"O my soul, it is only a few days, bear them patiently.A lifetime seems long but a flitting reverie"

~Imam Shafi~
" “The heart will rest and feel relief if it is settled with Allah and it will worry and be anxious if it is settled with people.” – Ibn al-Qayyim"....Say : "This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me with sure knowledge" (Qur'an - 12:108) "Say: we believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il: Isaac, Jacob and The Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another, among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam)." (Qur'an, Al-Imran 3:84) . "And if he (Muhammad SAW) had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah),We would have seized him by the right hand;And then certainly should have cut off his life artery (Aorta),And none of you could withhold Us from (punishing) him" (Qur'an,Al-Haqqah 69:44-47) "Do they not ponder the Quran! If it were revealed from a source other than Allah,certainly they would have found,many contradictions."[Holy Quran 4:82] " O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did)" [Holy Qur'an, 84:6] Say, "Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ." ~Holy Quran 6:164 Imam Malik (rh): “Do not look to the sins of people as if you are Lords, but look to your own sins as if you are slaves. Have mercy on the people of affliction and praise Allah for your well-being, and never say, ‘This person is from the people of Hellfire, and this person is from the people of Paradise.’ Do not be arrogant over the sinners, but rather ask Allah to grant them hidayah and rashad (i.e. guidance).” Ibn Kathir (Ra) narrated: كان نقش خاتم عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه : كفى بالموت واعظاً ياعمر “The engraving on ‘Umar ibn al Khataab’s(Ra) ring was: “Sufficient is death as an admonisher O Umar”. ["Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaaya]. "When you fear the creation, you run away from it, but when you fear the Creator, you feel close to Him,& run towards Him.".Ibn Qayyim . "Allahumma la‘aisha illa‘aish-al-Aakhirah": 'There is no life but the life of the next world' "And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death)". (Quran 15:99) “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways.And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Quran: 29:69] "... And my success is not but through Allah . Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return." ~ Al Quran 11:88
"Nothing in this world is really useful to you unless it has some utility and value for the next world"-Imam Ali(R)

Monday, September 14, 2015

For the intellectual and contemplating people ...

The Augustness and Excellence of the Passage

The passage of present discussion spans ayahs (verses) 190-195 of surah (chapter) Al-e-`Imran.This passage is of particular significance for it outlines the Qur’anic mode of reasoning as it relates to thesynthesis of iman (faith). The excellence of this passage is indicated by the fact that the ProphetMuhammad (SAW) had an especial fondness for these ayahs. It would suffice to quote two hadiths (sayings of the Prophet) to convey the excellence of this passage:

“Abdullah bin `Umar once inquired of Aisha (RAA):’O Mother of the Faithful! Tell me something about the Prophet (SAW) which was most dear to you.’ She replied, ‘Everything about the Prophet (SAW) was endearing and charming. However, as you have enquired, I will convey to you an incident. One night the Prophet (SAW) came to me (to spend the night and after a while), he asked me, ‘O Aishah! Permit me to worship my Lord tonight.’ I replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I fancy your company but that which is beloved to you is even more beloved to me. You have my permission.’ The Prophet (SAW) then stood in prayer and began to weep to the point that his beard became drenched with tears. Then he made a long prostration and during this time he kept weeping so much so that the place of prostration became drenched with tears. Then he lied down (after prayer) but his weeping continued until it was dawn. 

At this time Bilal (RAA) came to inform him (SAW) of the morning prayer and upon seeing the Prophet’s condition,tried to cajole him: ‘O Prophet (SAW) for what reason do you weep? Even if you have committed a mistake then Allah (SWT) has already forgiven all your mistakes.’ To this the Prophet (SAW) replied, ‘O Bilal! Why would I not weep when my Lord has revealed tonight these ayahs upon me.’ After this the Prophet (SAW)recited: ‘Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding… ‘” [Quoted in Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer]

In another hadith Ali (RAA) relates:
It was a routine of the Prophet (SAW) that whenever he (SAW) woke up for night prayers he (SAW) wouldrecite these (same) verses.  [Quoted in Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer]
These two narrations indicate that the Prophet (SAW) had a strong penchant for the ayahs underdiscussion.

The Theme of the Passage: Synthesis of Faith

The theme of this passage is the synthesis of iman; that is, how does iman come into being?What is the mutual relation among the three main articles of iman –Allah (SWT), the Hereafter and the Prophets? What is the Qur’anic mode of argument regarding iman? What is the Qur’anic approach towards the confirmation of the life Hereafter? What are the practical manifestations of iman once it takesroot in a believer? These are all important questions that lie at the heart of the Qur’anic discourse, for iman is the very foundation of Islam. Therefore, before proceeding on with the piecemeal analysis of the concerned passage, let us discuss a few basic points pertaining to the subject of iman.

Some Basic Points Regarding Faith

Faith is essentially to believe in certain metaphysical, unseen realities. It lends itself to two levels: verbal attestation and heartfelt conviction. The first level of faith – legal faith or iman al-fiqhi – is simply the verbal affirmation in the unity of God, the messengership of Muhammad (SAW), the Hereafter, the Hellfire, theParadise, the Resurrection, the Day of Judgment, the Prophets, the Angels, the Divine Books, theRevelation, etcetera. Anyone who simply professes to believe in these realities is considered a Muslim.The vast majority of Muslims today have inherited this type of faith from their parents or the surrounding environment.

The second level of faith – true faith or iman al-haqeeqi – deals with the heartfelt conviction.  This is thelevel of faith at which the believer consciously asserts and affirms his belief, beyond any shadow of doubt,in the aforementioned metaphysical realities. It is this type of faith which is actually required of a believer for it becomes the basis on which he will be judged in the Hereafter. Thus, it is this true faith which is the subject of the passage under discussion.

A point to be noted here is that inherited faith, though of an unconscious nature, will also incur a type of conviction in a person through the constant observance of Islamic practices and rituals. For just as man’sinner being has an effect on his outer personality, so his conduct and actions affect his inner being.However, this type of conviction, devoid of an intellectual dimension as it is, is not the subject of this passage. This passage deals with the faith which is laboriously and consciously attained through reflection and contemplation. In these ayahs, people of such faith are termed ulul albaab – people of intellect, deep discernment and contemplation.
The Stages of Intellectual Maturity

The process of contemplation and reflection leads the ulul albaab through various stages of intellectual maturity. The first of these stages is the gnosis of Allah (SWT) acquired through constant examination and thoughtful observation of natural phenomena present in the external universe. 

The second stage of this intellectual journey is that of establishing a close relationship with Allah (SWT) and continued reflection upon the signs present in the universe. This confers upon the ulul albaab and awareness of the reality of an afterlife. Hence, the gnosis of Allah (SWT) and recompense of deeds, in consequence of which an awareness of an afterlife, are arrived at via their own personal analysis,observation, reasoning and contemplation. The third stage of this evolutionary thought process is that of a passionate response to the call of a messenger sent by Allah (SWT); for the call of a messenger is nothing more than the reassertion of truths already reverberating in their hearts.

The last ayah (195) of this passage portrays the personality traits of the ulul albaab: such people are not cowardly or weak; they stand up for the Truths that they have come to believe in and put everything at stake for upholding these Truths. They are always ready to spend their wealth, part with their families and, in the final analysis, lay down their lives for the truths they have come to believe in.


Who are the Ulul Albaab?
The passage we are trying to explain deals with the subject matter of iman in reference to a particular type of human individuals viz, the ulul albaab. Naturally, the question arises as to what is meantby ulul albaab? In Arabic, albaab is the plural of lubb which means “core”, “essence”, and “innermost”. This means that the real essence of something is called its lubb. The lubb of the human being is consciousness, intellect, and intelligence. For this reason the philosophers have defined man as an“intelligent and rational being” (Haiwan-e-aqil), pointing to the fact that the essence of man is his intellect and reasoning capacity. Ulul albaab, therefore, are the people of deep reflection and contemplation who follow their intellect and not their vain desires or the carnal promptings of their baser self.

A golden rule of Qur’anic comprehension is that one part of the Qur’an is supported or explained by other parts. Inspecting the Qur’an, we find a similar discourse in ayah 164 of surah Al-Baqarah:

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds and the clouds which they trail like their slavesbetween the sky and the earth; (here) indeed are signs for a people that are wise (qaumun ya`qiloon).”  [al-Qur’an 2:164]

Note that the above ayah ends with the term “qaumun ya`qiloon” (the people of intelligence), whereas thepassage of surah Al-e-`Imran under discussion used the term ulul albaab. Consequently, qaumunya`qiloon and ulul albab are one and the same; that is, they are the people of intellect, deep thought andreasoning whose vision of reality has not been beclouded by prejudices and pursuit of purely carnal desires.

