بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والحمدلله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers
“O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Aware of what you do.”
(Surat Al-Hashr, 59:18)
What have we presented for tomorrow, for the Day that we will be judged? On the Day of Judgment, as we all know, all of humanity will be desperately trying to find all the deeds they did for the sake of God. This begs the question, what category of people will we be in? Those who have nothing to show for all our years on earth, or those who will stand before Allah and say “My Lord, I did this for you?”
Let’s look at some inspiring examples (these examples were given by Amr Khaled in his series, On the path of the Beloved): Talha bin Ubaidullah (ra) and Abu Dojana (ra) were at the Battle of Uhud. Talha (ra) said to the Prophet (pbuh) “Lower your head, so that you are not hurt by the arrows. I am ready to sacrifice my life for you”, and he was hurt by one of the arrows such that his hand was paralyzed. Abu Dojana (ra) embraced the Prophet (pbuh) to act as a shield between him (pbuh) and the arrows. In later years, a man became astonished when he saw all of the scars on Abu Dojana’s (ra) back. Abu Dojana (ra) replied that all of the scars were from the Day of Uhud. Can we imagine, that these people will bring their scars on the Day of Judgment and say, this is what we did for Allah? What will we present?
Some could say that these people were at the time of the Prophet (pbuh); they had so much to be inspired about, they had the Beloved of Allah (pbuh) by their side. But we have something of great importance too, that we neglect; and that is the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
In a lecture by Tareq Suwaidan; he mentioned a hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) which inspired generations of men. This hadith was “Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader and his army would be.” (Ahmad, Tabarani) People who came later wanted to be the person talked about in this hadith. One of them was Mohammad Al-Fateh. At his time, Constantinople had become the capital of the Roman Empire. He was very young when he became the leader of the Ottoman Empire, and eventually took Constantinople. He was only 21 years old at the time. And all this because he was inspired by a hadith of the Prophet (pbuh). The fact that it was the hadith that inspired him even affected the way he conducted the conquest and ensured it was in accordance to the rules of Islam.
For example, even when he was preparing to take over, during the siege he sent messages to the Emperor guaranteeing the safety of the citizens if they surrendered but the Emperor refused. Eventually the Muslim army entered the city. After the victory, the Sultan extended liberal treatment to the city’s Christian population and renamed the city as Istanbul. The first thing he did after conquering the city was build a mosque, at the tomb of Ayub Al-Ansari, who was another person before him who was inspired to be the one talked about in the hadith, but he failed.
What is the difference between us and those people? Why do we not do that? Why do we not look at the hadith that speaks of the 7 people whom Allah shades on the day where there will be no shade except His shade, and say “I want to be one of those people”. We could be the person who’s left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity. Or of the people who sit in solitude and eyes fill with tears when remembering God. What about the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) where he says that “I and the guardian of an orphan will be in the Garden like these two [And he held his two fingers up]”? (Bukhari) If we REALLY wanted to be united with the Prophet (pbuh), would we not make it our goal? Are we inspired to perhaps support one orphan, or do we want to make it our life’s mission to have orphanages offering healthy environments for the children and preparing them so that they can have opportunities when they grow older?
Alhamdillah, I know that many people reading this are constantly trying to do good things; whether it is in terms of the environment, human rights, social justice, and getting closer to Allah, learning more and teaching etc. So we should be as Muslims. But we must also think of the long-term; what does the Ummah, or humanity, need? Why don’t we take on a long term project, with the intention that this what we are presenting, and put all of our effort into it? After all, a person who implements one verse of Qur’an is better than a person who knows the whole of the Qur’an but does not act upon it.
Some of us, and this is myself too, sit and wonder; but what can I do? The idea will come to us, inshAllah, if we just put all our efforts into remembering that there must be something that we can do, and are able to do, with the will of Allah. Abdullah Ibn-Zaid (ra), was one of the companions, and he had a dream that a man taught him the words of the athan. This was before the athan was established. He then told the Prophet (pbuh) about the dream, and the Prophet (pbuh) said that it was a good vision; and ever since the athan has been what we hear today. This is not to say that Allah will give us all dreams to go by; of course not. But as Amr Khaled said “If you love Islam and dream for it, Allah (SWT) will send you ideas.”
It is so crucial to remember that we were all created with a purpose; that it is within our reach to do something great in the Eyes of Allah. We have to believe that tawfeeq (success) comes from Him, and just strive on our path with our mission in mind. Ayub Al-Ansari did not succeed in taking Constantinople, but was his effort in vain? Of course not. Allah says in the Qur’an “… and your striving shall be recompensed” (Surat Al-Insan, 76:22)
So, what are the required steps? Firstly, we must work on our relationship with Allah. Nothing occurs except by His leave,and moreover, undertaking a worthy project will see us facing many tests. We need to have a strong relationship with Allah in order to be able to deal with the problems when they come, to have patience with the project, and to make du’a with true sincerity. If things go wrong, we will not despair, inshAllah. This comes from learning, increasing our prayers and fasts, and surrounding ourselves with people who remind us. We need guidance more than ever, so that we do things in the proper way and do not allow our passions or ambitions get the better of us. This is only possible through bring close to Allah and knowing His rules for living our lives. Mohammed Al-Fateh had a strong relationship with the Qur’an and spent a lot of time memorizing it.
Secondly, we need to think of what we are good at. What talent has Allah given us? What do we have a passion for? What does the Ummah, and the world, need?
Thirdly, what has inspired us? Who do we want to be in the Eyes of Allah? How do we want the Prophet (pbuh) to see us on the Day of Judgment?
Fourthly, preparation and trust in Allah. Dreaming is only the first step. Then we must prepare ourselves for our project- whether that be starting an orphanage, liberating lands unjustly taken, environmental awareness, building a school or teaching others- whatever we have in mind- we must use our faculties and employ them in our cause. It must be remembered that Mohammed Al-Fateh mastered five languages: Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Latin and old Greek. He also studied Astronomy, Geography and History. He spent several years preparing for the conquest; yet he always reminded his army to pray two voluntary rak’as of prayer, because he knew that nothing is achieved without Allah. He is quoted to have said “I have two traits: a heart as hard as a rock that would not rest until I achieve what I want and a tearful eye out of fear of Allah, so how can I not achieve victory?”
May Allah allow us to be inspired by His Messenger (pbuh), and to use our lives in the service of others. May our relationship with God be strengthened day by day. Ameen.