Topic initiated on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 4:44 PM
|ISLAMIC KNOWLEDGE FORUM - FOR NEW CONVERTS|
Dear friends, this is not a discussion topic. This is a general Islamic knowledge forum for the new converts to Islam. I have friends who are new converts to Islam and they say they really would like to find every information from best sources.
So, here is a forum which everyone find faith related subjects, explanations, and links to good sources.
So, please send your explanations about everything related to Islam. Hope this helps everyone to make their beliefs stronger.
Posted - Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 4:45 PM
|Basic Questions of Our Lives|
Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?
Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Surely, they have no firm belief.
Or are the treasures of your Lord with them, or have they control over them? (At-Tur, 35-37)
The first error a prejudiced person makes is trying to evaluate religion without giving thought to Allah. Sociologists, for example, who do research on religion, can write thousands of books on how religions arose and how they affected societies sociologically. Yet, in spite of all these great academic studies, they cannot understand religion even to a minute extent when compared with those who lead their lives within the boundaries of religion.
Such people are not capable of comprehending the reality of Allah’s unity, which is the basis of religion. Anyone who decides to learn about Islam needs first to understand the existence of Allah. If he does not believe in Allah, he will simply be investigating the Qur’an and Muslims in terms of his own limited vision of life.
The Qur’an thus expresses disapproval of such people: “They disbelieve what they cannot grasp, for they have not yet seen its prophecy fulfilled.” (Yunus, 39) Islam is not a man-made ideology about which half-baked ideas and baseless conclusions can be put forth from the outside. The individual can understand what Islam is about only when he understands the existence of Allah and lives his life as enjoined in the Qur’an.
Essentially, the existence of Allah and the reality that there is no deity other than Allah are crystal clear facts. But in “the society of ignorance” where people fail to use their reasoning due to their habit of indifference and indolence, they grow blind and cannot comprehend this reality. As a matter of fact, that is the reason why they were stigmatized as a “society of ignorance” (Jahilliyah).
One of the many Qur'anic verses about pondering on the existence of Allah records the Almighty’s advice to the Prophet on how he should address the ignorant:
“Say: ‘Think, you, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed up your hearts, who - a god other than Allah - could restore them to you?’” The same verse goes on to say: “See how We explain the signs by various symbols; yet they turn aside.” (Al-Anaam, 46)
A brief example can help us enrich our views and remove our innate ignorance.
Let’s assume that there is a person from whose memory everything, including the knowledge of his self-being and his body, has been wiped out. If he found himself on a place like earth, what would he feel like? He would undoubtedly be so amazed and so astonished as to lose his mind out of curiosity. The first thing he would notice would probably be his body. He would not be aware that his body in fact belonged to him in the first place, thinking of it as an external object, like the other things in the scene. Then it would be very interesting for him to be able to control his body parts and make them do what he wanted them to do. He would probably try to figure out the use of his arm by moving it up and down for a while.
He would find very suitable surroundings for his body, the reason for the existence of which would still be unknown to him. There would be safe ground to stand on, a clear image to view, beautiful fragrances to smell, various animals, a proper air temperature exactly suitable to the body, an atmosphere suitable for breathing, and thousands of other sensitive balances. Edible fruits to satisfy his hunger, pure and clear water to cool his parched throat and many more things.
For a moment, let us put ourselves in his position and reflect for a while. In a place like this, would we just go and enjoy ourselves, or be wise enough to ask ourselves some very crucial questions? Would we try to understand who we were, why we were there, what the reason for our existence was, what the reason for the existence of the present order was or, would we simply ignore these questions and be concerned with how much we enjoyed our lives? Would not the first questions come to our minds be as follows:
Who am I?
Who has created me, who has created this perfect body of mine?
Who has created this great order which surrounds me?
What does He, who created everything, want from me? What does He want to show me?
Even an individual with a weak mind would think that there is nothing more important than finding answers to these questions. Someone who pays no attention to them, preferring rather to spend his life in fulfilling his physical needs, amusing himself during the day and sleeping at nights, would undoubtedly be a creature of no understanding at all. Someone must have created his body and his surroundings, and they must have come into being all of a sudden. Once he was created, every second of the rest of his life must also have been dependent on that Superior Being, Who had initially created him. What could be more important than knowing about this Superior Being, Who obviously possesses a great power?
Let us continue with our example and assume that he reaches a city after walking through the land for a while. There are various types of people there, most of whom are pretty vulgar, ambitious and insincere. And almost nobody is thinking about his Owner or the place he is living in. Although everyone has a job, an aim or an ideology, the people of the city cannot bring good order to the city, with which everyone would be content.
Let’s assume he meets some people whom the denizens of the city dislike, and towards whom they feel rage and enmity. As to what these people are like, he sees that they are significantly different from the others in many ways. He feels that, as human beings, they are amiable reasonable, and trustworthy. They look humble and they speak in a clear, moderate and sensible manner. He can easily see that there is nothing wrong with them, so he becomes confused and has doubts as to why the citizenry think otherwise.
Let’s assume he starts a conversation with them and they tell him: “We have a different view of life and think differently from other people because we are aware that there is an Owner of this place and everything in it. We are also aware that His power is above everything and He has created this place and everything else to test and educate us until the day comes when we will leave this place. We have a book which we have received from Him, and we are leading our lives in accordance with this book.”
In such a situation, he might not be a hundred per cent sure whether these people were really telling the truth or not. But he would probably understand that what they were talking about was quite important. He would feel there was nothing more important than obtaining further information about these people at that moment, and he would be extremely curious about the book they were talking about, would he not?
The only thing that stops us from being as sensible as the person in this example is our having been on this earth for a longer period of time. We have experienced a growth process instead of coming into being as an adult all of a sudden, like the person in the story. Consequently, we have to admit that most of us are in a position similar to that of the town people in the example due to our disregard of such questions in our lives. What we should further bear in mind is that almost none of the people in this city actually thought about the questions cited above, found some consistent answers on their own, and finally turned away from the Superior Being, Who created them. In fact, most of them did not even go through these steps, but simply pushed these questions aside and stopped thinking about them, because of their “collective ignorance”.
Are we aware of the fact that the “society of ignorance” we are living in prevents us from answering those crucial questions mentioned above by keeping us occupied with questions like: “What shall I eat tonight, which dress should I wear tomorrow?” or “What is she thinking about me, what should I say to him?”? Unfortunately, this shows nothing but abysmal ignorance although we claim to be living in the “information age”.
Now, you have a chance! Think about the complete ignorance you might have been exposed to by such a “society of ignorance” and ask yourselves the following question, which so far you might not have thought over, or might have brushed aside with insufficient explanations: How did I come into existence?
In order to be able to answer this question, it would be useful to start with the physical beginning of our existence and think about that extraordinary event - “birth”.
