Quarterly: Issue No 41
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DHIKR OF ALLAH
Generally, there is a great level of carelessness found in Muslims today in that though they maintain some degree of remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah during their worship in Salaah, but there is no remembrance of Allah in their worldly social matters. And the sad part of all is that these people are considered as ‘devout-worshippers’. We must understand that just as there is a task adopted by the tongue for worship, there is also a task for the heart in worship. In other words, the task of the tongue is verbal remembrance of Allah, and the task of the heart is remembrance through focusing towards Allah by consistent thoughts of Allah in one’s heart. So often worshippers remain involved in verbal remembrance of Allah but they fail to keep the heart occupied in a similar manner. Most of the ulama and the pious are also involved in such carelessness in terms of the heart. It is necessary to understand that just as verbal remembrance of Allah by the tongue is necessary, continuous remembrance of Allah in our hearts is also essential. One should keep the heart focused on Allah at all times. Upon necessity it is permissible to think about something other than Allah but without such necessity it is not proper for a true Mu’min to invite such thoughts into the heart. However, we should not think that since our hearts are always involved in thoughts of anything other than Allah, it is necessary to get rid of all these things. If, upon necessity, our thoughts fall on a foreign matter, then there is no reason for panic. However, after these thoughts leave the heart, then bring your attention back towards Allah immediately.
We have to understand what Dhikrullah actually is. If the thought of something other than Allah (ghairullah) comes into the mind, it should be out of necessity only. If this type of habit strengthens, then during the times when there is no such necessity, we can easily keep our thoughts focused on Allah in our hearts. The effect of this will be that even during those times of necessity in which we are involved in worldly activities, the thoughts of Allah will remain in our minds and hearts, Insha Allah. This will result in a condition that will arise where the remembrance of Allah will remain firm in our hearts at all times. The result will be that if the thought of “ghairullah” does happen to creep into our hearts, it will not enter very easily but will do so with great difficulty.
When a person takes residence in his own home, any other individual who enters his home comes under the role of a guest. But let us look at what happens when the situation is reversed. The house has been taken over by the guest. If the owner wants to enter his house, he cannot get in with ease. Similarly, it is necessary to free the heart from the control of strangers and to absorb Allah within so that when any other thing enters it, it must enter it with its proper etiquettes and with the attitude as is customary with a guest visiting the house of the owner.
However, it must be understood very clearly that thoughts of “ghairullah” are not entirely prohibited. Permission is given to keep human relationships and partake in daily worldly transactions, but these thoughts must be treated like a guest, or to that which occurs with a stranger. Our servants also enter our homes, but they come with manners. They do not come to take over the house nor do they come to govern us in our own house. So bring others into our hearts but bring them in that manner. Let us not believe that we should strictly ban others from entering our hearts. We should allow them up to necessity, as strangers for a brief time period only.
Make Allah (the Ever-Living), the Master and Head of our hearts. And allow strangers and things other than Allah to enter our hearts only like our servants or guests. And all of this is well within our control. No one can dare say that we cannot control the heart. Keep the remembrance of Allah prominent and the thoughts of strangers and “ghairullah” secondary. This will help us improve social conduct in our daily lives by:
having more love for Allah than our businesses;
avoiding fraudulent business deals;
being humble in our dealings with people;
dealing with people justly;
being honest and truthful;
keeping our promise when we make one;
fulfilling our trust when we are trusted with something;
avoiding sexual immorality; etc.
Regarding a Muslim’s social conduct, it must be admitted that this facet of life has generally been totally neglected. Even the pious people in these times have separated this aspect of life from the Shari’ah and it is not considered to be part of the Deen any more. Even people with Deeni inclinations regard social conduct as being a worldly matter having no link with the Shari’ah. This erroneous understanding has resulted in the great neglect of this aspect of life, bringing in corruption, mistrust and dissension in our Muslim community.
Always remember what Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:
Tell them (O Prophet): If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (punishment). And Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqoon (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah). Surah at-Tawbah: Verse 24).
Let us all try our best to make Allah the permanent resident in the mansion of our hearts at all times and not just verbally in the Masjid or our homes. This is the real Dhikrullah. May Allah guide us all! Ameen!
TODAY'S MODERN SCHOLARS
The fundamental mistake which our so-called Islamic Scholars are committing today consists in their servile acceptance of the Western outlook as a norm to measure
right and wrong. They endeavour to 'prove', with the help of the most ridiculous mental juggleries and a distortion of historical facts, that the aims and ideals of Islam in reality do correspond to what Western people regard as desirable and respectable. They are trying to smoothen the differences between Islamic and Western ideologies by gradually forcing Muslim lifestyle into the channels in which Western life flows.
These so-called ‘scholars’ see the material advance and political power of Europe and America and compare it with the current deplorable state of the Muslim World. They see the present day Muslim communities entirely lacking creative strength and vigour. Hence, they naively believe that the strength and vigour must always be 'right' and must therefore succeed in the spiritual field as well. As a result of this corrupt belief, coupled with their ignorance of the true causes of Muslim degeneration, they conclude that the Muslim World could overcome its stagnation if it adopted the Western principles and hence become vigorous.
