The imam began today with relaying an ayat from the Quran. Ayat 51 of Sura Al-Araf is translated to say:
those who took their religion for distraction, a mere game, and were deluded by worldly life.’ Today We shall ignore them, just as they have ignored their meeting with this Day and denied Our Revelations.
Dear brothers and sisters, if any of us here were to be accused of forgetting our Lord then what would our excuses be?
Often we forget Allah SWT because our mind is pre-occupied, not with enjoyment or amusement. No, our thoughts are usually on things that are of worry to us, things that cause us anxiety and cause us stress.
This world is full of reasons to stress us out. We begin feeling it early with pressures to fit in and getting good education and a good job. Then we have stresses of marriage, family relations and politics, children and their upbringing and of course, the big one of money to support the family. Later on, we have stresses of health added to this as we begin to feel our age. We spend our nights awake worried and we wake up to those worries. It’s no wonder some are then tempted by distractions or intoxicants to make the thoughts disappear for a while.
Dear brothers and sisters, the point here isn’t to point fingers and to dwell on your stresses in today’s reminder. The point here is that we sometimes forget that our thinking is actually incorrect.
To help shed a light on this, the imam mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is translated to have said:
“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah makes his heart rich, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allah puts his poverty right before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.”
Dear brothers and sisters, this hadith goes some way to explain how our thinking ought to be.
Alongside this hadith, the imam also referenced ayat from the Quran where Allah SWT warns us of forgetting Him and our inevitable return to Him.
Ayat 34 of Sura Al-Jathiyah is translated to say:
It will be said, ‘Today We shall ignore you just as you ignored your appointment with this Day. The Fire will be your home and no one will help you,
Dear brothers and sisters, we ought to therefore set out a plan of action in which we reset our thinking and not let our stresses get in the way of our reembrace of Allah SWT.
But before we do, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the purpose of our existence. The imam referenced ayat 56 of Sura Adh-dhariyat which is translated to say:
I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.
Dear brothers and sisters, our purpose is to worship Allah SWT alone. This is why we were created and this is why we are in this world right now. Everything else, every other thought including worries falls under the first and only purpose of worshipping Allah SWT.
And so, how do the two link together? We need to understand that we are not put here as monks to spend a lifetime in solitude without any interaction with another soul. We are put here to live a life and everything it brings. From the countless blessings to the numerous worries, that is part of this life we are all living.
However, this life is also designed to test us. It’s designed to worry us. It’s designed to stress us out. Allah SWT designed our lives and that is part of the test He has created for us.
Our purpose is not to fix our worries and then find time to pray and do the other things in worship. No, our purpose is to take what is on our minds and take those into our worship. It’s to pray in submission and asking Allah SWT for help when things go wrong. It’s to give to charity when things go right out of gratitude to Allah SWT for making them right.
We forget that the worries and stresses don’t go away because we fix them. They go away because Allah SWT chose them to go away. And so, with that realisation, we understand that the thinking of some, i.e. to fix things and then return to Allah SWT is the wrong thinking. We don’t fix anything. We ask Him for help and we try to fix it with the intellect He gave us. If it doesn’t work, we ask Him again and try again. This is repeated throughout our lives in all the different stresses we have. This is our purpose in this life and the sooner we understand it, the sooner we understand that the worries and stresses that distract us won’t go away, in fact they are put there to make us not forget Allah SWT.
And if we need further evidence of this, we return to the book of Allah and read the accounts of all our Prophets. How they were all tested from family to health, from wealth to relationships. And they all returned to Allah SWT first to seek answers.
And as the imam reminded us in ayat 126 from Sura Taha:
Allah will say, “Similarly Our verses came to you, but you ignored them, so you will be ignored Today.”
And so dear brothers and sisters, remind yourself that ultimately the control is with Allah SWT. Don’t forget Him and don’t forget his revelation. And in return He will not forget you.