Trying Our Best Is The Best We Can Do
If you think deeply and reflect on your path to Allah, you cannot help but become overwhelmed by the daunting nature of the journey ahead. Our path to Allah and salvation with Him is one of constant struggle and strain, an uphill path in which gravity itself is every step of the way pulling at your back. Allah describes this path of guidance and righteousness as a path of great difficulty, broken through with obstacles to be overcome. Allah says in chapter 90, verse 8-18 that which translates to:
Have We not made for him two eyes? (8) And a tongue and two lips? (9) And have shown him the two ways? (10) But he has not broken through the difficult pass. (11) And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass? (12) It is the freeing of a slave (13) Or feeding on a day of severe hunger (14) An orphan of near relationship (15) Or a needy person in misery (16) And then being among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to compassion. (17) Those are the companions of the right. (18)
Not only is the path itself inherently difficult, but all along the way, on either side of this path and on it are devils beckoning and calling and inviting off with promises of ease and respite and the fulfillment of fanciful dreams and notions. As Allah related to us, the only promise Iblees fulfills to humankind:
[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You]” (Quran 7:16-17).
[Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all. Except, among them, Your chosen servants” (Quran 15:39-40).
Imam Ahmad reported in his Musnad on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood that he related: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) drew for us a line and said gesturing to it ‘This is the path of Allah’. He then drew other lines jutting out of this line on its right and left others and said: ‘and these are contrary paths, and at the head of each is a devil inviting to enter.’ He then recited: And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous” (Quran 6:153).
Yet, despite this daunting and tedious nature of this path of ours, Allah has given us overwhelming hope, not in our own devices and abilities, but in Him. Our position on this path is to open our hearts and lives to Allah, to knock on the door of salvation ready for Allah to open it, not to break through it. As Allah said to Iblees: “This is a path [of return] to me [that is] straight. Indeed, My servants – no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators (Quran 15:41-42).
Our duty on this path is as Allah has instructed: And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ] (Quran 2:45).
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against anyone who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of mine. And the most beloved things my servants gain nearness to me are by fulfilling what I have obligated upon them. My servants continue to draw nearer and nearer to me by performing additional optional acts of worship (in addition to my obligations) till I come to love them. After which, I become their sense of hearing with which they hear, their sense of sight with which they see, their hands with which they grip, and their legs with which they walk. And if they ask Me, I will give them, and if they seek refuge, I will protect them; and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the souls of the believers, for they hate death, and I hate to disappoint them” (Bukhari: 6502).
By Sh. Ali Mashhour