In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful,
Peace and blessings Mindworks Readers,
We’ve been away for a while this summer and although I generally don’t like to get too personal, I do believe that some things are meant to be shared for the uplift and blessing of others so for this reason I’d like to share a special work in progress with you. Below is the introduction and first chapter of a book that I intend to work on over the coming months and into 2017, inshaa’Allah.
The tentative title is Chasing Salvation, Striving Towards The Good and my intention is to compile a book filled with uplifting and encouraging scriptures from the Quran and Bible for times of testing and when facing difficulties. Life can be challenging and we can often face obstacles that test our faith, but it is important to never lose hope. An ayat (verse) from the Quran that I try to live by every day states that with every difficulty there is relief (Chapter 94:5). Whatever you may be going through, no matter the difficulty, I pray that this writing may be a help, an encouragement and a reminder to stay hopeful and to keep the faith.
With much love and wishing you peace, blessings and mercy
The idea for this book came to me after making my prayers one day during a very difficult time. My son was going through a serious illness and the experience caused me to deeply reflect upon the meaning of my life. Anyone who knows me knows that my son has always been the center of my universe so when I was faced with the possibility of losing him I literally felt as if I could just lay down and give up the ghost – like I couldn’t possibly breath any longer. Fortunately, subhanaa’Allah, that moment of despair passed, and when it did, I re-discovered the shining gem of hope. I realized that although I considered myself to be faithful, and to be someone who has faith, I was lacking in hope, and how could I really have faith without hope?
There is a verse in the Quran which reads in Chapter 29 Al Ankaboot 29:2:
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe,” and that they will not be tested?
When our belief is tested, our faith is tested. Iman, Faith, in its simplest form is defined as believing in something. I believe in God, that He is One without any partners, I believe in His books and His messengers, but yet I had still fallen into despair. How could I say that I believe that Allah (SWT) is the Greatest but when faced with calamity I crumbled with hopelessness? It took some time, but by the Grace of Allah (SWT) I was able to pick myself up and breathe – I was able to be hopeful for the mercy of Allah (SWT). And that hope gave wings to my faith – with hope and faith I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light being salvation and I was able to come out of the darkness of despair.
To Allah (SWT) we belong and to Allah (SWT) is our return. If we truly believe that Allah (SWT) has everything under His control and that He is the Most Merciful, we must trust that He will manifest the best outcome for our lives. We must have hope in His salvation plan for ourselves personally and for mankind as a whole.
We look around at the earth and witness the many levels of catastrophe and tragedy that exist within societies, and in our lives, and it is easy to understand why salvation is such an important aspect of the religious experience. There is a need for salvation. There is a need for help. And Allah (SWT) has promised us help; He has promised us salvation, and I now find myself chasing after it like a woman strangling from thirst. Seeking salvation, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, maintains my hope and helps me to face the difficulties that I encounter in my life.
The Abrahamic prophetic tradition, which encompasses the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, illustrates a beautiful salvation narrative that not only provides hope, but also reveals the might and mercy of Allah (SWT). The remembrance of Allah’s salvation is recounted throughout the Abrahamic scriptures, from the story about Prophet Noah (SAW) and the flood, to that of the Messiah Jesus (SAW) and to that of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Likewise, the Quran states on many of occasions that the promises of Allah (SWT) are true, and I bear witness that when we have faith in those promises with hope, our burdens can be lightened and we can maintain peace through the storms of our lives.
I’ve written this book with the hope that it will be of benefit to those in need of some encouragement and comfort – those needing a little hope. People are finding God, converting to religions and awakening to the deeper meaning of life every day. Yes, there is no denying that there is strife and difficulty in this world, but there is also light, love, joy, wisdom . . . my journey, like many others, has been filled with such ups and downs, yet I must continue to strive for the good – we must continue to strive for the good and keep the faith.
“Let Thy steadfast love, Oh Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in Thee.” – Psalm 33:22
What is hope, really? Can it be quantified or defined? Some concepts are beyond the realms of the senses and can only be felt through the unseen parts of ourselves. Concepts such as hope, love, joy, wisdom, anger, sadness – these are what I consider concepts of the heart. These are the intangibles that take up so much of our internal selves yet we cannot touch or taste them, hear or smell them.
Hope has never been something that I’ve focused on – not until reaching adulthood – and then it was primarily in the form of seeing “the glass” as half full instead of half empty when walking through life. But hope is much more profound then optimism. The hope that I’ve come to treasure is the hope described and defined by the Abrahamic scriptures. It is a hope based upon belief – faith – iman.
God, Allah (SWT), made a covenant with Prophet Abraham (SAW) and that covenant is a meaningful manifestation of Allah’s promise, and of Abraham’s hope. In the book of Genesis 12:1-3 its states:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”
As of 2015, statistics revealed that there are currently nearly 16 million Jewish people in the world, descendants of the Abrahamic tradition. And as of 2010, a PEW report from the PEW Research Center revealed that there were an estimated 2.2 billion Christians, and 1.6 billion Muslims, also descendants of the Abrahamic tradition. We as believers’ and descendants of the Abrahamic tradition bear witness to the promise of Allah (SWT) coming true, and we can bear witness to that hope, the faith, that was counted as righteousness for the Prophet Abraham (SAW) as we fellowship with one another. The name of the Prophet Abraham (SAW) is great, a great nation has manifest and many families of the earth have already been blessed by his covenant with Allah (SWT).
In short, the major books of the Abrahamic prophetic tradition – The Old Testament, The New Testament and the Quran – have provided a foundation for my faith – for my hope – and are a reminder of Allah’s promises throughout the ages and generations for mankind. I share some of the scriptures from these books that have strengthened my heart with you here.
The Old Testament
Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee.
Psalm 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
Psalm 62:5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
Psalm 65:5 By dread deeds thou dost answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation, who art the hope of all the ends of the earth, and of the farthest seas;
Psalm 69:6 Let not those who hope in thee be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
Psalm 71:5 For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Psalm 71:14 But I will hope continually, and will praise thee yet more and more.
Psalm 78:7 That they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
Psalm 119:49 Remember thy word to thy servant, in which thou hast made me hope.
Psalm 119:81 My soul languishes for thy salvation; I hope in thy word.
Psalm 119:114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield; I hope in thy word.
Psalm 119:166 I hope for thy salvation, O LORD, and I do thy commandments.
Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
Psalm 146:5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Psalm 147:11 The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous ends in gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nought.
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son while there is hope; do not set your heart on his destruction.
Proverbs 24:14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Isaiah 38:18 For Sheol cannot thank Thee, death cannot praise Thee; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Thy faithfulness.
Jeremiah 14:22 Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Art thou not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on Thee, for Thou does all these things.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Lamentations 3:24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
The New Testament
Acts 2:26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.
Romans 4:18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations [Prophet Abraham (SAW)]; as he had been told, “So shall your descendants be.”
Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces endurance; and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:12 And further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.”
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
1Corintians 13:13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1Thessalonians 5:8 But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1Timothy 4:10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
Titus 1:1-2 According to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgement of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago
Al Baqara 2:218 Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah,- they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah: And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Al Imraan 3:126 Allah made it but a message of hope for you, and an assurance to your hearts: (in any case) there is no help except from Allah. The Exalted, the Wise:
An-Nisaa 4:99 For these, there is hope that Allah will forgive: For Allah doth blot out (sins) and forgive again and again.
Al-Anfaal 8:10 Allah made it but a message of hope, and an assurance to your hearts: (in any case) there is no help except from Allah: and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.
At-Tawba 9:59 If only they had been content with what Allah and His Messenger gave them, and had said, “Sufficient unto us is Allah! Allah and His Messenger will soon give us of His bounty: to Allah do we turn our hopes!” (that would have been the right course).
Yusuf 12:87 “O my sons! go ye and enquire about Joseph and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith.”
Ar-Ra’d 13:12 It is He Who doth show you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope: It is He Who doth raise up the clouds, heavy with (fertilizing) rain!
An-Naml 27:46 He said: “O my people! why ask ye to hasten on the evil in preference to the good? If only ye ask Allah for forgiveness, ye may hope to receive mercy.
Al-Qasas 28:22 Then, when he turned his face towards (the land of) Madyan, he said: “I do hope that my Lord will show me the smooth and straight Path.”
Al-Qasas 28:67 But any that (in this life) had repented, believed, and worked righteousness, will have hopes to be among those who achieve salvation.
Al-Ankaboot 29:5 For those whose hopes are in the meeting with Allah (in the Hereafter, let them strive); for the term (appointed) by Allah is surely coming and He hears and knows (all things).
As-Sajda 32:16 Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord, in Fear and hope: and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them.
Al-Ahzaab 33:21 Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.
Faatir 35:29 Those who rehearse the Book of Allah, establish regular Prayer, and spend (in Charity) out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a commerce that will never fail:
Az-Zumar 39:9 Is one who worships devoutly during the hour of the night prostrating himself or standing (in adoration), who takes heed of the Hereafter, and who places his hope in the Mercy of his Lord – (like one who does not)? Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.
Al-Mumtahana 60:6 There was indeed in them an excellent example for you to follow, – for those whose hope is in Allah and in the Last Day. But if any turn away, truly Allah is Free of all Wants, Worthy of all Praise.
At-Tahrim 66:8 O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: In the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, – the Day that Allah will not permit to be humiliated the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their Light will run forward before them and by their right hands, while they say, “Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us, and grant us Forgiveness: for Thou hast power over all things.”
Nooh 71:13 “‘What is the matter with you, that ye place not your hope for kindness and long-suffering in Allah, –