The Heatwave Centre of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had recently predicted a heatwave in Karachi. Here in Karachi we faced unbearable heat this past week. Along with the heat wave comes the gift of load shedding and power outage. Here is when we as a nation indulge into complaints of how K-Electric cannot solve the basic necessities and how the UPS or the generator broke down and simply how terrible life is in Pakistan because of all of this.
Several years ago, UPS or generators were unheard of. The most common form of light was merely a candle. All meals took place under that one candle which was then later used for children as a study lamp. This is still a common scenario in many households today throughout Pakistan. So for those of us who are living in the luxury of ACs and UPS that turn on automatically the moment the electricity goes, this is a moment of gratitude. Our Ramadan that just passed were a huge blessing in terms of weather and Allah (SWT) eased it out for us. How quickly we have forgotten this?
Let’s face this reality collectively; we all are experiencing the recent heat wave alike this summer of 2021. Yet, when we discuss it at never-ending lengths, does it make it any cooler than it was a second ago? We vent and think we feel better, although nothing has drastically changed in terms of the weather. We should realize that this discussion hardly brings any benefit. They are nothing more than moments that have taken us away from the remembrance of Allah (SWT). At the same time, we actually stop thinking about the comforts that we actually have and become ungrateful for the blessings we actually have. A believer’s attitude is to find a way to connect his/her every situation with Allah’s remembrance.
How a Believer Faces Problematic Situations
1. A believer understands each situation in light of knowledge
This beautiful hadith elaborates our understanding of what heat really is and it is an enlightening perspective: It is the hellfire breathing upon us. Imagine!
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA):The Prophet ﷺ said:
“In very hot weather delay the Zuhr prayer till it becomes (a bit) cooler because the severity of heat is from the raging of the Hell-fire. The Hell-fire of Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another. So Allah allowed it to take two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold.”
(Sahih Al-Bukhari 536, 537)
2.A believer changes the perspective: What is in the hellfire is much worse
There is ease in the duniya. Today, when we are hot, we crave for water. We can easily fill our glasses up with iced cold water, gulp it down and feel comforted. In the instance hellfire becomes a destination and a final landing place (May Allah SWT protect us al. Aameen), here is what the offering will be. In the Qur’an, Allah (SWT) says:
إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا وَإِن يَسْتَغِيثُوا يُغَاثُوا بِمَاء كَالْمُهْلِ يَشْوِي الْوُجُوهَ بِئْسَ الشَّرَابُ وَسَاءتْ مُرْتَفَقًا
Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.
What else is in store for the inhabitants of the hellfire? Can anyone drink oil when there is need of water? Most definitely not! Real thirst can only be quenched with water and no soft drink can even satisfy the need. Another ayah of the Qur’an also describes the drink of the Hellfire.
هَٰذَا فَلْيَذُوقُوهُ حَمِيمٌ وَغَسَّاقٌ
“This – so let them taste it – is scalding water and [foul] purulence.”
[Surah As-Saad: 57]
So How Hot is the Hellfire Really?
“The fire that the children of Adam ignite is only one seventieth of the fire of Jahannam.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
In another hadith we learn: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“The least of the people of the Hellfire in terms of punishment on the day of resurrection, is a man who has sandals of fire, his brains would boil due to there severe heat just as copper boils. He will not see anyone from amongst the people of the fire who have a more severe torment than him while his torment is the lightest.”(Bukhari and Muslim)
In the Qur’an, Allah (SWT) says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِنَا سَوْفَ نُصْلِيهِمْ نَارًا كُلَّمَا نَضِجَتْ جُلُودُهُم بَدَّلْنَاهُمْ جُلُودًا غَيْرَهَا لِيَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ ۗ
Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses – We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment.
3.A believer looks at examples of the Companions and their response to situations
In the Battle of Tabuk, the believers set out for war but the hypocrites were looking for excuses to stay back from the battle. Tabuk occurred at a time when the heat was intense and the fruits and shades became delightful. Not only did the hypocrites not want to participate, they did not want any of the other companions to participate either. The hypocrites said to those who were ready to set out:
لَا تَنفِرُوا فِي الْحَرِّ ۗ قُلْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ أَشَدُّ حَرًّا ۚ لَّوْ كَانُوا يَفْقَهُونَ
“Do not go forth in the heat.” Say, “The fire of Hell is more intensive in heat” – if they would but understand.
[Surah At-Tawba: 81]
The response of those ready for battle was a reminder to themselves and others since it was a war that was fard ain (is an act that is obligatory for Muslims individually – each will be rewarded for performing it, or punished for failing to perform it), To not participate was denial of His commands and would have dire consequences. The heat in this world was a petty concern as opposed to the permanent Jahannum. This was the perspective the Companions (RA) all had! So next time you think it is hot, think: the hellfire will be much hotter.
4.A believer resorts to dua
As Muslims, we learn to present all our problems to Allah (SWT ) in the form of a du’a. We are supposed to invoke Allah (SWT) to make the weather easy for us to bear. The Sahabas did not go around chit chatting about how there was no water. They collectively did the Salat-ul-Istisqaa for example.
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Zaid: The Prophet ﷺ went towards the Musalla and invoked Allah (SWT) for rain. He faced the qibla and wore his cloak inside out, and offered two Rakat.
Additionally, to believers, this heat should give a complete enlightening perspective of what it would be like to even go near the Hellfire. It should be a way to connect ourselves to the condition of the Akhira as presented in the Qur’an. Every time we feel ourselves drenched in perspiration, pray the following dua:
اللَّهُمَّ أَجِرْنِي مِنَ النَّارِ
“O Allah, save me from the fire (Jahannam)”
So next we think about how hot it is in Pakistan, let’s also think that this heat is nothing as compared to the Eternal heat. That is where the season will not change. It will be a place where there will be no cold water and not even mango shake or the scrumptious falsa juice as we go through the hot summer here. Let’s think about how blessed each one of us is to have means like fans, generators, coolers and ACs that relieve us of our heat. Let’s prepare for the Akhira as in our graves there will be no AC, UPS or anything to relieve us of the torment. May Allah (SWT) protect us all. Aameen.