“I am as My servant’s opinion of Me.”
“Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (swt) probably hates me. I am so bad; I always mess up. I don’t deserve any good from Allah (swt), and as punishment, I probably will not be given success in my other endeavors.”
How many people have felt this way at some point? Sometimes, our sins weigh heavily on us. We recognize our mistakes but instead of turning back to Allah (swt), we turn away. We feel that we must be so bad that even the All-Merciful will reject us. Other times, we do not see the fruits of our perseverance and believe that we will not be given what we have worked so hard for. Perhaps we do not even begin an endeavor, thinking there is no use.
Unfortunately, when we do this, we attribute human qualities to Allah (swt). We act as if Allah (swt) has some grudge against us that will heal as soon as He punishes us or rejects one of our requests. We act as though Allah (swt) is just waiting for us to slip up and say “Ha! Caught you!” We assume that we have to “deserve” the mercy of Allah by being almost perfect. This sounds absurd when articulated, but our actions unfortunately indicate that we believe otherwise.
What does this thought process actually tell us about ourselves? It tells us that we did not really have hope in Him to begin with. Rather, our hope was in what we believed to be our own good deeds or abilities. Once we slip up or feel that we do not have the strength to continue, we do not think well enough of Allah (swt) to believe that He will guide us through. We must understand that when we think well of Allah, that is what we will find.
Think well of Allah (swt) when embarking on something difficult, even if you fail
When the most beloved person to Allah (swt), the Prophet ﷺ, was thinking of migrating to Madina, he started talking to all of the different tribes that came for Hajj in the hopes that one of them would accept Islam or at least offer the believers protection. He spoke to twenty-six different tribes and was rejected by all of them. Some of the tribes even cursed and mocked him. Let’s stop here. He made da`wah (calling to Islam) to twenty-six tribes. Can you imagine the feeling of being rejected by five? What would happen after ten rejected you? How low would your morale be? When would you have given up?
Finally, he ﷺ met a few youth from Madina who believed in his message. He did not despair because he had a good opinion of Allah (swt), which motivated him; he knew Allah would not leave him ﷺ.
Many people give up in the face of something seemingly impossible. Sometimes, we give up on an individual level: getting married, getting that job we want; sometimes it is on a global level, such as injustice in the Muslim world. But as we read in Sr. Yasmin’s amazing article, the point of the struggle is to realize who is in charge. It is Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has told us that He is as His servant’s think of Him. If we think well, then that is what we will find. If we do not, then that is what we will find. Your opinion should be that Allah (swt) is so Merciful that He will come to your aid.
What happens when we are faced with failure? When one does not get something, even if their intention was for the sake of Allah (swt), they should not feel disheartened. You have a good opinion of Allah (swt); “failure” is just a minor setback. You need to be tested to strengthen your resolve. If you do not get that amazing job you want, know that Allah (swt) has saved something better for you. Only He knows what is best for you.
Think well of Allah when you sin
What about when we constantly slip-up and cannot leave a certain sin? For some of us, this makes us give up on ourselves; we believe we don’t deserve any good from Allah. We have to remember that Allah (swt) is al-Wadud (the Most Loving). His Mercy overcomes His blame. It is not about deserving. If you thank Allah, He gives you more. It is not because we deserve more, it is because Allah is that Great. He is that Generous. Shaytan (the devil) makes us focus on how bad we are in order that we despair of Allah’s mercy, when the Prophet ﷺ taught us: “All the children of Adam constantly err, but the best of those who constantly err are those who constantly repent.” [Tirmidhi]
The Prophet ﷺ said that “One of the signs of excellence of one’s worship is thinking well of Allah (swt).” [Ahmad] This does not mean that we should not reflect on our state. Al-Hasan al-Basri said “A true believer is one who thinks well of Allah (swt) and therefore does good, whereas the disobedient one thinks bad of Allah (swt) and therefore does bad.” If we think well of Allah, no matter how bad we are, we also have hope that we can be better and thus we strive to do good deeds. If we think badly of Allah, we assume that He will never forgive us nor can He make us better; so we continue to sin. However, we should not make a mockery of this concept and deliberately sin, thinking Allah (swt) will forgive us anyway. One of the key principles of repentance is regret. If we do not truly regret the sin, and simply ask for forgiveness to have that sin erased, we are paying lip service. Remember, “You will only get what you intend.” [Bukhari]
When we do wrong, let us feel guilty, but let us also flee to Allah (swt). Have a good opinion of Allah (swt). If you are sincere, He will forgive you. He is that forgiving. He is that Great. He is that Magnanimous. Even when we commit the same sin again and again and again, our good opinion of Allah (swt) should let us know that as long as we constantly strive against our nafs (lower self) and against that part of us that wants to indulge in that sin, we have already been forgiven. At the end of the day, it is shaytan who wants us to go to hell, not Allah. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation.” (Qur’an, 4:27)
Shaytan does not just want you to go to hell, but also wants to ensure you live in hell in this world. Just like he despaired, he wants you to despair. Our good opinion of Allah (swt) should never allow us to do that. Allah (swt) wants to accept your repentance, because your repenting is recognition of His Name al-Ghaffar (the One who constantly forgives).
