The Concept of Rizq in Islam

Emperor Moth caterpillar, Gramborough Hill, Salthouse, 23rd June 2007 (John Furse).

Syed Sharfuddin

The next time when you see a live caterpillar, observe how fast and how continuously it devours fresh leaves much larger than its size. Also, the next time when you see a flying locust, observe how much destruction it causes to green crops far heavier than its weight. We human beings are also like the caterpillar and locust when it comes to consuming food. The only difference is we don’t notice it. Our day starts with breakfast and is filled up with coffee breaks, drinks, lunch, high tea, dinner, savouries, and after dinner snacks. Add to this official receptions, birthdays and religious events. In fact, we are happy to eat even the caterpillar and locust if we are hungry and can’t find anything else to eat. We need a hand trolley to buy our weekly groceries in a supermarket because we can’t pick the enormous weight of our personal shopping. Our waist lines and waste bins are getting bigger and tubular because the amount of food we consume and waste is incredible. A total failure of having control over our devouring appetites is manifest in buffet service restaurants where as much food is wasted as is eaten by customers. We are spendthrift, greedy and environment unfriendly. Only if we knew that we will have to account for every grain of cereal or drop of water we consume or waste we would be more caring and thoughtful. It is down to knowing all about Rizq, and how we can appreciate and use it properly.

The global food and beverage sector comprises between 17 to 20 percent of total global economy. In monetary terms it is in excess of US $ 15 trillion annually. Food losses and waste amount to roughly US $ 680 billion in industrialised countries and US $ 310 billion in developing countries. In the UK alone the wasted food amounts to US $ 17 billion.

What is Rizq
Rizq is a term familiar to Muslims. It has a wide and deep theological basis in Islam. It means provision of all the resources necessary for human sustenance. Rizq plays a central role in the creation of jobs, making of economic policy, collection of taxes and fulfilment of socio economic rights of citizens. The State assumes responsibility for the provision of clean water, food, healthcare and shelter for its citizens. The rich pay zakat and taxes from their wealth which are used to finance public services and provide subsidies for health, education, housing and food for the poor.

There is no conflict between the theological and secular view of what constitutes socio economic necessities of society and how these are met in a working economy. The theological view of Rizq focuses on the ownership of provisions which rest with Allah and which are managed by human beings to meet contingencies. The secular view of Rizq is concerned more with the production, distribution and efficient management of resources owned by the State, the private sector and individuals.

Islam requires its followers to procure the necessities of life comprising food, clothing, shelter and associated goods and services through permissible means. These should be obtained from clean and lawful sources. “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth that is lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan. Indeed, he is your clear enemy.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:168].

Ownership of Rizq
In Islam Allah is the owner and provider of Rizq to every living creature, be these plants, insects, birds, animals, human beings or jinns. Allah causes rain to fall from the heavens and He brings life to earth from water. Allah provides for everyone in the food chain of life. Allah has the power to increase or decrease Rizq. “And in the succession of night and day, and in the means of subsistence which Allah sends down from the skies, giving life thereby to earth after it had been lifeless, and in the change of the winds: in all this there are signs for people who use their reason.” [Surah Al Jathia 45:5]. “Allah holds the keys of the heavens and the earth: He grants abundant sustenance or gives it in scant measure to whoever He wills: for, behold, He has full knowledge of everything.” [Surah Al Shura 42:12].

“And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is inscribed in a clear book.” [Surah Hud 11:6]. “And how many a living creature is there that takes no thought of its own sustenance; Allah provides for it as (He provides) for you – since He alone is all-hearing and all-knowing.” [Surah Al Ankabut 29:60].

In ancient times idol worshippers used to make offerings of gold, money or food at the altars to please deities with a view to seeking their intervention for solving their daily problems. Allah strictly forbids idol worship. “And bid your people to pray and persevere therein. But remember We do not ask you to provide us sustenance; (rather) it is We who provide sustenance for you…” [Surah Ta’Ha 20:132]. “You worship only (lifeless) idols instead of Allah…they do not have the power to provide sustenance for you: seek, then, your sustenance from Allah and worship Him alone and be grateful to Him…” [Surah Al Ankabut 29:17].

Islam makes it clear that blood sacrifice of cattle offered by His servants to seek the pleasure of Allah does not reach Him; “it is only their God-consciousness that reaches Him.” [Surah Al Hajj 22:37]. “I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed, it is Allah who is the provider, the firm possessor of strength.” [Al Zariyat 51:57-58].

What else is Rizq besides food and wealth
Rizq is generally understood as food and wealth. However, in a broader sense Rizq comprises everything whether material, social or spiritual that is required to live comfortably in the world. Man is a social being and desires to collect wealth, buy property, have a family, keep company of friends, wield power, exercise influence and enjoy fame and good public reputation. All these are allowed if a person lives within his means and has earned these through his hard work and Allah’s blessings. But most of us cross the red line in acquiring these treasures without thinking that at the end of the appointed time we have to go to our graves empty handed and account for our deeds when we were in power, how we spent our wealth or what we did when we enjoyed fame. A righteous spouse and children are part of one’s Rizq. If they are on the right path together it becomes harder for Shaitan to misguide the family and take them astray from the right path.

Rizq is for this world and also for the next world
Rizq consist of provisions for sustenance in this world and provisions for sustenance in the hereafter. Most of the time in our conversations a reference to Rizq is related to provisions for the worldly life. But in the holy Quran the concept of hell and heaven and what man will be given as his earning for his good or bad deeds is also described as his Rizq. “For those who leave their homes and strive in the cause of Allah and then are slain or die, Allah will most certainly provide for them a goodly sustenance. Verily, He alone is the best of providers [Surah Al Hajj 22:58]. “But unto those who have attained to faith and do good works give the glad tiding that theirs shall be gardens through which running waters flow. Whenever they are granted fruits from there as their appointed sustenance, they will say, it is this that in the days of yore was granted to us as our sustenance, for they shall be given something that will recall that (past). And there they shall have spouses pure, and there they shall abide.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:25]. As for the dwellers of hell “No food will there be for them except from a bitter, thorny plant which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.” [Surah Al Ghashiyah 88: 6-7)

There is an interesting similarity between Christianity and Islam on the concept of Rizq in the hereafter. In the Lord’s Prayer there is the famous supplication ‘Give us our Daily Bread”. In Surah Al-Fatiha Muslims ask Allah “Guide us on the Right Path”. Both supplications refer to Rizq in the afterlife. The Daily Bread in the Lord’s Prayer is the bread of Tomorrow or afterlife; The right path in Surah Al Fatiha is the path that leads to the Gardens of Paradise where there will be abundant Rizq for the faithful servants of Allah.

Rizq should be Halal and Taiyyeb
The first and foremost requirement for Rizq is that it should be halal. The next is that it should also be taiyyeb. Halal refers to the legal way Rizq is earned. Taiyyeb refers to the purity of food or money that one receives as a part of his earnings. For example, two Muslims work the same number of hours and with the same level of responsibility in two different enterprises. One enterprise makes shoes and the other enterprise runs a betting shop. The salary of both Muslims is halal because it is payment for their labour as defined by their legal work contracts. But the salary of the Muslim brother who works in the enterprise which runs a betting shop is not taiyyeb because gambling is forbidden in Islam.

Where does Rizq come from
There are two fundamental means through which Rizq is obtained. These are land and money. Land is a source of agricultural produce, minerals, precious metals, cattle ranching, poultry farming, fisheries and ground rents. Money on the other hand buys services and is the means through which trade takes place. There is no restriction on Muslims to live in a particular land or place to earn Rizq. “Allah has made the earth easy to live upon: go about then in all its regions and partake the sustenance which He provides: but (always bear in mind that) unto Him you shall be resurrected. [Surah Al Mulk 67:15].