The brief history of birth can be summarized as follows:
Sperms are produced literally ‘outside’ of a man’s body. The reason for this is the fact that sperm production can occur only in a suitable environment with a temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius, which is two degrees below the average body temperature. Male testicles are the only body parts with this temperature, as they are rightly placed outside of the body. To bring the temperature to the required level, another mechanism is activated. The skin covering the testicles shrinks when it is cold and sweats when it is hot to keep the temperature of this area stable. Approximately a thousand sperms are produced per minute, and they have a special design that eases their long journey from the man’s testicles to the woman’s egg. A sperm comprises a head, a neck and a tail by the use of which a fish-like movement towards the mother’s uterus takes place.
The head part, which carries the genetic code of the future human being, is covered with a special protective armour. The benefit of this armor is noticed at the entrance of the mother’s uterus. This place is very acidic to protect the mother from microbes and other alien particles like sperms, but by the use of this armor, most sperms manage to stay alive.
Not only sperms are ejaculated to the uterus. Semen is a mixture that consists of many other liquids. These liquids contain sugar that supplies energy to the sperms. Semen, which is a base in its chemical form, neutralizes the acidic environment at the entrance of the uterus and creates a safe environment for sperms. It also makes the environment slippery so that sperms can move along easily. Sperms make a difficult journey inside the body of the mother until they reach the egg. No matter how hard they try to survive, only a thousand sperms out of 200-300 million can make it to the egg.
In the light of this brief information, let’s try to find the answers to some questions that cross our minds: How can a sperm make itself so suitable for entry into the mother’s uterus, about which it knows nothing beforehand? How can a sperm be produced in the male body in a way that it can survive and find its way to the egg in the female uterus in spite of the protective mechanisms of the female body, about which the sperm had no previous idea? How can this happen?
Since a sperm lacks the ability to adapt itself to an unknown environment in advance, the only possible answer to these questions is that it is actually created that way.
Let’s continue with the brief story of birth:
An egg is about half the size of a salt grain. The place where an egg and a sperm meet is called the Fallopian tube. The egg secretes a special fluid that leads the sperms to the egg. As they come closer to the egg, their protective armor is melted by another fluid secreted by the egg. As a result, solvent enzyme sachets appear on the cover of the sperms’ heads. By the use of these enzymes, the sperm that is to fertilize the egg, penetrates the membrane of the egg. When the sperms surround the egg, they race one another to enter to the egg. Mostly, only one sperm fertilizes the egg and from that time on, there is no possibility for another sperm to enter it. Before fertilization, the electric charge of the sperms and the egg are opposite, therefore they attract each other. However, after the entrance of the first sperm, the electrical charge of the egg changes, acquiring a pushing effect on the rest of the sperms.
Finally, the DNA of the male present in the sperm combines with the DNA of the female. At this moment, there forms a new cell (the zygote), that is, a new human being inside the mother’s womb.
After considering this bit of information, a new question comes to our minds: How is it that an egg is prepared to welcome a sperm as if it “knew” that it would meet the sperm? How can this happen? The only possible answer to this question is that the egg is created to be suitable to the sperm by the will of a Creator who has also created the sperms and controls both the sperm and the egg.
The extraordinary nature of birth does not finish with all this. The fertilized egg clings on to the womb by its special knobbly surface. The small protuberances on the surface of the egg jut out and penetrate deep into the mother’s womb like the roots of plants in the ground. The zygote starts to develop through hormones secreted by the mother. The egg keeps receiving nutrition provided by the mother.
With time, the cells divide and grow in number by the two-four-eight-sixteen model. In the beginning, all cells that are formed by the division of old ones have the same properties as each other. Then, all of a sudden, newly formed cells somehow start differentiating, showing separate characteristics, as they are to form different organs of the fetus. The science of today still lacks the competence to give a satisfactory answer to the question of why and how exactly this differentiation of cells takes place and how they form different organs with such perfect organization.
As time passes, a drastic change takes place in the jelly-like fetus. Relatively rough bones start to form inside that soft structure, all of them surprisingly, in their proper places. What’s amazing here, is that while all the cells carry exactly the same characteristics at the beginning, through the differentiating process, some of them turn out to be eye cells sensitive to light, others become nerve cells that perceive heat while yet others form those cells that detect sound vibrations.
Finally the fetus’ construction is completed and a new baby is born into the world. At this stage, it is 100 million times bigger and 6 billion times heavier than its initial form when it was a fertilized egg.
This “brief history” mentioned above concerns us, because it is the story of how we came into being. For us, what can be more important than finding the ultimate Cause and Owner of that great, extraordinary and complex event of our existence? When we glance at this short history, we come across many other questions to which science, which is under the influence of materialism, has not yet found any answers.
But there are still many questions that need to be answered. One of these is: How can cells of the same structure start to gather in groups and form different organs of the body while they multiply?
Actually, there is no answer to these questions about birth other than accepting the presence of a Creator. It would be a great mistake to think that all of these complex operations occur on their own or by chance. How can cells agree to form “human organs”? Let’s think about this a little further. Let’s assume that there are two wise adults who come together and decide to work on an engineering project. Even between these two persons, some misunderstandings will unavoidably occur and this will put the success of the project at risk. Then, how can thousands and millions of cells work together to form an absolutely perfect organization without any mishap? Who would dare to say an answer to this question: “It may be possible by chance”? Some atheist “scientists” of today explain this marvelous occurrence as the “magic of nature”. What does this mean? Who or what is nature? Has not nature also been created?
Another attempt to answer this question might be to refer to the mother and the father—which would be meaningless. The role of parents in this event is in fact, neglible. Neither mother nor the father is aware what goes on within them in the production of gender cells, fertilization and development of fetus. The exact date of birth is unknown to mother who has no control over delivery. In spite of this, mother and father are seen as the “origin of one’s life”? But are they so?
The mother and father are very important to their child, as they play a role in his existence. On the other hand, one never, or only rarely, thinks about ones real Creator. Is not the real Creator, who has the ultimate power and control ones everything including birth, life and death, worth more love and respect? His existence is clear and the existence of any other thing without Him is not possible. No one but Allah can create anyone or any matter on his own, while He neither begets nor is begotten as is stated in the third verse of Al-Ikhlas 3.
The creation is explained in the Qur’an as follows;
“We created man from a quintessence (of clay);
Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed;
Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (fetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the noblest of Creators!” (Al-Mumenoon, 12-14)
This being so, it is clear that there is no difference between ourselves and that man in the story, who was “suddenly” created and become curious about who had created him and everything around him. Of course, he found himself as an adult and without any parents who gave birth to him and raised him. But now that we also know that our coming into existence can in no way be explained by parents, we can consider our situation similar to that of the man in the story.
In such a situation, the most important thing to do is to search exclusively for the truth, to listen to those who claim they have knowledge and evidence about the truth and then to think over what we have been told. Take the man in the story again. As we know, he meets some people in the city who tell him that they can make known to him the Creator Who has created himself and everything around and that there is a book from Him. What do you think he would do? Would he listen to them, or would he simply turn away from them and prefer to be involved with such ordinary, everyday questions like: “What shall I wear tonight, what shall I say to him?” that are daily repeated and will one day become meaningless when death comes to him. Which one of these two choices is the more rational, logical and conscientious? You, without doubt, know the correct answer for this man. But, what about yourself?
What leads up to the event of creation is specifically described in certain other verses of the Quran;
“Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, without purpose?
Was he not a drop of sperm emitted in lowly form?
Then he became a leech-like clot; then Allah made and fashioned him in due proportion. And of him He made two sexes, male and female.
Has not He, the same, the power to give life to the dead?” (Al-Qiyama, 36-40)
“Allah created you from dust; then from a sperm-drop; then He made you in pairs. No female conceives, or lays down her load, but with His knowledge. No man is long-lived, nor is a part cut off from his life, but in accordance with His Decree. All this is easy to Allah.” (Fatir, 11)
The human is a being created by Allah and as a created entity, he cannot change this fact. He cannot bring any other explanation to his own existence. Since he has been created, he would not be left uncontrolled and irresponsible as emphasized in the above verses. There is, of course, a purpose for creation. Where then will he find the answer?
There is only one answer to this question and that is in the book that Allah has sent down to him.
Posted - Friday, November 26, 2004 - 9:12 PM
|A System Planned in Its Every Detail |
Breathing, eating, walking, etc, are very natural human functions. But most people do not think how these basic actions take place. For example, when you eat a fruit, you do not think how it will be made useful to your body. The only thing on your mind is eating a healthy meal; at the same time, your body is involved in extremely detailed processes unimaginable to you in order to make this meal a health-giving thing.
The digestive system where these detailed processes take place starts to function as soon as a piece of food is taken into the mouth. Being involved in the system right at the outset, the saliva wets the food and helps it to be ground by the teeth and slide down the oesophagus.
The oesophagus helps the food be transported to the stomach where a perfect balance is at work. Here, the food is digested by the hydrochloric acid present in the stomach. This acid is so strong that it has the capacity to dissolve not only the food but also the stomach walls. Of course, such a flaw is not permitted in this perfect system. A secretion called mucus which is secreted during digestion covers all the walls of the stomach and provides a perfect protection against the destructive effect of the hydrochloric acid. Thus the stomach is prevented from destroying itself.
The point that deserves attention here is that evolution can by no means explain the system briefly summarised earlier. Evolution maintains that today's complex organisms have evolved from primitive beings by the gradual accumulation of small structural changes. However, as stated clearly, the system in the stomach could in no way have been formed step by step. The absence of even one factor would bring about the death of the organism.
When food is received into the stomach, the gastric juices acquire the ability to break down food as a result of a series of chemical changes. Now, imagine a living being in the so-called evolutionary process in whose body such a planned chemical transformation is not possible. This living being, unable to acquire this ability, would not be able to digest the food it ate and would starve to death with an undigested mass of food in its stomach.
In addition, during the secretion of this dissolving acid, the stomach walls simultaneously have to produce the secretion called mucus. Otherwise, the acid in the stomach would destroy the stomach. Therefore, in order for life to continue, the stomach must secrete both fluids (acid and mucus) at the same time. This shows that not a step-by-step coincidental evolution but a conscious creation with all its systems must, in effect, have been at work.
What all this shows is that the human body resembles a huge factory made up of many small machines that work together in perfect harmony. Just as all factories have a designer, an engineer and a planner, the human body has an "Exalted Creator".
Posted - Friday, November 26, 2004 - 9:13 PM
‘Shirk’, the word used for idolatry in Arabic means “partnership/association”.
In the Qur’an, to practise idolatry is to associate any other being, any other person, or concept with Allah, considering them to be equal to Allah, and to act upon this unsound belief.
In translations of the Qur’an, idolatry is explained as “associating a partner with Allah”. It is expressed thus: “having another god besides Allah”, or “worshipping another god besides Allah”.
In its broadest sense, idolatry is to adhere to principles and values, or pursue a life style other than is consistent with the teachings and moral values of the Qur’an. Someone adopting such principles simply sets up the person laying down these principles as a partner to Allah. This person may be anyone; his father, grandfather, an ancestor he may so exalt the society he is a member of, the founders of an ideology, a philosophy or its followers. In this broad sense of idolatry, someone adhering to a different way of living other than the Qur’an, simply practises idolatry. He may call himself an atheist, Christian, or Jew. He may even appear to be a Muslim, performing his regular prayers, fasting and obeying the laws of Islam. Nevertheless, anyone harboring a thought or judgment opposing the Qur’an is a mere idolater; by such a stance he simply manifests his acceptance of the existence of a ruler other than Allah.
Idolatry does not essentially require an absolute denial of the existence of Allah. Rather, the majority of the idolaters avoid explicitly accepting such an attribute or “title”. Never scrupulous in conduct, they deceive themselves throughout their lives. On the Day of Judgment, they still reject being involved in idolatry. The stance they adopt is explained in the following verse:
One day shall We gather them all together: We shall say to those who ascribed partners (to Us):
“Where are the partners whom you (invented and) talked about?” There will then be (left) no subterfuge for them but to say: “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who associated other gods with Allah.” Behold! How they lie against their own souls! But the (lie) which they invented will leave them in the lurch. (Al-Ana‘am, 22-24)
An idolater does not necessarily have to make “declarations”. You will certainly never hear a statement like this: “I hereby take this divine being as a god besides Allah and I swear an oath of loyalty to him.” Idolatry resides primarily, in the heart and is then disclosed through word and deed. From the standpoint of the Qur’an, having a preference for a being other than Allah underlies it. Giving preference to the will of some person over the Will of Allah, for instance, fear of other people rather than fear of Allah, or an attachment to some person rather than to Him are examples of idolatry described in the Qur’an.
From the foregoing, it is clear that idolatry is the diversion of the feeling of “love” from Allah to other beings. The strong attachment formed to idols is explained in the following verse:
Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of the Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will sternly enforce the penalty. (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:165)
This verse makes it clear that “love” given to the wrong people lays the basis for “worshipping others than Allah” as well as idolatry. Unlike believers, unbelievers can never maintain an intimate relation with their Creator. They love either themselves or others, or both; they share out their love among their fathers, sons, brothers, wives, husbands, lovers, the people they are surrounded by, and so on. As well as for people, unbelievers feel attachment for non-living things, or rather concepts like money, possessions, houses, cars, status, prestige, etc.
