After reflecting on how to deal with the external environment which surrounds us, in Part 1, and at the same time maintain inner peace despite the many problems and turbulence we see each day around us, and after looking at ways for self-development to achieve a stronger faith for increasing inner peace in Part 2, it’s now time to further reflect on some important issues in our personal relation with Allah.
Reflect on the Universe and Be Humble
One look at the night sky, with the billions of stars out there, those we see and those we can’t see, is an important reminder of Allah’s Majesty and Might, and that compared to this amazing universe which surrounds us we are so small and insignificant in size, knowledge and power. This thought is an important reminder as it should lead our hearts to be humble, which is the right way to communicate with our Creator, always remembering how insignificant we are, and that it is we who need Him, not the other way round.
Allah loves humble believers, and dislikes those who are arrogant, and this is a good foundation for a believer’s personal relation which God, and an important reminder to always keep in mind. So look at the sky and look at the stars if you forget, and remember your place in God’s immense and amazing universe … The only logical outcome one can reach by doing so would be to praise Allah, and as one enjoys the beauty of the sky, whether by normal eye-sight, a telescope or using Google Sky, a feeling of peace will fill the heart of a believer, together with an increase of humbleness and love for our Creator … Subhan Allah
Be Sincere and Keep Your Promise
As mentioned in Part 2, Allah only accepts deeds that are based on sincere intentions purely for His sake. So before starting anything new, or even saying any word, we need to check our intentions, and maintain a sincere relation with Him. If you promise God to do something, keep your promise, and remember that He knows what you think and what you intend to do. An interesting story which illustrates the sincerity, trust and truthfulness of believers happened in the time of the Israelites, which is detailed in Sahih Al-Bukhari:
“A man from the children of Israel asked another man to lend him 1,000 dinars, and he answered, “Bring witnesses that I will make bear witness (to this transaction).” The first man said, “Allah is enough as a witness.” He then said, “Then bring me a guarantor.” He said, “Allah is enough as a Guarantor.” The man said, “You have spoken the truth.”
He gave him the money for a fixed term. the debtor traveled by sea and when he fulfilled the purpose of his journey, he looked for a ship to board and to return and pay the debt at the appointed time. However, he was not able to find a ship, so he took a piece of wood, pierced it, and thrust into it 1,000 dinars along with a letter to the creditor. Then he took it to the ocean.
He said, “Oh Allah! You know that I borrowed 1,000 dinars from such and such person, and he asked me for a guarantor. I said, Allah is enough as a guarantor. He was pleased with You, and he also asked for a witness. I said, Allah is enough as a witness and he was pleased with You as a witness. And I have not been able to find a ship to send him that which is due to him, so indeed I trust it to You.”
He threw the piece of wood into the ocean until it was swallowed by water, and then went away. He then continued to search for a boat to return to his country. The creditor went out looking – perhaps a boat would come with his wealth. He found a piece of wood – in which was the money – and he took it to his family as firewood. When he broke the wood open, he found the money and the letter.
Then the debtor returned, bringing with him (another) 1,000 dinars. He said, “By Allah, I continued to search for a boat in order to return your wealth to you, but I did not find one until I found the one that I came on now” The other man asked, “And did you send anything to me?” …”For indeed, Allah paid for you through the wood that you sent.””
This amazing story shows how a strong faith, together with sincerity, honesty and the will to keep a promise made with God as a witness, brings a believer close to God. Allah describes righteous believers in the Qur’an as follows: (They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows …) (Al-Insan, 76:7) Knowing that and reaching this level of faith and sincerity, should any believer really worry about the future?
Communicate with Allah
The man in debt in this story communicated with Allah through prayer (du’aa) and doing his best to keep his promise, he put his trust in Allah asking Him to deliver the piece of wood which had the money. To find inner peace, we need to communicate with Allah on a regular basis, as He is the source of all peace. Such communication can either be through du’aa, through reading the Qur’an or through praying (Salat).
If you want God to speak to you, read The Qur’an, and if you want to speak to God pray. The important thing is to always have these channels of communication open and in good condition. Reading the Qur’an will surely bring peace to the heart, and so will praying. It is also very important to remember Allah at times of ease so that He remembers you at times of hardship, as mentioned in a hadith by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:
“Remember Allah in times of ease, and He will recognize you in times of distress.” (Musnad Ahmed)
The quality of communicating with Allah is as important as quantity, so when you switch off your mobile phone before starting to pray, also do your best to switch off from your personal problems, worries and concerns before reading the Qur’an or starting to pray, as this way you will concentrate more and will reap the fruit of communicating with your Creator through increased knowledge and inner peace.
When you love a person, you want to visit them and be near them. It’s the same in our relation with Allah. If you really love Him, then visit Him on a regular basis. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, informed us that the masajid (mosques), are the best locations on earth, so do your best to visit Him in His house not only on Fridays, but beyond that on a more regular basis. Men are encouraged to pray the five daily prayers in the masjid, if they have one near by, and women are encouraged to go to the masjid as often as they can. The more you visit Him, the more He will reward you and fill your heart with peace. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“He who performs ablution in his home and perfections it, then comes to the mosque, he is Allah’s visitor, and it is incumbent upon the host to be generous towards his guest” (Hadith in Al-Tabarani, authenticated by Al-Albani)
Another way to visit Allah is to go on Hajj and Umrah. Visiting Makkah on pilgrimage is an amazing journey which has multiple benefits, one of them being renewing and strengthening our relation with God, and cleaning our hearts from worldly attachments and desires. While in Makkah, a Muslim remembers Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, and his wife Hagar, and the many lessons learned from their legacy in that blessed location. We remember Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his companions and their followers, and the many sacrifices they made fourteen centuries ago in order for this religion to reach us today. With so many angels filling the place, inner peace and tranquility are strongly felt all over Makkah and Madinah.
Balance Between Hope, Fear & Love
A bird can’t fly with one wing, it needs two wings, and also it needs a head. In order to achieve a balance in life, a believer needs to maintain a balance between hope and fear, and have the love of Allah as his guide to God’s Path, following the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
“Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (3:31)
Too much hope in the heart of a believer may lead to committing sins relying on the assumption that God is Merciful and that He forgives all sins. On the other hand, having too much fear from the Hereafter would make life very complicated, as a believer would always opt for ideal options, which are often impossible to achieve in this world.
Somewhere in the middle of the scale between fear and hope is the right position to take, and scholars recommend that while a believer is young and in good health, he should be more motivated by fear than hope, but later on in life, when one is near death, one should have more hope, looking forward to meeting Allah, The Most Merciful. This equilibrium leads to a balanced life, and to a believer’s heart thereby being at peace.
Try to Reach the Level of Ihsan
In the well-known hadith where Angel Gabriel came to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and asked him about Islam, Faith (Iman), and Perfection (Ihsan), the Prophet defined the third topic of Ihsan as follows:
“It means that you should worship Allah (SWT) as though you see Him, for He sees you though you do not see Him.” (Sahih Muslim)
When a believer becomes very conscious of Allah’s presence and feels that He is watching every move one makes, this level is close to the highest level of piety when one becomes close to an ideal Muslim in faith, manners and dealing with people. At this stage, the heart will certainly overflow with inner peace and tranquility, for Allah loves those who perfect their deeds and do good (Al-Muhsineen), those who have reached the level of Ihsan.
Submit to the Will of Allah
Finally, if you are really searching for peace in your relation with Allah, then it is crucial that you submit to His will, as through full submission, the heart of a believer becomes content with whatever Allah has destined for him in this life.
Praise Allah in all cases, thank Him for His many favors, and be patient when faced with hardships, while always asking Him for His help and support however turbulent the world around you may seem right now, and live Paradise on earth with a heart filled with inner peace and contentment.
We ask Allah (SWT) to show us the path of peace in this world, and that He admits us to the Abode of Peace in the Hereafter, by His Mercy
By Tarek M. T. Ezzat