It is not about you!

By: Amin Tomeh

The beginning of surat al-kahf (The Cave) starts with

Praise be to Allah Who hath sent to His Servant the Book, and hath allowed therein no Crookedness: (1) (He hath made it) Straight (and Clear), in order that He may warn (the godless) of a terrible Punishment from Him, and that He may give Glad Tidings to the Believers who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a goodly Reward. (2)Wherein they shall remain forever: (3) Further that He may warn those (also) who say “Allah hath begotten a son”: (4) No knowledge have they of such a thing, nor had their fathers. It is a grievous thing that issues from their mouths as a saying. What they say is nothing but falsehood! (5)

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبۡدِهِ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَلَمۡ يَجۡعَل لَّهُ ۥ عِوَجَاۜ (١) قَيِّمً۬ا لِّيُنذِرَ بَأۡسً۬ا شَدِيدً۬ا مِّن لَّدُنۡهُ وَيُبَشِّرَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ أَنَّ لَهُمۡ أَجۡرًا حَسَنً۬ا (٢) مَّـٰكِثِينَ فِيهِ أَبَدً۬ا (٣) وَيُنذِرَ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُواْ ٱتَّخَذَ ٱللَّهُ وَلَدً۬ا (٤) مَّا لَهُم بِهِۦ مِنۡ عِلۡمٍ۬ وَلَا لِأَبَآٮِٕهِمۡ‌ۚ كَبُرَتۡ ڪَلِمَةً۬ تَخۡرُجُ مِنۡ أَفۡوَٲهِهِمۡ‌ۚ إِن يَقُولُونَ إِلَّا كَذِبً۬ا (٥) فَلَعَلَّكَ بَـٰخِعٌ۬ نَّفۡسَكَ عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِمۡ إِن لَّمۡ يُؤۡمِنُواْ بِهَـٰذَا ٱلۡحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا 

An important concept quickly emerges here after Allah (swt) explains in very clear terms the basis of The Creed of monotheism. The Sura starts by giving praise to Allah for revealing The Book that is free of any crookedness. He made it a clear book that warns and offers glad tidings of good reward to those who believe.  

So, here we have a Prophet and a Messenger of Allah who is receiving revelation and guidance from God. In it, it is clarified to the Prophet that perhaps what you are hearing from those around you or those with whom you are interacting – will cause you grief. So much so, that you would want to destroy yourself because of it.

 

It is therefore acknowledged that perhaps human nature is to personalize all matters, especially ones wherein a disagreement is evident. And therein lies the slippery slope which starts with disappointment in those who may disagree with you – where things turn to personal animosity. The revelation continues to remind the reader, or the contemplator, that

 إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا مَا عَلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ زِينَةً۬ لَّهَا لِنَبۡلُوَهُمۡ أَيُّہُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلاً۬ (٧) وَإِنَّا لَجَـٰعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيۡہَا صَعِيدً۬ا جُرُزًا

That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them, as to which of them are best in conduct. (7) Verily what is on earth We shall make but as dust and dry soil (without growth or herbage) (8).

 

So, as is immediately clarified in the verses that follow, it is all from God; the guidance, the revelation of a “book” which clarifies, the creation of a worldly life that is but a test for all. So, it is not about you, me or us. It is not about how we feel. It is all from Allah. Indeed praise be to God that he guided us. It was not because of one’s cleverness, intellect or anything that we have done. It is but by the grace of God that we were blessed with it. It is no different than wealth or even health. We try our best to preserve and grow the bounties that we are given. But just as He may have granted them to us, He takes them away when He wills without warning nor permission. And in that is a great test. A test of patience, a test of faith and more importantly a test of comprehension that it is He and He alone who is the giver of all bounties. He is the creator of everything.

 

So, when we find ourselves on the preferred side of that test, we should not become pleased with ourselves. We should not feel that we are better than those who are committing all kinds of errors and transgressions. Rather we should feel compassionate towards them. Continue to be the beacons – that we believe ourselves to be – so we may help those who have not yet attained to what we believe is wholesome could stop aggressing against their own selves.

 

Consider the following verse from surat al anaam,

 قَدۡ نَعۡلَمُ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَيَحۡزُنُكَ ٱلَّذِى يَقُولُونَ‌ۖ فَإِنَّہُمۡ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ يَجۡحَدُونَ

We know well that what they say grieves you. Yet it is not you that they deny. Rather, it is the signs of God that the wrongdoers reject.

 

Once again, Allah returns the matter to Him. It is not about us. It is not about us being better than those who may be sinning or those who may be making errors and mistakes. It is about us receiving a bounty or indeed a gift and wanting that blessing for others. If they reject it. It is on them – not on you. Consider another example of the same concept:

 أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ ۥ سُوٓءُ عَمَلِهِۦ فَرَءَاهُ حَسَنً۬اۖ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَہۡدِى مَن يَشَآءُۖ فَلَا تَذۡهَبۡ نَفۡسُكَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ حَسَرَٲتٍۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمُۢ بِمَا يَصۡنَعُونَ

And what of one, the evil of whose deeds has been made to seem fair to him, such that he thinks it beautiful? Truly God leads stray whomsoever He will and guides whomsoever He will; so let not your soul be expended in regrets over them. Truly God knows that which they do.

 

It is very easy to confuse the blessings of Allah, be they guidance, wealth, health, or wisdom with something that we’ve earned on our own instead of it being solely a blessing from God – for which we should always be thankful.

 

Satan confused the fact that Allah created him of fire with a perceived superficial superiority over God’s human creation; a creation that was made of earth. Although Satan was in the majesty of God and he clearly knew who created him and to whom returns all matters, he, Satan, couldn’t shake the air of superiority and refused to obey God’s command to Bow before Adam.

 

That which Allah blesses us with is but from Him and him alone. Whenever our thoughts or – our self which may command that which is shameful – incline us to become arrogant or superior to someone we may believe is a sinner – we should check our thoughts and not allow them to ever cause us to fall as Satan had fallen from God’s pleasure and mercy.

 

وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

And we sent you, save as a mercy unto the worlds.

 

That is the criterion. The Prophet was not sent except as a Mercy to all worlds. He and, by extension those who follow his example, are but a mercy to all those around them.  The Prophet and all prophets and messengers were surrounded with people that not only sinned, but actively fought against the message that they carried. The prophets did not judge them. They did not make it personal. They rather stayed faithful to their mission of delivering that which God commanded them to deliver. They exercised patience and indeed exuded Mercy in all of what they did. It was never about them – even when their human instinct kicked in and caused them to think otherwise. Allah (swt) quickly reminded them that it was not about them.

 

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Published in: on October 21, 2016 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

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