7 Islamic Concepts that make the trials of life bearable

7 Islamic Concepts that make the trials of life bearable

Life is hard. There is no doubt about. God put us on this earth to test us. Sometimes we are tested with ease, to test our gratitude. Sometimes we are tested with temptation to show our resolve. And sometimes we are tested with difficulties to reveal our patience. Life goes through various ups and downs, most of the time being a combination of various tests.

Knowing this, we must thank our Creator for revealing Islam and guiding us to follow. Because it is only Islam that has so many built-in coping mechanisms that make the trials of life bearable. This doesn’t mean that every person can easily handle life by just following Islam. But following Islam definitely makes it easier to cope with the trials of life. Here are some of the ways Islam equips us to handle the ups and downs of life.

Belief in Qadr (Destiny)

Belief in Qadr (destiny) is one of the six primary beliefs in Islam. Every Muslim must believe that God knows everything and that nothing can happen without the will of God. While this belief may pose an ideological dilemma for philosophers who dwell too deep into the hows and whys, it provides comfort and relief to the minds of the average believer.

Knowing that everything that happens to us is part of God’s plan and will provides comfort to those who trust God and His Infinite Wisdom. The Quran is full of stories of people who went through difficult trials ending in great achievements, the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) being the clearest example of this. Stories like this remind us that the trials of life are part of a bigger picture that we may only understand later in life, or maybe even only in the Afterlife.

Tawakul (Trusting God)

Linked to belief in Qadr is the internal act of worship called Tawakul (Trust). Tawakul means to entrust one’s affairs and result to Allah and to be content with His Will. Tawakul is often mistaken for Fatalism; a lazy reliance on God without any effort. This is not the Islamic understanding of Tawakul. Tawakul means to put in one’s best effort, then to be content with the result.

Tawakul helps Muslims cope with many of the ups-and-downs of life, especially regarding finances. When a Muslim experiences a slow period of sales or loses a source of income, Tawakul drives them to be optimistic and to seek out a new, perhaps better, opportunity. The believer is pushed forward by God’s promise, “Whoever puts his trust in God, He will suffice him. Indeed, God will accomplish his goals.” (Quran 65:3)

Sabr (Patience and Resiliency)

We have written many articles about Sabr in the past and included entire sections on it in some of our books. The Quran instructs believers to seek God’s assistance through Sabr and Salah. (Quran 2:153) Sabr is an active state of resiliency, persistence, restraint, and forbearance. It is necessary for accomplishing goals, overcoming temptations and dealing with setbacks of life.

The believer is always in a state of Sabr. He is either persisting in good deeds, restraining himself from sin, or bearing the challenges of life with patience. Sabr makes every stage of life more bearable, and has helped people get through some of the most traumatic events. Without the concept of Sabr, life would be very difficult to bear.

Salah (The Formal Prayer)

Linked with Sabr in multiple verses is Salah. God instructs us to seek His Assistance through Sabr and Salah. Salah connects the heart to the believer, allowing one to find comfort in the company of God, pouring one’s heart out to Him, and seek His assistance in every way. Salah is the ultimate act of submission that shows a person worships God alone, and asks God alone for assistance during difficult times.

Dua (Private Supplication)

Linked to Salah is dua. One of the ways we are supposed to seek assistance through Salah is by pouring our heart out to God in the prostration (Sajdah). Dua is the essence of worship and one of the most important things that a believer can do during times of difficulty. The narrations state that only dua can override destiny. (Ibn Majah 90) So when one’s destiny seems dark, the believer finds comfort in Salah and dua.

The Muslim Community (Ummah)

It is true that the Muslim community is often the source of our trials in life. Sometimes Muslims can be their own worst enemies. Pettiness, jealousy, extremism, and sectarianism all form part of the tests of life. But if so many of the trials of life come from society, why then do I list the concept of an ummah as a source of ease?

Because despite all of its faults, the Muslim community remains a source of blessings for its members. When a believer falls into major calamity, quickly you will find other members of the community rushing to crowdfund and assist them. This level of care for others across the globe is truly a blessing from God. Knowing that we are part of an ummah that has our back in the worst of times makes life more bearable, regardless of our faults as a community.

The Akhirah (Afterlife)

Belief in the Afterlife is also one of the six fundamental beliefs of Islam. Islam teaches us that this life is temporary and that eventually our souls will leave these bodies and return to God. We will then be judged for how we lived our lives, and either earn eternal damnation, eternal bliss, or temporary punishment followed by eternal bliss. So how does this belief make life bearable?

There are two ways that belief in the Afterlife makes life bearable. The first is by knowing that this life is temporary and that a life of eternal bliss potentially awaits us beyond. This brings comfort to the hearts of those whose trials last a lifetime. They know that eventually the trial will end and they will be rewarded eternally for their Sabr.

The second way is through the concept of God’s Perfect Justice. Life in this world can be unfair, and often tyrants get away with great evil. The believer find comfort in knowing that Justice will be served on the Last Day, and that nobody gets away with tyranny. For anyone who has been harmed in this world, and seen the perpetrator walk free, knowing that he will be brought to justice on the Last Day makes the test a bit more bearable.

Conclusion

These seven concepts all play a role in helping us cope with and overcome the challenges of life. It is true that they won’t work one hundred percent of the time for everybody. Some people require counseling, others require justice in this world to move on. There are many dynamics at play.

But there is great benefit in believing in Qadr and the Afterlife while practicing Tawakul, Sabr, Salah, and Dua while sticking the Muslim community. All of this makes life more bearable and helps the believer focus on what matters most; worshiping God and earning one’s place in the eternal garden.

For more beneficial articles like this, check out our latest publication; a compilation of our 30 best articles available here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Positive Thinking, 3 comments
Sūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah an-Nās

Sūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah an-Nās

Known as the two protectors, Sūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah an-Nās complete the Quran as it began, with supplications that we recite on a daily basis. The Quran beings with the supplication for guidance i.e. Sūrah al-Fātiha, and it ends with two supplications for protections, Sūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah an-Nās.

Scholars differ on whether these Sūrahs were revealed in Makkah or Madinah. There is evidence both ways, but the style and prose of the Sūrahs are more in line with Makkan revelation. I am inclined towards the opinion that these two Sūrahs were revealed in Makkah, but their usage as daily supplications became common in Madinah. Allah knows best.

The themes of these two Sūrahs is very clear; they were revealed as protection supplications. It is recommended to recite these Sūrahs every morning and evening three times each for protection from all forms of evil. These Sūrahs list some of the names and attributes of Allah, calling on Him for protection, and list some of the things we seek protection from.

Protection from Worldly Calamities

Sūrah al-Falaq focuses on protection from worldly calamities. In this supplication, we ask Allah for protection from every evil thing that He created. We specifically ask Allah for protection from magic, jealousy, and the evil that occurs at night.

In this Sūrah, we learn that there exists in this world many forces of evil. Allah created these as a test for us. We are tested with many types of evil in this world. From tyrants to difficult relatives. From crime to jealous friends. Every human’s test is different. However, none of these things can harm us unless Allah wills it. Therefore, we take our precautions and seek Allah’s protection daily by reciting this Sūrah every morning and evening.

This Sūrah also indicates that a lot of evil happens at night. That is the time when people commit their biggest crimes or their best deeds. While one segment of humanity is involved in fornication, murder, or stealing late at night, there exists another group who spend the late portion of the night worshipping their Creator. We ask Allah to make us from the second group.

The Sūrah ends with a reminder that magic and jealousy are real sources of evil in this world. These days there is a lot of skepticism regarding the nature of magic and the evil eye. Muslims influenced by atheistic ideas deny the reality of these things because they cannot see them. This is a very problematic approach.

One of the fundamental principles of our religion is the belief in the unseen. This unseen world includes the world of the Jinn, which plays a role in dark magic and the evil eye. We don’t have to understand these concepts to believe in them. The fact that many humans throughout history, and even today, have experienced this phenomenon is evidence of their reality. Our job is simply to seek Allah’s protection from them and to never be a source of these evils for others.

Spiritual Protection

While Sūrah al-Falaq focuses on protection from worldly dangers, Sūrah an-Nās focuses on protection from the spiritual threat of misguidance. In this Sūrah, we are taught to ask Allah, the only true Lord, King, and God of humanity, for protection from the whispers of the devils. We are then reminded that these devils exist among both the jinn and humanity.

This Sūrah teaches us that it is important to ask Allah for protection from the devil and misguidance. Our guidance is dependent on Allah, and it is only His protection that keeps us safe from the devil. There is a profound point to be made about the placement of this Sūrah.

The Quran begins with a supplication for guidance and ends with a supplication for protection from misguidance. And everything in between teaches us that guidance and warns against those types of misguidance. In this way, the Quran completes a circle of protection. We are taught to ask Allah for guidance daily, but also to seek his protection from the whispers of the devil daily.

