Jesus: The Spiritual Ascetic

By Sadullah Khan

JesusThe Prophet’s saying “make zuhd from the dunya” [Ibn Majah] does not imply a disregard for this world, but rather an awareness of the transient nature of the worldly material things which are insignificant in relation to the permanence of what Allah promises …

“All that is with you is bound to come to an end, whereas that which is with God is everlasting. And most certainly shall We grant unto those who are patient in adversity their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did” [An-Nahl 16:96].

Zuhd in perspective

Zuhd entails abandoning whatever of this world that does not bring about benefit in the Hereafter. Zuhd resides in the heart and is practiced by ridding the heart of enslavement from the unwarranted desire and the over-attentiveness to things that are temporary. It entails your being more certain in what Allah has in store for you than your are about what you have in your hand. As Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said; “When Allah desires goodness for his servant, He grants the capacity of abstention from materialism, a desire for the Hereafter and an insight into his own faults”.

Zuhd of Jesus (pbuh)

Jesus (pbuh) was the embodiment of the true zahid. Ka`b al-Ahbar said; Jesus the son of Mary would walk bare-footed, claiming nothing in the way of shelter, finery, wares, garments, or money; of the latter he would procure only enough to subsist for the day. Once the sun would set, he would align himself and pray until morning. He would restore sight to the blind, heal those afflicted with leprosy, and revive the dead – all with the license of God. He was ascetic in matters of this world, vigorously exuberant towards the hereafter, ever-vigilant in his devotions to God. He was an itinerant who wandered the earth…..It was then that God raised him up to the heavens.

The Messiah (pbuh) said: “Asceticism / Abstention from materialism revolves around three days; Yesterday, which has passed and from it you should seek admonition / learn a lesson; Today, in which you should increase your preparation; Tomorrow of which you know not what it holds” [Musnad Ahmed].

The Messiah (pbuh) said: “O Children of Israel! I have been positioned on earth with a particular status, and there is neither pompousness nor arrogance. Do you know where my residence really is?” They said, “Where is your residence, O Spirit of Allah.” The Messiah replied, “My home is any place of worship, my perfume is water, hunger is the flavoring of my food, my feet are my transport, my lamp at the night is the moon, my blanket in the winter is (the rising of the sun) east of the earth, my food is basic, my fruit and flowers are whatever grows from the earth, my garment is wool, my motto is fear of Allah and I accompany the sick and the poor. I sleep while I have nothing and I wake up while I have nothing, and yet there is no one on earth wealthier than I” [Bihaar al-Anwaar].

Taking a Collective Lesson from the Messiah (pbuh) Muslims and Christians do have differing perspectives on Jesus’ life and teachings, but his spiritual legacy, as a righteous and principled guide, his mission as a Prince of Peace offers an alternative opportunity for people of faith to recognize their shared religious heritage. Christians and Muslims would do well to reflect on the verse in the Quran reaffirming Allah’s eternal message of spiritual unity:

“Say: ‘We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and message given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves’” [Al-Baqarah 2:136].

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Shaykh Sadullah Khan is the Director of Impower Development International www.impowerinternational.com.

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Prophet Muhammad: The World’s Best Teacher

Prophet Muhammad: The World’s Best Teacher

By Sumayyah Meehan

In Islam, there is only one teacher who has laid out the groundwork for the spiritual education of mankind, by the Grace of God Almighty.

In Islam, there is only one teacher who has laid out the groundwork for the spiritual education of mankind, by the Grace of God Almighty.

“And (it is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages.” (Al-Isra’ 17:106)

Some of the most influential people in our lives are teachers.

Most of us can remember our very first teacher in school, the one who taught us our ABC’s and the proper rules of the playground.

As we have progressed from toddler to adult, there have been countless teachers along the way who helped us on our journey to adulthood and even beyond. The high school math teacher who helped you to perfect your Algebra or the college professor that taught you the spirit of debate, the very fabric of our being is heavily influenced by teachers who guided us in our educational journeys.

In Islam, there is only one teacher who has laid out the groundwork for the spiritual education of mankind, by the Grace of God Almighty. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), an illiterate man, was chosen by God Almighty to be the Final Messenger and perfect teacher to Muslims.

