Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah loves a slave who is pious, free of all wants and the unnoticed.” [Muslim].
I was reflecting upon the first episode of ‘Revealed: Stories of the unnamed in the Qur’an’ by Al Maghrib Institute which was about the man mentioned in Surat Yasin, verse 13 to 27. A man who remains unknown among the people of this dunya yet is recognized by Allah Subhanahu Wataala, for his significant act of doing da’awah to his people after they had rejected the three messengers sent to them. The man was granted Jannah by Allah Subhanahu Wataala for his effort after his own people killed him. And Subhanallah, once he was asked to enter Jannah he said, ‘He said, “If only my people knew of how my Lord has forgiven me, and made me one of the honourable.” You’d expect someone who was killed by his own people to be bitter and spiteful but look at his compassion and mercy and how he still cares about his people. Despite it all, he still wishes they’d know about the favours of Allah upon him, perhaps it may draw them to the true path.
The recurring thought for me is how this man remains unknown. We don’t know his name, we don’t know at which era he lived, his age, whether he had children or not…none of this information is known, yet Allah saw him worthy of being mentioned in His holy book Subhanallah.
We live in the era of influencers and fame and being trendy. Most of us want to be noticed and recognized. Whether it is for our careers or fashion or adventures or simply our daily lives. We want to be in the spotlight because we tend to underestimate our efforts or even the efforts of others if they remain unknown. We weigh our value or the value of our deeds directly to the number of likes, followers, and shares. However, when you think about it, there are men and women doing immense good deeds beyond those we famously know, yet they have no social media following, and their matters are concealed except to Allah. We probably would never know how honourable they are to Allah Subhanahu Wataala yet they could be among us. They could be people we pay no attention to whatsoever. It could be you, dear reader; someone seeking the closeness of Allah in solitude while the rest of the world ignores you.
Sahl reported: A man passed by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and the Prophet said, “What do you say about this man?” They said, “If he proposes in marriage, it should be accepted. If he intercedes, it should be granted. If he speaks, he should be listened to.” The Prophet was silent and then a poor man among the Muslims passed by. The Prophet said, “What do you say about this man?” They said, “If he proposes in marriage, it should not be accepted. If he intercedes, it should not be granted. If he speaks, he should not be listened to.” The Prophet said, “This man is better than the entire earth filled with the likes of the other.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5091]
This hadith is to show how sometimes, poor believers can be nobler to Allah Subhanahu Wataala than the wealthy and famous. Of course, this is not to say that famous or wealthy people are useless or that they have no impact on the world. They obviously do, that is why they are called influencers. We do have many good people doing amazing things out there and they are known. We also have our beloved scholars and shuyukh who are known across the world and they have affected us positively and greatly (may Allah reward them in this life and the next!). Yet most people tend to forget that fame is a test. It comes with a lot of fitna and pressure. People look up to you and sometimes even when you slip, they imitate you because, in their eyes, you’re perfect. They think you know for sure what you’re saying or doing, yet they forget you’re just as human as they are and you make mistakes too.
My point is, do not ever underestimate your value to Allah simply because you’re not a great scholar, a wealthy individual who gives charity often, or a hafidh of the Qur’an. It is the sincerity of our efforts that count. Remember that the steps of the sincere believers are never forgotten, even if they are not known. We had so many messengers sent by Allah yet they are not mentioned by name in the Qur’an. Does that mean they had no impact? Or that they were lesser than the other prophets? Definitely not. As Shaykh Suleiman Hani said in the episode, ‘True success is to have good standing with Allah even if the history books do not record you.’
Dear believer, strive to be known in the heavens. Strive to be recognized by Allah Subhanahu Wataala more than anyone else. For there are many human beings who were/are famous on earth yet unknown in the heavens. Strive for the opposite. The world doesn’t need to know you for you to be valuable. Simply do good as much as possible and be consistent at that. May Allah protect us from the fitna of fame and grant us the blessing of being known in the heavens, ameen!
If interested in joining ‘Revealed: Stories of the Unnamed in the Qur’an’, please click on the following link: https://www.almaghrib.org/#ramadan360 The series greatly influenced the article above. They also have other amazing programs. Check them out!
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Ramadhan Mubarak good people 🙂 May this be our best Ramadhan yet, ameen! Please include me in your duas 🙂