As the plane takes off like a bird from the ground leaving the world behind raising higher and higher till the world becomes nothing but a passing sight, some thoughts come to mind. They may make sense to some and maybe not to others. Maybe its shaped by our experiences, but here goes.
Start off by taking the plane to flight from the runway. We can reflect on this by likening it to our Iman. The higher our Iman goes the lesser we feel the connection to the dunya. It gets relegated to nothing but a mere passing visual during our flight. This is exactly how our lives in this dunya are in contrast to to the hereafter. A fleeting passing moment as compared to the promised eternity that is the hereafter. This makes us take into account our desires and to ask ourselves if its really worth to give in to our nafs just for a moment of pleasure. In retrospect it isn’t even really pleasure. The scholars say that when we indulge in our desires the so called pleasure lasts but a moment but the weight that bears down on our soul remains till we turn to Allah with sincere repentance.
When the plane takes off towards the skies, just like you go towards Allah you see that you are met with a lot of resistance. You need to get out of your comfort zone to go towards Allah. You’ll experience a lot of turbulence on the way but be sure that just like the plane has been tested by many authorities and standards before you, the path to Allah has been traversed by the greatest of people to walk the face of this Earth. We take lessons from their travel and the advises that they give so that we don’t fall into the pitfalls that they encountered.
People see the pilot and the crew in time of turbulence to see they’re calm and feel a sense of reassurance. We have faith in Allah who charted the flight of our lives, more than the pilot.
I’m forced to reflect on the impulsive thought that flying nearly 3000 ft in the air, this is the closest I’ll ever be able to get to Allah physically. We need to take into consideration and actually digest here who Allah is. We are speaking of the Lord of All Creation, the King of Kings, the Nur of the Heavens and the Earth. How honorable such a closeness is. But is it? Ar-Rahman knows that our hearts long for comfort and being enveloped in His Mercy and Guidance for if He was to leave us to ourselves we would sure perish. Out of His infinite Mercy He tells us directly ” فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ”. Just reflecting on this ayah would make us fall down into prostration to Ar-Rahman.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. [Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 186]
Throughout the Quran we see that Allah tells the Nabi ﷺ, you were asked a question and reply to them this answer. The answer to the queries is given through the Prophet ﷺ. It’s only here that Allah tells the Prophet ﷺ, “When my slaves ask you concerning me, Indeed I am near.”
Allah did not use the Prophet ﷺ to relay the message but rather He consoled us directly by telling us that our Rabb is indeed ever with us. Ar-Rahman has not forsaken His slaves and nor will He till they remain true to the His commands and the Sunnah of Al-Mustafa ﷺ.
We rush around or rather crave for acceptance, looking for support, condolence, a shoulder to cry on, someone to tell us that yes it’s ok, everything’s going to be fine. In all this we forget that our Rabb, He who has put us through this test – a test which He has promised that is not greater than anything that we can bear. We forget the One who put us through this test so that we may be purified of our sins and get closer to Him. He wants His slaves to be Qareeb to him yet we mock this love and run around seeking an outlet for our hearts amongst the creation and forgetting the Creator, Al-Musawwir, the one who beautifully fashioned that very heart. 70 times greater than the love of a mother our Rabb warns and yet comforts us with the knowledge that He is closer to us than our very own jugular vein. Just like He gives sustenance to the birds in the air He gives sustenance to you in that metal tube shuttling through His skies. May Allah forgive our hearts & souls for being so distant when He himself is so close. Nur Ala Nur – Allah guides to His light whom He wills
يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِكَ
Since we bought up Allah’s name Al-Musawwir, reflecting on the creation of Allah from a birds eye just leaves one spell bounded. We are encouraged to travel and reflect on the signs – the ayat that Allah has created for us. These signs are like speed breakers for those who care to pause and reflect. When life gets in its mundane yet fast flow, we fail to realize the world around us. Our focus becomes only I, Me and Myself. These ayat of Allah help re-energize the withering souls and waters the hope of the dead heart. It soothes those worried by the Dunya for if Allah can plan and sustain such intricate designs of nature then surely He has something much better planned for us, since He told us that He created all of this stuff and made it subservient to us.
Seeing lightning strike at the cloud level is just something else. It is like the list Ibrahim عليه السلام went through in the beginning for his search of truth. Generally we just see the flash of lightning and the roaring sound of thunder. We see the destruction it causes and the awe it inspires for those with a heart of reflection. But up here in the clouds, it just looks like a little spark of electricity that might fly off when the sockets aren’t treated properly.
It’s really an eye opener for those who call upon the angels, and worse call them the Daughters of Allah who have the power to aid them. From here we can see that if this lightning and thunder is the charge, shepherded by Angel Mikaeel عليه السلام, then just how Mighty and Powerful is our Lord.
Wallahi reliance on Allah – tawakkul is such an amazing thing to reflect , but we have just reduced it to a mere chapter in books. Take a look around the plane. You’ll see so many different types of people with their own unique stories and lives. EVERY one there has their lives intricately designed and planned by Allah. Now imagine this plane going through some turbulence. The pilot announces on the speakers that we’ll be undergoing turbulence but not to worry as it will be over soon, just fasten the seat belts and sit tight. This is coming from a man whom we haven’t even met yet just because he’s the pilot of the plane we trust that he knows what he’s talking about and we’ll make through safely. Contrast this with our lives. Allah has told us that we will be going through turbulence in life. All Allah asks us to do in this situation is to be firm and follow His commands. This is The Creator, not just of a plane but the entire existence. So upon is to have complete faith in the plan of our Rabb.
This is embodied in the words of our beloved Nabi ﷺ as reported by Ameer ul Mumineen, Umar ibn Al-Khattab رضي الله عنه who reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
لَوْ أَنَّكُمْ كُنْتُمْ تَوَكَّلُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ حَقَّ تَوَكُّلِهِ لَرُزِقْتُمْ كَمَا يُرْزَقُ الطَّيْرُ تَغْدُو خِمَاصًا وَتَرُوحُ بِطَانًا
“If you were to rely upon Allah with reliance due to him, then he would provide for you just as he provides for the birds. They go out in the morning with empty stomachs and return full.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī]
Another of the great signs of Allah that we can reflect on here is the Night Journey and how Allah took His Nabi ﷺ from Makkah to Jerusalem and from there to Jannah. Allah tells us in the Quran,
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. [Surah al-Isra, Ayah 17]
Despite so many years of human advancement and technology we still stumble and unravel “facts” which were presented to us by our Nabi ﷺ centuries ago. This should humble us from arrogance and ignorance in the power of Allah.
1400+ years since our beloved Nabi ﷺ walked from Makkah to Madinah and here we can go from Madrid to Madagascar in a period of just a day. We should try and reflect how Allah has allowed to be in a time where we have such ease. Qaroon had to carry keys to his treasures on the shoulder of slaves yet today we can just carry around a card that gives us access to millions. Pharaoh had asked out of arrogance to have a tower built so high that he can see the Lord of Musa عليه السلام. Today, we just need to look outside our windows to see skyscrapers trying to tear through the clouds. Let us travel back in time, the people of Thamud built palaces inside of mountains and today we build towers that pierce the skies.
All I’m trying to say here is that today we have things that we take for granted which were the epitome of luxury for the nations of the past. We should be really thankful to Allah for we shall be accounted for all of this. Also when you’re flying in a metal tube that high away from the ground where we strut out of arrogance that we can actually feel just how powerless we are and the immense control and Kingdom of Allah.
