WHO ARE MIRACLES FOR?
Some people feel intimidated today when they see the power and force that those committing evil display. And not only display, but actually hold. Sometimes it looks miraculous – the way it seems everything is working out just right for those evil people. Their plans are all panning out, with perfect timing, and everything is going their way and nothing is stopping it. Even hidden spiritual forces seem to be serving them, so that they appear to have a sort of tawfiq: an ability to get things just right, and for their plans to manifest at the exact time and in the exact way that they desire, to cause the maximum harm.
We feel intimidated by this show of force and uncanny efficiency on the part of the wrong side, because we don’t read the Quran and we don’t know the Seerah – the history of the Apostle of God, may God’s light continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him. Had we been familiar with the Quran and the Seerah, none of what we see today would throw us off or shake us.
The Story of the Apostle of God Zakariyya
Let us look at the story of the Apostle Zakariyya and the “tawfiq” that the people who wanted to kill him had when they went looking for him in order to murder him, and found him.
The Apostle Zakariyah was being pursued by those who wished to kill him. In seeking to escape their evil approach, he entered a forest. There, with the force of God, the help of God, and the miracle that God gave him, he came upon a tree. The tree literally opened its trunk to let him inside. Its inside was hollow – a space made for him to shelter in. God’s Apostle Zakariyya went into the tree, and the trunk closed around him, hiding him from the attackers.
This was a miracle: the assistance of God to shield Prophet Zakariyya.
But when the magicians came, they were able to see and recognize which tree in that entire forest held Sayyidna Zakariyya.
Some would say it was because part of his robe was left outside the tree, but whatever it was, the next thing that happened was that the murderers sawed the tree in two, with Sayyidna Zakariyya inside it. The Prophet of God was martyred.
What can we learn from this?
Do we learn from this that God let Prophet Zakariyya down? That he led him to safety and then stripped him of that protection? That God offered and then withdrew His Loving Protection? That God misled him?
Not at all. Far be it from God.God is always with those who are good, and what is a Prophet if not good. God never lets anyone down…but the way we perceive things can lead us to think that. So let us learn how to perceive things based on our total belief that indeed, Prophet Zakariyya was not only a good man but a Beloved of God. Therefore, what happened to him could only be a Grace from God and a teaching for us.
In what happened to Prophet Zakariyya, God is showing us that the magicians who attacked him are the ones who are the losers. In their total blindness, they could not even recognize a miracle when they saw it, and could not back down from their nefarious plans even when confronted with the holy light of God manifesting to them in a manner that was clearly miraculous.
Even when they perceived that Prophet Zakariyya was hidden in a tree that was totally closed and showed no signs of having split open, they did not take that to mean anything. It should, in reality, have stopped them in their tracks. It should have been a confirmation that Prophet Zakariyya is the true man. It should have been a cause for them to feel shame. It should have been a chance for them to repent. It should have been a message that their magic means nothing and only the Help of God is the true Power, and it lies with those who are pure and good like Prophets. But instead of all this, they chose to insist on their lowness and baseness. Instead of falling to their knees in praise of God and begging His Pardon, they went right ahead and completed their own damnation.
Lesson 2: God gives bad people a long leash at times.
He lets them carry out their plans and even gives them “success” according to their terms and what they see as success. The profound lesson here is: Whatever we seek and commit to, God will make come about for us. So for those humans who seek evil, they will find it in everything they do, in spectacular ways.
Don’t forget that on the day of Badr, Abu Sufyan received a sort of revelation to change the route of his army – that was a satanic revelation. It was not an Angelic inspiration. God Most High tells us about how satan was with the rejecters of God amongst the Quraysh on that day, and he was telling them: I am with you. And he was showing them tactics and giving them stratagem to use against the Muslims.
Here is the profound realization we need to make: whatever you pursue, comes to you. And what comes to you, becomes you.
If you wish to be an instrument of God, He will make you one. And if you wish to be an instrument of satan, he will take you on and will use you in remarkable ways.
Anyone who even turns away from engagement in consciousness development (dhikr) will be given another kind of companion on their journey:
وَمَن يَعْشُ عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِين
“And whoever turns away from seeking to develop his consciousness of the Creator of all relationships,
We appoint for him a devil to be his constant companion and comrade.”
Surat alZukhraf (Chapter 43: Verse 36)
And God also says:
And God does not like those who spend of their wealth to be seen by the people, and those who do not seek a relationship with God nor take as real the Day of Judgment and being held accountable before the Lord. Whoever chooses to take Satan as a friend, what a terrible friend to have chosen!
