Those who are familiar with the Levant (Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon) will notice that its lands are dotted with the graves of hundreds of Prophets and Companions. Yet at the same time, many of these same vicinities are cursed by Allah. This is because communities to which Prophets and Messengers were sent to guide throughout the ages were highly polarised. The righteous, who responded to the call of the Prophets and the Companions, were blessed. The ones who were heedless of the signs and warnings of Allah were cursed by Him, and therefore self-engineered their journey to hellfire.
One of the signs of the Day of Judgment is that people will witness signs but will not comprehend them. Rasulullah (SAW) already forewarned that people will bury their dead but will not gain the wisdom from it – being the wisdom and awareness that they could be next.
There are various ahadeeth which encourage us to visit the grave. Such a visit will mellow the heart. It will make us realise that even with the most advanced medical equipment and the most expert specialists and research, life cannot be preserved eternally.
Similarly, when we prepare a body for burial, the experience can break our heart from all the arrogance, envy, jealousy and hunger for the material life that consumes it. It is supposed to remind us of our own imminent deaths, and that we are powerless to go against the qadr of Allah when our time is up.
Instead, today we fear diseases and epidemics, and we try to thwart the aging process and delay death for as long as we can. We fear the pain, the medical treatment, and the circumstances leading to death. Whereas a Muslim should fear the journey after death and the worry about the legacy that we will leave in the kingdom of Allah once we are gone.
None of the legacies of the Messengers, Prophets, Companions and the various individuals who left their mark in Islam comprise wealth, skyscrapers built in their honour or statues to immortalise their material achievements. Their honour was gained through their actions. They continue to be remembered because of their strength of conviction in carrying the message.
Bilal RA, one of the most honoured Companions, for example, was renowned for his repeated monotheistic declaration of “Ahadun Ahad” – the One, the One, while he was being tortured for refusing to renounce Islam. These words, which came from the lips of a simple slave, still echo in our history books today. Because of his strong faith, Bilal RA became so beloved to Allah that he was raised amongst the ranks of the Muslims in this world, as is assured everlasting paradise in the hereafter.
Victory in Islam starts by an awareness and belief in Allah. Those who are heedless or oblivious of Allah have been warned that: Indeed, those who do not expect the meeting with Us and are satisfied with the life of this world and feel secure therein and those who are heedless of Our signs. For those their refuge will be the Fire because of what they used to earn. (Al Qur’an, Surah Yunus 10:7 – 10:8)
One of the diseases of mankind is that we are constantly seeking victory from the outside. We believe that it is other people who can grant us victory. We run after wives, husbands, jobs, and situations. We think that inviting VIPs to weddings will grant us a successful marriage, that good grades will provide us happiness and that a high paying career will bring joy to our lives.
In reality, one can never have victory on the outside before having a strong belief in Allah within. That belief can never surface until you detach your bonds to the material life and to other people.
Surrender and submission only to the Creator are the only keys to victory.
Majority of early scholars are in agreement that to obtain victory in Islam, you need to conquer yourself – your desires, nafs, temptation and Shaitan. This is the start of your elevation. If you obtain victory internally, then the outside circumstances will also prove victorious. If you fail internally, this defeat will surface to your external circumstances.