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The Believer’s Points of Strength

The Best in Faith in Allah’s Sight
The best in Faith

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although in both lies goodness. Keenly pursue what benefits you, seek help only from Allah, and do not give up. If something befalls you, do not say, ‘If only I had done otherwise,’ but rather say, ‘Allah’s Will be done,’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to Satan’s mischief. (Al-Bukhari)

   

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True strength is not how well you can beat up someone else or how much weight you can lift. The strength described here is willpower, a sense of direction, trust in Allah, and determination, all which lead to a strong mind as well as body.

A strong body alone without a strong soul within is just a feather in the wind, unable to stay firm in the face of challenges. In this hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) refers to an internal and external strength that stems from knowing one’s purpose, pursuing a goal, putting trust only in Allah, and understanding when to be at peace with what is beyond our control.

Contrary to common perception, putting trust in Allah does not imply a reclusive, puritanical existence. If you truly understand your purpose in life you will go forward into the world, taking up every opportunity that will help you get closer to Allah and serve Him. You would not shun the company of people, positions of leadership, career advancement, and other gains simply because they were too worldly or unbefitting a person who seeks Allah. The opposite is true! When these opportunities are used by a strong believer, they can help him draw closer to Allah. Such gains are not ends in themselves, but means to pleasing our Lord. As with anything material in this world, its goodness or evil depends on how it is used.

At some point in life, we will be met with failure and disappointment.
A strong believer is one who is determined and persistent in reaching his or her goal. Within, is a brilliant combination of mental, physical and spiritual strength coupled with endurance and determination. Part of that strength is the knowledge and wisdom to identify what is of benefit to us. It could be a degree to pursue, a business idea to launch, a new invention or a service project. In putting together the ingredients of success with determination and endurance despite the challenges, the strong believer will ultimately succeed and reach the intended goal.
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At some point in life, we will be met with failure and disappointment. If we do not have strong trust in Allah, we may dream of what could have been, and live our lives in increasing discontent as the fantasies of what could have been distort our sense of reality. If we are strong, however, we will say, “Whatever Allah wills shall come to pass,” and continue trusting in Allah and forging ahead.

Do not scorn people who cannot break bad habits.
We do not dwell on possibilities gone, do not spend too much time asking “what if?” and “if only…” Our aim in life is not just to live out our self-invented dreams and goals, but ultimately to arrive at Allah’s pleasure whatever the road may look like. Sometimes that road will mean realizing our dreams, sometimes not. We seek help and trust only in Him, and do not fight the currents that are carrying us, Allah willing, to a beautiful place.

A final piece of wisdom from these dense, rich words: if you are blessed with confidence, willpower, and other sources of strength, do not belittle those who are weaker than you. Do not scorn people who cannot break bad habits, who do not work as hard as you, who do not have the same understanding and skills as you. In both, the strong believer and the weak believer, lies goodness. Just the existence of sincere belief in the heart of someone, no matter what the resume of abilities and intelligence may be, should be enough to make us quiet our voices and lower our wings in humility in the presence of other believers.

References

Taken with slight modifications from the authors' Book Seeking Peace

Dr. Hazem Said has been active in the Muslim community in America for over 10 years and held many different leadership posts. Most notably, he was the president of MAS Youth, a national youth organization from 2004 to 2008. He helped establish Ihsan, a non-profit organization based in Milford, OH and is currently the chair of its board. In his professional life, Hazem is an associate professor of Information Technology at the University of Cincinnati.

 

Maha Ezzeddine has a bachelor degree in Journalism and History from the University of Maryland - College Park and a Master degree in History from Stanford University. She edited several publications for MAS Youth between 2006 and 2008, when she was a member of the national executive team.

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