Submission to the Divine Will
Submission to the Divine will is specialty of chosen men of Allah. He put every Prophet and Saint through various trials and blessed them with high status because of their courage and love.
- Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh), “O Prophet of Allah! On whom do the most trials come?” The Prophet said “Most on the Prophets, then those after them (in spiritual status),
and then those after them.” (Al-Tirmidhi 2398_Musnad Ahmad 9344_Silsila tul- Sahiha 3259)
- Mus’ab bin Sa’d relates from his father that the Holy Prophet said: “Trial of a believer is according to level of belief. Therefore trials are difficult for those with a strong belief, and mild for those with a weak belief.” (Mustadrak 120_ Silsila tul- Sahiha 3270)
That is, everyone will go through trials. But the trial of weak believers is mild and their status in the sight of Allah is also low. The most rigorous trial is that of submission to the Divine will. Some remain steadfast in this trial and some stumble. Allah elevates the steadfast ones to a status beyond imagination. The ones who stumble and stray from submission to the Divine will cannot progress the path of Divine closeness and oneness. Their destination on the right path is only the place where their courage breaks.
Submission to the Divine will means that whatever happens in life, hardship or comfort, difficulty or ease, sorrow or happiness, one should accept it as a part of life considering it to be Allah’s will.
- Submission to the Divine will is that the seeker considers every blessing and every loss as the will and decision of Allah. The seeker’s success in the world and mystic path lies in between the two states of hope and fear. When Allah bestows, one should not become arrogant also should not feel discouraged when adversity befalls. One must feel pleased with the Divine consent and submit to Him in every condition such as horror and distress, peace and grief, comfort and tension, convenience and misery, illness and health, hunger and satiation etc. Allah approves only such a seeker. (Sufism-the Soul of Islam)
Whenever someone mentions submission to the Divine will in Islamic history, the first name that comes to mind is Husayn ibn Ali. The submission to Divine will that he showed in the field of Karbala; When one ponders on the event of Karbala and on the incidents that happened with Hussain ra, his family and companions, it is unimaginable to process the pain and sacrifice they went through only for the sake of love for Allah. No one can provide a better will. This great status was planned by Allah from the beginning of time for the grandson of Prophet Mohammad. No other person is capable of giving such a sacrifice till Qayamat (end of the world)
The Holy Quran calls it the great sacrifice. Husayn’s sacrifice completed Ismail’s sacrifice, which failed to do so thousands of years ago.
The incident is as follows, when Prophet Ismail was fourteen years old and according to one tradition, he was seven. One day Prophet Abraham said to him, “My son! I dreamed that I was slaughtering you. What is your opinion on this?” Ismail said: “Father! Do what you were ordered to do. If Allah wills, you will find me among the enduring” Both father and son set out early in the morning to obey Allah’s order.
At this point Satan tried best to play tricks. Taking the form of an acquaintance, he went to Hajrah first and asked:
“Do you know where your husband and son are?” She said that they have gone out for sightseeing. Satan said: “It is not so, rather your husband has gone to kill your son.” Hajrah replied “Does a father ever kill his son, especially when he loves his son immensely? So do not talk nonsense.
Satan said of course he will do so because his Lord has commanded him to. She replied that if it is the command of my Lord, then I also submit to His will.”
Satan thought Hajrah is a mother who cannot bear the slightest pain of her child and if someone tries to hurt her child, she would protect him but when he could not convince her he left unsuccessfully. he went to Ismail and said:
“Do you know that your father is going to slaughter you? Ever heard of a father sacrificing his young son?”
Ismail replied to Satan that he submits to the will of Allah. Here too Satan faced defeat.
Satan’s last attempt
As a last shot, Satan tried to mislead Prophet Abraham, saying what wisdom is it to go out to slaughter his child in old age? And the son is so beautiful and the light of your eyes. There could be many other ways to please Allah. If you sacrifice such a beautiful son, your lineage would end. What you believe to be a sign, could possibly be a trick from Satan. If this was Divine will, why would Allah command you in a dream and not order angel Gabriel?
So Satan whispered into his ear as much as possible, and tried as many tricks as he could, he left no stone unturned to stop Abraham from his goal. Prophet Abraham got tired of his whispers, picked up a rock and hit him. He hit Satan three times. Satan realized that today his trick will not work because today he has crossed paths with people of Allah.
People who do not hesitate and sacrifice their own head for the Divine will. They do not accept any correction or advice when obeying the Divine command, they bow their heads to the Divine will without concern for profit or loss.
When the father and son reached solitude, Ismail said: Father, tie my hands and feet, so that I do not flail my hands and feet to save my life, and blood does not splatter on your face. Also put my face towards the ground so that you may not feel pity when you look at me. Abraham blindfolded himself so that he would not feel pity in his heart on seeing his son’s face. With Allah’s name, he used the knife. Abraham was swiftly using the knife but it refused.
This showed that nothing happens without the will of Allah.
If Allah’s will can fire then it can also stop the knife from cutting throat.
At that moment revelation revealed:
O Abraham! (How wonderfully) have you made your dream really true!’ Surely, We pay back the spiritually excellent the same way. No doubt it was a great and open trial. And We exchanged him with a great sacrifice. (37: 104-107)
- Common people think that Allah replaced Ismail’s sacrifice with a lamb. Seemingly yes, angel Gabriel came with a lamb and this lamb took Ismail’s place. The question is, is a lamb’s sacrifice greater than Ismail’s sacrifice? As Allah calls it the great sacrifice. Can a lamb be compared to a Prophet?
The great sacrifice is actually the sacrifice of Husayn ibn Ali. It was Allah’s decision that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would be from the descendants of Prophet Ismail. If Ismail had been sacrificed at that time, Allah’s will would not have been fulfilled. If Ismail is Abraham’s son then Husayn is also Prophet Mohammad’s grandson.