One should keep in mind that the vast majority of mankind does not comprise of people who utilize their intellect and reasoning faculty. It would not be too far fetched to term such people as “two legged animals”. They follow their society’s conventional trends and simply mimic the behavior of those around them. They swim in the direction of the social current and tide of their time and only change their direction as the current changes. They never question as to who they are, where have they come from or where they are going?

Contrary to such a character, there always exists, in each society, a minority group who is never satisfied with the practices and beliefs prevalent in their society. They demand rational arguments and logical proofs for the validity of all beliefs and practices. They want to discover for themselves the realities of life via their own intellect and reasoning.

 This group comprises a society’s intelligentsia (the intellectualelite or the brain trust). These are the people whom the Qur’an calls qaumun ya`qiloon or ulul albaab.When these people study the universal, natural phenomena, they find them laden with the signs of theCreator-Lord (SWT) – His Creativity, Wisdom and Power. Hence, the universal, natural phenomena leadthem to the gnosis of Allah (SWT).

Meaning of “ayah”

Both quoted passages (of Al-Baqarah and Al-e-`Imran) use the word “ayaat”. What exactly ismeant by this term? ayaat is plural of ayah which literally means: “sign”, “signpost”, and “memento.” Anayah then is something that reminds you of something else. For example, a handkerchief of an old friend,whom you have forgotten, may serve as a memento to remind you of him. This implies that the memory of the friend had always been in your subconscious mind; the memento simply helped to activate it and bringit to the plain of your consciousness. In this way, the objective of an ayah is thus identified – to remind oneof a forgotten truth or reality. From the Qur’anic perspective, the two universes – the outer universe ofnature and the inner universe of the self – are replete with the signs (ayaat) that serve as mementos andreminders of the Creator (SWT). Qur’an distinctly points to this reality:

“Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and within themselves, until it becomes clear to themthat this Qur’an is indeed the truth.” [al-Qur’an 41:53]

The creativity in the universe should remind the thoughtful person of the Creator who created the universe.The artistry of the universe should point to the Artist who painted the universe. The unity of laws andregulations working in all constituents of the universe, both at microcosmic and macrocosmic levels,should indicate the Ultimate Unity responsible for the presence of such laws. The presence of moral lawwithin should direct one’s attention towards the moral being who embedded these laws deep within thehuman psyche. In this manner, everything in the universe is an ayah (sign) of the Creator’s existence(SWT).

The Qur’anic Mode of Argument

The Qur’an does not employ the method of logical reasoning or rational arguments to prove theexistence of Allah (SWT). All the rational arguments put forth to prove the existence of God have beenrejected by philosophers. This is because logical arguments making a case for the existence of God arenegated by other, equally sound, logical arguments. Contrary to this approach, the Qur’an asserts that thecognition of Allah (SWT) is inherently present in the inner denizen of human psyche. Henceforth, when areflective observer, a person of sound intellect whose human nature has not been perverted, studies theuniversal phenomena realizes that the grand design of the universe is too coherent, too integrated, tooorganized and too purposeful to be the work of blind, material and accidental forces. Instead, there is anintelligent, creative, artistic, and Powerful Being who brought the universe into existence with a definitepurpose in mind. Such inquiries into the universe activate, in a person, the inherent, dormant cognition ofAllah (SWT), which leaps from the depths of his sub-conscious mind and illumines the plain of hisconsciousness. The arousal of such an idea dawns upon the person the forgotten truth that the powerfuland creative force working behind the universe could be none other than Allah (SWT) Himself. This is thechain of arguments that the Qur’an employs to establish the existence of Allah (SWT) on an intellectualplain. As is clear, the  Qur’an does not base its argument for Divine existence on strictly demonstrativelogical reasoning. Rather it is based on self-evident truths appreciated by thoughtful minds and primordialhuman nature.

Outcome of Contemplation: Gnosis of Allah (SWT)

A vital issue in the field of theology is: how do we come to know God? What are the means viawhich we can gain recognition of and knowledge about God? The Islamic view on this issue is that there isonly one way to gain knowledge about Allah (SWT) and that is via pondering over His attributes. Thisraises another question: how do we come to realize the attributes of Allah (SWT)? The passage of surah Al-e-`Imran under discussion points to the answer.

