Sure, everyone knows that it obviously means 'To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.'
But do we REALLY, TRULY understand these words and their implications in a Muslim's life?
It means ...Whatever we have is not really ours. It belongs to Allah.
Take a look around you; everything you see, all that you have and all that there is....in you, on you, around you....belongs to Allah, alone. It is Allah Who has given you all the property and goods you possess, and that He is the true Owner of them all.
So the cars that you own, the houses that you live in, the businesses you possess all truly belong to Allah. The kids that He blessed you with, the health that He gave you, the time that He has allowed you are all Allah's property. Even the bodies we live in and the life that we have belongs to Allah alone.
"And to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth...."
"The kingdom of the heavens and the earth and everything in them belongs to Allah. He has power over all things." ( Surat al-Ma'ida: 120)
'Say: 'To Allah belongs the East and the West...'
Now, since everything belongs to Allah, then we have to include even our souls in that list..
The very souls that we think of as our "self"; our "nafs"; our "being" -- whatever you want to call it -- that very thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the world, belongs to Allah. It's not YOURS.
In fact, YOU are not YOURS. You belong to Allah.
And this is the essence of the concept of TAQWA to Allah in Islam.
And since He is the true Possessor of everything, and everything is His property, He allots what He wills to whomever He wills... and then He takes it away. After all, it was Allah's to begin with. So He may give you some thing and then take it back after a while..
He will bless you with a precious child that you love dearly...and then He may take it away.
He will grant you money, honour and status.....and then He may take it away.
He will give you youth, vitality and health and then surely He will take it away.
In fact everything you have will only be with you for a very short while.
And then the Owner will claim His Right.
So when Allah does reclaim what was rightfully His, WHY MOURN OUR LOSSES?
Just like a friend who lends you his book. And then after a few days, he wants it back and you give it back to him...no regrets.....no sorrow....no questions asked. Similarly, if Allah takes back some of His blessings upon you for some reason....so be it. Say Alhamdulillaah. Don't grieve. Be patient. Submit to the will of Allah, being pleased with His decision for you. For surely He will only do what is best for you. Just think.....The Owner came and took it back.
Remember....that you're not the real owner.....you were NEVER the real owner to begin with. You only had everything because it was Allah who gave it to you in the first place. If He didn't give it to you, you wouldn't have had it in any way...in fact, you couldn't have had it.
Remember....man enters into this world empty handed...and leaves it empty handed.
Remember....that everything we have, all the blessings we enjoy, are gifts from Almighty Allah....gifts that we enjoy for a limited period until He takes them away whenever He deems fit. They are a trust from Allah...a loan to you...to see how you respond to these gifts from Allah and how you use them....in the obedience of the Almighty, thanking Him and worshipping Him......OR.........to the disobedience to the One Who gave then to you in the first place.
Take note of the words of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) on the occasion of the death of his son, Ibraahim:
'Our eyes are filled with tears, our hearts with grief, but we say nothing with our lips except that which pleases Allah.... Verily, to Allah we belong, and to Him we return.' (Bukhaari)
And we all know the famous incidence about the companion Abu Talha and his wife when one of the sons died and Abu Talha was not at home. She washed and shrouded him and when Abu Talha came home and asked about his son, she said,
'The child is quiet and I hope he is in peace....' (Bukhaari)
Subhaan Allaah....such patience! And such Imaan in the statement "Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji'oon"!
She truly understood its meaning and the affect it should have on her life as a Muslimah, submitting to him and being pleased with whatever He has decreed for her. She knew that whatever she has, is not truly hers. Rather, it is Allah's....and He took back whatever He owns at its appointed time. And it is because of this Imaan so strong, this understanding, that the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) made doa for them and Allah blessed them immensely.
"They (i.e. Abu Talha and his wife) had nine sons and all of them became reciters of the Quran (by heart)." (Bukhaari)
"Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: 'To Allah we belong and to him is our return.' They are those on who (descend) blessings from Allah and mercy and they are the once that receive guidance."
(Surah Al-Baqarah: 155)
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Ya Allah! Ya Rabbi! I pray I could be as strong and patient as the wife of Abu Talha... forgive me, ya Allah, for I have sinned. Bless me, ya Allah, and protect me from the torture of hell. Verily, to You I belong, and to You I return. Ameen.