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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hook Up with the Qu'ran, Allah Will Hook You Up

PART I

Before I got married, I was given unsolicited advice on how to change in order to make myself “more appealing” to men. Sisters would voluntarily tell me I should change my dress style, personality and passion for activism in order not to scare them away.

I was frustrated. Since when was our purpose in life marriage? Where in the Qur’an does Allah The Provider—The One Who has written our provision in every aspect of our lives—ask us to change our personalities and tone down our activism in hopes of sacking a spouse? Why would I want to change myself to please someone else and marry someone who doesn’t actually appreciate who I truly am in the first place?

Nevertheless, with marriage being such a huge concern for our community, many face the temptation to change who they are and their core values for the sake of finding a spouse.

Here’s an idea: Instead of working to please a potential suitor, perhaps we should first seek to please Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), the One Who sows the seed of love in our hearts and can bless us with our dream husband or dream wife or give us better than it if that’s what is best for us.

Thus, for those of us seeking to get married, in addition to looking for marriage at every event, let’s look for marriage in our relationship with Al Wahhab, The Giver of All. Let’s be honest. We are talking about the Al Mujeeb, The Responder to Prayer. Those are amongst the Names of Allah! Allah gives and He answers! If we are individuals who struggle to lower our gaze and protect our eyes, heart, tongue and body from falling into what is forbidden, don’t we know that Allah `azza wa jall (the Might and Majestic) will indeed massively reward us?

Every time we glance up and see someone we wish we could be with and then turn away, in that moment we can fervently ask Allah (swt) to bless us with a spouse who will be the sweetness of our eyes. Would not Allah `azza wa jall listen to and accept your supplication to Him? The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has encouraged us with regards to our dua (supplication), “Ask and you will be given, ask you will be given,” (At-Tirmithi).

In those moments in the last third of the night, in those two rakahs (units of prayer) which we make out of pure frustration of our situation, weeping, asking Allah (swt) to answer us—do we not think Allah rabul'alameen (Lord of the Worlds) will respond to us? How could Allah, The Responder, possibly not accept the supplication of His adamant worshipper who is painfully struggling to maintain his or her modesty and guard his or her chastity? Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest), this is Allah! Without doubt Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is going to answer us!

The Prophet ﷺ relates from Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds, in a hadith qudsi:

"Our Lord (glorified and exalted be He) descends each night to the earth’s sky when there remains the final third of the night, and He says: 'Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give it him? Who is asking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?'"(Bukhari)

What is hooking up with a brother or sister on Facebook worth if we’re not more adamant about  hooking up with the One Who can hook us up?

As Shaykh Muhammad Faqih once said, “Hook up with Allah, Allah will hook you up!”

Let’s hook up with salah (prayer)! Hook up with the Qur’an! Hook up with community work for Allah’s Sake! And have certainty that when we struggle to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, Allah, Ash-Shakoor, is the Most Appreciative of our work and will undoubtedly reward us.

Will that reward be in the form of an amazing spouse and an amazing marriage? Allah knows best. Perhaps it may and perhaps it may not. However, the best part is that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows what is BEST for us and regardless of the outcome, we’ll have increased in the closeness of our relationship to Him through this test.

The Prophet ﷺ has told us, “Any Muslim who supplicates to Allah in a du'a which contains no sin breaking of kinship, Allah will give him one of three things: either his du'a will be immediately answered or, it will be saved for him in the hereafter, or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him)” (Ahmad).

Thus, we must know that if we hook up with Allah, we can trust that He will hook us up with whatever is best, whether it be an answer to exactly what we are asking for or something better than that for us. Allah got our backs! Who better to trust our future with than the One Who already knows it?

Easier said than done? Maybe. But what have we got to lose? If at the end of the day, we are only increasing in closeness to Allah (swt), we are finding our Qur’anic recitation increasing, we are finally tasting the sweetness of our salah, we’re making more fervent duaa than ever before—then, God willing, we will have gained more than a spouse if one gets married, and we would have gained much more than facebook “cruising for a spouse” time while we’re attempting to find our better half.

Those of us looking to get married must take the means necessary—meeting new people, getting involved with new organizations and projects, considering online options or singles’ events… We must take the means necessary for the outcome. But let us not forget that the One Who will facilitate the outcome should be on our minds, in our hearts and worshipped through our actions in more passionate, fervent ways than the time and effort we justifiably spend searching for our better halves.

And if marriage does not become a reality for whatever reason is best, then by focusing on increasing in our relationship with Allah (swt), we would have gained much, much more in both this life and the Next, God willing; a higher rank in the highest Paradise, an amazingly close relationship with our Creator and unparalleled new relationship with du'a (supplication) to the One Who always hears and responds.

The Lord of the Worlds speaks to us and tells us, “And when My slaves ask you concerning Me, then I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright,” (Quran, 2:186).

We are coming to Allah with raja (hope), with a powerful combination of seeking Allah’s pleasure, striving to leave anything which may gain His displeasure and making a consistent effort to ask Him to open the best of ways for us. And with all of that, we’re putting our trust in Him that He will give us whatever is best. Of course Allah is listening and He will undoubtedly answer us.

As was once stated, “A person has never held certainty in Allah only for Allah to disappoint him or her. Never will Allah disappoint those with yaqeen (certainty), tawakkul (reliance) and husn al-dhann (good opinion) of Him.”

Hook up with Allah and Allah, the All Wise, will undoubtedly hook us up in the best of ways.

PART II

Veiled from sight, a young woman walked down the streets of Cairo, reciting Qur’an to herself and thinking about her goals. She loved the Qur’an and was passionate about studying and teaching it. She wanted to move to Saudi Arabia, where she knew of Qur’anic scholars from whom she dreamt of learning. She was mesmerized by Makkah and Madinah; she’d find herself spending hours making du'a (supplication) to visit the House of her Lord in Ramadan, to make the journey of Hajj, to walk through the land of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him). Working on a Master’s degree and traveling for hours in traffic to come to her students’ homes and teach them Qur’an never caused her to complain. She was constantly working on reviewing her Qur’an; she had memorized it completely from years past and she continued to review it to ensure it never left her heart.

 
Suddenly, she was stopped by a random lady on the road. “Excuse me,” the lady inquired, peering into the eyes of the girl whose heart burned with the inscription of the Words of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (swt), whose face was veiled by her niqab, whose hands were covered by gloves, and whose body was cloaked by a long, flowing outer garment. “Are you married or engaged?” the lady asked. Staring at the lady, the young woman replied in the negative: hesitant, yet curious at such a loaded question from a random passerby. Considering her outer dress, the strange lady certainly was not asking because she found the young woman to be ridiculously beautiful. “I have a brother,” the lady explained. “He’s Egyptian, but he lives in Saudi Arabia. He has memorized the entire Qur’an. He has qualifications to teach it. He’s looking to get married. Might you be interested?”

Incredulous, the young woman exchanged information with the random woman on the street. Soon, their families initiated contact and within weeks, the brother of the strange lady had come to visit the young woman and her family. With time, prayers, and lots of consultation, the young woman finally agreed. She would marry the young man with whom she would live in Saudi Arabia, the young man who helped her plan to make Hajj that very year, the young man who had already memorized the Qur’an and who had dedicated his heart to the Book of Allah (swt). This young man, now her husband, was introduced to her by a random lady on the road.

This is the story of how my Qur’an teacher was united with her better half. She had devoted her life to the Qur’an and to her studies. She focused on her objectives of being a servant of Allah (swt) and of His Book, and maintained that focus in every aspect of her life. I would never have imagined that she would get married to someone who was the missing piece to everything she was looking for and even more. I should have realized that my puny imagination is nothing in comparison to Allah’s Power and Decree. Allah (swt) hooked up my Qur’an teacher big time and it could easily be argued that it was because she hooked up with the Book of Allah (swt).

Hooking up with Allah (swt) means being hooked up in the best of ways in every realm of life. Marriage, graduate school, studying overseas, relationship with one’s parents, getting a job, passing the SAT's with high score. You dream of it, yearn for. Who’s going to really give it to you? Your Facebook friends? Or the Lord and Ruler of all the Worlds (swt)?

Allah, the Exalted, has told us in a sacred hadith, “…the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon them; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love them, (so much so that) I become the hearing with which they hear, and the sight with which they see, and the hand with which they strike, and the leg with which they walk; and if they ask Me something, I will surely give them, and if they seek My Protection (refuge), I will surely protect them.”

Get this: Allah (swt) might not give you exactly what you want when you beg of Him in supplication, but because He loves you, He’ll always give you something better. The Prophet ﷺ has taught us, “Any Muslim who supplicates to Allah in a du'a which contains no sin or breaking of kinship, Allah (swt) will give him one of three things: either his du'a will be immediately answered; or it will be saved for him in the hereafter; or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him).” The companions said, “So we will ask for more.” He replied, “Allahu Akbar”–Allah is even more. More than whatever they ask, more than whatever we all ask.

Maybe marriage isn’t actually great for you and maybe that specific job won’t actually be everything which you’ve dreamed. There are numerous uncertainties regarding the outcome of our affairs. However, without doubt, when we hook up with Allah, if we’re sincere and determined to work, we can be certain that He will always guide us to whatever will ultimately bring us eternal happiness.

So, how can we hook up with Allah? How can we be of those who do our best to do obligatory actions and then run to our Lord through extra acts of worship?