The investigation of the universal phenomena reveals a few basic attributes of Allah (SWT) and reflectionupon these attributes leads one on the path of knowledge about Him (SWT). The investigator of universalphenomena first of all realizes that the Creator of the universe is an All-Powerful Being who has controland power over everything. His Power is Absolute and there is nothing which falls outside His Jurisdiction.Secondly, the Creator must also be All-Knowing for the one who designed and created the universe musthave complete and total knowledge of all that occurs throughout the expanse of the universe; that is, HisKnowledge must be Absolute. The Qur’an points to this reality in the following words:

“Should He not know, He who created? And He is the One who is subtle (understands the finest mysteriesand) is well-acquainted (with them).” [al-Qur’an 67:14]

Thirdly, even a cursory glance upon the universe unfolds Allah’s (SWT) attribute of Wisdom. For all thathas been created seems to have a definite purpose behind it. Hence, the Creator of this universe must bean All-Wise Creator whose Wisdom is manifested in all the workings of the universe.

Once the ulul albaab grasp Allah’s (SWT) basic attributes, these become the basis of furthercontemplation into the finer mysteries of the universe. Charged with the conscious cognition of Allah(SWT), they now constantly remember their Lord (SWT) and continuously praise Him at all times andcontinue the quest to quench their thirst for further comprehension:

“Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the(wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): “Our Lord! Not for naught have Youcreated (all) this! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the penalty of the fire.” [al-Qur’an 3:191]

Mutual Relation and Correlation between Remembrance and Contemplation
The passage quoted above mentions remembrance and contemplation in close proximity. It is necessary to understand the relationship between these two processes. The term, in Arabic, for the remembrance of Allah (SWT) is zikr and the term for contemplation is fikr. It is apparent from the ayah thatthese two processes should be carried on hand in hand, in parallel.

 The functioning relationship of the two processes is similar to the two wheels of an automobile; to move forward, both wheels must move forward together and with the same velocity. It is a sad and unfortunate fact of our history that these two processes have been separated, and consequently, estranged from each other. The separation and estrangement resulted in the unfortunate fact that each process took on a distinct identity, far apart from the prescribed practices of the Prophet (SAW) and his companions (RAA): one group concerns itself only with zikr and pays no heed to the dimension of fikr. While the group involved in fikr is bereft of zikr. This is why the envisioned results have not been achieved. In reality, the correlation between the two is that zikr provides the impetus and the motivation for fikr.

Note that zikr should not be taken in its conventional, limited understanding as the verbal chantingof some prescribed words. Rather, it should be taken in its widest sense. zikr embodies verbalremembrance and silent contemplation of Allah (SWT), His Omnipresence, His Omnipotence, and soforth. The true implication of zikr is to keep the remembrance of Allah (SWT) alive in one’s heart in allplaces and at all times, whether through contemplation, verbal chanting or any other act which remindsone of his Lord (SWT).

A Necessary Consequence of Intellectual Insight and Primordial Human Nature: Recompense of Deeds

The convergence of parallel processes of zikr and fikr results in the awareness of an afterlife,mentioned  next in the passage in the following words:
“…our Lord! You have not created this (universe) in vain! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the penaltyof the fire.”  [al-Qur’an 3:191]

A thoughtful reader will notice that there is a lapse in the logical chain of arguments from zikr and fikr tothe seeking of refuge from Hellfire. For how do the zikr of Allah (SWT) and the contemplation over theuniverse yield the conception of an afterlife and Hellfire? The argument goes as follows: the contemplationover the universe reveals the truth that everything in the universe, macroscopic and microscopic, has apurpose. Therefore the question naturally arises: how is it possible that the universe as whole and its mostfantastic, superb and highest evolved life-form – the human being – may have been created in vain,without a purpose. And if the human being has a purpose in this life then his deeds must be accounted for.For according to a Persian proverb – “planting of wheat should yield wheat and barley that of barley” – the plantation of good deeds should be harvested as reward and the plantation of evil deeds should beharvested as punishment. The Qur’an points to these arguments in its own mode of expression:

“Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal”.[al-Qur’an 41:34]
“Shall We then treat the People of Faith like the People of Sin? What is the matter with you? How foolishlydo you judge!”  [al-Qur’an 68:35-36]

Reality on ground is, however, quite to the contrary. For common observation shows that the evildoers live a grand life and are often saluted and honored in the world, whereas the righteous and pious are oftenscorned and looked down upon with contempt. The result of this observation points to the fact that thereshould then be another life where good should be rewarded as such and evil should be punished as such.For if good is good and evil is evil and these values are objective and absolute, and whereas their result isnot being produced in this world then this proves that this world is incomplete in relation to ethical conductand its desired outcome. This necessitates the existence of another world where full justice will be metedout to everyone in accordance with his or her deeds.


