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September 28, 2004
Fear & Faith: The Abandonment of Fear Through Certitude [Yaqin]

by Saleem Safdar

Most people spend their lives surrounded by a shadowy shell of fear that
they have created around themselves. Most of their actions are inspired or
inhibited by a certain sense of fear. Fear of not having enough. Fear of
not being accepted. Fear of being persecuted. Most fears that people have
revolve around issues of the material world that involve status, wealth,
fame, fortune, etc. - all of which somehow relate to our lower self and ego
(nafs).

After 9-11 some Muslims made their daughters take off their hijabs because
of fear of reprisals. People make excuses and justify not praying at their
places of work or study out of fear. People deny their links to their
Muslim brothers and sisters in places like Palestine because their fears.
Muhammad becomes Mo and Saleem becomes Sal out of fear. Parents of newborn
children choose names like Din (Dean), Terik (Derick), and Sami (Sammy) and
because they are safe names and they are afraid of giving their kids
complicated Muslim names that won't be conducive to their 'fitting in' in
school. Behind the veil of the parents' altruistic fear often lies a
selfish one in their concern for their being 'American'. In the previous
election American Muslims voted for Bush out of their fear of having a
Jewish Vice President... and four years later the same Muslims want to vote
for Kerry because of their fear of Bush... despite knowing that even if
Kerry is voted into office the U.S. won't leave Iraq anytime soon... and
that Kerry is an open and avid supporter of Israel. As a frenzy of fear is
driving the Muslim vote Nader hasn't even made it into mainstream serious
discussions… Muslims engage in sectarian dirt throwing - "airing the dirty
laundry of Muslims in front of Kaffirs" as one friend so aptly puts it -
because of their fear of not being accepted. Unqualified Fear and
unbounded stupidity go hand in hand.

If fear is a result of not knowing - true Muslims should have nothing to be
afraid of. The key to the universe lies in the profession of faith
[ash-shahada]. As Shaykh Abdul Qadir al Jilani (May Allah be pleased with
him) said: "When you say: 'There is no god [la ilaha],' it is an absolute
negation [nafy kulli], and 'except Allah [illa'llah}' is an absolute
affirmation {ithbat kulli]." When one takes the shahada, in every salah or
every instance of remembrance, [s]he is asserting the singularity of the
ultimate power and Godhood to be His, and bearing witness that there is no
deity, no partner, no power, no creator, no destroyer, or source of benefit
to man besides Allah. If "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth"
(Q 24:35), then without Allah everything is in darkness - signifying
nothing.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani: "You say: 'There is no god but Allah [La ilaha
illa'lla],' but you are lying. In your heart there is a whole collection of
gods [aliha]. Your fears of your ruler [sultan] and of your local governor
[wali] are gods. Your reliance on your earned income and your profit, on
your power and your strength, on your hearing and your sight and your
energy, all these are gods. Your ways of viewing creatures as the source
of injury and benefit, of giving and witholding, are also gods. Many
people talk about these things with their hearts, while making it appear
that they are talking about the Lord of Truth (Glorious and Exalted is He).
Their mentioning the Lord of Truth (Glorious and Exalted is He) has become
a habit for their tongues, not for their hearts. When they are challenged
on this score, they fly into a rage and say: 'How can such things be said
of us? Are we not Muslims?' Tommorow will the shameful facts be disclosed,
and things kept hidden will be revealed."

During prayer the fears and worries of the world rush to our minds... our
bills.. our business and obligations... all of a sudden we realize we are
late to where we had to be ten minutes ago... Its all so convenient... and
its a result of our failure to take the zahir (outer) meaning of the
profession of faith (ash-shahada) and absorb it into our batin (the inner,
hidden) self. We hang signs above the doors to our houses, we wear gold
and silver pendants to profess our pride in our faith, and we pay loads of
money to attend conferences and buy gaudy t-shirts, but if the words don't
go beyond our tongues how will they ever reach our hearts? Shaykh Abdul
Qadir Jilani said: "The heart is a bird in the cage of the physical body,
like a pearl in a casket, like money in a safe, so value must be attached
to the bird and not to the cage, to the pearl and not to the casket, to the
money and not to the safe."

Understanding and nourishing the heart by pinning all hopes on the Creator
is the secret by which the early Muslims were so strong. It was their
faith that inspired fear in opposing armies although they themselves were
outnumbered often and by much. Similarly, it was the early Muslims' faith
that made them fearless of the world around them. The kalimah wasn't a
running joke to them - a punch line that fell off their tongues during
their salah. The power of belief is what made Islam the light of the land
- and the lack of belief is what made Muslims a blight upon the land.

The beauty and power of yaqin is encapsulated in a hadith on the authority
of Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be well pleased with him and his father), from
whom it is transmitted by 'Ata'. Ibn 'Abbas said: "I was riding behind the
Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) when he said to me: 'My boy,
take care of Allah and He will take care of you. Take care of Allah and you
will find Him in front of you. So when you have something to ask, ask
Allah, and when you seek help, seek help from Allah. The pen has already
run dry from writing all that is to be, so if His servants were to strive
to bring you some benefit not decreed for you by Allah, they would not be
capable of it, and if His servants were to strive to cause you some injury
not decreed for you by Allah, they would not be able to do it. So if you
can relate to Allah with honesty and certitude [yaqin], do so; and if you
cannot, there is much good in being patient with what you dislike. Know
that help resides in patience, joy with sorrow, and "with hardship comes
ease" (94:5).' "


of and relating to...
Humayun said

Asalamalikom,

SubanAllah brother, now how come we cannot have more articles like this one? Articles that actually inspire us to increase our eman and taqwa, instead of just casuing controversy. And you are right brother, it seems many Muslims are having an identity crisis these days and thats why they are fearing this society as shown in many aspects. We must look deep into ourselves and find out why we say and do certain things. We must replace all our worldy motivations for motivations for the Hereafter. And practical steps to do that are: 1.)seeking help from Allah 2.) reflecting on ourselves and thinking about death and the hereafter 3.) performing the obligatory deeds with Ihsan. If we build on these 3 steps, by the Will and Mercy of Allah we shall become people of Yaqin.

Wasalmalikom

on September 28, 2004 12:07 PM
Justoju said

Excellent topic.

“And whosoever keeps his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him, and will provide for him from (a quarter) whence he has no expectation. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Lo! Allah brings His command to pass. Allah has set a measure for all things.”
Qur’an 65:2

Rumi writes in his Mathnawi,
"When you resolve to become pious, the devil in your nature cries out at you:
"Tread not those paths, O confused one; distress and poverty will overcome you. You will be despised, let down by friends, you will regret it."
Dread of the devil has bound their souls; the cries of the devil are the drover of the damned; the call of the Lord is a guardian of the saints."

And finally, some truly insightful words embedded in my childhood memory (which I love quoting and requoting):
"Teray ishq mai jo bhi doob gaya
Ussay duniya ki lehro sai darna kya
Allah Allah kar bhaiyya!
Allah hi sai dar bhaiyya!"

translation:
Whoever has drowned in your love
What fear do they have of the waves of Duniya
Say "Allah Allah" oh brother
Only fear Allah oh brother.

--Aallan Faqeer


on September 28, 2004 4:52 PM
Tanweer said

Bismillah,

As-salamu 'Alaikum,

Mashallah! that was a very good article. May Allah remove all our fears and and may we only worship HIM alone. Ameen.
May Allah grant us all hidaya!!
wassalam
Tanweer

on September 28, 2004 9:53 PM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

Subhanallah.

Was Salaam

on September 29, 2004 1:44 PM
Abdullah Proud to be Muslim said

Assalaamu alaikum,
Great article, I did not read all of it brother. So true, if we dont stand up for ourselves, no one will. we have to answer to anti-muslim propaganda and hatred. If we are weak, we will be crushed and we will be hated even more. But we have to get our voice out strong and loud and not let talk shows give the benefit to mainstream American audiences. Let them hear it: we are muslims and we are damn proud of being muslims so live with it! We have muslim names and muslim attire. Shout out to sister Andrea Armstrong and may Allah help her. Why should we pay for being Muslims in American when gays and lesbians have their rights and are given their rights and made sure to get their rights and when Jews have their rights.
So Muslims arise and make yourself known, we are a beautiful people and we must show it.
This is your brother,
Abdullah Proud
Proud to be part of the Muslim crowd
M U S L I M: I am so blessed to be with them

on September 29, 2004 9:38 PM
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