Allah goes not give us guidelines without the best of examples.

The stories in the Qur’an and the Seerah of Rasulullah ﷺ are not just for us to enjoy and marvel at their beauty and poignancy, their relevance and timelessness, they are to strengthen us to fight life’s battles with the best tools in our arsenal – Imaan (faith), Sabr (active patience), and Tawakkul (reliance on Allah).

In our last read, ‘The Garden in Our Hearts’, we talked about the life-changing impact of living our lives knowing who our Lord is, connecting with Him through the beneficial acts of dhikr and du’a, as well as realizing that Allah is completely enough for us- even if the whole world were to turn against us.

Let’s delve into three beautiful moments in the lives of three remarkable individuals whom the Lord of the Worlds, the Loving, mentions with favour. What an incredible honour, SubhanAllah.


Allah’s Chosen Friend

This is a story we’ve been told from childhood- but this time, I want you to put yourself in the place of our protagonist, a man of heroic faith, Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام.

Imagine a raging fire in a deep pit that is so enormous and formidable that no man could venture close to it.  Imagine being tied to a catapult, about to be thrown into this deadly inferno even.

The crackling flames are about to devour a boy with a fearless gaze, and the hostile gathering of people waiting to watch him burn to death were people he loved, people whom he tried to save with a simple Truth:

“He rebuked [them], “Do you then worship—instead of Allah—what can neither benefit nor harm you in any way?” “

[Al Anbiya: 66]

Fuelling this bloodthirsty crowd was Ibrahim عليه السلام ‘s father who called for the death of his child to safeguard the idols of his desires.

Imagine how he felt. Think about how you would feel if the people you grew up with were clamoring for you and everything you stand for to be burnt to nothing but ashes.

Now, what would you do if someone came up to you and showed you kindness as your heart was shattering? 

Wouldn’t you beg for help?  Wouldn’t you weep with gratitude?

Well, when Angel Jibreel عليه السلام came down beside Ibrahim عليه السلام offering him a possibility of being saved from a torturous death, this Chosen One of Allah neither begged nor broke down.

He said, “HasbunAllahu Wa Ni’mal Wakeel.”  Sufficient is Allah for us, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs.

And guess what? He still experienced the terror of being pelted into the flames.

But Allah’s Command was immediate and comprehensive:

“Allah said: ‘O fire, be coolness and safety upon Abraham.’

And they intended for him harm, but We made them the greatest losers.”

[Al Anbiya: 69-70]

This Name and Attribute of Allah, Al-Wakeel [The Disposer of Affairs], Who can cool and tame fire in an instant, should remove your worry for tomorrow and your regret over yesterday.

This world is going to try to tear you down, especially if you are amongst the truly faithful.

But, my brothers and sisters, you and yours are in the best Hands.

The more you get to know Allah and the better you focus on seeking Him through diverse acts of worship, the more your heart will be soothed, cooled, and fortified by this realization.


Pleasure in Divine Connection

The next scene is of a frail elderly man seeking seclusion to converse with his Lord; it’s a touching picture, but what is more touching is the words he chooses to pour his heart out to Allah.

The noble Prophet Zakkariyah عليه السلام had been making a dream du’a for many, many years.

This du’a was not answered for many, many years.

But Zakkariyah عليه السلام never ceased calling out to Allah, and it wasn’t only because he was certain that Allah would grant him his heart’s dearest wish.

Zakkariyah عليه السلام loved the experience of talking to Allah, that one-on-one connection with the Ever-living Lord of the heavens and the earth, the All-Knowing of their mysteries and secrets- the Lord who gave him everything that he loves, including the capacity to love and to lovingly ask Him for more!

And so, this humble servant عليه السلام confides to his Lord yet again,

“My Lord, indeed, my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, My Lord, unhappy.

And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself and heir…”

[Maryam: 04]

It’s so clear by the way he is describing his situation and emotions that he is savouring every minute of talking to Allah, Who already knows and understands but loves to listen anyway.

And it’s equally clear that He knows Allah enough not to limit His limitless Power. Zakkariyah عليه السلام is making a du’a that many may brand as “impossible” or “unrealistic”, simply because they are judging by the apparent norms and standards that limit human beings.

But Muslims don’t beg and beseech anyone except Allah because that would be irrational and illogical when we have a Lord Who says “Kun” (“Be”) and it is.

Again, let’s assess ourselves.

Are we too rushed when making du’a, forgetting to Whom we are speaking?

Are we afraid that our du’as are too good to become true, forgetting from Who we are asking?

Our du’as should push boundaries and give us butterflies, take a lesson from Zakkariyah عليه السلام who, finally, in his ripe old age, was gifted with a virtuous son عليه السلام named by His Lord as ‘Yahya.’


A beautiful Patience

Finally, I would like to touch upon a story that is close to all of our hearts. How could it not be when Allah سُبْحَانَهُوَتَعَالَى calls it the best of stories?!

Yusuf عليه السلام was abandoned in all ways. Trapped in the darkness and cold, rejected and abused by his own flesh and blood.

A small boy with no one in the world who could know how he feels, who could have the insight to find him lost and help him.

But this was Yusuf عليه السلام, who had been lovingly taught about Allah by his father, Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام.

The rope was extended, and he grabbed it without hesitation.  He didn’t sit any longer in self-pity, hating a world that tossed him to the side to suffer.

No, even as a child, he knew better. He took the first opportunity to lift himself out of the dark depths and knew that it was Allah, and no one else, who had sent it and would continue to look out for him.

It’s important to note that crimes against humanity such as the above, do not mean that Allah, exalted is He above such assumptions, somehow loves for His Slaves to suffer. There is a crucial difference between what Allah loves and what Allah wills.

Our Lord is the Most Merciful, the Most Wise. He is the one who has forbidden all avenues for humans to be enslaved to their Nafs (base desires) that lead to the destruction of the self and others.

Nothing happens without the best reason, the utmost good that He decrees, but oppressors and abusers do not escape His Justice and Punishment.

Remember, Allah is As-Salaam, His Mercy is Perfect, but so is His Justice. 

But do we look for the opportunities that Allah sends our way?

 Do we trust Him, without a shadow of a doubt, that His Help and His Answer will come, and we have to be prepared to welcome it?

Because our trust in Him will never ever be in vain