Perhaps the things you should know as a Muslim is what it really means to know.
Most of the time, we are always ardent to only know about things. We want information, the insights, and all the facts, believing this will give us enough understanding that will set us free from ignorance.
But one thing is for sure, we fail to see that even if we secure all the information on earth, it’s possible we still may not know anything (May Allah forbid.)
Truthful knowledge of Allah is the pillar upon which Islam in its totality hinges. No action in Islam have any real value without an accurate knowledge of Allah Almighty, but to know Allah means to move beyond the basic knowledge to find wisdom and understanding.
A lot of Muslims are particularly good at knowing about Allah, but this is never the same as knowing Him.
I grew up in a world where I knew all about Allah. From childhood I was immersed in the Muslim society and rarely will I miss Salaat. By the time I was in my teen age, it was safe to say I knew a lot about Allah, but I did not know Him.
We cannot fail to see that it’s possible to know a lot about Allah and miss the joy of knowing Him.
But now in my early twenties when I finally moved away from knowing about Allah Almighty to knowing Him Insha-Allah, everything changed completely.
I moved toward a firm and close relationship with Allah—which revealed to me everything I never knew but needed to know, about the most important questions we most of the time ask. Questions like who am I? Why am I here? And where am I going?
As it turns out, the responses to these questions are found in the Holy Quran. They are placed out perfectly by Allah for us to contemplate and act upon.
Knowing Allah means knowing the answers to these questions, and knowing these answers gives us perspective and purpose to live. Let’s see whether we can find the purpose.
I think our greatest treasure in life should be our true identity as Muslims. Knowing and maintaining our Islamic identity is a single most valuable but least understood treasure in life for us Muslims.
What then is meant by “Islamic Identity”? Is it about fulfilling the five pillars of Islam or it is only limited to clothes? Is it all about wearing the hijab or growing beard? Is it about studying the Quran or learning the Arabic language?
Well, there is so much more to our identity which is worth seeking for as proud Muslims.
It is the sole identification that accounts on the Day of Judgment. This identity is our faith, our religion, our moral values and our whole life.
It is the one that makes us see Allah as the One and Only God. This identity makes us kind, sincere, responsible and thoughtful when we deal with people.
It is the identity that prevents us from lying, cheating, stealing, gambling and engaging in any immoral behavior. This identity makes us realize that Islam is the best way of life.
This identity sets us free. It turns us completely into a good human being because being a good Muslims means being a good human being.
I hear people say a fool lives to eat whereas a wise eats to live. This makes it obvious that the purpose of a fool in life is only to eat and eat. But in the case of the wise man, for what purpose does he live? Living cannot be an end in itself. There has to be a purpose for man to live. What is the purpose then?
Any ignorance, however great it is, can be forgiven except for a man to be so ignorant about the secret of his existence, his purpose in life and what will be his outcome after death.
Unlike us Muslims, the unbelievers do not have credible answers to the purpose of their existence. They think that man lives for himself and for the pleasures of this life.
What happens when life turns sure? What happens when one goes through hardships? No doubt that the largest number of suicides takes place amongst the Atheists, the Agnostics and the whole lot of people who do not know their purpose in life.
So what does Allah (SWT), our Creator said about our purpose in life? Allah tells us in the Holy Quran that He created man to be his Khalifah, His trustee on earth. Our responsibility, therefore, is to believe in and worship Allah alone:
And I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship me … (Quran, 51:56-58)
It’s really very simple! Our purpose in life as Muslims is to worship and please our Creator. Isn’t it obvious that we all came to be by the will of Allah? And we shall leave it also by His will? That’s why we should spend our entire lives by His will and not ours.
That is to say that all that we do matters. Everything we create, the hard work we do, the mouths we feed, the children we cater for, the sick for whom we care, the spouse we love so much, the kindness we offer to others, the friends with whom we weep and rejoice – it all matters, and not just for now but eternity because these are all things we do for the sake of Allah almighty.
This subject of destination is a great interest to all of us. This is not so only because we lost people who are near and dear to us, but far more because we ourselves must certainly die one day. So if there be any information available with regard to our destination after life, we are naturally very anxious to know it.
Now the question is where our destination lies?
Where could our destination be if not where we started? Where we are going is actually the same place we started.
Having faith in our destination is one of the six fundamental beliefs required of every Muslim to complete his faith. This is so serious that a slight doubt in it meant denying Allah which makes all other beliefs meaningless.
This destination will be where Allah will manifest His attributes of Justice and Mercy. His mercy will be showered on those who suffered for His sake in the worldly life, believing that an internal bliss was awaiting them. But those who abused the bounties of Allah, caring nothing for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state.
The knowledge and belief in our destination not only guarantees success in the Hereafter but also makes this world full of peace and happiness by making individuals most responsible and dutiful in their activities:
Every soul will taste death. And we test you with evil and with good as a trial, and to us, you will be returned. (Quran 3:185 )
We can live and should live Insha-Allah, in light of this future reality right here and right now. Because when we know where we are heading, we will live with our minds fixed in that direction.
And there is one more thing we need to know. When we talk about knowing who we are, why we are here and where we are going, it’s not like something we learn overnight.
Just like anything very important and valuable, it takes a lifetime of work. It means learning every day to trust more and to be more honest with Allah and ourselves.
And when we discover and know this, we got to know all we need to know, and it becomes the foundation for everything else we will ever need to know Insha-Allah.
Jazakkumullah Khairan Katheeran