Islamic Youth Leadership Program: Tazkiyah – Purification of the Soul (Part 2)

Dedicated to revive the leadership quality among the younger Islamic generation of today, Islamic Online University held the YL360 Course for public for free through the website. Here are the excerpts from the course which I will present to you all in separate posts.

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One time, somebody asked Ali r.a during his Caliphate period about the reason why was that during Umar r.a the ummah was in a glorious state but it’s quite the opposite during his time. Ali r.a responded by saying that during Umar, he ruled over the best and closest sahabah like himself for example, but during his time now, Ali rules over the likes of people who asked that question to him.

Good leadership depends on the quality of the followers. It’s important to obey the regulations of Islam because if not, we cannot truly change the condition amongst us. We cannot be true leaders unless we follow the teachings of Islam fully.

Purpose of life

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.”
– QS Adh-Dhariyat: 56

Ibaadah could be anything. It could be our prayers, zakat, giving alms, performing good deeds, and many things. But it’s also up to our intentions, especially if it is for Allah then it will be considered ibaadah. The purpose of life is to be the slave of Allah and to obey Him. If we follow His teachings, Quran, the sunnah of the Prophet, and the way of the Salaf; then we are fulfilling our purpose in life.

Compared to the afterlife and the whole universe, our dunya is nothing and very small. In one hadith, the dunya was even compared with the size of a mosquito. Whereas the other dimensions such as alam barzakh and the akhirat, which we know only so little, are way bigger than the dunya.

We have a long journey ahead and that’s why we need to live like a traveler here in the dunya. Because it is only temporary! We need to know and prepare for the journey ahead after dunya. We have to keep this in mind and not letting ourselves preoccupied with the distractions of dunya.

 “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.”
– QS Ali Imran: 14

These are the distractions that will put our jihad efforts in check and may prevent us from obeying Allah and His teachings fully. It’s because we are busy hoarding them, enjoying them, and preoccupied rather than solving the real test that Allah has given us for this life.

That’s why we need to keep the dunya in our hands but not our hearts. Use it as the tool to obey Allah but not as an obsession for material things. To be aware of these would be critical to our success with the afterlife, the permanent one unlike the one that we are currently living in.

Anas r.a narrates that Rasulullah pbuh said,
“On the Day of Judgement, that dweller of Jahannam (hellfire) who had lived the most luxurious life in this world will be brought and he will be put in Jahannam for a second and taken out. He will then be asked, ‘0 son of Adam, did you ever experience any good? Did you ever experience any comfort?’ He will say, ‘No, I swear by Allah, my Lord.

‘Then, that dweller of Jannat who lived the most difficult life in this world will be brought and he will put in Jannat for a second and out. He will be asked, ‘0 son of Adam, did you ever experience any difficulty? Did you ever experience any hardship?’ He will say, ‘No, I swear by Allah ~, my Lord. I never experienced any hardship and I never experienced any difficulty.’
– Sahih Muslim

Despite the difficulties that we face in this world, be steadfast and remember Allah and the Rasulullah pbuh promise in this.

Want to change the world?

“For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah . Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.”
– QS Ar Ra’d: 11

Somebody asked about what is the connection between purifying one soul and the life itself. The answer came from this verse.

Our condition now is because of us. Allah will take away the blessings from us if we are not obeying Him. He will not change our condition if we do not change. Certainly this is related with the matter of leadership and the state of the followers as well.

One of the finest sahabah, the general Saad bin Abi Waqqas r.a once won a decisive battle against the Persian even though the Muslims were outnumbered back then. One of the secrets behind his victory was an advice from Caliph Umar r.a:

“I order you and the soldiers who are with you to be aware of Allah under all circumstances as taqwa of Allah is a better weapon against your enemy and a stronger strategy in battle.

And I order you and those with you to be very much on the defensive against any sins, more than your enemies are, for the sins of an army are more feared than their enemies.

Verily, Allah helps the Muslims due to the sins of their enemies; if it were not for that we would not be able to overcome them for our numbers are not like theirs and our power is not like theirs.

If we are equal in sins to them, they will be able to overtake us due to their (military) power. If we were not aided by our virtue, we would not be able to overcome them due solely to our power.

And ask Allah to help yourselves in the same way that you ask for help against your enemies.”

That is why today the Muslims are in such sorry state. It is exactly as Rasul pbuh used to say, “The Muslims will be like the foams of the sea”. The enemies are carving out our lands and “eating” us like at a buffet table. So all these divisions and infighting among ourselves give away this condition like today.

The prime example was the mistake done by only a few archers on the top of the hill during the Battle of Uhud and because of that, we suffered defeat. That is why the mistake of a few will compromise the whole ummah.

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To be continued

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Excerpts from the narration of Nihal Javed of Islamic Online University

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