Happiness as Understood from the Sunnah

Happiness as Understood from the Sunnah

By Truth Seeker Staff

HappinessThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). This is because his happiness is happiness for those who love him, and guidance for those who follow him. So, let us learn the perfect etiquette and the wonderful guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in times of delight.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) felt delighted at hearing news that attested to something he had previously told others about. For instance, he (peace be upon him) rejoiced when he listened to the story of Tameem Ad-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him) with Ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist), because it was a confirmation of what he had himself told his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) about the Dajjal.

He (peace be upon him) used to be glad when he saw his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) competing with each other in good deeds and hastening to obey Allah The Almighty and His Messenger. It is narrated that some poor people who were in a very miserable state came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) asking him for help. So he (peace be upon him) stood up to speak to the people and urged them to give charity to those people. Consequently, they competed with each other in this until they collected a large amount. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw this, he rejoiced and his face beamed with joy as if it were a piece of gold.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to feel happy when something good happened to any of his Companions, such as his delight when Allah The Almighty accepted the repentance of Ka’b ibn Malik and his two companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Besides, he (peace be upon him) reportedly rejoiced at meeting whoever reminded him of someone he loved, as in the story of Halah bint Khuwaylid, the sister of his wife Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she sought permission to enter upon him. He (peace be upon him) remembered Khadijah’s way of seeking permission, so he was pleased with this and said: “O Allah, let it be Halah! O Allah, let it be Halah!”

Additionally, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be delighted at hearing words that implied supporting and backing for the religion of Allah The Almighty. For example, he (peace be upon him) felt extremely delighted when his Companions may Allah be pleased with them said to him in the Battle of Badr, “We will not say to you like the people of Musa (Moses (may Allah exalt his mention)) said to him: {Go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are remaining right here} [Al-Ma’idah 5:24], rather, we will fight at your right and your left, and in front of you and behind you.”

His (peace be upon him) happiness never made him forget to thank the favors of Allah The Almighty upon him, for whenever he received pleasing news, he (peace be upon him) would prostrate to show his gratitude to Allah The Almighty and thankfulness for His favors.

Such was the Prophetic delight that did not overlook human needs and the psychological feelings, yet, at the same time, taught the hearts to rely on Allah The Almighty alone, and to always be in a state of servitude and worship to Him. Therefore, let us be happy and express our happiness in accordance with his manners and follow his Sunnah (Prophetic tradition).

Whenever we remember the Prophet (peace be upon him) we cannot restrain ourselves from invoking the peace and blessings of Allah upon him, for he was the one whose face was radiant and when he felt happy, he beamed with joy like the moon. His happiness was not out of arrogance or vanity; rather, he was happy when he saw the truth prevail, and when he saw falsehood vanquished. His happiness made those around him happy, and still makes those who hear about him happy; and the happiness continues forever and ever. This Prophetic guidance teaches us how to be happy, and the things and manner for which we should express happiness.

Let us bring up this wonderful incident and contemplate the joy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in it. He (peace be upon him) once entered upon his wife ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with) her and his face was lit up. This was when the truth was revealed to the people after they were in doubt about the lineage of Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him). This happened when Mujazziz Al-Mudliji, who was a genealogist, confirmed that Usamah was the real son of Zayd (may Allah be pleased with them both). ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated this incident by saying, “Once the Messenger of Allah entered upon me and he was in a very happy mood, with his features glittering with joy, and [he] said: ‘O ‘Aa’ishah! Don’t you know that Mujazziz Al-Mudliji entered and saw Usamah and Zayd with velvet covering on them and their heads were covered while their feet were uncovered? He said, ‘These feet belong to each other.’’”

Here is another image of the happiness of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which we need to contemplate. He (peace be upon him) rejoiced after the truth was revealed when Allah The Almighty sent down the acquittal of his pure wife ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) from what the scandalmongers and hypocrites had accused her of.