- The Holy Prophet says about him:
Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn.
Comparison of Ismail’s and Husayn’s sacrifice
Let us compare Ismail’s sacrifice and Husayn ibn Ali’s martyrdom. Some important points come up:
1. Allah revealed the news of Ismail sacrifice through a dream and that too a few hours before the sacrifice. Whereas’ Gabriel revealed the news of Husayn’s sacrifice in the material world and not in dream in his childhood.
When Husayn ibn Ali was born, the Holy Prophet was informed that he shall be sacrificed. Husayn himself was aware of the time and place of his sacrifice. If someone today finds out he has a few days left in life, he may die as soon as he hears this news. But words fall short to praise Husayn’s bravery.
Similarly, his parents Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima knew about the tragedy to come. Yet they never once raised their hands to pray for their son nor the thought of changing fate of Husayn’s came into their hearts.
Allah, who knows even the most buried desires of the heart, would avert this tragedy. But such great and noble parents never prayed for the aversion of this tragedy throughout their lives and always submit to the Divine will.
Witnesses and Suffering
2. Abraham took Ismail to a secluded corner for sacrifice where no one was present except them. While there were thousands of witnesses to Husayn’s sacrifice. When sacrificed, Ismail suffered only the thought of death but Hussain went through the pain of not only seeing the deaths of families and companions but also went through the pain and suffering of his own death!
He saw his sons, brothers, nephews and other loved ones and companions be martyred heartlessly. He held the lifeless and bloody corpses of his loved ones. What he must have felt seeing the faces of the sacred ladies and children of the Prophet’s family drained due to hunger, thirst and heat! He must have been worried to death thinking what Yazid’s soldiers would do to the sacred ladies after all the men’s deaths.
How can someone imagine the state of Husayn’s pure heart who saw his loved ones drenched in blood! After his beloveds’ martyrdom, he sacrificed his own sacred head for the safety of religion.
3. Ismail had the choice to save his life. Husayn also had the choice to destroy Yazid’s entire army and save the lives of his family and companions. Because Husayn was the Universal Divine Man and Leader of all.
Allah had bestowed him with Divine attributes. But submission to the Divine will says that despite having Divine attributes, follow Allah’s will. And instead of using Divine attributes, bend to His wish. Hence if we compare choice, Husayn’s sacrifice is greater.
4. Satan used just whispers against Abraham and Ismail but for Husayn’s sacrifice he brought thousands of Yazid’s soldiers. He resorted to subtle words to prevent Divine will during Ismail’s sacrifice and to subdue Husayn he used violence.
He used all kinds of tactics to make Husayn bow down to the transgressors in the face of hunger, thirst and heat. Yazid offered him wealth and a chance to save his own life and of loved ones, but how could the head that prostrates before Allah only, bow in front of anyone other than Allah?
Husayn’s and his companions’ faith was not so weak that they prefer worldly wealth to Allah’s will and happiness. Those who are deprived of Divine gnosis, who have no hope of seeing and meeting their Lord in the hereafter, devote themselves to improving the temporary and mortal world instead of eternal life.
The inward of Hussain and his companion’s were filled with the light of Divine gnosis, full of love for the truth. They would sacrifice themselves thousands of times for Allah’s will.
5. Ismail’s sacrifice was based on the intention of submission to the Divine will but not to harm or help anyone. Whereas Husayn’s sacrifice had the intention of eternalization of the true religion.
It exposed the evil ambitions and goals of those who wanted to use religion by claiming the monarchy to be caliphate. Due to his sacrifice, the ambitions of these cursed people were not fulfilled.
The sacrifice of Hazrat Ismail was replaced by a ram and was considered a great Sacrifice. In comparison to this imam Hussain sacrificed his family, companions and himself is much greater than the sacrifice of Ismail. The blood of Ismail, which was not shed at that time by the command of Allah, was shed by Hazrat Imam Husayn (R.a) from the lineage of Ismail. If Hazrat Ismail bowed his head in front of the pleasure of Allah, then Hazrat Imam Husayn (R.a) touched the extremes of submission and pleasure and set an example that no one will be able to set for the rest of the world.
We pray to Allah to grant us the ability to understand and follow the life of Hazrat Imam Husayn (R.a). Ameen
Q 1. What is submission to the Divine will?
Ans. Submission to the Divine will means that whatever happens in life, be it hardship or comfort, difficulty or ease, sorrow or happiness, one should accept it as a part of life and be satisfied with it considering it to be Allah’s will.
Q 2. How did Husayn submit to the Divine will?
Ans. The news of Husayn’s sacrifice was revealed in his childhood and
that too by Gabriel in the material world and not in dream.
- When Husayn ibn Ali was born, the Holy Prophet was informed that he shall be sacrificed.
- Husayn himself was aware of the time and place of his sacrifice. If someone today finds out he has a few days left in life, he may die as soon as he hears this news.
- Husayn had the choice to destroy Yazid’s entire army and save the lives of People of Cloak. Husayn was the Universal Divine Man.
- Allah had bestowed him with Divine Attributes. But submission to the Divine will says that despite having Divine attributes, follow Allah’s will. And instead of using Divine attributes, bend to His wish.
This blog is English translation of an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for the month of June, 2023. The title of the Urdu article is:
Tasleem o Raza – Ismael se Husain tk (تسلیم و رضا حضرت اسمعٰیل سے حضرت امام حسین تک).
Originally penned by Sultan Mohammad Ahsan Ali Sarwari Qadri from Lahore and is presented in English by Mohammad Bin Moghees Sarwari Qadri, exclusively for websites.