Souvenir From Makkah: Writing Directly From The Ka’abah

Hajj Excellence Award

 

 

 

By

 

Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

Friday, April 12, 2019

 

In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy

 

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, Muhammad, his Family, his Companions, his Brothers and his followers till the Day of Resurrection.

 

Dear brothers and sisters! By Allah, one never tires of gazing at the sight of the House of Allah, the Ka’abah. The site upon which the mercy and blessings of Allah are constantly descending. There is truly nothing comparable to the House of Allah on this Earth. People wish time would stand still so that they could keep gazing at the Ka’abah; their thirst is never quenched, rather it increases.

 

Respected brothers and sisters! Once, while on a visit to Washington DC to attend a conference, people told me that a woman had accepted Islam and had some questions for me. They told me that many non-practicing Muslim women had started practicing again due to her. At prayer time she would dress in her best clothes as if readying herself for someone special, and would become oblivious to everything around her as soon she started praying.

 

After a brief question and answer session, I asked her what prompted her to accept Islam. She sighed and started explaining:

 

“I was a Jew and my husband was a Christian who was posted in Saudi Arabia for some technical work. Everyday I used to see Muslim men and women dressed in white on their way somewhere. I asked my husband where they were going and he told me that they go to perform pilgrimage at the Muslim shrine of Ka’abah. I expressed a desire to go but he told me that non-Muslims were not allowed. However, I was determined and so we both bought white clothes and set out. Fortunately no one stopped us and we reached Makkah, from where we found directions to the Ka’abah. Upon seeing the Ka’abah our eyes froze and time seemed to stand still. When we turned to look at each other after some time, we were both crying. With our eyes we told each other that this was the Truth and we should accept Islam. No one ever told me about Islam, but there were so many blessings descending on that House that they changed my life forever.”

 

Dear brothers and sisters! The blessings of Tawhid descend in Makkah, and the blessings of Prophet hood descend in Madinah. One has seen nothing in life if he has not seen these two noble sites. I pray, May Allah give all Muslims the opportunity to visit His House. Ameen.

 

* Allah’s plan is the best

 

My good people! At some point in our lives, we will be faced with difficulties that will change our whole attitude about everything. Our core will shaken up. Our foundation will be broken. Why we live and strive for will completely change. Our values will become different. We will question our purpose of life. We will question our success. We will look back at our lives and say what have we done with our lives? Have we ever done something greater than us. Have we made a difference in this world? Are we proud with our past. Have we been chasing the wrong dreams? It maybe be the first time we actually contemplate about our past rather than plan for the future like everyone else.

 

My beloved people! Sometimes life has surprises for us, often painful surprises. It catches us off guard. It breaks us. It confuses us. It is these surprises that get our attention the most. We may be so caught up with life and the glamour that it has to offer, we can’t see what’s in front of us. We are focused on lifeless things. We go from one pleasant experience to another without appreciating the experiences themselves. We lack emotion and life in things we do. We forget what matters the most in life. We are blinded by our worldly dreams. We can’t appreciate “now.” We forget that “life” is a gift with an unknown expiration date worth living now. Rather than focus on the gift at hand, we chose to chase the promised gifts of this world that may never come. Fortunately, difficulties are here to help and change us for better. They are here to bring emotion and meaning to life. They are here to revive the experiences we are gifted with. They are here to make our experiences real.

 

When we are faced with difficulties, we often don’t know how to respond. It is an unfamiliar and unpleasant territory. We haven’t been here before. We don’t like the situation we are in. We don’t see any good in this. We don’t see an easy way out. We become hopeless. We don’t see much hope for a better future. We often feel like nobody can help us now. Nobody can understand us. Nobody cares for us. We are all in our own. To make things worse, it often seems like we have more problems than solutions. Whenever we solve one problem, another problem comes up; often a bigger problem. The good life we had is gone for good. Life will be a battle now. Little do we know that whats gone is our attitude not the good life we though we had.

 

The future we had planned for us doesn’t seem like it is going to happen. We are crushed. We are in a desperate place, hopeless, hoping a miracle will change our outcome and we will get back to our old lifeless life. We need someone to hear our worries and soften our hearts. We need someone who answers prayers and can change our outcome immediately. We turn to Allah, our last resort. We utter a prayer we haven’t said in a long time. With desperation we say:

 

“Allah, if you are there please help me. I really need your help. If you can get me out of this problem, I will forever be grateful to you. And we probably say, we won’t ask for your help again!”

