بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
All praise is due to Allah alone, the One Who guides whoever He wills. May the best benedictions and peace be upon the final prophet sent for the guidance of mankind, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). To proceed:
As Muslims we have been blessed by Allah with the greatest of blessings, guidance to the straight path. We have been honored by Allah to be from the best of prophetic nations raised up for the benefit of mankind. Allah has blessed us with the keys to paradise. Despite whatever hardships we face, we should strive to face them with a sense of patience and gratitude knowing that this life and everything in it is temporary and fleeting while the life to come, that is everlasting. We don’t have a right to the gardens of bliss, but we have been given the means to enter into them. We should be a people who rejoice and resonate with the glorification and praises of our Lord.
When we as believers fall short and disobey our Lord, it is an indication of some inner turmoil. One of our enemies has caused some dis-ease in our hearts that is manifesting itself. Whether it be to the allure of the things of this worldly life, our whimsical desires, the whispers of the satans (amongst man and jinn), or, the most likely culprit, our own nafs (lower self/ego) we continue to fall short. Perhaps we call out to Allah and putting on a show of outward religiosity in difficulties only to revert to our cycles of bad habits, Ill character, foul speech, and outright sin when the calamity is averted. Perhaps we behave one way around those we view as good and righteous and revert back to the behavior of our jahiliyya (pre-Islamic ignorance) when we are alone or with others. Perhaps it is the case we think it is a show of integrity or sincerity to just act-a-fool all the time so as not to be called a hypocrite. Perhaps we simply fall into the category of those who never seem to get themselves right and we just keep doing what we do, regardless. Some have false hope believing that just because they are Muslims they will enter the gardens. Others believe that they are destined for hell anyway so “why not”. Still others have despair in their hearts and see themselves as unworthy to turn to Allah and unable to turn their lives around. These are all manifestation that our hearts are not right. We can blame Satan all we want, but at the end of the day – Thee Day – we will have to own up and take responsibility for our own choices.
The companions of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him, his family, his companions and all who follow him until the final hour) came from many backgrounds. We know some were elite, some were nobles, some were wealthy. But we also know some were thieves and robbers, some were alcoholics, some were fornicators and many were the poor. The companions came from all walks of life. They also came from all races so we find those from Rome, Persia, Africa and throughout Arabia. There were some companions who could not speak Arabic well, not being able to pronounce all the letters and some who could learn languages to proficiency very swiftly; some memorized the entire Qur’an and some only knew enough to pray; some learned all the rules and regulations and others had difficulty even learning prophetic supplications. They were not all the ideal we have in our minds. Instead – they were a lot like us! But – they had conviction in their hearts. They really believed. Really! And so they changed. They didn’t argue to circumvent the Shariah or justify their behaviors, instead they argued against their nafs and changed their behaviors to conform to the Shariah. They recognized the blessing of Allah upon them and so they were grateful and that gratitude translated to striving in the way of Allah to do good. Despite their diversities – they believed and they sought to manifest that belief in their lives so Allah said about them that He is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.
This ummah began as an oppressed minority amidst a majority pagan city. Still, Islam spread slowly but surely for thirteen years until the Hijra (migration). How did this happen? Did it happen because the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) compromised and made deals? Did it happen because the companions compromised their Islamic identities? Did it happen because the Muslims were loved and welcomed? No. None of this happened. Instead, Islam spread because of the strength of faith and upright behavior of the believers, despite their circumstances. We know the story of how Bilal was tortured, how Abu Dharr was beaten nearly to death, how sumayyah was martyred. We know of the stories of how the Muslims became so oppressed that they had to hide their prayers, many fled and migrated into The African empire of the Najashi, and even the great boycott. Even the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was abused verbally, physically and emotionally. Relatives would liter his path seeking to cause him harm, some through the intestines of a sheep upon him while he prayed (peace and blessings be upon him), he was even choked and beaten until Abu Bakr throws himself on him to shield him and was beaten so badly it is said his face swelled until they couldn’t tell where his nose went. We hear the saintly stories and fixate on them and wonder why our lives can’t be like that – but we seem to forget that these great men and women faced trials much like our own and even more difficult. The difference is – they faced it with certainty. They believed and so they acted according to that faith.
In those years Allah revealed many ayat exhorting the believers to feed the poor, help the needy, care for the orphans, help the weak in the society, and even help out with the most basic neighborly needs. They were the minority so who were they commanded to help other than the disbelieving majority? They were commanded to manifest their faith through upright character, strengthening the weak, picking up the downtrodden, and spreading good. It was by their holding fast to their faith in the face of oppression and injustice, holding fast to uprightness, and helping others that Islam continued to spread amongst the people even when they were an oppressed minority. They didn’t have the entire Qur’an or even half of it. They didn’t have the whole of guidance or the sacred sciences codified and laid out before them. What they had was true faith, a relationship with Allah and a love for and adherence to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They taught what they knew – but their Da’wa was not in books and lectures and sound bites, and it surely wasn’t in compromising and genuflecting. No, their inviting others was done through their behavior, through their character, through their manifesting their faith. This faith took root in their hearts and the light of Allah shown from them and literally changed the world.
Today, we are blessed to be from this blessed Ummah. We have been given the keys to the gardens. We have been guided to the straight path. We have been chosen by Allah; honored by Him! We are living here in the US from a variety of backgrounds, social classes and races, all unified by our faith. We have been chosen for this time and place as ambassadors of our Lord. We don’t have to be scholars or well polished in our dress and speech. We don’t need to know the answer to every question or how to explain complex legal matters. All we are asked to do is be real. Be sincere. Be true to our faith! Manifest it. Examine our hearts and ask ourselves, “do I really believe?” If the answer is “yes” – then prove it! Change. Turn back to Allah, repent, build a relationship with Him, and be upright. Be Muslims, those who submit to (not argue with) the guidance of their Lord as it is established in the Qur’an and sunnah according to the understanding of the pious predecessors (the first three generations of this ummah). If we do this, the light of Allah will cure the dis-eases of our hearts, take root and shine forth from us so that we begin to impact the world around us. This is not only possible, it is a reality!
If we begin to practice our faith, to establish our relationship with Allah and to live with upright characters – we will be the ambassadors of our Lord and others will want what we have. They will seek it from you. There will be no need to argue, debate or justify – they will be receptive. But we must do our part…and that is simply to truly submit to our Lord.
With all of that said I could close here. However, the point of this article is also to introduce two PDFs. The first is a book I wrote some time ago on the Islamic message using biblical verses. I am against doing this as, if we use the Bible to justify our message this opens the door to accepting it as a credible source and it isn’t. That is the topic of the second PDF, as it is a comparison between the Bible and the Hadith Literature, showing the lack of veracity of the Bible. One cannot have it both ways; one can not say in one breath that the Bible is not credible and in the next breath use it as proof. I prefer to follow the prophetic methodology and use the Qur’an as evidence. However, this text was something I wrote years ago and I know many still like such texts and so I share it here, as well as a comparison between our scholarly tradition of preserving our sacred teachings and that of the Bible.
1.)”The Truth According to … the Bible”:
1.) “A Comparison”:
I pray Allah puts acceptance and success in this effort and that He make this a means to transform our understandings and our lives so that we may be sparks to transform our society…ameen.
And truly every success is with Allah.