Whomsoever Allah wishes good for…
by Abu Shama
Mu’awiyah reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم مَنْ يُرِدْ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ
“To whomever Allah wills goodness, He grants him understanding of the religion. (Bukhari and Muslim)
This hadith begins with ‘whomsoever’. Whomsoever: No restriction on colour, race, age, gender, wealth, health and status. It is an open invitation for every individual to participate. The invitation says if you want to have ‘goodness in this temporal world and the everlasting Hereafter then seek the understanding of your Deen’.
This shows the virtues and benefits of knowledge which are from the signs of goodness, happiness and success, that if Allah wants to show goodness to His slave He gives him the understanding of the Deen so that he can distinguish truth from falsehood and guidance from deviation in order to recognise his Lord by His names, attributes and His great rights, so that he knows the recompense of the friends of Allah.
One who possesses this knowledge and understanding knows what Allah has made lawful for him and what He has prohibited him from; what pleases Him and what evokes His anger, and then acts accordingly. With this knowledge a person knows his result with Allah and his end. From amongst the people, those who have taken upon themselves to observe the principles of the Religion will result in Paradise and bliss, and the rest will result in a place of disgrace, humiliation and misery.
This understanding of Deen gives you the blueprint to live in this world, and have a good life. It gives you insight into the followings:
- Understanding the reality of this world
- Understanding that this life is a life of journeys
- Understanding the reality of believing in Allah
- Understanding the reality of His favours
- Understanding the essence of Deen
- Understanding how to live
- Understanding the Art of life
Understanding the reality of this world
The person, who understands the Deen, has grasped three fundamental principles in his life. The first as we have discussed is the true nature of this temporal world, and second is how best to utilise his time and effort in this world to get the highest rewards in the Hereafter. Finally, how to live in this world so that he has a good life.
He understands the true reality of this world. And extends his limited view of his existence in this world to expanse of the eternal view where the soul does not die but passes through the various realms. He then judges the reality of his mere 60 year life on its merits in relation to the eternal life of the Hereafter.
He realises that the temporal nature of this world and reminds himself of how Shay’tan deceived his father Adam and caused him to be expelled from Paradise. He understand that Shay’tan has sworn enmity towards him since the day he was born and is desperate to take him along with him in to the fire. Therefore he stands guard over his soul and seeks refuge in Allah from Shay’tan. He also understands that this world is a farm for him for the Hereafter. Whatever he sows in this world, he shall reap in the Hereafter. He understands that the life of this world is short-lived and is not the arena for rewards: he recalls the Qur’an, in which Allah says:
‘What is the life of this world but amusement and play? But indeed the home of the Hereafter is the true Life, if only they knew.’ [Al-Ankabut: 29 :64]
Therefore, he has to live in this world like a traveller who has stopped on the way to his real destination. This world is not a place to set up a permanent residence, and death will take him to what is beyond.
The traveller is always travelling day after day without stopping; he is heading towards his final destination. Even if he stops for a while, this is only to provide himself with the much needed rest to continue his journey.
Therefore the goal of this life changes amassing fortunes, being famous or having a fantastic career to the success is in escaping the Fires of Hell and entering the Gardens of delight. He fears his Creator’s wrath and desires his Lord’s favours. Certainty of belief in paradise and hell guides his entire life, not just the moments spent in prayer. To him this world is merely a short journey, the destination of which is the Hereafter. Thus he directs most of his efforts towards earning Paradise and devotes only part of his time to earning his bread in this world.
Every soul shall taste death, and only on the Day of Judgement will you receive your full recompense. The one who is saved from the Fire and admitted into Paradise will have attained success, for the life of the world is nothing but the goods of deception. [al-Imran:5:185]
Understanding this life is a life of journeys
If you analyse your life, you will find that your entire life up to now comprised of journeys. Everything you have undertaken composed of a start, followed by a serious of tasks and an end.
Your schooling which you undertook those many years ago, you can remember the day you started; you were slightly perplexed as it was a different reality to growing up next to your parents in your home. Each day had a mixture of blessings; playtime followed by work and even homework. It seemed then this kind of lifestyle will never end, but then it ended.
Perhaps you can recall the journey through your secondary education better, this too seemed it would go on forever but it also came to an end. Then you started your journey through college, taking entry examination to enroll in to the college of your choice. You may recollect your worries as to what subjects to take and what you will get in your test. Then college ended and your university journey started, at first you thought how am I going to get through 3 or 4 years of this? Nonetheless you ploughed through each day sowing the seeds along the way in an attempt to harvest them at the end of the year. The years passed by and then all of a sudden you were in your last exam of your degree, and then that too came to an end and you finally finished university for good.
These are some of the journeys in the academic field but the same can be said about all your endeavours in your life. Everything you do is but small trips.
The most dangerous journey you took was the journey of you coming out of your mother’s womb into this world. The difficulty lies in the life you were heading for, a life full of test and tribulation. Although it is only a short journey compared to what is to come, however, it is the most consequential leg of your journey.
It is where the battleground between good and evil is drawn, and it is continuous onslaught, but those who follow Allah’s guidance should fear nothing, while those who disobey Allah and follow Shay’tan will be damned along with him. Everyone is going back to Allah; man and Jinn. The fate of everyone will be decided by Allah based on the life lived on Earth where the destination is one of two places. Paradise which the width is like the heavens and the Earth, or a life of eternal damnation in the Fire of Hell.
Understanding the reality of believing in Allah
Being a Muslim who is spiritually healthy is better than having all the treasures of this world since your righteous deed is what will remain with you until you meet Allah and everything other than this will expire.
Ata’iilah As-Sakandari said in his book of wisdom:
‘What he has found who has lost Allah, and what has he discovered who has found Allah? They can never be equal; the one who has found Allah has found everything, and the one who has lost him has lost everything.’
You should realize that this life is not the yardstick of success, when you see that the disbelievers living a life of opulence and luxury whilst the believers are often barred from worldly pleasures. This shows that the true value of this world to Allah and Allah wishes to inflict believers with hardship so that He can reward Him with a life of pleasure in the Hereafter.
Understanding the reality of His favours
Allah created two groups of people from the time of Adam to the end of time, one that will obey Him (believers) and the other who will disobey Him (disbelievers).
From the favours of Allah, He made us amongst the believers though many of us did not go out seeking to be Muslims but simply found ourselves being born in to Muslim families. These are the days of mass confusion, and being Muslim is to make yourself to be under public and media scrutiny. Muslims are being vilified and it is very difficult for people to see through the veils of fabrication and the light of truth in order to convert to Islam. Therefore it is from the favours of Allah that He has made us Muslim from no effort of ours when we could have so easily been from the camp that disbelieved in Him. To appreciate this favour, imagine the end result of those who disbelieve? On the Day of Judgement Allah will call Adam:
‘‘O’ Adam, send forth the people of Hell.’ He will say: ‘O’ Allah, how many are the people of Hell?’ Allah will say: ‘From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise.’’ [Bukhari]
This number will be taken from the people of corruption; there was no Prophet (peace be on him)hood except that it was surrounded by ignorance and corruption. Compared to the other nations, we are like the white hair on the hide of a black bull. And two thirds of the people of Paradise will be from this Ummah.
What a great blessing of Allah is that we find ourselves to be chosen from all humanity to be amongst those who belong to His beloved Prophet (peace be on him) Muhammad. And in a hadith we find that every Prophet (peace be on him) of Allah when they saw the blessing that would be bestowed on the Ummah of Muhammad, they all made a Du’a to Allah to make them from the Ummah of this blessed man. And none of the Du’a of the Prophet (peace be on him)s’ was accepted except the Prophet (peace be on him) Isa (as).
Understanding the meaning of Allah wishes good for
Already you can see that Allah has wished for you goodness because you are a Muslim. Allah has chosen further good for you when you find yourself in these types of sessions of knowledge. As the hadith states that ‘whomsoever Allah wishes good for He gives him understanding of the religion’. And these sessions of knowledge are facilitating the path of acquiring and understanding the religion. Allah wishes for you to be here as there are countless Muslims who are busy with the dun’ya. You are amongst those who are answering to the invitation that Allah sent via His Messenger. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘The master built a house, arranged feast and sent someone to issue invitations. He who responded to the host entered the house, ate the feast and the master was well-pleased with him. He who did not respond to the host neither entered the house nor ate the feast and the master was annoyed with him. He explained: Allah is the Master; Muhammad is one who extends invitation; the house is Islam and the feast is Paradise.’ [Tirmidhi]
Allah has sent you with guidance and with it a teacher to explain and make simple the words of Allah. He has sent you none other than the most righteous person ever to walk on the face of this Earth, His beloved Messenger and our venerable master and teacher to teach you in how to live your life as an honourable human being and guide you through this journey of life, to guide you safely back to your eternal home and re-unite you with your Lord. The knowledge and understanding of this Prophet (peace be on him)ic message is what will bring about awareness of Allah, and that you will be returning to your Lord.
Therefore, what makes one valuable and respectable in the eyes of Allah, the Creator of mankind and the universe, is neither one’s prosperity, position, intelligence, physical strength nor beauty, but only one’s God-consciousness and awareness (taqwa). Now you begin to understand the reality of this world and its significance compared to the Hereafter. From now on you should prepare to leave behind this limited life and head towards an unlimited destiny.
This hadith is an inspiration to keep you going to these circles. The more you find yourself going to these circles of knowledge, the more it is a sign from Allah that Allah wishes goodness for you and you are on the right track. The Angels who attend these circles make mention of you to Allah, Allah sends down His blessing and He forgives you. The creatures of this world also ask for forgiveness. Therefore, it gives you the energy to continue and the motivation to improve yourself; the more you understand the more you will find yourself with the people who Allah has chosen.
Understanding the essence of Deen
Deen in Islam is not limited to religion. The Deen is a complete way of life, comprising of a belief system that is based on worshiping the One true God. The manifestations of that belief are the five pillars of Islam, which is ultimately a means of interaction with the person and Allah. And finally a code of conduct that governs all human interaction with everything that exists in this world including trade and commerce, politics and governance, law and justice, knowledge and learning, ethics and etiquettes, human rights and relations, social reforms and environmental concerns and etc. Islam acknowledges that there are other ways of guiding people; the Eastern philosophy is very much different from the Western philosophy. Islam is as Allah states in surah an-Noor: It is ‘neither of the East nor of the West’ but it is revelation that has descended from the Infinite Being from the heavens above. Therefore Islam has been sent to address all mankind, and its message is universal.
Islam came as a source of blessing and as a mercy to mankind with the objectives of preserving the five essential human needs in any society; namely religion, life, dignity and lineage, wealth and intellect. Therefore, in order to establish and protect religion, Islam obliges the society to establish the various acts of worship in isolation as well as congregation. Islam on the whole is natural to the needs of mankind. If it commands something, then it encourages towards goodness, and if it prohibits something, it is to prevent a greater harm, nonetheless, there are always alternatives provided. It is a complete code of life that is neither extreme in its liberalism or laxness, it is but a middle way, and for these reasons it is the best way.
Understanding how to live
We are all seeking goodness and happiness in order to have a better quality of life for ourselves and our family. Life is like an art or a science, it needs to be learned and cultivated. And if you learn it, you will be blessed in this life and the next.
Hence, when Allah wants to give you ‘good’ in this world, He gives you understanding in the Deen. It means He gives you the understanding in the way to live your life in the best way. And what can be better than learning the art of living life in the best way?
The understanding of how to live in the best way is gained by following in the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) in everything you do. I will mention just a few quotes to illustrate the effect of the Message that Muhammad brought had on the Arab people. The companion of the Messenger of Allah; Jafer Ibn Abu Talib said at the court of a Christian King in Abyssinia:
‘Your majesty! We were ignorant people, worshipping idols, eating carrion, oppressing neighbours, brother fighting brother, the strong dominating the weak, when amidst us was raised a man (Muhammad) whose nobility, integrity and trustworthiness were already well known. He called us to worship God alone. He commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities and false witness….’
The Western writer, Michael H. Hart wrote in his book ‘The 100 ranking of the most influential persons in history.’
‘My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.
Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a society or a place before or since. Imagine all these unbelievable wonders in just over two decades.’
Also, the historian La Martine wrote:
‘If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad.
As regards all the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask: ‘Is there any man greater than he?’’
The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) established a God-fearing, prosperous, peaceful, successful and satisfied society. He left behind a lasting guidance, and even we see today, the best values of life were given 1400 years ago. Sir George Bernard Shaw said about the Messenger of Allah:
‘I believe that if a man like him were to assume the leadership of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.’
Therefore, emulating the greatest man sent to mankind will only lead you to greatness. By emulating the Prophet (peace be on him) Muhammad; you will become disciplined in how to act, how to behave, how to speak, how to eat, how to govern, how to worship Allah, and even how to purify yourself after the call of nature. You will reach your full potential; see incredible richness and blessings in your worldly affairs. This is nothing but goodness and mercy from The All Merciful. Allah says in the Qur’an regarding this:
‘Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a true believer, verily to him We will give a good life.’ [An-Nahl: 16:97]
…Whoever follows My guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery. [Ta-ha:123]
Allah will give the believer the good life, where he is blessed with clear thought, the heart is in peace and tranquility, such that, even if he is poor and destitute or if he finds himself in the worst of affairs, he would still be cheerful and at peace in his heart. He is pleased with Allah as his Lord no matter what the situation; he is pleased with Islam as his religion and Muhammad as the messenger of Allah.
Understanding the art of life
One of the basic principles of having a happy life is possessing the ability to endure and cope with any situation. The person who leads the ‘Good Life’ will have calmness when afflicted with hardship; he will be satisfied with everything that befall him because he is aware that he is under the decree of Allah and it was written for him.
If he was subjected to harm, he is patient, and if he was subjected to any delights of this world, he is thankful. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks Allah, thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shown resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.‘ [Muslim]
The content person has such a deep conviction in Allah and the Last Day that never is it upset by the sorrows or the demands of this world. Illness, financial worries, loss of property or death of dear ones do not cause him to wail, curse or lament.
Whenever he faces any problems he simply says, ‘To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’ and faces the misfortune with patience and trust in his Lord. Allah describes that He will test people with calamity to see if they are patient:
‘Be sure, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, some loss of goods or lives or fruits of your toils. But give glad tidings to those who are patient. Those who say, when afflicted by calamity: ‘To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. They are those on whom are the are blessed and will be forgiven from their Lord, and [they are those who] receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones. [ Al-Baqarah :2: 155-157]
The person who understands the reality of this world understands that, life means responsibilities, a journey wherein change is constant and difficulties are relentless in their onslaught. Therefore he lives life according to its true reality without always envisioning the ideal life, one that is free from worry and toil. He submits his will to the Will of Allah, and believes that all happiness and sorrow he experiences is by the decree of Allah. He therefore feels no need to lament at misfortunes or to boast at success. In regards to this, Allah says in the Qur’an:
‘No misfortune can happen on Earth or to your soul but it is written in a decree before We bring it into existence. That is truly easy for Allah. In order that you may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult in favours bestowed upon you, for Allah loves not the vain boasters.’ [Al-Hadid:57: 22]
No worldly anxieties upset him, instead he reminds himself of the countless blessing Allah has bestowed upon him. He does not think about what he does not have but rather shows gratitude for what he has been given. Who would sell his ability to hear and see for the weight of Mount Everest in gold, or his ability to speak for a huge mansion, or the ability to taste for a vault full of money?