 

The Allah we couldn’t afford much time and appreciation to in the past is the only thing worth devoting our time to now. Change is happening. Our thoughts are shaping. Our weaknesses are enabling us. We are making progress.

 

We pray to Allah for help with much hope expecting instant results. We know Allah is all powerful, capable of doing anything. We tell Allah and convince ourselves that; if Allah helps us, we will believe in Him, wholeheartedly.” We have a timeline and an idea of how Allah needs to respond to us. We know what’s best for us. Allah needs to succumb to our ways. He needs to be fast and effective with His power. The outcome of this prayer determines Allah’s worth to us. If Allah is slow to respond, He is not worth worshiping, and if Allah is fast to respond to us, He is a mighty Allah that we will only honour and worship until we see a brighter future. Then Allah is forgotten. He only exists when we need Him. He only exists when there’s problem.

 

But no, Allah will not listen to us because we need Him. He will not yield to our ways. He has rules that we must abide to if we want His help. It starts with humility and worship. There is a process that Allah wants us to go through. He wants us to experience life the fullest. He wants us to go through life with ups and downs and be content throughout. He will allow us to struggle with this difficulty until we change our condition. Allah tells us in the noble Qur’an:

 

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Qur’an, 13:11]

 

Allah in the above verse informs mankind that whatever difficulty we are in, has a purpose. It is there for a reason. The difficulty will not depart until we change our condition; meaning our old ways. It may be a bad habit that we need to get rid of. It may be that we are wasting our gifts when we have potential for more. Or it may be time that we need a difficulty to get us going. The harvesting season is almost here yet our tools are not sharpened yet.

 

Respected brothers and sisters! Human beings are impatient. We always want instant results. If we do not see action immediately, we try to take control to change things ourselves. No matter our efforts we are against a big wall. Only this time, this wall is greater and built specifically to stop us from moving forward. Allah wants us to stand still. He wants to equip us to bypass the wall.

 

Seeing that Allah is not responding to us on our time, we immediately become concerned. Our prayers have been fruitless. What is it this time. Why will it take to get us out of this difficulty. We start to analyse the situation at hand and have our opinions heard. We utter to ourselves: “He (Allah) is more concerned about other people. He doesn’t want to listen to me. I’m not good enough for Him. Maybe I have too many unforgiven sins that I need to repent to before Allah will listen to me. If we had any faith and belief in Allah there isn’t much left of them.

 

We start analysing and planning things, thinking of different ways to plead to Allah for help. Maybe if we prayed harder, we would get an answer to our prayer. Maybe we are not sacrificing enough. Now that we have thought things little we jump right into action. We are hasty. We immediately pray harder and sacrifice something in hopes of getting our prayers answered. We meditate in the word of Allah and become more religious. We start worshipping Allah like we never have before. We fast in hopes of getting Allah to listen to us. We wait impatiently hoping to see our prayers answered. Unfortunately, we don’t see much change. We don’t get what we prayed for. We end up with a big No. Or it may be something we wouldn’t chose for ourselves. So we become displeased with Allah and question if worshipping Allah is even worth it.

 

Why is Allah ignoring me? I tried my best to get close to Him. I did everything I could in my power. Maybe He doesn’t care for me. Or maybe Allah doesn’t exist. After all, a loving Allah wouldn’t allow His servants to suffer. We are feeling sorry for ourselves and trying to justify what is happening. If only we understood the way Allah works, we would be happier and more patient.

 

Allah’s plans are greater than our plans. He did not create us just to wonder around and indulge excessively in matters that bring us no good. He created us with a purpose that He intends to use us for. His dreams for us are not to be happy with instant results, rather He wants us to be happy by not getting the results we wanted and expected. He wants us to grow and mature in contentment, because contentment brings more rewards.

 

True contentment is being happy with what Allah gives us not what we want to have. If Allah throws a difficulty our way, its his way of pushing us harder. He is growing us in things we lack. If Allah is silent temporarily, it’s his way of allowing us to grow and face problems in our own. He knows we are capable of finding results ourselves. If Allah makes us wait, He wants to teach us patience. If Allah helps us, He wants to teach us that He truly is most-great, all powerful. If Allah allows us to suffer, He wants us to change for the better. And if Allah intends to help us immediately, He wants us to be obedient and thankful always.

