Corona is experienced in our society today in two ways. The disease and its fear. We seek Allah’s protection from both. What makes it most frightening is that you don’t know if you have it until a few days after you have been infected during which you would have passed on that infection to many others. So, even though the mortality rate is an average of 1% i.e., 99 out of 100 recover and the one who dies, dies a Shaheed (if he dies with Imaan); Covid in its various forms, is something we all fear. This has altered our manners, our socializing, and our spaces. It has changed our rules of hospitality; for example, we don’t invite each other over to our homes for a meal. It changed how we greet each other; no handshakes and definitely no hugs and kisses. Not even at Eid. We use masks, take vaccines, wash our hands, and stay at a distance from each other which we call ‘social’ distancing. We justify all this by reminding everyone that Rasoolullahﷺ told us to tie the camel. Indeed, he did. But when I ask myself if after tying my camel do I have Tawakkal Al’Allah or Tawakkal ala hablil jamal, what is the answer? I am not against masks or vaccines. I am talking about the effect that living in fear has on our hearts. That is why I want to give you the vaccine not only for this fear, but for every fear of this life. Once you take this vaccine, you will never fear any creature, big or small.
The vaccine against all fear is the Glory and Majesty of Allah. When the heart is filled with it, nothing else can enter that heart. It is like looking into a bright light. When you look away, you still see the light and not what you are looking at. The brighter the light you looked into, the longer this effect lasts. You can only see that light wherever you turn. What then, of those who ‘looked into’ the light of the Glory and Magnificence of Allah’s Majesty? How can anyone or anything in this life, frighten them? When they see that threat in the light of Allah’s Glory, it shrinks to its real size. It is no longer the magnified shadow that you got frightened with. It is a small, helpless thing which exists only by Allah’s command. It can do no good or harm without the Will of Allah. That is the reality of everything and every condition, in this life. It is not something you fear. It is something which points to its Creator and through which we recognize and glorify our Creator, Allah.
The big rule in life is that what we talk about becomes real and what we don’t talk about loses significance and becomes unreal. The most graphic example of this and the most tragic is our perception of Covid versus our perception of the Aakhira. Which is more real for us? Which are we more concerned about? What do our actions say? Just monitor your conversation. How many times a day do we talk about Covid and how many times a day do we talk about the Aakhira? Let us open the doors of our hearts to the Glory and Light of the Magnificence of our Rabb and drive out all the terrors of this life. Let us change our focus from the Makhlooq (creatures) to Al- Khaliq (The Creator) to Whom is our return. Let us see what Rasoolullahﷺ and his Sahaba did and what he taught us. Let us remember that, practice it and fill our lives with contentment and tranquility. Because contentment is not a factor of how much you have but how much you desire and is inversely proportional to it.
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (RA) reports that Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Once a certain slave of Allah said ‘Ya Rabbi, Lakal hamdu kama yambaghi li jalali wajhika wa li ‘azimi sultanika’. (O Allah, all praise belongs to you, as befits the Glory of Your Countenance and the greatness of Your Majesty and Kingdom). The Recording Angels were uncertain about what reward to write for this praise of Allah. They ascended to the presence of Allah and said, ‘O our Rabb, Your slave has said something but we are unsure what reward to write for it. Allah asked them [and He knows best what His slave said], ‘What did my slave say’?
The Angels replied, ‘He said ‘Ya Rabbi, Lakal hamdu kama yambaghi li jalali wajhika wa li ‘azimi sultanika’. Allah ordered them, ‘Write it down just as my slave said it and when he meets Me, I will reward him for it.’
My brothers and sisters, ask Allah to give you words to praise Him and glorify Him in a way that pleases Him and because of which He will reward you as He rewards those who please Him. This is what the Sahaba of Rasoolullahﷺ understood, that the slave who is focused on and engrossed in the Glory of his Rabb, becomes impervious to the threats of the world. The world is laid at his feet for him to use to fulfill his needs and to construct and beautify his Aakhira. The world and what it contains are not the goal of a person who is focused on the Ridha of Allah. They come to him as a gift from His Rabb and so they come with Baraka and Khair, blessing and goodness, which he again uses to please Allah.
