Par atjenese le 19 October 2010 à 15:26
Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...
The Partnership between Body and Soul
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
The dualism between the body and soul is very clearly evident in the physical world. The body is subservient and the soul is in charge; however both are indispensable. It is just that the soul is the master while the body is the obedient servant.
People have a habit of letting themselves become fully absorbed in fulfilling their physical needs to the utter disregard of their spiritual ones, which are rarely so much as contemplated.
We need only look at the vast number of institutions that exist to deal with the material aspects of our lives compared to the paucity of those that focus n the needs of the soul – the mosque being one of those.
The body has its rights and its demands upon us. However what worth does the body have without the soul? It is a mere corpse, no matter how powerfully or beautifully it is constructed. If the soul departs from it, it becomes a wasted husk. Its beauty can only be realized in partnership with the soul.
If we look to apply this concept within an Islamic context, we immediately notice that our four primary acts of worship – prayer , fasting, Zakâh, and Hajj – and indeed all forms of worship, require the participation of both the body and soul.
However, the regrettable thing that beset the People of the Scripture – the followers of Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them both) – as well as many of the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) – is that of being overly concerned with outward appearances at the expense of substance. There is more concern about bodily actions than there is with the soul. Concern for the outward aspects of worship is something good (though at times it can get out of hand), but such concern should not result in the inner meaning of our worship being forgotten.
The physical aspects of our prayers are our standing, bowing, sitting, and prostrating. These are bodily motions. These are the aspects of prayer that most Muslims learn and commit to memory, and may Allah be praised. These are the matters that they generally ask about, sometimes in great detail.
The spiritual aspects of prayer are our devotion, humility, and submission to Allah in full sincerity and devotion. It entails our recognition of Allah’s greatness and divinity that inspires us with a sense of reverence and awe.
Is there any relationship between our concern for the physical aspects of prayer and our concern for the spiritual? Indeed, there is. When we carry out the outward aspects of prayer, we are, without doubt, obeying our Lord and fulfilling His command by upholding one of the pillars of our faith.
At the same time, should not we know why our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, commands us to offer prayers at fixed times in a prescribed manner? Should we not wonder about the effects that these prayers should have on our persons and our lives?
The same can be said for fasting. Why do we fast? Surely Allah does not need our fasts.
Allah says: “O humanity! You are in need of Allah and He is free of all wants, worthy of praise.” [Sûrah Fâtir: 15]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not leave off false speech and evil deeds, then Allah has no need of his leaving off his food and drink.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1903)]
We know that Allah has no need for us to leave off eating and drinking in any case, even when we abstain from false words and false deeds.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, conveying to us the words of his Lord: “O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you came together as the heart of the most pious man among you, it would not increase my dominion in the least. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you came together as the heart of the most sinful man among you. It would not diminish my dominion in the least.” [Sahîh Muslim (2577)]
Surely fasting was not prescribed to punish us and make us suffer from hunger and thirst.
Indeed not, for Allah says: “What can Allah gain by your punishment if you are thankful and you believe, and Allah is grateful and all-knowing.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 147]
The Prophet (peace be upon him), during the pilgrimage, saw an old man being supported on both sides by his two sons. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: “What is the matter with him?”
They said: “He had taken an oath to walk.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is in no need of this man’s punishing of himself.” Then he ordered the man to ride. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1865) and Sahîh Muslim (1646)]
Was fasting, then, prescribed for us to attain blessings and rewards?
Without doubt, Allah bestows immense rewards upon his servants for their fasts. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts in faith seeking reward, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (38) and Sahîh Muslim(716)]
However, the rewards and blessings that we receive for of fasts, our prayers, and our charity are Allah’s reward to us to encourage us to do these good deeds.
The question remains: Why do we fast? Why do we get such a great reward for doing so? Why do we pray and embark upon the pilgrimage?
As I see it, we do so for two purposes:
The first is to develop our faith and build our moral character on a basis of piety and certainty. Allah says about fasting: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that perhaps you may guard against evil.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 183]
About prayer, Allah says: “Indeed prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.” [Sûrah al-`Ankabût: 45]
About the Hajj, He says: “And let there be no obscenity, wickedness, or wrangling in the Hajj.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 197]
Allah says about paying Zakâh: “Take alms of their wealth, wherewith you may cleanse them and purify them.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 103]
This meaning can be seen in all acts of worship. They all seek to build a person’s character and perfect his moral conduct, his beliefs, and his faith. Our worship aims to cleanse and renew our hearts, making them free from base qualities like deception, avarice, rancor, and unbridled lust.
The second purpose of our worship is to reform the relationship between the person and others. By developing a person’s character and cultivating within him certain values, a person’s worship results in his safeguarding the rights of others on every possible level of interaction.
This includes the relationship between husband and wife, parent and child, and likewise between neighbors and between the governed and the one who governs them. Even the rights of animals and the environment are safeguarded in this way. Islam brings with it values governing a Muslim’s conduct towards everything that surrounds him.
All the acts of worship that were prescribed to humanity n the previous manifestations of the religion and in Islam are part of a single program designed to fulfill these two purposes: to build the individual and to develop his relationship with others.
What meaning does fasting have for a person who merely eschews food and drink and other pleasures that are lawful under normal circumstances, only to engage in forbidden acts like speaking falsehood and mistreating others? How much worse is it to engage in unlawful things in the month of Ramadan, and possibly even during the day while fasting? How is it for such a person who lives a dual life, his worship completely divorced from his everyday life, having no effect on his dealings with others?
We have a right to ask ourselves in earnest: When will our worship change from being merely an outward act into a reality that is rich in meaning and that carries with it a deep and noble purpose? When will our worship start to affect our personalities, building us into people of integrity who fulfill their duties, recognize their own shortcomings, and work to improve themselves before rushing to judge others?
Only then will our worship take on its full meaning.
Par atjenese le 19 October 2010 à 15:22
Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...
Higher Aims: Striving in Worship
by al-Jumu'ah Magazine
The Salaf have understood the Deen of Allah as well as the essence of this life and its inescapable leading to the Hereafter, so they felt aversion for the distractions and the tribulations of the world. They found no sleep and their heart kept away from desires. They kept above the insignificant concerns of life. Their biographies abound with stories that show their striving in righteousness, repentance and their strong will in worship and humbleness:
Al-Hasan al-Basri said, "Whoever competes with you in the Deen then try to surpass him, and whoever competes with you in the matters of this life then throw it back at him." Whenever he missed a Salah in congregation, Ibn Umar radhiallahu and used to fast one day, pray for one whole night, and free a slave .
Abu Musa al Ash'ari used to apply himself so much in worship a the end of his life that he was told, "Why don't you slow down and be gentle with yourself?" He replied, "When the horses are released for a race and are close to the finish line, they give all the strength they have. What is left of my life is less than that." He maintained the same level of devotion and worship until he died.
Mawriq al-'Ajli said, "I did not find an example, for the believer in this life, better than a man on a plank in the sea, imploring, 'O Lord, O Lord' hoping that Allah will save him."
Usamah said, "Whenever you see Sufyan ath-Thawri, it is as if you see someone in 'a ship fearing to drown,' one would often hear him say, 'O Lord, save me, save me!'."
Fatimah bint Abdil Malik, the wife of the Khalifah Umar ibn Abdil-Aziz said, "I have never seen a person offering salah or fasting more than he did, or a person fearing the Lord more than him. After offering Salat-ul-Isha, he would sit down and cry until he becomes sleepy, then he would wake up again and continue crying until sleep overtakes him."
Amir ibn Abdullah was once asked, "How can you tolerate being awake all night, and thirsty in the intense heat of the day?" He replied, "Is it anything more that postponing the food of the day to night-time, and the sleep of the night to daytime? This is not a big matter." When the night came, he would say, "Remembrance of the heat of hellfire has taken sleepiness from me." And he would not sleep until dawn.
Ahmad ibn Harb said, "I wonder how the one who knows that above him, paradise is being embellished, and below him, hell fire is being kindled, and yet sleeps between them!"
Waqi' said, "Al Amash was almost seventy years old and he never missed the first takbirah (for salah in the masjid). I used to visit him frequently for more than two years and never saw him make up for even one rakah."