Known as the “Living Qur’an”, Prophet Muhammad was charged with reciting and conveying the message of the Qur’an to all of mankind. However, he was no ordinary teacher. In fact, he set the ideal standard of education over a thousand years ago and the effects are still being felt today.

There are innumerable ways in which Prophet Muhammad was, and still is, the greatest teacher to have ever lived. Here are just a few!

No Student Left Behind

In classrooms all over the world, it is a common practice for teachers to separate the strong students from the weak. The latter of which are delegated to less challenging classes that do nothing to nurture the mind while the “smarter” students are given every opportunity to excel.

Prophet Muhammad made no distinction between students based on intelligence level, social standing or any other classification that separates us in society. He also never sought to exclude or expel anyone from the religion of Islam, but rather delivered a message that was all-inclusive to the whole of mankind. The Prophet Muhammad said:

By Allah! If He may guide through you a single man to Islam, it would be better for you than red camels.” (Al-Bukhari, 192)

By setting this example of inclusion, Muslims have a tangible example of how to attract others to the Islamic faith.

The Perfect Speaker

Most of us, at some point or another, have come across at least one teacher that was inaudible or spoke so fast that it was next to impossible to understand what was being said let alone taught. Even today, the rapid pace in which most educators speak is overlooked so as to cram as much information into each lesson as possible.

Prophet Muhammad was methodical in his teaching methods and never rushed his lessons. According to his beloved wife Aisha, he:

…spoke in such a way that if one were to count his words, they could be counted.” (Al-Bukhari, 768)

The Prophet also, according to his companions, would repeat his words thrice. The words that he spoke and the lessons he delivered were unambiguous, which helped students of Islam excel at perfecting their faith and committing the Qur’an to their hearts. The perfection of Prophet Muhammad’s speech was intentional as a means to really drive the message home to each one of his students through repetition, which is an excellent learning tool.

Living by Example

Perhaps one of the greatest qualities that made Prophet Muhammad such a phenomenal teacher is that he led by example. He often lectured to his companions about the Oneness of God Almighty, living a life in accordance with Islam and being mindful of the Hereafter.

In every aspect of his life, Prophet Muhammad was an exemplar and practiced what he preached. This made it easy for his companions to see, up close and personal, how to live their lives in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. As God Almighty says in the Qur’an:

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.”  (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

If Prophet Muhammad had not lived every aspect of the Qur’an in minute detail, it would have had a derogatory effect on the level of trust that he had developed with his companions.

Patience Through Adversity

How many times, especially in the inner city schools of America, have you heard of teachers lamenting “tough” students and throwing in the towel?

For many teachers, there is a very fine line between reaching out to students in the spirit of understanding and not being able to get through to the students who fight every step of the way.

The Prophet Muhammad was met with an enormous amount of disdain and outright hatred as he began teaching the message of Islam at the onset of his Prophethood. In Makkah, he spent thirteen years  in an attempt to teach his misguided people about the message of the Qur’an and was met with violent resistance every step of the way with only a minority of his people embracing Islam.

Prophet Muhammad met similar, albeit less, conflict after settling in Madinah and not once did he even consider quitting. Some of the finest personal attributes that helped to strengthen his resolve and reinforce his dedication to his mission included wisdom, patience and a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of Allah Almighty.

The method in which Prophet Muhammad taught the message of Islam to his companions had a ripple effect that has transcended centuries to make Islam the world’s fastest growing religion today.

Whether you are a new Muslim or a born-Muslim, the example of Prophet Muhammad as a gifted teacher is a unifying force in the Islamic world and continues to be a catalyst for greater understanding through education.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Sumayyah Meehan reverted to Islam almost 16 years ago. She is a Waynesburg College graduate with a BA in Criminal Justice. Sumayyah is currently working on two Islamic book projects. She is a regular contributor to Al Jumuah Magazine and The Muslim Observer Newspaper. Sumayyah resides in Kuwait with her husband and four children.