Rizq is Fixed
Like fate, the Rizq of every person is exclusive to him. It is said that on every grain of cereal the name of who will eat it is written. A person’s Rizq may take him thousands of miles away from his home for livelihood. Sometimes you end up eating at a place you never imagined you will go there. Sometimes you do not expect a fortune and yet it comes from nowhere in the form of a prize, a good wife, a highly paid job or an unexpected inheritance. Allah provides for him in a manner beyond all expectation …” [Surah Al Talaq 65:3).

A person’s Rizq can change with Allah’s Will or with sincere Dua or good behaviour. Compare the Dua of Jonah in the belly of the fish where he could have been destined forever but due to his Dua of repentance Allah returned him to land until his appointed hour [Surah Al-Ambia 21:87]. “Allah extends provision for whom He Wills and restricts it…” [Surah Raad 13:26]. “Indeed, Allah provides for whom He Wills without account.” [Surah Al-Imran 3:37].

Allah has bestowed some people with more Rizq than others. “And on some of you Allah has bestowed more abundant means of sustenance than on others: and yet, they who are more abundantly favoured are often unwilling to share their sustenance with those whom their right hands possess, so that they all might be equal in this respect. Will they then deny Allah’s blessings? [Surah Al Nahl16:71]. “Behold, your Creator grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whomever He wills: verily, He is fully aware of the needs of His creatures, and He sees them all.” [Surah Al Isra 17:30].

Your Rizq can be increased by obeying Allah
“Allah may reward those who believe and do righteous deeds: for it is they for whom await forgiveness from sins and a most excellent sustenance”. [Surah Saba 34:4].  “But if any of you devoutly obeys Allah and His Messenger and does good deeds, on her shall We bestow her reward twice-over: for We shall have readied for her a most excellent sustenance in the life to come. [Surah Al Ahzab 33:31].

Your Rizq can be increased by giving charity
“Behold, my Sustainer grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whomever He Wills among His servants; and whatever it be that you spend on others, He always replaces it: for He is the best of providers.” [Surah Saba 34:39].

Your Rizq can be increased by being thankful to Allah
“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful I will surely increase you in Rizq; but if you deny it, indeed My punishment is severe.” [Surah Ibrahim: 7].

Your Rizq can be increased by seeking forgiveness from Allah
“Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a perpetual forgiver. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in (continuing) showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and rivers. [Surah Nuh 10-12].

Your Rizq can be increased by migration to other lands
If a believer leaves his place of birth due to persecution and migrates to other lands to follow his faith and seek the pleasure of Allah, his Rizq will increase due to his sacrifice and hard work. This also applies to those who give shelter to asylum seekers and help them settle down in their new lands. “And they who have attained to faith, and who have been forced out of their homes and are striving hard in Allah’s cause, as well as those who shelter and succour (them), it is they who are truly believers! Forgiveness of sins awaits them, and a most excellent sustenance.” [Surah Al-Anfal 8:74].

Beware, abundant Rizq can lead to disobedience.
Abundance of Rizq or wealth leads to false pride and can make one forgetful of Allah’s blessings. “For, if Allah were to grant (in this world) abundant sustenance to (all of) His servants, they would behave on earth with wanton insolence: but as it is, He bestows (His grace) from on high in due measure as He wills: for verily He is fully aware of (the needs of) His creation, and He sees them all.” [Surah Al Shura 42:27].

There is right of others in your Rizq.
If you examine your life from childhood to the present, you will note that the Rizq you earn is not really yours alone and neither can you guarantee that it will always keep increasing or that it will remain constant. In your Rizq is a share of your family, especially those who have a right in your inheritance, the poor, the begging and those who do not ask but you can tell that they are destitute. “And in their possession there is a share for those who might ask (for help) and those who are deprived.” [Surah Al-Zariyat 51:19].

The concept of Zakat and Inheritance in Islam illustrates how certain eligible persons have a legal right in your Rizq. Zakat refers to the right of the poor in your wealth during your lifetime. Inheritance relates to the right of relatives in your wealth after your pass away. Zakat is calculated in terms of agricultural produce and is paid in the form of money. Inheritance is on the entire estate of the deceased. Successful people, as defined by Allah include those who believe in the unseen, establish prayer and spend out of what (Allah) has provided for them. [Surah Al Baqarah 2:3].

Rizq is to be shared with others
It is very important to understand this delicate point. The needs of a human being are limited. He can only use or spend what his body can take in terms of physical or emotional pleasure. When this fact is denied, man starts looking for the next level of pleasure and gets lost in sinful activities such as excessive spending, alcohol consumption, using ecstasy drugs and other guilty pleasures. After treading on this dangerous path of seeking higher and higher pleasures, there comes a time when his body and mind simply shut up leading to a disgraceful death in exact opposition to the Quranic commandment which says: “Do not die unless you are in the state of a believer”. [Surah Al Imran 3:102]

Conquer your fears about Rizq
It is common observation that those who are richly endowed with material means possess a miserly attitude toward the poor. They not only despise them but are also unwilling to sympathise with them or offer any material help to lift them out of poverty. Of course there are charity balls and fundraising events to raise funds for an emergency or disaster but this is, most of the time, either too little or too late. Compared to the rich, the poor are naturally endowed with large heartedness and generosity even though their means are limited. This is a test from Allah. When He decides to give someone more than his needs it is a sign that that person is holding someone else’s Rizq as trust in his hands and that he must pass it on. If he doesn’t do so, he will be answerable to Allah on the Day of Judgement. “Woe is to the person who collects wealth and continuously counts it and thinks that his wealth will make him immortal. No, he will surely be thrown into the fire that Allah has fuelled eternally…” [Al-Humaza 104: 1-9].

Giving away brings more back home
An interesting feature of Allah’s way of distribution of Rizq is that while He appoints you as an agent for distributing the share of other persons’ Rizq from your wealth He also compensates you equally for whatever you give away. “Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts it for him. But whatever thing you spend in His cause – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.” [Surah Saba 34:39].

If you understand that Allah Subhanuhu Wa Ta’ala has given you a large basket of Rizq because the Rizq of other people who are dependent on you is included in it, then Alhamdulillah you are on the right track. So value your close relations and try to help humanity as far as your means permit. Only Allah knows whose Rizq is added to your basket and is meant to be given away and not kept unspent. When that Rizq is gone your basket will contain only your share and will be obviously lighter than before. However, exercise moderation in charity and neither hold your hand completely nor extend it so much that you spend everything and become a destitute yourself.

May Allah increase our Rizq in a way that it becomes a source of our investment for the hereafter by spending it on those who may be our partners in Rizq and by looking after the poor, the needy and the less fortunate.

London: 15 August 2017

Understanding Faith From Information Technology

Today IT has permeated our everyday life so much that it is hard to imagine how living would be like without using WiFi, VPN or LAN. In fact, this evolving technology will further progress to a stage in the future where artificial thinking will most likely overtake the individual free will. The human race will find it most challenging to control robots, advance cars, planes, trains, drones and automated home appliances without acquiring some proficiency in operational software or re-boot commands.
The concepts of good deeds, reckoning after death, heaven or hell are becoming easier to comprehend in this age of IT. Let’s us say seventy years ago if one were asked to answer how a dead man will be raised again give me an example, it would be difficult to find an example outside a quote from the scripture. But today this question is so easy to address using IT. Take the earth as the hard disk, the dead body as a saved file, and any one genome pattern in the 33 nodes of a chromosome in that body as a password and bingo you can get the human body uploaded again.
Another thing people have found hard to comprehend even though they believe in it as part of their faith is the day of reckoning and entry into Paradise or Purgatory based on one’s record of deeds. And then there are ranks and categories of hell and heaven. Can you imagine how gigantic an organisational task it will be to manage billions of people on that day from different eras and levels of education when everyone will mind his own business and will not be prepared to give way to another. So forget queues or any polite behaviour. What will happen actually is an organised IT processing on that big day. Every person will have a programme written by him/her which will guide that person to the next stage just as we see in the ordinary working of a remote control.
IT helps us understand this concept very clearly with an everyday illustration. Take your digital TV viewing box. It has codes written inside it which can only be read with a smart card when you pay for viewing scrambled channels. The smart card contains nothing but a .rar or .m3u software which communicates with the firmware of the TV box and opens the blocked channels. If you happen to be a software writer, you can write the programme or crack it yourself. Good hardware helps but it is largely irrelevant as far as programming is concerned.
Each one of us born on this earth as a human being is busy daily writing his/her software which will determine how he/she will be raised with the bundle of Apps needed to open the closed barriers along the pathway to Paradise which we know from our religion class is Pul Sirat. If our IT programme is written correctly, it will open the toll plazas on the highways to heaven and take us inside the gates of Jannah. If the quality of our software is sophisticated, we will be able to open the doors of the higher category of Jannah and even higher depending upon the strength of our written software. The same will apply to the people destined for sijjeen depending upon the poor performance of their badly self-written software. That’s why the emphasis on good deeds after aqeeda and ibadaat is so great in Islam that if you want to join the inhabitants of Illiyun there is no escape from good deeds.
So let us reformat our lives, erase our outdated old programmes, install the Apps of piety and humility, reboot ourselves and write ourselves the software which should neither crash nor pick up bugs as it is developed. Let us also guard against the viruses and hackers who are out there to corrupt our work constantly. And don’t forget to erase any wrong or doubtful Apps before a system restart and get going.

London 21 July 2017.

Steadfastness and Faith

There are three verses in the holy Quran [41:30; 46:13; 72:16] where the word Istiqamu (for plural) has been used in relation to the character of the faithful follower of Islam. Its purport is to remind Muslims that accepting Islam as their faith is not a one-way ticket to attaining material advancement in life which has its own set of rules. On the contrary, the faithful follower may be put to additional hardship by Allah to test his faith. A Muslim is therefore advised in these verses to remain steadfast and stand firm in his faith because the reward for it is ultimate happiness and peace in the hereafter. Moreover, a Muslim who says Allah is his keeper and stands firm in his Deen is never alone because his well wishers and guardians are angels.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ
Translation: Those who say, Allah is our Lord and then stand firm in their faith, upon them angels often descend say¬ing do not fear nor be sad, but receive the glad tidings that [Allah] has promised Paradise to you. [Surah Fussilat – 41:30]

Istiqama involves three things: 1) A firm belief that there is no god but Allah who is the creator of the universe; 2) following the commandments of Allah to do good; and 3) abstaining from evil which Allah forbids. People have often misunderstood this finer point regarding Istiqama. They think that by following Islam properly they will become economically sound, materially prosperous, socially powerful and globally respectful. But the reward of Istiqama is greater than these material wishes. Allah has promised His servants who stand firm in their faith two things which can’t be bought even if the resources of the whole world are put together to acquire them. These are: absolute happiness and absence of fear. The Quran promises the believers that if they are stay firmly in their faith, on the day of judgement they will not be afraid of their accountability and they will not be sad about what awaits them after death because Paradise will be their award.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Translation: Those who say Allah is our Lord and then stand firm in their faith, [they shall] never have any fear, nor grief. [Surah Al-Ahqaf- 46:13]

Those who first embraced the message of Islam in Makkah at the hands of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah Subhanuhu wa Ta’ala be upon him, were mostly poor and downtrodden. This was a clear sign of the prophetic tradition from Abraham to Noah and onward to Moses and Jesus. The majority of the faithful in all times and eras were not from the ruling elite, nor were they rich. They came from the lower ranks of their society. The pagans of Makkah used to taunt Bilal, Ammar, Suhaib and Ibn Masood about what did they get from accepting Islam because it did not change their economic or social standing in society. In fact, it became worse because they were subjected to sanctions, ridicule, abuse and physical violence to revert them back to paganism.

One need not feel discouraged that being a Muslim means signing for a life of hardship and a tough living because the real rewards of good deeds are postponed until the day of judgement. It is not so. The difference is that for a Muslim this life is transitory and not the aim of living. Irrespective of the level of one’s faith or no faith, every human being is exposed to life’s opposites namely, day and night, warm and cold, drought and flood, knowledge and ignorance, kindness and anger, food and hunger, health and sickness, joy and pain, ease and hardship and life and death. Everyone goes through these pairs although the intensity of his endurance can be short or too sharp to bear. Subject to these laws of nature, Allah has promised that the life of the believers will be easy in this world.

من اعرض عن ذكرى فان له معىشة ضنكا …الخ
Translation: And he who rejects My message I will make life a struggle for him… [Surah Ta Ha 20:124]

This is better understood by looking at the third verse about Istiqama which testifies that even the present life of the believer is full of blessings. It provides further information that the condition of remaining steadfast in faith is not only prescribed for humans but also for Jinns who are also believers and non-believers.

وَأَلَّوِ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُم مَّاء غَدَقًا
Translation: Those who stand firm in their faith, We shall certainly shower them with [abundant and] blessed water (rain). [Surah Al-Jinn – 72:16]

The reference to abundant water as a reward is significant because water was rare in Makkah at a time when the early believers were being told by their pagan friends and relatives that they had gained nothing by accepting Islam. Water is also a source of life and sustenance and therefore the best thing Allah gave to this community as a precious commodity was rain or springs. Allah has promised that His faithful servants who observe Istiqama will not only be rewarded with the absence of fear and sadness (see the two verses above), but they will also benefit in this world through His blessings which are symbolised by the reference to water in this verse.

Syed Sharfuddin
Islamabad: 20 June 2017

Destiny and Choice

Syed Sharfuddin

The debate on the question of divine destiny and choice (Qada wa Qadr) also known as Jabar wa Qadr goes back to the period of the Ummayads and fascinates the student of Islamic history about the possibilities of philosophical interpretation in this area. The debate still goes on and I am not sure if it is everyone’s cup of tea.

As far as I have understood the complicated relationship between destiny and choice, it is like a train which is rolling on the tracks bound for its destination. Its passengers will end up where the train is heading. These passengers can’t change the direction of the train nor can they pull the emergency chain to stop it. However, they are free to choose their coach number and decide where they want to sit or not sit at all. If they want to sit by the window, they will have the advantage of the view outside. If they take the isle seat they will have more leg room and the ease to get in and out quickly. If they decide not to sit at all they can move between one coach to another and meet more passengers.

The train also has a system of announcements. The last three coaches will not open when the train arrives at the destination. Therefore those who do not move to the front coaches closer to arrival will not be able to get down at the station. Ironically, the last three coaches of the train are first class and have free tea/coffee service. They also have reclining chairs for more luxury. The announcement also says that a guard may or may not check their travel rickets but anyone found without ticket or a pass will be heavily fined.

So passengers have a lot of choice to exercise in their journey but their final destination is already decided. They can’t go anywhere else other than where the train will take them. It is now up to the passengers how they want to spend their travel time. Do they befriend everyone or develop divisions amongst those who are seated by the window or by the isle; those who are taking a nap or those who are sitting up; those who are engaged in a conversation and those who are not; and those who are having cakes and ale and those who are saving their appetite for the train to arrive at its destination.

I believe faith is somewhat like this. Our destinies are sealed by the master who is controlling the train but we have the chance to make our journey comfortable through mutual respect and accommodation of our different choices. And we do want to be in the front coaches to get down at the station as soon as the train reaches at its final destination.

The raises two fundamental questions. Is there such a thing as independent choice; and, if so to what extent it is predetermined by destiny. To find an answer let us go to the Quranic text itself instead of relying on philosophical hypothesis.

