In our previous meditations, we have discussed how Allah (SWT) will personally buy the souls of ‘minal-mumineen’ and that it is our responsibility to ensure that we are amongst those minal-mumineen, especially in this world, Alam-ul Shahada, where the Shaitan (LA) can tempt us away from the greatest reward that we can receive, jannah.
In this meditation, we will discuss two of the many ways in which Allah (SWT) has protected us from this, if we choose to accept this protection. We have previously meditated on the tafseer of Surah an-Nas and Surah al-Falaq, where Allah (SWT) tells us to seek refuge in him and who to seek protection from. We will now look at the practical aspects of how we can actually seek this refuge.
In the Quran majid, Allah (SWT) gives us many incidents from which we can receive dars (positive lessons and inspirations). Likewise, Allah (SWT) also tells us of many examples from which we can receive ibrah (negative lessons of what we should avoid).
One of these ibrahs is in the narration of the story of Qaroon. During the time of Musa (AS), Qaroon was a very wealthy and successful man and, also, a tyrant. He had great wealth and Allah (SWT) describes the magnitude of his wealth by saying that the keys of this wealth were a heavy weight even for a group of strong men.
When Qaroon was asked about his wealth, Allah (SWT) begins the 78th Ayat of Surah al-Qassas by saying ‘Qala innama ootetohoo ala ilmin indi’ (he (Qarooon) said I was only given this because of the knowledge that I have’.
In this response of Qaroon, we see the first way in which Allah (SWT) has given us protection and, most importantly, how Qaroon had turned himself away from this.
Qaroon claimed that all of the wealth that he had was given to him because of his knowledge. Qaroon took the credit for his success and, through this, elevated his own soul above the blessing that Allah (SWT) had given him.
Allah (SWT) is the greatest provider that there is. All that we have has been given to us is by him. Everything from our material wealth to our spiritual understand to the people that we love. When we begin to see that we are the creators of this, as opposed to the receivers from Allah (SWT) of these benefits, then we begin to follow the path of Qaroon and many others who have put this world, which is meant to teach us lessons and guide us towards the akherat, ahead of the akherat itself.
When we understand that Allah (SWT) is the provider of everything that we have, we remain humble with our success, we become patient through our trials, we become resolute in our periods of waiting, we become trustful in our times or uncertainty, we become sober with those who may challenge us, we become generous with our bounties and, most of all, we place Allah (SWT) at the fore-front of our lives and our gratitude is always to him.
When we do not do this and see ourselves as the source of our success, we become frustrated at our times of challenge, in which time the Shaitan (LA) can tempt us with a quick fix. We become impatient in our times of ignorance and instead of spending time to seek the truth, the Shaitan (LA) can tempt us with a convenient answer that will not be true. When we are faced with people who do not have as much as, the Shaitan (LA) can tempt us into thinking that they are beneath us and not worthy of our help, when in truth they are created by the same Allah (SWT) who created us.
We can see here that by maintaining a deep understanding that Allah (SWT) is the source of everything that we have, the good that we see as good, the good that we see as bad, the bad that we see as good and the bad that we see as bad, we can understand that there is a deeper purpose behind everything that we are given.
Indeed, when we pray salaat and we say Allahu Akbhar, we are stating that Allah (SWT) is the greatest. How then can we place anything else above that and what Allah (SWT) has blessed us with?
The second way in which Allah (SWT) has protected us is through Salaat. As we are in the days of remembering Imam Hussein (AS), it is important that we meditate upon that which the Imam (AS) loved the most. On the 9th of Muharrum, Imam Hussein (AS) told Abbas (AS) to ask the enemies for one night in which the Imam (AS) could partake in that which he loved the most, which was performing salaat and reciting the Quran majid.
In previous meditations, we have discussed the spiritual meanings of salaat. We will now discuss the very practical purpose that salaat provides us with so that we can, in sha Allah, become more regular with our salaat and perform our salaat with a deeper intent.
When we look at our day, Allah (SWT) has asked us to pray five times. However, Allah (SWT) has not asked us to pray these prayers all together but has spread them out throughout the day. When we look at the way in which Allah (SWT) has spread these prayers out, we start to understand the true purpose of salaat.
In the night, when we are in the sweetness of our sleep, Allah (SWT) asks us to wake for fajr. When we are at our busiest in the afternoon, Allah (SWT) asks us to stop what we are doing and pray zohr and asar. When we are at home with our family in the evening and are comfortable, Allah (SWT) asks us to pray maghrib and isha.
Why has Allah (SWT) asked us to do this at these times? From a practical point of view, these are the worst times for us to pray, when we are in depths of our sleep, the depths of our work and the depths of our time with our family.
However, it is because of this that Allah (SWT) has told us to pray at those times, so that we do not become too comfortable with this duniya. When we are told to wake up for fajr, we are reminded that we will be woken from the sleep of our qabr on the day of judgment. When we are told to step away from our busy work in the afternoon, we are reminded that this work is important, but there is more important work in preparing for our akherat. When we are told to move away from our family time in the evening to pray maghrib and isha, we are reminded that this family that we have is temporary and we must ensure that they stay on the right path so that they can be with us in the akherat.
When we understand how each salaat is practically designed by Allah (SWT) to take us away from the duniya just when we are most attached to it, we see how Allah (SWT) is protecting us from the very abode in which the Shaitan (LA) can influence us. Indeed, as this is the Shaitan’s (LA) realm, Allah (SWT) takes us away from it and towards him, at the time when we are most immersed in it.
Imam Jaffar-us Sadiq (AS) teaches us a very important lesson about salaat which helps to ensure that our salaat remains pure. The Imam (AS) says that we should not judge someone just on their salaat or their saum (fasting) alone.
When we understand this statement, we begin to realise that salaat and saum are what Allah (SWT) has asked us to do. However, the same Allah (SWT) has asked us to be kind to others, to be charitable, to be patient, to be understanding, to have full faith in him and so many other things. We cannot just pray salaat and fast, thinking that we are completing what Allah (SWT) has asked us to do. We must ensure that between our salaat and in the times when we are not fasting, we are also partaking in everything else that Allah (SWT) has asked us to do.
It is with this very point that our approach to salaat, saum and every aspect of our faith changes perspective. Allah (SWT) is the greatest provider of all that we have. When we approach salaat, we should approach it with an attitude that we are doing so because Allah (SWT), the one who has given us everything, has asked us to do so. With this attitude, we perform what we perform through choice and with love as, opposed to compulsion and this, ultimately, is the greatest way in which we can protect ourselves from the Shaitan (LA).
May Allah (SWT), in these days in which Imam Hussein (AS) gave so much in the cause of Allah (SWT), allow us to reflect and appreciate all that Allah (SWT) has given us, which includes this remembrance of Imam Hussein (AS). May we realise that these are mercies of Allah (SWT) and always remain humble and grateful towards this. May we observe our salaat so that it moves us away from the comfort and the temptations of this world and towards the preparation of the akherat and that which the Shaitan (LA) does not want us to have. May we perform our salaat with love instead of compulsion and enrich our salaat through observing everything else that Allah (SWT) has asked us to do. Aamin.