Ramadan this year is my first year fasting back in KL, after two years spent in Johor Bahru. One of the distinct change in lifestyle that I have to reacquaint myself to is the constant predicament of getting stuck in traffic jam – the traffic is either bad or very bad.
To make full use of my time and my Ramadan since I have to be stuck driving, I decided to listen to the series of videos by Mufti Menk titled Stories of the Prophets. We Muslims believe the Quran was sent to mankind as guidance and Allah SWT, as the owner of communication and understanding, tell us stories of the prophets as there is a perennial lesson to be learnt.
As Malay Muslims, many of us grow up acquainted with stories of the prophets, may it be through our sekolah agama classes or as told by our elders. As with many things in life, I’m a firm advocate that one should revisit the things one experience as a child. This way, not only are you able to reaffirm your understanding of the subject, you are also able to revisit your childhood. With that said, the stories of the prophets above are stories which I knew, albeit in abridged form and indeed it was refreshing relearning these stories.
One story which struck a chord with me was the story of Prophet Daud.
Most of us know the story of Daud (David) and Jalut (Goliath), how the young Daud overpowered the towering Jalut. In the Quran, Allah spoke of how he was blessed with power and abilities.
Allah made him an able warrior, a King, able to speak to the birds and animals and able to shape metal with his bare hands. As a leader of men, Prophet Daud was also an excellent judge.
“Be patient over what they say and remember Our servant, David, the possessor of strength; Indeed he was one who repeatedly turned back to Allah” (Quran 38:17)
“And we strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and discernment in speech” (Quran 38:20)
O David! Verily! We have placed you as a successor on earth, so judge you between men in truth and justice. And follow not your desire for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah. Verily! Those who wander astray from the Path of Allah shall have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning. (Quran 38:21-26).
Beyond it all, despite the power and wealth, Prophet Daud was an excellent worshipper. In the Quran, it is mentioned that when he engages in tasbeeh, the birds assembled with him to engage in tasbeeh. (Quran 38:19)
“The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of the Prophet Daud, who used to fast alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of Daud, who used to sleep the first half of the night, and pray for one third of it and again sleep for a sixth of it.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Personally to me, the story of Prophet Daud is a reminder that you should not allow wealth, power and success to blind you, to clothe you in arrogance and hubris. The wealth and power you accumulate in this world is incomparably small compared to the wealth, power and abilities of Prophet Daud and yet, Prophet Daud is a man that is ever conscious that all these worldly possessions belong to Allah and constantly engages in prayer for the remembrance of Allah.
It is my personal belief that the two best qualities any man can have is patience (sabar) and gratefulness (shukur). Give thanks and be grateful. I end with a beautiful reminder from Allah on his promise to mankind:
“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe”” – Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 7