Friday, 24 January 2014

Taking Allah as Our Rabb

Allah mentions a very special group of people in Surah Fussilat. These
people don't just say "we believe in Allah"—they say that their Rabb
is Allah. Rabb in most English translations is translated as "Lord,"
but that doesn't completely cover the meaning.

What does it mean for Allah to be our Rabb?
Rabb is the One who creates, sustains, and owns everything in
existence. Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan mentions that the most suitable
English translation would be Master. So in declaring Allah as Rabb,
these people, may Allah make us like them, have implied that they
themselves are Allah's abd (slaves).

Abd is the most honourable title in the Quran for any human being.
Allah has honoured prophets by calling them abd, and if that is the
case then what about sinners like us? True greatness comes in being a
proper slave of Allah, wherein one submits to Allah completely.

Being Steadfast
Allah continues in the same verse, then remained steadfast. It is easy
to be a part-time slave of Allah, or to be a proper slave of Allah for
a a few days, but true slavery entails being steadfast in obeying
Allah, and staying away from what Allah has prohibited.

Angelic Protection and Glad Tidings
Allah continues: on them the angels will descend, saying, "Do not
fear, and do not grieve; and be happy with the good news of the Jannah
(Paradise) that you had been promised."

Imagine this: you are on your deathbed, and while everyone is crying
around you, angels descend upon you tell you that you have nothing to
fear and nothing to be sad about. They also give you the glad tidings
of Jannah. What more can a Muslim strive for? That is the reward of
being a slave of Allah.

Allah continues in the next verse: We have been your guarding friends
in the worldly life, and (will remain as such) in the Hereafter. And
for you here is whatever your souls desire, and for you here is
whatever you call for.

Allah mentions that for those who are truly the slaves of Allah,
angels will be their guarding friends in this world and also in the
hereafter. Also mentioned is the ultimate pleasure of Jannah—
"whatever your souls desire." Whatever we fantasize about, whatever we
dream and wish, in Jannah every one of those dreams and wishes will be
fulfilled for the slave of Allah.

In the next verse: A gift of welcome from the Most-forgiving, the
Very-Merciful. This is to prevent the ego from taking its place in the
picture. Allah mentions that all of this is a welcoming gift from
Allah out of His Mercy, not only because of the deeds of the slave.

Many times we read these verses and we think, "Ah, but we are bad
people, we are sinners. These gifts are for the best of people, and we
would have to be sinless to achieve this rank." But Allah mentions
"the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful" to remind us that even these
people make mistakes and sin as well, but Allah forgives them for
their unwavering commitment.

The Qualities of Those Who Accept Allah as Rabb
And who is better in speech than he who calls to Allah, and works
righteously, and says: "most certainly I am one of the Muslims."

In the very next ayah, Allah poses a rhetorical question, asking who
can be better than these people. And their qualities are that they
call to Allah. Then they also do the good deeds themselves and calls
themselves Muslims. Those who accept Allah as Rabb are those who
combine both dawah and actions at the same time and who call
themselves Muslim.

Calling oneself Muslim has two implications: number one is that he
doesn't call to any group or party or sect; rather he calls to Islam,
and number two is that he does not place himself on a higher pedestal
than other believers out of pride and arrogance. Rather, even though
he might be at a different level of Iman, he calls himself Muslim and
does not arrogantly look down upon the people.

Allah Teaches Dawah
What then is the way forward for dawah, and what is the first step?
Allah Himself makes it clear in the following verse: Good and evil are
not equal. Repel (evil) with what is best, and you will see that the
one you had mutual enmity with him will turn as if he were a close

More often than not, we get terribly angry when someone attacks Islam
or the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. However, instead of
behaving like the hooligans that the media paints us as, we should be
more tactful and clever. We must acknowledge the fact that in their
position we might have done the same and so we should give everyone
the benefit of the doubt.

Had it not been for this principle, Islam would not have been
successful in its first generation. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi
wasallam and his sahaba employed this method and many hateful people
among the Quraysh were won over. Ironically the latter part of the
verse mentions that the one who was the enemy will become a friend.

Allah in the next ayah mentions some further qualities one needs to
have in order to execute this method: But only those who are steadfast
in patience, only those who are blessed with great righteousness, will
attain such goodness.

Naturally, the human reaction to the abuse of oneself, one's belief,
or something one holds dear is particularly testing, and hence Allah
mentions  being patient. Ibn Kathir commenting on this says, "no one
accepts this advice and works according to it, except for those who
can be patient in doing so, for it is difficult for people to do."
Also it shows that patience comes with increased righteousness and
that the one who does it will attain great good in shaa Allah.

For every good deed one does, Shaytan is there with his attacks. How
to fight back?

Allah continues: And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you
away, then seek refuge in Allah. He is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.

Allah also knows that Shaytan will whisper to us, especially when our
dawah doesn't work to either give up or to get angry, and in those
moments Allah asks for another moment of patience and to seek refuge
in Allah. What is the point of getting angry? Doesn't Allah hear what
is being said to you, and know what is happening to you? And Hence
Allah ends the passage, He is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.

The Bigger Picture— Al Jannatul Firdaws
Going over so much we might actually forget the larger picture. We
might actually give up when we think that we have to be nice to those
being bad to us (ouch— that really hurts the ego doesn't it?) Why not
just give it up?

Again, let's go back to the beginning. Would we not want angels to be
our guarding friends in this world and the next? Would we not want to
be given glad tidings of Paradise on our deathbed? Do we not want to
go to Paradise so that we can fulfil our wildest dreams? Is this not
worth taking the trouble for a reward which knows no bounds? Are we
then ready to call to Allah, work righteousness, and say "I am one of
the Muslims?"
Copied from

No comments:

Post a Comment