Therefore, he realizes that he has health, safety, nourishment, clothing, shelter, air and water which all point to the world being his. And when he fails to acquire something for which he has struggled for many years, he accepts this as part of his destiny and remembers the following words of the Messenger of Allah:
‘What has reached you was never meant to escape you and what has escaped you was never meant to reach you.’
He further understands that with hardship there is always ease:
‘Eating followers hunger, drinking follows thirst, night follows day, and health takes place after illness. The lost will find their way, and the one in difficulty will find relief, and the day will follow the night.’
Furthermore, he knows that everything he is doing is being recorded and he will be made accountable for it in the Hereafter. He is aware that any hardship and struggle he faces in this world, he will be rewarded amply in the hereafter. Imam Tirmidhi recorded that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘When the people who were safe from disasters in this world see on the Day of Judgement how great the reward is of those who suffered trials and remained patient, they will wish that their skins would have been torn with iron combs so that they might have attained the reward of the patient ones.’ [Tirmidhi]
Understanding what is meant by ‘Allah wishes good for’
Allah has established principles governing this universe; these principles are applicable to all creation. One of these principles is cause and effect. If Allah has willed for us something, the knowledge of what Allah has willed is with Him and not with us, and therefore we are unaware of His plans until they have come to pass. We are in the domain where we have free will to do everything in our means to write our destiny.
A person has to go through these means to make things possible. One cannot ask Allah to give him say money and expect it to fall from the sky. One has to put in the effort; to go out in the world of work and earn his livelihood. After he gets paid, we can say that Allah wanted him to have this amount of money. This may sound trivial, but let’s suppose Allah did not will him his livelihood for that period, the same person could have worked the same hours in the same company, however a rumour in the stock market caused the company to fall in its shares such that the company becomes liquidated which prevents him getting paid at all, but he was not to know that. Therefore, regardless of what the outcome is, before then, you have to go through the means He has placed in order to get what you want. The general rule is:
The one who strives in a cause will be triumphant over the one who does not.
‘Allah wishes good for’ is therefore taken here to also represent determination and will on your behalf. One cannot ask Allah to give him the understanding without him putting in the effort to find the authentic scholars and to learn from them by attending their circle. Allah will not grant this knowledge to someone who is lazy and has no love and eagerness of seeking knowledge. It is therefore up to the individual to strive with the means, in terms of his mental faculty and his struggling against his own self to achieve it.
How do you gain an understanding in the Deen?
Gaining an understanding in the Deen comprises of two parts. The first is the striving and sacrifice made on your behalf in the process of acquiring knowledge. The second part is with Allah, He will then give you an opening to understand the knowledge you have acquired.
- Seeking knowledge
- Purify your intentions on why you are seeking knowledge.
- Have sincerity in your striving.
- Do your best to seek knowledge by utilizing your time and effort.
- Attend halaqah circles.
- Ask questions to those who know
- Review what you learnt/memorised.
- Apply what you have learnt.
- Establish a personal connection with Allah.
- When you act according to what you know, Allah will teach you what you did not know. He will give you understanding and give you an opening in the Deen insha Allah. The second part will not come to you without completing the first part.
A final word on the hadith
I have mentioned much about this hadith, and I believe it may be fruitful to recall quickly some of the lessons learned from this hadith.
The person who seeks the knowledge of this religion and understands its principles learns firstly that All mankind is from Adam and Eve. And therefore, you understand that an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.
You recall that you started your life a long time ago from Paradise, and you are on a journey to return back home and will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.
Therefore you are able to grasp the reality of this world, and unlock the secrets of this world and the next life to come. You have learned that best way to live is to emulate the Prophet (peace be on him) Muhammad, for the best of the ways is one trodden by the Messenger of Allah, the best of the actions is that which is beneficent. The best guidance is that which is put into practice. The most valuable possession is the contentment of heart. The best provision is that of piety.
You also remember that you should beware of Shay’tan for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. And therefore having knowledge and understanding of the Deen (the way to live) is the best thing to have as it leads to the happiness in this world and the happiness in the Hereafter.
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