our best to solve it and not do things which will worsen the situation. We should understand Qadr in a positive sense. We should learn to differentiate between things which we don’t have control over and things which we do. Instead of just accepting things that happen as Qadr, we should look at how we can improve the situation. We should accept the fact that we are responsible for whatever we do and the choices we make.
To sum up…
This Hadith teaches us how we can live a peaceful & content life by being mindful of Allah and by totally trusting and relying on Him. We must do our best to fulfill Allah’s obligations and then trust and accept whatever He wills for us.
The acceptance of whatever befalls, after we gave our best input in anything is the state of “Alh’amdulillah a’la kulli haal” which means ‘all praise & thanks are only for Allah, in all circumstances’… and this is the key to happiness in life.
I hope & pray that now there will be some ease Insha’Allah in our lives having understood this Hadith. May Allah make it easy for us to keep it in our minds when we need this reminder the most, (which is, unfortunately, the time when we tend to forget this the most). May it get under our skin and reside in our hearts till the last breath.
(All that was good in this article was from Allah & whatever mistakes it might have, were due to my own shortcomings and may Allah forgive me for that.)
Jazakallahu khairan katheera!