‘Strengthen your Emaan’
A STORY OF STRENGTH OF IMAAN, ENDURANCE, PERSEVERANCE AND REWARD FROM ALLAH
We start this class with the story of Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho). He was an Abyssinian slave of a disbeliever in Mecca. His conversion to Islam was, naturally, not liked by his master and he was, therefore, persecuted mercilessly. Ummayah bin Khalaf, who was the worst enemy of Islam, would make him lie down on the burning sand at midday and would place a heavy stone on his breast, so that he could not even move a limb. He would then say to him:“Renounce Islam or swelter and die.”
Even under these afflictions, Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho) would exclaim:-
“Ahad“-The One (Allah). “Ahad“-The One (Allah).
He was whipped at night and with the cuts thus received, made to lie on the burning ground during the day to make him either forsake Islam or to die a lingering death from wounds. The torturers would get tired and take turns (Abu Jahl, Umayyah and others) and vie with one another in afflicting more and more painful punishment, but Bilal (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would not yield. At last Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu) bought his freedom, and he became a free Muslim.
As Islam taught implicitly the oneness of the Almighty Creator, while the idolaters of Mecca believed in many gods and goddesses with minor godlings, therefore Bilal (Radhiyallaho anho) repeated:
“Ahad” (The One), “Ahad” (The One).
He was later bought (by paying a huge amount) and freed by Abu Bakr R.A. and after being freed Bilal R.A. said: I would respond differently to different threats and demands but I noticed that one thing angered Umayya bin Khalaf, in particular and that was “Ahadun”. And how Bilal knew it angered his master the most? Umayya would beat him the hardest when he said these words; so, that was that for Bilal; he didn’t say anything other than “Ahadun Ahad” after that! That’s like saying ‘bring it on’!
There are horrible tales of torture from the Makkan era and everyone who was tortured at one point or another gave up and was forced into submission (albeit temporary) EXCEPT Bilal. This giant of a man, this weak, famished and naked black slave didn’t give up. He was tortured in the desert, was dragged through Makkah with a rope tied to his neck, was beaten by the common folk; but he kept saying just one word “AHAD, AHAD, AHAD” (One, One, One) His proclamation of Oneness of Allah echoed through Makkah when no one else declared it publicly. At a time when no one could even whisper ‘la ilaha illAllah’ Bilal was SHOUTING it at the top of his lungs.
So, what did Bilal R.A. get? Well for starters; He got Jannah, that’s pretty huge I’d say, right? But Allah doesn’t leave those who do good even in this dunya. Who is Bilal R.A.? This is the Moaddhin of RasulAllah ﷺ; NEVER in his life did RasulAllah ﷺ lead a prayer whose adhaan was not given by Bilal. Adhaan, which declares Allah’s oneness across the world and across every single moment that passes, reminds of Bilal.
After fateh Makkah, there was only one voice that rose from the top of the Kabah, the same voice that shouted The Oneness of Allah (Tawheed) in the days of torture was the one that was given the charge of announcing iton the day of victory. Islam won that day, so did Bilal R.A.. He came back home; the same place where he would shout “Ahad”
Where do we – the Ummah – stand?
We read about Bilal R.A. and his great endurance, now people tend to just brush it aside thinking that the Sahaba were some kind of super humans. No! They were not! They were Super Muslims! They had this great level of emaan, love for Allah and hope of His Paradise that they did not value this duniya.
Where do our men stand? Forget all that torture, majority of us would break in one slap from the enemy, we neither have the physical strength nor spiritual to go through while still being a thankful slave of Allah. An amazing hadeeth that we should all remember…
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “On the Day of Resurrection, when people who had suffered affliction are given their reward, those who were well (in this life) will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2402. See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 2206.
So we need to build our emaan and endurance and strive to do good with the hope of rewards in this world and the next.