Sayyiduna Anas bin Malik (R) reports that Rasoolullahﷺ once passed by a Bedouin who was making the following dua in his Salah:
يا مَنْ لا تَرَاهُ الْعيونْ، ولاَ تُخَالِطُهُ الظُّنوْنْ، ولا يَصِفُهُ الْوَاصِفُون، ولا تُغَيِّرُهُ الحَوادِثْ، ولا يَخْشَى الدَّوائِرْ، ويَعْلَمُ مَثَاقِيْلَ الجِبالْ، وَمَكَايِيْلَ البِحارْ، وعددَ قَطَرِ الأمطار، وعددَ وَرَقِ الأشجار، وعددَ ما أظْلَمَ عليهِ اللّيْلُ، وَأشْرَقَ عليه النّهار، ولا تُوَارِيْ منه سماءٌ سماءً، ولا أرضٌ أرضاً، ولا بحرٌ ما في قعرِه، ولا جبَلٌ ما في وَعْرِه، اِجْعَلْ خَيرَ عُمُرِي آخرَه، وخيرَ عمَلي خواتمَه، وخيرَ أيّامِي يومَ ألْقاكَ فيه
(رواه الطبراني في المعجم الأوسط)
“O The One Whom eyes cannot see, Who cannot be imagined, Who is beyond description, Who is unaffected by happenings, Who cannot be overwhelmed by the twists and turns of time, Who knows the weight of the mountains, the volume of the oceans, the number of falling raindrops, the number of leaves on the trees and everything upon which the night darkens and upon which the day brightens. No sky can hide another from Him, no surface of the earth can hide another from Him, no ocean can hide anything within its depths from Him and no mountain can conceal from Him anything within its rocks. Make the last part of my life the best, make the best of my deeds the last and make my best day be the one in which I meet You.”[Tabarani, Mo’ajam al Awsath]
Rasoolullahﷺ appointed someone to bring the Bedouin to him as soon as he had completed his Salah. Rasoolullahﷺ had been given some gold from a certain mine and when the Bedouin came before him, Rasoolullahﷺ gave him the gold and asked, “Which tribe do you belong to?”
The man said that he was from the Banu Aamir bin Sa’sa’ah. Rasoolullahﷺ then asked, “Do you know why I gave you this gold as a gift?”
“Because of the family ties between us, Ya Rasoolullahﷺ”, he replied. Rasoolullahﷺ said, “While family ties have a right, I actually gave you the gold because of the beautiful manner in which you praised Allah.”
Think about this. Here is an ordinary man. Even his name is not mentioned, who praised Allah in a way that he devised. Think about how long it may have taken him to make this dua. How much time did he spend on reflecting on the Glory and Majesty of Allah that he saw around him? What did this do to any other cares and worries that he may have had? That is the opportunity that we have. Instead of spending our time on social media with our faces in our phones, if we looked around ourselves and marveled at the creation of Allah and then reminded ourselves that this is the One before Who we stand in Salah. This is the One we ask dua from. This is the One who we will return to one day.
Ibn Abbas (R) narrated that when Rasoolullahﷺ used to awake for Tahajjud he would say: Allahumma lakal-hamd. Anta qaiyimus-samawati wal-ardi wa man fihinna. Walakal-hamd Laka mulkus-samawati wal-ardi wa man fihinna. Walakal-hamd anta nurus-samawati wal-ard. Walakal-hamd an-tal-haq. Wa wa’du-kal-haq wa liqa’uka Haq. Wa qawluka Haq wal-jannatu Haq wan-naaru Haq. Wan-nabiyoona Haq Wa Muhammadun, sallal-lahu’alaihi wasallama Haq. Was-sa’atu Haq. Allahumma laka aslamtu wabika amantu, wa ‘Alaika tawakkaltu wa ilaika anabtu. Wa bika kha-samtu wa ilaika hakamtu. Faghfir li ma qaddamtu wama akh-khartu wama as-rartu wama ‘a-lantu. An-tal-muqaddimu wa an-tal-mu akh-khir. Laa ilaha ila ant.
O Allah! All praise and all thanks for you, You are the Establisher of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. All praises for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All praises for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. And all praises for You; You are the Truth. And Your Promise is the Truth, And the meeting with You is True. Your Word is the Truth, And Jannah is True, And the Fire is True. And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are True and Muhammadﷺ, is True. And the Day of Resurrection is True. O Allah! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents). And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive my previous and future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed. And you are the One who raise some people to stations of honor and lower others. There is none to be worshiped but You. [Bukhari]
Imagine the Baraka of the day which begins with this. As soon as the eyes open, the first thing that we think about is the greatness of Allah. And the first thing we speak is the glory of Allah and we make dua to Him by acknowledging our helplessness and sinfulness and seeking His Mercy and Forgiveness.
Rasoolullahﷺ is reported as having made this dua called Dua Al-Noor.
Allahummaj’al fee qalbee nooran, wa fee lisaanee nooran, wa fee sam’ee nooran, wa fee basaree nooran, wa min fawqee nooran, wa min tahtee nooran, wa ‘an yameenee nooran, wa ‘an shimaalee nooran, wa min ‘amaamee nooran, wa min khalfee nooran, waj’al fee nafsee nooran, wa ‘a’dhim lee nooran, wa ‘adhdhim lee nooran. Waj’al lee nooran, waj’alnee nooran. Allahumma ‘a’tinee nooran, waj’al fee ‘asabee nooran, wa fee lahmee nooran, wa fee damee nooran, wa fee sha’ree nooran, wa fee basharee nooran. [Allahummaj’al lee nooran fee qabree, wa nooran fee ‘idhaamee.] [Wa zidnee nooran, wa zidnee nooran, wa zidnee nooran]
[Wa hab lee nooran ‘alaa noor.]
O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light and amplify for me light. Make for me light and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light.
[O Allah, make for me a light in my grave… and a light in my bones.]
[Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light.]
[Grant me light upon light]
In our Adhkaar of the morning and night we have this declaration:
Allahumma inni asbahtu ush’hiduka wa ush’hidu hamalata ‘arshika wa malaikataka wa jami’a khalqika annaka Antallahu la ilaha illa Anta Wahdaka la shareeka laka wa anna Muhammad-an ‘Abduka wa Rasooluk (4 times)
(Note: In the evenings, recite: amsaytu instead of asbahtu)
O Allah! As morning dawns upon me, I bear witness before You and before the angels who carry Your Throne and all Your angels and all of Your creation that truly, You are Allah, there is no god but You, The One and Only God without any partner, and that truly, Muhammad is Your slave and Your Messenger.
Abu Daud narrated that Anas bin Malik (R) said that Rasoolullahﷺ said:
“When one says, Allahumma inni asbahtu ushhiduka, wa ushhidu hamamalata ‘arshika… (until the end of the dua), Allah will free a quarter of him from the fire, and if he recites it twice Allah will free half of him, and if he recites it three times Allah will free three quarters of him, and if he recites it four times [Allah will] free him from the fire.”
My brothers and sisters, there is only one way to dispel darkness and that is to light the lamp. So also, there is only one way to dispel sadness, depression, and despair and that is to light the lamp of the remembrance of Allah. The Dhikr of Allah is Noor. It is light which can dispel all the darkness of the heart and soul. It can dispel all our fears and light the way ahead to gain the Ridha (pleasure) of Allah.
Every day when we wake up, we have a choice of what we want to focus on. I advise myself and you to focus on Allah and the many ways in which He has blessed us. Covid taught us about this choice very graphically. Remember that whatever you focus on, will color your perception of life. I don’t know how many of you have seen purple, pink, even green lilies, in a flower shop. All those lilies were white. But after they cut them, they place the long stems of the flowers in water mixed with ink of the color they want them to change to. And that is what happens.
Please examine your ink. Your ink is whatever you read, listen to, or talk about. Keep that positive and you will always feel good. Allow that to be influenced by all the bad news that you see on TV or social media, and it will have the opposite effect. The best way to be positive is to focus on what Allah blessed us with. Enjoy that and thank Allah for it and you will see how this uplifts our spirit and makes us happy.
Happiness doesn’t happen. It is made by those who actively choose to focus on blessings and express their gratitude.
Thankfulness leads to happiness.