An Introduction to the Lord of the Worlds – Day 2
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, let’s learn some more about the Lord of the Worlds:
3. He is the Most Merciful and He is also severe in punishment.
I know. We usually don’t put these two together, do we? However, I think we should start to do so.
نَبِّئْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
“Declare (O Muhammad) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.” [Surah Al-Hijr (15) : 49]
وَأَنَّ عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الْأَلِيمُ
“And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment.” [Surah Al-Hijr (15) : 50]
Notice that the second ayah comes right after first.
What can we learn from these two ayaat (verses)?
1) We learn that we should be moderate in all things, and that includes our perception of our Creator.
If we only look at Him as the Most Merciful or only look at Him as the One who has the most severe punishment, we won’t get a clear idea about who Allah is. We’ll see only one side and that will mislead us.
We need to understand that Allah has both of these qualities.
2) A Muslim needs to live between fear and hope.
Ibaadah (worship) is based on three pillars: love for Allah, hoping in His Mercy and fearing His punishment. [Read this article to see the proof of this from Surah Al-Fatihah.]
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said that the heart (in its journey towards Allah) was like a bird, and that love was the head and that the other two were the wings. Ponder over that analogy for a while.
Too often, we have just hope or just fear – and that’s not correct. We need to have both, because then we will be balanced in our outlook.
If we have too much hope, we might get lax in our ibaadah.
If we have too much fear, we might give up.
How can we have a balance of both, you ask?
Well, one way I would suggest is by taking account of yourself and then taking the required action.
If you find that you do not fear Allah enough, then get a nice book which talks about the Hellfire and its torments. Try to ponder over the description of the Last Day and of Hell. That should work, insha-Allah.
If you find that you are not hopeful enough of Allah’s Mercy, then get a book that talks about Paradise and its blessings. That should calm you down and make you realise just how merciful Allah is.
Note: For those of you who are into dawah or counseling, please remember this when you talk to people.
Some people are so full of themselves because they believe that “Allah forgives everything” so they don’t bother doing much ibaadah. You need to be a bit tough with them.
[For those who only like to “be positive”, please understand that Allah has mentioned both His reward and His punishment in His Book. For us to “be positive” and only talk about His Mercy and His reward is not correct and this is not the way of Allah and His Messenger.]
As for those who are trembling with the fear of Allah, you need to constantly remind them of His vast mercy.
3) The second ayah proves His Mercy.
I know. You’re like “What??? The second ayah talks about His Punishment!”
Yeah but it still proves His Mercy.
I read a statement from the early scholars where they pointed out that it was from the Mercy of Allah that He warned His slaves against Himself so that they did not become deceived by His Mercy. [Here’s the article that I read this statement in.]
When I read that, I remembered these two ayaat (verses) and realised that this was a perfect example of what they were talking about.
4. He is the Possessor of great bounty.
سَابِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
“Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from your Lord and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.” [Surah Al-Hadeed (57) : 21]
وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا لِمَن تَبِعَ دِينَكُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ الْهُدَىٰ هُدَى اللَّـهِ أَن يُؤْتَىٰ أَحَدٌ مِّثْلَ مَا أُوتِيتُمْ أَوْ يُحَاجُّوكُمْ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ الْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
And believe no one except the one who follows your religion. Say (O Muhammad): “Verily! Right guidance is the Guidance of Allah” and do not believe that anyone can receive like that which you have received (of Revelation) except when he follows your religion, otherwise they would engage you in argument before your Lord. Say (O Muhammad): “All the bounty is in the Hand of Allah; He grants to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, the All-Knower.”
“He selects for His Mercy whom He wills and Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.” [Surah Aal-Imran (3) : 73 – 74]
وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
“And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned, and ask Allah of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything.” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 32]
What can we learn from the above ayaat?
1) Allah is the Possessor of Great Bounty and He gives that to whomsoever He wills.
This is something that we need to understand. This is Allah’s decision (i.e. who to give the bounty to), not ours.
2) When we see someone who has been given some of this bounty, we should remember that Allah has given it to them.
I remember reading about a scholar who heard that Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) used to pray Qiyam Al-Layl even as a child. He then recited this ayah (about Allah giving His bounty to whomsoever He wills.)
3) We shouldn’t envy others in what Allah has bestowed on them.
We shouldn’t sit and sulk about how others are more righteous than us or how they have more wealth than us. If we do this, it means we are blaming Allah for choosing them over us!
He is the All-Wise and He knows Best who to bestow His Bounty upon.
Note: Envy is permitted only in two cases:
سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : لا حسد إلا في اثنتين : رجل آتاه الله مالا ، فسلطه على هلكته في الحق ، ورجل آتاه الله حكمة ، فهو يقضي بها ويعلمها
Narrated Ibn Masud (radiallahu anhu): I heard the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 2, Hadeeth No. 490]
This is the type of envy where we don’t wish to remove the blessings from the other person.
4) We need to ask Allah of His Bounty
Ask Him for a great Ramadan and khushoo (humility) in your prayer.
Ask Him to increase you in your understanding of His Book.
Ask Him to enable you to learn Arabic.
Ask Him to increase in your modesty.
Ask Him to give you a good character.
Ask Him to help you memorise the Quran.
Ask. Ask. Ask.
Ask Him of His Bounty and keep asking until you die.
It’s as simple as that.