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I’ll Only Worship Allah if…

A letter to my daughter,

The way you view your purpose in this world, and how you understand the perfection of Allah’s plans determines what kind of worshiper you will be.

There are three kinds of worshipers in this world:

  1. The one who only worships God alone when she is in difficulty:

When facing huge and daunting challenges, this type of person freely acknowledges that it’s only Allah (swt) Who can come to her aid. The problem is, at all other times her arrogance makes her believe that she’s self-sufficient. She tells herself that her fate is in her hands and her hands alone. She thinks she doesn’t need God.

It takes a colossal tragedy, a dangerous illness, or a loss of resources for her to set aside her pride and ask Allah (swt) for relief.

Allah (swt) describes this type of person in the Quran: “It is He who enables you to travel on land and sea until, when you are in ships and they sail with them by a good wind and they rejoice therein, there comes a storm wind and the waves come upon them from everywhere and they assume that they are surrounded, supplicating Allah, sincere to Him in religion, ‘If You should save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful.’ But when He saves them, at once they commit injustice upon the earth without right…” (10:22-23).

She witnesses God’s miracles and help when she desperately calls on Him. Even then, once her problems are over, she goes back to thinking she doesn’t need God. She doesn’t learn from her mistakes.

Her hindsight is non-existent.

  1. The one who only worships God when he is blessed with happiness and plenty:

This is the kind of person who falls apart when something difficult comes his way. He throws his hands up and utters those two dangerous words: “why me?” He questions God’s motives, thinking and perhaps even saying why is God doing this to me?

Allah (swt) describes this person in the Quran: “And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss” (22:11).

This person believes he is inherently entitled to ease. Any difficulty he experiences makes him question his beliefs in God. He doesn’t understand that there’s a greater plan in motion. He can’t see even an inch beyond the here and now.

He has absolutely no foresight.

  1. The one who worships God in both times of hardship and in times of ease:

Regardless of what ease or hardship she’s experiencing, this type of worshiper doesn’t allow her faith to waver. Hardships make her turn inward, seeking comfort and help from the Most Merciful. Blessings make her become grateful, sharing her resources with others and continuously praising her Lord for His bounties.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.”

This worshiper remembers that Allah (swt) saved her from many difficulties in the past, and she trusts He will continue to take care of her. She also believes, deeply and profoundly, that His plan for her is far better than what she could ever plan for herself.

She employs both her foresight and hindsight.

***

Worshiping Allah (swt) in times of hardship and ease takes a lot of stamina. By nature, we may lean toward being better worshipers either when we are in trouble, or when we are feeling happy and blessed.

We should acknowledge that worshiping Allah (swt) in times of difficulty might not feel the same as doing so in times of ease. Maybe it’s harder. Maybe it’s easier. That all depends on what kind of person you are.

But if you ever find your worship slipping away in times of ease, catch yourself. If you ever find yourself having feelings of dissatisfaction with God in times of difficulty, stop yourself. The last thing you want is to fall into becoming a conditional worshiper of God.

Allah (swt) deserves our worship no matter where we are – in an extravagant mansion somewhere, or in an dingy, tiny apartment. He deserves our worship whether we are sick or healthy, whether we are devastated or overjoyed, whether we are aboard a ship in stormy seas or safe on the shore.

At the end, worshiping Allah (swt) doesn’t bring Him any benefit, but it certainly brings you benefit…

“O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy” (35:15).

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