Have you reached the critical limit?

When you end up at the critical limit at various points in life, divine care is always sure to follow

The critical limit, a concept used in physics and chemistry, represents a threshold that, when crossed, can lead to hazardous situations. This concept is often utilised in risk management to gauge acceptable and unacceptable risks.

But, in this article, I will go beyond this concept by merging it with a mighty Islamic one, known as العناية الإلهية (divine care).

This exercise will help us arrive at an answer to a question which many are asking today,

“When will the Muslims in Palestine and worldwide find relief?”

Prophet Mūsa’s critical limits and divine care

There is no better way to understand the interplay between these two concepts than to refer to the story of Prophet Mūsa (ʿalayhi al-Salām), where a consistent pattern is observed.

Every time that Mūsa reached the critical limit in his life, i.e., having reached the brink of human endurance, the life-altering intervention of divine care would descend, rescuing him at that dark hour.

Born under extreme duress, Prophet Mūsa’s early life was overshadowed by the cruel decree of the Egyptian Pharaoh. This decree ordered the systematic massacre of all male Israelite newborns, alternating annually between slaughter and survival — not out of compassion, but to preserve a future workforce for his empire.

This cruel policy stemmed from a dream the Pharaoh had, foretelling that a child from the Israelites would one day dismantle his reign.

His first critical limit

Upon the birth of Prophet Mūsa, he immediately faced a grave danger.

The Pharaoh’s soldiers were on their way to his mother’s home, intent on carrying out the brutal decree upon Mūsa. Mūsa had just arrived at the first critical limit of his life.

But the rule says that whenever a believer reaches a critical limit, divine care is never far behind. So what happened?

Allah inspired Mūsa’s mother with an extraordinary plan:

فَإِذَا خِفْتِ عَلَيْهِ فَأَلْقِيهِ فِى ٱلْيَمِّ

“..but when you fear for him (or if you wish ‘if you reach the critical limit’), then put him into the river…” [1]

How is it possible for a mother to gather the strength to protect her child from certain death by placing him in the vast expanse of the world’s longest river? This act meant leaving her baby without the necessities of warmth and nourishment, not to mention exposing him to innumerable risks in the wild.

But her immense īmān surpassed her natural instincts and so, with a heavy heart, she gently lowered the basket into the flowing water, entrusting her child’s fate to a Higher Power.

Shortly after Mūsa was set adrift, his mother’s heart surged with anxiety yet again.

Allah says,

وَأَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ فَـٰرِغًا ۖ إِن كَادَتْ لَتُبْدِى بِهِۦ

“And the heart of Moses’ mother became empty [of all else but Mūsa], so much that she almost gave away his identity…” [2]

His second critical limit

She was on the brink of exposing Mūsa’s true identity in her desperation, calling out,

“This is my son!”

For the second time in Mūsa’s life, he had reached the critical limit; but the rule is fixed: whenever a believer reaches the critical limit, divine care must follow.

Indeed, at this crucial juncture, divine intervention descended.

Allah continues,

لَوْلَآ أَن رَّبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قَلْبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“…had We not reassured her heart in order for her to have faith in Allah’s promise.” [2]

His third critical limit

In a remarkable turn of events, the basket of Prophet Mūsa then drifted to Pharaoh’s palace, the very place his mother sought to protect him from, when placing him in the river in the first place.

The Pharaoh’s guards found the basket, and Mūsa — now in the house of the sadistic, godless tyrant himself — faced the critical limit for the third time.

At once, divine care descended from the Heavens to save him in the most miraculous of ways,

وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةًۭ

“And I bestowed upon you love from Me.” [3]

As a result, the moment the Pharaoh’s wife laid her eyes upon Mūsa, she fell in love with him and persuaded her husband,

قُرَّتُ عَيْنٍۢ لِّى وَلَكَ

“This baby is a source of joy for me and you.” [4]

Against all odds, the Pharaoh agreed to adopt Mūsa, which presented Mūsa’s mother with a brand new challenge.

It seemed as though Mūsa’s mother was now destined to be separated from her son forever, belonging to a marginalised community while her son lived in the opulent surroundings of the Pharaoh.

Adding to the situational complexity, Mūsa refused to nurse from any of the women presented to him:

وَحَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِ ٱلْمَرَاضِعَ مِن قَبْلُ

“And We had caused him to refuse all wet-nurses at first.” [5]

His fourth critical limit

As each attempt to feed him failed, Mūsa faced his fourth critical limit — the imminent threat of starvation.

However, the rule does not change; wherever this limit is reached, divine care immediately follows!

Allah inspired Mūsa’s sister to suggest,

هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَىٰٓ أَهْلِ بَيْتٍۢ يَكْفُلُونَهُۥ لَكُمْ وَهُمْ لَهُۥ نَـٰصِحُونَ

“Shall I direct you to a family who will bring him up for you and take good care of him?”

This led to,

فَرَدَدْنَـٰهُ إِلَىٰٓ أُمِّهِۦ كَىْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ وَلِتَعْلَمَ أَنَّ وَعْدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّۭ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“This is how We returned him to his mother, to comfort her eyes, prevent her grief, and to know that the promise of Allah is true. But most of them do not know.” [6]

Somehow, the baby who was sent down the river to escape this very Pharaoh was now safely cradled in his mother’s arms, under the protection of the Pharaoh and beneath his own roof!

