“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein
Recently, I met a sister from Canada. She told me that she is a born Muslim but she felt that she was just a Muslim by name. She told me that her lack of practice and knowledge made her feel like a hypocrite. Now, she wants to learn more about Islam and how to be a true Muslim.
I completely understand how she feels and I applaud her for her efforts. I was in her exact position years ago. I had to admit to myself that I was in fact a liar. I was calling myself a Muslim but I refused to follow any of the teachings. I pleaded ignorance but my ignorance was self inflicted. It was not because that I couldn’t find out more about Islam but, truth of the matter was, that I was just not bothered and took for granted I was okay, just because I was a born Muslim. In my ignorant state, I took for granted that having a Muslim name and to pray occasionally was enough to save me from Hell fire. Boy! Was I wrong!!!
I know now, that, it is not our name or our heritage that defines us as a Muslim but it is our sincerity and submission towards God Al Mighty. We can declare to the whole, who ever we want to be but the bottom line is, can we honestly face God Al Mighty on Judgment day and tell Him that we were His most devoted servants? Can we say to Him that we devoted our lives to Him? Can we truthfully declare to Him that we had wholly and completely submitted to His Will? For me, I don’t think I can. Not at this juncture.
I still have long journey ahead of me and I still have a lot to learn. My knowledge on Islam is still very much lacking.
I was talking to an acquaintance the other day and she asked me how to make a person change for the better. I told her that, to me, change must come from within. The person must want to change. We can't force or impose change on anyone. In order for a person to change, he or she must have knowledge then understanding and finally acceptance. Without these three main ingredients, no change can come about. It’s like the saying ‘you can drag the horse to the stream but you can’t make the horse drink’.
“Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). “
Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:11
Having said that, we can’t sit idly and hope that God will show us the ‘light’. We must strive to look for answers.
The funny things about change is the acceptance, it is actually one of the pillars of eaman. “Belief in the predestination by Allah of all things, both the (seemingly) good and the (seemingly) bad.”. We can tell ourselves that we accept fate but the true test of acceptance of Divine Will and Decree (Qada and Qadr) is when we have face with difficulties and obstacles. Do we question 'why'? Or, do we just pick up the pieces and move on?
When I lost my 6th child, my heart had silently asked why even though my lips remained sealed . As much as I tried to remain steadfast, my human weakness prevailed.
“and man was created weak”
Surah An-Nisa 4:28
God had actually answered my silent question, almost immediately and it only then, that, I understood and accepted my fate. When I buried my 7th child, I did not question either silently or aloud but, I accepted and moved on. I came to realize that when I accepted my fate, there was no grief hence it was very much easier to move on. Whatever that has been written, can’t be changed. I just have to go through it.
Like I said earlier, acceptance comes only with knowledge and understanding. Check your knowledge and then ask yourself if you have understood. If you have understood, then ask yourself honestly if you have accepted whatever knowledge you have gained. If all your answers are in the affirmative, then, In Shaa Allah, you will pass with flying colors whatever obstacles that may come your way....
“and they said: "Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us)."
Surah Al-Imran 3:173