CONDITION OF THE UMMAH
WHAT IS GOING ON?
WHERE IS THE TRUTH?
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. This volatile nature of life is the test in itself. People’s realities are manifested by the way they behave
when faced with the difficulties and joys of life. What makes one person more dignified or more foolish than the other is how he behaves when unanticipated
events occur. What makes Muslims different from others is the advantage they have of knowing what exactly is going on—whether personally or socially; and
how to behave in these situations.
So how do Muslims know what is going on?
They know through the book of Allah SWT, Al-Qur’an. Allah SWT did not leave any details out of the Qur’an. He SWT says:
Nothing have we omitted from the book… (Al-An’am 6:38)
Qur’an holds the answer for every situation and occasion, whether joyful or sad. If we want to know exactly what is going on around us, all we have to do
is turn to it.
STRUCTURE OF THE QUR’AN
Qur’an was revealed over the period of twenty-three years—first thirteen years in Makkah and the last ten years in Medina. Two-thirds of the Qur’an was
revealed in Makkah which mainly focused on two topics—building faith and establishing brotherhood. Whereas, one-third of the Qur’an was revealed in Medina
and consisted of the verses which contain the rules and regulations of Islam.
All the chapters (surah) starting with the names of the messengers and prophets were revealed approximately between the ninth and the eleventh year
in Makkah. They were sent to calm Rasul Allah SAW and to inform him that what is happening to him is nothing new, because it has happened to the people
HOW TO READ THE CHAPTERS
These surahs or chapters have messages in the beginning and messages at the end. Usually the messages at the beginning address all mankind, and the
messages at the end of the surah specifically address the believers.
There are many profound messages in the Qur’an and if we systematically go through them, we will understand exactly what is going on.
From this point on you will be reading the words of Allah SWT with minor explanations. The more humbled you are towards Allah SWT, the more He SWT will
allow you to comprehend and will clarify your understanding.
Allah SWT says:
[The time of] their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away.
No mention comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play
With their hearts distracted. And those who do wrong conceal their private conversation, [saying], "Is this [Prophet] except a human being like you? So
would you approach magic while you are aware [of it]?"
The Prophet said, "My Lord knows whatever is said throughout the heaven and earth, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing." (Al-Anbiya 21: 1—4)
Allah SWT makes it clear that there are people who are not only heedless and astray, but they deny the truth when it is presented to them! He SWT refers to
their activities in life as ‘play’; a term He SWT repeats over and over again in the Qur’an.
This is how Allah SWT started the surah, now let’s look at how He ends the surah, this time addressing the believers:
Indeed, in this [Qur'an] is notification for a worshipping people.
And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. (Al-Anbiya 21: 106—107)
Think about these verses very carefully. Allah SWT calls Rasul Allah SAW ‘mercy to the worlds’. So when anyone gets closer to the teachings of Rasul Allah
SAW and embodies them, he in fact gets closer to the mercy of Allah SWT; and the foremost teachings of Rasul Allah SAW are the way he dealt with people—his adab and akhlaq.
Say, "It is only revealed to me that your god is but one God; so will you be Muslims [in submission to Him]?"
But if they turn away, then say, "I have announced to [all of] you equally. And I know not whether near or far is that which you are promised.
Indeed, He knows what is declared of speech, and He knows what you conceal.
And I know not; perhaps it is a trial for you and enjoyment for a time."
[The Prophet] has said, "My Lord, judge [between us] in truth. And our Lord is the Most Merciful, the one whose help is sought against that which you
Allah SWT starts Surah Al-Hajj with a reminder of the Day of Judgment:
O mankind, fear your Lord. Indeed, the convulsion of the [final] Hour is a terrible thing.
On the Day you see it every nursing mother will be distracted from that [child] she was nursing, and every pregnant woman will abort her pregnancy, and
you will see the people [appearing] intoxicated while they are not intoxicated; but the punishment of Allah is severe.
And of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge and follows every rebellious devil.
It has been decreed for every devil that whoever turns to him - he will misguide him and will lead him to the punishment of the Blaze.
O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a
clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term,
then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early]
death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the
earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind. (Al Hajj 22:1—5)
In these verses Allah SWT has summarized the human life in its entirety from birth to death. He has given us a glimpse of different stages of life but the
key reminder is of the reality of this existence, which is death. We will all die one day and will leave behind everything from this life. The message in
here is clear—this life is insignificant in the eyes of Allah SWT and our time here is limited, therefore we should work diligently and relentlessly to
earn Allah SWT’s pleasure instead of wasting our short time here.
There are among men some who serve Allah, as it were on the verge: if good befalls them, they are therewith well content; but if a trial comes to them,
they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is loss for all to see!
They call on such deities besides Allah as can neither hurt nor profit them: that is straying far indeed (from the Way)!
(Perhaps) they call on one whose hurt is nearer than his profit: evil indeed is the patron, and evil is the companion (or help)!
Verily Allah will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow: for Allah carries out that He plans.
If any think that Allah will not help him (His Messenger, in this world and the Hereafter), let him stretch out a rope to the ceiling and cut (himself)
off: then let him see whether his plan will remove that which enrages (him)!
(Al Hajj 22:11—15)
When the journey of our iman and its reality in our hearts is weak, our perspective of life becomes muddled. As long as life goes according to our
liking, we remain content and happy but once accidents, disasters, diseases, loss of loved ones, or any other calamity strikes, we are unable to accept it,
we lose our faith and become ungrateful. It is exactly as Allah SWT has said that
‘they lose both this world and the hereafter (22:11).’
this world by being miserable and they lose the hereafter by being in the state of kufr and shirk. In this state of ingratitude and
faithlessness they turn to everyone else for assistance except to the only one who is capable of helping them—Allah SWT.
That [has been commanded], and whoever honors the sacred ordinances of Allah - it is best for him in the sight of his Lord. And permitted to you are
the grazing livestock, except what is recited to you. So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and avoid false statement,
Inclining [only] to Allah , not associating [anything] with Him. And he who associates with Allah - it is as though he had fallen from the sky and was
snatched by the birds or the wind carried him down into a remote place.
That [is so]. And whoever honors the symbols of Allah - indeed, it is from the piety of hearts. (Al Hajj 22:30—32)
Again, the message of these verses is the same:
value and cherish your faith, and
do not seek support from anyone except Allah SWT.
If we do turn to others for support, we will be exhausted in vain and will not gain anything. It is because Allah has already ordained that anyone who
turns to another besides Him SWT for support will never succeed. Whereas those who value their faith, Allah SWT has promised to be for them, to elevate
them, to support them in this life, and be pleased with them in the hereafter.
All these verses have a common idea—warning against having any partners with Allah SWT or shirk. Many so called Muslims believe they are free from shirk but in reality it is the opposite. They are so deeply indulged in it that they are not even aware of it. This heedlessness is caused by lack
of understanding, shallowness of faith, and overwhelming belief and reliance on materialistic means.
To those whose hearts when Allah is mentioned, are filled with fear, who show patient perseverance over their afflictions, keep up regular prayer, and
spend (in charity) out of what We have bestowed upon them.
Verily Allah will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, Allah loves not any that is a traitor to faith, or show ingratitude.
To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;-and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;-
(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,-(for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah…Did not Allah
check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name
of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);-for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in
Might, (able to enforce His Will).
(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong; with
Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.
(Al Hajj 22:38—41)
Allah SWT has promised to grant victory to those who fulfill the conditions mentioned in the verses.
Since Allah SWT never breaks His promise, if we are not supported by Him SWT and do not see His promises being fulfilled, meaning there is something wrong
with us and our faith.
Now Allah SWT consoles His beloved Prophet SAW saying:
If they treat your (mission) as false, so did the peoples before them (with their prophets),-the People of Noah, and ‘Ad and Thamud;
Those of Abraham and Lut;
And the Companions of the Madyan People; and Moses was rejected (in the same way). But I granted respite to the Unbelievers, and (only) after that did
I punish them: but how (terrible) was my rejection (of them)!
