“But I don’t trust God,” the man said.
He was a neighbor of ours and had just learned that his wife was terminally ill. Though the man was Christian, my husband had advised him to turn to God in prayer and to place his trust in Him…
“You cannot even begin to understand the depths of confusion caused by believing that God is a man,” my father had once said while reflecting on his former life as a Christian.
It was these words that came to mind when I watched a 1997 interview with the famous actor Bill Cosby after his son was killed, and he said, “God can’t control everything.” And even the interviewer couldn’t conceal being taken aback by his words…
“You don’t trust God?” my husband asked our neighbor.
The man averted his gaze. “No,” he said, unveiling frustration right then. “No, I don’t.”
Many Muslims may find such sacrilegious statements incomprehensible. It’s difficult to imagine how a person can live a life ostensibly believing in God yet neither trusting Him nor believing He controls all affairs.
That’s because they don’t believe in God in the right way, we may conclude.
And that’s true. When people do not know their Creator in the proper sense, this ignorance disrupts their relationship with God.
“They [the Jews and Christians] took their rabbis and monks to be their lords besides Allah and [they also took as their Lord] Christ, the son of Mary. Yet they were commanded to worship one God… ” (Al-Tawbah, 9:31)
Naturally, the religious teachings of humans influence far more than what is deemed lawful and prohibited or the manner one worships God. These flawed teachings further influence the role God plays in followers’ lives…and whether or not they trust Him or believe He controls all affairs.
“Make du’aa for me this Ramadan,” the woman said to me.
“Of course,” I said. “And make du’aa for me too.”
A shy smile toyed at her lips. “No,” she said quietly. “You’re a better Muslim than me. I think Allah will answer your prayers. I’m not a good Muslim.”
I’m often at a loss for words when Muslims speak like this. If having our prayers answered depended entirely on “being a good Muslim,” then certainly I myself wouldn’t be inclined to raise my hands in supplication.
“Put your trust in Allah, ukhti. He hears and answers prayers.”
She averted her gaze. “Yeah, okay…”
But her hesitance conveyed sentiments similar to those our neighbor expressed…
So where did our lessons about God go wrong? Why do we have the Qur’an and Sunnah yet still hold on to a flawed view of the Creator? Where did we learn that struggling with human faults and sins makes us unworthy of Allah’s love and forgiveness?
“Say, O My slaves who have wronged their souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allah. Verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Zumar, 39:53)
He also tells us,
“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.”—Qudsi hadith (Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad, authenticated by Al-Albani)
Yes, it is true that our sins put us at risk of not having our prayers answered. But it is also true that no human is without sin.
The Prophet, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam, said, “All of the children of Adam sin, and the best of those who sin are those who constantly repent” (Bukhari).
When Muslims fall into despair and depression due to their sins, they aren’t too different from those who don’t trust God or who believe that God can’t control everything.
After all, if we trust Allah, we know He hears and answers our prayers, and if we believe Allah is All-Powerful, then we know He has control over all affairs…
And we know it is not beyond Allah’s capacity to forgive us, no matter how numerous or major our sins.
Often it is the words of people or the whispers of Shaytaan that cripple us in our weakest moments. Thus, we imagine that even a month as blessed as Ramadan and a Mercy as vast as that bestowed from Al-Raheem—the Most Merciful—is beyond our reach.
At these moments, we become dangerously similar to the followers of innovated religions who trust the views of mortal beings over that of the Creator…
And sometimes that mortal view is our own.
We may think of how weak and “bad” we are in comparison to “good Muslims,” or we may believe the harsh words of someone who made us feel like a “bad Muslim,” and we somehow imagine these views reflect our fate more than that of Allah’s promise of mercy and forgiveness.
And this imagination may even block our inspiration to participate fully in the month of Ramadan….because we think its blessings and promises of Paradise are for “somebody else.”
Yet the Prophet, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam, said, “In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted” (al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih).
So rest assured, O child of Adam, that inshaaAllah one of those Muslims is you.
How do I know?
So I trust Allah.
Copyright © 2012, 2015 by Al-Walaa Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Original version published via Saudilife.net