Let’s take my Qur’an teacher’s example – let’s hook up with the Qur’an! Let’s make the intention to become the people of the Qur’an! Let’s begin by believing with certainty that we want to make a connection with Allah’s Words; that we want the Qur’an to play a pivotal role in our lives. Once we’ve made that commitment, bi’ithnillah (with the permission of Allah), here’s a suggested plan of action:
  1. If we’re in school, at work, have family or other obligations and are already squeezed for time, let’s make a commitment to begin by reading the Qur’an on a daily basis and in a language we understand because the point is to understand it and make that crazy strong connection with it.
  2. Suggestion for those of us who just can not get off our laptops and always lament wasting time: make a sticky note to put somewhere on your laptop which reads something like, “Have you hooked up with Kitab Allah today?” or “[Your name here], don’t you want Allah (swt) to hook you up?” Hooking up with Allah (swt) is beyond any hooking up we can do over social media and will bring us ridiculous quantities of benefit in this life and the next Insya Allah!
  3. If you are not yet able to read Arabic, keep up with reading the translation, and when you can, try to begin learning the language of the Qur’an. There are a ton of online programs for this now. However, never let language stop you from connecting with the Qur’an. Read the translation in any language with which you find easiest to connect, and with time, you will Insya Allah be pleasantly shocked at how much you’re finding your personal perspective to be one of the Qur’anic narrative.
  4. If you already know how to read Arabic but don’t understand what you’re reading: begin by setting an amount of Qur’an that you’ll read every day in both the Arabic and translation. For example, if I know I’m intensely busy and updating my Facebook is also a significant part of my life, let me make a commitment to start with just five verses a day, both in English and in Arabic, and let me make sure I don’t sleep without doing my Qur’an for that day.
  5. If you can make a commitment from now to memorize the Qur’an, start looking for a teacher who can help you with tajweed and once you’re ready, memorization. If you can’t find anyone in your area, then find a Qur’an buddy near you who can help you read and learn the basics until you find someone who can fully teach you. If you live in the middle of nowhere and there’s really no one near you at all, search online for programs which teach tajweed which you can do via Skype or other means from your own home. Readers, please comment with online programs you recommend! If you have no one but know how to read with passing tajweed, just start! Set a goal for yourself, write it down, and work on moving forward weekly. Thus, within a month, instead of having never opened the Qur’an, Insya Allah you’ll have perhaps even an entire new chapter memorized!
  6. Finally, if sometimes you feel apathetic, find yourself slipping, or realize that your heart is feeling bored with trying to make a connection with the Qur’an, change your mindset. Stand up, say bismillah (in the name of Allah) and seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the accursed Devil. Jump up and call in a loud and exciting voice with an enormous grin on your face, “THE QUR’AN IS MY BEST FRIEND!!!” Maybe it’s not completely true yet, but Insya Allah with enough convincing, and moving your body in an excitable way, your total physical response to the Qur’an combined with your newfound daily relationship with the Book of Allah, will help your neurons make positive connections which they will soon need more than your lungs need air.
Let’s make the Qur’an our best friend! When we’re sad, lonely, depressed and frustrated, let’s say, “I need a vent with the Book of Allah,” and just recite it all out. We will find ourselves connecting with Allah’s Words, awed by the relevance of His Book to the exact tribulation we’re experiencing. When we’re elated, let’s say, “I can’t wait to tell all of this to my best friend” and run to the Qur’an! Not excited? Fake it till you convince yourself to make it, Insya Allah! Insya Allah we will be shocked at the fact that even though we’ve read the same surah (chapter) a hundred times over, we don’t remember ever reading the very same dynamic words before. And when we’re too busy, let’s realize how eager we’d be if some public figure we thought was amazing just called us up on our cells. Wouldn’t we make time, wouldn’t our adrenaline suddenly rush when we see whose actually calling us?

So then, let’s rush with that same vigor to drop everything and make time for the most important One – the Rabb al'alameen, the Lord of the Worlds. Let’s develop a strong relationship with the Words which He has revealed to take us from the darknesses of this life to the one light and to help us be a means of benefit in society.

The Prophet ﷺ taught us, “The Companions of the Qur’an are the people of Allah, and His favored people” [Nisai]. Let us be of Allah’s favored people – those who work to recite the Qur’an by day and night, work to memorize, understand, and live by it! Let us consciously decide to strive to take it as our best friend!

Whatever we’re seeking, in this life or the next, let’s hook up with the Book of Allah and have certainty that because of the sincerity of our investment, Allah (swt) will hook us up in whatever ways are best.

(source: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/relationships/withthedivine/hook-up-with-the-quran-allah-will-hook-you-up/)

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