Surat alNisa (Chapter 4: Verse 38)
And We assigned them “qurana” (devils) who made their present and their past look impressive to them, so that they were self-contented and continued in their ways.
And so the Divine sentence of justice concerning nations of the jinn and humankind who passed away before them came into effect upon them as well.
Thus they are the losers, and they have lost out completely.
Surat Fussilat (Chapter 41: Verse 25)
Just turning away from remembrance of the Lord brings a person an actual dark companion to be with them in all their moments – so what about a person who decides to commit harm against the People of God – what companion will come to them to be at their side?
We can see that such people will receive another kind of revelation, another kind of “fath” – breakthrough. It’s a dark breakthrough, into the world of shadows. We have in Islam the teaching that Allah gives life to us by blowing the spirit into us. But there is also the blow of satan, blowing his energy into someone who has come towards him and opened himself to him. With this blow of energy from satan, satan will empower that person.
That person will become smart and strong and active. Where he had been lazy in his spiritual journey, unable to say kind words – you will now find him able to say the worst words with such lightness of tongue and such eloquence and such time dedicated to saying them.
Those who go into an enterprise of offending and making war against the believers, inspiring fitna, harm, and treachery, and those who go on the path of rejection and denial of God and His Gifts will have a kind of revelation that emerges from the darkness of their own ego getting in touch with the darkness that is the devil. The result is a real chemistry that can lead to nuclear-level explosions.
They will be empowered and inspired and in a “miraculous “ way, satan will show them where to look, how to hunt, and how to harm the innocent people of God. Let us not be deluded, this is nothing but “Affaakun atheem.” That’s the path of the devil. And many people have sold themselves to the devil. They are now instruments of the devil and as such, are receiving revelation (instruction) from the devil, whether they are aware of this reality or not.
The majority of the inventions of modern society (suffulization – from the word “suful” in Arabic, which means: “to be brought low”) are satanically-inspired. To verify this one should merely go and read the biographies of people like Tesla. How did they start making their money? They actually saw dreams. They got inspiration. And it was not a good enterprise they engaged in. It was not for the upliftment of humanity or out of concern for their wellbeing. Those are people of sin, who are involved in saying things that they don’t do. Their public speech misaligns with their actual reality and what they think and do in private. So they get that inspiration from the master teacher of duplicity – satan.
When they get empowerment from satan this makes them feel that they are in the right, and that they are going down the right path, and they take others with them.
وَالشُّعَرَۤاءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ الْغَاوُۧونَۘأَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّهُمْ ف۪ي كُلِّ وَادٍ يَه۪يمُونَۙوَأَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفْعَلُونَۙSurat al-Shu-ara (Chapter 26: Verses 224-227)
Those who take their inspiration from dark sources,
the people who follow them are misguided.
Do you not see how they deviate themselves and others
in every possible lowland and gutter.
And what they claim is not what they actually do.
Another example of this type of phenomena is seen in the history of our Spiritual Ancestor Imam Husayn, may the light of God empower his legacy in us.
WHAT IS VICTORY? WHAT IS DEFEAT?
Imam Husayn, may the light of God continue to nourish his being and our connection to him, was being pursued by assassins hellbent on killing him. Even though the Imam changed his route, his attackers found him. How did this happen? His attackers were going to attack Madinah and they thought he was there, but on their way there, they found him – by mistake in fact. And when they found him…they did not hold back.
The question a person might ask is: Was Allah’s allowing these people to find Sayyidna Husayn a defeat?
The answer of course is: no.
The materialist paradigm that victory must be material is wrong. Victory comes in many forms.
It is not always those who are with the truth who gain the material victory, the visible victory, in this life. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are defeated in the material realm. And sometimes that defeat leads to the end of a project, community, or legacy.
Sometimes in material terms, not only are the good people defeated, but they are killed. Their bodies, their families, their lives, and their efforts are destroyed.
But in the spiritual sense, they are victorious.
So let us not have this naive idea, conditioned by the world around us and the stories we are always told, that good always wins in the end, in this temporary phase of existence (dunya). Rather, good always wins in the ultimate end: in the Afterlife.
Good wins the war, not necessarily the battle.
Otherwise, how could we understand what happened to the Apostle Zakariyya, and after him the Apostle John (Yahya) who was also killed by his enemies, and even the Apostle Jesus (Isa) himself? The Apostle of God, Jesus, appeared to the people of his time to have been completely defeated, though God tells us that he was not harmed by them but actually raised up to His Lord.
The Lord God made it seem to the world and to His enemies that the bad people had triumphed over His Apostles. Are we to understand that as God giving aid to the bad people? Or that the good people got defeated because they did a sin to deserve that? This becomes another populist narrative: that a good person was brought down by the world because they must have committed a sin that they did not repent for, and this is God’s way of teaching them. Yes, people in leadership positions commit sins, and yes this can result in public humiliation – but it is not the only version or explanation possible. There are people who are publicly persecuted who are innocent of what they are being accused of. Let us not rush to assumptions and jump to conclusions based on a partial understanding of the matters and an overly-confident view of how God reprimands people.
SHIFT YOUR EXPECTATIONS
We must remember that we must not have expectations of winning in the short term, in this life. So let those who are with the Truth not lose hope if they don’t get the help of God in the way they may want…
And let those who are on the sidelines, literally standing by watching, not say: if those were truly people of God, their Lord would have assisted them with a miracle.
Wait and gain weight: this world is nothing to begin with; it’s but a test. Therefore what happens here is not the final story. And the ultimate gain is not to be had here.
WHAT ARE MIRACLES FOR THEN?
The miracles of the Apostles and the Friends of God are not for the Apostles and the Friends of God themselves. The People of God do not need further confirmation of the Presence of God and His Power.
Rather, miracles are a treat for those who are with the People of God. And they serve as a confirmation from God to those who stand by His People. They are a reward and affirmation in this life for those who have had the courage to stand with good. They affirm and strengthen them to keep standing in that position of support, love, and commitment to the People of God.
However, if the Friends of God are being attacked, and the people around them do not stand by them, those people will not be treated to the sight of miracles. If they don’t have it in them to see good and stand up to defend it, they will not be given miracles by the Creator. Or, they will be shown miracles and not be able to recognize them.
The Lord’s support of His Friends comes as a support for the people around His Friends.
It’s a rahma (blessing of grace) for people if God makes the voices of His People reach the hearts of the common folk. And if God does not want that rahma for the people of an era anymore, that’s it. He will take those People of His away from their communities and they will experience the loss of those who He had offered to them as guides. God will take them away, one way or another.
WHAT DOES IT MATTER?
What is this world for the Friend of God? We have seen the Apostles of God slandered, slaughtered, mocked, killed, shamed, and we have seen the Friends of God who came after them dealt with by the people of this world in the same way.
What is this world for the People of God? Nothing. On the day of Ashura our spiritual ancestor Husayn said to his few companions: “Be patient, O noble ones. Death is only a bridge which takes you from misery and loss to the vast Paradise and eternal graces.”
The majority of the Friends of God get tried to an extent we cannot even fathom. The Imams of ahlul Bayt were tried intensely, with no material victory coming at the end of all of those trials.
God did not give a miracle to the Apostle Zakariyya in the way that would have made people who were not supportive become supportive. And the same thing is true of many of His Apostles. God did not make the Apostle Jesus fly to the sky in front of the people. He made the people believe they were able to kill him. Why? Because they did not deserve to see a miracle.
What the People of God and the Apostles do, even til the last moment, is to remind and advise, saying: Let those who are doing ifk (sowing lies and fitna) not be deluded and think they are inspired or empowered by God. That sudden power they are possessed of is not a God-given boost, but something coming from the dark side.
The best way to know if the empowerment is from God or satan is to look at the methods one is employing – whether they are in alignment with the Divine Way of Ethics granted us by the Lord (the Sharia).
Let those amongst the Muslims regard the Seerah and ask if the way they are going about things is Prophetic, or pathetic. Could mocking and harming of others be a Prophetic way of going about serving a cause?
Let such people look at themselves in the mirror and not forget who they are. It is easy for people to lie to themselves and get deluded because their plans are working out.
If God wants rahma (grace and mercy) for the people of this time, He will expose the bad people who are harming the People of God, and expose them in a very clear way so it is easy for the common people to see them as bad and unjust.
But if God does not want to make it easy, and He offers it as a trial or test, you may see that the common people side with the wrongdoers. At that point, remember that the reputation of people in this world is not the true measure of their worth. Many a Messenger and Apostle was reviled in his time and hated by the common people because they were influenced by the wrongdoers.
In reality, one’s true and only reputation is with God.