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In Surat al-Baqarah, ayah 246 onwards, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

Have you not thought about the group of the Children of Israel after (the time of) Musâ (Moses)? When they said to a Prophet of theirs, “Appoint for us a king and we will fight in Allâh’s Way.” He said, “Would you then refrain from fighting, if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “Why should we not fight in Allâh’s Way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as captives)?” But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. And Allâh is All-Aware of the Thâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers).

And their Prophet (Samuel A.S.) said to them, “Indeed Allâh has appointed Talût (Saul) as a king over you.” They said, “How can he be a king over us when we are fitter than him for the kingdom, and he has not been given enough wealth.” He said: “Verily, Allâh has chosen him above you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allâh grants His Kingdom to whom He wills. And Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.

In this story, we’re given the example of Bani Israeel. They asked for a leader so they could fulfill their rights and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gave them one – Talut, the best of the kind – yet, they didn’t appreciate him. This story reminded me of each one of us – our inner struggles. Our number one du’aa is to be granted Jannah. We want Jannah and we ask for it all the time, but do we do what is necessary to attain it?

Take a look at this story. Once Bani Israeel was given the leader they’d asked for, they decided they didn’t want to fight anymore. They started picking faults with the leader Allah had chosen Himself! SubhanAllah. We need to think of being Muslims as our full time occupation – everything should revolve around that. We say we want Jannah, but do our actions follow that? If we make du’aa for Jannah, what practical steps are we then taking to achieve our goal? Or will we constantly pick faults in our circumstances, and start making excuses for why we can’t be better Muslims?

Back to Bani Israeel. They said they wanted to fight in the way of Allah and needed a leader. Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala granted them their request – He gave them the means (a Leader) to fulfill their rights. What would’ve been the next practical step for them? To follow and obey the leader. (You can read the next few ayaat to see what happens insha’Allah). For us, we say we want Jannah. Allah subhahanahu wa ta’ala will always gives us the means to fulfill His commands – whether it be through time, wealth, education, family, or countless other blessings He grants us. So, what steps are we taking? Have we begun with the basic commands? Praying on time? Giving charity? Being modest and wearing hijab? Treating family members well? Or do we sit back, ask for Jannah, and expect it all to fall upon us?

Every time Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions a story or parable in the Qur’an, take a step back and think about it. Compare it to yourself and your situation. Don’t just read it as a bed time story – read it as a practical application to your everyday life – a lens through which you can look at yourself, analyze what needs improvement, and work on it from there. After all, that is exactly what the Qur’an is for.