Staying Firm on the deen of Allah
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on March 20, 1998)
The believer who is guided by Allah (S.W.T.) to this deen is always faced in this life with the danger of not remaining firm on the deen. This is due to a number of reasons among which:
Running into the trial of doubtful acts and the trial of desires; these doubtful acts and desires that be stirred up by the Satans of man and Jinns from time to time.... Taking the opportunity when the believer is busy with his life and when he is unconscious of his Lord, also taking advantage of the lack of knowledge of the deen of Allah (S.W.T.) and the lack of its implementation, which has become among the diseases in the life of this ummah.
This problem is more severe now because of the exceptional case that Muslims live in this age and that is living in non-Islamic societies where they are not ruled by the divine rules and where the deen of Allah (S.W.T.) is not prevalent over the lives of people.... To the point that the status of a person is like what the prophet (S.A.W.) described, "Holding onto his deen is like holding onto ember (a burning piece of coal)."
Also the other reason for a believer not to remain firm on the deen is Building the firmness in the deen of Allah (S.W.T.) on the heart which is not stable and always changing about which the prophet (S.A.W.) said in an authentic hadith reported by Imams Ahmad and Al-Hakim, "The heart of the son of Adam is up to be more unstable than the boiling water in a pot." The prophet also said about it in another authentic hadith reported by Imam Ahmad, "It was called "al’qalb" (meaning the heart) from "Taqalub" because of its changing nature; the example of the heart is like a feather at the trunk of a tree that the wind keeps turning it upside down." For this reason, the prophet (S.A.W.) used to supplicate frequently which was reported in an authentic hadith by Imam At-Trimithi saying, "O’ Allah, The One Who changes hearts, make my heart firm on your deen."
What are the means that help us remain firm on the deen of Allah (S.W.T.)? There are many:
Firstly, reciting, memorizing, and reflecting upon the verses of Qur’an; It is the strong "rope" of Allah (S.W.T.), the clear light; whosoever holds on tight to it, Allah (S.W.T.) will protect him. Qur’an was revealed on different occasions over a long period of time to make the prophet (S.A.W.) firm on the deen of Allah. Allah (S.W.T.) replies to the question of the non-believers in surat Al-Furqan, (Verse 32), what can be translated as, "And those who disbelieve say: "Why is the Qur’an not revealed to him all at once?" Thus (it is send down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. (It was revealed to the prophet (S.A.W.) in 23 years.)"
Why was The Qur’an a source of firmness?
- It implants the belief in Allah (S.W.T.); it purifies the soul with a tie to Allah, so it assures the heart of the believer so that it does not weaken during trials.
- It provides the Muslim with the right perspectives and values, so the Muslim will be able to view the situations around him with the right perspectives, and look into things with the absolute true and just standard so the Muslim would not lose control and go astray.
- It refutes all the heresies stirred by the enemies of Islam in all times and places.
Secondly, from the means that help us remain firm on the deen of Allah (S.W.T.), is abiding by the Ash-shar’iah (Islamic body of laws) and doing good deeds starting with saying the good firm word La-Ilaha-Illa-Lah the word of oneness. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Ibrahim, (Verse 27), what can be translated as, "Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world and in the Hereafter."
Qatadah (a scholar from the generation that came after the companions of the prophet) said, "As to this life, Allah (S.W.T.) make them firm with the goodness and the righteous deed, and as to the Hereafter, in the grave." Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat An-Nissa’, (Verse 66), what can be translated as, "If they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them, and would have strengthened their (Faith)."
Imam Bukhari reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) says in a Qudsi (the divine sacred hadith which he narrates on behalf of Allah), "...And my servant keeps getting closer to me with the recommended acts (An-nafal) until I love him, and if I loved him, I would be his hearing with which he hears, and his vision with which he sees, and his hand with which he beats, and his leg with which he walks..." This means the protection that Allah (S.W.T.) provides for his servant and the firmness on the truth.
Thirdly, from the means that help us remain firm on the deen of Allah (S.W.T.) is by studying the stories of the prophets and reflecting upon them and learning lessons and morals from them because these stories were not revealed for entertainment and wasting time, but they were revealed to make the prophet’s heart and the hearts of the believers firm because of what they suffered in carrying the message of Islam. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Huod, (Verse 120), what can be translated as, "And all that We relate to you (o Muhammad) of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this (chapter of the Qur’an) has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers." These Qur’anic stories are numerous. For example:
Allah (S.W.T.) says about prophet Ibrahim (S.A.W.) in surat Al-Anbiya, (Verses 68-70), what can be translated as, "They said: "Burn him and help you gods, if you will be doing. We (Allah) said: "O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Abraham! And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers.". Here, we can see and feel the magnitude of being firm in front of the oppression and torture.
In another example Allah (S.W.T.) says about Musa and his followers, when they confronted Pharaoh and his soldiers, in surat Ash-shua’ara, (Verses 61-66), what can be translated as, "And when the two hosts saw each other, the people of Moses said: We are sure to be overtaken. Moses said: "NO, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me. Then We inspired Moses (saying): "Strike the sea with your stick." And it parted, and each separate part (of that seawater) became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain. Then We brought near the others (Pharaoh’s party) to that place. And We saved Moses and all those with him. The We drowned the others (Pharaoh and his soldiers)." Here, we see and feel the greatness of being firm on the truth when chased by the oppressors, and being firm in the moments of hardship, and the solution of Allah (S.W.T.) coming down in the decisive moment.
In another example Allah (S.W.T.) also says in the story of the magicians of Pharaoh when the truth was unveiled to them, so they accepted it and embraced it and remained firm on it despite the warnings of Pharaoh and his oppression when he said in surat Taha, (Verses 71,72) what can be translated as, "(Pharaoh) said: "Believe you in him (Moses) before I give you permission? Verily! He is you chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of palm-trees, and you shall surely know which of us (I (Pharaoh) or the Lord of Moses (Allah)) can give the sever and more lasting torment." Here, the firmness of the few believers comes with no backing down, no shake down, and no weakness, when they said what can be translated as, "They said: "We don’t prefer you over the clear signs that have come to us, and Him (Allah) Who created us. So decide whatever you desire to decide, for you can only decide (regarding) this life of the world."
(Inshallah, this subjects will be continued next Friday.)