Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu
In a Psychology class I had to take this summer I learned of the many social problems that people face these days. And although I do not agree with how Psychology teaches, some of the things aren't too off the hook, but they lack the depth that Islam gives. Watching everyone else tell their tales made me only praise Allah (swt) that He had created me a Muslim. Alhamdulillah. To think about how many problems we avoid just by applying Islam to our lives. We had three people in the class say outright that they had tried to commit suicide. One of them was a gung-ho devote Christian, the kind you would expect to see with 'Billy Graham.'
Like an idealist, I couldn't help think that if they were Muslim all this would not happen. But we shouldn't take our Islam for granted. That just because we are Muslim, that is going to solve all our problems. It will, only if we apply Islam to it's fullest. Alhamdulillah, we do seem to be making more of an effort to apply Allah's (swt) laws. Insha'Allah I hope so. Like the former president of France Mitterand said that Islam is like a waking lion.
Well, nothing should stop us from becomming that lion. However we seem to forget what Islam really is about. We seem to be so preoccupied with what is halal and what is haram, that we forget the essence of Islam, the Oneness of Allah (swt) and His mercy. That is what 'Bismillahi ir-Rahman ar-Rahim is: In the name of Allah, Most-Gracious, Most-Merciful.
It is easy to understand Allah's (swt) authority over us. He created us, He created everything, He is All-Powerful. If we do not follow him, we will be punished, wa naudhu billah.
To understand His mercy is a little harder, subhanAllah. But it is so much more rewarding. To do something out of love is so much more satisfying than to do something out of fear. As we are growing up, without disrespect to the parents, but they sometimes tell us, if you're bad, you'll go to Hell. I don't think they meant to scare us so, but it's the easiest way out of explaining to you why you shouldn't do what you were doing. I think the better example would be to tell us, if we love Allah, we wouldn't do what it is we were doing, we don't want to upset Him and, we want Him to be pleased with us.
Because as we are growing, one of the first things we learn in Islam is that we are supposed to love Allah before anybody, even our parents. Now to a little kid, it's hard to grasp. When babies don't see something, to them, it doesn't exist. This can apply to younger children, a light version of 'outta sight, outta mind'. But that's ok, if you say it time and time again, they will grow to understand it, insha'Allah. Just like the infant will grow to understand that his mother still exists even though she isn't in the room.
So if we learn to love Allah (swt), before we learn to fear Him, insha'Allah we end up doing the things He wants us to do because we know what it is that makes us please Him, and we search to please Him. To refrain from doing something bad, is good, alhamdulillah, but to go after doing good is even better, insha'Allah. And that's what we should be doing.
For example, for many of us, prayer is a regular habit, alhamdulillah. We do the movements, because that's how we are supposed to do them, and we say what we say because that how we are supposed to say them. And we know that if we don't pray, we will be punished. For others, prayer is a time with ourselves and Allah. In fact, that is what it is. I encourage you all to look at the tafseer of Surat Al-Faatiha. For every Ayah in that Surah, Allah responds to it. It is actually a dialog between the slave and Allah (swt). And like the child who grows to know the existence of his mother, even though we do not hear Allah, we come to believe He is talking with us.
Another example is tahajjud (nightly prayer). Ever wonder why tahajjud is done at the time it is done? Sure we know it's a great sunnah: Wa min al-leyli fasjud lahu wa sabbihhu leylan taweela: And from the night, prostrate to Him and praise Him, the whole night through. And it was fard upon the Prophet (saw): Yaa ayyuha muzzamil, qum ileyli 'illa qaleela, nusfahu aw inqus minhu qaleela. Oh, one who (literally) gathers himself (out of fear when the angel Jibril came down on the Prophet (saw) the first time), stand (stay up) the entire night, but a bit, half of it or less a bit.
It takes a lot of will to wake up in the last part of night and pray so many rakaat. But subhanAllah, that is when Allah (swt) comes down off His thrown and comes down to our sky, even though we don't see Him, and asks from His slaves what they want. This is the Mercy of Allah (swt). Do you know any leader or boss, or anyone with authority, who has such mercy over his people to come *to* them and ask what they want? A 'so called' leader, doesn't 'bring himself down' to the level of his followers. But Allah (swt) has Mercy upon us, *before* He shows His power. Before we fear Allah, we should love him. We should long to do what he has required us to do, not out of fear, but to please him. We have to change our mentality, this is what will elevate our Iman, insha'Allah.
Wassalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu