Friday, April 07, 2006

Our Lives are What we Make Them

Here's a lecture that I got from Amr Khaled's website. I thought it'll be a something quite interesting to share to fix any misconceptions in Islam... Feedback from everybody would be great.

First thought: Is this gathering important to Allah? Yes it is. Our Prophet (PBUH) was once sitting at his home and a group of his companions were at the mosque. Suddenly he got up and went quickly to the mosque and looked at those companions and asked them: “What are you sitting here for?” They answered: “We sat to glorify Allah.” The Prophet said: “Do you swear that you sat only for this?” They said: “we swear that we sat only for this.” The Prophet said: “I did not ask you to accuse you but I was informed that Allah is bragging about you in front of the angels.”

Second thought: Brothers, what about renewing your intentions now in this session. You came here to please Allah and to meet good companion and listen to what may bring you closer to Allah, so let Allah witness this. Make this your intention; May Allah let us go to the “Al-jannah” by this.

Third thought: I have a question in mind. What about all of the thousands here? What will be their state after the conference ends? I want to advise you to stick to Allah’s compliance as much as you can and to be keen on having a group of pious friends (Saleheen) to support you in this hard life.

Our subject today is: We make our lives ourselves

This lecture is considered a continue for the lecture of “Set your goal in life” and our lecture today is centralized around one question: Who makes our lives? Do we make our lives? Or are the circumstances responsible for making our lives? Who is responsible for the difficult state of our nation? Who is behind our backwardness? Who is the reason behind the youth not being religious enough? Who is responsible for not having a Muslim youth who’s not excellent in sports, for example? Who makes our lives, our own wills or conditions?

Psychologists’ views:

Psychologists, like Freud and his peers, see that there are three factors that make human lives

Genetic factors

Educational factors

Environmental factors

Thus these three factors control one’s behavior and reactions. Freud’s explanation for a characteristic like nervousness or stinginess, for example, are due to the genetic factors and the person has nothing to do with since the genetic factor is domineering.

Freud and his peers interpret mistreatment for wives, to be due to educational factors. This person saw his father when he was a child insulting his wife, so he did the same when he grew up and all this is out of his hands since educational factors were domineering.

With the same logic of Freud, the reason for the youth not being persistent in their worship to Allah is due to the surrounding environmental factor, which is full of strife and temptation so the environment is domineering and the person is helpless.

But is this a right point of view? This point is very critical. One might ask how Allah will judge us if we are not the ones who control our actions but they are the outcome of conditions and the three above factors?

Lets hear the Islamic point of view and its reply on who is responsible for making our lives? Is it conditions or our own wills?

The Islamic point of view:

Islam regards the Psychologists’ view to be wrong. Islam acknowledges that the person is affected by the previous three factors but it acknowledges as well that Allah gave us the weapon to fend them off. The weapon is the abilities given to us by Allah. Thus Allah, in the Day of Judgment, will judge how we used these abilities to defeat these factors and conditions. The more the person succeeds in using his abilities to defeat these factors, the more he will be rewarded by “Al-Jannah”. Yet, the more he is defeated by them, the tougher his punishment will be.

In this lecture, we will demonstrate –God’s willing- giving examples how we can defeat these factors using the abilities Allah blessed us with. This is to prove that the success and the advancement of Muhammad’s nation is not an impossible target. This lecture’s aim is to make everyone have an undoubted faith in the possibility of achieving his target and that he can -with Allah’s help- defeat the factors hampering his march towards his target.

If the factors are those we mentioned above, then what are the abilities we need to have in order to defeat them?

The abilities Allah gave us:

It is an internal power Allah placed inside each one of us. This power exists and when called upon it can defeat anything, so let us release our built-in power.

Example: Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was imprisoned during strife in Jordan, he used to say that he does not fear being imprisoned or being killed since he will be martyred. But he feared being whipped. When he was taken to be whipped, an imprisoned thief saw him and said: “Imam, be steady on the truth; if you live you will be praised, and if you die you will be martyred. Imam, I have been whipped in this prison eighteen thousand lashes for the sake of Satan, so you be steady for the sake of The Merciful God (Ar-rahman).” Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal says the words of the thief made him a new person and his internal power was released. They began whipping the Imam but he was steady to the extent that his hangman said: “I have whipped him severely; if he was an elephant he would have collapsed by now, I kept saying to myself the next lash will penetrate his back and come out of his mouth”. When the Imam fell down, someone offered him water, the Imam replied: “I am fasting”.

