The Story of the sleepers of the cave mentioned in the holy Quran (Sura Al Kahf) is a phenomenal chapter that recounts the amazing feat of endurance done by a group of young friends in an age of awesome deception and seemingly endless turmoil and despair. The chapter connects a timeless message of how the world by its nature (a place of test) will throw everything into chaos at times and the right from the wrong will often get submerged (sometimes times by force) under the sea of evil and vice. People living through these time capsules will feel there is no hope left in the world and the world is only heading in one direction; to the abyss of the dark dominion and demonic takeover of the world. However, in those times Allah has always maintained his promise to provide his servants with extra special help from the unseen to enable them to see through the difficult times and emerge winners at the end: The sleep and the extended lifespan of the people of the cave, the calming effect Allah had sent to them as soon as they entered the cave, the support of for their bodies turning from side to side in their sleep, an entire ecosystem forming around them in the cave, were all support from Allah from the unseen which the young believers felt and experienced.
The Prophetic hadiths are replete with the appointment of heroic leading believers who will stem the flow of the surging torrent of evil that will begin to grab hold of the world as faith beings to dwindle in the hearts of believers. Their outstanding courage and leadership will bring people back to the founding principles of belief in the almighty, this support from the unseen is a testament that there will always be a body of believers who will (despite the odds stacked up against them) be given a belief so profound that it is unshakeable beyond any means and attempts to have it derailed by the ravaging evil that they may be surrounded by.
It will not be a far-fetched idea to suggest that the physiological, mental, physical and ego eccentric problems facing Muslims in our time is reaching fever pitch; with the rise of militant atheism, aggressive far-right movements across the world and the concerted effort to push a progressive liberal agenda on every human living on earth, the conservative narrative of human existence is finding it harder to remain the mainstream belief of people. Many seasoned believers, practitioners of the faith for decades, and even zealots are beginning to have clouds of doubts roll across the horizon understanding they once had. Religion for people has by a large margin become an empty carcass that no longer has the high-spirited soul in it with which they once practised their faith. An existential crisis in faith has led many to have a customary faith and not actually have real conviction in what they believe, simply a Muslim because they have been brought up in Muslim household, then as they go onto university and the world of work then the customary notion of belief they had is also shattered; does paradise, hell, the after life and even Allah himself really exist?
In times of great political and religious turmoil it is a good idea to ask Allah to show a person his signs from the unseen and help him experience scenes from the unseen world. This will then enable him to have a conviction of faith that will help him maintain strong links with the authentic message of Islam and in turn live by them, as we find in the Quran Syyidunya Ibrahim (peace be on him) asking Allah to see his sings from the unseen not because he had doubts of his faith, but to experience a faith of conviction, (Eye’nul Yaquin) as there are no limits to the closeness of Allah azzawajal.
“And[mention] when Abraham[Ibrahim] said: “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [Allah] said: “Have you not believed?” He said: “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” [Allah] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself[train them to come to your command]. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them[after mixing up the meet]; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” — Qur’an chapter 2 verse 260
As we go full steam ahead towards the end of times, people have begun to take on the mantle of liberal and laxed attitudes towards their Islamic faith and matters which only a decade ago were practically unheard of are now common ground for many. For example, the awe and reverence with which Ramadan was held and the month honoured with performing extra special deeds is no longer the accepted view but instead a month seen as burdensome and in many cases neglected altogether; (without sounding self-righteous or pitying people) I have met a number of people at work who no longer have the desire to be part of something great: The month of Ramadan, to fast and feel the sacredness of the month, or live with a higher discipline of self-restraint in Ramadan. Before the beginning of Ramadan some had already mentioned how they would not bother fasting in this month and a few do not abide by divine injunctions anyway in their lives; drinking, going to clubs, having bacon sandwiches, dabbing in the latest trend of drugs, so to fast in Ramadan is a long stretch.
Religious leaders are also confining religious attire only to ones personal space and constructing narratives of what is an accepted approach to society for a Muslim, based on their own logic and rationale moving away centuries old tradition of following the established route of investigations. I recently met a leading Imam who was (to some degree) displeased with the manner of how i was dressed; thowb and hat and had (in a subtle manner) rebuked me for dressing in such a manner. The common argument i often hear and one which he also brought up was “If the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was here today he would not be dressing like this but instead in the current manner of the western societies (trousers, shirts, suits etc), it was a cultural dress code of that era and therefore is not a relevant mode of dressing now”.