What was the outcome? The far-reaching dependence on Western ideologies of these so-called ‘scholars’ gradually produced in them the habit of regarding Western civilization as a model of all positive developments. This finally led them to subconsciously believe that the aims of Islam must be identical with the aims of the Western civilization. They produce a spate of literature bent on proving that Islam was 'fundamentally' in agreement with Christianity. Whenever they find anything in the teachings of Islam that does not agree with Western concepts, they try to explain it away either as a 'corruption' of the original teachings or as an 'outbound' injunction meant to uplift the uncultured Arabs of the Prophet’s time only (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and therefore irrelevant to our 'enlightened' society today. In particular, they grew accustomed to reject the entire structure of the SUNNAH on the unfounded plea that the AHAADITH (plural of HADITH) are unreliable: and so their slogan became
BACK TO THE QURAN.
To them, this meant an arbitrary twisting of the Qur’anic teachings in the light of Western notions. A glaring example of such a so-called 'scholar' is GHULAM AHMAD PARWEZ whose teachings are being ‘blindly’ propagated by a few Western-orientated Muslim scholars in South Africa. We can rightfully compare them to an Ass in the Lion’s skin.
Nevertheless, anybody who has the slightest acquaintance with the principles of Islam knows that the above reasoning implies an absolute negation of everything Islam stands for.
Firstly, to consider Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) just as a mere wise man cuts at the very root of the Islamic conception of Prophethood. A Muslim who believes that the Qur’an is the revealed Word of Allah will not have the least hesitation in saying that the Blessed Personality through whom it was revealed was truly the wisest of all men. But this alone does not constitute the whole of his greatness. The ultimate reason of his being the greatest man lies in his function as the LAST of all Prophets, as the bearer of Allah's LAST Revelation to mankind and therefore 'he does not speak out of his own desire.' (AI-Qur’an 53:3). It is Allah Who speaks through him, in whatever he utters by way of spiritual guidance or practical legislation. It is Allah Who made it clear to us in countless verses of the Qur’an that to follow Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in whatever he ordains is to follow the Creator Himself, provided we follow all authentic Ahaadith reports. Though Rasoolullah was undoubtedly human, his leadership of men was Divinely Inspired. None can be called a Muslim or Mu’min who does not accept this basic doctrine of the Qur’an.
Secondly, none can be called a Muslim who does not accept the Law of Islam as a time-less expression of Allah's Will, for He said: 'Today I have perfected for you your religion (deen) and fulfilled my favour unto you'. (AI-Qur’an: 5:3). What perfection could there be in a time-bound law, a law suitable for a particular period but unsuitable for later stages of human development? Could such a transitory legislation be rightly described as a fulfilment of Allah's favour to mankind? Let it be known that the denial of the Eternal validity of the Shari’ah (Qur’an and authentic Ahaadith) is synonymous with the denial of Rasoolullah's claim that the Qur’an is truly the revealed Word of Allah.
Nevertheless, it is not our business to argue with these so-called 'scholars' and their ‘blind’ followers. We as Muslims believe in the Qur’an and its Messenger and his authentically reported Ahaadith; and regard Islam as a fulfilment of Allah's favour to mankind - a perfect, self-contained ideology, a program of life, a spiritual guidance and a socio-economic code. If Islam is all these, then most certainly it cannot leave the shaping of its society and civilization to Western nonIslamic factors. Only thoughtless people can imagine that it is possible to imitate Western social design without such an implied rejection of the true spirit of Islam.
VIRTUE - REAL OR APPARENT
Sayyiduna Uwais Qarni (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) lived in Yemen at the time of our beloved Prophet, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam but was not his Sahaabi. Seeing his beloved Prophet undoubtedly would have been the greatest achievement of his lifetime. For any believer (Mu’min) no event could have been of greater emotional or spiritual value than a chance to see the last of the Messengers of Allah in person, to shake hands with him, to listen to him and to learn directly from him. But Uwais Qarni's mother was old, blind, and disabled. He had to constantly take care of her and that responsibility did not permit him to take the trip from Yemen to Madinah Al-Munawwarah. He missed the chance to become a Sahaabi --- the highest category of any group of believers. But his piety earned him the title of Khairut Tabiyeen or "the best of the generation following the companions" from the Prophet himself. Later in life, when he did visit Madinah Al-Munawwarah, Caliph Umar (Radiyallahu Anhu) sought him and asked him to pray for him, explaining that he made the request for prayers because the Prophet, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, had advised him to do so when Uwais Qarni visits Madinah Al-Munawwarah.
This true life story obviously tells us about the status of mothers in Islam and the virtue of serving one's parents. But there is even a bigger lesson here. Sometimes there is a fine line between apparent virtue and real virtue; between what we like to do and what we must do; between religion as hobby and religion as the serious business of obedience to Allah. This is a delicate issue because the conflict between duty and desire may be camouflaged by the apparent virtuosity of the deeds. To detect the difference and make the right choice requires balance, sensitivity, and wisdom - qualities that are central to Prophetic teachings.
Jihad in the battlefield is a very important Islamic institution and the Qur'an and Hadith are full of merits of those who are willing to lay their lives to uphold Truth and fight falsehood. Yet there were occasions when the Prophet, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, sent back aspiring mujaahids back to their homes to take care of their old parents when their parents really needed them.
Today, we seem to be lacking that perspective. We have heard that something is good but we do not know its limits nor do we realize how it fits in the big picture. Many examples can be given. Some of us have heard that leaving home to invite people to the religion is a great act. It indeed is. But if one's own family needs him and leaving it alone will expose it to dangers then it is not. In such cases it would be performing a hobby and not doing a duty. In many places Muslims have built big empty masjids when what the community really needed was a full time Islamic school.
In the best case we are wasting resources by having the wrong priorities. In the worst case we are putting a religious cover on our own desires, without even realizing it. In each case the solution begins with a critical self-examination.
I request your humble du'aas.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN