By: Shariffa Carlo
I want us all to look deep inside today. I want us to think about the activities and preoccupations that fill our lives. I want us all to think about the major preoccupation. Is it our family? Our school? Our social-life? What is taking up the largest chunk of our lives?
I firmly believe that all of us have some vacuum inside us that, like all other vacuums, calls for air. But this vacuum is not like a natural vacuum, it is a spiritual one. It needs to breathe the air of commitment. Look to your life and that of those around you. You will find that we have all adopted some “religion” which we believe in and work for in order to accomplish some final aim – a form of paradise.
In this pursuit, we are easy-going, relaxed or even fanatical. But all of us have one aspect of our lives that we are “fanatical” about. There is one major area that takes our time, our energy and our emotions.
Look to the hard-core sports fan. He spends his life supporting specific teams, financially, physically and emotionally. He attends every game, either in person or vicariously over the TV. He buys the memorabilia. He is devastated when they lose, and he reaches Paradise when they win… Sounds strange. We need to just change the way we look at it. This person is completely preoccupied with sports because his life lacks something else. This is how he has chosen to fill that spiritual vacuum.
We can do this with our families, our friends even our studies.
How many of us believe that if we spend years studying every night, get accepted to the best college, work hard to please our professors, get the best grades and graduate, we will be practically guaranteed an easy life. Money, status and respect will all be ours for the price of a few well invested years? We can make this into a religion in itself with study rituals and sincere belief in the Paradise that follows which fuels us on those long nights awake, studying.
Now, I am not saying that we can’t enjoy sports or our families or our studies… That would be ludicrous. I am saying that when we go to fill that spiritual void inside, we need to be careful about how we fill it. That void is the natural fitrah – that desire to find our Creator and worship Him. It is the desire to know why we are here, and what we are supposed to do with our lives.
The only way to fill that void is by finding and worshipping Allah. The other day, I heard a brother say, “No matter what; we must always remember: Islam does not need us. We need Islam.” How true. Islam does not need us. Allah does not need us. Allah is the self-sufficient:
“Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury; and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing.” 2:263
“O you who believe! Spend (benevolently) of the good things that you earn and or what We have brought forth for you out of the earth, and do not aim at what is bad that you may spend (in alms) of it, while you would not take it yourselves unless you have its price lowered, and know that Allah is Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy.” 2:267
“Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great.” 2:255
Notice how in these Ayats, Allah is telling us that what we do will have no effect on Him. These are acts for our benefit, He does not need them. This is accomplished by the fact that He calls Himself by this great name, Self-sufficient , after telling us of doing good deeds. In the last verse, ayat al Kursi, Allah lets us Know without doubt, that He has no needs.
Allah does not need us. We need Him. Keeping this in mind will help us in filling that great void.
We have been told in a hadith Qudsi:
“…O My servants, even if the first amongst you, the last amongst you, even if the whole of the human race, and that of the Jinns, become (equally) God-conscious like the heart of a single person amongst you, nothing will add to My Power. O My servants, even if the first amongst you, the last amongst you, the whole human race, and that of the Jinns too become in unison the most wicked (all beating) like the heart of a single person, it will cause no loss of My Power. O My servants, even if the first amongst you, the last amongst you, the whole human race, and that of Jinns also, all stand in one place and you ask Me and I confer upon every person what he asks for, it will not in any way cause any loss to Me (even less) than that which is caused to the ocean by dipping a needle in it….” Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6246.
We can neither add to Allah nor take from Him, no matter how much we call upon Him nor how much he confers upon us. We must simply use what we know of Him and rely upon Him to gain our objective. He will provide us with what we need to reach Jannah, but we can never lose sight of the fact that it is us who need Him. We are the ones with a spiritual vacuum that can only be filled by worshiping the great Master, Allah.
This objective is our aim from before our birth. We are born with an innate knowledge of Allah; we are simply unable to process that without the missing factors. By this I am referring to the time when Allah gathered us all, and we promised that we would worship Him. When we are born, we feel this, but we can not identify its source. We naturally incline towards the good things and become other than worshipers of Allah by our environmental surroundings acting upon us.
“Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone – fitrah) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Magainism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?” Then Abu Huraira recited the holy verses: ‘The pure Allah’s Islamic nature (true faith i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone), with which He has created human beings.’ ” (30.30) (Sahih Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 23, Number 440.
We have this need to fill our lives. Allah gave it to us. This need keeps us searching until we find the true source of satisfaction, Islam. We have to make our worship of Allah the filler. We have to take our time to worship Allah with our eye on the true prize, Jannah. Allah tells us why we are here. Allah says,
“And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should worship Me.” 51:56
We need to fill this spiritual void by worshiping Allah. We need to have not as much, but more faith in the outcome of our work on this earth as we do in the outcomes of our work for this life. We devote years to learning and studying to accomplish the objective of a degree. We spend a lifetime preparing our children to succeed in this life. We spend time and energy cultivating our personal relationships. We need to take from this precious commodity Allah has given us, time, and prepare for the ultimate graduation day, the graduation from this life to the next. We have to spend a lifetime preparing our children to meet Allah. We have to take our time and energy and devote it towards cultivating our relationship with Allah. In this way, and this way only, we will achieve the true success.
“Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.” 9:111
Please look around you. What is filling your life? Is your major devotion, devotion to Allah? Is your major occupation, worship of Allah? Is your consuming passion, Love for Allah? Is your primary goal, return to Allah? If not, then think seriously about redirecting your energies. We do not have to get rid of those things that we enjoy or which will give us a measure of success in this life, we simply have to accomplish them without sacrificing the true final goal, Jannah. Our life should be filled more with that which will gain us Jannah, and the rest should be padding, not the opposite.
“O you who believe! let not your wealth, or your children, divert you from the remembrance of Allah; and whoever does that, these are the losers.” 63:9
The majority of our time needs to be spent in that which pleases Allah and gets us closer to the final goal. We need to take advantage of what Allah has given us in time, energy, and health:
Narrated Mujahid: ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “Allah’s Apostle took hold of my shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.” The sub-narrator added: Ibn ‘Umar used to say, “If you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening, and take from your health for your sickness, and (take) from your life for your death.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 425.
Brothers and sisters: Lets keep our eye on the true goal. Lets devote ourselves to filling the vacuum with what Allah meant for us to fill it with, love and devotion for Him. When the final trumpet blows, when the end arrives, let us be among those who receive the good new.
Narrated AbuSa’id al-Khudri ; AbuHurayrah: “Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: There would be an announcer (in Paradise) who would make this announcement: Verily! There is in store for you (everlasting) health and that you should never fall ill and that you live (forever) and do not die at all. And that you would remain young and never grow old. And that you would always live in affluent circumstances and never become destitute, as words of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, are: “And it would be announced to them: This is the Paradise. You have been made to inherit it for what you used to do.” Sahih Muslim: Book 39, Number 6803
Ya Allah! Place us on the straight path leading directly towards Your Great Pleasure. Ya Allah, prevent us from wasting our time, our energy and/or our deeds on this earth. Ya Allah. Make of us those who earn Paradise through Your Great Mercy. Ya Allah, make worship of You our filler for our spiritual vacuum. Ameen.