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A Code for Contentment

A Code for Contentment

By Aisha Stacey

ContentmentLife would be easy if we had a code for contentment. Some sort of list or book that could tell us what to do and when to do it. We would follow the instructions, and then amazingly there would be no worry or anxiety, true contentment would be attainable. We would not be looking over our shoulder waiting for the axe to fall. We would not fear financial problems, and we would not be afraid of being alone. These two uniquely human dilemmas could be overcome with such an instruction manual. Following it would make us content, and satisfied.

There is such a book, it is full of guidance, and it does guarantee contentment and success. There is even a set of traditions that explain how to read the book and how to perform our daily tasks. You know the book, it is the Qur’an, and you also know the traditions, they are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. The thing is we forget that this book is user-friendly. We often imagine that the rules are too hard to follow or that they do not pertain to the lives we lead today. However, that is certainly not the case.

The information is applicable in all places and in all times because, despite differences in place and time, human beings are just human beings. Our Creator did not abandon us to the ever-changing circumstances here on earth; instead, He equipped us with the tools needed to navigate our way from birth to death, and beyond. Some of the greatest tools are the collections of hadith (the traditions of Prophet Muhammad), and they are designed to help us on our journey. Emulating Prophet Muhammad is an excellent way of following God’s rules.

“And verily you, O Muhammad, are on an exalted standard of character.” (Al-Qalam 68:4)

If we closely examine just one of those traditions, we will find that it is, in fact, a code for contentment.

“Look at the person who is inferior to you; and do not look at one who is superior to you. Thereby you would be able to better appreciate the blessings that God bestowed upon you.”[1]

Here inferior refers to someone that has less than you in worldly goods and chattels, while superior means someone with more worldly possessions than you. We are so used to looking up and wishing for more that we forget that God has given us more than we could ever need, but we do not recognize its value. Often when we take the time to look at those who have less, we are amazed that they seem so much happier or content than we are. They are happier not because they have less but because they recognize that God has been generous with them and they do not need more.

Sometimes, all too easily, we become distracted by earthly delights. It is true that many of these delights are sins we should be staying away from but just as many, if not more, are things that are permissible even encouraged. There is nothing in Islam that says we should not be wealthy and have money to spare, however, Islam does tell us that our wealth is not ours, it belongs to God and should be shared around; it should pass through our hands and into the hands of others.

Our lives are filled with blessings but often we are so distracted by gaining more and trying to guarantee security by accumulating things, we forget to be grateful for what we have. We see others with more of this or that and complain or try harder to gain insignificant possessions. It is easy to get on this merry go round and keep reaching for more. Often we feel less content with every new acquisition instead of feeling satisfied and grateful. Life can become a difficult task instead of the pleasure God intended it to be.

One way to get off the merry go round and stop the rat race of earthly competition is to take the advice of Prophet Muhammad and look at those who have less than us. When we see that some people have to move through life with less of everything or with ill health and injuries, we become grateful for our meager belongings and our good health. Whatever situation we are in is certainly better than the situation of many others.

There is a time, however, when we should look at those who are superior to us and desire to be like them. This has nothing to do with worldly goods or riches, and everything to do with worship and righteousness. In matters of worship we should not look at those who are below us, rather we should gain inspiration by looking at those who are better than us. We should try to follow the example and lifestyle of those who are more God-conscious and pious.

If we pay attention, we will notice that there are believers who give generously and are kind to all those around them. These are people who enjoy spreading God’s blessings. They follow the guidance – their contentment allows them to smile, help those in need, and treat others courteously and compassionately. They know that following the traditions of Prophet Muhammad can guarantee a life of contentment to be followed by a blissful Hereafter.

Islam offers us a code for contentment. It is all laid before us, and we have little to do except follow the commandments of God. Human beings, however, are forgetful and prone to seeing difficulty everywhere when the reality is that Islam is easy, and contentment is easily attainable. Prophet Muhammad said, “This religion is one of ease and not restrictions; if anyone tries to make it difficult, they will be overcome; therefore do what is right, and do what you are capable of. Be happy, and seek help in prayer.”[2]

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Saheeh Muslim (With slightly different wording in Saheeh Bukhari.

[2] Saheeh Bukhari

 

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from IslamReligion.com.

