Bismillah wa-salaatu wa-salaam 'ala Rasulillah wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi ajmaeen
Alhamdulillahi-ladhee ja'alana minal Muslimeen!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam... as-salaamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
Can it be I'm drawing a daft impression in thinking many of us, as Muslims, often forget or lose touch with the substantive fact Islam is a complete system of life designed to make us succeed at the uttermost in every aspect and circumstance with which we're confronted in life wherever in the world we may be? Commitment to this system from Allah, Rabbee wa Rabbukum (my Lord and your Lord), entitles us to His Love and promises us success.
*As we know a promise from Allahu ta'ala is a guarantee*
A life of complete worship and servitude to Allah -remembering Him before initiating any act (i.e. eating, sleeping, studying, leaving home, sitting, etc.) and praising and expressing gratitude to Allah upon completing every act and task. Islam is our shield and fortress against worry, grief, depression, stress and anxiety. We lose touch or haven't attained any real yaqeen (absolute certainty) of this in the first place and become easily agitated; consequently our hearts curdle and iman declines. La samaha'Allah any of us should be paralyzed in this state. Ya Muslim! Know and be persistent in acting upon it that such a life (of complete worship and servitude to our Rabb) ensures us success in this life and salvation in the Hereafter.
Islam grants us the perpetual consciousness that, in dunya, the only thing in our hands are our choices, NOT the results. Our response to each result determines whether we earn Allah's Love and Mercy or His Hate and Wrath. Time eventually heals all, but Islam stimulates our fitrah and extends to us the wisdom to be patient and mindful at the very instant calamity strikes. A unique but eminent condition of those with true iman and yaqeen in Allah and the Last Day; those with ikhlas (sincerity) and walaa (loyalty) to His Decree (i.e. Qur'an, Shari'ah, Sunnah). Our prophet and Allah's final messenger to the world, Muhammad salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam said:
"How remarkable is the case of the believer! There is good for them in EVERYTHING, but this is NOT the case for anyone except for the believer! When the believer receives any good, they are thankful to Allah and earn a reward; when some adversity befalls them, they endure it patiently, for which they are also rewarded."
We are tested and met with fitnah in dunya that we might be purified in dunya, as opposed to being so in Jahanam. Na'udu billah! Just as we are tested for any promotion in this life (i.e. career, adulthood, parenthood, etc.), we are tested for promotions or our status to be elevated in Jennah (and both are directly linked). As Rasul salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam told us: "dunya is a prison for the believer." If we are not imprisoned in dunya, meaning restrict ourselves from evil, it's proponents and gateways, we will instead be imprisoned in Akhirah. Again, na'udu billah! Allah is Al Wadud, The Loving, who rather us (as we should rather ourselves) to be purified in this transitory life that we might enjoy an unfathomably blissful eternity.
So whether met with prosperity or calamity in this world, it's always a win-win situation for those with true iman, yaqeen and walaa in Allah and His Decree (i.e. Word, Shari'ah, Sunnah).
Through proper observance of the law of Love as it concerns the principle of al 'Wala wal 'Bara, we understand that what Allah Loves takes precedence over our personal attachments, lures, likes and desires. Just as we would foolishly do anything for someone we love (or trying to impress) unmindful of what others may think or say, we should unhesitantly do for the sake and love of Allah azza wa jall without care or regard of what others may perceive of us.
What most commonly cost many of us success in this life and salvation in Akhirah is being weak and relaxed in what is obligated upon every Muslim after seeking knowledge... jihad an-nafs or the struggle against one's own ego and selfish desires that would have one transgress against oneself and obedience to Allahu ta'ala. By failing or being inconsistent in this endevour we distance our hearts further from Allah all while Shaitan convinces us the same desires and acts have no such effect. Hence, if we are weak in jihad an-nafs (disciplining our souls), we are weak in jihad ash-Shaitan; subsequently opening the door for much transgression, negligence, hypocrisy and/or vulnerability to misguidance and bid'ah. It is paramount for our success and salvation that we strive for the sake of Allah even and especially when it is against our own nafs.
I'm compelled to as well note that as integral as jihad an-nafs wa jihad ash-Shaitan are with regards to the individual. The highest mode of jihad obligated upon the community and excused of others only after a sufficient number have committed to its cause (and those physically unable) is the pre-emptive and defensive jihad against the enemies of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala who seek and act to oppress and slaughter Muslims, deny the right of self-determination and/or expel them from their lands. Doing so because they'd like nothing more than to see ad-Deen ul-Allah extinguished that their brand of religion/politics may prevail. Allahu ta'ala said what means:
"They desire to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths, and Allah will not consent except to perfect His Light, though the disbelievers (kuffar) are adverse. He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of Truth that He may cause it to prevail over all religions and ways of life, though the mushrikeen (those who worship, serve, obey or fear other than Allah) are adverse." -Surah al-Tawba ayat 32-33
The Deen, Promise and Plan of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala cannot be defeated, frustrated or avoided. Add this to the long list of reasons why those with true iman, yaqeen and walaa to Allah and the Last Day can't lose.
Disturbingly enough there is a popular tradition cited by many Muslim apologists active in interfaith circles and by those associated or involved in Sufism about the "lesser jihad" being war against hostile forces among the kaffir'un and the "greater jihad" being purification of the soul (jihad an-nafs). Sadly either they are unaware or dismissive of the fact this hadith is maudu' or fabricated, void of any isnad (unbroken chain of narrators leading from the very lips of the Prophet 'alayhi wa-salaatu wa-salaam). It's used, like the myriad of other contrived and anomalous views, to present Islam as a fashionably kumbaya, naively passive or otherwise wishy-washy and dare I say pansy religion. A degraded, warped version of Islam best favored and promoted by our "pals" at the RAND Coporation and the Muslims who align themselves with them and/or their goals. Just a reminder that in sticking to al-Qur'an was-Sunnah we can't be lead astray and... we can't lose.
The most noble of sciences is ilm-ul-Islam (knowledge of Islam) and the most noble of acts is the application of the knowledge of al-Islam. For every bit of knowledge of Allah's beautiful Deen gone unapplied and unimplemented is but cursed knowledge; -knowledge that will serve as witness against us on yawm'ul Qiyamah. The believer has no option except to win by wala to Allah and the totality of His Deen and bara (disavowal) to all opposing and contradictive elements of Allah and His Decree.
By constantly being engaged in dhikr through learning and reciting the appropriate dua's before and after every action and condition. By turning to the naf'l or voluntary acts as much as possible. By crying out and seeking His Mercy and direction when in distress:
Bismillah al-ladhi la ilaha ghayrahu al-Rahman al-Raheem
Allahumma adhhab 'anni al-hamm wal huzn
(In the Name of Allah whom there is no god beside Him, The Merciful, The Compassionate. O Allah! Remove all worries and anxiety!)
By admitting our mistakes and sins and seeking His Forgiveness for the things we know and those we've forgotten before calling it a night. Wallahi we can't lose no matter what good comes to us and no matter what adversity or challenge should befall us.
Allahumma musarriful qulub sarrif qulubana 'ala Ta'atik
(O Allah! Controller of hearts, direct our hearts to be firm and steadfast to Your Obedience.)
I ask Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala continually increase us all in taqwa that we will be guided to His Mercy and gaurded from His Wrath. Ameen ya Rabb. Any truth I've produced is good and is from Allah, may we take and benefit from it. Any mistakes are my own, may Allah protect us from them and there potential misguidance. Ameen.