In order to change your situation, change yourself first

A Heartfelt Plea

In order to change your situation, change yourself first

Maulana Muhammad Imran Attari

Chairperson of the Central Advisory Committee[1]

A man started a new business – it was running well. After some time, he noticed his business was declining. The reason is that people were taking credit from him but defaulting on payments, making every excuse to avoid paying him back. He thought long and hard about how he ended up in this downfall. He assessed every possible cause but overlooked his shortcomings in fulfilling the rights of the Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. As it happened, he was reading a book one day when he chanced upon this sentence:

You ask your Lord to improHve your situation in accordance with what you want, but just as you want this, have you ever thought about what your Lord wants from you? Are you doing that which your Lord has told you to do?

The words resonated with him; if there ever was a powerful reminder from the unseen, this was it. He immediately turned to Allah Almighty, repenting to Him and promising never to disobey Him again. With the grace of Allah Almighty, in no time at all, his business situation began to improve as the creditors began to pay him back. This man changed himself for Allah’s sake; Allah Almighty changed the hearts of those creditors for this man.

My fellow believers; we all too often hope to change our situation but overlook the need to change ourselves. The Quran, Hadith, and history bear testimony that if you transform yourself in accordance to the commands of Allah Almighty, He, the Most Gracious and Most Merciful, will transform your situation and alleviate your worries by flooding your inner and outer with oceans of His unbound mercy:

وَ اَطِیْعُوا اللّٰهَ وَ الرَّسُوْلَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُوْنَۚ(۱۳۲)

‘And remain in obedience to Allah and the Messenger with this hope; that you may receive mercy.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 04, Surah Aal-e-Imran, Verse 132)

Along with mentioning our needs and worries to Allah Almighty, we should, as a sincere act of critical reflection, enumerate the number of divine injunctions we have violated – you may be surprised. Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه has explained such things to people like us:

Evaluate yourself! If a friend of yours was to ask you to do something a thousand times but you do not even do one thing for him, then you would feel hesitant and embarrassed to ask him to do something for you because you did not listen to what he said -  with what face would you ask him now? And even if you did ask him out of desperation and he said no, you will not consider it appropriate to object or complain, and you will think to yourself: How can I complain about his refusal because I never accepted any request of his. Now think about how many commands of the Lord of the worlds you act upon; how shameful is it to not act upon his commands and then have a desire for your wishes to be fulfilled in every case? (Fazaail-e-Du’a, p. 101, summarised)

We should observe our state properly; do we offer Salah? Do we fast in Ramadan? Do pay zakat, if we are liable for it? Do we offer Qurbani, knowing that it is necessary (Wajib)? Do we speak the truth or is our daily discourse with lies and half-truths? Do we harbour bad opinions about others? Do we avoid music, films, dramas, and looking at the unlawful? What is our state in regards to acting upon the commands of Islam and fulfilling the rights of Allah Almighty?

Our pious predecessors were beacons of determination, going to unimaginable lengths to ensure that they do not transgress the boundaries of Allah Almighty or neglect His injunctions. For example, Imam al- Ghazali رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes:

If a blacksmith from them (pious predecessors) heard the azan while raising his hammer to strike, he would immediately put it down, and the shoemaker would leave the leather and needle there without taking the needle out – they would head to the masjid without delay. Hitting one strike with the raised hammer or taking the needle out of the other side of the leather was considered a delay to them, even though it would only take but a moment, (Kimiya-e-Sa’adat, vol. 1, p. 339).

We are constantly encircled by worries and concerns, but who else is there besides Allah Almighty that will rescue and comfort us? That Merciful Lord states:

ادْعُوْنِیْۤ اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْؕ-

‘Supplicate to Me, I will accept (it)’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 24, Surah Al-Mu’min, Verse 60)

However, for this to happen, we must adopt the path which will allow our supplications to be fulfilled and our situation to improve.

I appeal to all of you: Allah Almighty is the only one who can improve our household affairs, business matters, physical state, spiritual growth, and all other needs, therefore, to better our situation, we must walk towards the mercy and grace of Allah Almighty. And for our supplication to be accepted, we must tread the path of piety, abandon the perilous road of sin, and take good deeds as our companions.

اِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللّٰهِ قَرِیْبٌ مِّنَ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَ(۵۶)

‘Indeed, Allah’s Mercy is close to the righteous.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 08, Surah Al-A’raaf, Verse 56)

May Allah Almighty allow us to improve our situation by enabling us to better ourselves. اٰمین

[1] Dawat-e-Islami’s supreme governing body.




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