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Cheating and Deception

Cheating and Deception

By Imam Kamil Mufti

Cheating and DeceptionCheating and deception are despicable characteristics that are beneath a decent person. Intentionally distorting the truth in order to mislead others contradicts the values of honesty, which requires an attitude of sincerity, straightforwardness, and fairness that leaves no room for cheating, lying, trickery, or deceit. There are many texts from the Qur’an and the Sunnah conveying the meaning that cheating, whether the target be Muslims or non-Muslims, is forbidden.

Accepting the guidance of Islam leads a person to truthfulness, which means a person completely avoids cheating, cheating, and back-stabbing. The Prophet of Islam said:

“Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us, and whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Saheeh Muslim)

According to another report, the Prophet passed by a pile of food in the market. He put his hand inside it and felt dampness, although the surface was dry. He said: “O owner of the food, what is this?’

The man said, ‘It was damaged by rain, O Messenger of God.’

He said, ‘Why did you not put the rain-damaged food on top so that people could see it! Whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Saheeh Muslim)

Muslim society is based on the purity of feeling, love, sincerity towards every Muslim, and fulfillment of promises to every member of society. Its members are endowed with piety, truthfulness, and faithfulness. Cheating and deception are alien characters in contrast to the noble character of a true Muslim. There is no room in it for swindlers, double-crossers, tricksters, or traitors.

Islam views cheating and deception as heinous sins, a source of shame to the one guilty of committing them, both in this world and the next. The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, did not merely denounce them by excluding them from the Muslim community in this world, he also announced that on the Day of Judgment every traitor would be raised carrying the flag of his betrayal. A caller will cry out from the vast arena of judgment, pointing to him, drawing attention to him:

“Every traitor will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: This is the betrayer of so-and-so.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

The shame of traitors – men and women – will be immense. Those who thought that their betrayal had been forgotten will find it right there, exposed for the whole world to see on banners raised high held by their own hands!

Their shame will increase even more when they meet with the Prophet of Mercy, the advocate of the sinners on that terrifying and horrible Day. Their crime is of such enormity that it will deprive them of divine mercy and the Prophet’s intercession. The Prophet of Islam said:

“God said: There are three whom I will oppose on the Day of Resurrection: a man who gave his word and then betrayed it; a man who sold a free man into slavery and kept the money; and a man who hired someone, benefited from his labor, then did not pay his wages.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

One should steer clear of all the various forms of deceit and deception present in today’s society. Cheating is common in examinations, business transactions, and even between spouses and loved ones. Placing a label on domestically-made products to make it seem that it is imported is a kind of fraud. Some people give wrong advice when their counsel is sought and thus deceive the person who believes he is getting good advice. An employee should do the job for what he is paid for without any deception or cheating. Rulers rig the ballot to win elections and cheat the whole nation. Cheating between spouses and having extra-marital affairs is widespread in modern society. A Muslim should value himself too highly to be among those who cheat or deceive perchance one might fall in the category of hypocrites about whom the Prophet said:

“There are four characteristics, whoever has all of them is a true hypocrite, and whoever has one of them has one of the qualities of a hypocrite until he gives it up: when he is trusted, he betrays; when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he disputes, he resorts to slander.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

Therefore, a Muslim who has true Islamic sensitivities avoids deceit, cheating, treachery, and lying no matter what benefits or profits such activities might bring him because Islam considers those guilty of such deeds to be hypocrites.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamreligion.com.

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If You Desire Kingship, We Will Offer You That! (A True Story)

If You Desire Kingship, We Will Offer You That! (A True Story)

By Truth Seeker Staff

KingshipShortly after the conversion of the two powerful heroes, Hamzah ibn `Abdel-Muttalib and `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them), the clouds of tyranny and oppression against Muslims in Makkah started to clear away and the Makkah polytheists realized that it was no use meting out torture to the Muslims. They consequently began to direct their campaign to a different course.

The authentic records of the biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) show that it had occurred to the Makkan leaders to appeal to Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) ambition. They, therefore, time and again plied him with temptation.

