Every person is in need of God at every instant of life. From the air one breathes to the food he eats, from the ability to use one’s hands to the faculty of speech, from being sheltered to being in a joyful spirit, one lives completely in need of what God creates and grants him. Still, a vast majority of people do not perceive their weaknesses and those they are in need of God. They suppose that things develop spontaneously or that they acquire everything by their own efforts. This is an important error, as well as a serious ingratitude towards God. Ironically, people who render their thanks to a person for even an insignificant gift, spend all their lives ignoring the countless blessings that Allah gives them all through their lives. However, so great are the blessings granted to a person that one could never count them. Allah relates this fact in a verse as follows:
“If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat an-Nahl: 18)
Despite this fact, most people fail to give thanks for any of the blessings they have. The reason for this is related in the Qur’an: Satan, who pledged to misguide people from Allah’s way, said that his ultimate aim is to make people be ungrateful to Allah. Satan’s defiant statements to Allah emphasize the importance of giving thanks to Allah:
“Then I will come at them, from in front of them behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful.’ He (Allah ) said, ‘Get out of it, reviled and driven out. As for those of them (mankind) who follow you, I, will fill up Hell with every one of you.”’ (Surat al-A’raf: 17-18)
Believers, on the other hand, aware of their weaknesses and in humility before Allah, render their thanks to Him for every blessing granted. Wealth and possessions are not the only blessings for which believers render their thanks to Allah. Knowing that God is the Owner and Possessor of everything, believers express their inner gratefulness for good health, beauty, knowledge, wisdom, love of faith and hatred from disbelief, understanding, insight, foresight and for power. They are thankful for being rightly guided and for being in the company of believers. A beautiful landscape, easy handling of their affairs, fulfillment of their wishes, tidings of great joy, respectful conduct or any other blessings make believers immediately turn to Allah, express their gratefulness to Him and reflect on His mercy and compassion.
In return for good morals displayed, a reward awaits believers. This is another of the secrets revealed in the Qur’an; Allah increases His blessings on those who are grateful. For example, Allah grants even more health and power to those who render their thanks to Allah for the good health and strength they have. Allah bestows even more knowledge and property to those who are grateful for their knowledge or wealth. This is because they are sincere people who are contented with what Allah gives and are pleased with the blessings and who take Allah as their friend. Allah relates this secret in the Qur’an as follows:
“And when your Lord announced: “If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.”‘ (Surah Ibrahim: 7)
Being grateful is also a sign of one’s closeness to and love of God. People who give thanks have the insight and capability to perceive the beauties and blessings that Allah creates. Allah ‘s Messenger, peace be upon him, also referred to this when he said:
When Allah gives you property, the bliss of Allah ‘s blessing and offering must be reflected on you.
On the other hand, a disbelieving or ungrateful person will only see the imperfections and faults even in the most beautiful environment, and thus will be unhappy and discontented. Indeed, as a divine purpose in Allah ‘s creation, such people, always come across with seemingly unfavorable events and unpleasant scenes. On the other hand, Allah displays more of His bounties and blessings to those who have a sincere and insightful outlook.
That Allah increases His blessings to those who are grateful is one of the secrets of the Qur’an. However, one needs to keep in mind that sincerity is a prerequisite for being grateful. No doubt, one’s way of showing his gratitude without turning sincerely to Allah and feeling the inner peace of Allah ‘s infinite mercy and compassion, which is solely intended to impress people, would be sheer insincerity. Allah knows what hearts harbor, and will bear witness to this insincerity. Those who have insincere inner intentions may conceal it from other people, but not from Allah. Such people may render their thanks with affected manners when there is no affliction, but at times of hardship, it is possible that they may readily lapse into ungratefulness.
It should be also noted that true believers remain grateful to Allah even under harshest conditions. Someone looking from outside may see the diminishing of some blessings believers enjoy. However, believers, who are able to perceive the good aspect of every event and situation, see goodness in this too. For example, Allah states that He will test people with fear, hunger and loss of wealth or life. In such a situation, believers rejoice and feel grateful, hoping that Allah will reward them with the gifts of paradise in return for the steadfastness they displayed in this test. They know that Allah does not impose on anyone more than he can bear. The steadfastness and submission of such awareness lead them to patience and gratitude. Therefore, it is an obvious attribute of believers to show unwavering dedication and submission and God promises to expand His blessings on His grateful servants both in the life of this world and in the hereafter.
Evaluate yourself before your death
حاسبوا أنفسكم قبل موتكم
Life is Fragile – Handle with Prayers!
This is the Tale of Average Man,
Who acts contrary to Allah’s Plan.
If you are reflected herein,
Then repent, and commit no sin.
Twas early in the morning at four,
When death knocked upon a bedroom door
‘Who is there?’ the sleeping one cried,
‘I’m Izrael, let me inside’.
At once, the man began to shiver,
As one sweating in deadly fever,
He shouted to his sleeping wife,
‘Don’t let him take away my life’!
‘Please go away, O Angel of Death!
Leave me alone, I’m not ready yet.
My family on me depends,
Give me a chance O please perpend’!
The Angel knocked again and again,
‘Friend, I’ll take your life without a pain.
‘Tis your soul that Allah require,
I come not with my own desire’.
Bewildered, the man began to cry,
‘O Angel! I’m so afraid to die.
I’ll give you gold, and be your slave,
Don’t send me to the unlit grave’!
The man held a gun in his right hand’.
