When Umar bin al-Khattab radi allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) was walking in the market, he passed by a man who was supplicating, “O Allah, make us of Your ‘few’ servants! O Allah make us of Your ‘few’ servants!”
So ‘Umar said to him, “Where did you get this du`a’ (supplication) from?” And the man said, “Allah in His Book says ‘And few of My servants are grateful.’(Qur’an 34:13)” So ‘Umar wept and admonished himself, “The people are more knowledgeable than you, O Umar! O Allah make us of Your ‘few’ servants.”
Sometimes when you advise someone to leave a sin, they respond with “But most people do it, it’s not just me!” But if you look for the words “most people” in the Qur’an, you will find that most people “do not know” (7:187), “do not give thanks” (2:243) and “do not believe” (11:17). And if you look for “most of them”, you will find that most of them are “defiantly disobedient” (5:59), “ignorant” (6:111), “turning away” (21:24), “do not reason” (29:23), and “do not listen” (8:21).
So be of the “few”, whom Allah says about them:
“And few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13)
“But none had believed with him, except a few.” (11:40)
“In the Gardens of Pleasure, A [large] company of the former peoples, And a few of the later peoples.” (56:12-14)
Ibn al-Qayyim (ra) said, “Go on the path of truth and do not feel lonely because there are few who take that path, and beware of the path of falsehood and do not be deceived by the greatness of the perishers.”
You might have already gone through the phase where you feel depressed, empty or lonely and it starts to become a problem because you don’t know how to or where to get rid of these feelings. Some people may be going through this phase now and don’t know how to find any inspiration or motivation to do anything. Sometimes it becomes so hectic and frustrating that you keep all these feelings bottled up (PLEASE DON’T DO THAT) inside yourself and your heart starts throbbing. You don’t know who to talk to because it feels like all the advice you are getting you may have already heard or it is not relatable.
Today, in the digital age you meet people on social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook and other online forums) where you start to feel like you are being understood. Lately, I have been getting a lot of friends on Twitter suggesting these accounts I should follow because these people are so inspirational (which they are) and because they say things in such a simple manner that help them get through the day. So, the time came when I sat down with a hot cup of tea and I went through these accounts to find out what makes these people so inspirational and different from other accounts. I was enjoying what I was reading because I learnt a lot but one thing I didn’t find as much as I was hoping for – inspiration.
Now, you might think ‘why do you not find this account inspirational?’ It ticks all the boxes. They are quotes from the Quran, Hadith, originality and constant reminders of Islam. I won’t lie, these accounts are amazing and may Allah bless these individuals with everything they deserve. The reason why I didn’t find these people inspirational is because when I read text, there is a difference between a text coming from the heart and text just being written. For example, when I read a verse from the Quran it either makes me cry, think or open my mind or all of them at once. Whilst going through these accounts nothing touched my heart or made me say ‘oh wow! Yes!’ or even make me nod my head in 100% agreement.
However, there are some accounts that I love so much because through their thoughts, I can feel that there is a person behind a computer screen who is typing all these heart-warming reminders and texts. I admire these accounts that I always go on their account because I know I will either learn something, remember something or find a source for inspiration. I feel that there will always be something that will trace my steps back to the Quran and Hadith. But, have you ever asked yourself where these people get their inspiration from? Where are these people getting all this knowledge from? When someone posts an Islamic reminder or a quote from the Quran, we read it and smile but do we ever go and read the Quran or Hadith and learn ourselves what Allah has written. What made this person tweet or post this? Haveyou ever gone through the extra effort to go and research on the information these people have posted? Ask yourselves, are these people inspirational or is the information they are posting inspirational? Because at the end of the day all these quotes are from the Quran and Hadith.
Don’t limit yourself to online social networking websites. Go and be the person where people come to you for inspiration and you can direct them to the source of your inspiration so that they can pass this knowledge on to others. Do this so that people go to the Quran and Hadith and solidify their knowledge. Do this so that these tweets and posts are more than just words but are the worlds of Allah (I am talking about when people post Quranic text and Hadith). My point here is that question yourself and go ask these people where they get this knowledge from. Don’t be the robot who accepts the answer and moves on! Be a human and build your own personality! Most importantly, be a Muslim.
May Allah guide us all on to the correct path and forgive us all for any mistakes we make. Insha’Allah I pray that He gives you the things that you deserve and not desire because, after all, He knows what is best for us.
By: Afza Tabassum Qureshi
Credits: Script, Design & Animation by Shimi Cohen. Quoting the words of Sherry Turkle’s TED talk. Based on ‘The Invention of Being Lonely’ by Dr. Yair Amichai.