“O My servants, all of you are lost except those whom I have guided. Therefore, seek guidance from Me and I will guide you.”
SubhaanAllah, all of us are lost except those whom Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has guided. The word lost, or dhilaal in Arabic, implies any kind of straying from the Straight Path. It is the opposite of guidance, and includes mistaken straying as well as straying on purpose. It therefore incorporates those who know the truth as well as those who reject it.
How can we be amongst those whom Allah (swt) guides? By asking Him (swt) to guide us. How simple and yet how fundamental to the whole of our existence. We have no ability to guide ourselves to success in this life or the Hereafter, only Allah (swt) can do this for us. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
“He whom Allah guides, he is rightly guided. But for him whom He sends astray you will find no guiding friend to lead him [to the Straight Path].”
(Surah al-Khaf:17)
No individual can bring about their own benefit. Instead, we must turn to Allah (swt) and beseech Him to guide us.
When we realise that Allah grants us guidance out of His (swt) mercy and grace with no benefit to Himself whatsoever, it should make us realise how much He (swt) is deserving of our worship. This should make us more sincere in our worship of Allah and make us realise our need for Him (swt).
The greatest blessing that Allah (swt) bestows on mankind is the blessing of guidance. There are four different types of guidance that Allah (swt) can provide, as outlined by ibn Taymiyah:
1) The first type of guidance is the type needed for welfare in this worldly life, such as sustaining ourselves and staying away from harm etc. This type of guidance is given to all human beings whether they are believers or not. If a person does not have this type of guidance, which includes metal capacity, then they will not have other types of guidance and will be not be held responsible for their actions.
2) The second type of guidance is showing mankind what benefits them in a religious sense, and thus concerning the Hereafter. For this purpose clear signs have been shown, messenegers sent and books revealed. This type of guidance has also been offered to all of mankind.
3) The third type of guidance occurs when Allah (swt) places faith and guidance in the heart of the individual.
4) The fourth type of guidance is the guidance in the Hereafter or the guidance to the path to Paradise.
We should seek all of these types of guidance from Allah (swt), asking Him for what is best for us in this life and the Hereafter. When we recite Surah al-Fatihah in our daily prayers we should be mindful and sincere of our request to Allah (swt) to guide us on the Straight Path, not the path of those who are lost or astray. We should beseech Allah (swt) sincerely to guide us on that Straight Path to Paradise, for it is only with His (swt) guidance and because of His (swt) infinite mercy that we could ever hope to get there.
“O My servants, all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed. Therefore, seek food from Me and I will feed you.”
After mentioning what is needed for the sustenance of our souls, that is guidance, Allah (swt) mentions what is needed for the sustenance of our physical bodies, namely food. Without food we cannot survive. We are therefore in need of Allah (swt) to provide this vital sustenance for us.
How much do we take for granted that food and water will always be available to us?
We don’t need to look far in the world today to see how quickly Allah (swt) can bring a disaster in which everything we took for granted – a home, food, water, family – could be washed away in seconds. We would be left with no sense of security. At times like this we realise our total and utter dependence on Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) makes it clear in the Qur’an that He (swt) is the one who supplies us with sustenance:
“Then tell Me about the seed you grow in the ground. Is it you who makes it grow or are We the Grower? Were it Our will, We could crumble it into dry pieces, and you would be regretful. [Saying,] ‘We are indeed ruined. Nay but we are deprived’. Then tell Me about the water you drink. Is it you who causes it to come down from the rain clouds or are We the Ones who cause it to come down? If We willed, We verily could make it salt [and undrinkable]. Why the do you not give thanks [to Allah]?”
(Surah al-Waaqiah:63-72)
All these blessings should be a source of us giving thanks, and turning to Allah (swt) to ask Him to secure our sustenance for ourselves and our families.
According to ibn Uthaimeen there are two ways of asking Allah (swt) for sustenance. One is to use speech and make dua to Allah, and the other is through action. The first type of action is the performance of pious deeds which is one of the best ways to secure sustenance from Allah (swt). As Allah says:
“And if the people in the towns had believed and had piety, certainly, We would have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth. But they belied [the Messengers], so We took them [to punishment] for what they used to earn”
(Surah al-Araaf:96)
The second way to seek sustenance from Allah (swt) is through the actions that lead to the production of food. In other words, we ask Allah (swt) to provide for us and then we follow the steps that lead to the production or purchase of food, trusting that it is Allah (swt) who provides for us. We should always believe that if we seek sustenance from Allah (swt), He will provide for us.
Let’s reflect on the miracle that is the production of food and the sustenance for our bodies. Let’s ask ourselves if we are really grateful for what Allah (swt) has provided us with, and for how He (swt) has satisfied our hunger and thirst. Let’s ask Allah (swt) to continue to sustain us with the provision of food, water and shelter. And let’s be grateful for the fact that he has blessed us with this security.
“O My servants, all of you are naked except those whom I have clothed. Therefore seek clothing from Me and I will clothe you.”
When we emerge from the wombs of our mothers, we are completely naked and vulnerable. Allah (swt) in His mercy, provides us with food to sustain us, shelter, people to care for us, and clothing to cover our bodies.
Many people overlook the supreme blessing that is clothing, our outer garments. Clothing protects us from the elements and the weather, covers our private parts, and finally is an adornment for us. In this day and age when there is so much emphasis on clothing as an adornment, we have lost sight of its other qualities. Most tragically, we have lost sight of clothing as a blessing from Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:
“O Children of Adam! We have bestowed clothing upon you to cover yourselves and as an adornment. And the covering of taqwa (righteousness), that is better. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may remember”
(Surah al-Araaf:26)
Ibn Uthaimeen states that seeking clothing from Allah (swt) should be done in the same way as seeking food from Allah (swt), both through statement and action. We should make dua to Allah (swt) to provide us with clothing, and we should follow this with the actions needed to secure or make clothing, reminding ourselves that it is only Allah (swt) who provides.
SubhaanAllah, the blessing of clothing and how much we take it for granted. Clothes, clothes, clothes, clothes. We have SO many clothes! Our wardrobes are stuffed so full that we barely know what it means to wear anything out any more.
Where clothing used to be valued for its ability to protect one from the elements, it has now become a vehicle for the displaying of beauty. As Muslims, we need to be very aware of these issues when considering how we use the blessings that Allah (swt) has provided us with in the form of clothing. Is our clothing drawing us closer to Allah (swt) by protecting our modesty? Are we beautifying ourselves only for those who are permissible to us? When we are called to account for our wealth and how we spent it, will we be able to justify the amount of clothing we own? Let’s consider clothing and our purchasing of it, the intention with which we wear it, and the source from which it came.