Then he (peace be upon him) also rejoiced when ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) chose him after the verse of giving the choice (i.e., Al-Ahzab 33:28, 29) was sent down. When this verse was revealed, he (peace be upon him) called ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and said to her: “I am going to tell you about something and you do not have to hasten to respond until you consult your parents.” “Concerning what do I need to consult my parents?” she replied, “I choose Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter.” In another narration, she (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “O Messenger of Allah, do I have to consult my parents about you! I choose Allah, His Messenger and the Hereafter.”

This was the happiness of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was in Allah The Almighty and by Him, and in truth and by truth. Thus, we should follow his example and rejoice as he (peace be upon him) used to.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net.

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Is the Intention Necessary for Every Action?

Is the Intention Necessary for Every Action?

By Truth Seeker Staff

IntentionA Prophetic Hadith on “Intention”

The Messenger of Allah said: “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose ‘hijrah’ (migration) was to Allah and His Messenger, then his ‘hijrah’ was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose ‘hijrah’ was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his ‘hijrah’ was for what he made ‘hijrah’ for.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Many scholars began books with this Hadith. Imam Al-Bukhari commences his book of Hadith (Sahih Al-Bukhari) with this Hadith and explains that every action that is done without seeking Allah’s pleasure is invalid and devoid of reward.

It can be said that the entire religion revolves around this Hadith. Imam Ash-Shafi’i said, “This Hadith constitutes a third of all knowledge.”

Muslim scholars differ in opinion as to the limits of the Prophet’s saying: ‘actions are by intentions’. Many of the later scholars are of the opinion that the limit is that the action is made correct or acceptable with the intention. What is meant by this is that a legislated action needs an intention. As for habitual actions such as eating, drinking, dressing, etc., they are not in need of an intention.

Some say ‘actions’ here is to be understood in its generality; therefore, nothing is exempt from it. Others relate this as the saying of the majority, meaning the majority of the early scholars. This occurs in the words of Ibn Jarir At-Tabari, Abu Talib Al-Makki, and others from the early scholars. Imam Ahmad said: “I like that for every action, from prayer, fasting or charity or any action of righteousness that there be an intention preceding the action. The Prophet said: ‘actions are by intentions’, and this is taken for every matter.”

Fadl Ibn Ziyad said: “I asked Abu Abdullah (i.e. Imam Ahmad) about the intention in action, how should it be? He said: ‘One should concentrate on himself when he intends to do an action, not doing it for the sake of people (i.e. showing off).’”

It is possible that the limits of the saying, ‘actions are by intention’, are that the action is good, corrupt, acceptable, rejected, rewarded, or not rewarded according to the intention. Therefore, this statement informs us of the Islamic ruling concerning this: the correctness or incorrectness of the action is in accordance with the correctness or incorrectness of the intention.

The saying of the Prophet after this: ‘and for everyone is what he intended’ informs that one cannot gain anything from his action except what he intended. So if he intended good, he gets good. If he intended evil then he gets evil. This second statement (of the Hadith) is not merely reiterating the first, because the first statement points to the fact that the goodness or corruptness of the action is according to the intention necessary for that action to exist. The second statement points to the fact that the reward of a person for his action is according to his good intention, and that the punishment for his action is according to his evil intention.

Scholarly definition of the word ‘Intention’:

  1. To distinguish different types of worship, one from the other. Like distinguishing Noon (Dhuhr) Prayer from Afternoon (‘Asr) Prayer, or distinguishing the fast of Ramadan from other fasts, or distinguishing actions of worship from actions of habit: like distinguishing bathing from impurity from bathing for the purpose of cleanliness.
  2. To distinguish for who or what the action is done: is it for Allah only, for other than Allah, or for Allah and others than Him?

The meaning of ‘intention’ in the speech of the Prophet and the Salaf (righteous predecessors) was used generally to carry the meaning of ‘desire’. In the Quran, the word ‘desire’ is often used to describe an intention, as in Allah’s saying (which means): “…Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter…“[Aal `Imran 3: 152]

Also (what means): “Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments…” [Hud 11: 15] And (what means): “And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life…” [Al-Kahf 18: 28]

Sometimes intention is described with the word ‘seeking’ as in Allah’s saying (which means): “But only seeking the countenance of his Lord, Most High.“[Al-Layl 92: 20] And (which means): “…and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allah…” [Al-Baqarah 2: 272]