The style of Quran is to illustrate by contradiction. In the statement “there is no god but God” there is a contradiction. The first four words of this sentence constitute a negation which is tantamount to apostasy. The addition of two further words at the end of the sentence gives an affirmation of God by contradiction. This is done to put emphasis that there is God and He is indeed the only God. Take another example. In Surah Al-Ankaboot (Chapter 29, Verses 2-3) Allah says He tests human beings so that He can distinguish between the truthful and liars.

أَحَسِبَ ٱلنَّاسُ أَن يُتۡرَكُوٓاْ أَن يَقُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَهُمۡ لَا يُفۡتَنُونَ • وَلَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۖ فَلَيَعۡلَمَنَّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ وَلَيَعۡلَمَنَّ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ • أَمۡ حَسِبَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ أَن يَسۡبِقُونَاۚ سَآءَ مَا يَحۡكُمُونَ

Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them so that Allah will indeed know those who are true, and He will know those who are liars. Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Allah. Evil is that which they judge!

On the face of it this is a major contradiction. Does Allah, who is omniscient and possessor of all knowledge in the past and in the future need to put human beings to test so that He can know who is truthful and who is deceiving Him. But this is the style of the Quran. What Allah wants is evidence of what humans do so that on the day of resurrection they cannot say they were under duress to do or not to do certain acts for which are being held accountable. In the same way when we discuss the topic of destiny and choice, we usually get side tracked by the contradiction that since Allah has fixed destiny for man, there is no room for free will. This logic leads us to conclude that whatever good deed or sin human beings perform is out of the clockwork that was ordained for them. If a person is a believer or non-believer, criminal or law abiding, peace loving or trouble maker, it was his destiny and he had no role in it. It is the same logic as saying why do we need to say there is no god but God. Why can’t we just say there is God and stop there.

This is not denying the fact that fate and predestination also work in life but when this is played out human beings are not held accountable. For instance, someone who gets murdered in a robbery or is born blind falls in the category of destiny, not choice. Allah tells us in Surah Kahf (Chapter 18 – story of Moses and Khizr) that there are things that happen in the world with His Will in which human beings have little say or control. But for these acts, they will not be held accountable and if at all, they will indeed be compensated in the long run.

As for the choice of birth which includes the choice of family, time, place and the socio-cultural exposure which makes a baby grow up as a Jew, Christian or Muslim, or follower of another religion or no religion, I accept that there is no choice. But Adam was also not given a choice to come or not to come to the earth. His fall was the result of the wrong choice he made in Paradise of eating from the forbidden tree. Likewise, the result of our birth is not our choice but that of our parents meeting and consummating. Therefore, the absence of choice absolves us of any accountability on this score. Our account book opens only when free choices are made by us in life, or to put it in the context of the present discussion, when we have come to the realisation that we are aboard a train heading toward a place from where no one ever returns to repeat this journey.

In the grand scheme of things of universe what we consider free will may not be free will. Comin back to the analogy of the train, a passenger walking from East to West while the train is headed toward East will make no difference to the speed or direction of the train. But there will be evidence in the CCTV camera of the coach that the passenger did try to walk toward East even if it meant nothing in the grand timetable of the train operator. After all, we are all passengers in this short journey of life.

Faith is like the Moon

Faith is like the moon. It changes shape, it is born, it rises and it sets. It has magnetic waves. It attracts and causes high tide. It guides caravans and ships at sea. It makes people fall in love, get romantic or become lunatic. Moon inspires and challenges man to think beyond earth. It is an enigma, a reality and a big rock.

Moonlight is sheer joy. It is for everyone for free but only if one chooses to sit under it. Moonlight does not shun those who want to be exposed to other lights but it is always there for anyone who wants to return to it. It is more powerful and more soothing than other lights.

Likewise, faith comes in varied measurements. Sometimes it fills the heart completely; at other times it is very weak or half full and half empty. It rises in the heart of the believer and it sets in the heart of the heathen. Faith is a big magnet. It attracts people. It has attracted man since his existence. It makes people go to war but it also guides lost travellers and the meek and humble on earth. It makes people fall in love with humanity and the beautiful world God has created to comfort man. Yet it turns people crazy with fanaticism and hatred. It sometimes gives rise to pride and prejudice. It is open to different interpretations and schools of thought. It is sombre and it rocks. Faith inspires man to think beyond his mortal existence. It is an enigma, a reality. It has a big shoulder to rest your head and cry.

Faith is a joy for the faithful. It is for everyone for free but only if one chooses to accept it. Faith does not shun those who do not want to embrace it but it is always there for anyone who wants to return to it. It is pure brilliance, more powerful and more soothing than other lights.

Those who see only the crescent don’t know what a full moon is. Those who only see the moon at its full bloom don’t know what it looks like at the first and last quarters of the month. Those who observe all the phases of the moon have to believe there is an external force that make it happen. Those who are experts in the study of moon can explain much better why the crescent is inverted at the beginning of the month but not inverted when it is setting. They can tell why even after it is born it is not seen by the naked eye until a few hours have passed. They can also explain why the new moon is visible in one part of the earth but not visible in another part of the earth at the same date and time. And then there is lunar eclipse, partial and total; and of course not forgetting that there is an old woman in the moon who is spinning the yarn, or the old saying that ‘moon is your uncle’.

Likewise, those who experience only a part of the faith don’t know what it is in totality. Those who immerse themselves completely in faith forget what is doubt and uncertainty. Those who experience all stages of faith from a wavering start to full knowledge come to the conclusion that there is an external Force that makes it all happen. Those who are experts in the study of faith can explain much better why faith seems controversial in the beginning but not controversial when it has answered all the questions. They can tell why even after it is found in the heart of every new born it is not discovered by the self until it is searched and perfected over years. They can also explain why there are people of faith in one family and people of different belief or no belief in the same family. And then, there is faith eclipse which is a state when disobedience overpowers goodness and darkness replaces light, partially or totally; and of course not forgetting that there is a time clock in faith which is ticking till our individual alarm goes off, or the belief that ‘the only thing that goes in the grave when a dead body is interned is faith’.

Syed Sharfuddin

Example of Life of the World

By Syed Sharfuddin

The example of life of the world is like rain which Allah sends down from the sky that irrigates the earth and produces food which men and cattle enjoy until the earth is adorned with beautiful flowers, fruits and greenery everywhere. Closer to harvest time, when people think they have obtained the most from earth and have mastery over it, Allah sends his command, by night or by day, to cause the earth to turn into a barren land as if it had never flourished before. Allah gives such examples for those who reflect. [Surah Yunus 10:24]

إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاء أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاء فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الأَرْضِ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ النَّاسُ وَالأَنْعَامُ حَتَّىَ إِذَا أَخَذَتِ الأَرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا وَازَّيَّنَتْ وَظَنَّ أَهْلُهَا أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَآ أَتَاهَا أَمْرُنَا لَيْلاً أَوْ نَهَارًا فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيدًا كَأَن لَّمْ تَغْنَ بِالأَمْسِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (10:24)

There could be no better example than the example of earth to illustrate the reality of life in the world which at the most can be counted as a few centuries for constructed buildings and at the most 100 years for human beings. In fact, by the time a person reaches hundred, if he comes to live that long, despite his wealth and status he is almost done with no movement left in his muscles, faded memory, lack of strength and capacity to live on his own without medical or family support. The same person may have moved mountains, conquered great battles and accomplished awesome feats in his youth; he may have been a fountain of knowledge and wisdom in his mature age; he may have been a great leader of a nation or a professional who invented and operated things for society but now in his late twilight years he has forgotten everything and lost his glitter. He can’t even eat properly, remember names or sit, let alone walk.

The earth which is the origin and final abode of man is precisely like that. With the water it receives for its sustenance from sky it gives out its best adornments when it is in its prime but it gradually begins to see its greenery turn into gold and leaves falling off its trees which then fly away in the wind leaving the earth barren and dry as if it had never seen spring before.

The sum total of what man does in his lifetime is pursuit of happiness in the form of chasing great ambitions and satisfying material and emotional needs. He works hard or is lucky by an accident of inheritance to have a successful business, achieve fame, live well, afford good food, good living, good cars and good company of others like him. Almost all the endeavours of human life from political governance and from successful financial investment to good economic management are centred around the attainment of these goals. Happiness comes from fulfilment of desires which are possible to obtain if you are successful materially.

Assuming one is able to acquire all this and more which perhaps the billionaire entrepreneurs of this world, successful leaders of great nations and world class generals and celebrities can claim to have, there comes a time when they start slipping off their success either because of ill health, old age or emotional breakdown.

Just when they think they have achieved all they wanted and could get with the press of a button, their age starts to catch up sooner than expected and their medical tests begin to show decay and decline in their bodies requiring drugs, therapies and staying away from their favourite foods and activities. Add a few more years and they are as good as a weakling with their grip on the control buttons loosening and their bodies turning into a barren collection of bones and muscles. Then like a harvest which is ripe and blown away by the autumn wind, the sceptre of time takes them six feet under as if they never existed before. All that remains is a gave number or urn for reference and for their next of kin to occasionally visit to lay flowers.

In the example in Surah Yunus above, the words “Our command comes by day or by night” أَتَاهَا أَمْرُنَا لَيْلاً أَوْ نَهَارًا are most significant. Just as some plantations have a longer life span but some others short, the life span of man varies for each individual. Death can come to anyone by night or by day irrespective of age. The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs was one of the most successful entrepreneurs but he succumbed to cancer and passed away at a very early age. The young Pharaoh Tutankhamun was even younger and yet he was one of the most powerful kings in the Pharaoh dynasty.

In this example Allah reminds men that although they live only once and die only once in this world they can see the example of earth, living and dying every year with the rotating cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter and making a loop to start all over again.

This example challenges man to think. To ask why is he born at all if he is to die one day; why should he make any effort in life if the result of his toil is not permanent; and why can’t he stop being old or conquer death to live forever.

When he starts reflecting on the journey of his origin, development and destination, he becomes aware of the true purpose of life. He realises that the life of this world is an investment for the hereafter like the successful harvest which is stored in the granary for the rainy season. He realises that there is a Supreme being Allah who causes the weather to change, for rain to fall, for the earth to become wet and green and then turn dry and yellow. He knows that death is but a gateway into the next world. And he finally figures out that what he has been pursuing (happiness) is a short lived mirage. The real pursuit of happiness in life is to prepare for the everlasting world where there is no death and no autumn. Man does not need to chase success in the temporary life of a few decades which leaves him empty handed at the very time when he thinks he owns the world.

The Winner

In the previous blog we discussed who is a loser in the context of Islam. Here we will discuss the concept of winner in Islam. Simply defined, winning is a measure of success in a field of endeavour one chooses to follow. People line up to win sports competitions, lotteries, elections, love and affection and high-profiled well paid positions. But even after they achieve what they want, are they the real winners. Many rich and famous personalities who are movers and shakers in their prime die poor and neglected in their old age. Famous celebrities without whose presence, photograph or news no entertainment event is complete take to drugs when they have been pushed out of camera lights by younger and more popular celebrities. Year after year, Olympic champions are defeated by younger and more resilient players. The stock market keeps bringing fortunes of billionaires up and down. In the real world where popularity ratings change every month, where fortunes smile occasionally and only for a short period and where stock markets bring high yield businesses into bankruptcy administration with a small fluctuation in markets, it is difficult to say what is the real measure of success in life.

Is success the name of a temporary triumph in a finite space and time or is it a lifelong achievement which only few human beings are able to reach. And after death, is there any significance of success for the achievers other than a name as their legacy.

In defining success, Islam’s message touches two universal desires which have always fascinated man. These are the desire to excel and be triumphant and the desire to keep their status forever. In the Islamic definition a winner never loses his status after he has attained it. This is the real meaning of success which is described in the holy Quran using the Arabic words Faz, Faez an Faezoon. “For the God-fearing, there is indeed success (and fulfilment of all that man can ever desire).” إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ مَفَازًا [Surah Al-Naba: 78:31]

In Islam a winner is someone whose success is non-transferable and non-diminishable. It is a permanent state of being attained only by those who have been able to escape hellfire on the day of judgement and are admitted into Paradise. Those who enter hellfire are losers, those who enter Paradise are winners. “Those who are destined for the fire and those who are destined for Paradise are not the same. It is the latter (alone) who shall be successful (on the day of judgment)”. لَا يَسْتَوِي أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Al-Hashr 59:20]

Paradise is earned by obeying Allah, following the sayings (Ahadith) and lifestyle (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), fearing Allah and being conscious of Him at all time. “And (those) who pay heed to Allah and His Apostle, stand in awe of Allah and are conscious of His presence, they shall be successful (in the end)”. وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَخْشَ اللَّهَ وَيَتَّقْهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Al-Noor 24;52]

In Surah Al-Imran, Allah mentions the certainty of death and what comes thereafter: “Every human is bound to taste death but only on the day of resurrection you will be requited in full (for whatever you have done) – So he who is saved from hellfire and is granted entry into Paradise will indeed be successful, for the life of this world is nothing but an enjoyment and self-delusion”.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَما الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
[Surah Al-Imran 3:185]

Once man gets on to the path of Jannah, Allah provides him opportunities to do more good deeds. Allah makes his walk to Jannah easy and facilitates opportunities to attain even higher status. In Surah Al-Ahzab, Allah says: “He (Allah) will cause your deeds to be virtuous, and He will forgive your sins. And whoever pays heed to Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has already attained great success”.
يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا [Surah Al-Ahzab 33:71]

On top of this, if by mistake such good men and women make any mistakes, Allah promises to overlook them as long as they remain steadfast in their faith. In Surah Al-Fath, Allah says: “He (Allah) might admit the believing men and believing women into gardens (of Paradise) through which streams (of pure) waters flow; they (the believers) will live there forever. And He (Allah) might efface their bad deeds; this is indeed for Allah, a great success”.
لِيُدْخِلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَيُكَفِّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا [Surah Al-Fath 48:5]

“Those who believe and struggle in the way of Allah’s with their possessions and their lives (shall) have the highest rank in the sight of Allah and it is they who shall succeed (in the end)”.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللّهِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Tauba 9:20]

Success is further defined in the Holy Quran as the outcome of patience over trials and hardship: “On that day I have rewarded them (the believers) for their patience in adversity; verily, it is they who have achieved success”. إِنِّي جَزَيْتُهُمُ الْيَوْمَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:111]

The key to success for the winner is to avoid hellfire. The rest automatically follows, paving the way for the believer to enter Paradise. Allah says except for the taste of death there will be no other punishment for the winners. And this is real success. “This indeed is a great success.” إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيم [Surah Al-Saffat 37:60]

May Allah save us from the hellfire and make us winners in the hereafter. Indeed, the attainment of Paradise is the real and everlasting success.

Syed Sharfuddin

The Loser

The term loser is used to describe someone who has no worth in society, someone who has failed in every field, lost his investment, failed in life, ended up in a big mess and has nothing to stand on his own to make an honourable and safe living. This definition is taken so seriously by people that no one wants to be a loser. People struggle, strive hard and do everything they can to avoid becoming a loser. They plan, adjust, adapt, learn, acquire skills, gain experience, invest in secure financial schemes and achieve their goals with enough savings to see them through comfortably in old age. Sometimes they spend a whole lifetime chasing their dreams but they don’t want to be called a loser.