From the ground we gaze at the amazing canvas of the sky and its magnificent clouds but these are the very clouds you’d wish to avoid flying in between when you yourself are flying up high as they cause slight turbulence. Not everything that we admire is good for us at that instant of time. Allah is the Best of Planners and He knows exactly when to give us what we need, NOT what we want. Allah tells us,
أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
But perhaps [that] you dislike a thing and it (is) good for you; and perhaps [that] you love a thing and it (is) bad for you. And Allah knows while you (do) not know. [Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 216]
We can admire what blessings others have that we don’t but that doesn’t mean that we would actually benefit if we had that blessing, rather it could have led to our downfall. Appreciate what Allah has given you and make a dua thanking our Rabb for his innumerable favours.
Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه who said, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
انْظُرُوا إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ وَلاَ تَنْظُرُوا إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ فَوْقَكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ أَجْدَرُ أَنْ لاَ تَزْدَرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ
“Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
We touchdown home and are welcomed and embraced by our mothers. Despite what might have happened in the past, no matter if you’ve been gone for a day or a year a mother will embrace you with the same love. Reflect on this now. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab reported: Some prisoners of war were brought in front of the Prophet. and a woman was among them who was breast-feeding. Whenever she found a child among the prisoners, she would take it to her chest and nurse it. The Prophet ﷺ said to us,
أَتُرَوْنَ هَذِهِ طَارِحَةً وَلَدَهَا فِي النَّارِ
“Do you think this woman could throw her child in the fire?”
We said, “No, not if she is able to stop it.” He (ﷺ) said,
لَلَّهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا
“Allah is more merciful to His servants than a mother is to her child” [Bukhari]
It’s NEVER too late to turn back to Allah. He is ALWAYS there for us to turn to. Allah we have to do is ask, its as simple as that. Our Sheikh, Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله in his commentary of Riyadhus Saliheen said, “From the uniqueness of Islam is the door of return. You can make a return at any moment. All the things that we mentioned here of the big sins like adultery and others will merit a sin and that sin will be multiplied further EXCEPT for those who turn in repentance to Allah.
From the goodness of tawbah is that the first thing that happens is that the sin is forgiven. Secondly you are further rewarded for turning in repentance.
Some people don’t even know that they are sinning or how many times they’ve done wrong. They are living, swimming, sleeping and waking up in sin.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives ALL sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”
Israf (from أَسْرَفُوا) means to exaggerate. Like some people say there is hardly a sin that we did not commit. Ofcourse there are many that they didn’t commit, but its a way of showing how many they have indulged in.
How it works is that for every sin that is committed and repented from Allah adds in place of that a reward instead. This is an incentive from Allah to those who wrongly think that even if they want to come back to Allah, they will not be accepted because they have committed so many sins. There is no such thing as too many sins that cannot be forgiven. No matter how far out a person has gone, as long as they turn back to Allah they will find Him ready to accept them back.”
Anas bin Malik Al-Ansari ,the servant of the Messenger of Allah narrated: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
لله أفرح بتوبة عبده من أحدكم سقط على بعيره وقد أضله في أرض فلاة
“Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly)”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
In another version of Muslim, he said:
لله أشد فرحا بتوبة عبده حين يتوب إليه من أحدكم كان على راحلته بأرض فلاة، فانفلتت منه وعليها طعامه وشرابه فأيس منها، فأتى شجرة فاضطجع في ظلها، وقد أيس من راحلته، فبينما هو كذلك إذا هو بها، قائمة عنده ، فأخذ بخطامها ثم قال من شدة الفرح: اللهم أنت عبدي وأنا ربك، أخطأ من شدة الفرح
“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rubb’.He commits this mistake out of extreme joy”.
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِين
And your Lord said, “Call on Me, I will respond to you.” [Surah Al Ghafir,60]
I searched for home in the deserts of Arabia, in the arched doorways of India, in the rainy slopes of Malaysia yet they all turned me away as another traveler. Amidst all this a light shined beckoning me away from this darkness of travel. In the land of al Mustafa was I given shelter. A shelter and nourishment for both body and the soul. Here was the court of the Seal of the Prophets who sealed away my worries and opened his Masjid to embrace each and everyone who proclaimed LaIlahaIlallah.
– Somewhere above the Arabian Sea
16 Rajab, 1438
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