Regarding the second meaning of intention, there are numerous examples from the ‘Sunnah’ and the statements of the ‘Salaf’. To mention a few:

The Messenger said: “People will be gathered upon their intentions.”[Ibn Majah] He also said: “Mankind will be resurrected upon their intentions.” [Muslim] Another Hadith says: “Verily those slain on the battlefield will be resurrected upon their intentions.” [Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya]

The Prophet also said: “For the ones whose concern is this world, Allah will scatter his affair, and place poverty between his two eyes. He will not get from the world except what is written for him. For the one whose intention is the Hereafter, Allah will gather for him his affair and place contentment in his heart, and the world will come to him willingly.”[Ibn Majah]

Zayd Ash-Shami said: “Verily I like to make an intention for everything I do even if it is eating and drinking.”

Sufyan Ath-Thawri said: “I have not treated anything more difficult than my intention, because it kips changing.”

Ibn Al-Mubarak said: “Maybe a small action is made great by its intention, and maybe a great action is made small by its intention.”

The three above-mentioned sayings were reported by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya in his book ‘The Sincerity and the Intention’.

Imam Ahmad said that the foundation of the religion is upon three Hadiths:

  1. “Verily actions are by intention.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  2. “Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not part of it then it is rejected.” [Muslim]
  3. “The Halal (lawful) is clear and the Haram (prohibited) is clear.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Islam teaches us to perform good actions, stay away from the forbidden actions and stop at the doubtful matters. All of this is perfected upon two matters:

Actions must be done correctly, according to the teachings of Islam, and seeking the Pleasure of Allah, Almighty.

Fudayl Ibn `Iyadh said about the saying of Allah (which means): “He who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed.”[Al-Mulk 67: 2]

Who is sincere and correct in it? If the action is sincere and incorrect, then it is not accepted. Likewise, if it is correct and not sincere then it is not accepted. It is only accepted when it is both sincere and correct. It is sincere when it is for the sake of Allah, and correct when it is done according to the teachings of Islam.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net.

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‘The Second Age of Reason’ Balanced with Compassion!

‘The Second Age of Reason’ Balanced with Compassion!

By Syed Khurshid Hussain

Second Age of Reason

With Guru Google, one can ask information about any “subject or thing on the earth and get 174000 results in 0.4 seconds.”

Recently, I happened to read an interesting article from the September 2014 issue in Time magazine, titled “The Second Age of Reason” by Michael Grunwald. He half-heartedly declares that “information overload will improve our lives’”. The author is honest in informing us about the collateral damage, this overload can cause. The answers issue boasts of your guide to everything you did not know you NEED to know. Albert Einstein in his statement about the wonders of knowing divided it into four parts and the uppermost part in his mind was about knowledge of things “I don’t even know I don’t know”.

Grunwald talks about all the trivia in life; however, he hardly addresses other needs of human beings to keep his mind and body in a holistic balance.

Explanation of the Age of Information

Today with our phenomenal IT advancement Grunwald says, “with a smartphone in our pocket, we can access to billions of times information as was held in all the libraries of the earth in Seneca’s day.”

With Guru Google, one can ask information about any “subject or thing on the earth and get 174000 results in 0.4 seconds.” The author accepts the deficits of this “age of reasoning” and admits that information is not knowledge or wisdom, and data can mislead. Internet’s lack of filters or referees is a big problem and can give free field for misinformation. In this revolution the collateral damage is huge and a damage is a damage. He states: “Wikipedia killed encyclopedia, apps killed maps and Craigslist killed classified ads in newspapers. Loss of privacy can be very embarrassing and a security risk. Your digital footprints are permanent… Middlemen and gate-keepers, travel agents, real estate agents are eliminated and are things of the past. Bookstores and boutiques are gobbled up by Amazon.”

Today Data management has become a big industry. However, the invasion of our brain space with cyberspace is no small matter: our brain’s storage capacity is limited (roughly 100 billion neurons). For the sake of argument, say that is equivalent to one million gigabytes of hard disc space. This type of information overload can wreak havoc on the brain.

Most of information and interaction is frankly dumb and distracting, celebrity trivia and other clickbait. Pop-up ads, internet hoaxes, and hackers are hardly significant and very inconvenient.

Instant access to infinite information! Without wisdom? It is like garbage or junk food which does not give any nutrition. We have to seriously think about mental hygiene if we want to remain sane!

The most serious damage this instant information can cause is to our teens and youths, who have had no basic education yet, and who have a fluid sense of self. They are still in the process of formation. Imagine what sort of persons will comprise our future generation upon being given this power before they know how to process and prioritize it?

The information age brings an age in which without a calculator we cannot do any sums. Nothing remains accessible by memory alone. Without all these gadgets, we are helpless as a new-born baby.

The Impact of Information and the Spiritual Realm

Michael Grunwald states, “This Digital Tsunami—-Big Data–better tools for slicing and dicing data, our world’s computing power is expanding 10,000 percent every decade… the most exciting about our age of information—age of Answers, is its potential to change the quality of our life.”

I beg to disagree— quality of our life? We must question who belongs in this collective “our” with such environmental disasters, wars and destruction and disease in the vast majority of the world’s population. We are talking about the physical quality of life of only a privileged minority of humanity. We have no concern about the quality of morals, consciences, and souls of people–if we have any belief system. We are not considering humans as a whole.

The author finally admits about his personal life, “Until it occurred to me that no dating app would have paired me with my wife…. no algorithm could have predicted our great optimization. The cost of the age of answers- we have lost our serendipity. We gravitate toward online cocoons of like-minded people who don’t challenge our assumptions.”

What about the serious things in life? Is ‘information’ all and everything for our life here on this planet? Often, information can distract from the more substantial things: your emotions, love, passions and nature’s gift of transcending this material world. We have lost curiosity for the invisible world, and lessons of guidance. People no longer think and feel about the inhabitants of the earth and future of mankind.

I propose that we don’t let the inundation of information prevent us from experiencing and acting on love, mercy, pity, and compassion for every living being. Information must lead to self-realization and transformation of Man as a human being, a higher level in the process of evolution.

German philosophers, such as Hokheiner and Theodore W. Adorno, critiqued of the “age of reasoning or enlightenment,” arguing that rationality in the absence of love and passion can lead to barbarism and fascism.

The poet of the East, Dr. Iqbal, said in a verse “you are a passionate traveler of the Universe, do not accept any final destination; do not accept any Heart which is a slave to intelligence.”

———-

Taken with due reference from Grunwald, Michael. “The Second Age of Reason” The Answers Issue. Time Magazine. August 28th, 2014.

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What is Islamic Monotheism?

What is Islamic Monotheism?

By Aisha Stacey

Monotheism

This belief is sometimes called Monotheism which is derived from the Greek words ‘monos’ meaning only and ‘theos’ meaning god.

The religion of Islam is based on one core belief, that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah. When a person embraces Islam or a Muslim wants to renew or confirm his or her faith, they profess their belief that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His final messenger. Ashadu an la ill laha il Allah wa Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah, Saying these words, the Testimony of Faith, is the first of five pillars or foundations of the religion of Islam. Belief in God is the first of six pillars of faith.[1]

Muslims believe that there is only One God. He alone is the Sustainer and Creator of the universe. He is without partners, children, or associates. He is the Most Merciful, the Most Wise, and the Most Just. He is the all hearer, all seer, and the all-knowing. He is the First, He is the Last.

“Say (O Muhammad), He is Allah, (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” (Al-Ikhlas 112)

“He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything. Such is Allah, your Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone), and He is the Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, over all things. No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Subtle and Courteous, Well­ Acquainted with all things.” (Al-An`am 6:101-103)

This belief is sometimes called Monotheism which is derived from the Greek words ‘monos’ meaning only and ‘theos’ meaning god. It is a relatively new word in the English language and it is used to denote a supreme being Who is all-powerful, the One who is responsible for life, the One who rewards or punishes. Monotheism is directly opposed to Polytheism, which is belief in more than one god, and to Atheism, a disbelief in all deities.