Abu Hay an related that his father said, "Ar-Rabi" ibn Khuthaym was crippled and used to be carried to the congregational salah. So people told him, 'You have an excuse (for not coming)', he said, 'I hear "hayee 'alas-salah', the call to salah; so if you can come to it even by crawling, do so," paraphrasing a hadith.
Abul-Mawahib ibn Sarsari said concerning Imam abul-Qasim ibn Asakir, "I have never seen the like of him, and none had encompassed as many good characteristics as he did concerning his adherence to one way for forty years, making salah in the first row unless he had an excuse, i'tikaf during Ramadhan and the ten days of Thul-Hijjah, and the lack of desire to accumulate properties and build houses, as he forbade himself these. He turned away any position of imam or speaker, though they were offered to him, and he devoted himself to enjoin good and forbid evil, and he would not fear anyone in that."
Par atjenese le 19 October 2010 à 15:20
Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...
The Patience of Noble People and the Patience of Ignoble People
By Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah<span> </span> Patience and Gratitude - an abridged translation of `Uddat as-Sabirin wa Dhakhirat ash-Shakirin
Every person has to exercise patience in order to face difficulties, whether he does so willingly or unwillingly. The noble person exercises patience willingly, because he realizes the benefits of patience, and he knows that he will be rewarded for his patience and will be criticized if he panics.
He is aware that if he does not have patience, panicking and impatience will not help him to regain missed opportunities, and will not take away things he dislikes. Whatever is decreed and is qada' wa qadr cannot be prevented from happening, and whatever is decreed not to happen cannot be made to happen. So an attitude of impatience and panic actually causes harm.
A wise man said: "A man with wisdom as soon as adversity appears does that which a foolish man does after a month (i.e. he resorts to patience)".
The ignoble man exercises patience only when he realizes he has no choice. After wasting a lot of time and energy and panicking and struggling, he realizes that his impatience will not help him. Then he exercises patience in the same way that a person who has been tied up to be whipped exercises patience.
The noble person practices patience in obeying Allah, whilst the ignoble person exercises patience in obeying the Shaytan. So ignoble person have the greatest patience in following their own whims and desires, and have the least patience in obeying their Lord. They have the greatest patience in spending in the way of Shaytan and no patience when it comes to spending even a few pennies in the way of Allah.
They will endure many difficulties in order to follow their own whims and desires, but cannot bear even the least difficulties in order to please their Lord.
They will endure slander for the sake of committing wrong action, but cannot exercise patience in putting up with slander for the sake of Allah. Such people will avoid enjoining the good and forbidding the evil for fear of what people will say about them for doing so, but they will expose their honour to slander and bear it most patiently for the sake of following their own whims and desires.
Similarly, they are not prepared to practise patience in devoting themselves to Allah, but when it comes to devoting themselves to Shaytan and their own whims and desires, they will exercise remarkable patience. Such people will never be noble in the sight of Allah, and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be raised with the people of nobility and decency.
Par atjenese le 19 October 2010 à 15:15
Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...
So You Want The Mercy Of Allah!
I was speaking to a young man recently and during the conversation I heard him say, "I don't make dua' anymore." I asked him, "Why not?" and he replied, "I made dua' for some things and I never got them so I just gave up!" I asked him if he was happy in his life, he said, "Not really." Then I asked him if he felt he needed the mercy of Allah in his life, and at that he replied very enthusiastically, "Of course I do!"
Now this made me think very deeply about some things in life. Is it right that we (mankind in general) go on expecting things from our Creator while we sit down passively, mostly just observing life and hardly doing anything for anyone else unless it somehow fits in with our scheme of things?
Is it right if you, as an individual, want something from your parents but you're doing and saying things they do not like, going out without their permission, dressing in an unacceptable way, not pulling your weight around the house, and so on, then you just come right out and ask for money, or new clothes, or whatever, and then grumble when they refuse, and perhaps adding how unfair life is and how very unreasonable they are?
