Many of us are deeply shaken by the bloodshed and violence meted out against innocent people in the world. We see images and hear the stories of — among so many others — the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Burma, the calculated starvation of the people of Yemen, brutality against black lives in our very own country, and in Syria, again and again, a people attacked by nations that have, as the Prophetic tradition so accurately described, “gathered against them just as people gather around a feast."1
We must strive, by whatever means we have, to work and pray for justice and goodness against the forces of evil that unleash death from the skies or otherwise prioritize power, tribalism or wealth over life. At the same time, we must call to mind and heart our essential beliefs. We must remember that Allah does not change a people’s condition until they change what is in themselves2, and return to Him and His teachings in a real and meaningful way. We must also know, as a powerful antidote to despair and anger, that while both the suffering we see and our own incapacity seem endless, they are actually only for a few short days, and God indeed has His wisdom and purpose.
More to the point, God reminds us again and again in the Qur'an about how fleeting this life is and how little worth it has, and in contrast, how real and permanent the next one is, and reminds us of the great day we will all come to witness. It will be the day when the test of this life, with its painful trials and challenges, its triumphs and heavy tragedies, will come to a halt and everything within it will come to an end.
To intensely remember that greatest day — the realest day — is a source of grounding and solace. It is the day of ultimate justice and judgment, in which all those in positions of power will be uprooted. The day in which all the systems that perpetuate injustice will be broken, and all the chains of command will be cut. Might, military or otherwise, will be humbled low, and plots and strategies will be cast off.
To Whom is the Dominion?
Prophetic tradition teaches us that before the Day of Judgment is established, every single soul will taste death. The Angel of Death will be commanded to seize the soul of every living creature, and in turn will himself be made to die, until not one single living thing remains — save God, the Everlasting. The Qur'an describes in expressive detail what will occur: the mountains will be leveled3, and all that is on Earth will perish. The sun will be folded up, the stars will fall, the oceans will burn and the sky rent asunder. Everything will be haalik — completely perished and destroyed — and nothing will remain save He.
He will then ask, as all have been made to die by His Power irresistible, “To Whom is the dominion this day?”
Where, on that day, will be the kings, and the sons of kings? Where are those who amassed incredible wealth, and built palaces of luxury? Where are those who claimed authority and subjugated others? Where is their ability to sway judgment and evade accountability? Where are their stratagems and their elite forces and weaponry? Where is their power? Where is their might?
A Prophetic tradition describes, how He, may He be exalted, “will fold up the heavens and earth into His Hand. He will then ask: ‘Where are the haughty and where are the proud (today)?’”4
Nothing at all will remain from their power, their might or their claims: “Verily they plotted, but their plots were encompassed by Him though they were such as to shake mountains.”5
All will have perished except Him, the One and Almighty, the Powerful and Exalted, and to Him belongs the Dominion everlasting.
The Greatest Day
Then will come the Day of Rising and Judgment. Those deluded by this world will awaken to its reality. Veils will be lifted and humanity, in all its hubris, will come to know the smallness of this life and the largeness of the life to come. Everything will be changed:
“One day the Earth will be changed to a different Earth. And so will be the heavens, and men will be marshaled forth, before Allah, the One, the Irresistible.”6
All will stand before God on that Day, complexities and pride stripped away, with deeds laid bare to be measured on the scales. No wealth, or influence or authority will sway Divine Justice; and the oppressors will be called to answer.
“It will be] The Day whereon they will (all) come forth. Not a single thing concerning them is hidden from Allah. Whose will be the dominion that Day? That of Allah, the One, the Irresistible!
That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned. No injustice will there be that Day, for Allah is Swift in taking account.
Warn them of the Day that is ever drawing near— when the hearts will come right up to their throats. No intimate friend will the wrongdoers have, nor one who can intervene on their behalf.
Allah knows of the tricks that deceive the eyes, and all that the hearts of men conceal. And Allah will judge with justice and truth.”7
We take comfort in knowing that God is the perfectly just, to Whom all affairs return. As we love Him for His promise of heavenly reward for the righteous, so too do we love Him for His promise to justly deal with those who harm and oppress.
The poet warned,
لا تظلمن إذا ما كنت مقتدرا
فالظلم يرجع عقباه إلى الندمِ
تنـام عيناك والمظلــوم منتبـه
يدعو عليك وعين الله لم تنمِ
“Do not oppress, if you are granted its means
For oppression comes back to its doer as horrible regret.
Your eyes may sleep, but the oppressed are vigilant;
They pray against you, and God’s eyes never sleep.”
O Our Lord, we believe in You. We remember Your words on the tongue of your Prophet Moses, "Seek help in God and be patient. Verily, the earth is God's. He gives it as a heritage to whom He will of His servants, and the (blessed) end is for the God-conscious."8
O Allah, we know that You are the Truth and Your Promise is true. To meet You is true and Your Word is true. Paradise is true and Hell is true. All the prophets are true; Muhammad is true, and the Day of Resurrection is true.9 We ask for victory over oppression in this world, in a way that does not lead us to ourselves becoming oppressors. We ask you for perspicacity of sight that allows us to see through the challenges of this world to their spiritual reality, and for patience, knowing what is sure to come after these few short days.
We ask You O Allah, to make any difficulty our community undergoes purification and elevation and a mean of returning to You. O Allah, make us firm in our stance for justice, even against our own selves and what is beloved to us. We seek Your refuge when we are faced with the sure reality10 — the Day when there will be no refuge but in You, in which no act will be hidden and “neither wealth nor children will avail, but only he (will be successful) that brings to Allah a sound heart.”11
1. Interestingly, the companions asked, “Is it because of our weakness in numbers?” To this, he (saw) replied, “Not at all; you are multitudes, but you are inconsequential, like the froth and flotsam created by the violent current of a water flow. The awe that your enemies previously held you in will be lost, and debilitation will be thrust into your hearts.” “What is the debilitation, O Messenger of God?” the companions asked. “Love of materialism, and a disdain for struggle,” replied the Prophet (saw). [Sunan Abi Dawud]
2. Quran, 13:11
3. Quran, 20:105-107
4. Sahih Muslim
5. Quran, 14:46
6. Quran, 14:48
7. Quran, 40:16-20
8. Quran, 7:128
9. These lines are part of a longer supplication made by the Prophet ﷺ after the night prayer (See Sahih al-Bukhari)
11. Quran, 26:88-89
By Shazia Ahmad , 22 Dec 2016