This Sūrah is also a reminder that not all devils are Jinn. There exists among humanity a segment that calls to the gates of Hell. These are people to openly promote evil and call others towards it. Whether it is the callers to sexual deviation or the callers to Atheism and Hedonism. These types of people are classified as devils as they do the work of the devils. With this Sūrah, we ask Allah for protection, not just from the whisperings of the jinn but from the influence of evil humans as well.

These are two of the most important Sūrahs in the Quran. Every Muslim should memorize these Sūrahs very early and establish a habit of reciting them multiple times a day, especially in the morning and evening. Doing so will help to protect us from every type of evil, both physical and spiritual.  

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, 0 comments
Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ: Islamic Monotheism

Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ: Islamic Monotheism

Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ is one of the most powerful short Sūrahs in the Quran. Also known as Sūrah at-Tawḥīd, it is a summary of the core tenets of monotheism. In an authentic narration, it is referred to as one-third of the Quran. The message of the Quran focuses on three primary components of theology; monotheism, revelation, and the Afterlife. One-third of this message is summarized in Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ.

Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ is a Makkan Sūrah according to the majority of scholars. Its theme is purely Makkan in that it focuses on the essential attributes of Allah and clarification of pure monotheism. The scholars differ on whether it has four or five verses, with some schools of recitation counting “He does not beget” and “Nor was He begotten” as two separate verses. Allah knows best.

Virtues of Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ

It is reported on the authority of Abū Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Get together, for I am going to recite one-third of the Qur’an before you.” And those who could get together gathered there. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came out and recited: “Say: He, Allah, is One.” He then entered (his house). Some of us said to the others, “Perhaps there has been some news from the heaven on account of which he has gone inside (the house).” The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) again came out and said, “I told you that I was going to recite one-third of the Quran; keep in mind, this (Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ) is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 6:316)

Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī narrated that a man heard another man reciting “Say He is Allah, the One.” repeatedly. The next morning he came to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and informed him about it as if he thought that it was not enough to recite. On that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, this Sūrah is equal to one-third of the Qur’an!” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 66: 35)

Pure Monotheism

The core message of this Sūrah is the Islamic understanding of monotheism. Islam is unique in its clear and uncompromising stance on the Oneness of God. Although the majority of religions, and the majority of humans, believe in One Creator, they have several major mistakes in their understanding of that Creator. The beauty of this Sūrah is that it clears up every one of those misconceptions with its four powerful verses.

The Sūrah begins by clarifying that there is only One God, Allah. This clarifies the misconception in many religions that there are one major god and several minor gods. The belief in a pantheon of gods was very common in several ancient religions and still exists in some parts of the world today. This verse makes it very clear that there is only One God.

The second verse clarifies that God is as-Ṣamad. The name as-Ṣamad is difficult to translate into English. An explanation is more suitable here than a translation. The name as-Ṣamad means that Allah does not need anything and everything is in need of Him. It indicates that He is All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Hearing, All-Powerful, and Ever-Living. It is a comprehensive name that covers many of the other names of Allah.

The mention of this name in this verse serves several purposes. It clarifies that Allah has the most beautiful names and attributes. It demonstrates the perfect power and might of Allah. And it clears up the misunderstanding that Allah needs our worship, or that we don’t need Him. The first verse clears up the doubts of those who believe in several gods. The second verse clears up the doubts of those who believe God has any weaknesses or is in need of assistance. Several religions portray images of their gods as weak and in need. Islam teaches us that Allah is As-Ṣamad. He needs nothing while we all need Him.

The third verse clarifies that Allah is unique in the sense that He has no descendants or ascendants. He is eternal, has always existed, and will always exist. Several religions preach the idea of a family of gods. Even today, there are many people who believe in concepts like someone being the son of God or the mother of God. These concepts are false beliefs that have no basis in revelation. The true God is eternal, He is not the descendant of anyone, nor does He have any children.

The final verse covers the fourth and final principles of Islamic monotheism; there is nothing like Him. This is a complete rejection of anthropomorphism. This may be the most unique aspect of the Islamic understanding of God. Almost every other religion worships an image of God. That image is often human, or a mixture of human and animal. Muslims reject all such images.

God is beyond our imagination, and nothing we think about could be God. He is unique in every possible way, and therefore it is prohibited to even try to imagine Him. This unique aspect of Islamic monotheism has, over the centuries, causes millions of people to convert to Islam. It makes far more sense to worship a God that is beyond human imagination than to worship an image that people made up.

Theological Controversies

The message of these verses is very clear. There is only One God. All of Creation depends on Him. He is eternal without ascendants or descendants, and there is nothing like Him. Despite having such a clear and uncompromising declaration of monotheism in the Quran, Muslims across the globe have developed different interpretations of that final principle; there is nothing like Him.

During the first two centuries of Islam, Muslims tended to avoid discussion on this issue and were united in keeping monotheism simple and pure. Once Greek philosophy was introduced into the Muslim world in the third century, Muslims began to overthink these concepts and split up into several schools of thought. Despite these schools of thought all co-existing peacefully throughout most of Islamic history, these differences have become causes of tension and chaos in our times.

Some zealous Muslims have raised these issues again, and in their zealousness they have declared every understanding of this issue deviant, besides their own. Such extremes can be found in every school of thought regarding the names and attributes of Allah. Their arguing and bickering over these interpretations have distracted the Muslim nation from our priorities and caused unnecessary disunity among Muslims.

Furthermore, these different schools of theology have caused doubt to enter the minds of some young Muslims. They wonder why Muslims differ regarding how to interpret the attributes of God, and how such a difference of opinion can exist on such a fundamental issue. This issue requires a much deeper discussion, and cannot be clarified in a few short paragraphs. I hope to discuss it in more detail at a later point if Allah wills it.

For now, I simply want to remind Muslims that our unity is essential. The differences of opinion that exist among Sunnī Muslims on the names and attributes of Allah are a secondary issue. All Sunnī Muslims believe in the four principles laid down in this Sūrah. All Sunnī Muslims agree upon the five pillars of Islam and the six pillars of faith. Our differences in these issues are simply a matter of interpretation. But Allah is infinitely Merciful and Just. So let us trust Allah’s Mercy and not divide the Muslim nation over secondary issues.

The Quran is very clear regarding the concept of monotheism. Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ summarizes this concept perfectly. If Muslims just stick to what is mentioned in this Sūrah, we can keep our monotheism simple and pure. But unnecessary questioning and argumentation over the nature of God’s attributes only lead to problems and disunity. The nature of God’s attributes is a matter that is beyond human comprehension. So it is best that we avoid overthinking this issue, and focus instead on worshipping Allah.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, 0 comments
Sūrah al-Masad: The Fate of An Evil Man

Sūrah al-Masad: The Fate of An Evil Man

Sūrah al-Masad, also known as Sūrah al-Lahab, is an early Makkan Sūrah focused on the topic of the fate in the Afterlife of Abū Lahab and his wife. This Sūrah is very short and powerful and was revealed early in Islamic History after an incident in which Abū Lahab insulted the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The Reason for Revelation

The reason for the revelation of this Sūrah has been preserved in several authentic narrations. Because of this, we know exactly when and why this Sūrah was revealed. Here is one of those narrations.

Ibn ʿAbbās narrated that when the verse ‘And warn your tribe of near kindred.’ (26.214) was revealed, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) went out, and when he had ascended As-Safā mountain, he shouted, “O Sabāhāh!” The people said, “Who is that?” Then they gathered around him, whereupon he said, “Do you see? If I inform you that cavalrymen are proceeding up the side of this mountain, will you believe me?” They said, “We have never heard you telling a lie.” Then he said, “I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe punishment.” Abū Lahab said, “May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason?” Then Abū Lahab went away. So the Sūrah al-Lahab was revealed. (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 65: 4971)

It was the custom of the Makkan people that whenever there was danger, they would climb Mount As-Safā and shout, “O Sabāhāh!” to warn their people about the imminent danger. During the first two years of Islam, the message was propagated privately to individuals. It was not really a secret as people knew the Prophet (peace be upon him) had claimed prophethood and was gaining a few followers, but the message had not been proclaimed in public yet.

Then the verse ‘And warn your tribe of near kindred.’ (26.214) was revealed. When this verse was revealed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) gathered his tribe and called them to Islam in public. This public call irritated Abū Lahab for several reasons. Abū Lahab was the paternal uncle of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his only paternal uncle who was openly hostile to him.

Abū Lahab was a wealthy businessman, very materialistic and proud, and a staunch follower of paganism. He viewed the call of his nephew as both a nuisance and an embarrassment to his family name. He was also irritated to have been dragged away from his business to hear the message of Islam. It was in this fit of arrogant anger that he blurted the line that would seal his fate, “May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason?”

The Fate of Abū Lahab

Sūrah Lahab was revealed declaring that it was instead Abū Lahab that would perish and face eternal damnation in Hellfire. These five powerful verses were revealed condemning both him and his wife to the Hellfire. The reason why his fire was included is that she too assisted in trying to stop the spread of Islam, and supported her husband in his crusade against Islam.

“Condemned are the hands of Abū Lahab, and he is condemned. His wealth did not avail him, nor did what he acquired. He will burn in a Flaming Fire. And his wife, the firewood carrier. Around her neck is a rope of thorns” (111:1-5)

There are several remarkable aspects to this short powerful Sūrah. Notice that the Sūrah addresses the fate of Abū Lahab in the past tense as if it was already done and over. Even though Abū Lahab was still alive, and would live for another decade, the Quran declared that his fate was already sealed and he would end up in the Hellfire.

Some scholars read into this a type of miracle. The Quran was prophesizing that Abū Lahab would die upon disbelief, even though he could have repented and converted like many others did after it was revealed. The fact that he did not convert is seen as proof that this verse is a true prophecy and the Quran is a miracle.

Allah knows best whether this is the correct understanding of this Sūrah. For me, I see this as a plausible interpretation, but more probable is that Allah addresses this topic in the past tense because He knows everything and time is irrelevant to Allah. Allah knew that Abū Lahab was destined for Hellfire, so He stated it as a matter of fact. Whether this counts as a prophecy or not, Allah knows best.

Dishonorable Mention

Another interesting fact about this Sūrah is that it is the only place in the Quran in which one of the enemies of Islam from the Quraysh is mentioned by name. The Quran rarely mentions the names of any people that lived during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) lifetime. Most of the verses about his companions or enemies do not contain any names, and we only know whom they are referring to because of the narrations of reasons for revelation.

There is only one companion mentioned by name in the Quran and only one pagan of the Quraysh mentioned by name in the Quran. The companion is Zaid bin Ḥāritha who is mentioned by name in Sūrah Al-Ahzāb. The only enemy mentioned by name is Abū Lahab in this Sūrah. For Zaid, this is a special honor. But for Abū Lahab, this is a humiliating dishonor.

There is an important theological lesson in Abū Lahab being mentioned by name here, related to judgment and Hellfire. The lesson is that we should not say that any individual is definitely in Paradise or Hell unless this is explicitly mentioned in the Quran or Sunnah. While we firmly believe in the salvific exclusivity of Islam, we do not pass judgment on individuals.

It is important that we distinguish between our theology and judgment. Our theology teaches us that believers will enter Paradise, and disbelievers will enter Hellfire. We believe in this firmly, but we do not pass judgment on any individual without clear evidence. At the end of the day, we do not know which Non-Muslim had an excuse with Allah, or which “pious Muslim” was secretly a hypocrite. Because we lack this knowledge, it is best that we remain silent on the fate of any individual that passes away, and we leave their judgment to Allah’s Perfect Justice and Mercy.

In the case of Abū Lahab, we can state clearly that he is from the people of Hellfire. As this is clearly stated in this Sūrah. The same can be said about Pharaoh, Satan, and the leaders of the Quraysh who were killed in Badr. Because in each of these cases, there is clear evidence in the Quran or Sunnah about their fates. Likewise, we can say that certain companions like the Rightly Guided Caliphs and the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) wives are in Paradise, as this too is clearly stated in several narrations.

Those who insult the Prophet (peace be upon him)

A final lesson we can extract from these verses is that Allah is quick to defend the honor of his beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Those who insult the Prophet (peace be upon him) and try to harm him will face humiliation in both worlds. This was the case of Abū Lahab with the revelation of this Sūrah, and it is the case for any individual who follows in his footsteps until the end of time, besides those who repent.

The story behind the revelation of this Sūrah should serve as a reminder to us all about the rights of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He deserves the highest level of love and respect, and he should only talk about him with the best of manners and etiquette. We should extend this respect to the narrations about his life, and to his Sunnah too. Those who disrespect the Prophet (peace be upon him) may perish as Abū Lahab perished.  

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, 0 comments
Sūrah an-Naṣr: Reflections on Conquest

Sūrah an-Naṣr: Reflections on Conquest

Sūrah an-Naṣr was revealed during the late Madinan phase by consensus. Scholars differ regarding the exact time it was revealed, but they agree that it was after the conquest of Makkah. The opening verse of Sūrah an-Naṣr mentions a conquest, and scholars agree that this is the conquest of Makkah. This was most likely the final short Sūrah to be revealed.

The theme of this Sūrah is the aftermath of the conquest of Makkah. There are essentially three main points to extract from this Sūrah. The first is the worldly results of the conquest. The second is the end of the prophet’s (peace be upon him) life on earth. The third is how to handle conquests and victories in a way that is pleasing to Allah.

The Conquest of Makkah

The conquest of Makkah is a truly miraculous event, and one of the proofs of prophethood. In just over two decades of preaching and war, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had conquered Makkah and removed idolatry from Arabia. He had accomplished in two decades a feat that most people would be unable to accomplish in several lifetimes. The fact that Allah assists him in his mission is one of the clearest proofs that Islam is the true religion.

The Arabs at that time also recognized this, including the leaders of Makkah. They all eventually converted to Islam, and after them, Islam spread across the world faster than any other religion in history. Within the Prophet’s lifetime, Arabia had become the land of Islam. In the time of the companions, it spread throughout Persia, Egypt, and Syria. Within a century, it reached the shores of Spain and India. Today, a quarter of the world is Muslim, and the religion continues to spread, despite the political weakness of the Muslims.

The first two verses of Sūrah an-Naṣr draws our attention to this phenomenon. When conquest and victory came to the Muslims, it was followed by thousands of people converting to Islam. Over time, these thousands became millions. Today, almost two billion people claim to be Muslim. The conquest of Makkah was a turning point in our history that marked both the rapid spread of Islam and the end of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mission on earth.

Mission Accomplished

When Sūrah an-Naṣr was revealed, some of the companions understood that it marked the end of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life on earth. They understood from this revelation that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had completed his mission, and would be leaving this earth soon. They were correct, as he passed away a few months or years after it was revealed.

This raises a question though in the mind of some readers; why was the Prophet (peace be upon him) so soon after conquering Makkah? Why wasn’t he given time to see the fruit of his efforts as Islam spread through Syria, Egypt, Persia, and other lands? The answer is multilayered. The first answer is that the Prophets (peace be upon them) are given a choice when they want to leave this earth, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) agreed to return to His Creator at that point in time.

Another reason may be that the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mission was not to spread Islam throughout the world but to establish a community that would do so. With the conquest of Arabia, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had established the most pious and productive community in the world. He left this world knowing that the preservation and spread of his religion were in good hands.

A third possible reason may be to prevent doubt from entering people’s minds regarding the nature of his mission. The prophet (peace be upon him) was sent to call people to Islam. Once his mission was accomplished, he passed away. He did not stay on to enjoy the fruits of his efforts and indulge in the luxuries that the nation would soon inherit. By moving on so soon after fulfilling his mission, the integrity of his mission was preserved, and his enemies could not accuse him of faking prophethood for the sake of worldly conquest and power. Allah knows best.

Praise Allah and seek Forgiveness

The final verse of Sūrah an-Naṣr is very deep. In this verse, Allah commands the Prophet (peace be upon him) to glorify Allah and seek forgiveness. There are many layers of meaning in this powerful verse. The first meaning is that we should attribute all victory to Allah. Whenever we succeed at anything, we must praise Allah and seek forgiveness for our shortcomings. In this way, we remain humble and focused on the obedience of Allah.

A second meaning, which some of the companions understood, was the end of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life. They realized that Allah is asking him to increase in his remembrance and seeking forgiveness because death was near. This shows the deep intelligence that Allah had gifted the scholars among the companions with. It also teaches us a very important lesson; when we suspect that death is near, we too must increase in our worship of Allah and seeking forgiveness for our mistakes.

A third angle answers a very important question; why was the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked to seek forgiveness, even though he is sinless and guaranteed Paradise. A possible answer to this is so that he remains our perfect role model in these situations. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) is asked to seek forgiveness during times of victory, what about us sinners? It becomes even more important for us to follow in his footsteps and to do so too.

This Sūrah demonstrates the remarkable difference between Islam and other ways of life. When people conquer lands in the name of liberalism, democracy, or false religions, it is often followed by pretentious shows of power, vainglorious boasting, and indulgence in major sins. All of these are considered standard ways of celebrating victory. The believer, however, celebrates victory by thanking Allah, worshipping Allah, ascribing success to Allah, and seeking forgiveness from Allah. While victory boosts the ego of the tyrant, it humbles the soul of the true believer. This shows the stark difference between the priorities of Islam and man-made ideologies.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, 2 comments