Islam does not prevent its adherents from striving hard to be successful. On the contrary Islam discourages dependence on others and encourages perseverance in the face of adversity to live in dignity and honour. But it also provides its adherents a broader definition of loser. In the holy Quran [Chapter Al-Kahf] Allah says to Prophet Muhammad: (say to the unbelievers) “shall we (believers) inform you of the greatest losers as to (their) actions. (They are) those whose efforts are lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing good deeds.” Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and (disbelieve in) meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless. Allah will not give any importance to them on the day of resurrection. Their recompense is Hell, for (this is) what they denied and took Allah’s signs and His messengers in ridicule [18:101-106].

The state of someone being a loser is not permanent. A person who has taken a big hit in business or suffered a slump in his fortune can get back at recovering his losses and come out of the red. But in the afterlife a loser cannot recover his losses because it is a permanent state of being for which there is nothing but perpetual regret. Often, the people who will be in that condition (may Allah save us all from being losers in the hereafter) are the ones who are very successful in this life because it is often wealth and higher social status that takes one away from the remembrance of Allah and breeds contempt for the poor and dispossessed as if they are lesser human beings. A rich and famous person thinks that what really matters in life is wealth and status whether it is obtained through exploitation of others or through illegal means for the ruthless pursuit of greed and self-gratification. Such a person may or may not give charity but he has no time for Allah or His commandments. This person measures his success in terms of his bank balance and the people who follow him. He (thinks) says to others: “I am greater than you in wealth and mightier in followers (numbers of men).” [18:34]. “And I do not think the final hour will ever happen and even if (it occurs or if) I am brought back to my Lord, I will surely find a better (place) than what I have in this world as compensation.” [18:36]. When this person is reminded of the divine message and urged to believe and follow the path of Prophets and the faithful who have preceded our generation, he dismisses the invitation and says: “Should we believe as the foolish have believed? Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish… [2:13]. Surely, if he knew the real meaning of loser he will avoid being one with as long a bargepole as his hands could handle.

May Allah give us the understanding to know who is the real loser and make us avoid being a loser (in the eternal life) just as we strive to do so hard in this world.

Syed Sharfuddin

Duas in the Holy Quran

Syed Sharfuddin

In the name of Allah the most beneficent, the most merciful.

In the holy Quran Duas are of three types – Duas that Allah’s messengers, angels and other pious men and women have made in their times and which are narrated in the holy Quran; Duas which Allah has taught to our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him; and Duas which Allah has commanded the believers to make. These are the people who are “the steadfast, the truthful, the obedient, those who spend (and do not hoard) and those who pray for forgiveness in the watches of the night.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:18]

Duas also have three distinct features. Some Duas contain the glorification of Allah. Some are supplications from prophets and believers asking for help from Allah in this world and in the hereafter. Some are Duas which Allah has taught us through Prophet Muhammad to recite in our prayers to and Zikr of Subhanuhu wa Taala.

There are numerous verses in the holy Quran which provide the appropriate syntax to be used by man to remember Allah (Zikr) and engage in the praise of the good and glorious Lord in the manner as was done by His prophets and people of faith who preceded us in the world. Some of these verses are given below as illustration.

Glorification of Allah (Ayat Al Kursi)
“Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His dominion extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the most high, the most great.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:255]

Glorification of Allah
“And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is over all things competent.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:189]

Glorification of Allah
“Call upon Allah or call upon the most merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.” And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way. And say, “Praise is for Allah who has not taken a son and has had no partner in [His] dominion and has no [need of a] protector out of weakness; and glorify Him with [great] glorification.” [Surah Al-Isra 17: 110 to111]

Glorification of Allah
“He is Allah, save whom there is no deity. Unto Him all praise is due, at the beginning and at the end (of time) and with Him rests all judgment; and unto Him you all shall be brought back.” [Surah Al Qasas 28:70]

Glorification of Allah
“Allah is infinite in His glory, above anything that men may devise by way of definition.” [Surah Al-Saffat 37:159]

Glorification of Allah
“(Allah is) the forgiver of sin, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the (final) destination. [Surah Al-Ghafir 40:3]

Glorification of Allah
“Allah is He save whom there is no deity: the Sovereign, the Supreme, the Holy, the one with whom all salvation rests, the giver of Faith, the one who determines what is true and false, the Almighty, the one who subdues wrong and restores right, the one to whom all greatness belongs. Utterly remote is Allah, in His limitless glory, from anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity.” [Surah Al Hashr 59:23]

Glorification of Allah
All that in the heavens and all that is on earth extol the limitless glory of Allah, the Sovereign and Supreme, the Holy. The Almighty, the Wise.” [Surah Juma 62:1]

Glorification of Allah
“All this is in the heavens and all that is on earth extol Allah’s limitless glory: His is all dominion, and to Him all praise is due; and He has the power to will anything.” [Surah Al-Taghabun 64:1]

The most comprehensive Dua in the holy Quran is Surah Fatiha (Chapter 1 of the holy Quran). Fateha is recited in every rakaat of the Salat and is also read in the prayer for the dead, Salat Al Janaza.

Glorification of Allah in Surah Fatiha
“All praise is for to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. The most beneficent, the most merciful. Sovereign of the day of recompense. It is You (our Lord) who we worship and You (our Lord) we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favours, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger and have gone astray.” [Surah Al-Fatiha 1: 1 to 7]

Dua of Adam and Eve (after committing the original sin)
“Our Lord we both have wronged our souls. If you do not forgive us and do not bestow upon us Your mercy; we shall certainly be among the losers”. [Surah Al-Araf 7:23]

Dua of Noah
“My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers.” [11:47]

Dua of Noah
“My Lord, forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women. And do not increase the wrongdoers except in destruction.” [Surah Nuh 71:28]

Dua of (Heber) Hud
“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.” [11:56]

Dua of Abraham (after he and his son Ishmael raised the foundations of Kaaba)
“Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us for You are the all-hearing and all-knowing.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:127]

Dua of Abraham
“Our Lord! Make of us Muslims, bowing to your Will, and of our progeny a people who are Muslim, bowing to Your (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in mercy); for you are most merciful.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:128]

Dua of Abraham
“Indeed I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I ascribe partners to Allah.” [Surah Al-Anaam 6:79]

Dua of Abraham
“My Lord, make this city (Makkah) secure and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.” [Surah Ibrahim 14:35]

Dua of Abraham
“O our Lord. Truly You know what we conceal and what we reveal: for nothing whatever is hidden from Allah, whether on earth or in heaven.” [Surah Ibrahim 14:38]

Dua of Abraham
“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and (many) from my descendants. (Indeed You are) our Lord, and accept (our) my Dua.” [Surah Ibrahim 14:40]

Dua of Abraham
“O our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers on the day of reckoning when everyone will be held to account.” [Surah Ibrahim 14:41]

Dua of Abraham

(The Lord of the universe) is “the one who created me, and He [is the one who] guides me. And it is He who (provides) food to me and gives me (water to) drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me. And (He is the one) who will cause me to die and then bring me (back) to life. And I aspire that He will forgive my sins on the day of recompense.” [Surah Al-Shuara 26:78-81]

Dua of Abraham
“My Lord, grant me authority and join me with the righteous. And grant me a reputation of honour among later generations. And forgive my father. Indeed, he has been of those (who went) astray. And do not disgrace me on the day they are [all] resurrected. The day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children. But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.” And Paradise will be brought near [that Day] to the righteous. And Hellfire will be brought forth for the deviators” [Surah Al-Shuara 26:83-92]

Dua of Abraham
“Lord, grant me (an offspring) from among the righteous.” [Surah Al-Saffat 37:100]

