Feeling of Strangeness - (Al-Ghurbah)
do not be deceived by their movement throughout the lands."[40:4]
Among the realities of faith & facts of life is this: the TRUE adherents to the Straight Path of Allah (as-sirat al- mustaqeem) are a SMALL minority, living as STRANGERS in society. The reason is None other than the DEVIATION of MOST of mankind from that Path & their EXCESSIVE ATTACHMENT to this DUNIYAA.
The Qur'an describes the MAJORITY of the earth's population:
"But MOST of the people DO NOT KNOW." [12:21]
"No, but MOST of them DO NOT USE THEIR MINDS." [29:63]
"MOST of the people DO NOT BELIEVE." [40:59]
"They are not EXCEPT like sheep. No, but they are even more astray." [25:44]
The degree of alienation varies from time to time, place to place, people to people; for Muslims are a minority among the inhabitants of this earth, and believers are a minority among Muslims. Those of knowledge are few among believers, and those defending the Prophet's sunnah are even fewer. In respect to this, the Messenger of Allah (s'Allahu 'alayhe wa salam) said, 'Verily, my community among communities is like a white hair on a black bull.' [Al-Bukhari]
These strangers find comfort in solitude and suffer isolation in The company of those who seek only to socialize yet they cannot neglect their duties because the Prophet (s'Allahu 'alayhe wa salam) declared, 'The believer who mixes with people and is patient in the face of their offense is preferable to the believer who does not mix with people and is not patient with their offense.' [Ahmad & Tirmidhi] These servants are careful to avoid what is doubtful or might possibly lead to haram and they are indifferent to that which is of no benefit in theHereafter. They fear Allah when dealing with others and even more so when dealing with the subtle affairs of their own hearts. They refuse to compromise tawheed, and they seek opportunities for jihad. They cling to the sunnah when people have abandoned it, and they avoid innovation in religion while people find it goo. They know the gravity of their sins and strive for forgiveness from their Lord.
They are the ones whom the Prophet (s'Allahu 'alayhe wa salam) praised when he said, 'Certainly Islam began as [something] alien, and it will become alien once again as it began. So, blessed are the aliens.' [Muslim & Ahmad] Yet, human souls were created as social beings with a natural enjoyment of companionship and feelings of loneliness during periods of isolation. Therefore, Allah (Subhannahu wa ta'ala) assures those who travel on His Path that, in spite of temporary alienation from contemporaries, they do belong to the best company of mankind -none other than the prophets, their supporters, the martyrs and the righteous. [4:69] Such is the reason for the supplication: "O Allah, guide me among those You have guided." Remembering one's companions removes sadness from the heart. Although they may be rare throughout the servant's lifetime, he can certainly look forward to a joyful reception in the Hereafter. Ibn al-Qayyim said, "Every time you feel the loneliness of isolation, remember your companions who have preceded you and be eager to join them; and do not be concerned with others, for they will not avail you at all before Allah. And if they call out to you during your journey, do not turn to them, for whenever you respond to them, they will take you and set you in another direction."
Some early scholars used to advise, "Keep fast to the path of truth, and do not succumb to loneliness because of the few who tread it; and beware of the path of falsehood, and do not be deceived by the many headed on it to destruction." Finally, in the words of Allah (subhannahu wa ta'ala) "Say, 'Not equal are evil and good, even if you are impressed by the abundance of evil.'" [5:100]
"And if you obey most of those on earth, they will lead you astray from the way of Allah. They follow nothing but speculation, and they are not but those who falsify." [6:116]
The adherent to the Straight Path is indeed a stranger in this world, but, in fact, all men are such. They were not created for this life but are merely travelers along the road to the final
destination. So, whoever travels light, sending provisions on before him, will ease his burden and find his home in order upon arrival.
A chapter from Umm Muhammad's
'Realities of Faith'
Abul-qasim publishing house
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia