An Advice Regarding Sickness & Difficulty, Especially in Relation to Magic
Part Three: What Every Sick Muslim Needs to Know
Know – may Allāh guide you to His straight path – that Allāh The Exalted has made seeking knowledge obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman. From this knowledge that Allāh has made obligatory are the Pillars of Islām and Imān. It is not enough for a Muslim to simply know of them; rather he or she must understand their meanings and conditions. For example, "I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allāh and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh" has a meaning which must be understood and it has conditions. From the meaning of "I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allāh" is that there is nothing on the face of this earth, nor in the heavens worthy of any kind of worship except Allāh; whether that is worship of the heart, like hope, fear and love, or whether worship of the tongue like dhikr and du’ā, or worship of the limbs, like sujood and tawāf. It doesn’t matter whether that thing which is worshipped besides Allāh is the most noble of the angels, or the greatest of the prophets. If those angels and prophets do not deserve even the tiniest amount of that worship, then there is no doubt that those things which have less status than them deserve none of it. This is the meaning of Allāh’s statement:
"So whoever disbelieves in false gods and believes in Allāh has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break…"
This most trustworthy handhold is ‘lā ilāha ill-Allāh’ as the scholars of tafseer have mentioned. This āyah comprises the two parts of ‘lā ilāha ill-Allāh’: believing in Allāh, and disbelieving in everything else that is worshipped besides Him. So whoever disbelieves in everything else but does not believe in Allāh is an atheist, and whoever believes in Allāh but does not disbelieve in everything else is a polytheist.
In addition, ‘lā ilāha ill-Allāh’ has seven conditions which must be fulfilled – it is not enough to just say the words; every person must know what they mean, must believe them without any doubt, must accept what they lead us to do, must submit completely, must be true in their belief, must be sincere in seeking Allāh’s pleasure, and must love Allāh over and above the love of anything or anyone else.
As for the meaning of "I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh," it is to believe in what he told us about, to follow him in what he ordered, and not to worship Allāh except in the way that he told us. So, when we put the two together, we find the two conditions that must be present for any action to be accepted by Allāh:
- The action must be done sincerely for Allāh
- The action must be in accordance with the sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him –.
The proof for this rule can be found in Allāh’s statement:
"So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord".
The first condition can be found in Allāh’s statement, "and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord", and the second condition can be found in Allāh’s statement, "let him do righteous work;" because there is no doubt that the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – didn’t leave any good deed except that he informed his ummah about it, just as he didn’t leave any bad deed except that he warned his ummah against it.
From the proofs which illustrate the importance of the following the sunnah is the narration of Al-Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib – may Allāh be pleased with him – that on the day of ‘eid he slaughtered his sacrifice before the ‘eid prayer (which is against the sunnah), and he did so with the best of intentions; so that the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – and his companions could eat as soon as they finished the prayer, and so that he would have the honour of being the first to feed the Messenger of Allāh. The Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said: "Your sheep is [just] meat", i.e., you do not have any reward for it in the sight of Allāh.
From the pillars of imān is to believe in Allāh. Belief in Allāh requires that you know Allāh; else how can you worship and believe in something that you don’t know? Therefore, it is obligatory for every Muslim man and woman to learn the perfect names and attributes of Allāh and their meanings, and to act upon them – as mentioned above.
Furthermore, you cannot have imān until you believe in Allāh’s qadar (divine decree) – the good and the bad of it. In the first hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim, on the authority of Yahyā ibn Ya'mur, we find that he said to Ibn ‘Umar – may Allāh be pleased with them both:
"O Abā Abdur-Rahman! [i.e., Ibn ‘Umar], there have appeared some people in our land who recite the Qur’ān and pursue knowledge. Then after talking about them, he added: They claim that there is no such thing as qadar and events are not predestined." Abdullah ibn‘ Umar said: If you meet such people tell them that I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. By The One who Abdullah ibn ‘Umar swears by (i.e. Allāh): If any one of them had with him gold equal to the bulk of (the mountain) Uhud and then spent it (in the way of Allāh), Allāh would not accept it unless he believed in qadar…" Then, he mentioned the hadeeth of Jibreel - peace be upon him – and in it Jibreel said, "tell me about imān." The Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – replied,"That you believe in Allāh, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Day of Judgment, and you believe in qadar – the good and the bad of it."
Believing in qadar means believing in four stages:
- Allāh’s knowledge – that Allāh knows what happened and what will happen and what would happen if something else happened. Allāh has always known all of this and will always know it. There is no limit to Allāh’s knowledge and nobody can encompass even the smallest part of His knowledge – except as Allāh wills. As Allāh says in āyat-ul- kursee: "He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills."
- That Allāh wrote every single thing that will happen until the Last Day in the Preserved Tablet. As Allāh says: "No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being - indeed that, for Allāh, is easy."
- That nothing happens – evil or good – without Allāh’s will and permission. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a will. We can easily testify that when we stand up, it is because we want to. But our will cannot exist without Allāh’s will. How many times do we find ourselves certain that we are going to do something, and then suddenly something comes up and we can’t complete what we wanted to do? On top of that, think about who gave you your will and your intelligence, your strength and your ability, and who is capable of taking all of that away from you in a second...of course the answer is Allāh. It is also vital that you understand that Allāh’s will is of two types: Something that He wills and loves, and something that He wills but he doesn’t love. Everything that happens in the heavens and the earth happens by Allāh’s will – good and evil. But Allāh only loves that which is good. A person could ask ‘then why does Allāh will something to happen that he doesn’t love?’ The answer is that Allāh has infinite wisdom and he doesn’t create pure evil for the sake of it. Even in the creation of Iblees – may Allāh curse him – there is great wisdom and justice. Secondly, Allāh doesn’t will for these things to happen because of the things themselves, but because he wants other things to happen because of them. To give you a simple example: If you have a child who needs a leg amputated, do you cut the child’s leg off for the sake of cutting it, or because the effect of cutting off the child’s leg is that you will save their life by Allāh’s permission? Look at some of the things that happen because of sin: (a) Repentance – one of the most beloved things to Allāh (b) The knowledge that Allāh is the Most Forgiving (c) The slave knows that they are in desperate need of his Lord (d) Just as the slave wants to be forgiven, he forgives others; these things are just a few that are obvious to us, whereas Allāh’s knowledge is infinite and His wisdom is perfect.
- That Allāh created us and creates everything that we do. As Allāh said: "While Allāh created you and that which you do." And there is no contradiction between this and the fact that we are the ones who act, because creating something is not the same as doing it. We all accept that Allāh created every single one of us, and at the same time we accept that we came from our mothers’ wombs. When you reflect upon this example you see that Allāh can create directly, as He created Ādam, or he can create by means of something else, like he created us by means of our mothers and fathers.
Thousands upon thousands of Muslims have been misguided when it comes to qadar. That is because the nature of qadar is part of Allāh’s infinite knowledge, and our intelligence is limited. However, when a person understands each part of qadar point by point and submits to Allāh completely, there is nothing difficult about it at all. It helps to bear in mind a few important points:
- That Allāh is infinitely just. He never oppresses any of His slaves and He never will. Allāh said,"and because Allāh is not ever unjust to His servants." And Allāh said in a hadeeth that the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – reported from his Lord: "O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another."
- That Allāh is All Wise. Every single thing that Allāh does is based on perfect wisdom. Even though we may not fully understand the wisdom for something – to accuse Allāh of foolishness or injustice is disbelief which takes someone out of the religion of Islam; this includes such statements as "Why me!?" and "I don’t deserve this!?". Allāh said, "Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?" and Allāh said, "Indeed, your Lord is Wise and Knowing."
- That it is obligatory for every Muslim to act and work hard. Qadar can never be an excuse for not acting. This is because Allāh has created things that cause other things to happen. Imagine a person who sat on his own in his house saying ,‘If Allāh wills me to have a child it will happen’. Everybody would laugh at his stupidity and say, ‘go and get married!’ Even more stupid than him is the person who doesn’t worship Allāh to the best of his ability saying: ‘If Allāh has written that I will go to Paradise – I will go.’
- You don’t know what Allāh has written for you, therefore you have no choice but to act and do your best. In fact Allāh has promised that the people who work hard to seek Allāh’s pleasure that Allāh will make it easy for them: "As for he who gives and fears Allāh, And believes in the best [reward], We will make smooth for him the path of ease."
- That it is completely harām to ever use the word "Why?" when it comes to qadar, just like it is harām to use the word "How?" when it comes to the Attributes of Allāh.
You may ask ‘why explain qadar at all?’The answer is that when a Muslim believes completely in qadar and submits to Allāh’s will there are a huge number of benefits in his or her life, particularly when times are difficult, these include:
- Perfecting your tawheed – because belief in qadar is a part of the Oneness of Allāhin His Lordship; that He has complete control of the world and everything that is in it, and everything depends completely upon him.
- Increasing your imān – As Allāh says,"No disaster strikes except by permission of Allāh. And whoever believes in Allāh - He will guide his heart. And Allāh is Knowing of all things." Alqamah – may Allāh have mercy on him – said: "The āyah is referring to a person who is struck by a disaster but he knows it is from Allāh so he accepts it and is pleased with it" – and so Allāh guides his heart.
- Achieving true ikhlās (sincerity) – because you realise that Allāh controls everything and therefore there is no reason to show off in front of anyone else.
- Achieving complete trust in Allāh – because when you know that everything comes from Allāh you rely on him completely.
- Fear of Allāh – because when you really believe in qadar you accept that you don’t know what is written for you at the end of your life.
- Achieving true patience – because everything that happens is from Allāh and you can’t change it, so it makes you practice being patient upon every single thing that happens to you. Patience is from the attributes of the believers. Allāh said, "And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allāh, and indeed to Him we will return.’ Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided." Patience is the way of the Prophets and the pious. Luqmān the wise advised his son, "O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination." Patience is of three general types: (a) patience in doing good deeds, (b) patience in keeping away from sins, and (c) patience over what happens to you from the qadar of Allāh. When you achieve this – being patient upon what happens to you and thanking Allāh for what He has given you – you become from those people who the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings be upon him) said about them, "How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything. If he is prosperous, he expresses gratitude to Allāh and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him."
- There is a level of belief in qadar that is even higher than being patient; to be content with what happens to you as a result of qadar, and finally to be happy with what happens to you because you know that Allāh is the one who decreed it for you; that is the highest level of belief in qadar.
- It allows you to be satisfied with what you have, and to be far away from jealousy, because you could not have got what the other person had and they could not have got what you have, and you know that every single form of good is from Allāh and He gives it to whoever He wills. Allāh said, "And do not wish for that by which Allāh has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allāh of his bounty. Indeed Allāh is ever, of all things, Knowing."