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, of my existence, 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. Faith, or Iman in Arabic, 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 could pick myself up and breathe – I could 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 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.
Scripture, God’s Word and Guidance to us, is a true gift for nurturing the spiritual space necessary for the remembrance of Allah (SWT). In the New Testament book 2 Timothy, verse 3:16 it states, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Correction can pave the way for salvation and guidance; righteousness can produce peace and understanding.
I’ve written this book with the prayer that it will be of benefit to those in need of some encouragement and comfort – those needing the fruits of the spirit. 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.
I’ve made this entire book available here for free download and printing: striving