How many populations have We destroyed, which were given to wrong-doing? They tumbled down on their roofs. And how many wells are lying idle and
neglected, and castles lofty and well-built?
Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not
their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts.
(Al Hajj 22:42—46)
Read the following verses very carefully and a lot of what is going on in this world will begin to make sense:
And for those who reject Faith and deny our Signs, there will be a humiliating Punishment.
Those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, and are then slain or die,-On them will Allah bestow verily a goodly Provision: Truly Allah is He
Who bestows the best provision.
Verily He will admit them to a place with which they shall be well pleased: for Allah is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.
That (is so). And if one has retaliated to no greater extent than the injury he received, and is again set upon inordinately, Allah will help him: for
Allah is One that blots out (sins) and forgives (again and again).
That is because Allah merges night into day, and He merges day into night, and verily it is Allah Who hears and sees (all things.)
That is because Allah-He is the Reality; and those besides Him whom they invoke,-they are but vain Falsehood: verily Allah is He, Most High, Most
See you not that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and forthwith the earth becomes clothed with green? For Allah is He Who understands the finest
mysteries, and is well-acquainted (with them).
To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: for verily Allah,-He is free of all wants, Worthy of all Praise.
(Al Hajj 22:57—64)
Allah SWT ends the surah with a reminder of previous nations such as Nuh, ‘Aad and Thamud and how He destroyed them. They were arrogant people who
built magnificent buildings and thought that they were powerful and in control. Allah SWT destroyed them while they were in this state of disbelief; and He
SWT will do the same to anyone who follows their footsteps.
As a Muslim, what is the message for me?
The message is that everything in this life is temporary and nothing will last forever. Whatever goes up must come down. The question is, do we have the
quality and are we prepared for the time Allah SWT will bring down the oppressor?
LIVING THE QUR’AN
Qur’an mentions only three kinds of people—believers, disbelievers and hypocrites; there is no fourth. We all belong to one of these categories. If we read
Qur’an with vision and iman, we would not need an explanation. We will know who we are.
Believers have defined characteristics and they remain busy carrying out certain actions. Disbelievers also have clear characteristics and behavior
patterns which they adhere to. However those who claim belief but their actions are not of the believers, they are in the worst category; they are the
hypocrites who will face the most severe form of punishment wana’oodho billah.
HONESTLY, WHO ARE WE?
Let’s analyze our situation…
Allah SWT makes every soul responsible for his actions by saying:
And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord –
It is those who hasten to good deeds, and they outstrip [others] therein.
And We charge no soul except [with that within] its capacity, and with Us is a record which speaks with truth; and they will not be wronged.
But their hearts are covered with confusion over this, and they have [evil] deeds besides disbelief which they are doing…(Al Muminoon 23:60—63)
Allah SWT is referring to those whose actions do not match the state of their hearts. These are the hypocrites! Today, we claim to be people of akhirah but all our actions are for duniya…how can we explain this?
Allah SWT says:
And We had gripped them with suffering [as a warning], but they did not yield to their Lord, nor did they humbly supplicate, [and will continue thus]
So if we do not do ‘tadarr’u’ (cry and supplicate to Allah SWT), He will
Until when We have opened before them a door of severe punishment, immediately they will be therein in despair. (Al Muminoon 23:76—77)
Just look at the following ayah and ask yourself, isn’t that our condition today?
Say, "In whose hand is the realm of all things - and He protects while none can protect against Him - if you should know?"
They will say, "[All belongs] to Allah ." Say, "Then how are you deluded?" (Al Muminoon 23:88—89)
Today we are doing exactly the opposite of what believers do. We are afraid of everything and everyone more than Allah SWT. This is shirk! Anytime
we have love, fear, reliance, or gratitude for someone more than for Allah SWT is shirk. So not only do we carry hypocrisy, we also have deep rooted shirk in our hearts.
That is why the most important action now is to build our iman, yaqeen and the truthfulness of Islam in us. This is the only way we will be
saved from the wrath of Allah SWT!
WHERE ARE WE GOING WRONG—MESSAGES FROM ALLAH SWT
We have certainly sent down distinct verses. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path. (An-Nur 24:46)
Never think that the disbelievers are causing failure [to Allah] upon the earth. Their refuge will be the Fire - and how wretched the destination.
And We did not send before you, [O Muhammad], any of the messengers except that they ate food and walked in the MARKETS. And We have made some of you
[people] as trial for others - will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing. (Al Furqan 24:20)
And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, "Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way.
(Al Furqan 24:27)
And thus have We made for every prophet an enemy from among the criminals. But sufficient is your Lord as a guide and a helper.
(Al Furqan 24:31)
Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?
(Al Furqan 24:43)
The following ayahs lay out a complete sequence of how Allah SWT gives da’wah to people. They also carry the warning of punishment which
inflicts them when they reject the da’wah.
When their brother Hud said to them, "Will you not fear Allah ?
Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger.
So fear Allah and obey me.
And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.
Do you construct on every elevation a sign, amusing yourselves,
And take for yourselves palaces and fortresses that you might abide eternally?
And when you strike, you strike as tyrants.
So fear Allah and obey me.
And fear He who provided you with that which you know,
Provided you with grazing livestock and children
And gardens and springs.
Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a terrible day."
They said, "It is all the same to us whether you advise or are not of the advisors.
This is not but the custom of the former peoples,
And we are not to be punished."
And they denied him, so We destroyed them. Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.
And indeed, your Lord - He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. (Ash Shu’ara 26:126—140)
Again Allah SWT reminds us of His sunnah:
Allah SWT sends the message ->
people hear ->
they disregard it ->
Allah SWT sends His signs
and then provides some relief from it ->
people stay asleep and then the severe torture comes, from which there is no reprieve!
Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger.
So fear Allah and obey me.
And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.
Will you be left in what is here, secure [from death],
Within gardens and springs
And fields of crops and palm trees with softened fruit?
And you carve out of the mountains, homes, with skill.
So fear Allah and obey me.
And do not obey the order of the transgressors,
Who cause corruption in the land and do not amend."
They said, "You are only of those affected by magic. (
Ash Shu’ara 26:143—153)
Very clear messages from Allah SWT if we follow His sunan (practices):
And even if We had revealed it to one among the foreigners
And he had recited it to them [perfectly], they would [still] not have been believers in it.
Thus have We inserted disbelief into the hearts of the criminals.
They will not believe in it until they see the painful punishment.
And it will come to them suddenly while they perceive [it] not.
And they will say, "May we be reprieved?"
So for Our punishment are they impatient?
Then have you considered if We gave them enjoyment for years
And then there came to them that which they were promised?
They would not be availed by the enjoyment with which they were provided.
And We did not destroy any city except that it had warners
As a reminder; and never have We been unjust. (
Ash Shu’ara 26:198—209)
TIME FOR ACTION
What do you think is going on with us?
Are we heeding to the message and changing our condition?
Isn’t it dangerous that our habits, customs, attitudes, lifestyle are not changing even now after we see the upheaval around us?
We are in such deep heedlessness that we are not prepared to carry out any actions. We might be willing to hear, listen, and talk but not do.
This defeats the purpose because it’s solely our actions which can bring the change and improve our condition.
Allah SWT has a purpose and reason for everything, even tragedies. He causes tragedies in order to break our routines and to force us to think, reflect and
question. Calamities force people to remember their mortality and turn to God. Shaytaan on the other hand enslaves people through routines. Once people
fall in the cycle of routine they keep going until they die. This is the opposite of what Allah SWT wants. He SWT does not want from us. He SWT does not
want us to have routine of duniya, instead He wants us to engage in the routine of akhirah. Majority of Muslims are stuck in their routine of duniya to the point they are not even aware of it, let alone think about breaking free from it. Unfortunately many knowledgeable people have also
succumbed to this heedlessness and slavery to routine.
I am anxious for Muslims, not from their enemies but from Allah SWT. If we remain heedless, situation will get tougher. Imagine if we lose our jobs, our
wealth, our families, are homeless, and on top of that we have no iman and yaqeen, what will sustain us then? How will we cope with the
difficulties? How will we survive? We cannot afford to be selfish and negligent any longer. It is time to take action!
We can start out by taking the following steps:
- Do a lot of dhikr (remembrance of Allah)
- Have the zeal to do something for Allah SWT. Cry and ask Allah SWT to accept you.
- Beg Allah SWT to save you from being heedless.
- Beg Allah SWT for baseerah (vision).
- Ask Allah SWT to not let you be caught up in routine and to protect you from being enslaved to duniya.
- Beg Allah SWT for sincerity.
- Sacrifice from your income and spend regularly for da’wah.
These actions have to be performed with sincerity. At this point, Allah SWT will test us to see how truthful we are.
But if our time, routine, and habits remain the same, then how can we really expect Allah SWT to open for us? If we keep listening and talking but there is
no real change in our hearts, it shows that we are not making enough effort! It has to be sincere effort and it has to start within us.
Don’t feel disheartened or upset about negative attitudes towards Islam and Muslims. Have the zeal of spreading the message in your heart and Allah SWT
will open for you. Allah SWT will unite good people to you if you are sincerely looking for them.
A Japanese professor recently wrote an article encouraging people to educate themselves about Muslims since he believes there are many similarities between
Islamic teachings and Japanese culture. So the efforts are being made by non-Muslims to learn about Islam. But are we ready so when they meet us they can
see the teachings of Islam in us? Do we have the manners, etiquettes and the zeal to show them the accurate teachings of Islam?
If we really have the quality, Allah SWT will use us! This is why all our focus has to be on building our quality. Don’t worry about anyone else. When we
die, we will be asked about ourselves first. If we fail with ourselves, how can we succeed with others?
The key to building quality is freedom of the soul from all attachments. This is a struggle that everyone has to undertake and it differs from person to
person. Everyone’s attachments are different; some are attached to their spouses, others to their children, wealth, status, job, property etc. Whatever the
attachment, it has to be released.
What if I am so weak I can’t remove it from my heart?
First, get physically away from your attachment, even if it is for few hours each day. Go to a secluded place, a masjid, a parking lot…whatever it
takes to be alone and away from distractions. Remember Allah SWT and beg Him to remove the attachment from your heart. If you are attached to your savings,
spend from it. If it is your car, sell it and get something else. If it is spouse and children, just ask Allah SWT to help you remove the attachment from
If you are sincere, the second step will happen. Allah SWT will put in your heart what to do. Just so you know, this ‘to do’ will not be easy, it will be
against your desire. If you do it, you will pass and Allah SWT will help you. If you fail, Allah SWT will let you go and you can cry and pray as much as
you want and nothing will happen.
TRUE ROLE MODELS
You really want to wake up and taste the sweetness of this faith?
You really want to see a dramatic change in your life for better?
You really want to enjoy life as it is meant to be?
Remove everything from your heart and start all over again. Do you know who does it beautifully? The New Muslims! They divorce and detach themselves from
family, culture, customs, habits, lifestyle…everything for the sake of Allah SWT. They let it all go and become free from all the worldly attachments. This
not only shows the courage and strength but shows how pure and sincere their dedication is towards Allah SWT. They not only transform their lives, but they
also ache for others to experience the same! They are a true inspiration who should be taken as role models by all of us.
It is time for us to connect our hearts to Allah SWT and be sincere to Him. All the verses we read earlier as well as the signs around us are warning of a
major catastrophe. All the odds are stacked against us. Our only option is to learn what Islam is and sincerely embrace it.
At this point you might be complaining that the message is redundant and doesn’t talk about anything new. But this is how Qur’an Makki is—two-thirds of the
Qur’an asks us to leave duniya and work for the akhirah. Once we are in this state we will be busy developing ourselves, being a role model
for others and spreading the message of Islam. At this time we can hope to receive the support of Allah SWT both in times of ease and difficulty. And
during calamities Allah SWT will InshaAllah rescue us and give us the ultimate gift which is to let us die as Muslims.