Updated: May 29, 2019
We have questions. Imam Izhar Khan has answers.
Navigating through Chaos
In January 2019, six members of #SoFloMoPros began piloting a web-based "Faith & Fiqh" Q&A with Imam Izhar, which Imam Izhar is tasked to answer our group's questions within 72-hours of receiving each question. During our extended pilot, we will share selected questions and answers here publicly...
Salaam Imam. We’re taught that Islam came into existence, strengthened, and matured during a time of political/social disorder (possibly a bit similar to what we’re currently experiencing here in the United States). How did the Prophet (PBUH) and his closest companions (RA) navigate through the disorder and hostility that consistently surrounded them without allowing the negativity of their environments to seep into their hearts and adversely impact their behavior/actions?
Wa alaykumu s-salam wa rahmatullah. The answer to this can be quite lengthy and one can give multiple answers; speakers and imams can give full-length lectures on this topic. But to keep this both accurate and concise, I will say that (primarily) for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Sahabah (RA) it was very easy for them—in the sense that they used the Quran and Wahi (Revelation) to guide them through their lives.
They utilized the Quran and the Revelation to direct every step of their way, and anytime that they would make a mistake, they would be rebuked immediately.
For us, we do not have Wahi—there is no Quran being revealed upon us—but we can still use the Quran as a guide. In fact, the Quran is sometimes referred to as “Nur" and "Huda,” i.e. “Light" and "Guidance” (or that which gives us light out of the darkness—a light that can also guide us). Both Nur and Huda are overarching themes to further reflect upon.
Additionally, the Quran provides specific instructions to the Prophet (PBUH) that can be used to address your point about our current political/social environment; in Surah Al-Muzzammil [Chapter 73], Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala addresses it directly:
إِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيلًا
Inna laka fin-nahaari sabhan-tawiilaa.
Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation.
That is, you have a lot of work during the day, and there are a lot of distractions, so this is what you must do: You must pray. And you must pray at night...
إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا
Inna nashi-atal-layli hiya ashaddu wat-anw-wa aqwamu Qiilaa.
Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words.
… فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ …
… Alima allan-tuhsuuhu fataaba alay-kum faq-ra-uu maa ta-yassara minal-Qur-aan ...
… So He turned to you (in mercy): Read of the Quran as much as may be easy for you …
Therefore, tahajjud (“night prayer”) is what the Prophet (PBUH) was commanded to do in order to remain steadfast and to ensure that his heart and his soul remain pure.
Quran. Dhikr. The recitation of Quran.
And as important as it is to give dawah to others, we should not (and cannot) forget about ourselves; as a saying in English goes, “Do not be like the candle that gives light to others, but then, burns itself.”
Additionally, there are other verses in the Quran that give more specific instructions. In fact, scholars have mentioned that every ayah of the Quran which references “Ittaqullah” (fear of Allah), if analyzed closely enough, you will see that immediately after it, Allah SWT also mentions a method of how to remain steadfast. For example, in one particular instance, Allah says, “Ittaqulaah” (fear Allah), and the method that follows it is: “Waqonywa sameed” (Be with the truthful ones).
That is, be with the trustworthy ones. Be in the right company. This is truly a methodology that we should all adopt, insha’Allah.
Another method for remaining steadfast is being in the right environment. When we go outside, we have so many distractions, so we need to return to the places that will allow us to spend quality time in good company and that will in turn, helps us cultivate good environments for ourselves and others. Our environment and the people who are associated with us have very strong and direct effects on us.
There is a Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) that says, “A person is in the religion of his friend.” So be aware...Be aware of the people who you befriend.
I will end with this: It is good, alhamdulillah, what #SoFloMoPros is doing (e.g. hosting Halaqas, leading discussions, mentoring youth, etc.). All of these activities are actually very, very beneficial to all who are involved, and they are especially needed in our current political/social environment. There are indeed many distractions out there. But know, you are always welcome at the masjid, and by praying and actively participating in halaqas, while initiating positive group activities with your peers, you can retain and strengthen your iman, insha’Allah.
About Imam Izhar Khan
Imam Izhar Khan is a graduate of Darul Uloom Al Madania in Buffalo, NY. He is a Hafidh of Quran, Alim, and Mufti. He is currently serving as the Imam of Masjid Jamaat Al Mumineen (MJAM) in Margate, Florida and holds several weekly classes ranging from: Seerah, Tajweed, Quran Memorization, and Youth Group. Also, he is actively involved in Community Outreach Programs, Dawa/Tableeg Programs and Debates with various religious leaders. Imam Izhar began an online Q&A Discussion Board for #SoFloMoPros in January 2019.