Living with Dignity and Honor

Living with Dignity and Honor
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The believer (mu’min) is honored through his attachment to Allah, his faith, and the privilege of being graced with Islam. In the words of Hz. Umar ibn al-Khattab, it can be said, “Allah has honored us through Islam. Whoever seeks honor through means other than this, Allah will humiliate them.” True honor belongs to Allah alone. He is Al-Aziz[1]. There is no power that can overcome Him. He elevates whom He wills and abases whom He wills. All strength and might belong to Him. There is no obstacle that one who seeks refuge in His strength and might cannot overcome.

The believer is ‘aziz’, honored and their dignity comes from Allah alone, and they consider themselves humble only in the presence of Allah. As a servant, they act with extraordinary humility, modesty, and self-abasement. Before Allah, they bow down in complete submission, with their heads lowered, fervently supplicating and imploring only Him. They know very well that their honor is directly tied to their servitude to Allah. They wholeheartedly believe that true worth and value are attained through devotion to Him. They do not value what the people of the world consider sources of greatness. They do not bow before them; they stand tall, preserving their dignity. Neither the alluring attractions of the world, nor status and position, nor wealth can make them waver or compromise their values. Such a person, who leans on the strength and might of Allah, and who expects everything from Him, as described by Bediüzzaman, can challenge the entire universe.

In a hadith, it is stated that the dignity of a believer lies in being content in the heart and not extending their hand to people. Those who act in this way are self-sufficient individuals. They consider the resources and blessings Allah has granted them to be sufficient. They do not ask anyone for help, nor do they rely on anyone else’s handouts. They have no interest in the possessions, wealth, status, or positions of others because they have set their sights solely on the pleasure of Allah. They do everything with the intention of seeking Allah’s approval and pleasure. To possess such a feeling and mindset is loftier than conquering the entire world.

In a time when arrogance, selfishness, self-centeredness, indulgence in comfort, materialism, and the pursuit of personal gain seem to prevail, it doesn’t appear easy for people to attain such pure and genuine feelings. The paths we tread are laden with impurities, the bridges we cross are fraught with danger, the scenes before us are bewildering, the events unfolding around us are dizzying, and the distractions are overwhelming.

Sins and worldly habits spread rapidly, blurring the vision of individuals. Masses chase worldly pleasures blindly, unknowingly sacrificing all their spiritual assets for the sake of the world. They are unaware of being drawn towards a [metaphorical] black hole. Therefore, without the grace of Allah, preserving the well-being of the soul, heart, and senses seems exceedingly difficult.

Nevertheless, there are not few who, despite all the allurements of the world, keep their focus on the pleasure and contentment of Allah. They are well aware that the blissful life of this world, even if it were to last for thousands of years, cannot compare to a single moment in Paradise, and that the thousands of years of happiness in Paradise cannot match a single moment of the joy of beholding the Divine Majesty and Beauty.

However, these few also undergo various trials and tribulations, facing numerous hardships and adversities. There are times when injustices, betrayals, oppressions, trials, courts, and prisons seem to never release their grip. Yet, because they consider their faith in Allah and their commitment to Islam as the greatest source of honor, they do not change their stance or bow to the oppressors. Even when some try to humiliate them with lies and false accusations, they know that as long as they believe in Allah with all their hearts, they will remain dignified. Therefore, they do not panic, falter, worry, become lax, or lose their resolve in the face of pressure and adversity. For a person who believes in the Divine decree “Do not falter or grieve, for you will have the upper hand, if you are [true] believers.” (Âl-i İmrân, 3:139), even when oppressed and oppressed upon, they know they remain honored.

Until now, those who have been intoxicated by power, strength, position, and status have always considered themselves as honored, while regarding those who oppose or challenge them as humiliated. Pharaohs, Nimrods, tyrants, and those who strive to appear powerful and esteemed have, in reality, been the ones living in humiliation. This is because they have become slaves to power, position, and the desire for dominance.

Someone who maintains the honor and dignity of being a servant before Allah does not experience humiliation in the face of anything. This is because through their servitude to Allah, they have attained true freedom and have been liberated from servitude to various other things. Such a person is not enslaved by positions, nor by resources. Neither power and might, nor fame and reputation, can shackle them. Feelings like fear, greed, excessive ambition, and love for the world cannot hold them captive. Therefore, there is no greater blessing than the dignity, honor and superiority gained through servitude to Allah.

If you consider your attachment to the Divine Essence as the highest rank and position, then there is no one more honorable than you. If you feel the privilege of being part of the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) deep within your being, then there is no one more honorable than you. If you are content with Islam as your religion, then there is no one more honorable than you. Let some unjust individuals exile you from place to place, subject you to unimaginable oppression and adversity. As long as you maintain this attachment, it means you are living in the realm of gain and victory.

Throughout history, many, including Prophets, have been forced to leave their homes and lands due to the harm caused by evildoers and disbelievers. As the Qur’an mentions, Prophet Moses fled to Midian to escape the harm of Pharaoh. The Prophet Muhammad, the Pride of Humanity (peace be upon him), had to leave his birthplace, Makkah al-Mukarramah, because of the severe oppression inflicted on the believers by the tyrants of his time. Prophets like Noah, Lot, and Abraham also fled the evils, schemes, and traps of the evildoers in their respective eras. This is not humiliation; on the contrary, it is seeking refuge in Allah, turning to Him, and fleeing to Him, as expressed in the verse: “So flee to Allah.” (Zâriyât, 51:50).

In today’s world, those brave souls who dedicate their hearts to the service of faith and the Qur’an may also be seen as making a spiritual migration to other lands by the compulsion of Divine favor. Perhaps political authorities will create news about them, fabricate unfounded lies and accusations beyond imagination, issue arrest warrants, release bulletins, and not even leave them in peace in the places they go. However, you cannot know how all of this will unfold in the Hereafter. Perhaps these bulletins will be presented to you as certificates of acquittal in the hands of angels in the Hereafter, and the verdicts of guilt passed against you in this world will become the means of your salvation in the Hereafter.

In summary, even though some may try to turn this worldly life into a hell for you with hatred and animosity, you will not deviate from the path and will choose to live with dignity and honor rather than endure humiliation. Because in such a situation, you will have no worries about Allah’s and the Most Noble Prophet’s favor being with you. You will be the winners as long as you know and seek dignity and honor not elsewhere, but only in serving Allah, being part of the Ummah of the Beloved Prophet, and holding steadfast to the faith.

[1] Al-Aziz is indeed one of the names of God in Islam, and it carries profound meaning. The “Al” at the beginning signifies “The” and makes “Aziz” a proper noun, emphasizing the uniqueness and supreme nature of this attribute. “Al-Aziz” describes Allah as the Almighty, the Unconquerable, and the Most Powerful. His strength is unparalleled, and His glory and power are overwhelming, making Him invulnerable and unmatched. He is the sole Master of all creation, the Mighty and Supreme Being.