Where is the Almighty?
When my servants question you about Me, tell them that I am very close to them. I answer the prayer of every servant when he calls Me; therefore, they should respond to Me and put their trust in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.” Q2:186
“If humanity knows the bounties which come with the month of Ramadan, they would have yearned that fasting during the month should be for a year” – Prophet Muhammad
BRETHREN, this year’s Ramadan is now over a week old. The month has come at a time most Nigerians are seeking answers to questions which border not only on the future of this assemblage of ethnic contrarieties called Nigeria but equally on the destiny and the destination of our existence on terrestrial earth.
A brother who is based in the United States, apparently in complete quandary as to how to explain the unceasing tragedies, wanton destruction of properties and the take-over of the Nigerian space by the insuperable odour of corruption, sent a mail to me saying: “where is the Almighty”? He probably wanted to ask: what explanations can we offer for the descent by some elements in the Nigerian polity into the days of Jahiliyah when the Arabs engaged in intermittent wars of attrition, when they went to war for 40 years just because a camel was inadvertently killed by a member of the opposing tribe?
Brethren, when that brother asked the question “where is the Almighty”, he probably could not make sense of the nonsense in the challenges confronting this country. He is in quandary as to the reason Nigeria constantly occupies the front burners of international media for its negative value.
But dear brethren, why is it that we invoke the name of the Almighty each time we are confronted by the effects of our iniquities? Is it not true that the reason peace has eluded parts of the country is simply because we have refused to rise above our iniquitous proclivities? Is it not true that the reason parts of the North have become an epicenter of grief and loss is mediocrity, ignorance and poverty foisted on this nation by this past administration? Does the reason for the season of anomie not lie in the decision by the minority in power to benchmark their prosperity against the adversity of the majority?
Thus when that brother asked the question “where is the Almighty”? I quickly asked another question: where is our humanity? In other words, I refused to privilege the fatalist option: the notion that we are like stones thrown in mid air: we have no option other than falling on to the ground. I rather ‘seized” upon the American option. A former President of the United States was reported to have said that “American problems were man-made; it is Americans who would (should) solve it” not the Almighty. Thus, I say Nigeria’s problems are man-made or rather women-made; it is Nigerians who should solve it. I say that in full recognition of the critical role humans play in events in the cosmos: the role humans play in copulation before divine intervention and resultant conception; the role of the farmer in tilling and cultivating the land before the fortuitous intervention of the Merciful in watering the plantation with rain. In other words, my brother did not pay attention to the statement of our Creator: “the Almighty would not change the condition of a people until they change that which is in them.” (Q13:11)
But dear brethren, I guess when some of us look up into the skies and mutter, albeit rhetorically, “where is the Almighty”, we do that not in lamentation over a nation which appears at a loss as to its destination. I guess each time that brother of mine opens his palm, looks up the skies and invokes the name of the Almighty, it is most probably for personal or should I say ‘selfish’ reasons: the desire for promotion from one position to the other; the lust after an ambition which needs divine redemption. Such invocations are no doubt taking place in their billions particularly during this month of Ramadan. I could not help imagining that the list of our prayer requests to our Creator would be as long as the distance between the heavens and the earth. I suspect that the cacophony of the supplications which we are all sending to the Almighty everyday in this month would be as many as the number of pebbles in the desert.
Brethren, the question “where is the Almighty” should not arise for us because we know He is here and there. He is present in a way which is beyond all human vision; that He is there with us and in us; that He is in the fetus in the bomb, in the deepest and darkest regions of the ocean, in the desert where pebbles and sand attest to His inimitable majesty, in space far beyond the reach of the latest and most potent instruments in the hands of space explorers. Brethren, each time the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, each time the rain falls and the stars appear at night, each time you see your neighbour shout in happiness or the other surrounded by grief, you and I need no further evidence to confirm the presence of the Almighty. He is nearer to us than our jugular vein.
The days of Ramadan, which are now nine today are here to teach this to us. Ramadan reminds us of the link established for us by Creator immediately we became living subjects in the wombs of our mothers. The month is here to awaken us to the fact that, between a moment and the other, we are constantly transiting and moving from one reality to another.
Thus dear brethren, it is my sincere desire to remind us today that in addition to knowing that the Almighty is with us wherever we may be, the only weapon that can intervene positively to change our destiny is supplication (dua). In other words, no matter how cautious we may be, we cannot by ourselves change the Divine decree except through the deployment of supplications. Al-Rasul is reported to have said:
“Whoever the door of du’a has been opened for, then all the doors of mercy have been opened for him…”
The revered scholar, Ibn al Qayyim (RA) mentions three features of each supplication we make in relation to the divine decree under whose power we exist: that the supplication may be stronger than the divine decree, and therefore functions in repelling the latter permanently; that the supplication is weaker than the decree, but still manages to weaken the latter; and that the supplication is of equal strength, and therefore cancels out the decree.
Brethren as you reconnect with your creator during this month, please bear in mind the following: al-Rasul says all supplications are accepted and granted in three ways: the granting of our request in the way we want, its substitution with something better or the diversion of an impending evil about which we are ignorant away from us with our supplication. May you be ‘reachable’ the moment your supplications is granted. (Aaamin) (08151293300 for sms only).
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