Circle- “Do people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tried?”

By Majed Iqbal- The following circle was delivered on the Weekend in a Masjid in Bolton as part of the ‘Ramadhan Series Circles’

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Allah Says in Surah Ankabut in the opening Ayaats

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“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But we have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars”.

Introduction

In life we have issues that affect us all. We have problems that we have to deal with which can be big or small. As Muslims in living in Britain there are issues that we face as a community that affect us collectively and there are issues which relate to our individual lives.

When faced with such scenarios, it’s very easy to get caught in the moment. These problems may cause us difficulty or may seem overpowering at the time and begin to play on us. Some may begin to think there’s no light at the end of the tunnel or their problems are too severe or their issues can never be solved.

This can lead to a range of issues, if not addressed correctly through an Islamic framework of thinking. When this is not done people become victim to desperation, anxiety, fear, inwardness, depression, continuously questioning everything, thinking that all the problems are only being put on them in the entire world.

Life is not going to be easy

The opening ayah explains to us that we will be tested as life is about a great test. So we should expect to face challenges that will affect us both individually, as a community and as a Global Ummah. The Ayah is explicit in stating that saying the kalimah will not be enough for us as Allah (swt) poses a question to us and then addresses it by reminding us of the tests that previous nations went through.

Allah says in Surah Mulk verse 2

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“It is he who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving”

Our purpose of creation is a test where Allah (swt) wishes to see which one of us is the most obedience and deserving of his mercy in this life and ultimately the next. The fact that we have tests in our lives should therefore come as no surprise.

How do we face our problems?

As believers, we need to ensure that our connection and our relationship with Allah Almighty is continuously pondered and worked upon. We are his slaves designed to recognize him and worship him.

People with a weak connection often fall victim to problems, mentioned earlier, when faced with tests. Those with a sound connection and relationship with Allah Almighty persevere and remember ultimately that Allah is the changer of situations and they rely upon him. This is known as Tawakkul (relying upon our Lord)

Tawakkul?

In order to have Tawakkul you need to have a firm foundation in your faith. Islam asks people to arrive at it through solid intellectual conviction and not just any emotional feeling which will die by time or change of place and people. By banking on clear, established and convincing thoughts related to Iman (Belief) we are on the road to success.

A Muslim then embarks upon learning about his Lord. Once you recognize your lord you are now in a position where you can rely upon him, love him, cherish him and appreciate that challenges in life that are thrown at us are part of a greater plan where we have to adhere to Islam and call only upon our Lord for help.

Tawakkul is therefore based on the recognition of our Lord, which rests upon understanding Tawheed (the Oneness of Allah and his right to be worshipped). Scholars have broken down Tawheed into 3 areas, each requiring study, pondering over and embedding in the Muslim Psyche.

Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah is singling out Allaah the Exalted with (the actions of) creation, providing sustenance, giving life, causing death, and all of the types of regulation and administration of the dominion of the heavens and earth

Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah is singling out Allaah with worship so that none besides Him is worshipped,

Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat is describing Allah with the Divine attributes through his 99 names

Intertwining Tests &Tawakkul

Who else can we learn Tawakkul from except from the Sahaba? They faced the biggest tests and were the first generation to deal with issues from an Islamic perspective. Their actions leave a stamp on History that every generation following them would have to study and emulate.

When the Munafiqeen of Medina began to cause confusion on the impending arrival of the Quraysh for battle by stating that their numbers are too small compared to the Quraysh to face them, the Sahaba responded with the following as mentioned in Surah Ale-Imran, Ayah 173.

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“They see their small number and say to them “Verily, people have mustered against you, so fear them. but this [only] increased their faith, and they said, ‘Sufficient for us is Allah, and an excellent Guardian is He”.          

A deep conviction and a strong relationship with Allah (Swt) as individuals and as an Ummah collectively strengthened them as they were reliant upon Allah and were ready to face the difficult challenges ahead. They understood clearly that this was a test and just by professing the articles of faith would not be enough to secure a lofty position in the next life.

Put your trust into Allah

Whenever there are difficulties and tests in life, we must ensure that we don’t forget that Allah is with us all the time and he is the ever watcher and hearer. No mater how great or small our issues are, there will light at the end of the tunnel. Allah Says in Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 129.

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“But if they turn away, say, ‘Allah is sufficient for me. There is no god but He. In Him do I put my trust, and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne”.

How are we being tested today?

We are all being tested in different capacities as day by day goes by. Let’s see how

Teens in school may be bullied because

  • They eat halal food (Pizza express Fiasco & some schools complaining of Halal food provision) making students feel that they are responsible for some barbaric practice
  • Social pressures may be faced because Muslims don’t date girls/guys. Their practices of segregation may be questioned and labeled as outdated
  • Muslims may not participate in and object to sex education being taught through a western perspective and again face criticism of their deen from non-muslim peers
  • Students may face hostility from Teachers to go naked into showers which contravenes Islamic principles,
  • Having to deal with the direct Government program called Prevent which essentially views young Muslims as radical that need to be re-educated with their version of Islam

Families in recession

  • People are struggling with finances, especially those who are unemployed. difficult decisions have to be made sometimes where some members of the family may have to survive on one meal a day
  • Many maybe stuck in debt and are finding it difficult to make ends meet with the rise in expenses in energy bills and foodstuffs for day to day living
  • Many have responsibilities of providing for families abroad and therefore spend long hours working to support many people and are often exhausted and have no time for immediate family or for Islam

Parents

  • Parent’s worst nightmare is seeing their children going astray and rebelling against them after raising them up in hardships. Ask the parents who have faced this and are in tears every night because of their sons and daughters.
  • In a society where social values are decaying, Parents often worry about finding somebody decent they can marry their daughters off too. A very important responsibility indeed.

Nationally

  • Muslims are being lectured on segregation at Universities from student bodies, Politicians and right up to the PM himself
  • Britain First, EDL and Politicians making threatening remarks about Muslims
  • Terror laws are solely being designed for Muslims, even though they haven’t even committed any crime
  • Aid work to Syria by charities is  now being labeled as ‘aiding terrorism’
  • Muslim women are being asked by Government to spy on their male folk for signs of radicalization and report them to the police

Internationally

  • Syria in Chaos with mass murders and executions taking place by the Assad regime
  • Pakistan and Yemen are being bombed by drones indiscriminately in their own sovereign territory
  • China has banned Ramadhan
  • France and many European countries have banned the Niqab
  • Afghanistan is still being occupied by foreign forces
  • War on Terror goes to new fronts by criminalizing Islamic ideas and to trying to divide the Ummah into moderates and extremists

Whilst the list is not exhaustive, it definitely highlights to all of us that we are in a time full of tests and things are getting harder by the day.

We are reminded by Allah Almighty that these tests will take different shapes and forms. He (swt) says in Surah Baqarah verse 155

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 “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient”

Hold onto Islam and your Lord in these difficult times

It is of utmost importance for our salvation in this life and the next that we hold onto Islam during these tests and not waiver. We don’t want to leave the guidance of Allah like previous nations did whenever they faced crisis and tests.

Children of Israel said to Moses (AS)

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“They said, “O Moses, indeed we will not enter it, ever, as long as they are within it; so go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are remaining right here.”

Prophet Hud (AS) said to his own people
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So plot against me all together; then do not give me respite. Indeed, I have relied upon Allah , my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature but that He holds its forelock. Indeed, my Lord is on a path [that is] straight.”

Conclusions

There will be tests that we all face. This is life after all. Allah has made us are that we will face tests in our life and will be subject to our religious status.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) said “The people most severely tested are the Prophets, then the righteous, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with the degree of his religious commitment; the stronger his religious commitment, the stronger his test”

If we remember Allah, then Allah will show us a way from these difficulties and tests. If we raised our hands to him he will surely answer us and help us and if he the Almighty delayed this and we returned to him , we will be reward more in the next life. Allah says in Surah Baqarah verse 152

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“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”

The Holy Prophet (SAW) said “Really amazing is the position of the believer! All that happens is for his benefit. If he gets relief, he is grateful, and that is good for him. And if he is suffering from difficulties, he persists, and it’s good for him”

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