وَٱلسَّـٰبِقُونَ ٱلْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ ٱلْمُهَـٰجِرِينَ وَٱلْأَنصَارِ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَـٰنٍۢ رَّضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّـٰتٍۢ تَجْرِى تَحْتَهَا ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدًۭا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْفَوْزُ ٱلْعَظِيمُ ١٠٠
As for the foremost—the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers—and those who follow them in goodness, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. And He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to stay there for ever and ever. That is the ultimate triumph. — Quran 9:100
Allah is pleased with us when we do good deeds — praying on time, being respectful, honouring our duties to others. But what does it mean for us to be pleased with Allah?
يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلأٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلأٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ بِشِبْرٍ تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا، وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً
Allah says: 'I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and 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.' "
To be pleased with Allah means that we are happy with His decree for us; happy with his creation; and happy with the lives and sustenance He has provided us with.
As Allah tells us He is as we think of Him. He is of course infinite and unchanging, but if we limit Allah in our minds, then we will only achieve our limited goals.
Allah is of course infinite, so why do we limit our dreams? If we want to aim high we should! We should never think it’s outside of possibility, as Allah’s possibilities are endless. We simply pray for the best and we have faith in Allah that from His unlimited mercy and power He is able to provides for us. He is able to provide openings that we couldn’t even have dreamed of, we simply have to have a good opinion of Allah and pray for the best.
Being pleased with Allah likewise means, Not saying “if only this has happened” or “maybe I could have it if such and such had happened”. Rather, being pleased with Allah means we are happy with what we receive, when we receive. We are grateful for whatever Allah gives us, big or small and we accept, acknowledge and are grateful that it is whatever is best for us.
Even if it doesn’t look exactly like what we envisioned. He provides us with what we need and what is best for us at a given time.
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَهُۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَ ٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ یُحۡیِۦ وَیُمِیتُۚ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِیࣲّ وَلَا نَصِیرࣲ ١١٦
“Indeed, to Allah ˹alone˺ belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He gives life and causes death. And besides Allah you have no guardian or helper.” — Quran 9:116
- An excellent resource from Yaqeen mentioning many ahadith around sincerity: https://yaqeeninstitute.org/read/paper/the-guiding-principles-of-faith-sincerity-honesty-and-good-will-in-islam