The very narrations of the creation of Adam (AS) contain within them important takeaways for us to ponder upon. We all know the story to Adam and Eve being sent down to Earth for eating the forbidden fruit because of the whispers of the devil. This short story, however, is a different one yet holds an important lesson for us to remember. Amongst them is the virtue of being grateful to our Lord, which is crucial in our life.
When Allah s.w.t. created Adam, andsent into him soul and life, he sneezed and said “Alhamdulillah” which means all praise belongs to Allah. Allah answered with “Yarhamuk-Allah” which holds the meaning Allah bestows His mercy upon you (Sahih of Ibn Hibbaan 6165). As Muslims, we are all well aware of these words, and we try to practise praising God after we sneeze. And to reflect on this episode, these are actually the first words of the first man created – which is to thank Almighty Allah! And the first thing that happened to him was Allah’s mercy on him.
In this life, we inevitably go through hardship and trials. That’s the exact time we need to seek help from Allah with patience, and we must not forget all our blessings and the bounties that we should be thankful for. The favours of our Lord are the only things that we need to overcome challenges in our daily lives and remember that we have been blessed with so much more at the same time. So, always trust in Allah’s plans and never forget to express your gratitude to Him. Alhamdulillah.
The firstrevelation that Allah s.w.t. revealed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the commandment for his people to seek knowledge, through the spirit of “Iqra”.
When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received his first revelation in Hira’ Cave through angel Jibril, he was asked to “iqra”, which means read. Astounded, he replied “I am not literate.” He was asked two more times to read, but he answered again, that he could not read. After that, angel Jibril conveyed the revelation: “Read in the name of your Lord Who created; created man from a clinging substance. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous Who taught by the pen; taught man that which he knew not” (Surah Al-’Alaq; 1-5).
“Iqra” is a command to read the signs that God has placed in the world so that all of us can understand something of His Wisdom and Mercy. It is a command to learn, through experience and understanding. And as humans continue seeking knowledge, always remember never to be arrogant with the knowledge that we have acquired.
We are taught to always seek and increase our knowledge, but we must always rememberto be humble, and realise there is so much out there that we do not know about. Our beloved Prophet had demonstrated that while receiving guidance and revelation, yet he still maintained his humility. And this can be witnessed in some of his iconic life stories.
Before the military mission to protect the city of Medina from attack, the Prophet (pbuh) had gathered some views of his companions when deciding the best military strategy. Initially, he proposed to stay in the city and attack the enemies when they arrived in Medina. Nevertheless, the majority of the companions suggested a different strategy by going to the border instead. The Prophet decided to agree with the views of his companions, instead of his inclination. In another battle of Khandaq, the Prophet himself also had sought the suggestion of a war strategy adopted by Persians, from a Persian man who was formerly a slave.
The two of the many episodes show how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) maintained his intellectual humility, and still listened to others to share their knowledge. The life stories of the prophets teach us that we should aspire to model an ummah that exhibit humility in all aspects of our lives,as can be seen in his mannerisms, and treatment towards other people.
Have you ever felt that you are faced with a situation that you see no way of getting out of? Do you look at the issues that the world is facing today, and wonder how they can ever be solved? The timeless story of Prophet Yunus teaches us that there is always a way out if only we have faith.
Prophet Yunus was sent to preach to the people of Nineveh, a great city but had become a wicked place filled with idol worshipping and sin. But the people of his city rejected him, just as many nations rejected the messengers before him. When he realised he did not manage to achieve what he had hoped for and failed this mission, he left disheartened. Having left the city without the permission of Allah, he boards a ship to set sail far away from the city. Once at sea, a massive storm grew stronger and stronger and started to sink. After drawing lots three times, Yunus was the one to leave the ship.
In the water, something extraordinary happens. As Allah commanded, a whale was sent to swallow Yunuswhole, and then descended to the bottom of the sea. Faced with total despair, engulfed by darkness and to the deep sea, it was in the depths of despair that things changed for him. Even though he was a religious man and called upon to be a prophet, he sought help from Allah, as it is only Allah and not him, who was in control of all things.
The whale swam to the surface and ejected Yunus onto the shore. Then with the help of Allah, a plant grew over him to cover the prophet with its shade. And after his recovery from the ordeal, he sets to return to Nineveh to discover then that the city and its people have not been destroyed by the terrible storm, as they have all turned to Allah.
If you ever felt like you are in the belly of a whale surrounded by darkness and seemingly no way out, do what the Prophet did. Never give up, and trust in Almighty Allah. This is especially vital now as we are faced with one of the biggest trials of humankind with COVID-19. These current times may be tough, strange and certainly scary to manypeople but one thing’s for sure – as Muslims, turning to our faith during this period is the first step to navigating the new realities of life.For the hardships are those blessed opportunities for us to raise our faith towards Almighty Allah.
Life is full of challenges and nobody is free from hardship. Even the prophets and messengers were tested with trials and tribulations such as loss of wealth, health and loved ones.
The story of Prophet Ayub’s resilience, perseverance and patience in dealing with Allah’s tribulations is one of the many stories recorded in the Quran. He was a righteous servant and respected man, who had been blessed with countless bounties and wealth, but then was afflicted by great suffering and illness for a long period of time and lost his family except for his wife. His illness was so severe that not a single limb was free from the disease, except for his tongue and heart, which he used to constantly remember Allah. Not only did he not complain or reject his fate, Prophet Ayub would praise and glorify his Lord,supplicating and making dua constantly, with whatever was left of his strength.
One day, his wife asked why he didn’t supplicate to relieve his illness. The reply of the prophet was, “ I lived seventy years in prosperity and health, why shouldn’t I be patient for the sake of Allah for seventy years.”
After turning to Allah and calling fervently upon Him, his call was answered. As a result of all his perseverance and resilience, the prophet was once again blessed with sustenance from Allah. Together with his health, his wealth and children were restored, and he was granted even more.
When we are preoccupied with worldly life and surrounded by good things, we are likely to give less time and attention to our spiritual life. In the face of trials and tribulations, we should try our utmost to endure and persevere. These two are great habits which we can try to inculcate every day. There’s nothing that patience falls upon, except that it’s beautiful, so trust in Allah that he has the best plans for you.
The collective Muslim community is being tested especially in these times, may He always grant us patience and sabr. Here’s how andwhy we as Muslims can rely on spirituality during difficult moments.
There is much to learn from the story of Prophet Yusuf, as he is an example of an afflicted believer who remained patient and faithful to his God.
When Prophet Yusuf was a child, he had brothers who were so jealous of him that they came up with a plan to get rid of him. He was then thrown inside a well and left there. This led him to be separated from his beloved father for many years, then becoming a slave and being thrown in prison for a wrongdoing that he did not commit. Through constant patience and remembrance of Allah, the prophet was successful in all of life’s tests following that episode, and was rewarded for his patience.
After so much hardship, he still rose up, with his patience, bravery and reliance on Allah. Only those who are truly patient and reliant only to Him will be able to understand that whatever happens to a person has been predestined by God. With every adversity, we should try to continuously pick ourselves up, and continue along the straight path with sabr.
Prophet Sulaiman was one ofthe prophets who was rich and granted a glorious kingdom to rule. He also had the ability to know the language of animals and during one time, there lived an ant. The ant had some of the best qualities such as helpfulness and was always putting the needs of her kingdom above her own.
At one time, Prophet Sulaiman had gathered his army of jinns, humans and birds and they were marching towards the direction of the ant nest. The ant then heard that the army was approaching, and knew that they were likely to crush all of them. Being ants, they are always overlooked and barely noticeable. She informed her community of the potential disaster so that all the ants can seek refuge in their homes.
With the help of Allah, the prophet then heard the tiny ant’s plea. Hearing the ants talk, the prophet thanked Allah for the many blessings bestowed upon him including his ability to understand animals, and immediately commanded his troop to change course, so as to avoid destroying over the homes of the ants – all because of the plea of one single ant.
Mercy and compassion towards other living beings, no matter theirsize and shape, is one of the foundations of our religion. Let’s rise up and prove that Allah SWT has indeed made mankind the best of creation – and we should be kinder and more compassionate, more than one ant has to her kingdom.
When Ibrahim was sent to be a messenger for his people of his town, they rejected his words and continued praying to their idols made of wood and stones. Once, there was an annual festival in town where the King went out with all his people to celebrate. The Prophet then went to the temple to demolish all the idols, except for the largest one. When they found out about what happened, they wanted to punish him by burning him alive in a fire. It is related that when the Prophet was thrown into the fire, he invoked supplications and made dua to Allah, then came the command from God. The blazing fire instantly lost its heat and no harm came to him, and he came out of the pit untouched by the fire.
حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ
Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs
[Surat Al-Imran: 173]
This powerful dua can be recited in times of hardship and challenges. Islam teaches us that success does not come easy and is only attained through perseverance, sacrifices and devotion to Allah. Only Allah is sufficient for us, and we should seek His grace and mercy after we have done our best to face all the challenges of life.
We hope that the stories of some of the Prophets have inspired you to improve yourself every day and be better able to face life’s trials and tribulations. There are many more incredible stories of the Prophets that we can learn from. After all, our Lord has guaranteed that challenges in life are temporary and that we will be relieved of them in one way or another.