Dua of the Youth of the Cave
“Our Lord bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and dispose of our affairs for us in the right way.” [Surah Kahf 18:10]

Dua of Joseph
“Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” [Surah Yusuf 12:101]

Dua of the companions of Jethro
“Our Lord decide between us and our people in truth, for You are the best to decide.” [Surah Al-Araf 7:89]

Dua of Jethro
“Upon Him I have relied, and to Him I return.” [Surah Hud 11:88]

Dua of Job (Ayub)
“Indeed, adversity has touched me, and You (my Lord) are the most merciful of the merciful.” [Surah Al-Ambia 21:83]

Dua of the companions of Saul (Taloot)
“Our Lord bestow on us endurance, make our foothold sure, and give us help against the disbelievers.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:250]

Dua of the companions of Moses
“Our Lord pour out on us patience and constancy and take our souls unto thee as Muslims (who bow to Your will).” [Surah Al-Araf 7:126]

Dua of Moses
“O my Lord forgive me and my brother. Admit us to Your mercy, for You are the most merciful of those who show mercy.” [Surah Al-Araf 7:151]

Dua of the companions of Moses
“Our Lord, make us not (objects of) trial for the wrongdoing people. And save us by Your mercy from the disbelieving people.” [Surah Yunus 10:85 and 86]

Dua of Moses
“My Lord, expand for me my breast (with assurance). And ease for me my task. And untie the knot from my tongue. That they may understand my speech. And appoint for me a minister from my family. Aaron my brother. Increase through him my strength. And let him share my task. That we may exalt You much. And remember You much. Indeed, You are ever seeing us.” [Surah Ta’ha 20: 25 to 35]

Dua of Moses
“My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me,” and He forgave him. Indeed, He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. “My Lord, for the favour You bestowed upon me, I will never be an assistant to the criminals.” [Surah Al-Qasas 28:16-17]

Dua of Moses
“My Lord, save me from the wrongdoing people.” [Surah Al-Qasas 28:21]

Dua of David
“Allah is the best guardian, and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” [Surah Yusuf 12:64]

Dua of David and Solomon
“Praise be to Allah who has favoured us over many of His believing servants.” [Surah Al-Namal 27:15]

Dua of Solomon
“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteous deeds which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.” [Surah Al-Namal 27:19]

Dua of Jonah (Yunus)
“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been among the wrongdoers.” [Surah Al-Ambia 21:87]

Dua of Zachariah
“O my Lord grant unto me from You a progeny that is pure: for You answer Dua.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:38]

Dua of Zachariah
And indeed, I fear the successors after me and my wife has been barren, so give me (my Lord) from Yourself an heir. [Surah Maryam 19:4]

Dua of Zachariah
“My Lord, do not leave me alone (with no heir), while you are the best of inheritors.” [Surah Al-Ambia 21:89]

Dua of Jesus
“O Allah our Lord send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be (food) for us – for the first (of us) and the last of us – a solemn festival and a sign from You; and provide for our sustenance, for You are the best provider (of our needs).” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:114]

Dua of Jesus
‘If You cause them (my followers) to suffer, verily they are Your servants; and if You forgive them, verily, You alone are Almighty and truly wise!” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:118]

Dua of the companions of Jesus
“Our Lord we believe in what You have revealed and we follow the messenger. So count us among those who bear witness (to the truth).” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:53]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“O Allah. Lord of power (and rule), You give power to whoever You please, and You take away power from whoever You please. You endow with honour whoever you please and you take away the honour of whoever you please. In Your hand is all (that is) good. Verily, You have power over all things.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:26]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight path – a correct religion – the way of Abraham, inclining toward truth. And he was not among those who associated others with Allah.” [Surah Al-Anaam 6:161]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” [Surah Al-Anaam 6:162]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“He (Allah) has no partner. This I have been commanded and I am the first of the Muslims.” [Surah Al-Anaam 6:163]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“But if they turn away, say (O Muhammad SAW): “Allah is sufficient for me. La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the mighty Throne” [Surah Taubah 9:129]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“My Lord, cause me to enter a sound entrance and to exit a sound exit and grant me from Yourself a supporting authority.” [Surah Al-Isra 17: 80]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
And say O Mohammad “”My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” [Surah Ta’ha 20: 114]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“My Lord, judge (between us) in truth. And our Lord is the most Merciful, the one whose help is sought against that which you describe.” [Surah Al-Ambia 21:112]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“My Lord, then do not place me among the wrongdoing people.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:94]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils. And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:97-98]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“My Lord, forgive and have mercy, and You are the best of the merciful.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:118]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“Praise be to Allah and peace upon His servants whom He has chosen. Is Allah better or those they associate with Him?” [Surah Al-Namal 27:59]

Dua of Prophet Muhammad
“So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your fault and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place.” [Surah Muhammad 47:19]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of hellfire.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:201]

Dua of Believers
“We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they (the believers) say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness our Lord and to You is the [final] destination.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:285]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord do not condemn us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, do not lay upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with that which we are unable to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” [Surah Al-Baqara 2:286]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord (they say) let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own presence; for You are the guarantor of bounties without measure.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:8]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord You will bring mankind together on a day about which there is no doubt; for Allah never fails in His promise.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:9]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord we have indeed believed: forgive our sins and save us from the agony of the hellfire.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:16].

Dua of Believers
“Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:18]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything We may have done that transgressed our duty: Establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:147]

Dua of Believers
“Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:173]

Dua of Believers

“Our Lord, You did not create this (world) aimlessly; Glory is all Yours; give us salvation from punishment of Hellfire. “Our Lord! Whoever you destine for Fire, is condemned and never will wrong-doers Find any helpers Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, blot out from us our iniquities, and take to Thyself our souls in the company of the righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what Thou didst promise unto us through Thine apostles, and save us from shame on the Day of Judgment: For Thou never breach Your promise.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:191 to 194]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from Your presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Your presence some defender.” [Surah Al-Nisa 4:75]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord! We believe; register us among the witnesses. [Surah Al-Maidah 5:83]

Dua of Believers
“My Lord, have mercy upon them (my parents) as they brought me up [when I was] young.” [Surah Al-Isra 17: 24]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and You are the best of the merciful.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:109]

Dua of Believers

“Our Lord remove for us the wrath of hell, for its wrath is indeed a grievous affliction. Indeed, it is an evil abode, and a (terrible) place to belong. [Surah Al-Furqan 25:66-67]

Dua of Believers
“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” [Surah Al-Furqan 25:74]

Dua of Believers
“O Allah Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, You will judge between your servants concerning that over which they used to differ.” [Surah Al-Zumur 39:46]

Dua of Believers
(That you may settle yourselves upon their backs and then remember the favour of your Lord when you have settled upon them and say). “Exalted is He who has subjected this to us, and we could not have [otherwise] subdued it”. [Surah Al-Zukhruf 43:13]

Dua of Believers
“Glory to the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of Power and Throne, above what they describe”. [Surah Al-Zukhruf 43:82]

Dua of Believers
Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts (any) resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” [Surah Al-Hashar 59:10]

(And) that He might admit the believers, both men and women, into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide, and that He might efface their [past bad] deeds: and that is, in the sight of Allah, indeed a supreme triumph.” [Surah Al-Fath 48:5]

“Our Lord! In You we trust, and toward You we turn in repentance: to You is (our final goal)” [Surah Mumtahana 60:4]

“Our Lord make us not a (test and) trial for the unbelievers, but forgive us, our Lord, for You are the Exalted in might, the Wise,” [Surah Mumtahana 60:4]

“Our Lord perfect our light for us, and grant us forgiveness, for You have power over all things. [Surah Tahrim 66:8]

Dua of the Believer in the Court of Pharaoh of Moses
“I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed, Allah is seeing of (His) servants.” [Surah Al-Ghafir 40:44]