The superior and gorgeous properties of all living things and non-living things alike, are mere reflections of the infinite attributes of Allah. The unique possessor of these features is Allah and therefore the only One worthy of loyalty, devotion and love. Feeling an attachment then for anything other than Allah is mere association of partners with Allah.
In another verse, in the words of Prophet Abraham, it is asserted that unbelievers leave Allah and strengthen the bond with their idols:
And he said: “You have taken (for worship) idols besides Allah, out of mutual love and regard between yourselves in this life; but on the Day of Judgment you shall disown and curse each other: and your abode will be the Fire, and you shall have none to help you.”(Al-Ankaboot, 25)
Passion for women is the most striking example of ascribing partners to Allah in terms of love. The woman in question can be anyone—a spouse, a girl friend, or even a woman to whom one is platonically attracted. In consequence, if the love felt for a woman makes a man drift apart from Allah, makes him see a woman as equal to or at a higher level than Allah, then this is explicitly “ascribing partners to Allah.” Such a mentality, assumed to be innocent behaviour in society, has serious consequences, however, in the presence of Allah:
(The Pagans), leaving Him, call but upon female deities: they call but upon Satan the persistent rebel! (An-Nisa, 117)
This point of view also holds true for women. This type of love, unacceptable in the presence of Allah, is however encouraged in modern societies under the “innocent” rubrics of “love”, “romanticism” or “dating.” The indoctrination of romanticism- especially targeting young people—has devastating effects upon new generations. This is surely a great hindrance to the healthy development of the youthful mind and consciousness. As a result of this indoctrination, generations devoid of understanding, come into being. In such circumstances, the members of society live in a total unawareness of the purpose of their existence on Earth, and the exigencies of their religion and faith. Such people simply cling to an ignorant way of living and lead their lives without knowing what love of Allah or fear of Allah really means.
Another reason for the individual to drift into shirk is fear. Just like love, fear should be felt only for Allah. One who feels or shows fear for created beings simply attributes individual might to them. This is idolatry, pure and simple.
Allah has said:
“Take not (for worship) two gods: for He is just One Allah: then fear Me (and Me alone).” To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on earth, and to Him is duty due always: then will you fear other than Allah? (An-Nahl, 51-52)
Unbelievers go in great fear of other people. This is narrated in the Qur’an:
...When (at length) the order for fighting was issued to them, behold! A section of them feared men as - or even more than - they should have feared Allah. They said: “Our Lord! Why have you ordered us to fight? Could you not grant us a brief respite?”...(An-Nisa, 77)
Apart from the feelings of love and fear, there are other attitudes leading man to idolatry.
The basis of idolatry is the preference for a person, or a thing over Allah, for instance, to prefer somebody’s approval to Allah’s, to fear somebody as one fears Allah or to love him as one loves Allah…Or to do for an idol what he doesn’t do for Allah, or to make a sacrifice which he does not do for Allah’s approval.
Given the foregoing arguments, it would be a shallow interpretation indeed to define idolatry as the worship of statues. This is surely an argument used by unbelievers to justify their stance. According to their explanation, idolatry ceased when the idols in the Ka’ba were broken at the time the message of Islam was communicated. If this argument were true, then the hundreds of verses warning believers against idolatry, and providing a detailed explanation about it, would have relevance only to a few primitive tribes in our day—a piece of a reasoning quite contradictory to the essence of the Qur’an. Furthermore from the Qur’an which will prevail until the Day of Judgement we understand that, in every age, pagans lived together side by side with believers. The related verses follow:
Strongest among men in enmity to the believers you will find the Jews and Pagans... (Al-Maeda, 82)
Turn back in repentance to Allah, and fear Him: establish regular prayers, and do not be among those who associate other gods with Allah Turn to Him, be careful of your duty to Him, be steadfast in prayer and do not be of the polytheists, who split up their religion, and become (mere) sects, each party rejoicing in its own beliefs! (Ar-Rum, 31-32)
As the verses suggest, one of the most significant characteristics of polytheistic societies is their approach to true religion; they reject some commandments of the religion revealed by Allah and hence form divisions within the religion. The members of these divisions assume themselves to be on the right path and fight with one another. However, it should be kept in mind that even a minor diversion from the Qur’an is an addition or alteration to what Allah has revealed, and consequently a source of polytheism.
In the verses below it is stated that no deed of the pagans is accepted by Allah; even their prayers and worship:
But it has already been revealed to you, as it was to those who went before you, “If you were to associate other gods with Allah, truly fruitless would your work in life be,” and you would surely be in the ranks of those who lose all spiritual good”. (Az-Zumar, 65)
Out of what Allah has produced in abundance in tilth and in cattle, they assigned Him a share: they say, according to their fancies: “This is for Allah, and this for our partners!” But the share of their “partners” does not reach Allah, whilst the share of Allah reaches their “partners” ! Evil and unjust is their judgement! (Al-Anaam, 136)
A believer may commit various sins. However, behind these sins, there is no question of a revolt or a similar intention or act against Allah. What makes idolatry different from other sins is that, in contrast to the other sins, idolatry assigns another god besides Allah and invents a lie against Him. Thus idolatry is the greatest sin. It is in a way a manifestation of disrespect to Allah.
Accordingly, Allah mentions in the Qur’an that He will forgive any sin except idolatry:
Allah does not forgive those who set up partners with Him; but He forgives whom He pleases; for anything else; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed. (An-Nisa, 48)
Allah does not forgive the sin of associating other gods with Him; but He forgives whom He pleases for sins other than this: one who associates other gods with Allah, has strayed far, far away (from the right). (An-Nisa, 116)
Therefore in many verses of the Qur’an, Allah warns believers against idolatry and deters them from this greatest sin. The Qur’an explains idolatry in detail:
O you who believe! Truly, the Pagans are unclean... (At-Tawba, 28)
Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and carried him off to far-distant place.
Turn back in repentance to Allah, and fear Him: establish regular prayers, and do not be among those who associate other gods with Allah. (Ar- Rum, 30)
Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: “O my son! Serve no other deity besides Allah: for false worship is indeed the greatest wrong-doing.” (Luqman, 13)
Say: “I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him do what is right, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” (Al-Kahf, 110)
Anything, living or non-living, which the pagans assign as partners to Allah by no means possess any divine attributes.
Allah states in the Qur’an that these partners can neither harm them nor profit them (Jonah, 18), cannot create anything (Jonah, 34, Al-Araf, 191), they cannot help anyone, not even themselves (Al-Araf, 192), and cannot lead to the righteous way (Jonah, 35). Despite their all being inherently weak, these “partners with Allah” are set up by pagans. The main reason for such an attitude is the fact that Allah bestows some of His attributes upon these beings.
