Serjeel Ahmed, Missionary, Federated States of Micronesia
There is no doubt that every moment of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa is one which a Muslim can model their life after. From the way he spoke to how he smiled, every word and action unfolded a vast source of lessons in unlocking Allah’s love in one’s life.
As Muslims, we often read of the life and sayings of the Prophetsa with immense love, and our souls yearn to become like the companions who were shaped from ordinary men and women to those with prophetic qualities.
The beauty of studying the life and sayings of the Holy Prophetsa allows every Muslim man and woman to place themselves into the position of the Companionsra and feel as if they are sitting and listening to the words of our beloved Master. Though more than 1,500 years have passed between us and the Holy Prophetsa, Islam’s teachings help us be among the Companionsra and, in essence, be of those lucky men and women who surrounded the Prophetsa.
A striking hadith which evokes remarkable thought is narrated by the cousin of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abdullahra ibn Abbas. Today, this beloved companion is known to be one of the greatest mufassireen, or scholars of the commentary of the Holy Quran, yet in this particular hadith, he was a young man. Fortunate enough to travel alongside the Holy Prophetsa, he gained countless wisdom which would remain evergreen for all Muslims to come.
Take yourself back to the deserts of Arabia and imagine yourself riding on a mount behind the Messengersa of Allah. As Hazrat Abdullahra ibn Abbas rode behind him, the Holy Prophetsa addressed his young cousin and said:
“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice].”
Now think to yourself to be there in that moment, and absorb the words as if he was addressing you. The Holy Prophetsa beautifully advised:
“Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”
It is narrated that Prophet Muhammadsa further said:
“Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. Recognise and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity and He will remember you in times of adversity. And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction and hardship with ease.” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Abwaab Sifat-ul-Qayimah, Hadiqat-us-Salihin, p.148)
How lucky was Hazrat Abdullahra ibn Abbas to sit in the company of the Holy Prophetsa and hear those words, and how lucky are we to read the words of our beloved Prophetsa. In those few moments in the company of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abdullahra ibn Abbas was the recipient of words that move the soul and are foundations for a Muslim striving in faith.
If we dissect this hadith, there are many lessons that we can learn and adopt into our daily lives.
We spend so much of our time absorbed in the life of this world. We think that when we achieve a particular milestone, we will begin our journey to find Allah. Time begins to pass and rather than finding His presence, we seek comfort in artificial protection. In this cloud of convenience, we continue to live our lives right up to the point before it’s too late. The life of this world escapes from us like a mirage and nothing but regret remains.
In the very first part of this hadith, the Prophetsa of Allah reminds the young Hazrat Abdullahra ibn Abbas that if one only reaches out and starts to become mindful of His presence, “you will find Him right in front of you.” When we become Allah’s, He becomes sufficient for us, providing His protection and bounties in ways that no human or resource of this life can. It reminds us of the foundational teachings of the Holy Quran:
“And when My servants ask thee about Me, [say]: I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.”(Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.187)
Sticking by Allah, no matter if life is tough or easy
It is a long-seen practice that man fails to uphold all the responsibilities that are due to Him and quickly forgets God during times of happiness. Only when he is backed up against a wall and has no way of escape does he call out to God and remember Him once more.
Here, the Holy Prophetsa gave a powerful reminder that a faithful servant of Allah is he who remembers Allah when blessed with any good and upholds his friendship with Him. When he remembers Allah during the good times in His life, Allah begins to love him and protects him no matter how big or strong the enemy or problem. Allah reminds the believers in the Holy Quran:
“Allah is the Friend of those who believe: He brings them out of every [kind of] darkness into light. Those who disbelieve, their friends are those who hinder people from following the right path; they bring them out of light into every [kind of] darkness. These are the inmates of the Fire; therein shall they abide.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.258)
Understanding a greater cause in one’s victories and failures
During the life of a believer, one pursues many doors of opportunities in the way of success. Though one may struggle in a certain cause, it sometimes happens that the door is closed on the person. Rather than becoming disheartened at his minor failure, a believer understands that like a child who may want to touch fire, Allah knows better which doors of opportunity are better for us, and which may harm us. Thus, a believer remains content in knowing that whichever doors open for him are the blessings of Allah and the doors which remain closed are either from their lack of trying, or are a blessing by which Allah will grant them something greater.
The Prophetsa was once sitting with his Companions when he saw a woman who anxiously searched for her child. When she found him, she held him to her chest and began to feed him.
The Holy Prophetsa looked at her and said, “Do you think that this mother could ever throw her child in the fire?” The Companions immediately proclaimed, saying she could never. The Holy Prophetsa then said, “Allah is more merciful to His servants than this mother is to her child.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
A believer should always remain content that Allah will always guide towards what is best, for He is the Best of Planners.
Secret ingredient to success
Today’s world is struggling to find an easy way to succeed and is constantly misled by seeming shortcuts to success. Yet the Holy Prophetsa has given us the most excellent ingredient to success. If one truly wishes to be victorious in every facet of life, it’s crucial that instead of finding a shortcut to success, they strive to attain a patient and steadfast demeanour and should come to accept that on the path to success, a believer must face trials and tribulations which mould their soul and body towards becoming a successful servant of God. Though the path to success may be arduous, a believer always remembers that Allah grants ease after every hardship, and in his prayers to Allah the Almighty, relishes in the words of prophet Mosesas:
“Seek help from Allah and be steadfast. Verily, the earth is Allah’s; He gives it as a heritage to whomsoever He pleases of His servants, and the end is for the God-fearing.” (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7: V.129)
These inferred lessons are but a mere example of the guidance one can derive from the beautiful words of Prophet Muhammadsa. It is for a believer to always remember Allah and turn to His guidance whenever he is lost, for Allah will always guide him. In turning to the Holy Quran and the Prophetsa who lived his life in accordance to it, we will constantly be advancing towards the love of Allah the Almighty. These commandments are meant for us as believers to resonate with our lives, for they are intended to apply for every age and time.