FROM THE MIMBAR: TEST OF FAITH

ALLAH alone deserves all forms of accolades and worship. The Lord that prepared paradise for the faithful. My He shower His mercy on Muhammad as He had blessed Ibrahim [AS] and all sincere Muslims till eternity, Amin.

In every process of learning, there is a Specific and exclusive way of evaluating the learners. While a teacher tests his students with class work, project, exercise and eventually examination a mother tests her child especially female with culinary skills by leaving her to prepare the meal. Considering all these, Allah tests the believers who claim to believe in Him and had gathered some wealth of knowledge. This test differs based on one’s level of faith. History will be incomplete if the firm faith of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham – AS) is not recognized as the father of faith (monotheism), a firm and resolute believer in the oneness of Allah and his complete submission to Him.

Ibrahim is the father of faith because he was able to maintain a firm belief in Allah even when no one stood by him in his community. All monotheistic religion traced their origin to him and he passed tests and survived great trials that would have shaken faith out of many. We shall look at five out of some of these tests and challenges.

The first came during his early stage in life when he was contemplating on the existence of Allah. Q6:76-83 explains this better. He was indeed tested with various choices of demigods. He knew quiet well that the multiplicity of gods being worship in Babylonia were false, therefore his quest for the One and only Lord began. He had the option of concluding that Allah was any His creations like moon, stars, sun and many others but he remained firm and continued his enquiry until he eventually found Allah. This was also a sign of his high intellect and superior thinking. Is your faith being tested with whisperings from Shaytan to make you doubt the existence of Allah, don’t ever fall for this plot of Iblees, remain firm and believe that Allah is the Lord of the universe Who controls what happens in every corner of this earth and other part of the universe; those known to us and those oblivious to us.

During the growth of Ibrahim’s faith, he encountered Namrud, the King of the land who challenged Ibrahim to an open debate. An argument between young and powerless Ibrahim (AS) and the king of the town, what an intimidating encounter that must have been, yet Ibrahim suppressed his fear and dared the king by asking him to bring forth life from death as Allah does. Namrud parried this with a deceiving approach but he was shocked when Ibrahim challenged him that Allah caused the sun to raise from the East and he should do otherwise. The king along with his emissaries were put to shame as Ibrahim defeated them with his superior argument. This dialogue was to test if Ibrahim would remain firm or would run away with his faith or become intimidated by an authority figure (Q2:258). Are you challenged intellectually on the existence of God or on His commandments and you got defeated because of your shallow believe and knowledge of Tawheed (the Oneness of Allah). It’s never too late to learn and nurture your belief with the required ingredients (knowledge) as did by Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

Ibrahim’s fame then spread as fast as breeze in the entire city but along with the new popularity came another test. He was accused of destroying their gods (Q21:59-67) and their judgement was to punish him with fire. At the point of being thrown in the fire, Jibril (AS) came to Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to ask if he wanted him (Jibril) to assist or protect him. but Ibrahim declined and only hoped for good from Allah alone [even though it was also Allah that sent Jibril to him]. This reliance on Allah granted him the enjoyment of paradise on earth. His faith was indeed tested with death by fire. But even at the point of being thrown into the fire, he kept his reliance only on Allah, and not a mighty angel who could shield him with his wings. He chose a being he could not see. What has befallen you which made you lose your faith. No matter what is happening to you now, similar challenges have befallen plenty before you, a lot more are affecting several others and more people will still face more grievous trials. Will you choose the path of Shaytan who failed a simple text from Allah? Or will you follow Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who passed a serious trial that could melt faith out of the most pious of men and overcame? Rely solely on Allah and make efforts towards solving your problems. Seek help from men if you need to but never rely on them because help comes solely from Allah and people are prone to disappoint you (especially if Allah has not destined for them to help you).

One could say, after all Prophet Ibrahim (AS) had gone through, the rest of his life was going to be painted in red. Nah! His faith was always in continuous trial. The fruits of marriage are children. Allah gave several unbelievers during Prophet Ibrahim’s lifetime children but denied the one that was closest to Him in his entire generation children. Allah eventually answered his prayers at old age by giving him not only children but generations among whom prophets have emerged. Allah tests His beloved by demanding patience and perseverance from them by testing their faiths with what they desire most. What are you asking Allah for which you are yet to be granted and is making you to begin to look to His creatures for alternatives when the keys to all the treasures of this world and the next are in His control? Know that Allah has abundance provisions for you and grants all requests of a believer but you need patience and sincere consistent worship in Allah to get your needs met.

One of the greatest trials Prophet Ibrahim (AS) passed was his willingness to sacrifice his beloved and first child, Prophet Ismail (AS) on the request of Allah. Don’t get confused. Ismail was the first and was delivered by Hajar, the second wife as reported by the Prophet [SAW]. Allah commanded Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to offer this long awaited heir for a sacrifice as revealed in Q37:99-111. Father and mother never hesitated but rather accepted the commandment of Allah. Allah compensated their devotion and submissiveness by replacing Prophet Ismail with a sacrificial animal and Alas! We have the hudiyah of ‘eedul-adha.

How many instructions of Allah do we defile daily and how many do we keep? The fact that we are believers does not mean automatic exemption from tests and trials from Allah.
Let us reflect as we enjoy the blessings of eid that we have this noble celebration as a result of one man’s obedience. Let us therefore reflect on our lives as we celebrate eid and resolve to start obeying Allah and making His commandments the pillars that will guide our existence. May we all benefit from the blessings of Eid. Amin.

Daarul Hikmah c/o of FCE(T) Mosque resumes back on friday 16th September, 2016.
For enquiries contact, 08157558462, 07032817408, 08099786263.

Registration has started and class commenced already you can still join the train of intellectuals or contact the above numbers.

As we prepare for Eid-ul adha. May Allah let us witness it in peace and not in pieces.
May He also grant us a similar firm faith of Ibrahim (AS)

Adeoye Abdur-Rasheed
Amir, MSSN UNILAG ’15
08099786263

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