Just as the Prophet ﷺ told us that Allah (swt) is too gracious to turn away the hand that asks Him , He is also too Merciful to disappoint you and your good opinion of Him.
Think well of Allah when you are tested
Tests come to us in a myriad of ways. We have already discussed why tests happen in a previous post, so I will not discuss it too much here. We should just know that thinking well of Allah (swt) should make us look beyond the test. This test is something from Allah (swt), and He wants to teach us, to purify us from sin, to strengthen us, and to bring us closer to Him. We do not have a cruel God; our God is the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy. When we approach our tests with that frame of mind, we cannot but gain from our experience, insha’Allah.
So what does it mean to think well of Allah?
It means to take that step. When we mess up, even if we messed up in a major way, we return to Him. We return to Him recognizing that what we did was truly horrible, but we ask for His forgiveness because we know He is that forgiving, and that His Mercy encompasses everything. When we mess up again and again, and feel sick of ourselves, we return to Him with a sincere du’a (supplication) to help us stop, knowing that He will respond. It means having grand hopes and aspirations, and working towards them knowing that Allah (swt)
“will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds.” (Qur’an, 18:30).
Once, the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was sitting in a blessed gathering of his and speaking to his companions, meanwhile, a man entered the mosque, looking to his left and right. Then, instead of sitting in the Prophet’s circle, he headed for a corner of the mosque and began to undo his lower garment. The people were left in suspense as to what he is going to do next. Then, to their horror, he raised his lower garment, sat down quite calmly and began to urinate!
The Companions were shocked and exploded upon seeing him urinate in the mosque. They were about to rush towards him, but the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) asked them to stay seated and keep their calm; he said, “Do not interrupt him!” The Companions watched as he urinated and perhaps he wasn’t even aware of them looking on!
The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), as he witnessed the scene – a man urinating in the mosque – continued to calm his Companions down. How forbearing he was! When the Bedouin had finished and stood up to tie his garment around his waist, the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) called him gently.
The Bedouin came and stood in front of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam). The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said,
“The mosques are not built for this purpose. They are only built for prayers and reading of the Quran.”
It has become a common practice in many parts of the world for men to stand and urinate. The presence of urinals in almost every male bathroom has not only taught, but also encouraged people to stand up while relieving themselves. What does Islam say about this behavior?
First of all, we must remember that our ability to digest food and drink is a great blessing from Allah. We would not be able to survive without a digestive system. However, with every blessing comes a responsibility. Since human waste is classified as impure, Islam teaches us a few rules about how to relieve ourselves with dignity.
So what’s the problem?
There are many Islamic guidelines about how to use the restroom. We will only focus on those that pertain to standing and urinating. This common practice has led to the following unethical practices:
1. Shamelessness. One bad habit that has resulted from using of public urinals is the loss of personal modesty in the restroom. It is very common to see two men using the bathroom while having a conversation at the same time. Had they peeked over just a little they would have be able to see one another’s private parts. This is abhorrent. The Prophet ﷺ (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said,
People who are impressed with modern civilization believe that the Hijab (Islamic covering) is a sign of backwardness that prevents women from development and hampers their creativity and individuality. According to them, the Hijab is an obstacle that prevents women from progressing in the spheres of personal and social development.
We ask these people: "What does the Hijab have to do with development and technology?' Is it a precondition for civilization and development that women must expose themselves in front of men? Is it a precondition for civilization and development that women should have illicit sexual relationships with men? Is it a precondition for civilization and development that women must become mere bodies with no souls, sense of shame or conscience?
Is adherence to Hijab the reason behind our incapability of manufacturing vehicles, airplanes, tanks and electronic devices?
Muslim women in many Islamic countries abandoned the Hijab and went out to work alongside men in all fields of work. Did these countries, therefore, become developed as a result of their women abandoning Hijab? Did these countries catch up with the rest of civilization when their women mixed with men? Did these countries thereby become as strong as the developed civilised countries? Did any of these countries thereby become a superpower that has the power to veto any United Nations resolution? Did any of these countries resolve all their economic, educational and social problems? The answers to these questions are clear and need no further explanation. Subsequently, this must be asked: Why is it that people still call for women to take off their Hijab and intermix freely with men?
The people who advocate this have, in reality, no desire for civilization or development. They simply want to have women in close proximity of themselves so they would be readily available to fulfil their lusts; they wish to make woman an open object for the fulfilment of their desires – a toy to play with whenever they wish. They wish that women became an item to be traded in the market of immorality. They want to rid women of their chastity and bashfulness, and wish that their thinking and objectives becomes Westernised. Their desire is that women become experts in singing, dancing and acting. In short, they want the Muslim woman to be devoid of faith, belief, purity, morals and chastity.
"Death is a harsh and fearful reality faced by everyone who lives. No one has the power to avoid it, nor does anyone around a dying person have the ability to prevent it. It is something that happens every moment and is something encountered by the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak. They are all the same in that they have no plan, nor any means of escaping it, no means of intercession, no way to prevent it, nor to delay it."1
Allah - the Most High - says:
"Say: Indeed, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to Allah, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. And He will then tell you what you used to do." [Al-Qur'an 62:8]
"Every soul shall taste death. And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us will you be returned."
Indeed it is death "which causes fear in the souls, and with it one's actions are sealed, and what comes after is even more fearful and fear-inducing. For is there a place one can flee to in order to escape from the constrictions suffered in the grave? What will our reply be when we are questioned in the grave? Indeed, not a single one of us knows where we will end up. Will it be Paradise whose width is like the heavens and the earth, or shall it be the Fire whose fuel is of men and stones?"2
There are various opinions of the honourable scholars with regard to the name of this blessed salah. Some of them called it Salat ut-Tasabih. Others called it Salat ut-Tawbah. Yet another group called it Salat ul-Ghufran (prayer for forgiveness).
Whatever its name may be, it refers to one prayer and its purpose is one. Verily it is a great prayer for expiating the sins, forgiveness for the sins and mistakes. It is a cleansing for whoever wants to be cleansed, success for whomsoever seeks salvation.
The renowned scholar 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn Abi Rawad1 said, "Whoever desires Paradise should take to Salat ut-Tasabih."
Abu 'Uthman Sa'id ibn Isma'il al-Hiri2 said, "I have not seen anything for removal of calamities and afflictions like Salat ut-Tasabih."
As-Subki3 said, "Indeed I have spoken at length about this because of the objection of An-Nawawi on it and the reliance of the people of this era on him. Thus I was afraid the people who be deceived by that. Thus it is befitting that one endeavours to do it."
Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.
One billion people from a vast range or races, nationalities and cultures across the globe – from the southern Philippines to Nigeria – are united by their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in the Arab world; the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and Europe.
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God (called Allah in Arabic); in the Angels created by Him; ; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelation were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through Angel Gabriel.
Simply by saying ‘there is no god worthy of worship besides God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God’s messengers, and the scriptures they brought.
The Ka’bahah is the place of worship which God commanded Prophets Abraham and Ishmael to build over Four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone.
Our master Muhammad has said, All Praise is due to Allah, the One and only God. His being Eternal is compounded by His being Divine. He is Proud in His own right and in His Greatness. He creates whatever He wills and initiates the creation without having to have a model for any of what He creates! Our Lord is the One Who has always been beyond time as such; through His knowledge has He split the seed; through His Might has He created all creation; through the light of the morning has He started the dawn; there is none that can alter what He has created, nor is there any that can change what He has made, nor is there any that can revoke His decree or repeal His command or be exempted from His call!
There is no extinction to His domain, nor is there a term for His Divinity. He is the first to create, the One Who is eternal even beyond eternity itself, the One Who has obscured Himself from His creation in the horizon of ambition, in the lofty Exaltation, in the abundant domain, higher than anything that is high. Yet He is close to everything, so He manifests Himself to His creatures even without being seen, while He is the most Sublime! By His Light He veiled Himself and ascended the height, obscuring Himself from His creation.
He sent them messengers so that He would have the clear argument against them, and so that His messengers would testify against His creation. He sent prophets to them to bring them glad tidings and to warn them, so that He would guide whomsoever He pleases after providing them with His clear signs and bringing to life whomsoever He pleases with the same, hence the creation will know about their Lord that which they did not know, and they will know Him as their God after having rejected Him. They will believe in His Unity after having persisted in denying it.
In one hadith, the Messenger of Allah is quoted saying, "Anything which does not start with the Name of Allah is cut-off (from Allah's blessing)." It is customary for Muslims to invoke the Name of Allah whenever they do anything important, or whenever they seek His protection against His arch-enemy and ours Satan the Accursed. Examples are:
When they stand up or sit down, when they eat or drink, when they enter their homes, when they open the door of their cars or bathrooms or any room in the house, when they start the engines of their cars, when they put on or take off their clothes, when they ascend or descend a ladder, when they start writing something important, when they slaughter an animal decreed by Allah as lawful for their food..., and even when they cohabit with their wives in the hope Allah will bless them with righteous progeny.
Such are the manners of good Muslims. So let us start in the Name of Allah Who created and determined everything from nothing, the ever-Living, the Eternal Who is never affected by time, nor space, nor anything else, Who never initiated a place for His being, nor did He attain His might after having created everything, nor was He weak before then. In the Name of Allah Who never needed company before creating everything.
In the Name of Allah the like of Whom there is none at all, nor was He without His domain before the latter's creation. In the Name of Allah Who hears without a hearing faculty, Who sees without vision. In the Name of Allah Who is Mighty without having to derive His might from His creation. In the Name of Allah the eyes of Whose creatures can never see Him, the Most Exalted One, the all-Knowing. I testify that Allah is the One and Only God; there is no partner with Him, the One and only
One upon Whom all things and beings depend. He does not beget, nor is He begotten, nor is there anything like Him. I further testify that our master Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, bearer of His Message and of the glad tidings, the one whom He trusted for His revelation; blessings of Allah be upon him and his righteous and pure progeny.
People respond differently to crisis. During troubled times, it is natural to be sad and exasperated be it the death of a loved one, being diagnosed with serious illness, trauma, natural disasters or any negative events. Some people become angry, and even turn that anger towards God. After blaming other people, themselves, and fate, they eventually blame Allāh.
“It just doesn't make sense. Why is Allāh doing this to me? How can Allāh allow this to happen? Haven't I done enough? I did everything because of Him but this is what I get. Do I deserve this?”
Yes, it is frustrating when you don't have all the answers. When things are difficult and out of our control, it is easy to snap. You yearn for the situation in which everything is secure, safe, and predictable. The relationship with God that you used to cherish does not seem comforting anymore. You feel betrayed, abandoned and mistreated. You stop going to the mosque. You feel like your belief has shattered. You resent religious advice. Whether you are praying to Allāh or not, it does not seem to have any difference. You feel like the world has conspired against you and hold Allāh responsible for that harm, temporarily blind to the reality that afflictions and calamities befall everybody, even the prophets and messengers.
The Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was asked, “O Messenger of Allāh, which of the people are the most sorely tested?” He said: “The Prophets, then those similar, then those similar. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of faith. If his faith is strong, he will be tested more severely, and if his faith is weak, he will be tested in accordance with his faith. Calamity will keep befalling a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him” (1).
If you are struggling with this anger, you are not alone. Many people experience similar struggles. Rather than pulling away or trying to cover up the negative feelings, dealing with the issue in an open and honest way is more helpful in the long term. It may not be serious if you just have a flash of anger towards Allāh, and then the coping mechanisms kick in. However, if you have trouble minimizing the anger, you may need to seek help. Research has shown that anger towards God is associated with poor adjustment to bereavement, particularly when the anger remained unresolved over a 1-year period (2). In addition, all these may lead to depression, withdrawal, and a dangerous drop in religious faith.