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Pumping For Spiritual Strength

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Pumping For Spiritual Strength
 
 
Sumayyah bint Joan
 
 

With the melting of the snow and the arrival of warm breezes ushering the glad tidings of spring, most people take this time to begin pumping up, slimming down and sweating off the excess pounds they may have accumulated over the winter months of inactivity. Although this is commendable, and highly recommended, it strikes me as odd how much time people invest in strengthening and toning their bodies, while their souls are left to become weak and out-of-shape.


As Muslims, we must understand that we are a complete package: mind, body and soul, and neither should be neglected. By pumping up our knowledge, stepping up pur aqeedah, stretching our trust in Allah and double-timing our patience, we give ourselves the workout we need to build spiritual strength and endurance.


One of the greatest ways to attain spiritual strength is through patience in the face of adversity. Allah says,


"And we strengthened their hearts with patience, when they stood up and said, our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth; we will by no means call upon any god besides Him, for then indeed we should have said an extravagant thing."
[18:14]


When our burdens seem to way us down, and our loads seem too heavy to bear, it is with patience that we learn that Allah will help us through all things. It is only with patience in the face of adversity that our faith increases, and we find our what we are really made of. To make gold pure and strong, it is passed through a roaring fire. The same applies to the servants of Allah; it is by passing us through the flames of calamities and despair that Allah intends to purify and strengthen us. Difficulties and hardships are blessings to the slaves who are patient, for they serves as dumb-bells for the soul.


Another way to give strength to the soul is to cultivate a total and complete trust in Allah. He, subhanahu wa ta'ala, says,


"Those believers unto the people (hypocrites) said, 'Verily, the people (pagans) have gathered against you (a great army), therefore fear them.' But it only increased them in faith, and they said, 'Allah (alone) is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs."
[3:173]


As Muslims, we must trust in Allah's Wisdom, not only in the running of the Universe, but also in the everyday circumstances of our lives. How many times do we say, 'Allah knows best,' but as soon as things don't go our way, and according to our well-laid plans, does it becomes we know best? Allah says,


"The believers ore only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His verses are recited unto them, they (the verses) increase their faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)."
[8:2]


Servants of Allah, we have to trust that our Guardian Lord wants only what is best for our now and our hereafter; trust that He sees what we cannot see, and know that He never deals with His slaves unjustly. By acknowledging and understanding these things, it gives us the standing to be fearless to anyone or anything except Allah. Understanding of, aqeedah, of the Deen and of Allah, lends strength to the believers.


"Allah strengthens with His aid who He pleases,
most surely there is a lesson in this for those who have sight."
[3:13]


Who are the people who have sight? They are those who know truth from falsehood, and follow the truth. By correctly understanding this deen: it's requirements, sanctions and prohibitions, we guard ourselves against the
weakness of falsehood. Truth and understanding will always defeat untruth and misunderstanding. By having the correct aqeedah, we have the strength and the ability to convey and explain this religion with certainty and conviction.


Certainly, the best way to pump up a flabby, out-of-shape soul is to increase it in knowledge. Allah says,


"And whenever a chapter is revealed, there are some of them who say, 'which of you has it increased in faith?' Then as for those who believe, it strengthens them in faith and they rejoice.
" [9:124]


Striving for knowledge leads to growth and certainty. Jundub ibn Abdullah, Ibn Umar and others said, "We learned emaan, then we learned the Qur'an and we increased in emaan." [Sharh Qasidat Ibn ul-Qayyim] This knowledge refers to Allah. His names, attributes, actions and life. It also means knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) his character, his manners, the legislation he enacted, his method of worship, jihad and treatment of the people. It also indicates knowledge of Allah's Book and the stories, example, admonitions, wisdom and truth it contains.


So as the days become longer and warmer, and as we sweat to get ourselves back into some semblance of physical fitness, let's not forget that our souls require workouts too, for Allah says,


"The possessor of strength, having an honorable place with the Lord of the Dominion.
" [81:20]


Let us sweat and toil then, for this honorable place with our Lord.