On top of that, the Pharaoh who had ordered the deaths of all male Israelite infants to protect his kingdom found himself paying a wage to Mūsa’s mother to feed and nurture the very child who would eventually dismantle his kingdom.

None of this is irony, or “poetic justice”. This is Care of the Highest Order that descends upon those who remain believing, patient, and certain during their critical limit, every single time.

We have now captured four instances of this dynamic between these two concepts in Mūsa’s infancy, but this pattern extends all throughout his later years.

The Qur’ān captures this dynamic in one āyah:

حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا ٱسْتَيْـَٔسَ ٱلرُّسُلُ وَظَنُّوٓا۟ أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ كُذِبُوا۟ جَآءَهُمْ نَصْرُنَا فَنُجِّىَ مَن نَّشَآءُ ۖ وَلَا يُرَدُّ بَأْسُنَا عَنِ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ

“Until, when the messengers had completely despaired and were certain that they were treated as liars (or ‘having reached the critical limit’), Our help came to them.

“We then saved whoever We willed (or ‘We sent divine care’), and Our punishment is never averted from the criminals.” [7]

‘Umar’s letter to Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas

In his book Bada’ī al-Silk fī Taba’ī al-Mulk, al-Asbahi al-Andalusi narrated that ‘Umar penned a lengthy letter to Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, the commander of the Muslim army, as he stood on the brink of battle against a vast assembly of Persian soldiers.

In his pre-war counsel to Sa’d, ‘Umar did not discuss military strategies, flanking movements, or siege tactics.

Rather, he said,

أما بعد: فإني آمرك, ومن معك من الأجناد, بتقوى الله على كل حال، فإن تقوى الله أفضل العدّة على العدو، وأقوى المكيدة في الحرب, وآمرك, ومن معك, أن تكونوا أشد احتراسًا من المعاصي منكم من عدوكم، فإن ذنوب الجيش أخوف عليهم من عدوهم، وإنما ينتصر المسلمون بمعصية عدوهم لله؛ ولولا ذلك لم تكن لنا بهم قوة؛ لأن عددنا ليس كعددهم, ولا عدّتنا كعدّتهم, فإن استوينا في المعصية كان لهم الفضل علينا في القوة

“To proceed: I command you, and those among you from the soldiers, to fear Allah under all circumstances for, indeed, the fear of Allah is the best preparation against the enemy and the strongest strategy in war.

“I also command you, and those with you, to be more wary of committing sins than you of your enemy, for the sins of an army are more to be feared for them than their enemy.

“Muslims only triumph over their enemies when the latter disobey Allah; were it not for this, we would not have any power over them, as our numbers are not like their numbers, nor our equipment like their equipment. If we equate them in sinning, then they have the advantage over us in strength.”

To summarise the above, ‘Umar was essentially informing Sa’d,

“You’ve arrived at the critical limit, so beware of doing something that will cause Allah to abandon you. Be good Muslims, so as to qualify for His divine care.”

They did just that and Persia was conquered.

The Ummah is now reaching a critical limit!

Fast-forwarding to today: as Gaza bleeds, as the West Bank erupts, as the Muslim world surges in rage, as the West scrambles to rescue the Zionist narrative, and as the Zionist project crumbles, the Ummah is reaching a critical limit.

So I say to us as ‘Umar said to Sa’d, beware of living your life in a way that may cause our Lord to postpone divine care. Take ownership and make it a point of change.

In light of the crossroads that the Ummah has reached, no setback can be considered a minor one.

What might a setback look like?

  • Neglecting any of the daily prayers;
  • dealing with riba (usury) in any of its forms;
  • endless wasting of life in various ways;
  • cutting off of any member of the family;
  • being caught in a cycle of online and offline relationships.

Not only do the above serve to complicate your individual future but, more importantly, they also complicate that of the broader Ummah.

In other words, the fact that the Ummah is arriving at its critical limit means that you’ve certainly arrived at yours, and it is an urgent call for you to own it.

There is a particular number of truly Godly individuals that must exist in order to initiate the advent of divine care and to facilitate significant change. Shaytān’s greatest deception is to devalue the impact of your personal transformation as a Muslim, as he argues,

“Who even are you in the broader context?”

This is where you respond with unwavering resilience:

“It is my transformation, along with his and hers, that will tip the scales in favour of the Ummah.”

Action points

  • Bullet 1Pick three of your greatest Islamic weaknesses, then own them and make the change.
  • Bullet 2When you feel you’ve reached a critical limit, remember that divine care is on its way.
  • Bullet 3As the Ummah continues to go through its latest challenge, do not belittle your own contribution.

Source: Islam21c

BY SHAYKH ALI HAMMUDA

Notes

[1] al-Qur’ān, 28:7

[2] al-Qur’ān, 28:10

[3] al-Qur’ān, 20:39

[4] al-Qur’ān, 28:9

[5] al-Qur’ān, 28:12

[6] al-Qur’ān, 28:13

[7] al-Qur’ān, 12:110

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