The authority, sovereignty, supremacy, and prosperity a person possesses, for instance, truly belong to Allah. As a trial, Allah grants some of his attributes to some people in this life. Attributing all the power, possessions, etc. to a person’s personality, and thus showing fear for him, would be merely associating partners with Allah. That person is neither a divine being nor someone who possesses the power to attain anything by himself. At this point, we hardly need mention that these are only imaginary beings one creates in one’s own mind. In the Qur’an it is described thus:
Behold! Truly to Allah belong all creatures, in the heavens and on earth. What do they follow who worship as His “partners” other than Allah? They follow nothing but fancy, and they do nothing but lie. (Jonah, 66)
A person who worships someone other than Allah will live to regret his delay in understanding that those partners had no virtues whatsoever. Those partners, whom they preferred to Allah in this life, will lead them to a great grief in the hereafter. Those partners are also the main reasons why pagans take Allah, Who has the sole power, honour, and glory, and Who is also the only One to be taken as the Protector, as their enemy. On the Day of Judgment, their fate will be as narrated in the following verses:
One day shall We gather them all together. Then we shall say to the idolaters, “To your place! You and those you associated with us as ‘partners’. We shall separate them, and their “partners” will say: “It was not us that you worshipped! Allah is sufficient for a witness between us and you: we certainly knew nothing of your worship of us!” There every soul will prove the fruits of the deeds it sent before it: they will be brought back to Allah their rightful Lord, and their invented falsehoods will leave them in the lurch. (Jonah 28-30)
Then they will be asked: “Where are the deities to which you gave part-worship in derogation of Allah?” They will reply: “They have left us in the lurch: Nay, we did not invoke of old, anything that had real existence.” Thus Allah leaves the unbelievers to stray. (Al-Ghafir 73-74)
The Qur’an defines the end of the pagans as follows:
But when they saw Our punishment, they said: “We believe in Allah, the one Allah and we reject the partners we used to associate with Him.” But their professing the faith when they actually saw Our punishment was not going to profit them. Such has been Allah’s way of dealing with His servants from the most ancient times. And so the rejecters of Allah perished utterly!(Al-Ghafir, 84-85)
Posted - Friday, November 26, 2004 - 9:13 PM
|The Two Aspects Of The Soul|
The “soul”, (in Arabic, nafs) as commonly used in the Qur’an, means “ego” or “ one’s personality.”
In the Qur’an, Allah explains the two aspects of soul: the one inspiring evil and wicked deeds, and the other, guarding against every inculcation of evil. As the Qur’an makes it clear in Surat’ Ash-Shams:
By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it! (Ash-Shams, 7-10)
The information provided in the verses about soul is of great importance: in the creation process of man, Allah inspired wickedness in the human soul. Wickedness, that is ‘fucur’ in Arabic, means “tearing apart the limits of righteousness.” As a religious term it means “committing sin and stirring up rebellion, telling lies, disobedience, transgression, adultery, moral corruption...”
Apart from the wicked side of the soul, from the Surat Ash-Shams we know that Allah also inspired in the soul a conscience i.e. a sense of what is wrong and right for it. In the second part of the ayah we learn that one who sincerely accepts the wickedness of his soul and purifies it by the guidance of the inspiration of Allah, will attain salvation for all eternity. This is indeed a certain and true salvation; earning the approval, mercy and heaven of Allah. Those, on the other hand, who fail to banish the wickedness from their souls will face a fearsome end.
At this point an important conclusion may be drawn: every soul has wickedness in itself; the only way to purify it is to accept it and to observe the limits of Allah by the guidance of Allah.
The difference between believers and unbelievers becomes quite clear at this point. Only Qur’anic teaching provides an inner understanding of the wicked side of the soul and the ways to remedy it. Identifying the evil of the soul and purifying it are characteristic of the true religion and the messengers communicating it.
In the 87th verse of Surat’Al-Baqara, the Jews are addressed as follows: “...Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what you yourselves do not desire, you are puffed up with pride? Some you called impostors, and others you slay!”
As the verse suggests, unbelievers simply surrender themselves to the evil of their souls and thus always challenge the true religion and its messengers. Such individuals fail to save their souls from greed, as explained in the Surat Ash-Shams.
This being so, we may well observe that all unbelievers demonstrate an absolute submission to the evil of their souls. That is to say that they are devoid of understanding. The life they lead is one of instinct life; to all thoughts and behaviours are inspired by the wicked side of the soul. This is also one of the reasons why analogies between unbelievers and animals are made in the Qur’an.
Believers, on the contrary, are conscious of the existence of Allah. They fear Him and thus they take care to observe His limits. They are always guided by the inspiration of Allah. They never surrender to the evil in their soul,they do not cover it, but disclose it and guard against it as Allah inspires. The words of the Prophet Joseph guides believers towards typical righteous conduct: “Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human) soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord bestows His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Joseph, 53). Knowing that the soul is always prone to evil, a believer should be ever alert to the misdeeds in which his soul is likely to become involved.
From the foregoing we have a clear understanding of the “evil” side of the soul. However, the soul is also open to the instigation of righteousness, in other words, to the inspiration of Allah. This inspiration makes a person turn to himself and restrain his soul from fulfilling lower desires. This inspiration leading man to righteousness, this faculty of judging between right and wrong is commonly referred to as “conscience.”
Conscience is an infallible compass within the human soul continuously calling man to righteousness. On that account, conscience is, in a way, the whispering voice of Allah. Provided that a person listens to this voice and embraces the basic principles of the Qur’an, he will always proceed in the right way.
As long as the individual follows the voice of his conscience, he will be a model displaying the attributes of Allah in his personality. Allah is infinitely compassionate and merciful; a person submitting himself to Him will also have mercy on others. Allah is infinitely intelligent, so that a believer who serves Him will also be intelligent. The closer he feels to Allah and the more he surrenders himself to Him, the purer he becomes in the presence of Allah:
“Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures.” (Al -Bayyina. 7)
The human conscience functions in compliance with all of Allah’s commandments. However the criteria of the conscience given in the Qur’an are quite different from those adhered to by society. Feeding stray dogs or giving charity to a beggar are typical examples reflecting the inherent understanding of conscientiousness in society. The conscience of a believer, on the other hand, demands complete compliance with the commandments and prohibitions of the Qur’an. Furthermore, one comprehends and implements the details of many issues stated in general terms in the Qur’an by the guidance of one’s conscience.
For instance, Allah commands man to spend whatever is in excess of his needs. The individual can determine the extent of his needs only through his soul. One who lacks the sensitivity of conscience, surely fails to arrive at a fair judgment of his needs and cannot comply with the commandments of Allah in the best way possible.
