Reflecting on Surah Kahf:1-8

“Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth an adornment for it, so that We may test them [as to] which of them are best in deeds.”

[18: 7]

 My whole life is a test. How am I doing so far? How can I make my deeds “ahsan”?

In the odd times when I remember that my life is a test, I feel like I’m failing miserably. There is still a great disparity between my ’ilm and ’amal which I am finding difficult to bridge. The more the knowledge, the more the accountability; and sometimes the more complacency also, which is a great attack of the Shaytaan. I ask Allaah to give me hidaayah tawfeeq and not just irshaad.

 Before when I used to read about Allaah guiding and misguiding whomever He wills, I used to think that even if He tries to misguide me, I will not let that happen! Na’oodhubillaah of course that was foolish thinking on my part, and Allaah has taught me a lesson – there are times when I absolutely cannot bring myself to do good deeds, even if I want to do them, and hence I realize that no-one can outstrip Allaah, we are all helpless beings who can’t do a single good deed EXCEPT with His tawfeeq.

There are two ways one can give oneself marks on the test of life. One is by comparing oneself to disbelievers, and criminals and sinners like murderers, adulterers, thieves, etc. When I do this, I feel like I’m doing pretty well. The other way is to compare oneself with the Prophets, Sahaabah, Taabi’een, Taba Taabi’een, scholars, the believers as described in the Qur’aan, etc. When I do this, I feel like the scum of the earth and my sins are suddenly all too clear in front of me. It is better to judge oneself based on one’s comparison (contrast, rather) to the pious predecessors rather than the sinners. It is better to be safe than sorry.

I can make my deeds “ahsan” by doing whatever good deed I do with utmost ikhlaas (sincerity), which is a way of making it at the level of excellence. Also, instead of doing good deeds merely out of the goodness of my heart (like many non-Muslims also do), I should rather do it for the pleasure of Allaah. I should never underestimate small or few acts of goodness if they are done with sincerity, because the key word Allaah has mentioned for the deeds that carry marks is “ahsan” (best) and not “akthar” (most). So a two-rak’aat prayer filled with khushoo’ and weeping for fear of Allaah would probably be more beloved to and high-ranking in the sight of Allaah than a dozen rak’aat offered mindlessly with no understanding of the words uttered in the salaah.

 May Allaah give us all the tawfeeq to do ahsan ’amal, Aameen.  

A Student of the Quran

I don’t think I’m doing so well in the tests in my life. When it comes to the major tests in life I am patient most of the time, however when it comes to the minor tests in life I fail most of them time. I may lose patience or fall into the traps of Shaitan.
I have a control on my anger more so than I previously did but I can snap anytime.
I can make my deeds Ahsan , first of all, by keeping in mind “…Indeed Allah loves the Muhsineen.”
That should be enough to help me make my deeds Ahsan.
Then I should start focusing on the quality of deeds not the quantity.
I need to do Ihsan with relations.
When glorifying Allah I shouldn’t count how many times I’ve glorified him but should focus on the meaning and glorifying Him with a mind that is not heedless.
When repenting I should focus on how sincerely I’ve repented and not the number of times I’ve done it.
When it comes to reading the Quran , I shouldn’t focus on reading it an x number of times but focus on reciting it with the proper rules, by understanding it and taking a lesson from it.
Even in the case of prayers I should focus on reciting with Khushoo rather than praying as many nawafils as I can.
I can make my deeds Ahsan by making in intention pure and by perfecting it as much as I can. Most importantly , by giving quality more importance than quantity.
With relations I can do Ihsan by treating them with kindness, regardless how rude they may have been with  me. This is something really hard to do which I have to work on.
I should visit my relatives occasionally, taking gifts for them or at least call them up once in a while.
All this time I should also keeping making dua for my deeds to be Ahsan and acceptable to Allah (S.W.T.).

A Student of the Quran

I do not think most of my deeds are ahsan. When I look back at my life there are very few decisions I have made which I am proud of. I also know i cannot afford to be complacent and think that I have a long time to make my deeds ahsan,as no one knows at what moment death may strike. Whenever I feel lazy or tired I remind myself that the ibadah of youth is much easier, so I should do it in the best way.As we get older it becomes harder to do the things we did when we were young and had able-bodies. Also , I do not have a lot of responsibilities, compared to what I might have in the future, and therefore now  I have more time as well. Alhamdolillah it is a great blessing of Allah that He made me join this course and learn the Quran before I became set in my ways.

 Making one’s deeds ahsan begins with having the correct intention,as that is the first step. If we make the righ intention, and ask for His help, there is no doubt that Allah SWT helps us in completing that action. It is also important to be vigilant and mindful of the ayaat of the Quran,to remind ourselves constantly that it is not an option, rather a command of Allah for us to do good deeds in an ahsan manner. We cannot afford to do things at a level any lower than that when we do them for Allah.

Sana Ahmad

Sadly, we go through life without even realizing that it is a test. Not just those who are heedless but this also include those who pray 5 times a day, fast during Ramadan, cover themselves. I fall into the latter group. We live life without the essence of having taqwa or firm iman. I have started to believe that it is not good enough to just go around with a title of being a Muslim, and doing all the practices without having an iota of fear of Allah, belief that life will end shortly or the fact that we are accountable for each and every thing. This discovery makes me realize that I have completely failed in all of the tests.

Yet, I thank Allah for this realization that it is not too late to bring about the change through the study of the Quran. If I have done lots of deeds but they haven’t been at the level of being called ahsan – the one best, then now I need to make a firm resolve to move forward by doing each act as if it were my last. For this here is what I have to do:

•Hold on to the Quran. This is not just a literal phrase where I am reading it each day,
but not worrying about implementing it. This includes remembering, revising each area
covered in the Quran. Each ayah contains a lesson which needs to be well understood
and abided by.

•I have to also know what Allah considers ahsan deeds. What was the way of our Prophet
(SAW) and his followers. The recent study of Muslim Heroes is a beautiful one and we
need to try to become like the sahabas who lived life at an active level.

•I can make my deeds more ahsan by remembering that shaitan is out there to get me –
that his goal. I have to remember my goal.

Safia Kemal

About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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