Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Strong Is Our Faith?

Is there a way to know how strong our faith is? Well, I think there is.
 Allah, glorified be He, has said in the Holy Quran:
" As for those who fear their lord unseen, for them is forgiveness and a great reward."
(Holy Quran-67:12)

A simple general meaning of the above verse would be, that, for those who fear their lord, of whom they have seen nothing, but yet believe in Him, for them is forgiveness for the wrongs they commit in this life and a great reward awaits them.

But, as we delve deeper, the verse says much more. Here, through,"fear a lord unseen", Allah says that you've got to believe with your eyes open or closed that Allah is, the one and only, He is the creator, the originator, the cherisher, the one most knowledgeable.

You’ve got to obey all His commands, believe in all His books, His angels, His prophets, the day of judgment, and everything else that He asks you to believe. But it just doesn’t end here, the most important thing that He wants to test in you, is the strength of your faith. Faith? How strong is ours? Now, is there a way you can measure the strength of faith, the firmness of your belief? Yes, I think so, yes.

All the times in our lives, every day we spend, its just not the same. We all go through physical, psychological, social, economical ups and downs in our lives. Why speak of huge ups and downs, things as silly as a thorn prick, a knife cut, a fall from the stairs, missing of a bus, scoring low in an exam, reaching late at the workplace, getting scolded by our parents or being told off at the office, these might seem tiny and insignificant but at times even these may harm our moods for a considerable, though varying time periods.

So, be it a silly thorn prick or a hugely devastating mishap, it is the attitude towards these incidents that determines the strength of our faith. We, at some stage or the other need to realize that what has befallen us, is nothing but what Allah had willed. It is His decision.

Now, when we say its His decision, then it is very obvious that its got to be a right one too. Simply because, He is our creator, He is the most just judge, He doesn’t make mistakes, all His actions are flawless. Whether we accept His decisions or not, it is a fact, a thing evidently clear that when He is the master then He and only He would know what is supposed to happen to His subjects.

So, from the point of occurrence of an incident in our lives, whatever be it, to the point when we realize that it happened by Allah’s will, the time gap in between gives the strength of our faith. The faster we come to terms with His decision, the faster we acknowledge our lord’s greatness, the stronger is our faith. The longer we take to accept His will, the longer it takes for the realization to sink in, the weaker our faith is.

Now if one props up the question, how do we better the strength of our faith? How do we become stronger? Then, to put it simply it all depends on your attitude towards this worldly life.

It is how you treat this world that matters. What we really have got to understand is that this world, this life, is nothing but a temporary phase and it is going to come to an end one day. If say, a man needs to shift his house from one city to another, then he would pack his luggage, take up his belongings and by some means of transport, he would move out. Our life is no different.

Similar to the aid in transport used by the man above, it is death in our case that acts as a means of transition from one world to another. When the man in the above case knows perfectly well that he is henceforth going to live in that second city, he would give more importance to life there and take care of his comforts and convenience in that other city than the one he is leaving. We, similarly, are supposed to treat this life impermanent and give more importance to the next world and prepare ourselves in a manner that helps us live a life more comfortable there. It is just that we’ve got to treat every issue of this world however trivial or otherwise as something ephemeral, only then can we make our faith stronger.

Allah, the exalted, says in the Holy Quran:
“Those who answered (the call of) Allah and the messenger (Muhammad (pbuh))after being wounded; for those of them who did good deeds and feared Allah, there is a great reward”(Holy Quran-3:172).

In the above verse, Allah almighty refers to a particular incident in the lives of the companions of our beloved prophet (pbuh) that symbolized their belief in Allah and His apostle. During the battle of Uhud, the Muslims had been on the brink of victory; but it was one single mistake that changed the battle situation upside down.

The people who were battling out, so certain of a victory, which definitely seemed inches away, were plunged suddenly, into wells of shock, fear and losses of lives and assets. The Meccans had attacked from behind. There were people falling to the ground injured and dead alike. After a bit of fighting, the Meccans for some reason ceased their attack, they packed and made to leave the battle field. As they left, the prophet (pbuh) called upon his companions to follow the Meccans and see if they returned again, this was to ensure that they did not turn back again for an attack.

A war had just ended, the fighters had lost near and dear ones, there were people, sporting gruesome injuries, their energies were understandably exhausted, but yet, on the prophet’s (pbuh) call to follow the Meccans, they stood up, and went behind the enemies. This obedience is what is referred to, in the above verse. True it is, that had some of them obeyed the prophet (pbuh) in the first place, and stuck to the plan chalked out for them, this step would never have been required at all. But, to recover from a mistake, a shock and a defeat, and to put one’s own life, well being and comfort behind and to stand up the way they did, for the sake of Allah and His messenger, really shows their strength of character. Now that, was faith.

We need to stop here and ponder for a moment, pinch ourselves, wake our souls up, stand up and ask ourselves, is this really how we want to live our lives? Are we living it the way we are required to live it? We need to grope inside ourselves and see, are we the one’s who’d say, “Our Lord! We believe in You, we trust You, we have faith in You, You alone are our master, our creator, our cherisher, our sustainer, the all powerful Lord, You alone are all-knowing, all wise”? Are we the one’s who’d say, “You alone are the one to decide, and we leave our lives unto you”?May Allah guide us all, keep us steadfast and strengthen our faith. Ameen.

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