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Dreading Rejection | Part 2

This article is part of a free translation of al-Iftqar ila Allah, Lubb al-‘Ubudiyyah by Aḥmad al-Suwayan

Following on from Part One, this article is a continuation of our discussion: the apprehension we should have of our actions being accepted by Allāh. The believer credits his blessings and acts of devotion back to his Lord and Patron, all favour and grace belong to Him; he does not assume it to be of his own making and toil: Allāh the Most High says, ‘So whoever Allāh wants to guide – He expands his breast to [contain] Islām; and whoever He wants to misguide – He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing the sky.’[1] And He also says, ‘They consider it a favour to you that they have accepted Islām. Say, “Do not consider your Islām a favour to me. Rather, Allāh has conferred favour upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if you should be truthful”.’[2] Allāh the Most High also says (as found in the Qudsī ḥadīth) ‘O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you.’[3]

One amazing āyah from the lucid Qur’ān is at the beginning of Sūrah al-Muddaththir when the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was first instructed to warn. The nature of this path was made clear to him, Allāh said, ‘And do not consider [your efforts] as a favour [to Allāh] regarding it substantial.’[4] This is a counsel that is plain and bears no ambiguity, it eradicates from the servant any attempt to rise above and boast before his Lord. It fills the heart with awe and exaltation of Allāh the Most High, the owner of all favour and grace. A notable incident and appropriate to this discussion is when ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) was stabbed and he showed signs of agony: Ibn ʿAbbās, as if intending to encourage ʿUmar, said to him, ‘O Chief of the believers! Never mind what has happened to you, for you have been in the company of Allāh’s Messenger and you kept good relations with him and you parted with him while he was pleased with you. Then you were in the company of Abū Bakr and kept good relations with him and you parted with him (i.e., he died) while he was pleased with you. Then you were in the company of the Muslims, and you kept good relations with them, and if you leave them, you will leave them while they are pleased with you.’ ʿUmar replied, ‘As for what you have said about the company of Allāh’s Messenger and him being pleased with me, it is a favour Allāh did to me; and as for what you have said about the company of Abū Bakr and him being pleased with me, it is a favour Allāh did to me; and concerning my impatience which you see, it is because of you and your companions. By Allāh! If at all I had gold equal to the earth, I would have ransomed myself with it from the Punishment of Allāh before I meet Him.”[5]

An authentic hadith is recorded in which the Prophet said, ‘Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Ādam are as one heart between the two fingers of the fingers of al-Raḥmān. He turns it to any [direction] He likes.’[6] Whatever status a servant reaches, he cannot feel safe from succumbing to trials. He fears that the undercurrent of desires and tribulations may sweep him away. For this reason we find one of the supplications of the Prophet to be, ‘O Allāh, turner of the hearts, turn our hearts towards your obedience.’[7] Thus the leader of pious believers beseeches Allāh with this prayer in a state of dire need for Him, so what of our situation in considering that we are the ones who are really poverty stricken and in need? You will find the one who cannot guarantee being safe from tribulation having an acute fear for his self and remaining incredibly subdued before his Great Benefactor, the Most High. Jubayr Ibn Nafīr said, ‘I visited Abū Dardā’ at his home in Ḥimṣ and found him praying in his private place of prayer. When he sat to perform tashahhud, he began to seek refuge in Allāh from hypocrisy. When he finished, I said to him, May Allāh forgive you O’ Abū Dardā’, what does hypocrisy have to do with you? How different is your affair from the affair of hypocrisy? He said, ‘O Allāh forgive me – three times – one who feels safe from affliction is not safe from affliction. By Allāh! A person can be put to trail in a single hour and thereafter turn back on his religion.’[8]

Whoever grasps these four realities realises that having amazement and being boastful of one’s devotion before one’s Lord are from the severest ailments and downfalls that cause the collapse of a person and place him at the edge of deviation and degeneration, may Allāh protect us from that! Muṭarrif Ibn ʿAbdullāh al-Shakhkhīr said, ‘That I spend the night asleep and awake regretful is more beloved to me than to spend the night in prayer and awake conceited.’[9] Ibn al-Qayyim said, ‘It is better for you to spend the night asleep and to awake regretful rather than to spend the night in prayer and awake conceited; the actions of one who is impressed with himself do not get raised. To laugh and acknowledge [inadequacy] is better than to weep and be boastful about it. The crying out of sinners is more beloved to Allāh than the soft humming of conceited glorifiers. It may be the case that with this sin Allāh furnished him (i.e., the sinner) with a cure, thereby eliminating a fatal illness (from him) that is still within you about which you have no idea.’[10] He also said in describing this state of subjugation and utter need, ‘He witnesses within his every internal and external fragment a total and desperate poverty and need for his Lord and Patron, and for the One in whose hand lays his welfare, success, guidance and happiness. The reality of this condition, which the heart experiences, is inexpressible by words since it can only be truly comprehended through incidence. The heart will experience a distinct subjugation and humbling unlike anything else whereby the person will see himself like a pounded and crushed vessel, a vessel that is bare, of no use, worth, or benefit, as well as undesired. No benefit can be derived from it unless it is set anew by its maker and maintainer. At this moment and during this observation, one will regard as abundant the good that has been granted by his Lord and that he is undeserving of even a modest amount of it. Any good that he obtains from Allāh is regarded as being so much more for him and he knows that his value is beneath that; it is only the mercy of his Lord that justified being taking notice of with this good and securing delivery of it. He sees his obedience to his Lord as being inadequate and that even if it were to equal in amount the total devotion of humankind and jinn it would be the least befitting for his Lord.

He would also consider as grave the slight disobedience and sin he commits. The subjugation that prevails over the heart prises open all of this.’ And then Ibn al-Qayyim said, ‘What a close mend this is to the broken heart; what a close aid, mercy and provision it is to it and what a benefit and advantage this observation is for it! A single atom and breath of this is more beloved to Allāh than the acts of devotion equivalent to mountains by those who are boastful and amazed at their actions, knowledge and state. The most beloved heart to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is a heart that has been entrenched with this subjugation and vanquished with such humility; so the servant lowers his head before his Lord, remaining thus out of shame and bashfulness.’[11]

Notes:
Source: www.islam21c.com

[1] Al’Qur’ān, 6:125

[2] Al’Qur’ān, 49:17

[3] Muslim, 4/1955, (no.2577)

[4] Al’Qur’ān, 74:6

[5] Al-Bukhārī, 7/43, (no. 3692)

[6] Muslim, 4/2045, (no.2654)

[7] Muslim, 4/2045, (no.2654)

[8] Sifah al-Munāfiq, Ja‘far al-Firyābī, pg. 69, (no. 74)

[9] Al-Zuhd of ‘Abdullāh Ibn al-Mubārak, pg. 151

[10] Madārij al-Sālikīn, 1/177

[11] Madārij al-Sālikīn, 1/428-429. Refer to al-Wābil al-Ṣayyib, pp. 20-23

About Fahad Ansari

Fahad Ansari is an Immigration and Human Rights Solicitor, Writer, Activist. He has also authored a number of articles and reports on international human rights, social discrimination and anti-terrorism legislation to mainstream papers and policy makers.

2 comments

  1. May Allah guide us to humility, accept our few good deedsand forgive our sins..

  2. Web Developer
    Great Work

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