If we were to take into consideration the general meaning of the word ‘monotheism’ Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, and some Hindu philosophies could all be included. However it is, more commonplace to refer to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the three monotheistic religions and group them together; nonetheless, there are glaring differences between Christianity and Islam.

The concept of a trinity inherent in most Christian denominations ostensibly includes aspects of plurality. The belief that one God is somehow three divinities (father, son, and holy spirit) contradicts the concept of Monotheism inherent in Islam, where the Oneness of God is unquestionable. Some Christian groups, including those known as Unitarians, believe that God is One and cannot be God and human at the same time. They take the words of Jesus in John 17:3, “the One True God” literally. However, the vast majority of Christians do not share this belief.

In the religion of Islam belief in One God, without partners or associates is essential. It is the focal point of the religion and it is the essence of the Quran. The Quran calls on humankind to worship God alone and to give up worshipping false gods or associates. The Quran urges us to look at the wonders of creation and understand God’s greatness and power, and it speaks directly of His names, attributes, and actions. The Quran commands us to reject anything that is worshipped instead of, or along with God.

“And I (God) created not the jinns and humankind except they should worship Me (Alone).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Islam is often referred to as pure monotheism. It is not adulterated with strange concepts or superstitions. Belief in One God entails certainty. Muslims worship God alone, He has no partners, associates, or helpers. Worship is directed solely to God, for He is the only One worthy of worship. There is nothing greater than God Alone.

“Praise and thanks be to God, and peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen (for His Message)! Is God better, or (all) that you ascribe as partners (to Him)?” (Of course, God is Better)

Is not He (better than your gods) Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water (rain) from the sky, whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight? It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees. Is there any god with God? Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals (to Him)!

Is not He (better than your gods) Who has made the earth as a fixed abode, and has placed rivers in its midst, and has placed firm mountains therein, and has set a barrier between the two seas (of salt and sweet water).Is there any god with God? Nay, but most of them know not.

Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations. Is there any god with God? Little is that you remember!

Is not He (better than your gods) Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His Mercy (rain)? Is there any god with God? High Exalted be God above all that they associate as partners (to Him)!

Is not He (better than your so-called gods) Who originates creation, and shall thereafter repeat it, and Who provides for you from heaven and earth? Is there any god with God? Say, “Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.” (An-Naml 27:59-64)

 

Footnotes:

[1] The six pillars of faith are belief in God, His angels, His prophets and messengers, all His revealed books, the Day of Judgment, and divine decree.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.IslamReligion.com.

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The Two Aspects of the Soul

The Two Aspects of the Soul

By Harun Yahya

soul

Identifying the evil of the soul and purifying it are characteristic of the true religion and the messengers communicating it.

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 Al-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!” (Al-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 ‘fujur’ 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 Al-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-Baqarah, 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!” (Al-Baqarah: 87)

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 Al-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 behaviors 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 Yusuf (Joseph) guide 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.” (Yusuf: 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-Bayyinah: 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-Tawbah: 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 judgement. 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-Qiyamah: 1-2)

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Harun Yahya was born in Ankara in 1956. He studied arts at Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, the author has published many books on political, faith-related and scientific issues. Harun Yahya is well known as an author who has written very important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, the invalidity of their claims and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and bloody ideologies. Some of the books of the author have been translated into English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Albanian, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Bosnian, Indonesian, Turkish, Tatar, Urdu and Malay and published in the countries concerned. Harun Yahya’s books appeal to all people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, regardless of their age, race and nationality, as they center around one goal: to open the readers mind by presenting the signs of Gods eternal existence to them.

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This Life Is a Test for Men

By Harun Yahya

test

Man’s duty in this world is to have faith in God and the hereafter, to conduct himself in compliance with the commands of the Qur’an, to observe the limits set by God, and to try to earn His good pleasure.

God has created everything according to His divine wisdom and has rendered many things to man’s service. Clearly, many things in the universe, from the solar system to the ratio of oxygen in the atmosphere, from the animals that provide us meat and milk to water, have been created to serve man. If this fact is recognized to be evident, it follows that it is illogical to think this life has no purpose. Definitely, there is a purpose to this life, explained by God as follows:

“I only created jinn and man to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat: 56)

Only a minority of humanity understand this purpose of creation and lead their lives thereby. God has granted us life on earth to test whether or not we will conform to this very purpose. Those who sincerely serve God, and those who rebel against Him, will be distinguished from one another in this world. All those blessings (his body, senses, property…) given to man in this world, are a means by which God tests him. In a verse of the Qur’an, God relates the following:

“We created man from a mingled drop to test him, and We made him hearing and seeing.” (Al-Insan: 2)

Man’s duty in this world is to have faith in God and the hereafter, to conduct himself in compliance with the commands of the Qur’an, to observe the limits set by God, and to try to earn His good pleasure. The continuing trials of this life over time reveal those people who are committed to accomplish these tasks. Because God demands a true and sincere faith,—which is the kind of faith that is not attainable only by saying “I believe”—man must demonstrate that he has true faith in God and His religion and that he will not swerve from the right path despite the cunnings of Satan. Similarly, he must demonstrate that he will not follow the disbelievers, nor prefer the desires of his own self over God’s pleasure. His response to the events in his life will reveal all these qualities. God will create certain hardships, during which man must show patience, in order to expose the degree of his dedication to faith in God. This fact is stated in the Qur’an as follows:

“Do people imagine that they will be left to say, “We believe,” and will not be tested?” (Al-‘Ankabut: 2)

In another verse, God states that those who say, “We believe” will be tested:

“Or did you imagine that you were going to enter Paradise without God knowing those among you who had struggled and knowing the steadfast?” (Al ‘Imran: 142)

This being the case, disappointment in the face of difficulties would not be the right response to allow oneself to have. Such difficulties may be great ordeals or just trivial daily problems. A believer must consider all such circumstances as part of the trial placed upon him, place his trust in God, and conduct himself in compliance with His pleasure. In a verse of the Qur’an, those difficulties placed upon the believers are related as follows:

“We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and crops. But give good news to the steadfast.” (Al-Baqarah: 155)

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also reminded the believers of this, by saying, “Whoever accepted it [God’s trial], will enjoy God’s Pleasure and whoever is displeased with it, will incur God’s Displeasure.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Not only will difficulties, but also blessings in this world serve to test man. God tries man with every benefit He bestows upon man, to see whether or not he will be thankful. As well, God creates many circumstances through which man adopt a certain attitude. In the midst of these trials, man may formulate a decision, either in compliance with God’s pleasure, or his own soul. If he recognizes such an incident to be a trial from God and conforms his conduct accordingly to earn God’s pleasure, then he succeeds in his test. However, if his decision is in accordance to the dictates of his own soul, it will both be a sin, which he will greatly regret in the hereafter, and a source of anxiety in this world, as it troubles his conscience.

Indeed, God creates everything that happens in this world as a trial. Those events considered to be mere “coincidence” or “bad luck” by the ignorant, are actually circumstances created according to the great subtleties of a divine plan. Of this, God gives the example of Jews who broke the Sabbath, tempted by an abundance of fish:

“Ask them about the town which was by the sea when they broke the Sabbath—when their fish came to them near the surface on their Sabbath day but did not come on the days which were not their Sabbath. In this way, We put them to the test because they were deviators.” (Al-A’raf: 163)

The Jews may have thought that the fish came forth to them on a Saturday by “coincidence,” but, the event was predetermined as a trial for them by God. As this case makes clear, there is a divine purpose and a test in every occurrence in life. All that befalls a believer has been determined in order that he keep this notion in mind and that he tries to succeed at his test, and adopt a form of behavior that is in compliance with the consent of God.

 

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.harunyahya.com.

Harun Yahya was born in Ankara in 1956. He studied arts at Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, the author has published many books on political, faith-related and scientific issues. Harun Yahya is well known as an author who has written very important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, the invalidity of their claims and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and bloody ideologies. Some of the books of the author have been translated into English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Albanian, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Bosnian, Indonesian, Turkish, Tatar, Urdu and Malay and published in the countries concerned. Harun Yahya’s books appeal to all people, Muslims, and non-Muslims alike, regardless of their age, race, and nationality, as they center around one goal: to open the readers’ mind by presenting the signs of Gods eternal existence to them.

 

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