Previously (Part 1, Part 2), we embarked on our journey into Surat Al-A’raf to look for lessons that could be applied in our lives, thus strengthening our relationship with Allah and His book. In Part 3, we begin the story of Adam and Iblees to study and extract productivity lessons from it as well, in sha Allah.
How has the journey into Surat Al-A’raf been so far? Good? Alhamdulillah.
Tired? No? Alhamdulillah!
Today we stand in front of a door which when opened, will take us into a different time. A time of angels, a unique creation, paradise, arguments, threats, hope and of course our Beloved Allah .
Before we open this door, let’s take stock of our supplies that we gathered at the beginning of the journey: pure intentions, dua, determination and refuge in Allah from the accursed shaytan. Let’s replenish what is lacking and beseech Allah to grant us extra refuge from shaytan as we are about to read his story, where he and his plans will be exposed for us to see.
Done? Let’s continue to uncover the hidden gems. Bismillah.
Productivity Lesson #8: Know your real enemy
There is a place called paradise. It is the most beautiful place, beyond anyone’s imagination, where rivers of honey, milk, water and wine flow. Its trees bear fruit that we have never seen. It has been created by Allah for those who work hard in this world to gain His pleasure.
Our story takes place there, many many years ago.
Once upon a time, Allah created and fashioned a unique being, man. He called him “Adam”. Allah commanded all the inhabitants of paradise to prostrate to him.
All did, except for one. His name was Iblees. Disobedience is disliked by Allah . The angels who resided in paradise never disobeyed Him.
Yet Allah in His infinite mercy, asked Iblees:
“What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?” Satan said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” [Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 12]
Allah then commanded Iblees:
“Descend from Paradise, for it is not for you to be arrogant therein. So get out; indeed, you are of the debased.” [Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 13]
Knowing how merciful Allah is, Iblees asked Allah :
“…reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.” [Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 14]
“Indeed, you are of those reprieved.” [Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 15]
Iblees has openly declared war on us since then, yet many of us succumb to his whispers every now and then. Know that he is your no.1 enemy, fight him with daily remembrance, worship and Qur’an and be wary of even setting foot on his luring path or mindlessly fulfilling his wish: to turn us away from Allah and join him in hell-fire, na’uthu billah.
Productivity Lesson #9: Believe in yourself and others
A very simple translation of the word “sawwarnakum” in Surat Al-A’raf (verse 11) is “fashioned”.
Allah did not only create us, but He also made us in the most beautiful form.
I am beautiful and so are you. Absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. Yes, with the crooked nose and all!
How many times do we look in the mirror and wish that we looked “better”? Why? So that people would accept, appreciate and compliment us more?
Well, it’s time we changed our perspective. Allah made us all beautiful, you, her and I.
It’s time we accepted, complimented, and appreciated ourselves and others on the way they looked. It’s also time we stopped commenting, rejecting, ridiculing ourselves and others for the way they looked.
Why, you may ask? That’s because Allah says:
“We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” [Qur’an: Chapter 95, Verse 4]
Is there anything left to say now?
Today, let’s look in the mirror and say Alhamdulillah, and more importantly, let’s compliment someone on their looks, especially those people whom we have been publicly or privately dismissing as “not” beautiful!
Productivity Lesson #10: Be among the obedient
Let me ask you a question. Why do you think shaytan got himself kicked out from paradise?
- For not prostrating to Adam
- For disobeying Allah
Spot on! The correct answer is 2.
Allah dislikes disobedience. So what is the lesson for us here?
How many times do we feel that Allah’s commands ‘don’t make sense’ to us? What do we do then? Sometimes, we make fun of them, call them “too impossible”, “redundant”, “old-fashioned” and ignore them.
What does that get us? Happiness, freedom and independence? Maybe, for the little time that we have in this world. But in the long run, we stand to lose out. Our place in paradise is at stake here…our hereafter, our eternal abode.
How sad do you feel when your children disobey you and break the rules that you have set for their own well-being? As a mum, I know that feeling of anguish very well!
The pleasures of this world are like a mirage; we keep running after them but are never able to catch them. Do we really want to forgo the oasis that Allah has made for us to run to after the mirage? I guess not.
So what is the best manner of obeying Allah ?
By obeying His Messenger , as he said:
“Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah…” [Sahih Bukhari]
It’s quite simple. We just have to obey, copy and follow the Messenger of Allah who is our best role model. There are some amazing resources on ProductiveMuslim on the seerah and the sunnah that you can benefit from, in sha Allah.
Today, I want to leave a question for each of you to ponder on:
Do I really want to disobey Allah and miss out on a paradise as wide as the heavens and earth for something that I know is not permanent, i.e. this world? Think about what makes you sometimes disobedient or heedless and how you can lessen or eliminate these influences from your life.
In sha Allah, we will meet again in the next article and explore the same story from another perspective that will help us act more wisely in our daily interactions.