To dress in the sunnah is not a just a “cultural” thing that was only for seventh century Arabia. For instance, the Hadith literature is full with glorifying the one who wear’s a turban will get certain rewards, the one who uses a siwak will get certain rewards. The sunnah is a mode of living that transcends the fashion of any era and is a timeless example of how modesty does not change to accepted notion of modesty of any era. In a crisis of faith to hit people even religious leaders now feeling the pressure to conform to a set of new age morals and rationale. It is therefore not surprising to understand why the common folk are finding it difficult to hold on to traditional values once glorified by the pious predecessors (salaf) of the past. Social media “muftis” and popular Muslim personality are aiding and abetting those in the fringes of the Islamic faith to gain centre ground and have fundamental articles of faith that have guided centuries of Muslims into doubt and oblivion: The descent of Prophet Jesus (peace be on him), the rejection of homosexuality, using one’s own logic above Prophetic reasoning as a guiding principle in matters of faith are all the trending topics of discussion in social media platforms.
Syyiduna Ibrahim (peace be on him) had asked Allah azawajal to enable to him see his signs from the unseen, not because he was facing a crisis in faith but to increase his admiration for the divine, there is a way a believer living now can also see the unseen world should he know how to do this. There is a process by which a person can gain access to the unseen world and have the opportunity to see glimpses into the angelic and heavenly world. This by no means will mean if someone learns the route and gains the ability to see into the unseen world is a successful person who he can now live his life outside the constraints of Sharia but instead these experiences should be used as a means to attaining the conviction of faith as shown by Syyiduna Ibrahim (peace be on him).
(2:260) And recall when Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead,” Allah said: “Why! Do you have no faith?” Abraham replied: “Yes, but in order that my heart be at rest.”296 He said: “Then take four birds, and tame them to yourself, then put a part of them on every hill, and summon them; they will come to you flying. Know well that Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”297
296: That is, the rest and inner peace that one attains as a result of direct personal observation.
Often practising believers can themselves (their own logical mind) become the blockage to attaining the higher experience of faith and having vivid religious experiences. The logical mind often clouds any possibility to have a spiritual experience with comments like “how can this happen now”, Or, “the miraculous events of the past friends of Allah only happened then and can no longer occur now” as the mind can not grasp the concepts of religious occurrences. – This thought process by its very nature can be a blockage to experiencing the high realms in the spiritual world.
In other words, when some says “how can this happen now”, Or, “the miraculous unveiling mentioned in the books of friends of Allah only happened then and can no longer occur now”, in effect a person is claiming that Allah azzwajal’s help and support from the unseen world was only for that period of time, is limited and can no longer happen again it has already happened to them. This is wrong! Allah is the same as he was then, as he is now, and will be in the future. This means, all the blessings he had bestowed on believers of the past , all his attributes and his being is still available to be accessed by anyone who wishes to, now. He will bestow the same blessings if not more on anyone who asks and follow his ways mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. Although the door of prophethood is closed, seeking support and help from Allah from the unseen can be used as an initial route for help in attaining a conviction of faith (Eye’nul Yaquin) like our forefather Syyiduna Ibrahim (peace be on him) had asked.
“Have you not believed?” He said: “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” – Qur’an chapter 2 verse 260
The authentic way of the Salaf in seeking ways to attain the conviction of faith (Eye’nul Yaquin) has been well documented in our hadtih literature. The Quranic ayah above is sufficient enough to prove in times of dire need, times of upheaval, a believer can ask Allah to show him sings from the unseen, to give him a spiritual experience show him glimpses of paradise, have the blessing of meeting the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) in the spiritual world for example and Allah will open these doors.
The benefits of such experiences is it enables a person to have real meaningful connection with religious texts, worship, charity, service to others and a meaningful life filled with a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.
However, to have such spiritual experiences the caveat is one has to be a strict adherent of the injunctions of Sharia and be clear on the articles on faith that grounds a believer to the authentic way. I have met a number of brothers who have, in spiritual world, met the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), seen the scenes of the hereafter and can testify to the authentic nature of their claims.
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever sees me in a dream has indeed seen me, for the Shaytaan cannot imitate me.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6994; Muslim, 2266 – this version narrated by Muslim.
If you would like to know more information on how you too can experience the spiritual world: paradise, barzakh meeting of the greatest being (peace and blessing be on him) see the unseen and like Syyiduna Ibrahim (peace be on him) have a conviction of faith (Eye’nul Yaquin) to your level, (obviously the prophetic level of Iman is incomparable to the common man) then get in contact and i can direct you to a mode of genuine spiritual training under the tutelage of a unique shaykh.
You will not have to leave your life behind, get locked into a masjid and forsake everything you know for the rest of your life to have spiritual experiences. Those who have experienced this can be a testament to the authentic way to learn this, what better way to learn this process than in the last days of Ramadan in Itikhaf.