Joy of Submission

The most important thing in life is not wealth or knowledge or even action. It is attitude. With the right attitude, you can create wealth, acquire knowledge and find the motivation to act. Without it you may have wealth, fame, influence, and knowledge but you despair. Just look for celebrity suicides on Google and you will know that the difference between a dream and a nightmare is a very fine line. It is not because of wealth, knowledge, fame, or power that the Palestinians are unbeatable. It is not for these reasons that they pick themselves up from every disaster which would have destroyed others. It is because of attitude. It is attitude that enables totally traumatized Palestinian children to still smile and play games while the world watches in amazement. This applies to Muslims everywhere.

The attitude of the Muslim is not simply submission but to submit joyfully. To want to submit. To love to submit. To live to submit. To submit to the One who created us, blessed us in ways we cannot count, protects us from all evil, tests us and helps us to pass the tests, and rewards us in this life and even more in the next. To submit joyfully to the Only One who is worthy of worship. To submit because and as evidence that we trust Allahﷻ to know and to do what is best for us. To submit knowing that what is with Allahﷻ is better than what is with us. To submit to demonstrate our allegiance to Allahﷻ through His Messengerﷺ. The only two connections which will go with us when we die.  The connection with Rasoolullahﷺ will be our identity when we meet Allahﷻ and we will be called by it on that Day.

Islam, therefore, is not only to submit but to want to do it, to find joy and fulfilment in doing it, to do it proudly as a sign of our identity which we don’t hide but display as we display famous brands. That is why for a true Muslim, to submit is not a struggle at all. It is what he loves to do.

Allahﷻ told us about the one who submitted joyfully, Ibrahim (AS).

إِذْ قَالَ لَهُۥ رَبُّهُۥٓ أَسْلِمْ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Baqara 2: 131    When his Rabb ordered him, “Submit”, he said, I have submitted to the Rabb of all worlds.

He didn’t ask for time. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t say, ‘I will submit if it makes sense to me. Or if it seems logical, or is politically correct, or whatever.’ He said, ‘I have submitted.’ We submit because we trust Allahﷻ and that trust produces complete peace of mind. A total absence of fear, because we know who is in control. When we submit, our will is superseded by the desire to please Allahﷻ. That is why the slave has no will of his own. He wants whatever his Rabb wants for him. As one of the scholars said, ‘The love of Allah is the purest and greatest of all loves. It gives life to the heart, it is sustenance for the soul, and is the roadway to eternal success. Love is the road to Jannah. It is the main reason why we worship Allah and it is the only way to live a true meaningful life on earth.’ I remind myself that this love is a gift. It is the reward of submission. Tawakkul is the reward of Taqwa. We make the effort to have and live with Taqwa. Allahﷻ grants us Tawakkul, which results in complete absence of fear of anything in Dunya if we live with Taqwa.

May Allahﷻ protect us from His tests. Allahﷻ tested Ibrahim (AS). Place yourself as a spectator of the scene. The whole town has gathered to see the one they hated being burnt alive because he invited them away from worshipping their creations, to worshipping the One Who created them. See their excitement and hear their noise as they eagerly wait for events to unfold. The fire is so huge that they need a catapult to throw Ibrahim (AS) into it. We know the story leading up to this event where the people said:

قَالُوا۟ حَرِّقُوهُ وَٱنصُرُوٓا۟ ءَالِهَتَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ فَـٰعِلِينَ

Ibrahim 21: 68    They said, “Burn him up to help your gods, if you must act.”

It is interesting how people can’t see the powerlessness of the false gods they worship even when evidence of it is clearly visible. Today we worship ideologies instead of stones. Their power comes from us. But we refuse to see that and enslave ourselves to them. The ideology of commercialism, predatory capitalism based on the interest-based banking system which drives global poverty, war, suffering, and the enrichment of few at the expense of many. It is in our power to continue to support it or to reject it and take back our power. But Shaytaan has convinced us that it is possible to accept war with Allahﷻ and Rasoolullahﷺ as our enemies and yet make dua which will call down the forces of angels to help us. Living is about making choices. We are free to choose but every choice has a consequence. If we want to change the consequence, we must change the choice. Dua without changing the choice is worthless.

In all the cacophony of the mob baying for the blood of Ibrahim (AS) you look for him. You find him sitting in the cup of the trebuchet, hands and feet bound with ropes, about to be fired into the fire. At that time Jibreel (AS) came to him and asked him, ‘Ya Ibrahim, do you need anything? Can I help you?’ I can imagine Ibrahim (AS) smiling. Is there even a need to answer? He was Khaleelullah. He was the one whose submission Allahﷻ witnessed and announced for all creation, to be recited in Salah until the end of time. What does the slave want? He wants whatever his Rabb wants for him. Ibrahim (AS) said, ‘Hasbunallahu wa ney’mal Wakeel.’ When Ibrahim (AS) refused to accept anyone between him and his Rabb, Allahﷻ commanded:

 قُلْنَا يَـٰنَارُ كُونِى بَرْدًا وَسَلَـٰمًا عَلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ

Anbiya 21: 69      We ordered, “O fire! Be cool and safe for Ibrahim!”

Question: What did you and the crowd see? You and they saw the catapult fired and Ibrahim (AS) flying and disappearing from sight as he fell into the fire. The crowd cheers wildly at their apparent success. But we know the truth about what happened. This is what we must remember. That the truth is not always visible. Sometimes falsehood seems to triumph. But falsehood can never triumph as long as the truth is present. Allahﷻ said:

وَقُلْ جَآءَ ٱلْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ ٱلْبَـٰطِلُ إِنَّ ٱلْبَـٰطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

Isra 17: 81    And declare, “The truth has come, and falsehood has vanished. Indeed, falsehood is bound to vanish.”

The key is that those who claim to stand for truth must be on the truth themselves. Not merely talk about the truth while indulging in falsehood. Remember that for dua to be accepted, it is the one making the dua that matters, not the dua. Allahﷻ has the power to grant anything. His power has no limit. If He can bring a pregnant camel out of the rock, if He can cause twelve springs of water to come out of another rock, if He can split the sea and the moon, if He can cause the fire to cool, let us remember who He did these things for. Obedient people or disobedient ones? If the hands that rise to beg Allahﷻ for protection were raised earlier in acts that He declared to be Haraam, then what hope is there that those hands will be filled with His bounty? Allahﷻ has not changed. We have changed. We must change back.

Allahﷻ tested the Sahaba of Rasoolullahﷺ. Allahﷻ revealed:

لِّلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَإِن تُبْدُوا۟ مَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ ٱللَّهُ فَيَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Baqara 2: 284    To Allah ˹alone˺ belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Whether you reveal what is in your hearts or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it. He forgives whoever He wills and punishes whoever He wills. And Allah is Most Capable of everything.

In his book, Asbab-un-Nuzool, Imam Ali bin Ahmad al-Wahidi narrates from Ibn Abbas (RA) and others: The commentators of the Qur’an said: “When the Ayah (and whether ye make known what is in your minds or hide, Allah will bring you to account for it) was revealed, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Mu‘adh ibn Jabal and a group from the Helpers all went to Rasoolullah. They knelt before him and then said: ‘Ya Rasoolullah ! By Allah no other revealed Ayah of the Qur’an is harder on us than this one. One of us speaks to himself about things that he does not like to remain in his heart even in exchange for the world and all that it contains. And now we are taken to task for the things that we speak to our own selves. By Allah we are doomed’. Rasoolullah  said: ‘This is how it was revealed!’ They said: ‘We are ruined; we have been bound by that which we cannot possibly bear’. Rasoolullah  said: ‘Are you going to say as the Children of Israel said to Moses (We hear and we rebel!); say rather: We hear and we obey’. They said: ‘We hear and we obey’. This was extremely hard on them, and they remained in this situation for a year upon which Allah  sent down relief and repose with His saying (Allah tasketh not a soul beyond its scope…) which abrogated the Ayah before it. Rasoolullah said: ‘Allah has pardoned my community for the things with which they speak to themselves as long as they do not act upon them or talk about them.”

As Al-Wahidi said, only one year later Allahﷻ gave them relief. Imagine the severity of this test. It was really training in submission and obedience which moulded a generation the like of which we have never seen. The reward of submission was that Allahﷻ honored them by taking the words of Rasoolullahﷺ and sending them back as His Word, to be recited in Salah. Allahﷻ taught them to make dua and what to ask for. What can I say about the acceptance of dua that is taught by the One who accepts it?

ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦ وَقَالُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ – لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا ٱكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَآ إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦ وَٱعْفُ عَنَّا وَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا وَٱرْحَمْنَآ أَنتَ مَوْلَىٰنَا فَٱنصُرْنَا عَلَى ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ

Baqara 2: 285-6    The Messenger ˹firmly˺ believes in what has been revealed to him from his Rabb, and so do the believers. They ˹all˺ believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His messengers. ˹They proclaim,˺ We make no distinction between any of His messengers. And they say, We hear and obey. ˹We seek˺ Your forgiveness, our Rabb! And to you ˹alone˺ is the final return. Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. ˹The believers pray,˺ Our Rabb! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Rabb! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Rabb! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our ˹only˺ Guardian. So grant us victory over the disbelieving people.”  

I remind myself and you that it is the same Rabb that we worship. He is Ar-Rahman-ur-Raheem. The question is, do we trust Him? We must show the answer, not only say it. That is the challenge and only that will be accepted.