Dua of a Believer
“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the (people who are) Muslims.” [Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:15]

Dua of Angels who hold the throne of Allah

“Our Lord your reach is over all things in mercy and knowledge. Forgive those who turn in repentance to You and follow your way and protect them from the punishment of hellfire. Our Lord make them enter the gardens of Eden which You have promised them, with such of their fathers and their wives and their descendants as do right. You, only You are the mighty, the wise.” [Surah Al-Ghafir 40:7 and 8]

Dua of the Believers on the day of judgement who will be the dwellers of the high places waiting to enter Paradise and will be hopeful they will get there
Our Lord! Send us not to the company of the wrong-doers.” [Surah Al-Araf 7:47]

Dua of the inheritors of Heaven
“Praise be to Allah, who has guided us to this (faith); never could we have found guidance had it not been from Allah. Indeed, it was the truth that the messengers of our Lord brought unto us. And they will be called, “This is (your reward) Paradise which you have been made to inherit for (the good deeds) what you used to do.” [Surah Al-Araf 7:43]

Dua of the inheritors of Heaven
“Praise be to Allah who has removed from us [all] sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is forgiving and appreciative. He has settled us in the home of duration out of His bounty. There touches us not in it any fatigue, and there touches us not in it weariness [of mind].” [Surah Al-Fatir 35:34-35]

Signs of Allah

By Syed Sharfuddin

Photo: Adnan Mirza

Allah’s status as the Creator of the universe and possessor of all knowledge and power that ever was or will be has hardly been disputed by human beings, except for a few who have even gone beyond Shaitan in denying the existence of God. What has been in dispute however, is Allah’s oneness.

Throughout human history the task of Allah’s messengers has been to reinforce the belief that there is only one God, not many. These messengers were up against history, mythology and fable which gave God a family and associates to help Him carryout the function of running the universe. Part of this myth was invented by the rulers of previous civilisations who used gods and their patronage to give legitimacy to their rule. The Pharaoh of Moses in Egypt went a step further. He cut out the priests of the high temple who supposedly interceded between the gods and the king and declared himself as Pharaoh the god.

In Surah Al-Akhlas (Chapter 112) the Muslim concept of God is very clearly presented in four simple to understand verses.

Allah is only one [112:1]
He is eternal and absolute [112:2]
He begets not, nor was He born [112:3]
And there is none equal or comparable unto Him. [112:4]

In the holy Quran the attributes of Allah are mentioned as a negation of deities. Some of the clear signs of Allah are his power to create and recreate, award life and death and cause the functioning of the heavenly bodies in the universe in which man is only a very tiny and mostly insignificant spec.

Allah challenges those who deny his existence or associate partners with Him to bring forward their argument in response to the challenge sets forth for them in numerous verses of the holy Quran. For example, in Surah Naml (Chapter 27) he advances some basic questions about the creation of universe and in Surah Al-Rum (Chapter 30), he provides clear signs of His might and excellence.

“Who has created the heavens and the earth, and Who sends down rain from the sky? Yes, with it (the rain) We cause to grow well-planted orchards full of beauty and delight. It is not in your power to cause the growth of the trees in them. (Can there be another) god besides Allah? No, they are a people who swerve from justice.” [Surah Al-Naml 27:60]

“Who has made the earth firm to live in; made rivers in its midst; set thereon stable mountains; and made a separating bar between the two bodies of flowing water? (can there be another) god besides Allah? No, most of them know not.” [Surah Al-Naml 27:61]

“Who listens to the desperate (soul) when it calls Him, and Who relieves its suffering, and makes you (mankind) inheritors of the earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? But you heed very little.” [Surah Al-Naml 27:62]

“Who guides you through the depths of darkness on land and sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, as a sign of His Mercy. (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Allah is higher and above what they associate with Him.” [Surah Al-Naml 27:63]

“Who originates creation, then repeats it, and who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Bring forth (prove) your argument, if you are telling the truth”. [Surah Al-Naml 27:64]

“Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except Allah, knows what is hidden; nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected (for Judgment).” [Surah Al-Naml 27:65]

“(Allah) brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. And thus will you be resurrected.” [Surah Al-Rum 30: 19]

“And of His signs is that He created you from dust. Then (He) dispersed you as human beings (throughout the earth).” [Surah Al-Rum 30: 20]

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you (and your mate) affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for people who reflect. [Surah Al-Rum 30: 21]

“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your (races and) colours. Indeed, in that are signs for those who seek knowledge. [Surah Al-Rum 30: 22]

“And of His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who listen.” [Surah Al-Rum 30: 23]

“And of His signs is [that] He shows you the lightening (causing) fear and aspiration, and He sends down rain from the sky by which He brings to life the earth after it has become (dry and) lifeless. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who use reason. [Surah Al-Rum 30: 24]

“And of His signs is that the heaven and earth remain by His command. Then when He will summon you with a [single] call from the earth, you will immediately come forth (from your graves).” [Surah Al-Rum 30: 25]

“And to Him belongs whoever is in the heavens and earth. All are devoutly obedient to Him.” [Surah Al-Rum 30: 26]

“And it is He who begins creation; then He repeats it, and that is [even] easier for Him. To Him belongs the highest attribute in the heavens and earth. And He is the exalted in might, the wise.” [Surah Al-Rum 30: 17-27]

“Indeed (mounts) Safa and Marwa are among the signs of Allah. So there is no sin on anyone who performs Haj or Umra to walk around them. And if any one obeys his own impulse to do good, he should know that Allah is responsive to gratitude and He is all-knowing.” (Surah Al-Baqrah 2:158]

“And it is He who gives life and causes death, and His (Will causes) the alternation of the night and the day.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:80]

“To (Him) belong the earth and all beings therein.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:84]

“(He) is the Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the great throne.” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:86]

“In (His) hand is the dominion of everything. He gives protection (to everyone), and He is not given protection (by anyone).” [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:88]

Some of the strongest verses against associating partners to Allah are found in Surah Maryam (Chapter 19). The gist of the divine message is that Allah is alone and the only one who is worthy of praise and worship. He will forgive every sin except the act of associating a son or partner with Him.

“And (people) have taken (for worship) gods other than Allah to give them honour and glory. But these (so-called gods) will deny their worship of them, and become their opponents (on the Day of Resurrection). Don’t you see that We have sent the Shayatin (devils) against the disbelievers to push them to do evil. So make no haste against them, for We have set aside a finite number of days (for them to live). And (then) We shall drive the sinners to Hell like thirsty cattle driven down to water. No one will have [permission for] intercession (with Allah) except he who had taken from the most merciful a covenant (to interdecde)).” [Surah Maryam 19:81 to 86].

The concluding verses in Surah Maryam (Chapter 19) are the strongest in the Quran against shirk. “They say: “(Allah) the most gracious has begotten a son, Indeed, you have brought forth (you have said) a terrible thing. For this saying, the skies are ready to burst forth, the earth is ready to split asunder and the mountains are ready to fall down in utter ruin. This is because they have attributed to the most merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for (Allah) the most glorious and the most merciful that He should take a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but who comes to the most beneficent (Allah) as a slave. Verily, Allah knows each one of them and has kept a full count of them (and count of what they have done). And all of them will be coming up to Him upon the day of resurrection, everyone single-handedly. Verily, those who believe [in the oneness of Allah and in His messenger (Muhammad peace and blessing of Allah be on him) and work righteous deeds, the most beneficent (Allah) will bestow love for them in the hearts of the believers. [Surah Maryam 19:88 to 96].

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah? Jesus will reply: “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is the Knower of the unseen. I said not to the people except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are a witness to all things. If You cause them to suffer – verily, they are Your servants; and if You forgive them – verily, You alone art almighty, truly wise!” Allah will respond to this as follows: “This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment.” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:116 to 119]