Monday, October 3, 2016

What Does God Want ?


This topic is incomplete.

Ideally, God would love to have a “utopian” love relationship between Him and His bondmen. 5.54. whom He loveth and who love Him”. What is utopian is usually impractical, but in this very regard such a love is quite practical. We will see how. God has never had a child, because a child would either be as good as Him or less good than Him. But “42.11. Naught is as His likeness”. Otherwise He wouldn’t be God. There can’t be anything as good as God and anything less good than God cannot be a god. There can only be God, on the one hand, and the Kingdom of God, on the other hand. The Kingdom of God can only be ruled by God. But God does not want to rule by force only. With those who need force God will use force because He is 3.6. the Almighty , the Wise». To those who need love God will give love because He is 11.90 . Merciful , Loving.” It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’”  The rain, which is a gift from God, does not fall only where God is worshipped.


Please do not read on. This topic is incomplete.


If Man was placed as a viceroy in the earth, how about you who aren't only a man, but on top of that a believer?

The true believers are those "Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! Those who believe and do right: Joy is for them, and bliss (their) journey's end." (Ar-Ra'd : 28-29) "They make it favor unto thee (Muhammad) that they have surrendered (unto Him). Say: Deem not your Surrender a favor unto me; nay, but Allah doth confer a favor on you, inasmuch as He hath led you to the Faith, if ye are earnest." (Al-Hujurat : 17) "Say: O mankind! Now hath the Truth from your Lord come unto you. So whosoever is guided, is guided only for (the good of) his soul, and whosoever erreth erreth only against it. And I am not a warder over you." (Yunus : 108) "Proofs have come unto you from your Lord, so whoso seeth it is for his own good, and whoso is blind is blind to his own hurt. And I am not a keeper over you." (Al-An'am : 104)


"And were it not that mankind would have become one community, We might well have appointed, for those who disbelieve in the Beneficent, roofs of silver for their houses and stairs (of silver) whereby to mount, And for their houses doors (of silver) and couches of silver whereon to recline, And ornaments of gold. Yet all that would have been but a provision of the life of the world. And the Hereafter with your Lord would have been for those who keep from evil." (Az-Zukhruf : 33-35)

"And those who deny Our revelations step by step We lead them on from whence they know not. I give them rein (for) lo! My scheme is strong." (Al-A'raf : 182-183) "And let not those who disbelieve imagine that the rein We give them bodeth good unto their souls. We only give them rein that they may grow in sinfulness. And theirs will be a shameful doom." (Al-i'Imran : 178)


The problem is not with those people. The problem is with us, with most of us--at least. We know for sure that it's only God Who can decide our fate, and yet we don't want to believe in that--just out of arrogance. We continue to disbelieve in what we know is the Truth until we get caught in a situation where we give up our arrogance and burst into tears and prayers, imploring God to save us.

The blame game is part of human nature. We all blame others for our misfortunes. When there’s nobody specific to blame, we blame bad luck. But let’s be objective for a moment! The best intentioned, most competent government can’t guarantee jobs for all. The most compassionate, most patriotic business establishment in the world can’t guarantee lasting economic growth. There will always be a minority of “unlucky” people. Even highly educated people (doctors, engineers…) may be surprised not to find suitable jobs. (See my article Salam Layla 5.) Even governments of developed countries plead with other governments of developed countries to do better for their national economy. The French want Germans to do more for German economic growth. The Germans want the French to do more to reduce their budget deficit. The U.S. appeals to Europe to do more to get out of recession.


You can’t get that without patience. You have to endure some kind of suffering (during the test(s)). This is the price. That’s why most people would not choose this way, this approach. They want the rose without thorns. They want to find solutions with their minds, not their hearts. Now it’s up to you to choose.

Lastly, if you really are a patient person, then consider yourself lucky, for patience is the greatest thing man can ever be given. "But none is granted it save those who are steadfast, and none is granted it save the owner of great happiness." (Fussilat : 35) "For those who do good in this world there is good, and Allah's earth is spacious. Verily the steadfast will be paid their wages without stint." (Az-Zumar : 10) And patience is -in God's sight- a great virtue, too. "Lo! We found him steadfast, how excellent a slave! Lo! he was ever turning in repentance (to his Lord)." (Sad :44)

This implies that by the age of forty a man should be fulfilled, i.e., he should have a home, a wife and children, among other things. If we look around us, that's what we find. Most men marry and beget children even before the age of forty.
But what if a man reached forty years and yet had no home of his own, no wife, no children? Would that be a sign of failure, a curse, or what? In society, yes, that's a sign of failure. Why should a man be called a man if he could not start a family before the age of forty? There's certainly something wrong with him!
Now, what could be "wrong" with such a man? It could be a matter of money. It could be a matter of choice. In either case, the Koran says: "And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace." (An-Nur : 33) But for how long, one would ask? How long can a single man keep chaste? How long can a man keep hope? Well, marriage is not the end of the road, to begin with. Many married men divorce their wives. Many married men complain about their children for various reasons. Many men don't have children in the first place. So what if a man hastened to marry just to please society and then his wife turned out to be the wrong choice? How long would he tolerate that? What if he found just the right spouse, but then he failed to have children because he or she was barren? How long would he keep hope before he could be blessed with a child? Would he divorce his barren wife just to please society? Well, good men don't do that.

Then implore God to help you. Whether you got a first degree in Arabic from an Arab Faculty of Letters or a PhD in Physics at an American university, you have to implore God to help you. (Your PhD in Physics may bring you a good job with a multinational corporation, but not necessarily a good wife, etc.) Implore God to help you get what you want. Thank God for that PhD. Be kind unto people as God was kind unto you. “Exult not; lo! Allah loveth not the exultant; But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah hath given thee and neglect not thy portion of the world, and be thou kind even as Allah hath been kind to thee, and seek not corruption in the earth; lo! Allah loveth not corrupters." (Al-Qasas : 76-77)


Be a good example, a good role model for others. Never forget your second life. You work for both lives at the same time.


Whatever your problem, implore God. “And your Lord hath said: Pray unto me and I will hear your prayer.” (Ghafir : 60) "And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them bear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright.” (Al-Baqara : 186)
If your prayer is not answered, it may be a question of taqwa (righteousness, fear of God) on your part. "And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him, And will provide for him from (a quarter) whence he hath no expectation. And whosoever putteth his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Lo! Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah hath set a measure for all things.” (At-Talaq : 2-3) "And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, He maketh his course easy for him.” (At-Talaq : 4)
It may also be some kind of punishment for some wrongdoing. “That is because Allah never changeth the grace He hath bestowed on any people until they first change that which is in their hearts, and (that is) because Allah is Hearer, Knower.” (Al-Anfal : 53)
But you should never give up hope, though. “And lo! when We cause man to taste of mercy from Us he exulteth therefor. And if some evil striketh them because of that which their own hands have sent before, then lo! man is an ingrate.” (Ash-Shura : 48) "And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy they rejoice therein; but if an evil thing befall them as the consequence of their own deeds, lo! they are in despair!” (Ar-Rum : 36)


You should stick to this approach whatever the situation. “And among mankind is he who worshippeth Allah upon a narrow marge so that if good befalleth him he is content therewith, but if a trial befalleth him, he falleth away utterly. He loseth both the world and the Hereafter. That is the sheer loss.” (Al-Hajj : 11)  "Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts.” (Ar-Ra'd : 11)


You have to believe God when He says: “Lo! he who wardeth off (evil) and endureth (findeth favor); for verily Allah loseth not the wages of the kindly.” (Yusuf : 90) “That which Allah openeth unto mankind of mercy none can withhold it; and that which He withholdeth none can release thereafter. He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Fatir : 2) “If Allah touch thee with affliction, there is none that can relieve therefrom save Him, and if He touch thee with good fortune (there is none that can impair it); for He is Able to do all things. He is the Omnipotent over His slaves, and He is the Wise, the Knower.” (Al-An'am  : 17)


These good young men left the city (with all its glamour) and took refuge in a cave. And it is clear from those verses above that God liked these young men. And yet God did not look at what these young men had "achieved" in their lives (or at what they looked liked). ("And thou wouldst have deemed them waking thou they were asleep, and we caused them to turn over to the right and the left, and their dog stretching out his paws on the threshold. If thou hadst observed them closely thou hadst assuredly turned away from them in flight, and hadst been filled with awe of them." (Al-Kahf : 18)) God rather looked at what was in these young men's hearts. God praised what was in the young men's hearts and did not praise "the achievements" of their people back in the city--just as the Queen of Sheba did not praise Suleiman for the wonders of his palace, but praised God instead.

It was not the Queen's eyes that spoke (when "It was said unto her: Enter the hall. And when she saw it she deemed it a pool and bared her legs. (Solomon) said: Lo! it is a hall, made smooth, of glass. She said: My Lord! Lo! I have wronged myself, and I surrender with Solomon unto Allah, the Lord of the Worlds." (An-Naml : 44)), but it was rather her heart that uttered those words of truth. That's why the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Allah does not look at your bodies nor does he look at your images, but He looks into your hearts." The true "civilisation" is in the hearts of people, not in their buildings and constructions. The true power is in the hearts, not in the bodies.

"He said: O chiefs! Which of you will bring me her throne before they come unto me, surrendering? A stalwart of the Jinn said: I will bring it thee before thou canst rise from thy place. Lo! I verily am strong and trusty for such work. One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee before thy gaze returneth unto thee. And when he saw it set in his presence, (Solomon) said: This is of the bounty of my Lord, that He may try me whether I give thanks or am ungrateful. Whosoever giveth thanks he only giveth thanks for (the good of) his own soul: and whosoever is ungrateful (is ungrateful only to his own soul's hurt). For lo! my Lord is Absolute in independence, Bountiful." (An-Naml : 38-40)


But does this mean that God wants good men to be wretched homeless people going around begging disbelievers on the street? Does God want good men to live in caves, far away from towns and cities? No, far from it.
God would like to see you as perfect a man as possible. He would like you to be smart in your mind: "He giveth wisdom unto whom He will, and he unto whom wisdom is given, he truly hath received abundant good, But none remember except men of understanding." (Al-Baqara : 269)
"Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed." (Az-Zumar : 9)
God wants you to care even about your appearance.
"Is he who goeth groping on his face more rightly guided, or he who walketh upright on a beaten road?" (Al-Mulk : 22)

God does not want to see you shabby, certainly not while praying Him. Nor does He want you to starve for the sake of Him.
"O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals. Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do We detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge. Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not." (Al-A'raf : 31-33)


God wants you to be honest, free from contradictions, fair in your judgement. "As for man, whenever his Lord trieth him by honoring him, and is gracious unto him, he saith: My Lord honoureth me. But whenever He trieth him by straitening his means of life, he saith: My Lord despiseth me. Nay, but ye (for your part) honor not the orphan, And urge not on the feeding of the poor, And ye devour heritages with devouring greed, And love wealth with abounding love." (Al-Fajr : 15-20)

This is a wonderful example of how God does respect man's freedom of choice. "We said: O Dhul-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness. He said: As for him who doeth wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, who will punish him with awful punishment! But as for him who believeth and doeth right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command. " And God accepted that (wise) reply. But Dhul-Qarneyn did not accept the offer from the people who feared Gog and Magog. "He said: That wherein my Lord hath established me better (than your tribute)." And what did he do next to help those people? Well, he didn't sit down and burst into prayer. He didn't wait for God to tell him what to do. He started work immediately. He solicited everybody to contribute to his project. He used his mind to design the project, but he also used the physical strength of the men who couldn't use their minds properly. And when the project was realized (thanks to everybody's contributions), "He said: This is a mercy from my Lord"!

Dhul-Qarneyn did not ascribe his achievement to his own intellectual powers because he was of those who understood what Abraham (pbuh) meant by saying to his people: "Allah hath created you and what ye make?" (As-Saffat : 96) He was not of those who would say :"I have been given it only on account of knowledge I possess." (Al-Qasas : 78) And that's the fruit of the trust that there has always been between God and those who believe in Him and respect His Word. Haven't you read this verse which says: "So keep your duty to Allah as best ye can"? Who on earth can ever tell me whether or not I have kept my duty to Allah (swt) as best I could? It's, therefore, a matter of trust. If I trust God, God will trust me. And what does God want of me, after all, if not to act lawfully for my own good? Listen to what God says to you and me: "So keep your duty to Allah as best ye can, and listen, and obey, and spend; that is better for your souls. And whoso is saved from his own greed, such are the successful." (At-Tagaboun : 16)
See? God wants you and me to be successful! That's all. That's why He warns us. That's why He guides us.

Now, let’s go back to the story of eed. You all know how the story began. It began like this: “And when (his son) was old enough to walk with him, (Abraham) said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee. So look, what thinkest thou? He said: O my father! Do that which thou art commanded. Allah willing, thou shalt find me of the steadfast. Then, when they had both surrendered (to Allah), and he had flung him down upon his face, We called unto him: O Abraham: Thou hast already fulfilled the vision. Lo! thus do We reward the good. Lo! that verily was a clear test. Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim. And We left for him among the later folk (the salutation): Peace be unto Abraham! Thus do We reward the good. Lo! he is one of Our believing slaves.” (As-Saffat : 102-11)
The story of eed began with a trial, and what a trial it was! Abraham (peace be upon him)  had to show, with concrete acts, who was dearer to him: his only son or God!
It was a trial for Abraham. It is today a business opportunity for millions of people around the world. I needn’t lecture you on the economic impact of Eed al-Adha on the whole society, believers and non-believers alike. And as you all know, Eed al-Adha coincides every year with Hajj. Do you know how many people profit economically from Hajj-related activities? (Non-Muslim) European travel agencies, for example, compete for Muslim clients desiring to perform Hajj or Umrah. Besides the economic aspects of it, you can imagine the positive social impact of such religious occasions on millions and millions of people.

People don’t go to the weekly market because they love the marketplace. They go there to sell things. They sell their goods to get money. They want the money to buy other things: food, clothes, etc. There’s always some ‘end’ (purpose) at the end. Well, the hierarchy which is painful to many of us is, if we think about it objectively, vital. Hierarchy in any economic, political, social, administrative or familial structure is absolutely vital for the normal order of things; otherwise, if everyone started obstructing, to please his own ‘ego’, what other than havoc, chaos and anarchy shall we have? If everybody were rich, who would work in the fields or in mines or in factories? For things to be easier for US, for you and me, there should normally be a rich man who has a factory or a farm or a mine, then other people to work in the factory, farm, mine, etc., people with different ranks, one higher than another in rank, so that everybody will 'accept' to do his 'small' job. Also, some people are better at some things than others. Can any French native speaker be a good teacher of French Grammar ? Can any good football commentator be a good football coach ? Can any professor of Management make a good company manager? "Lo! thy Lord is Knower, Wise." (Yusuf : 6) Our salaries are not mirrors of our 'merits', they don’t necessarily reflect what we really are worth. They are the means, not the end. The end is good deeds and bad deeds. While you are working, doing any kind of work, even reading this article, God is watching you. He is counting your good deeds and bad deeds to see which place, good or bad, you deserve to live in for eternity after death. Your deeds are objective criteria to decide your ultimate fate.  "And thou (Muhammad) art not occupied with any business and thou recitest not a lecture from this (Scripture), and ye (mankind) perform no act, but We are Witness of you when ye are engaged therein. And not an atom's weight in the earth or in the sky escapeth your Lord, nor what is less than that or greater than that, but it is (written) in a clear Book. Lo! verily the friends of Allah are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve. Those who believe and keep their duty (to Allah), Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the Words of Allah ; that is the Supreme Triumph. And let not their speech grieve thee (O Muhammad). Lo! power belongeth wholly to Allah. He is the Hearer, the Knower. Lo! is it not unto Allah that belongeth whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth?" (Yunus : 61-66)


If you are a nonbeliever and have a big mind that would be beneficial to millions, billions, of people (via a mega computer or oil corporation, for example) it’s no problem at all for God to make you a mega-billionaire and a mega star.
“Whoso desireth the life of the world and its pomp, We shall repay them their deeds herein, and therein they will not be wronged. Those are they for whom is naught in the Hereafter save the Fire. (All) that they contrive here is vain and (all) that they are wont to do is fruitless.” (Hud : 15-16)
If you think that you deserve more than what you have already and you believe in gardens with flowing rivers and houris, it’s no problem for God, either, to give you more in this life, in this world we live in.
“No soul can ever die except by Allah's leave and at a term appointed. Whoso desireth the reward of the world, We bestow on him thereof; and whoso desireth the reward of the Hereafter, thankful, We bestow on him thereof. We shall reward the thankful.” (Al-imran : 145)

"And let not thy hand be chained to thy neck nor open it with a complete opening, lest thou sit down rebuked, denuded. Lo! thy Lord enlargeth the provision for whom He will, and straiteneth (it for whom He will). Lo, He was ever Knower, Seer of His slaves." (Al-Isra : 29-30)

Besides, are we the one to tell God what to do with His creation? "He will not be questioned as to that which He doeth, but they will be questioned." (Al-Anbiyaa : 23) "Lo! thy Lord is Doer of what He will." (Hud : 107) "Is it they who apportion their Lord's mercy? We have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of the world, and raised some of them above others in rank that some of them may take labor from others; and the mercy of thy Lord is better than (the wealth) that they amass." (Az-Zukhruf : 32)"Say: O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty! Thou givest sovereignty unto whom Thou wilt, and Thou withdrawest sovereignty from whom Thou wilt. Thou exaltest whom Thou wilt and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt. In Thy hand is the good. Lo! Thou art Able to do all things." (Al-i'Imran : 26) "He it is who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Lo! Thy Lord is swift in prosecution, and lo! He is Forgiving, Merciful." (Al-An'am : 165) "And Allah hath favored some of you above others in provision." (An-Nahl : 71) "Allah maketh the provision wide for whom He will of His bondmen, and straiteneth it for whom (He will). Lo! Allah is Aware of all things." (Al-Ankabut : 62) "Unto Allah belongeth the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He createth what He will. He bestoweth female (offspring) upon whom He will, and bestoweth male (offspring) upon whom He will; Or He mingleth them, males and females, and He maketh barren whom He will. Lo! He is Knower, Powerful." (Ash-Shura : 49-50) "Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him, the Almighty, the Wise." (Al-i'Imran : 18)

"(…) and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little." (Al-Isra : 85) "Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He taketh care of all things. Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision . He is the Subtile, the Aware." (Al-An'am : 102-103) "Lo! thy Lord is Wise, Aware." (Al-An'am : 83) "So coin not similitudes for Allah. Lo! Allah knoweth; ye know not." (An-Nahl : 74) "And if the Truth had followed their desires, verily the heavens and the earth and whosoever is therein had been corrupted. Nay, We have brought them their Reminder, but from their Reminder they now turn away." (Al-Muminun : 71) "Praise be to Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. His is the praise in the Hereafter, and He is the Wise, the Aware. He knoweth that which goeth down into the earth and that which cometh forth from it, and that which descendeth from the heaven and that which ascendeth into it. He is the Merciful, the Forgiving." (Saba : 1-2)

"(…) and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little." (Al-Isra : 85) "Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He taketh care of all things. Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision . He is the Subtile, the Aware." (Al-An'am : 102-103) "Lo! thy Lord is Wise, Aware." (Al-An'am : 83) "So coin not similitudes for Allah. Lo! Allah knoweth; ye know not." (An-Nahl : 74) "And if the Truth had followed their desires, verily the heavens and the earth and whosoever is therein had been corrupted. Nay, We have brought them their Reminder, but from their Reminder they now turn away." (Al-Muminun : 71) "Praise be to Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. His is the praise in the Hereafter, and He is the Wise, the Aware. He knoweth that which goeth down into the earth and that which cometh forth from it, and that which descendeth from the heaven and that which ascendeth into it. He is the Merciful, the Forgiving." (Saba : 1-2) "And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, He maketh his course easy for him. That is the commandment of Allah which He revealeth unto you. And whoso keepeth his duty to Allah, He will remit from him his evil deeds and magnify reward for him." (At-Talaq : 4-5)

"But it was not Allah's purpose that your faith should be in vain, for Allah is full of pity, Merciful toward mankind." (Al-Baqara : 143)

If you live in a place that is prone to earthquakes or floods, or any other sort of disaster, then it would be unwise to expect God to save the place from an earthquake or flood because of your presence in there. Even in the Koran there’s a reference to such bad places and bad happenings. "As for the good land, its vegetation cometh forth by permission of its Lord; while as for that which is bad, only evil cometh forth (from it). Thus do We recount the tokens for people who give thanks." (Al-A'raf : 58) "His likeness is as the likeness of a rock whereon is dust of earth; a rainstorm smiteth it, leaving it smooth and bare." (Al-Baqara : 264)
"And the likeness of those who spend their wealth in search of Allah's pleasure, and for the strengthening of their souls, is as the likeness of a garden on a height. The rainstorm smiteth it and it bringeth forth its fruit twofold. And if the rainstorm smite it not, then the shower. Allah is Seer of what ye do. Would any of you like to have a garden of palm trees and vines, with rivers flowing underneath it, with all kinds of fruit for him therein; and old age hath stricken him and he hath feeble off spring; and a fiery whirlwind striketh it and it is (all) consumed by fire. Thus Allah maketh plain His revelations unto you, in order that ye may give thought." (Al-Baqara : 265-266) "Have ye taken security from Him Who is in the heaven that He will not cause the earth to swallow you when lo! it is convulsed? Or have ye taken security from Him Who is in the heaven that He will not let loose on you a hurricane? But ye shall know the manner of My warning." (Al-Mulk : 16-17)
Another thing: if you live in a place where there is so much evil, then don’t expect God to save that place from a disaster because you personally or a few pious people like you live there. "And guard yourselves against a chastisement which cannot fall exclusively on those of you who are wrong doers, and know that Allah is severe in punishment." (Al-Anfal : 25) Such bad happenings could take place even in the presence of a prophet: "And when Moses asked for water for his people, We said: Smite with thy staff the rock. And there gushed out therefrom twelve springs (so that) each tribe knew their drinking place. Eat and drink of that which Allah hath provided, and do not act corruptly, making mischief in the earth." (Al-Baqara : 60)


"Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do We detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge." (Al-A'raf : 32) "And wherein is beauty for you, when ye bring them home, and when ye take them out to pasture." (An-Nahl : 6)

"And thou (Muhammad) art not occupied with any business and thou recitest not a lecture from this (Scripture), and ye (mankind) perform no act, but We are Witness of you when ye are engaged therein. And not an atom's weight in the earth or in the sky escapeth your Lord, nor what is less than that or greater than that, but it is (written) in a clear Book. Lo! verily the friends of Allah are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve. Those who believe and keep their duty (to Allah), Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the Words of Allah that is the Supreme Triumph. And let not their speech grieve thee (O Muhammad). Lo! power belongeth wholly to Allah. He is the Hearer, the Knower. Lo! is it not unto Allah that belongeth whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth?" (Yunus : 61-66)


He knew that getting married and begetting children were not personal achievements to pride oneself on, but rather a gift from God. That's why he said : "give me from Thy presence a successor ..." He knew that he could not force the hand of Fate.

Now, where does our arrogance come from? It comes from our desire to show off. We want to show people around us that we are self-independent, we are the best. We want the world to know that we got our job because, as they say, "one Scotsman's worth 3 Englishmen". Idem for one's spouse. Idem for one's children. Idem for one's fortune. It's all the fruit of our ambition. It's all a matter of merit.

By the way, wasn't Zachariah (pbuh) an ambitious man? Wasn't Ibrahim (pbuh) an ambitious man? Well, the answer would depend on what we mean by ambition! If ambition means the desire to attain glory, power, social success, etc., I don't think Zachariah (pbuh) and Ibrahim (pbuh) were that kind of person to have such a desire. If ambition means aspiration for a noble goal, a strong will to please God (and save humanity from evil) with deeds that would continue even after one's death, then, definitely, there's no doubt Zachariah (pbuh) and Ibrahim (pbuh) were just that kind of men. And that's what God wants good Muslim men to be like.

Abu Hurairah narrated that Abu Dharr said to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): "The wealthy people have all the rewards; they pray as we pray; they fast as we fast; and they have surplus wealth which they give in charity; but we have no wealth which we may give in charity." Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: "Abu Dharr, should I not teach you phrases by which you acquire the rank of those who excel you? No one can acquire your rank except one who acts like you. [...] Say Allahu Akbar thirty-three times; and say Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) thirty-three times; and say SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) thirty-three times; and end it by saying, Laa ilaaha illallahu wahdahu la shareeka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyi wa yomeetu wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shayin Qadeer. (There is no god but Allah alone, He has no partner, to Him belongs the Kingdom, to Him praise is due and He has power over everything.) Your sins will be forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea."


Your belief in God entails a responsibility on your part, otherwise you'll be of those of whom God said: "And when it is said unto them: Spend of that wherewith Allah hath provided you, those who disbelieve say unto those who believe: Shall we feed those whom Allah, if He willed, would feed? Ye are in naught else than error manifest." (Ya-Sin : 47)







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