Let's look at it another way. Imagine you had someone you called your friend but this person spoke badly about you behind your back, took your stuff without permission, and only came hanging around when he wanted something — then one day he comes to you and asks a big favor. Most likely you would tell him to forget it and simply ignore him if he started complaining.
So we all acknowledge that on the human level life is a matter of give-and-take; it's a matter of rights and responsibilities.
What about your relation with your Creator? Is it right that we enjoy the bounty of this marvelous creation and, even though everything was created for the benefit of man, we go ahead and make use of things for our own benefit and comfort without thinking of others? Is it right to fail to give others their rights and expect our rights, and often fail to take care of the creation that Allah provided for us?
How often do you use things that you know will pollute the environment — the same environment that Allah created for you? Dropping litter, using chemicals, and generally tapping into the wasteful and excessive way of life in the modern world, without really thinking seriously about your responsibility to yourself, those around you, the world, and your Creator.
Then when you get sick because of the polluted and chemical-filled environment, you turn in desperation to the Lord of all asking for help and healing.
Then as soon as you are well again, you go back to the old habits of misusing, if not destroying, the environment. How Merciful Allah is! Even though you keep making the same mistakes, even though you misuse yourself, others, and the world around you, He still comes to your aid! He, the Almighty, gives you enough opportunity to change, to see the errors of your ways and to make a fresh start.
Have you ever noticed how your body heals as does the environment? So where is your place in all this? A person can drink alcohol and abuse his body until he gets liver disease — and then blame fate! Likewise a person could neglect the rights of his family and even abuse them when he is in the prime of his life and filled with strength, but when he gets old and is left alone and feeling lonely, he curses life and complains how difficult life is! Do you find that you sometimes do things like this?
Have you ever passed by a river that is polluted and said how awful it is that "mankind" destroys nature? But then haven't you ever tipped chemicals down the sink that end up in the river system, and somewhere along the line, contributed to this awful state of pollution? What I want to say is that you have to be willing to take your responsibilities seriously.
The first step is to realize that Allah has called upon mankind to be the caretakers of this world.
Allah the Almighty said: "You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf ( i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained), and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden) and you believe in Allah..." (Qur'an 3:110)
You have to understand that the nature of this life is not just to make money and live a comfortable life of ease. You have to be willing to give: to give to those around you, your family and friends and your communities; to participate in the voice of society that calls for justice; to speak out against violations against mankind and the earth.
When toxic waste is dumped, what do you do? When logging companies are allowed to destroy one of the last remaining rainforests on earth, what do you do? When people are abused and oppressed, what do you do? If your answer is "nothing." Then you should think again.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever, among you, sees something abominable should rectify it with his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of Faith. (Muslim)
Allah created us to worship Him, and a part of that worship is to keep within His boundaries — the rules He has provided us with, knowing full well that whatever He has ordered us to keep away from is in fact bad for us.
So imagine a person who is selfish, stubborn, and harsh. He couldn't care less about the effects of dumping his factory's toxic waste into any place convenient (for them). He lives his life trying to make more and more money and gathering up material wealth; he doesn't really care whose head he steps on to get up the social ladder, and basically he doesn't really care about anyone except himself. If such a person prays to the Creator of all-should he expect his dua' to be answered? Listen to what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about this:
"Allah the Almighty is good and accepts only that which is good. Allah has commanded the Faithful to do that which He commanded the Messengers, and the Almighty has said: "O ye Messengers! Eat of the good things, and do right." And Allah the Almighty has said, "O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you."
Then he mentioned the case of a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky saying: O Lord! O Lord! While his food is unlawful, his drink unlawful, his clothing unlawful, and he is nourished unlawfully, so how can he be answered?" (Muslim)
What does Allah want from you? Remember He gave you your life, your family and friends, a series of situations, and all the creation around you. Do you think He gave you all this just for fun and games? Or to realize the reality, understand yourself and your role in life, and appreciate your Creator and spread the message of truth wherever you are?
The mercy of Allah is ever present. It is you who must learn how to tap into that mercy and learn to live your life in a way that will make you deserving of that mercy. The same power that controls the universe promises to turn to you if you turn to Him! It's like this because your Creator gave you freedom of choice, so you can try to face life either with His help or without it.
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