One day some of the important men of Makkah gathered in the enclosure of Al-Ka`bah, and `Utbah ibn Rabi`ah, a chief among them, offered to approach the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and contract a bargain with him whereby they give him whatever worldly wealth he asks for, on condition that he keep silent and no longer proclaim his new faith. The people of Quraish endorsed his proposal and requested him to undertake that task.

So, `Utbah approached Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) with the following offer:

If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishites has possessed.

If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief; we will never decide anything without referring to you.

If you desire kingship, we will readily offer you that.

If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke, then we shall call in skillful physicians to cure you.

“Have you said all?” asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); and then hearing that all had been said, he spoke forth, reciting verses from Surat Fussilat:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

{Ha Meem. [This is] a revelation from Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

A Book whereof the verses are explained in detail; — a Qur’an in Arabic for people who know.

Giving glad tidings and warning; but most of them turn away, so they listen not.

And they say: “Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us …”} (Fussilat 41: 1-5)

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) went on reciting the Chapter while `Utbah sitting and listening attentively with his hand behind his back to support him. When the Messenger reached the verse that required prostration, he immediately prostrated himself. After that, he turned to `Utbah saying:

“Abu Al-Waleed! You have heard my reply, you are now free to do whatever you please.“

`Utbah then retired to his company to give them his feedback. When his compatriots saw him, they swore that he had returned to them with a countenance unlike the one he had before meeting the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

He immediately communicated to them the details of the talk he gave and the reply he received, and commented saying:

I have never heard words similar to those ones he recited. They definitely relate neither to poetry nor to witchcraft nor do they derive from soothsaying. O people of Quraish! I request you to heed my advice: Let the man alone and grant him full freedom to pursue his goals. I swear that his words will have formidable consequences. Should the other Arabs rid you of him, they will then spare you the trouble. On the other hand, if he accedes to power over the Arabs, then you will share him his kingship and might.”

These words, of course, fell on deaf ears and did not appeal to the polytheists, who jeered at `Utbah and claimed that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had bewitched him. (Ibn Hisham 1/293,294)

In another version of the same event, it is related that `Utbah went on attentively listening to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) until the latter began to recite Allah’s words:

{But if they turn away, then say (O Muhammad): “I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt that (overtook the peoples of) `Aad and Thamud} (Fussilat 41:13)

Panicked and stunned, ‘Utbah stood up putting his hand on the Prophet’s mouth and begged him in the Name of Allah and the kinship ties to stop lest the calamity should befall the people of Quraish. He then hurriedly returned to his compatriots and informed them of what he had heard. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir 6/159- 161)

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) by Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarkpuri who was born and received his education in India. He taught jurisprudence and Hadith in the Salafi University and worked as the editor in chief of its magazine Muhaddith. He worked in the Sunnah Center affiliated with the Islamic University in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. He authored a number of books, including Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) which was honored by the World Muslim League with the first prize in a contest about the Prophet’s biography.

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Should We Live and Die with Dignity; Why?

Should We Live and Die with Dignity; Why?

By Spahic Omer

DignitySo difficult and complex is the predicament of Muslims nowadays that it, perhaps, has no equal in history. The problems and challenges are ubiquitous and global in character, encompassing all aspects of life.

However, the most critical and so, most systematically targeted are such aspects as are related to spirituality, morality, and education.  The much-talked-about notions of Muslim unity, culture, economy, and politics are but corollaries of the former.

There are many entities in the world which seem to be happy only when Muslims are kept ignorant, divided, disoriented, subdued and when they shed each other’s blood.

To them, it is almost an international crime if a Muslim nation becomes genuinely independent, visionary and start doing well (the recent dramatic and hardly fathomable economic troubles in Turkey are the case in point).

To them, furthermore, it is a convention that Muslims should be perennially impoverished and needy, depending on their support and wherewithal.

Muslims and their countries are to be turned into the dumping grounds for such people’s cultural, intellectual, military and industrial leftovers, and in the worst-case scenario, outright waste.

Muslims are to dominate the news for all the wrong reasons. The dark side of history is to be inscribed predominantly by Muslims and their societies.

Hence, the only way forward for Muslims would be in following especially the West and its cultural and civilizational model. It is there that the end-point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government will come to pass. As a political and philosophical concept, the “end of history” has thus been increasingly articulated.