In the course of daily life, a person continuously meets situations which require him to make choices. Only one of these choices, however, best suits the will of Allah. Believers are held responsible for making the right choice; the choice led by the whisper of Allah. This is actually what one initially hears at the moment of making one’s choice, the voice guiding one to the true path. Only then, at the second stage, does the soul come on the scene, diverting one to other unacceptable alternatives. At this stage the soul whispers some excuses to justify the wrongful options. The Qur’an gives a considerable account of these “excuses” in many verses.
Believers should know to cope with these whisperings, simply by showing no interest to them, not listening to them, and going on their way, inspired by conscience. The examples provided by the Qur’an about the conscience should lead man to ponder upon this issue. In the following verse, the case of believers who are deeply grieved at not finding a way to fight is related:
There is no blame on those who are infirm, or ill, or who find no resources to spend (on the cause), if they are sincere (in duty) to Allah and His Messenger: no ground (of complaint) can there be against such as do right: and Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Nor (is there blame) on those who came to you to be provided with mounts, and when you said, “I can find no mounts for you,” they turned back, their eyes streaming with tears of grief that they had no resources with which to contribute. (Al-Tawba, 91-92)
Fighting against enemies obviously involves danger. One who decides to take part in a war surely risks his life or health. Despite this fact, in the times of our prophet, believers had shown an intense eagerness to fight in the cause of Allah and furthermore, suffered deep grief at not finding a way to fight. This is indeed a striking example of conscience, as explained in the Qur’an.
The evil side of the soul cannot lead a believer astray all of a sudden. Rather, it encourages neglectfulness of the responsibilities he has to fulfill in the cause of Allah. By making excuses, the soul tries to shake one’s commitment to observing the limits of Allah. The influence of the soul becomes more profound wherever one appeases the desires of his soul. The resultant effects of such an approach would be detrimental to his faith. He may even drift into disbelief. Whatever the circumstances, he is obliged to comply with the commandments of Allah, and invariably to curb his selfish desires and whims. Allah addresses His servants thus:
So fear Allah as much as you can; listen and obey and spend in charity for the benefit of your own soul.Those saved from the covetousness of their own souls, they are the ones that achieve prosperity. (Al-Taghabun, 16)
In this verse Allah commands believers to fear Him, obey Him and to listen to His judgements. They are also required to spend for the cause of Allah, since this will save believers from “the covetousness of their own souls” and make them attain real prosperity. Another verse declares:
And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the Garden. (Al-Naziat, 40-41)
A soul purified of selfish desires, and thus earning the pleasure and the heaven of Allah, is referred to as “the soul in complete rest and satisfaction” in the Qur’an.
(To the righteous soul it will be said:) “O (you) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord, well pleased yourself, and well-pleasing to Him! Enter then, among My devotees! You, enter My Heaven ! " (Al-Fajr, 27-30)
Those, on the other hand, who fail to purify their souls and thus attain Hell are full of remorse for what they have done. The remorse felt by the billions of people that have ever lived on earth is horrible to witness. This is an inescapable truth awaiting unbelievers. This is a real day; so real that Allah calls to witness “the self- reproaching spirit” right after the resurrection day:
I call to witness the resurrection day; and I call to witness the self-reproaching spirit. (Al-Qiyama, 1-2)
Posted - Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 7:59 AM
|Asalamu aleikum, one of my sisters is doing her dissertation based |
on reverts do you have any contact details for any of them in
London? or do you know where i can get it from?
Y. (member Studying Islam)
pls email me if any br/sr is happy for me to pass on your email to this member who has requested
Rep. UK Chapter
Edited by: hkhan on Saturday, November 27, 2004 8:06 AM
Posted - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 12:15 AM
|sorry, i did not understand, are you asking for the writer of the articles or converts in London?|
Posted - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 12:15 AM
Posted - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 12:16 AM
|Spirit, Conscience And Soul|
(To the righteous soul it will be said:) “O (you) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord,- well pleased (yourself), and well-pleasing to Him! (Al-Fajr, 27-28)
We are already aware of the two aspects of the soul: the one inspiring evil, and wicked deeds, and the other guarding against every inculcation of evil. The latter guides man to righteousness, as explained in the Qur’an. Allah breathed into him something of His spirit; this is the spirit, the conscience.
In Surat As-Sajda, Allah informs us about this:
He Who has made everything which He has created most good: He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay, and made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do you give! (As-Sajda, 7-9)
As long as the individual follows the voice of his conscience, he will be like a model displaying the attributes of Allah in his personality.
Man's concience is in compliance with all the commandments of Allah. Two verses in the Surat Ar-Rum are quite explanatory:
No, the wrong-doers (merely) follow their own lusts, being devoid of knowledge. But who will guide those whom Allah leaves astray? For them there will be no helpers.
So you face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind do not understand. (Ar-Rum 29-30)
According to the verses, unbelievers go astray by following their own lusts.What believers, on the other hand, must do is to follow the religion Allah communicates to man through revelation. This religion offers a life style which is most suitable tho the nature of man and his conscience, that is, to the spirit Allah has breathed into him.
Posted - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 5:51 PM
Posted - Monday, November 29, 2004 - 10:59 PM
|i looked at it but could not understand what he is looking for|
Posted - Monday, November 29, 2004 - 11:01 PM
|Heedlessness And Attention|
In the Qur’an, Allah gives a detailed account of unbelievers who are devoid of understanding. Allah explains in the Qur’an that the most striking characteristic of unbelievers is the state of “heedlessness” they are in.
Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts with which they do not understand, eyes with which they do not see, and ears with which they do not hear. They are like cattle,- nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).(Al-Araf, 179)
Such are those whose hearts, ears, and eyes have been sealed up by Allah, and they take no heed. (An-Nahl, 108)
Rather than acknowledging what is wrong with his behaviour, the individual who is heedless of Allah’s wishes makes an all-out effort to disregard his misdeeds or to cover them up. This resolute resistance and insistence on following vain desires, and hence not being wary of them lest they lead him astray from what Allah has sent down to living is in fact, a vain attempt to manifest his “so-called” innocence. Making up excuses for one’s mistakes is, by no means, a way of exonerating oneself from faults, as is also evident from the verse that follows:“Indeed, man will be evidence against himself, plead as he may with his excuses.” (Al-Qiyama, 14-15)
Excuses are only futile attempts to hide the decisions taken or actions made under the influence of desires and lusts. The Qur’an especially refers to some of these pretexts:
But when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave you (i.e. the Prophet) standing. Say: “The (blessing) from the Presence of Allah is better than any amusement or bargain! And Allah is the Best to provide (for all needs).”(Al-Jumua, 11)
Rather than putting forward pretexts, trying to have a deeper understanding of his misdeeds would free man from the unheeding state he is in. Otherwise, persistance in this attitude will lead man astray.In the Quran Allah states the heedless state of people and the regret they will have in the hereafter;
Closer and closer to mankind comes their reckoning: yet they do not heed and they turn away. (Al-Anbiya, 1)
Then the true promise will draw near fulfillment: then behold! the eyes of the unbelievers will fixedly stare in horror: “Ah! Woe to us! we were indeed heedless of this; indeed, we truly did wrong!” (Al-Anbiya, 97)
And keep your soul content along with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His pleasure! and do not let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds. (Al-Kahf, 28)
Unlike the indifferent mood of unbelievers, an absolute alertness, awareness and attention towards the outer world and the things happening around them are displayed by believers.
