Looking to the Prophet in Testing Times

We usually turn to someone we love when things get difficult. However, we also have the blessing of turning to the Best of Mankind, our Prophet, in testing times.prophet in testing times

When trials beset us, or difficulties arise, we turn to our Lord, asking His help and intervention. We also tend to turn to those we trust, asking them to supplicate for us.

Allah Most High loves us to ask Him  for ourselves as well as for others. He has given us the means to do so when He says;

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ

O you who believe, fear Allah and seek means of nearness to Him (Sura Ma’ida 5: 35)

The word al-wasila, translated as “means”, is a general term referring to different kinds of means. One means of enhancing the chances of receiving an answer to our supplications, for instance, is to make dua at the special times that Allah Most High has given us, such as the last third of the night, the last hour of the day of Jum’a, and at the time of breaking one’s fast, amongst others.

Another means is to ask righteous people and those drawn near to Allah to supplicate on our behalf. The most righteous, the most proximate, and the most beloved to Allah, is the Prophet himself, Allah bless him and give him peace. We ask Allah after every call to prayer to grant him al-wasila, which is often translated as intercession. He is our best means of nearness to Allah, our best intercessor on the Day of Reckoning, and also in times of tribulation and difficulty.

Uthman bin Hunaif narrated that a blind man came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: “Supplicate to Allah to heal me.” He, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “If you wish I will supplicate for you, and if you wish, you can be patient, for that is better for you.” He said: “Then supplicate to Him.” He said: “So he ordered him to perform wudu’ and to make his wudu’ complete, and to supplicate with this supplication: ‘O Allah, I ask You and turn towards You by Your Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, the Prophet of Mercy. Indeed, I have turned to my Lord, by means of You, concerning this need of mine, so that it can be resolved, so O Allah accept his intercession for me.’” (Tirmidhi)

In another narration from Ibn Abi Khaythama, the following is added: “and if there is a need, do the like of that”. So the Prophet encouraged us to ask Allah, by means of him, Allah bless him and grant him peace, whenever we have a need.

If Allah tells us to seek means of nearness to Him, and there are several means of achieving this nearness, it makes sense to use as many means as we can. So the one who turns to his Lord at the special times allotted to him, and also, at those very times, calls upon his Lord’s most beloved to intercede for him, is striving doubly to seek means of nearness to Him, the Most High. And the one who seeks finds, and the one who asks receives.

  وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِي إِذَا دَعَانِ

“If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me”. (Surah Baqarah 2: 186) So let us turn to Him, seeking nearness to Him through His beloved, and not be deterred by the voices of those who seek to deny and prohibit this most blessed means of attaining closeness to our Lord.

Nurulain Wolhuter is a student in the Shari’ah course at Dar al Safa in Cape Town, South Africa. She relocated there from Birmingham, UK, in order to pursue her studies and hopes to return in the future to do daw’ah and share her knowledge.




Can Those Who Aren’t Descendents of the Prophet or Companions Be Truly Close to Him?

Answered by Ustadh Ali Ataie

Question: I always wished that I could be alive in the time of Rasulullah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or that I was born a Syed so I could be close to him. I feel bad that, because of something I have no control over (the time period I was born in or not being a Syed), I am prevented from having a special bond with Rasulullah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that others are born with.

My love and thoughts for Rasulullah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) only remind me of my low station, and gives me intense fear of not being close to him in this world and/or the hereafter. I can’t sleep at times, so I spend part of the night praying hoping I can be close to him (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Alihi wa Salim). I cry because of my state, and I wonder why Allah would prevent people from reaching a beloved station by something which they can’t control.

Please advise me.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I hope you are well, insha’Allah.

There is no reason why you cannot have a special bond and intimate relationship with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This special bond is indicated in a hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I would have loved to have seen by brothers.” The Sahabah (may Allah be well pleased with them) asked, “Are we not your brothers?” The Prophet continued to explain that by “brothers” (ikhwan), he meant those who will come after him who never saw him yet longed to see him. You seem to be in this category, so be of good cheer.

Also, those who are born in the lineage of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are also expected to cultivate a bond with him through adherence to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of our Master (peace be upon him). Imam al-Haddad (d. 1720 CE), in a beautiful quatrain, warned his fellow Sadaat (descendants of the Prophet) not to “lean” on their lineage (nasab) and forsake their taqwa, “for verily Islam exalted the Persian Salman, and idolatry debased the noble born Abu Lahab;” Abu Lahab was the uncle of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Bani Hashim.

When the Ansar and Muhajirin were debating the status of Salman, the Prophet said, “Salmanu minnaa ahlil’ bayt,” (Salman is from us, the Ahl al-Bayt)! From this we understand that you too can be beloved to Allah and His Messenger, even more than those who have prophetic blood in their veins.

The next step: Make yourself beloved to Allah and His Messenger. Learn about him (peace be upon him) by consistent study; engage teachers in the genres of Sirah, Khasa’is, and Shama’il. The way to love (mahabbah) is through gnosis (ma’rifah). In other words, if you knew the Prophet, you would necessarily love him.

You are not being prevented from attaining nearness to him (peace be upon him); this is not Hinduism – your birth and ethnic circumstances do not take away from your potential of becoming beloved to the Prophet (peace be upon him). You must cease having those types of opinions. When Thawban cried because he was afraid that he would not be near to the Prophet in the hereafter, the verse was revealed:

“All who obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship!” (4:69).

Also, be with the people of Allah. Attend classes, gatherings, majalis, mawlids, etc, where scholars are present and just be in their presence. Although you may not see the point of this initially, in time the effects of their states upon you will be palpable and you will begin to “taste,” or experience your faith. You will learn to have good opinions of Allah; He will not let your good go to waste. Trust Allah and continue to strive in His path. And Allah knows best.