Fear, Trust, Living the Quran
Issue 544 » August 28, 2009 - Ramadan 7, 1430
Al-Muminun (The Believers)
Chapter 23: Verses 60-61
Hearts Filled With Fear
"Those who give what they have given (i.e. charity) and whose hearts are filled with fear by the very idea that they shall return to their Lord. Such people are truly racing towards their own welfare and they are the first to reach them."
Unwavering Belief in the truth of the Hereafter:
- This verse is describing the inner state of mind of the believers who are always conscious about the acceptance of their good deeds by Allah. They worry whether their charities are accepted or not. This concept of "fear" was the corner-stone that strengthened the sense of responsibility among the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
- There was a deep certainty in their hearts that one Day they would have to rise and account for all the worldly deeds, small or big. Their whole life was divided between hope for Allahís mercy and fear of His punishment. Only Islam, unlike any other faith, is able to strike such a perfect balance between the two.
The Source of their Struggle and Patience:
They had already known that life, with all its pains, was worthless when compared with the Hereafter. Such deep convictions brought about in them a sense of indifference to all troubles and hardships that attended their life for the sake of Islam.
Examples of Umar and Hassan Al-Basri (may Allah be pleased with them):
- A concrete interpretation of this verse is given by Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). Although he served Allah in a way that was exemplary, yet he was so afraid of accountability to Him, as he once said, "I shall consider it a favor (from Allah), if I am neither rewarded or punished in the Hereafter."
- Hassan Al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) once said, "A believer obeys Allah and is yet fearful of Him, whereas a hypocrite disobeys Allah and is still fearless of Him!" How ironic it is.....
"The Sealed Nectar" - Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Syed Abul Ala Maududi
Trusting The Maker
Jabir ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) use to teach us how to seek guidance in choosing the best option available in practical matters, just as he would teach us chapters from the Quran. If one of you is concerned about some practical undertaking, or about making plans for a journey, he should perform two cycles of ritual prayer, not as obligatory observance, but voluntarily. Then he should say: "O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best, through Your knowledge, and I ask You to empower me, through Your power, and I beg You to grant me Your tremendous favour, for You have power, while I am without power, and You have knowledge, while I am without knowledge, and You are the One who knows all things invisible. O Allah, if You know that this undertaking is in the best interests of my religion, my life in this world, and my life in the hereafter, and can yield successful results in both the short term and the long term, then make it possible for me and make it easy for me, and then bless me in it. O Allah, if You know that this undertaking is NOT in the best interests of my religion, my life in this world, and my life in the hereafter, then turn it away from me, and make it easy for me to do well, wherever I may happen to be, and make me content with Your verdict, O most Merciful of the merciful."
Also known as 'istikhara' in Arabic, the strength of this supplication lies in the humility of the one who seeks the guidance of his or her creator. Now, many will pray it dutifully when making big decisions. They may wait for a dream to come to them or some sort of sign that would show them without doubt what it is that they should do. And indeed that sign may come in a very tangible form. And yet, on other occasions, the answers you're looking for may not be entirely tangible. And this is precisely when you have to start trusting.
You need to start trusting in your maker, in His infinite endowments to you. You need to start trusting in your gut, your heart, and mind, because they will know the answers, by His will. We're able to start listening when we begin to trust that HE, too, is listening. And once we can believe that completely, we can become unstoppable, no matter what "unstoppable" may mean.
"Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba!" - Heba Alshareef, pp. 112, 113
Living the Quran
Reading the Quran will be of little benefit to you, it may even bring misery and harm, unless you, from the first moment, begin to change and reconstruct your life in total surrender to God who has given you the Quran. Without the will and striving to act, neither the states of heart and enraptures of the soul, nor the ecstasies of mood, nor intellectual enrichment will be of any use to you. If the Quran does not have any impact upon your actions and if you do not obey what it enjoins and avoid what it prohibits, then you are not getting nearer to it.
Reading the Quran should induce faith inside your heart; that faith should shape your lives. It is not a gradual piecemeal process, by which you first spend years reading the Quran, then understanding it and strengthening your faith, and only then act upon it. All things take place simultaneously: as you hear or recite the words, they kindle faith inside you; as you have faith inside you, your life begins to change.
What we must remember is that to live by the Quran requires a major decision on our part: we have to completely alter the course of our life, irrespective of what may be the dominant thought-patterns around us, or what our society may be dictating, or what others may be doing. This decision requires major sacrifices. But unless we, as believers in the Quran being the word of God, are prepared to take the plunge, not much good will come out of the time spent with the Quran.