 

In the noble Qur’an, Allah makes it very clear about the nature of human beings. He says referring to mankind:

 

“It may be that you like a thing which is bad for you and that you dislike a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows you know not.” [Qur’an, 2:216]

 

Allah the Almighty explicitly informs us that man is created with desires and lack of understanding. We learn at the very young age to indulge in certain things. We give in to our desires very easy. Later as time passes and we grow older, we learn that those things we indulged in were actually bad for us. We wish we could change the past and not suffer the consequences now. Similarly, Allah knows what’s best for us. He often blesses us with difficulties and by not answering our destructive prayers.

 

In any difficulty and at all times, we need to realise that Allah knows best. He is always in control. Whatever He allows to happen is because of His will. Whatever plans He has for our lives, He will make sure they come to pass. He has the best interest for us. Whatever situation we are in, we need to realise that everything has been decreed. We have some power but Allah holds all power. His ways are always better than ours.

 

We need to always remember Allah and have him in our hearts in good and bad times with an appreciative spirit. We need to revolve our lives around Allah, not Allah around our lives. When we remember Allah, clouds of worry and fear are driven away, and the mountains that make up our problems are blown away. His remembrance carries with it the meaning of total dependence upon Him, of turning to Him for aid, of having good thoughts about Him, and of waiting for victory from Him. Truly, He is near when supplicated: He hears when He is called, and He answers when He is invoked. So humble yourself before Him and ask of Him sincerely. Repeat His beautiful blessed name, and mention Him as being alone worthy of worship. Mention His praises, supplicate to Him, and ask forgiveness from Him: you will then find – by the will of Allah- happiness, peace, and illumination. It starts with, let your will be done o mighty Allah. Your ways are the best ways. Whatever situation I am in, you have decreed it for me, because you know what’s best for me.

 

* Why are our prayers not answered?

 

My beloved brothers and sisters! Do you ever wonder why our prayers are not answered? After all, we are sincere in our request, we have the right intention of pleasing our creator, and we are living a righteous lifestyle. So why are our prayers not answered when we need them the most. The answer is very simple if we are willing to embrace the fact that, not all our prayers are good for us. We need to accept that Allah in His infinite knowledge does what’s best for us. He has greater plans which are unfolding. He is slowly shaping us for our greater purpose.

 

Allah the Most High says in the glorious Qur’an:

 

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2: 216]

 

My people! From the above verse, it is very clear that as human beings we are weak in our understanding. We lack wisdom and patience. We are accustomed to a lifestyle of “I want it now,” rather than being patient for good things to come when the time is right. It’s not our fault that we have become this way. We live in a society that is dictated by money, fashion and power. It’s a trend that we follow which causes us more harm than good. Rather than placing our hopes in this world, in things which yield no fruits in our next home; a world that is vanishing every moment, we should place our hopes in Allah the Almighty, who is eternal, and who answers our prayers in accordance with His will. In accordance with our final destination in the hereafter. To whom the keys of paradise lie with.

 

As human beings, we lack in knowledge and wisdom. We do not really understand the higher purpose of life. We do not know why certain situations happen until we reflect and see clearly the outcome of some events. It is not in our knowledge and power that we should know certain things. That is why our creator has kept certain things secret from us. He is protecting us from our ignorance. We must learn to trust Him just as the father advises His young son in some affairs, which the child does not know the details but needs to trust the wisdom of his father. Similarly ask Allah and embrace the answer with full trust. Know that the best answer has been given to you. After all, ask and you shall receive.

 

We need to trust Allah that when we pray, the best outcome will happen, regardless whether our prayers are answered now, in the future, or not answered as we expect. Trust that your lord will give what’s best for you, and that He will withhold what will harm you. Wallahi, no prayer goes unanswered. A prayer can be answered with a NO, so don’t despair. We must learn to replace our expectations with the wisdom of Allah. We must accept the things that the lord has willed for us.

 

Human beings are created weak. We have a physical body bound to the laws of the universe. We have limitations that the physical world governs us by. We have a physical body driven by a spiritual engine. For us to function at optimal levels, we need to worship our creator. Just as the physical body needs food to live, so does the soul need the worship and remembrance of Allah the Most High. We are created to worship our creator. Worship is essential to our well-being. Our creator has instructed us to seek help from Him and to be patient. It is our weak side fueled by arrogance and ignorance which plants in our head thoughts of self-sufficiency and power. It is these traits that make us suffer when we can choose not to, by simply asking Allah and being patient, no matter how long the wait is. It is our pride and arrogance which hinders our efforts in getting our prayers answered.

