Sometimes it’s so hard for people to understand why.
Why on earth someone in this world of self-satisfaction would hold back. Someone who measures their life with not the people’s measuring stick, but one from a source some simply can’t understand.Sometimes it’s as simple as fasting- No way could I starve for a religion!- or as complicated as modesty and reserve in hijab- why would you believe in a God who tells you to disappear?
It’s not easy to answer questions like this. Too often people will justify it by a completely selfish standard- ” I wear hijab for myself,” “I fast because it detoxifies my body” when really the reason is so much simpler- and so much more complex. We fast or cover or pray five times a day because Allah tells us to. Why Allah tells us to, debate it out. But in the end, even if you think otherwise, He is so much wiser is his love for us than we can ever be.
Sometimes people obey Him purely out of fear of the Fire. Sometimes it’s purely out of wanting Paradise. The scholars say it should be both of these- because He is just and Severe in his punishment of bad and also the Most Merciful, the Most Beautiful, the Most Loving in forgiveness and reward.
Some of us do what he tells us out of love for Him, and we are truly blessed in that love. It might seem unfathomable, but some of the hardest things are got through by the knowledge that more than you love Him, He loves you in return. You believe in Him because you have seen His presence. He has helped you through hard times and blessed you more than you can imagine. He doesn’t need your good deeds. You do.
My favorite hadith is a hadith Qudsi- a narration of the Prophet in Allah’s words. He says- “If he (my servant) comes one span nearer to me, I go one cubit nearer to him; if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.”
I often recall something I heard once. It was said by a young girl, probably not much older than me. She was born in Lebanon to an American mother, and her non-religious father couldn’t understand her dedication to her faith.
“What do you get from this that you didn’t have before?”
She barely had to think about it before she replied- softly, firmly-