Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Living the Quran

Living the Quran
Yunus (Jonah)
Chapter 10: Verse 3 (partial)

Three-fold meaning of Ibadah
Such is Allah, your Lord; do therefore serve Him.

Since all authority rests solely to God, it is incumbent upon man to serve Him exclusively. God's lordship embraces the three-fold attributes of His being:

1. the Sustainer,
2. the Master, and
3. the Sovereign.

In like manner, the term ibadah embraces the three-fold corresponding implications that man should:

1. worship,
2. serve, and
3. obey God.

Ibadah in the first sense, implies that since God alone is the Sustainer, it is to Him that man should offer his thanks, it is to Him that he should address all his prayers, it is to Him that he should bow in love and devotion and reverence.

In the second sense, ibadah denotes that since God alone is the Master, it behoves man that he should live as His slave, that he should not act independently of, let alone in defiance of Him, that he should refuse to be the slave of anyone other than God, both in thought and in deed.

In its third sense, ibadah means that since God alone is the Sovereign, man should obey His command, follow His Law, and abstain from arrogating sovereignty to himself or anyone other than Him.

Source:
Towards Understanding the Quran - by Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol 4, pp. 7,8


The Humanity of the Prophet
There have been many prophets before Muhammad, peace be upon him, and many charismatic leaders who earned the love and admiration of their people; but none has commanded more love, honour, and respect from their followers than Muhammad. Some men commanded so much love and honour on the part of their adherents that the latter transformed them in their consciousness and declared them divine. Indeed, much as Islam condemned the practice, some of the Prophet's followers yielded to this temptation. As the Prophet lay on his deathbed, these clamoured that he did not die but was lifted to heaven to join God's company. The denial of his mortality was the first step toward proclaiming him divine.

On hearing the news of the Prophet's death, Abu Bakr, his closest friend and constant companion, went into his room to see for himself what had happened. He then entered the mosque hall where the leader Umar was claiming that Muhammad had been lifted to heaven. After several polite but unsuccessful attempts to silence Umar, Abu Bakr stood up, shove Umar aside, and said to the assembled Muslims: "If any of you has been worshipping Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead. But if you have been worshipping God, then know that God is eternal and never dies." This was a terribly shocking reminder to the Muslims that only God is God, only He is immortal, and that Muhammad was human, all too human and mortal, like everyone else. It was the last time the Muslims entertained any idea of deifying the Prophet.

Muhammad's humanity is not a drawback, but an enhancement of his merit. His career would not be instructive had he been divine. People would then have to struggle with the translation of divine conduct into something humanly possible, capable of human actualization. But as a human, he received the revelation of God; and as a human, he conveyed it to humanity. As a human, he understood the revelation, interpreted and exemplified it in his life.

Source:
"Islam" - By Ismail Faruqi, pp. 35, 36


The Key has Ridges …
Muslims know that the key to Paradise is the statement, "There is none worthy of worship except Allah”. Yet many Muslims simply rely on the statement and believe that as long as they say it verbally, they will be granted paradise. However the mere saying of the statement is not sufficient for Salvation. In fact, the Hypocrites used to say, “I testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and …” yet Allah describes them as liars and says they shall abide in the lowest abyss of the Hell-fire.

This statement or testimony is the key to Paradise. However, its saying must meet certain conditions. Wahb ibn Munabbih was once asked “Isn’t the statement of la ilaaha illa-ilaah the key to Paradise?” He answered, “Yes, but every key has ridges. If you come with the key that has the right ridges the door will open for you.” These ridges are conditions that will differentiate Muslims who will benefit from that statement from those who will not benefit from that statement, no matter how many times a day they may have made that statement.

The Ridges

1. Knowledge (al-ilm) - A testimony can not be made unless the person understands what he is testifying.

2. Certainty (al-yaqeen) - Opposite of doubt and uncertainty. In Islam any kind of doubt concerning something that is confirmed in the Qur’an or the Sunnah is equivalent to kufr or disbelief.

3. Acceptance (al-qabool) - If a person has the knowledge of and certainty in the teachings of Islam, this must be followed by acceptance, with the tongue and heart.

4. Submission & Compliance (al-inqiyad) - This implies the actual physical enactment by deeds.

5. Truthfulness (al-sidq) - Opposite of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

6. Pure Sincerity (al-Ikhlas) - Doing every deed for the sake of Allah alone.

7. Love (al-mahabbah) - Loving Islam, its implications and requirements. Loving those who act and strive based on Islamic teachings.

8. Denial - To deny every other object of worship beside Allah.

9. Adherence - Holding fast to the teachings of Islam till death.

Source:
"Commentary on the 40 Hadith" - by Jamal Zarabozo, Vol 1, p. 337-346