Sunday, April 2, 2017

Golden Eductaion 1

You have certainly, as I have, heard or read existential question as to why God did this or that, questions about Lucifer, about evil, about punishment, about free will, about Fate, about disaster, etc, etc. Such questions are anything but new : they have always been asked by believers and disbelievers alike. Let me add one more question : Is it easy to believe? The Quran says : "And though thou try much, most men will not believe."  (12.103) "And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners (unto Him)." (12.106) If I start asking why that is, I may not get the answers I want. So what to do ? Suppose you were (yourself or one member of your family) in a place (a school or anywhere else) and then somebody came in and started shooting at everybody. Would you then start asking who that person was or why he was doing that ? Or would you rush to safety ? Safety is hidaya (guidance).  It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path – (1 :5-6) If God says, for example, And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah , (10 : 100) I say right away Guide us to the straight path – If I flee from war and become a refugee a thousand miles away I should consider myself lucky, for many others have not had that chance. God help them. My safety comes first. Likewise, I will listen to God and I won’t argue with the arguers.
And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie. (6 : 116)

I, the author of this piece, am a Muslim because I was born into a Muslim family in a Muslim State. As a kid, I was used to seeing people around me perform their daily prayers, recite the Quran, observe the holy month of Ramadan, etc. I mean, everybody can be a Muslim. You only have to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger, to perform salah (ritual prayer), to pay the zakah, to fast during Ramadan, and to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the Ka`bah at Makkah, if you can afford it. That’s Islam. It's only when you start asking questions that you enter the area between Islam and Iman:  when you want to know why you should be a Muslim and not something else. It’s at this critical phase that a Muslim can either move up to the level of Iman or leave the Faith altogether.  One who, through personal experience and more knowledge, succeeds in discovering the truth and the beauty of Islam will move up, gradually, step by step, to the level of Iman and become a moomin (a believer), not only a Muslim, a submitter). This person would want to live and enjoy a peaceful Iman experience: to live as a moomin, always trying to improve his Iman in an attempt to reach the level of Ihssan.  This is a long process that starts with Guide us to the straight path –  The personal experience and the necessary knowledge will come afterwards. You first build the house (that is Islam), then you put in the furniture (that is Iman), then you add in the home decorators (that is Ihsan). When you reach this level, God becomes your ally and protector. Indeed, my protector is Allah, who has sent down the Book; and He is an ally to the righteous. (7 :196) Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. (2 : 257) Your life becomes good. Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (16 : 97) It’s like your little heaven in the earth.

How do I know that I reached this level of the Faith ? The answer is :  (The true believers are those) "Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! Those who believe and do right: Joy is for them, and bliss (their) journey's end." (13 : 28-29)

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely – (8 : 2) If I reach this level God says to me : O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is you return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do. (8 : 105)

Can anybody reach this level of the faith ? Honestly, I don’t know. But why not try ? God says 
"So fear Allah as much as you are able" (64 : 16) "Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship" (concerning the rituals; that's different from trials.) (2 : 185) But He also detailed ways one can  work his/her way up through the Faith ranks. If you can't fast very often or worship at night while people are sleeping, for example, you may still rise in your iman by enduring hardships and remaining steadfast in the worst ordeals.


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