Know Allah in prosperity; He’ll remember you in adversity
By Sheikh Salam al Oadah
Be mindful of Allah in prosperity, and He will remember you in adversity.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2516)]
A believer should be with Allah under all circumstances – in weakness and in strength, in poverty and prosperity, in happiness and sorrow, in the flower of youth and in old age, in outward expression, and in the deepest recesses of the soul.
It is very nice to speak about the great people of history – the reformers, the leaders, the scholars, and cultural icons. Far better than that is to speak about the Prophets and Messengers, at the forefront of whom is Muhammad (peace be upon him). But better and greater than all of that is to speak of the majesty of our Lord and of His most noble names and attributes. We need to remain mindful of Allah at all times, as our Prophet advised us: “Be mindful of Allah in prosperity, and He will remember you in adversity.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2516)]
We remain mindful of Allah be mentioning and contemplating his beautiful names and sublime attributes. This God-consciousness provides solace in times of sorrow, reassurance in times of fear, strength in times of weakness, sufficiency in times of want. Allah is the source of honor and strength that never wavers and that knows no limit.
All people, no matter how powerful, wealthy, or famous they might be, sooner or later feel the need to turn to Allah. However, many only do so when their backs are to the wall and they have nowhere else to turn. When misfortune strikes, when the pain becomes too much to bear, or when faced with the imminent prospect of death, only then do they cry out: “O Allah!”
Even those who at some time in their lives deny that Allah exists – and this goes equally for those advocates of atheism who spend most of their lives touring and lecturing people to convince them that there is no God – as soon as they are faced with a major life crisis they realize how powerless they are and, willfully or instinctively, cry out: “O Allah!”
None other than Pharaoh, the man who boasted “I am your Lord on high!”, and: “I know of no other god but myself!” was forced at the end of his life to declare his faith in Allah. When the sea was falling upon him and his death by drowning was imminent, he cried: “I believe that there is no god but the God of the Children of Israel.”
At that final moment, Pharaoh believed in Allah. He called out to his Lord and beseeched Him. But it was too late.
Allah said: “What! Now! When hitherto you had rebelled and been of the spoilers? But We will this day deliver forth your body so that you may be a sign to those after you, and most surely the majority of the people are heedless to Our communications.” [Sûrah Yûnus: 91-92]
This is the lot of those who are arrogant and shun their Lord, thinking Him to be of little consequence, because they are beguiled by the charms of their worldly lives: by the prospects of wealth, power and beauty that they see before them. They might ultimately turn to their Lord, only when it is too late to avail them. This is the time of death – the time when a person moves from the realm of free will to the realm of Divine Decree, from the world where knowledge of Allah’s promise requires faith in the unseen to the world where the articles of faith come into plain sight. This is the time when faith is of no benefit for someone who had not believed beforehand.
“But their faith could not avail them after they saw Our doom. This is Allah’s law which has ever taken course for His servants. And then the disbelievers are ruined.” [Sûrah Ghâfir: 85]
We should think about the fate of all those dictators and despots whose names have gone down in history: the likes of Genghis Khan, Hulagu, Hitler, and Stalin, despoilers of the world who never gave a single thought of their duty to Allah.
For believers, the, why should they not turn readily and willingly to Allah and not wait until the pain of their circumstances forces their hearts?
What does it cost us? Drawing close to Allah does not keep us away from any of life’s wholesome pleasures. It does not take away from our provisions. Instead, it blesses our provisions and makes them more bountiful. God-consciousness safeguards us from the quagmire of vice where so many people waste away their lives and earn nothing of account for their worldly lives or for their souls.
The best and brightest times in a person’s life are those times spent in closest communion with the Lord – not only when we speak about Allah, give thanks to Him, or busy ourselves in His worship, but also in our everyday lives when we remain conscious of our obedience to Him or help our fellow human beings, or serve the common good.
Indeed Allah has made all of this easy for us: “And He has made of service to you everything in the heavens and on Earth. I t is all from Him. Most surely there are signs in this for those who reflect. ” [Sûrah al-Jâthiyah: 13]
Our Lord is close to us. Every heartbeat, every fleeting thought, every movement of our bodies, each moment of every day and every night is in the Lord’s hands. Not an atom’s weight of our concerns escapes Him.
Allah said to Moses: “I am with you, I hear and I see.” [Sûrah TâHâ: 46]
We would consider it a shame to forget a dear fried whom we love and long to meet again. We would feel it a shame to forget someone who has been kind to us and stood by our sides throughout our hardships and our sorrows and gave us the support that we needed when we were too weak to cope on our own.
Allah is greater than all of that. He is closer to you than your jugular vein. It is unfitting for someone who believes in Allah to forget Him for even a moment.