The Foundation of Faith

Many lectures discuss the importance of having strong iman.   This lesson will be about recognizing the bounties that Allah has given us, which is part of having love for Allah.  Just like humans are naturally inclined to love perfection and beauty, we are also naturally inclined to love the one who we need and who does good to us.  All of the gifts and blessings that we possess are only from Allah.  The Qur’an says,

“Whatever you have of bounties is from Allah.”  (Al-Nahl 53)  And also in another ayat:

“If you enumerate the bounties of Allah, you will not be able to encompass them.”  (Al-Nahl 18).

In order for these bounties to have a positive effect on us:

First we must realize that we have been given many bounties and blessings in our lives.

Second, we must realize that all of these bounties come from Allah and only from Allah.

Third, we must realize despite all of these bounties, we are completely dependent on Allah.

On the other hand, Allah does not NEED to bestow any of these bounties upon us.  Allah says,

“O mankind, it is you that is in need of Allah.  But Allah is the One free of all wants.”  (Fatir 15) 

Whatever good happens to us, it is only because of Allah’s will and mercy.  Even if all of mankind wanted to benefit us with something good, they would not be able to unless Allah willed it.  The Prophet told ibn Abbas, “Know that if the people were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you.  And if they had gathered together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you.”

When we really understand that every wonderful thing we have is from the mercy and bounties of Allah, then our love for Allah increases.  And when we love Allah, we then should seek to worship Him sincerely.  In fact, throughout the Qur’an, Allah relates thanking Him with the correct worship of Him.   Listen to these 3 verses:

“And be grateful for the Blessings from Allah, if it is He whom you worship.”  (Al-Nahl 114)

“Be grateful to Me (for my countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.”  (Al-Baqara 152)

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, verily, my punishment is severe.”  (Ibrahim 7)

But before we thank Allah, we have to recognize these wonderful bounties that Allah has given us.  Many of us take them for granted and think, “Everybody has these things, and some have even more.”  Other times we think that these bounties are things that they have earned or deserved through their own efforts.  Sometimes, we are even upset at Allah because because we believe that we have not received all of the blessings that we deserve!

Now let’s remind ourselves of just a few of the bounties that Allah has blessed us with so that we will be, in-sha-Allah, one of the thankful and not of the ungrateful.

First is the bounty and blessing of Islam and faith.  If it were not for Allah’s grace, none of us would have received this wonderful gift.  He is the only One who can place this guidance in our hearts. Most of us in our community have been blessed by Allah in that we grew up in Muslim families.  We never had the misery of living in disbelief and ignorance, not knowing our Lord.  This in itself is a great bounty that Allah has bestowed on us.

And what does this bounty mean?  It means that, by the mercy and will of Allah, we will end up in Jenna and we will be saved from the Hellfire.  How many of us have thought about that and have been thankful to Allah?

A second bounty that we should remember is the brotherhood of Islam.  This is one of the greatest blessings from Allah.  We are all living in a community that cares for each other and looks after one another.  We never have to feel alone or in need.

There are two more blessings that I would like to discuss. These were mentioned in a small booklet by Shaikh Abdul Aziz al-Khatabi.

The first of these is the blessing of eyesight.  Shaikh al-Khatabi stated that he found a blind man lost and bewildered in the southern part of Makkah.  He stopped him and asked him what he was looking for.  It turned out that he was looking for a place in the northern part of Makkah and he had been walking all day long to get to his destination.  So the Shaikh offered him a ride.  In the car he asked him if he faces any major difficulties because of his handicap.  The blind man said that the worst thing he faces concerns his small daughters.  Sometimes they cry and are very sick late at night.  He cannot do anything for them.  When his wife goes to see about them and comes back, she is also crying and he cannot get any news from her.  The only thing that he can do is make his way to his neighbor’s house and bang on their door until they open the door.  Then he has to beg them to take his daughter to the hospital.  I think all of you who have children can imagine if your child were crying, in pain or sick, and you had to sit there helpless, not being able to do anything for your child.  But, by Allah’s mercy, He has given us the blessing of sight and we do not have to face such difficult situations as this in our daily lives.

A second story Shaikh al-Khatabi mentions is when he was at a lecture in a mosque and they saw a man outside waving his arms.  He went outside and found that the man had no hands.  This man had now way to enter the mosque because he could not open the door to the mosque.  Upon entering the mosque, he had to ask the Shaikh to go with him to the bathroom.  He needed him to open the door for him.  After entering the bathroom, the man asked Shaikh al-Khatabi to remove his clothing for him and not to look at him.  The Shaikh had to ask himself how the man would even be able to clean himself after using the bathroom!

These are two great and miraculous bounties from Allah, our eyesight and our hands.  How many of us even think about them and thank Allah for them?  Brothers and sisters, we must make sure that we are from those people who think and recognize the bounties that Allah has blessed us with in this life.  And we must make sure that we are not like those described in the Qur’an,    “They recognize the grace of Allah, yet they deny it and most of them are disbelievers.”  (Al-Nahl 83)

Instead, we should take the time to think about all the wonderful things that Allah has given to us in this world.  If we do that sincerely, then our love for Allah will grow and our Iman and sincerity to Allah will increase.  And this, in-sha-Allah, will be another of the great blessings that Allah will give us.

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