 

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah created us with needs. One of our daily needs is the worship of Allah the Almighty. In order for us to remain humble and to fight arrogance and pride, we have to be consistent in our worship. We have to be thankful and aware that all our blessings are the result of Allah’s mercy. We have to be knowledgeable that this world is not our permanent home. It’s a journey to the higher destination. When we pray to Allah for certain things and we feel neglected or ignored, we become impatient. We continue asking Allah for the same prayer even if things seem to be going in the wrong direction. This time of abandonment can serve as vitalisation of the soul. During our prayers, we are actually worshiping Allah, by placing our hopes and efforts in Him. When we have earned the award of humility and worship, Allah will answer our prayer with both a contentful soul and physical needs.

 

We cannot let outside influence affect our relationship with Allah. It is this destructive lifestyle why Allah does not answer our prayers, until we make Him our priority instead of the society. When we are in this state, Allah sends obstacles our way, so we can refocus our energy in things that matter the most. He the most-gracious, withholds when we ask Him. By not giving us to the needs of society, He brings us closer to Him. He is taking the Dunya (this world) away from us and bringing us closer to Him. This is the answer that many do not expect; nonetheless, it is the best answer by Allah the Most High.

 

The time we spend seeking the help of Allah, we actually cleanse ourselves. While seeking answers from Him, we build patience and humility. We become true servants of Allah. We understand where the true source of power is at. Not in people, not in things, but in Allah the Most High. By being persistent in our prayers, we become stronger. We build a relationship with Allah. And the best answer may have come not in the things we had asked, but in discovering who our lord is. What our greater purpose in life is and where our destination will be.

 

Truly no prayer goes unanswered. Allah the Almighty says in the glorious Qur’an:

 

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Qur’an, 2:186]

 

* Allah will answer your prayers

 

Dear brothers and sisters! When you pray to Allah for something, be patient and certain that an answer will come. Never question the generosity and mercy of Allah. Don’t doubt Him. He knows what’s best for you and will answer your prayers at the best time suited for you. He is listening. He is changing the circumstances. He is changing you before He blesses you with better things than you asked for.

 

An answer to a prayer to soon is like an invention before its time. It doesn’t yield and fruits and it becomes a waste and a burden, however, when an invention comes at the best possible time, it leaves a mark in our time. History is written. Likewise, Allah will make history with our time on earth by answering our prayers in the best possible way. Be thankful and patient. History will be written with a great blessing for you In Shaa Allah.

 

Allah says in the glorious Qur’an:

 

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Qur’an, 2:186]

 

So please don’t lose hope. Know that Allah answers our prayers even when we do not see so. You may Have asked for marriage, but He granted you faith. You may have asked for money but He granted you love. Don’t be focused in your prayers, be focused in His blessings. He answers prayers the way He sees fit, not the way we understand.

 

So put aside your impatience and thank Him for everything you have now. Recall when you knew nothing and you were nothing and He brought you into existence without your knowledge and supplication. He will bless you in ways He sees fit the same way He created you without your understanding and reasoning. So put your trust in Him and patiently wait for His will to unfold in the best possible way for your life.

 

* Success belongs to those who are consistent in pursuing their dreams

 

Dear brothers and sisters! Nothing becomes great in a short amount of time all at once. It is over long periods of time with consistent actions in which mountains are built and new roads are created. Similarly, by following the path of Allah the Almighty and being consistent with our good actions and intentions, our character is transformed. We become what we say and we do what we intend. We build the stairway to heaven by replacing our sins with good deeds. And whoever builds for their future in the hereafter, they will never be dissatisfied. They are the winners whom Allah will reward immensely.

 

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

 

“The best actions are those which are small and consistent.”

 

What actions can we do that will benefit us in the hereafter? We can start by thanking Allah daily. By praising Him daily and seeking forgiveness. By gaining knowledge and teaching it to others. By being trustworthy and righteous. By helping the poor. By refraining from sinning. And by remembering Allah daily!

 

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah the Almighty. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions, his Brothers and his followers till the Day of Resurrection.

 

Wassalamu Alaikum

 

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau sent this piece from Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

 

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