We have all been blessed. Some of us with health, others with wealth… some with looks, some with intellect. Alhamdulillah each and every one of us has been blessed with so much, that we can never even be grateful enough to our Creator for all the blessings we have been given. A child can never be grateful enough to his or her mother for being carried in her womb for nine months, and to his or her parent(s) for raising them. If we cannot be grateful enough to our own mother, then imagine just how ungrateful we must be to our mother’s Creator, our Creator.
Many of us will complain: he has this and I don’t, she has this and I don’t… however, there is one thing that we all have been blessed with, and this is the greatest blessing – time. Everyone has time. The aspect of our lives we will be questioned most about by Allah (SWT) is how we spent our time…
We were created with one goal – to worship Allah (SWT) – something that many of us still don’t understand fully, and this will be covered in the next post inshaAllah. With this one goal in mind, everything we do then becomes an aspect of worship. In the Qur’an we are told that we have been created in the best possible form. In Surah al-Asr, we are told that the whole of mankind, each and every one of us, is in a state of loss. How can this be? Because of our failures with ‘haqq’ and ‘sabr’.
If we were to ask what it means to be a good Muslim, the answer we would most likely get is to believe in Allah (SWT) and worship Him. In Surah al-Asr, however, Allah (SWT) tells us this is not enough. Yes, these are fundamental aspects of our faith, yet having haqq and sabr are equal necessities to ensure we stop ourselves from being in a state of loss.
So what do these words mean? Haqq is ‘the truth’ and with this truth that we have been given, Islam, comes a responsibility to convey this truth to others, i.e. by giving da’wah, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, conveying what is good, and forbidding what is evil. If we cannot act against it, we must at least speak out against it. If we cannot speak out against it, we must at the very least dislike the action in our heart.
Sabr is ‘patience and perseverance’, with yourself and with others. Often this word is translated just as being patient, but this can come across as a passive mode of acceptance or suffering. Perseverance adds an active movement to the word, moving us in a positive direction. Think about the sabr that the Prophet (SAW) had when giving da’wah to the Quraysh for 10 years in Makkah… He (SAW) was not patient in the way we often think of patience, he (SAW) was active and persistent in conveying the Message of Allah (SWT).
To summarise so far; we were created to worship Allah (SWT) and we all have that ability, because He (SWT) blessed us all with time. To truly be a Muslim means not only believing and praying, but conveying this message and having patience and perseverance in doing so. But if we look at the people around us, our families, friends, colleagues and so on… what are most of us chasing after? Success. How can we be successful when Allah (SWT) has told us that each and every one of us is in a state of loss? What do we need to do before we can be successful? We need to survive.
“Surah al-Asr is about survival, not about success” – Nouman Ali Khan
There is a difference between success and survival. When your survival is in question, you forget everything, even your success. When you succeed, by definition, you have already survived. The way we think about success, and the opposite, failure, is not the same way Allah (SWT) thinks about success and failure. And Allah (SWT) has given us examples showing us the way we define success and failure is not the same way He does:
If we saw someone with a huge beautiful house, we think success… think Fir’aun.
If we know someone with a lot of money, we think success… think Qarun.
If we know someone who was thrown out of his or her city, we think failure… think Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
If we know someone who was homeless, we think failure… again, think Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
We need to redefine what we think of as being successful, and time is all that we have. Having a nice house and lots of money is not wrong, but it isn’t success. Success isn’t here; it’s in the Hereafter. We need to use the time we have here to prepare for the Hereafter.
‘Mankind is in a state of loss.’ We are drowning in loss. Nouman Ali Khan, in his Bayyinah podcasts, gives us an analogy to explain how we must get out of this loss. First we have to wake up, and realise we are drowning. Then we have to swim, to try and get us out of this state. Then we must realise who we are tied to; our family, friends, colleagues etc. We have to wake them up too, and we need them all to swim, so that we can all survive. This is why we need haqq and sabr.
And as a final point for us all to think about: what is it that stops us all from believing? There are only two categories of things that stop us: doubt and temptation. The truth, haqq, removes doubt. Patience and perseverance, sabr, removes temptation…
We need to spread the truth and have patience and perseverance in doing this. And we need to do this now… we need to bring a sense of urgency into our religion. For most of us, in our current state, we are drowning in loss. We are in a routine that we need to break out of. Time is running out – we need to make that change inshaAllah.