That answer not only covers that particular situation from every angle, it also typifies the teachings as well as the spirit and approach of Islam to life and its responsibilities in this world: Work the hardest you can to do the best you can with regard to anything and everything and then ask God for help.
Let God then do what he would.
In other words, tie your camel first and then entrust him to God’s care.
Don’t run around pleading to God: “God Almighty, you are so kind, you are so merciful, won’t you please make me tie my camel for me, please?”
Or saying, “God Almighty, O kind and loving One, please tie my camel for me.”
Even though God is perfectly capable of tying and securing the camels of those he wants – and he does.
In other words, Islam isn’t praying all the time saying: “God, please start my car for me.”
Islam is acquiring the best car you can and maintaining it the best way you can.
And it is then filling the car with oil and gasoline as needed.
And then when the time comes to start that car, Islam is getting inside that car; inserting the key in the ignition; saying Bismillah; and then turning that key clockwise.
That is what it means to trust God with your car; with your camel; or with anything else in life.
And that is what Islam is all about.
And it strikes me as one of those basic lessons that many Muslims need to learn urgently.
May God, the Most Loving One, help and forgive the Muslims, his favorite people on earth.
Asking God for Help – Part II
We are all weak, mortal – helpless. And we all need help.
Without help, from all kinds of sources, human life on earth is inconceivable.
We are often the sum total of the help given to us, or not given to us, by our parents, teachers, friends, relatives, governments and others.
But above all, we are an embodiment of the help God Almighty gave us, every step of the way into this journey we call life.
We are a reflection of his love, mercy, compassion and helpfulness.
And of his benevolence and charity and giving.
Every pore in our body is. Every possession in our hands is.
And without his continued help, giving and sustenance, we will not survive in this world for one microsecond.
That is why it makes sense for us to turn to him for help in all our affairs, big or small.
And ask him for help.
For, without his help and decree nothing ever gets done in this world.
And without his disposing of things, nothing moves, nothing happens.
Whatever it is that you need, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, indicated, ask him, not others.
Even if it is only your shoelace that you need help with, turn to God for help, a Hadith seems to suggest.
That means nothing is too big or too small for you to ask or for him to give.
And he loves to give more than you love to ask.
Just consider this:
No one else has a name: The Greatest Giver and Bestower of All – Al-Wahhaab.
No one else calls himself: The One Who Loves to Do Favors More than Anyone Else – Al-Mannaan.
No one else carries a title that says: The Most Generous and Giving of All – Al-Jawaad.
Nor does anyone pride himself on being the Most Bounteous and Noble of All in Giving – Al-Kareem.
And no one else ever set himself as the Most Tolerant, Patient, Gentle and Forbearing in the face of importunities from those in need or distress – Al-Haleem.
So, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, doesn’t want you to take your mind off these attributes of your creator even for one moment.
And he wants you to rush to him every time you need anything, no matter how small, and no matter how big.
And the fact is, no one else owns anything.
And no one else loves to give the way God, your maker and master, does.
So, it is to him you must turn and it is him you must ask for help.
In all things, small or big.
The Islamic Miracle of Defying Death
Islam places in the hands of all of us a most personal and intimate miracle: How to defy death every time it strikes.
Here is how.
“Everything shall perish,” the Qur’an declares, “except him!”
Reference is to God.
Islam defines human mortality in a way that is truly death defying.
“Everyone must taste death,” says the Qur’an.
“Death shall lay its hands on you even if you were inside fortified towers,” the Qur’an says elsewhere.
This is nothing new or special to Islam, this teaching about the inevitability of death to all. It is common human observation.
It is the reality of life on earth.
But the way Islam frames the whole human life, and then contextualizes its end on earth, is most simple, elegant, heartwarming and, yes, death defying.
This is the lesson the Qur’an drills into every heart and mind: “We all belong to God.”
For those who truly believe in this message, there is nothing more comforting or life-affirming.
We are all God’s People; we are all divine possessions; that is what that message says.
Innaa lillah, are the words of the Qur’an defining the basic relationship of human beings to God: “We belong to God; we are his.”
And most certainly, he shall not forsake or abandon us – that is the loud and clear implication.
So, what happens when life on earth ends?
From the point of view of the Qur’an, nothing could be more self-evident: “We all return to him.”
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