By Aya Zaki
When the waves get high, dive deep. And when the storm hits, take shelter.
I once took a diving course and the feeling of being underwater was like going into another world, a quiet one, where you’re just flowing and contemplating the majesty and beauty of Allah’s creations. And I would think that if the turbulence and waves were very high at the surface, I would still be flowing and contemplating with the same sense of quietness surrounding me. A friend once asked me how I managed to stay optimistic in difficult situations and I wholeheartedly believe the secret lies in this Name: As-Salaam, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. “I’’ didn’t really do anything- As-Salaam is The Peace and The One from whom comes all peace and The One Who is completely free from all imperfections.
I am the type of person who goes through life feeling emotions intensely, and growing up it felt like I was on a rollercoaster, especially during my teenage years, and it was probably that which lead me to my search for God in the first place: I was looking for peace and As-Salaam blessed me with what I was looking for. Connecting to Allaah through this Name is my shelter. Over the years I have seen how the fast-paced events, distractions or responsibilities of Dunya ( this worldy life) can drift you away from As-Salaam, yet truly opening up my heart and internalizing and contemplating this Name brings peace to my heart even when the outer circumstances might seem chaotic; He makes me feel that everything will be okay. And one of the best ways to experience Allah’s Peace is by reciting and reflecting upon His Book about which He says:
يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ
Through which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace -Surah Al-Mai’dah (5:16)
As-Salaam for me brings quiet to my mind. It is in those sincere moments of kooshu’ or concentration in salah (prayer), supplication, or daily activities that I witness As-Salaam most intensely; when my heart is in prostration and sees only Him. During late nights of solitude, of bringing my heart before Him as He calls upon the repentant to come forth, that is when His Name shatters all my fears and stops my train of rambling thoughts, to allow me to just stay there in my heart mentioning Him in awe, overwhelmed by His Peace. That Peace that I pray continues to engulf me in this life and in the next. That Peace that puts things in perspective; showing me how attachment to dunya takes away that Peace and attachment to Allah and the Hereafter keeps it growing even more. It helps me realize how all things are fleeting and changing and how the only constant is Allah and that we’re going to meet Him inshaaAllah in “Darussalam”; the Abode of Peace, Jannah, paradise.
He is the source of the assuring peace that you feel after fully embracing the words of the Prophet ﷺ :
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for all his affairs are good, and this applies to no one except the believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks, and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him.”
I saw and felt As-Salaam when in the middle of the pain after a surgery, I felt surrounded by waves of peace through my father’s recitation of Allah’s words. His peace makes me feel grounded, protected, and safe inside. It makes me feel like paradise lies within and that nothing on the outside can ever take that away.
One of the names of Paradise is DarrusSalam; the Abode of Peace and the greetings of its people is peace. It is when we are reunited with Allah Subhanhu w Ta’la; As-Salaam, and where He invites us to experience Eternal Peace:
وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَىٰ دَارِ السَّلَامِ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
And Allah invites ˹all˺ to the Abode of Peace and guides whoever He wills to the Straight Path. -Surah Yunus (10:25)
وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَادْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ
Those who were mindful of their Lord will be led in groups to Paradise. When they arrive, they will find its gates wide open, and its keepers will say to them, ‘Peace be upon you. You have been good, so enter it to abide eternally therein.’ -Surah Az-Zumar (39:73)
I believe that peace is at the heart of everything that everyone is ever looking for. The peace of mind and heart are almost universally sought-after states of being, even more than happiness, people just want to be at peace. Connecting to As-Salaam gives you a sanctuary in your heart that you get to stay within throughout any of the turbulent or even calm times in your journey.
I see As-Salaam when reciting the prophetic supplications for the day and the night and I rest assured that I am in His Hands. I see As-Salaam in a soothing Qura’n recitation that calms down my little one. I see As-Salaam in the hug that makes everything feel okay. I see Him in the words that come to remind me of His promises and wash all my worries away. I feel His Peace engulf me when I stay quiet and let my heart testify that ” la ilaaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasoolu Allah”, there’s none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad ﷺ is His final Messenger.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah- truly it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts find peace. -Surah Ar-Ra’d (13:28)
Where can we find this peace? Every time Allah is praised in a gathering, peace descends. Every time He is seen through His creations, there is a lingering peace with any other emotion that arises. The deeply rooted peace, that He exists and that His door is always open, is embedded within all circumstances in life. It is always there beneath everything else, anchoring us and acting as shelter whenever we stumble, get overwhelmed or lose sight. The fact that He is always with us is for me; the ultimate manifestation of As-Salaam.
وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ ۚ
And He is with you wherever you are -Surah Al-Hadid (57:4)
Whenever my heart is troubled and I truly remember and beseech As-Salaam, I just get this feeling that whatever it is that is troubling me shall pass. My entire life is fleeting and only He shall not perish, and so the moment I realize that and fully turn back to Him in repentance and love; peace overcomes instantly.
It was reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Shall I not teach you some words to say when you feel distressed?
‘Allah, Allah, Rabbi laa ushriku bihi shay’an’.
That means: “Allah, Allah, my Lord, I do not associate anything with Him,” and it shows how the fact of His Oneness and Lordship alone brings peace to the heart and mind.
No words can truly give this Beautiful Name of Allah or any other its due, because their manifestations and implications are just so multiple and vast, subtle and obvious, personal and universal. Experiencing them is the most fulfilling of human knowledge or experiences, as it is the essence of knowing God and truly worshipping Him, which is our sole purpose in life.
Oh Allah, we call upon You just as Your Beloved ﷺ would always call upon You after every single prayer:
You are the Peace and from You comes all Peace, Blessed are You, Lord of Majesty and Honor.
“Allahumma Antas- Salamu, wa minkas-salamu, tabarakta ya Dhal-Jalali wal-Ikram.”
About the author:
Aya Zaki is a mother who is passionate about education and art. She aspires to be a tool for planting seeds of Allah’s Love and Light.