Today’s ayah is a reminder as well as a warning to all of mankind from Allah swt.
O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). Verily! He is to you a plain enemy.
(Al Baqarah 2:208)
In this ayah, Allah swt commands the believers who enter the folds of Islam, to accept Islam in all its entirety and in all its perfection. That means to take in and accept all the rules and laws that Allah swt has laid down for us as a way of life. When you believe in Allah swt, you believe in Him completely. You believe His swt’s word, the Quran and follow it to the word. You follow the Prophet (pbuh) and his teachings as he pbuh was the walking Quran, who pbuh is the best man ever to walk on the face of earth.
It cannot and should not be that you accept a part of Islam and leave other parts, to your liking. You don’t have this selective authority over the commands of Allah. Unless and until you take Islam as a whole, live by its rules and regulations, keep away from what you are supposed to keep away from, in all aspects of your life, your personal, professional and social life, you cant be living a true Muslim’s life. Only when you follow the rules of Allah swt and live by the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) can you taste the sweetness of faith, of imaan.
This path of complete submission is not as difficult as we have made it to be. Just have your priorities right, know what is more important to you in your life, this duniya or the aakhira. Once you know who and what you are living for, things will become easy to understand and follow. For a small example, and just because it is on top of my mind, lets take the hijab. We know, we are commanded to observe hijab by Allah swt. As believing women, we should be following this command hands down, without any questions asked! Just the fact that Allah swt has commanded us to do, should be enough. Now, if you start thinking that, it is not possible for me, or it is too hot, or it is so outdated a thing, I have to keep up with the fashion trends, I am not good Muslimah or I am too young! and many such excuses that we come up with, against wearing the hijab. These are just that. Excuses!
When you have faith, when you believe in Allah swt , you ought to follow His commands too. You can’t possibly be doing away with them. Yes, you are offering your prayers, you are reciting the Quran, you are an excellent Muslimah, Ma sha Allah, better than some of the hijabis out there, but no, that doesn’t mean you will not be held to account for this disobedience. Prepare an answer for yourself, because Allah swt will ask you about it.What is your reason, what is holding you back?
This was just an example that can be extended to all other commands that we turn blind eyes to! And for what, for this world and to keep up with its notions of success, happiness and modernism. So much for a liberal mind! Understand what kind of a deal you have gotten yourself into. Success, in these times, comes for a very high price. It might cost you your relationship with Allah and your place in Jannah. Ensure that you know what you are doing with yourself.
No doubt, none of us is the perfect Muslim that we should be. Certainly not in these times, is this blessing a common one. But of course there are people, who have been guided by Allah and who take His word as the only command they follow, come what may. There are the strong believers of Islam. We should strive to be like them. I am sure there is someone around you, who is just the Muslim you want to be, for their deeds of course.
We all undergo different levels in our faith. In our journey to Allah, there are many milestones, that need to be reached, crossed and conquered over. You may not be able to conquer all at once, but gradually, if you are persistent, you will, by the help of Allah swt. But there is no order to it, when it comes to obeying Allah swt’s command. It is not like when and only when you read your five daily salaah, should you put on your hijab. It is not that only after you quit sinning, will you go praying in the mosque or grow a beard for that. It should not be like that.
It can be simultaneous acts of obedience and worship. One doesn’t have to be a condition for the other to follow. Do as much you can, in whatever ways you can. You never know what act of worship, or which obedience will open the doors of mercy for you. Begin, with something, and just do it. No one should pull you down on your path to Allah. It is your journey, you have to walk the steps, however small they may be, you are the one who has to walk the walk! No one else will or can do it for you.
If there are negative people around you, who are pulling you down by things like you are not good enough to become a hijabi, or grow a beard, or pray in the mosque, or they smirk at you, say bad things about you or your past, turn a deaf ear to them. But turn to Allah in sincere repentance and seek help from Him. Let not such things lower your motivation or bring you down or make you sad. Allah loves you as long as you are sincere in your acts of worship. He will never shut His doors of mercy on you, as long as you keeping knocking and coming back to Him in repentance.
Things and people like these are just the tactics of Satan, who is an open enemy to us, like mentioned in the ayah. It is his job to pull you away from the right path. It is his job to make you stumble and fall on the journey to Allah. It is his job to make you feel less of yourself, and despair of Allah swt’s mercy by magnifying your sins. That is what he and his minions are here for. To take us away from Allah swt. Don’t fall into his trap. Know your enemy and then fight him in the face. Sometimes you will loose, but if you keep up the fight, if you keep fighting consistently, nothing can prevent you from knocking him down!
It might look difficult now, but have a sincere intention of obeying Allah swt in everything. Make a sincere intention that you will live your life as guided by the Quran and Sunnah, to accept and live by Islam in its entirety and not by selective perception of what the world around you choses for you or you yourself choose!
May Allah swt grant us an understanding of His religion, May He swt make it easy for us to be obedient to Him. May He swt make us see the truth in things and may He swt make it easy for us to keep on the straight path. Ya Allah, your help we seek in the matters of our deen, duniya and aakhira. And You alone can help us, so please guide us on our journey to You. Perfect our faith for us.