We can see from this example that whatever the factors are, you have the power to defeat them. Allah’s Prophets faced many factors and harsher conditions than we face. A Prophet was not sent till disorder and corruption prevail. When the hardships and strife become tougher, when the three factors are at their peak and faith descends to the lowest, at this moment Prophets are sent to revive the faith with their followers once more. We are full of hope now to revive our faith once more. Prophets and their followers succeeded in this although they had minor resources. We all hope to succeed as they did and to defeat the factors with the abilities Allah bestowed on us.

We will present you an example that has succeeded on earth and in religion. This example was subject to earthly factors, yet he succeeded and conquered them, this example is:

Prophet Yusuf (PBUH) and from his story we will see that we can succeed as he did:

Yusuf and life:

Factors Yusuf (PBUH) was subject to:

As a child his brothers detested him.

He was thrown in the well when he was less than 12 years old, and Allah says what can be translated as, “bottom of the well” (TMQ, 15:15) (1), as the well was so deep.

He was sold as a slave and stayed as a slave for 10 years.

He was put in jail for another 10 years.

When he reached 40 he started his life as Egypt’s Aziz (minister of treasury).

40 years passed from his life in agony but he succeeded in life regardless of the factors he was subject to.

What where the abilities that helped him to succeed

Patience: We have to learn to be patient till success is accomplished. Let’s all learn from Yusuf’s patience.

Talent: His talent in interpreting dreams. Allah gave each one of us a talent to allow us to succeed.

Knowledge: Economy. He studied this science from the previous Aziz, being a slave did not keep him from studying.

These are the keys for success to any one: patience, knowledge and talent. With those abilities Yusuf (PBUH) succeeded and became Egypt’s Aziz who led the Middle East and saved them from the famine crisis. Using your abilities makes defeating factors a possible target.

This is Yusuf and the story of his success in life. Let’s see Yusuf and religion.

Yusuf and religion:

Yusuf was subject to a great seduction, the seduction of a woman. The story of Yusuf and the seduction of a woman left no excuse for anyone. The lady was the wife of the great Aziz; she had both beauty and position. Yusuf was; strong, beautiful, a bachelor, still had many years before getting married, a slave who can do things a free man can not do, a stranger who can do things natives can not do. She was the one who seduced him saying what can be translated as, “Now come, thou (dear one)!" (TMQ, 15:23) ,“She fastened the doors” (TMQ, 15:23) so he became safe from scandal and she was the one who seduced him many times. She said what can be translated as, “I did seek to seduce him from his (true) self” (TMQ, 15:51). Yet regardless of all these factors, he said what can be translated as, “Allah forbid! Truly (thy husband) is my lord! He made my sojourn agreeable! Truly to no good come those who do wrong!" (TMQ, 15:23) She said about him, describing his resistance, what can be translated as, “he did firmly save himself guiltless!” (TMQ, 15:51) He succeeded in defeating seduction factors. So he succeeded in both life and religion.

Yusuf’s abilities for succeeding in religion

Patience: Patience from sins and patience in obedience.

Supplication: He said what can be translated as, “unless Thou turn away their snare from me” (TMQ, 15:33) and he asked Allah’s help to overcome the seduction.

Will you succeed as he did? Will you defeat the factors? Will you say no to sin?

Youth, what will be your state after this conference? Will this spiritual spirit last or will it disperse before the first temptation? “And on them did Satan prove true his idea, and they followed him, all but a Party that believed”, Satan supposes that we have come here to be better. He supposes that we will be weakened by the first sin he offers us. Will you live up to his expectations? We all hope that all those in this hall are of the believers party the verse talked about

Before I end the lecture, I want to assure you that we can succeed. If Yusuf succeeded in the presence of all those factors, we will Insha’ Allah.

Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith (PBUH) about hope was always in the times of turmoil. In the day of The Battle of Al-Khandaq (the Trench) Muslims were besieged and were subject to hardships greater than we are now. When they were not able to break a rock while digging the trench they called for the Prophet (PBUH). He held the axe and said “In the name of Allah” and he hit the rock and a spark came out from the rock so Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allahu Akbar, Persia is conquered”. He hit the rock once more and another larger spark came out so the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allahu Akbar Rome is conquered”. His talk about hope comes in the time of turmoil.

Nation of Muhammad, hope is still there to restore our nation’s power as long as there are souls in us and as long as we pray for Allah and say, “Allah is the Greatest” and acknowledge that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.

Brothers set your targets and do not lose hope in achieving them.

(1)TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur'an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur'an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur'an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed. © جميع حقوق النشر محفوظةThis Article may be published and duplicated freely for private purposes, as long as the original source is mentioned. For all other purposes you need to obtain the prior written approval of the website administration. For info:

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