Not too long ago, I sat down in my room doing something that many of us eventually end up doing in our lives; I began to think about where I stand right now, where I am going, or if I had really moved at all. As I thought about my journey, I hit the same obstacle again and again. I am Muslim. I want Jannah. And yet, if I know certain things are wrong, if I know I shouldn’t be doing them, why was I still committing the same sins? Do I really believe in this way of life if I fall victim to the same stains, the same mistakes?
Allah says in the Qur’an, “Do they not think that they will be resurrected?” (83:4). Do I?
When Allah asks us if we think we’ll be resurrected, He is implying that if we actually thought that one day we will stand before him, would we be doing all the things that we do? Many of us are born into religion and we do religious practices because our parents tell us to, because our friends do it, or because of some other worldly reason or consequence. Many of us do not truly believe in Allah as our Master, unfortunately. When one look at converts to Islam, one can see that most of the time they are more religious than many Muslims – they went through a journey of their own and experienced things that many others haven’t. When they reached Islam, they saw it as the truth themselves and believed in Allah completely in their hearts.
If I tell you that I will chop off your feet if you log on to Facebook in the next few days, what would you do? If you truly believed that I would do such a thing, if you believed that I was capable of it and that I’m serious, you wouldn’t do it. However, if you didn’t think I would do it or that I’m incapable of doing it to you, then you would have just shrugged it to the side and logged onto Facebook anyways. This idea applies to anything in life – if you believe something will happen, your actions will show it. When it comes to religion, we often seem to think that basic logic or human psychology does not apply. But if I were to ask you right now if you really believe in the Last Day and that you’ll be held accountable, what would you say, and would your actions prove it?
You see, I did not yet truly believe in Allah. If I did, I wouldn’t do the things that I do.
With this realization in my mind, I started to work on my relationship with Allah, slowly bringing myself to a more sincere and real relationship with my Lord. What could I do to make myself truly believe in Allah with all my heart? The seerah became my inspiration, my starting point. I sifted through the lives of the sahabah to see what changed them and made them believe in Allah to the point where they would do anything for Him and His religion.
When Islam first came to the Arabs, Allah didn’t start by stating what was halal and haram. Allah sent them verses from the Qur’an that shook their souls and changed their hearts completely. The crux of the early teachings was not a list of do’s and don’ts designed to throw us into a world of habit, but rather, a teaching to bring the hearts to rest. This key lies inside the Qur’an, but we have to use it to open the treasure.
We know this, but yet we forget. Everything we do here will be known on the Day of Judgment. Allah says in the Qur’an, “A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back” (82:5). Whatever it is that we think we are getting away with, Allah will present it to us on that day. When you understand that verse, you begin to watch your actions. When you contemplate on your actions you begin to realize that you have you made mistakes, and that’s perfectly fine. Allah refers to people in the Qur’an as الناس . (Al-Nas, the people). In Arabic, each word has root letters that it comes from, and this word comes from the root letters نسي (nasya/nisya), which has the meaning of forgetfulness inside. Allah created us and He knows that we as human beings will forget and make mistakes, but what’s important is what we do after we realize that we made those mistakes and that we disobeyed Allah.
Allah wants us to come to him and ask for forgiveness. Many of us think that we have done too much and that we have reached a point of no return, but Allah’s mercy is unlimited; He’ll always be there when we need Him, and He will forgive us.
Allah says in the Qur’an, “Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation. And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak” (4:27-28).
Knowing that Allah will forgive us isn’t enough, though; we need to earn His mercy in order for Him to forgive us. We need to strive and work on ourselves so that Allah can lighten our burdens. If we truly believe that we will be resurrected one day, we have to show it on our actions. We have to open the Qur’an, let it touch our hearts, and let it change us. Often times when people want to change we end up criticizing them and saying things like, “Oh him? He is changing? I saw him do this or that, I know the real him, he isn’t fooling anyone.”
But change doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t easy. The sultry warmness of summer does not transform overnight from the iciness of the cold. Do not expect yourself or anyone else to wake up all of sudden a changed person – give it time. We can’t give up and think, “Oh, It’s been a week and I’m not an amazing Muslim yet. It just isn’t working for me”. It took some of the greatest sahabah many years before they were impacted by the power of the Qur’an, and they lived around the Prophet himself. Every believer has his or her “aha” moment that isn’t guised under a sudden iman rush that disappears as quickly as it comes. Every person is different.
We have to think about our future and if we truly believe in what’s going to happen to us. When we start thinking about our future, depending on what conclusion we come to, we’ll have to start acting upon it. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has moments that they are not proud of, but that only makes us human. We have to struggle and understand that Allah’s help is always there. He’s always ready to forgive us and be merciful to us. We must just begin to truly believe.
I ask that Allah forgives all of us and guides us to the straight path. Ameen.