Unfortunately, the creators and advocates of this agenda come as much from within Muslim societies, in the form of a myriad of hypocritical and corrupt governments, institutions and NGOs, as from without, in the form of certain hostile and internationally influential governments, institutions, and media together with business establishments.

Being what they are, they all thrive in the environments of fear, uncertainty, mistrust, and manipulation. They and their existential identities are the antitheses of the true meaning of justice, freedom and the wellbeing of humankind, even though they exist ostensibly for the sake of upholding those beliefs.

The truth is the least wanted thing.

The condition is so dire that one can easily sink into despair, knowing that very little can be done. The unholy schemes are so sophisticated and multi-tiered that they cannot be matched, even partially, by any sincere efforts and strategies of any sincere individuals, groups and governments.

No sooner is a genuine threat detected, than it is emphatically and in unison pounced upon till it is neutralized (again the case of Turkey comes to mind and its carefully crafted and orchestrated “impending destiny”).

Of course, the “pacified”, “docile”, “reformed”, “modernized” and “moderate” Muslims are left alone. Moreover, they are encouraged to carry on and try to win over as many other Muslims as possible.

Numerous local and international institutions and bodies are created, and endless funds and awards provided in abundance for the purpose.

In consequence, being constantly praised and presented with accolades and awards by certain Western entities is anything but a good thing. It may yet signify a certificate of betrayal and “treason”.

Whereas being constantly criticized, condemned and ostracized by the same entities may not necessarily be a bad thing. It may yet denote a certificate of a true form of struggle and sacrifice.

The whole of Islam’s and Muslims’ being is targeted in the process. However, one gets a feeling that the Islamic comprehensive concept of education (epistemology), and everything it entails at all levels of its conceptual and functional presence, is aimed at most.

All that is one of the chief reasons why — for example — since the rapid decline of Islamic culture and civilization, and the rise of Western imperialism and colonization, the subjects of pseudo or theosophical Sufism, metaphysical philosophy steeped in some questionable sources and traditions, and excessive scholastic theology (`ilm al-kalam), became most important and so, most popular among many Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

However, the same was not the case with those authentic sciences and themes of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Shari’ah, which embrace plentiful implications for living and applying Islam as a total code of human existence.

While the former, when dealt with in accordance with a prescribed set of methods and objectives, renders Muslim thought and action impractical, desolate and insipid, the latter does exactly the opposite, due to which it is often regarded as inappropriate, yet risky.

The former contributes to subjugating and controlling Muslims and their thought, while the latter contributes to withstanding and defying the same.

Thus, for instance, dwelling on such legitimate and, at the same time, pivotal subjects as the creation of Islamic state, application of Shari’ah including its Penal Law, jihad, da`wah, Islamisation, Muslim Ummah, and universal brotherhood, is habitually deemed anomalous and aberrant.

As a result, the curricula in the Muslim world have been designed and re-designed accordingly for centuries. Their goal was the serial production of generations of “compliant”, “submissive”, “one-dimensional” and “myopic” Muslims as the obedient servants of the imposed visions and regimes.

However, the situation is not all doom and gloom. There is still much that can be done by everyone.

Optimism, yet excitement and contentment, coupled with creative thinking and constructive action, should be the raison d’etre. Being overly pessimistic and despondent is certainly not the way. It only plays into the hands of the perpetrators and sustainers of the status quo.

The following issues need to be considered.

First

All that is happening is only because Almighty Allah so wills. It is all part of His divine plan for His creation in general, and Muslims in particular.

No earthly, or otherworldly, power, or scheme, can thwart in the slightest His plans. He is the Creator, Lord, and Owner of creation. He does what He wants.

He is also just and does things only for just purposes and ends.

Nobody does anything, nor does any event take place on earth, without His infinite knowledge and permission. It is all part of divine providence.

Second

In the end, the truth and the true servants of Allah will be victorious. That is an ontological law and principle as powerful and constant as everyday physical laws.

When it comes to dealing with others, there should be no room whatsoever within Muslims for the inferiority complex.

Third

The proponents and followers of the truth need to be patient and do only that which is in their capacity, for Allah does not burden anyone beyond what he can bear.

They do not have to change anything. It is Allah who changes things, events and people’s overall conditions. Their job is only to convey the truth and live it honorably as much and as effectively as possible.

Why the things are the way they are, and why they are prolonged as such, Allah knows best. There must be in whatever befalls Muslims a profound wisdom and hidden blessings. Things are not to be judged superficially and in haste.

Allah loves His servants and does only that which is eventually best for them in both worlds.

Muslims ought to hold their heads high, and practice, as well as promote, their belief and value systems peacefully, confidently and wisely.

Everyone also needs to enjoy an appropriate level of activism and involvement. Neither of passiveness, escapism, indifference and deadening formalism is the answer. In their own ways, they are all suicidal.

The intentions, processes, and strategies, rather than results, should be the worry. The results are within the purview of Allah’s sovereignty alone.

Fourth

The best way to convey the truth and invite people to it is to be its living example. That is so because the best antidote for falsehood and sin is the personification of the truth and goodness.

The two cannot coexist. The former is always bound to be extirpated by the latter.

The mere existence of the latter spells adversity for the former. And the stronger and more conspicuous the truth and goodness, the weaker and more indistinguishable falsehood and sin become.

Nonetheless, keeping the truth in the realms of words and abstract ideas is insufficient.

Fifth

A person in the Hereafter will be held accountable only for what he did and tried to do, rather than for the general conditions of the world and people.

Even the holy prophets will not be held answerable for that. Everyone is responsible for his own choices and spiritual destiny.

It is a heavenly injunction that a person should worry most and take care of his very self and his family members first. As for the rest, the matter is proportional to a person’s abilities and the scope of his relationships and interactions.

But one thing is certain.

Everyone must be conscious and knowledgeable enough so that evil and falsehood and their agents are identifiable, loathed and worked against as much as feasible.

The world consists of individuals. It is affected and reformed to the same extent as individuals, the basic and most fundamental constituents of the world, are influenced and reformed.

Almighty Allah reveals: “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Al-Ra`d, 11).

And, “That is because Allah would not change a favor which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing” (Al-Anfal, 53).

Sixth

This world is all about trials, challenges, and obstacles. It was never meant to be an end in itself and to be enjoyed for its own sake.

Perceiving the world in such a manner is a serious mistake and runs against the core of the Islamic monotheistic worldview.

This world is a place where Jannah (Paradise) in the Hereafter is to be procured. Expecting the world to become a jannah is a grave misguidance. The world is only the first part of the journey.

The more difficult the trials and challenges, the more blessings and rewards await the faithful. All types of problems are blessings in disguise.

Victory is a test, and so is defeat. A person should pass both of them. What matters most is what they do to a person and how he reacts to them. Neither is intrinsically good or bad nor preferred or abhorred.

Both possess unique sets of potentials that should be optimized and challenges that should be overcome.

Islam propagates pragmatism, realism, and commitment, and shuns utopianism, naivety, and fatalism. It propagates quality and substance, rather than quantity and pharisaism.

Seventh

As Allah’s vicegerent on earth, man has been created as an honorable being. His existence is an embodiment of purpose, meaning, and beauty.

Thus, the gist of his vicegerency mission is to live and die with dignity, regardless of the terrestrial consequences and conditions. With dignity, he will then be resurrected on the Day of Judgment and will face his Creator.

Losing, or compromising, dignity at any point in his life journey is the biggest existential crime a person can commit.

Dying with dignity is better than living without it. A life without dignity is a truly meaningless, wretched and inhuman experience.

To Muslims, therefore, life is not to be perceived exclusively in terms of winning or losing, but in terms of espousing the spiritual purpose and identity, and maintaining the human honor and dignity notwithstanding the circumstances. In each situation, however, different systems and modi operandi are to be evolved and applied.

And lastly, we must distinguish between Islam and Muslims. It is Muslims who will always be tested and will go through the ups and downs of life, influencing them and being influenced by them. Islam is and will perennially be fine. Its purity, holiness, and flawlessness are beyond the reach of human deficiencies and collisions.

Almighty Allah declares: “They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it. It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it” (Al-Saff, 8-9).

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamicity.org.

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