The attention should essentially be focused on the fact that Allah encompasses everything, that He is aware of everything, and that He will call man to account in the hereafter. A believer who succeeds in devoting his attention to every facet of life becomes extremely aware of and alert to all incidents.
Because Allah encompasses everything, and because every incident occurs at His command, nothing happens randomly or without a purpose. Every incident, every development conveys an inner message and a meaning. By giving his undivided attention, man can actually grasp the meaning and wisdom in these occurrences and conceive of the hidden aspects of events. On the contrary, the unbelievers are inattentive to the outer world. Being heedless of the fact that everything on earth serves a purpose, they display indifference towards the happenings around them and remain insensitive to the outer world. Their consideration is motivated solely by self interest; that is why they pay attention only to certain particular aspects of events. In such a frame of mind, they have a poor grasp of the truth and mostly arrive at erroneous conclusions.
Attention has various aspects. Taking lessons from events, being among men of understanding who take heed, perceiving the clear proofs surrounding man, performing a certain act by taking into consideration all the drawbacks, are among the signs of a mindful attitude. In the Qur’an, some particular examples are given of the attentive behaviours of believers. For instance, Moses recognizes the existence of the fire ahead before anyone else. In the same way, when he arrived at the place of the fire, he found it to be a chosen place where Allah communicated to Him. (Ta-Ha, 10-16)
Weariness, indifference or dullness are then the typical characteristics of the unbelievers. Believers, on the other hand, are extremely careful, attentive and alert and also encourage other believers with their enthusiasm.
Posted - Monday, November 29, 2004 - 11:01 PM
Determination is the most significant attribute of a believer. A believer never loses his enthusiasm and devotion. He engages in his struggle only to earn the pleasure of Allah. That is why, no difficulty proves to be a hindrance to his endeavours. A believer never attaches importance to what others think or say about him. His only goal is to deserve the favour of his Lord; and he shapes his life accordingly.
Allah certainly puts the determination of believers to the test in various ways; either by periodically giving them trouble, or making them undergo suffering. Details of the test are given in the verse below:
We shall test you with fear and hunger, with loss of life and property and crops but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. (Al-Baqara, 155)
However, a believer with total commitment displays his patience under all circumstances. Allah praises this attitude of believers in the following verse:
How many of the prophets fought (in Allah’s way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast. Their only words were: “Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything We may have done that transgressed our duty; make us firm of foot and help us against those that resist faith.” (Al-Imran, 146-147)
Lack of commitment, on the other hand, is not a trait attributable to believers. The following verse confirms this fact:
Only those ask you for exemption who do not believe in Allah and the last day, and whose hearts are fieled with doubt, so that they waver. (Al-Tawba, 45).
Besides hardships, trouble and distress, prosperity and affluence also shake people’s determination. Comfort dampens most people’s enthusiasm and excitement. Becoming insolent and turning one’s face away from Allah after receiving His favour is characteristic of unbelievers. Allah explains this in the following verse:
When trouble touched a man, He cried to Us (in all postures)- lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But as soon as we relieved his affliction, he pursued his former ways, as if he had never cried out to Us for Our help! Thus do the deeds of transgressors seem fair in their eyes!(Surah Yunus, 10:12)
However, this is not the case with believers. Prosperity, grandeur, money or power never change the attitude of a believer. He is well aware that all favours are bestowed on him by Allah and that they can be taken back at any time. Hence, he never falls into exultation over his own prowess.
Desiring the hereafter and striving for it with all their might, as well as avoidance of extravagance in daily affairs are indications of determination demonstrated by believers. Those who “strive with all their might” are thus described in the Qur’an:
Those who wish for the hereafter, and strive for it with all their might and have faith- they are the ones whose endeavours are acceptable (to Allah). (Al-Isra, 19)
Never losing heart, demonstrating an unceasing enthusiasm is a command of Allah:
Neither lose heart, nor fall into despair: For you must gain mastery if you are true in faith. (Al-Imran, 139)
Determination, consequently, is a significant attribute of believers. Those who seek an “immediate gain and an easy journey” (At-Tawba, 42) fail to show an unyielding determination. Believers, on the other hand, accomplish what is expected of them and display an unchanging determination until they meet their death.
“Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have fulfilled their vow to the utmost, and others still wait: but they have never changed their determination in the least”. (Surat’al-Ahzap, 23)
Hypocrites, on the other hand, display inconsistent behaviours and attitude, and change according to the type of people they socialize with. When believers win a victory, hypocrites want to share this success, while in times of trouble, they stay away from the community of believers. This is indeed a sure indication of their hypocritical nature.
The community of Kahf, into whose hearts Allah put courage, (Al-Kahf, 14) sets the best example for believers in the sense of determination. Continuity in worshipping is also important in the sense of consistency. Only death puts an end to the determination of a believer. A believer is responsible for showing patience and fulfilling his pledge to Allah until death comes.
Truly, those who plight their fealty to you do no less than plight their fealty to Allah: the hand of Allah is over their hands: then anyone who violates his oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and anyone who fulfils his pledge to Allah, will soon be granted a great reward by Allah. (Al-Fath, 10)
Posted - Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 10:56 AM
Posted - Sunday, December 5, 2004 - 6:36 PM
|Giving Thanks To Allah|
Being grateful to a fellow human being who has shown favour, is to render one’s thanks to express appreciative sentiments. The concept of being grateful to Allah (shukr), on the other hand, is to grasp and emphasize the fact that every kind of grace and favour is granted exclusively by Allah. In the Qur’an, the opposite of being grateful is defined by the term “disbelief”(Kufr), which is synonymous with ingratitude. Only this definition indicates the importance attached to being grateful as a form of worship and the detrimental consequences its neglect may have for a believer.
Gratefulness to Allah is one of the concepts principally emphasized in the Qur’an. In almost 70 verses, the importance of rendering thanks to Allah is stated, examples of those who are grateful and ungrateful are given and the end their requital in the hereafter is described. The reason why so much importance is given to this concept is simply that it is a sure indication of one’s faith and affirmation of the Oneness of Allah. In one of the verses “being grateful” is described as “worshipping only Allah”:
O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship. (Al-Baqara, 172)
In another verse, giving thanks to Allah is described as the opposite of idolatry:
But it has already been revealed to you, — as it was to those before you, — “If you were to associate other gods with Allah, truly fruitless would be your work (in life), and you would surely be in the ranks of those who lose (all spiritual good)”. Therefore, worship Allah, and be of those who give thanks. (Az-Zumar, 65-66)
Satan’s defiant statements to Allah (on the day of his refusal to bow to Adam) emphasize the importance of giving thanks to Allah:
“Because you have cast me out I will lie in wait for your servants as they walk on your straight path: Then will I assault them from in front of them and from behind them, from their right and from their left. Then you will find most of them, ungrateful for Your mercies.” (Al-Araf, 17)
As stated in the verse above, Satan out of sheer pique, devoted His life to misleading people. His ultimate aim is to make people be ungrateful to their Creator. When this ultimate purpose of the Satan is considered, it becomes more comprehensible how a man goes astray when he does not render thanks to Allah.
Gratefulness is a part of the test by Allah. Man is surely endowed with His favour, and is informed about how he should benefit from it. In return, he is expected to assume a submissive attitude towards his Creator. However, it is again only man himself who chooses to be grateful or ungrateful to Allah:
We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him. We gave him the gifts of hearing and sight. We showed him the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful. (Al-Insan, 2-3)
As the verses suggest, the choice of the human being whether to go grateful or ungrateful, is explicit sign of his faith or disbelief.
Gratefulness is also closely related to requital in the hereafter. No punishment shall befall those who have faith and are grateful:
What can Allah gain by your punishment, if you are grateful and you believe? Indeed, it is Allah who recognizes all good, and knows all things. (An-Nisa, 147)
This verse, together with many others, gives the good tidings that Allah rewards those who remain grateful to their Creator:
And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): “If you are grateful, I will increase My favours to you. But if you show ingratitude, truly, My punishment is terrible indeed.” (Abraham, 7)
That is the bounty of which Allah gives glad tidings to His servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say: “No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.” He who does a good deed shall be paid many times over: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (service). (Ash-Shura, 23)
The people of Lut rejected (his) warning. We sent against them a violent tornado with showers of stones, which destroyed all of them, except Lut’s household, whom We delivered by early dawn,— through Our mercy. Thus do We reward those who give thanks. (Al-Qamar, 33-35)
“If you counted up the favours of Allah, you would never be able to number them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Nahl, 18) As this verse suggests, let alone counting up the favours of Allah,it is not conceivable even to categorize them. Since there is no limit to the favours of Allah, a believer should unceasingly keep himself occupied with the remembrance of Allah and express his gratefulness to Him.
In expectation of some very great favor, some people wait for special occasions to render their thanks to Allah. Settlement of a major problem, or recovering from a serious sickness are the proper times to express one’s inner gratefulness to Allah, they assume. However, if one reflected only for a moment, one would instantly comprehend that he is always surrounded with infinite favours. At every moment, every minute, there is an uninterrupted flow of favours: life, good health, intelligence, consciousness, the five senses, the air that one breaths, in brief, everything that makes life possible is given to one by the grace of Allah. In return for all these, the individual is expected to serve Allah in gratitude. Those who are heedless of these favours and accordingly neglect to turn to Allah in order to express their gratefulness, acknowledge their importance only when they are deprived of them.
The Qur’an enjoins careful attention to the favours of Allah and repeatedly reminds us of those we tend to forget. Whole volumes would surely be insufficient to name all the blessings of Allah. Allah fashioned man into a man, He endowed him with five senses thus enabling him to perceive the world around him, guided him to the true path through His Book and Messenger, provided an explanation of the scriptures, desired no hardship for His servants, saved them from the oppression of unbelievers, made their habitations havens of rest and quiet for them, created fresh water, an abundant variety of food, sea- products, ships sailing night and day for the benefit of mankind.
No one can ever say “I say my prayers regularly and engage in righteous dealings, but do not give thanks to Allah”. The individual who is not grateful to Allah is one who does not occupy himself with the remembrance of Allah, and hence is heedless of Him. A person who, like the animals, consumes everything given to him without pondering over why it is granted and the One Who grants it, surely needs to change this attitude. Otherwise, expecting to receive a reward from Allah and hoping to attain Heaven would be meaningless. That is why a believer should never neglect to render thanks to Allah.
We also know from the revelations of Allah that only those who give thanks to Allah can acknowledge the signs of Allah in the outer world and draw lessons for themselves. The following verses elaborate upon this theme:
From the land that is clean and good, by the will of its Cherisher, springs up produce, rich after its kind: but from the land that is bad, springs up nothing but that which is niggardly: thus do we explain the signs by various symbols to those who are grateful. (Al-Araf, 58)
We sent Moses with Our signs (and the command): “Bring out your people from the depths of darkness into light, and teach them to remember the days of Allah.” Truly, in this there are signs for such as are firmly patient and constant, grateful and appreciative. (Ibrahim, 5)
Do you not see that the ships sail across the ocean by the Grace of Allah, So that He may show you His Signs? Truly, in this there are signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks. (Luqman, 31)
But they said: “Our Lord! Place longer distances between our journey-stages” But they wronged themselves in this. At length We made their fate a byword and We dispersed them throughout the land. In this there are truly signs for every soul that is patiently constant and grateful. (Saba, 19)
The wisdom related in these verses and the evidences they furnish, can be comprehended only by those who are endowed with the insight and sensitivity of those who give thanks. This is no doubt a reward for being grateful to Allah. Ungrateful and insensitive people, on the other hand, do not even notice these verses.
In many verses, Allah advises His Messengers, one of whom is Moses, to be grateful:
(Allah) said: “O Moses! I have chosen you above (other) men, by the mission I (have given you ) and the words I (have spoken to you): take then the (revelation) which I give you, and be of those who give thanks.” (Al-Araf, 144)
In Surat-al-Ahkaf, verse 15, a believer in his maturity (the age of 40 is referred to as the age of maturity in the Qur’an) prays that he may be a grateful person:
We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents. In pain his mother bore him, and in pain she gave birth to him. The carrying of the child to his weaning is a period of thirty months. At length, when he reaches manhood and attains forty years, he says, “O my Lord! Inspire me to be grateful for the favours which you have bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and to do good works of which you will approve; and grant me good descendants. Truly, I have turned to you and truly I bow to You in Islam. (Al-Ahqaf, 15)
Posted - Sunday, December 5, 2004 - 7:08 PM
|'mertfaruk', Assalaamu Alaikum.|
Thank you very much for the posts, and the intent behind them. May I please request you to submit essays to our Articles database, and provide the links on the forum (once our admin informs you of acceptance), rather than posting entire essays here. The other approach would be more convenient for our readers, and simultaneously, your submissions will find a permanent place in our articles database.
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