Ready to defy the Angel’s stand.
‘I’ll point my gun, towards your head,
You dare come in, I’ll shoot you dead’.
By now, the Angel was in the room,
Saying, “O Friend! Prepared for your doom.
Foolish man, Angels never die,
Put down your gun and do not sign’.
‘Why are you afraid! Tell me O man,
To die according to Allah’s plan?
Come, smile at me, do not be grim,
Be happy to return to Him.
‘O Angel! I bow my head in shame,
I had no time to take Allah’s name.
From morn till dusk, I made my wealth,
Not even caring for my health’.
‘Allah’s commands, I never obeyed.
Nor five times a day, I ever prayed.
A Ramadan came, and Ramadan went,
But no time had I to repent’.
‘The Hajj was already, incumbent on me,
But I would not part with my money.
All charities, I did ignore,
Taking usury, more and more’.
‘Sometimes I sipped my favorite wine
With flirting women I sat to dine.
O Angel! I appeal to you,
Spare my life for a year or two’.
‘The Laws of Qur’an, I will obey,
I’ll begin Salah, this very day.
My Fast and Hajj, I will complete
And keep away from self-conceit’
I will refrain from usury,
And give all my wealth to charity
Wine and wenches, I will detest
Allah’s Oneness I will attest’.
‘I’m Afraid this moment is your last,
Now be reminded, more of your past.
I do understanding your fears,
But it is now too late for tears’.
‘We Angels do what Allah demands.
We cannot go against His commands.
Death is ordained for everyone,
Father, mother, daughter or son’.
‘Your two ill-gotten, female offspring,
In nightclubs, for livelihood they sing,
Instead of making more Faithfuls,
You made your children Ungrateful’.
‘You lived in this world, two scores or more,
Never did you, your people adore.
Your parents, you did not obey,
Hungry beggars, you turned away’.
‘Your ignored the Muathin’s Azzan,
Nor did you read the Holy Qur’an.
Breaking Promises all your life,
Backbiting friends, and causing strife’.
‘From hoarded goods, great profits you made
And your poor workers, you underpaid.
Horses and cards were your leisure,
Moneymaking was your pleasure’.
Your ate vitamins and grew more fat.
With the very sick, you never sat.
A pint of blood, you never sat.
Which could a little baby save’.
O human you have done enough wrong.
You bought good properties for a song.
When the farmers appealed to you,
You did not have mercy, ‘tis true’.
‘Paradise for you? I cannot tell,
Undoubtedly you will dwell in hell.
There’s no time for your repent,
I’ll take your soul, for which I’m sent’.
The ending, however, is very sad,
Eventually, the man became mad.
With a cry, he jumped out of bed,
And suddenly, he fell down dead.
O Reader, take a moral from here,
Never know, your end may be near.
Change your living and make amends,
For heaven, on your deeds, depends.
This poem is woven around the following Qur’anic verse:
‘WHEREVER YE ARE, DEATH WILL FIND YOU OUT, EVEN IF YE ARE IN TOWERS BUILT UP STRONG AND HIGH.” (4: 78)
Will Allaah forgive me?
You might say: “I want to repent, but my sins are many indeed. There is no kind of immoral act, no kind of sin, imaginable or otherwise, that I have not committed. It is so bad that I do not know if Allaah can forgive me for the things that I have done over the years.”
In response, I would tell you that this is not a unique problem; it is one that is shared by many of those who wish to repent. Let me give you the example of a young man who asked this question once. He began his career of sin at a very early age, and by the time he was only seventeen, he already had a long record of committing every kind of immoral act, major and minor, with all kinds of people, old and young alike. He had even abused a little girl. Added to this was a long list of thefts. Then he said: “I have repented to Allaah. I now pray tahajjud some nights, and I fast every Monday and Thursday, and I read Qur’aan after Fajr prayers. Will my repentance be of any avail?”
The guiding principle for us Muslims is to refer to the Qur’aan and Sunnah when we look for rulings, solutions and remedies. When we refer this matter to the Qur’aan, we find that Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And turn in repentance and in obedience with true faith to your Lord and submit to Him…” [al-Zumar 39:53-54].
This is the answer to this particular problem. The matter is quite clear and needs no further explanation.
The feeling that one’s sins are too great to be forgiven by Allaah stems from a number of factors:
The absence of certain faith on the part of the slave in the vastness of Allaah’s mercy
A lack of faith in the ability of Allaah to forgive all sins
Weakness in one aspect of the heart’s action, namely hope
Failure to understand the effect of repentance in wiping out sins
We will answer all these points here:
It is sufficient to quote the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “… and My Mercy embraces all things…” [al-A’raaf 7:156]
It is sufficient to quote the saheeh hadeeth qudsi: “Allaah says: “Whoever knows that I am able to forgive all sins, I shall forgive him, and I shall not mind, so long as he does not associate anything with Me.’” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and by al-Haakim; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4330). This refers to when the slave meets his Lord in the Hereafter.
This may be remedied by referring to the hadeeth qudsi: “ ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I will forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky, and you were to ask me for forgiveness, I will forgive you and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins nearly the size of the earth, and you were to meet Me not associating anything with Me, then I would bring you forgiveness nearly the size of (the earth).’” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4338).
It is sufficient to quote the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The one who repents from his sin is like the one who did not sin in the first place.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3008).
For those who find it hard to comprehend how Allaah may forgive such an accumulation of sin, we quote the following hadeeth: