Unwavering Faith in Allah
More than 100 fishermen in Bangladesh are missing after at least 15 boats sank in a storm in the Bay of Bengal.
The port authority in Chittagong, Bangladesh, issued an international maritime alert on Sunday, advising ships and fishing boats to remain in shelters until further notice.
Heavy seas prevented rescue operations, but the authorities said that they would start a search as soon as the weather improved.
Meanwhile, fishermen who survived said that they saw several boats sink. In another Chittagong port, called Cox's Bazar, as many as 10 fishing boats with nearly 100 fishermen onboard capsized. An estimated 80 fishermen made it back to shore.
There is an important lesson to be learnt from the above. Those men who passed the brink of death and died at sea all went through a phase. This phase is the most helpless moment in ones life. When they realised they had no other way but to turn to only Allah for help, they most probably sincerely sought Allah's help in a manner which they never did before.
In that moment, they surrendered themselves completely to the will of Allah. They knew they had no protector, save Allah. The only rescuer was Allah. The only one who could hear their cries was Allah. The only one who could take them out of this life-threatening situation was Allah. Although they may have not done so before, they were forced to submit to the fact that the only being who has control over their lives is the most-powerful Allah. This feeling of complete surrender to Allah was unlikely to have been experienced by them before.
Allah calls on us to draw lessons from this:
"It is He who conveys you on both land and sea so that when some of you are on a boat, running before a fair wind, rejoicing at it, and then a violent squall comes upon them and the waves come at them from every side and they realize there is no way of escape. They call on Allah, making their religion sincerely His: "If You rescue us from this, we will truly be among the thankful." But then, when He does rescue them, they become rebellious on the earth without any right to do so. Mankind, your rebelliousness is only against yourselves. There is the enjoyment of the life of the world but then you will return to Us, and We will inform you about what you did." (Qur'an 10:22-23)
An important tendency of man is identified above. It is that when Allah
rescues him, he returns to his former ways. He forgets that it was him
who implored Allah helplessly and made promises of being more devoted to
Allah when he was in that life threatening situation.
The Qur'an says "they make their religion sincerely His" when they are encountered with this threat at sea. This means that this is the the level of faith, nearness to Allah, and complete surrender we should have to Allah, at all times because religion should always be sincerely for Allah alone. Therefore, we should always rely on Allah and know that it is Him who takes us into the depths of trouble, and it is Him who brings us out of it. We should remain surrendered to His will at all times through out our lives. We should remain surrendered to Allah when we speak to others, when we pray, when we do anything in life, just as stated in Surah Al-An'am:
"Say, 'My prayers and sacrifice, my life and death are all for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds" (Qur'an 6:162)
When encountered with a life-threatening situation, purposes for living in life, such as wealth, children, education, spouses which some people take as their reasons for living are made meaningless. Man realises that the only thing worthy of being devoted is Allah, and he has no giver except Allah. This is identified in the following Verse:
"When harm occurs to you at sea, those you call on vanish - except for Him alone! But when He delivers you to dry land, you turn away. Man truly is ungrateful. Do you feel secure against Him causing the shore to swallow you up or sending against you a sudden squall of stones? Then you will find no one to be your guardian." (Qur'an 17:67-68 )
It should be apparent the level complete devotion and submission required of us by Allah at all times. We shall not call upon, glorify, seek the approval of or praise any being except for Allah. Once Allah removes the threat, we should remain in that state of submission to Allah, if not more. We should be grateful for removing the danger/trouble. Take the new opportunity to improve ourselves and conduct to that which would be more pleasing to Allah. Never forget that it is Allah Who removed the burden from you, and He can put you in the same or similar burden again, if He wills.
"When harm touches man, he calls on Us, lying on his side or sitting down or standing up. Then when We remove the harm from him he carries on as if he had never called on Us when the harm first touched him. In that way We make what they have done appear good to the transgressors." (Qur'an 10:12)
On the other hand, the Qur'an identifies a second type of people who only serve Allah as long as He is giving them blessings and good things in this world. But they turn away from Allah as soon as they are tested with a difficulty or hardship, revealing their weak faith and lack of true devotion to Allah:
"There are some people who serve Allah on the edge of true faith: if something good comes their way, they are satisfied. But if they are tested, they revert to their old ways - losing both this world and the Hereafter - that is the clearest loss!" (Qur'an 22:11)
Therefore, Allah will test you with both good and bad in this world, to see whether you belong to either of the above sorts of people:
"Do people think they will be left alone after saying, ‘We believe’, without being put to the test? We had tested those who went before them, so that Allah would distinguish those who are truthful and those who are liars." (Qur'an 29:3)
Therefore, the true believers are those who remain devoted to Allah under all circumstances in life. Allah exists no matter what befalls them and deserves to be worshipped at all times. And they know they have no escape from Allah. Everything they experience is a test of their faith. Thus, they serve Allah with true faith at all times and pass every test Allah gives them - at good times, they thank Allah and do not become spoilt, at bad times they continue to serve Allah and look to the Hereafter for their patience and perseverance.
One can derive the true meaning of being a believer by closely analysing the Qur'an and drawing lessons from it like we have done, and live by that definition of being a true 'Muslim' to Allah instead of the definition provided by society.
"We have sent down to you a Book containing your message. Do you not understand?" (Qur'an 21:10)
See also: Every Single Moment
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