FACTORS THAT INSPIRED PATIENCE AND PERSERVANCE IN THE SAHABA
1. Unshakable Belief in Allâh. The first and foremost factor is no doubt, unshakable Belief in Allâh Alone coupled with a wonderful degree of perception of His Attributes. A man with this Belief deeply averred in his heart will look at those foreseen difficulties as triflings and can under no circumstance compare with the sweetness of Belief:
“Then, as for the foam, it passes away as scum upon the banks, while that which is for the good of mankind remains in the earth.” [13:17]
2. Wholeheartedly-loved leadership. Muhammad ﷺ the great leader of the Muslim community, and mankind at large, was an exemplary man in his perfect manners and noble attributes; no one could measure up to his endowments of nobility, honesty, trustworthiness and abstinence; unanimously and uncontestedly acknowledged even by his enemies.
Ummah today: We just sit and blame our leaders.Remember we are all shepherds of our herds (families, employees, etc) and firstly we should do our part that is to lead them by example. Imagine the great state of our society, if all of us do our own job properly rather than just blaming others and failing at our own job.
3. The sense of responsibility. The Companions were fully aware of the daunting responsibility they were expected to shoulder. They were also convinced that those charges were inescapable even though they were being persecuted for fear of the far-reaching ramifications, and the horrible impact that humanity would suffer in case they shirked their obligations.
Ummah today: We blame the leaders, scholars and anyone possible of not fulfilling their duties, but our key point of failure is that we do not take responsibility. Remember Allah will question us of what we did not what others did. Take responsibility and do whatever you can and keep doing it. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately……, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” (Bukhari)
4. Unwavering Belief in the truth of the Hereafter. This was the corner-stone that strengthened their sense of responsibility. There was a deep certainty established through the light of their religion that one day they would have to rise on the Day of Resurrection and account for all worldly deeds, small or big. They were sure that their future in the other world would depend wholly on their acts in their provisional life on earth, either to everlasting Garden (Paradise) or perpetual chastisement in Hell. Their whole life was divided between hope for Allâh’s mercy and fear of His punishment.
“… Who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities, etc., have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord.” [23:60]
Ummah Today: We build this world as an eternal life, we plan and work hard to build a paradise for ourselves here and not preparing for the hereafter.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever is focused on the Hereafter, Allah will make him feel content with his lot and grant him peace of mind, and his provision and worldly gains will come to him regardless (of circumstances, obstacles or people). Whoever is focused only on this world, Allah will make him fear poverty constantly and confound his affairs, and he will not get anything of this world except that which has been decreed for him.” (Tirmidhi)
With regard to the words “he will not get anything of this world except that which has been decreed for him” what is meant is that caring too much and being too eager for worldly gains will not increase a person in benefit no matter how much he exerts himself for the sake of worldly gain, because his provision has already been decreed and written. So the wise person must be content with seeking worldly provision in ways that are prescribed in Islamic teachings, without being eager for more.
We should learn about the Heaven & Hell, the great rewards and punishments so that it will help us do good and stay away from evil. This course is available for free on our website https://learn-islam.org/description-of-heaven-hell
5. The Qur’ân. The Qur’ânic verses served to excite the feelings of the believers, strengthen their selves on their course of patience and endurance and introduce them to the most purposeful examples and suggestive instructions.
Ummah Today: We are away from the Quran, very very few of us recite it regularly (that should be the bare minimum), sadly even fewer try to understand it and implement it.
My dear brothers & sisters in Islam, please recite, understand, implement & propogate the Quran, it’s the word of your Lord. There is no speech greater. It is your Lord speaking to you, listen and obey. It is great source of strength.
6. Glad tidings of success.
What is Success?
The ultimate goal, or true success in Islam is to bring humans to a close personal relationship in this life with their creator. Allah has created each and every one of us to live our lives on this earth for a time, but after that, it has been ordained by Allah that we return to Him. And Allah (swt) says (interpretation of the meaning is): “….Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden, will have indeed have been successful]” (Aale-Imran 3:185)
The Ultimate Result is The Criterion
Not alike are the inmates of the fire and the dwellers of the garden (jannah): the dwellers of the garden (jannah) are they that are the achievers. (Surah Al Hadeed 59:20)
So, success and failure is based on the ‘ultimate’ result. If we are a millionaire or a king in this finite world but end up in hell-fire in the infinite life, then we are a looser. Also, the finite success here as compared to the infinite failure in the next world is negligible. This is similar to division by infinity in mathematics.
So who are the Successful?
Allah says in Quran (interpretation of the meaning is…) “And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajiroon (the Emigrants from Makkah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madeenah who helped the Muhajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [9:100]
SubhaanAllah if we notice Allah says He will be pleased with “those who followed them…” and also says it is “Supreme Success”.
Ummah Today: We follow anyone and everyone but not the Sahaba, study and implement Islam as was done by the Sahaba so that we come under the “those who followed them”.
Mere lip profession of Faith is not enough. It must be tried and tested in the real turmoil of life. The test will be applied in all kinds of circumstances, in individual life and in relation to the environment around us to see whether we can strive constantly and put the Lord above self. Much pain, sorrow and self-sacrifice may be necessary, not because they are good in themselves, but because they will purify us, like fire applied to a goldsmith’s crucible to burn out the dross.
Faith indeed increases if a person obeys Allah and decreases if he disobeys Him
We should be keen to preserve offering the obligatory prayers in congregation, pay Zakah willingly as a means to expiate sins, be merciful to the poor and the needy. You should keep company of pious and righteous people who may prove helpful to you in applying the rulings of Shari`ah and guide you to attain happiness in life and the Hereafter. You should avoid innovators and sinners lest they should beguile you into temptations and weaken your enthusiastic nature of benevolence. Do as many voluntary acts of goodness as you are able to, resort to Allah, and ask him to grant you success.
Remember Death It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Frequently remember the destroyer of pleasures,’ meaning death.” [Sunan ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 37, Hadith 4258] And by remembering you prepare for it, i.e. prepare for a Good end!
When a person thinks of Death he feels it can come any time, that should make the person hasten to set things straight by repenting to Allah, making up for any wrongs done to people and asking them for forgiveness, hastening to do righteous deeds, being serious and focused in turning to Allah and obeying Him, and seeking pardon and forgiveness from Him by His grace, in addition to thinking positively of Allah, may He be glorified, and trusting in His abundant grace and mercy, and believing that He will never let down a slave who thinks positively of Him.
Good End A good end means when a person was guided before his death to keep away from that which angers the Lord and to repent from sin, and to focus on doing acts of worship and good deeds, and then he died in this good state. One of the indications of this is the saheeh hadeeth narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wills good for His slave, He uses him.” They said, “How does He use him?” He said, “He guides him to do good deeds before he dies.” (Narrated by Imam Ahmad, 11625; al-Tirmidhi, 2142)
The Way to Paradise is Very Hard
Paradise is very high, and ascending lofty places takes a great deal of effort. The way to Paradise is filled with things that go against human wishes and inclinations. This needs strong determination and willpower. In a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (RA) the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said, “Hell has been veiled with desires, and Paradise has been veiled with [surrounded by] hardships.”
an-Nasaa’ee, at-Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud report from Abu Hurayrah (R.A.) that the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said, “When Allaah created Paradise, He told Jibreel, “Go look at it”. So he went and looked at it, then he came back and said, “By Your Glory, no-one will hear of it but he will enter it”. So He surrounded it with hardships and said, “Go and look at it”. So he went and looked at it, then came back and said, “By Your Glory, I fear that no-one will enter it””. [Jaami al-Usool, 10/520, 8068]
an-Nawawi commented on the first hadith: “This is an example of the beautiful, eloquent and concise speech which the Prophet ﷺwas capable, in which he gives a beautiful analogy. It means that nothing will help you to reach Paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to Hell, but whims and desires. Both are veiled as described, and whoever tears down the veil will reach what was hidden behind it. The veil of Paradise is torn down by going through hardships and the veil of Hell is torn down by giving in to whims and desires. Hardship including striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining one’s anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires, etc” [Sharh an-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 17/165]
Those of us who Allah has blessed with wealth & health, May He also give us the Hidayah to put them to good use, to use them in His way. May Allah make us amongst the people of Paradise.
Ways to get Closer to Allah
Remember: “All friends will be enemies of one another on that Day (Day of Judgment) except those of the virtuous.” (al-Qur’an 43:67)