According to Shaikh al-Hind, Mahmood Hassan (RA), ayahs 190-192 of surah Al-e-`Imran are concerned with “iman-e-`aqli” (intellectual faith) – the process of attaining faith in Allah (SWT) and and awareness of the Hereafter via the intellectual reasoning as outlined in the previous section. The subject ofnext three ayahs (193-195) is labeled as “iman-e-sam`ee” (audition based faith) by Shaikh al-Hind. That is,when the ulul albaab, having successfully traversed the process of iman-e-`aqli, hear the call of a prophet,they instantly answer his call. This is so because the call of the prophet is based on truths and realities that ulul albaab have already grasped intuitively by their intellects. Hence, the call of the prophet seems to them as nothing more than the echoes of truths reverberating in their own hearts. Upon accepting the call of a prophet, their emotions and feelings are spontaneously articulated in the form of a supplication:

“Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling (us) to faith `Believe in the Lord’ and we have believed.Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, blot out from us our iniquities and take to Yourself our souls in the companyof the righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what You promised unto us through Your prophets and save us fromshame on the Day of Judgment: for You never break Your promise.” [al-Qur’an 3:193-194]

We should pause at this juncture to reflect upon the significance of du’a (supplication) in Islam.According to two sayings of the Prophet (SAW): du’a is the essence of `ibadah (worship); and du’a is itself(a form of) `ibadah. This is due to the fact that du’a is the link between the Lord (SWT) and His slaves bywhich the slaves communicate to their Lord (SWT), call upon Him and converse with Him (SWT). Inaddition, du’a is a manifestation of faith for it proves that the believer recognizes the Lord (SWT) asAll-Hearing and All-Seeing, that He (SWT) alone can answer his call for He (SWT) is All-Powerful and hasAbsolute Authority over all matters.
Condition of the Faith of True Believers

Within the Qur’anic discourse, the people whose faith in Islam is the result of intellectual and audition based faiths are termed siddiqeen (singular siddeeq). The major characteristic of siddiqeen, whichdistinguishes them from other believers, is that they leap forward to accept a prophet’s call without a moment’s hesitation. They are likened to the believer who, after performing wudu` (ritual purity),impatiently waits for the prayer-call and the moment the call is sounded scurries to the masjid. Among thesiddiqeen, the personality  of Abu Bakr (RAA) is prominent about whom the Prophet (SAW) said:whosoever I invited to Islam took some time to accept it except Abu Bakr (RAA), who did not hesitate evenfor a moment. It is for this reason that Abu Bakr (RAA) is called “al-siddeeq al-akbar” (The Greatest siddeeq i.e. testifier).

We must ponder why this was so? It was because Abu Bakr (RAA) had no difficulty in accepting theProphet’s (SAW) call for the call was nothing more than a reverberation of Abu Bakr’s (RAA) own thoughtsand beliefs that he had come to accept having traversed the process of iman-e-`aqli. Abu Bakr (RAA) wasnot the lone case however. In that land of vulgar paganism and polytheism, a land sunk deep in thedarkness of ignorance and backwardness, there were individuals whose hearts were illumined with thelight of tauheed (Unity of God) and whose inner nature was pure and pristine. Among them, as statedabove, was Abu Bakr (RAA) who had never associated gods with Allah (SWT); just as the Prophet (SAW),

Abu Bakr (RAA) was also a follower of tauheed from day one. Same was the case with Uthman bin `Affan(RAA) and Sa`eed bin Zaid (RAA), both of whom were among the ten companions given the glad-tidingsof Paradise in their lifetime. In this very land lived the father of Sa`eed bin Zaid (RAA), named Zaid bin‘Amr bin Nufail – who died before the revelation descended upon Prophet Muhammad (SAW) – aboutwhom it is known that he used to supplicate while clinging to the drapes of Ka’bah: “My Lord! I want toworship You alone. I proclaim my disassociation with all these false-gods that the people of Makkah worship.

I want to worship none except You, but do not know how!” In this very land once roamed a manby the name of Waraqah bin Naufil who renounced paganism and sought to discover the True Reality oflife. His search took him to Syria where he learned the Hebrew language and converted to Christianity. At the time when the first revelation descended upon the Prophet (SAW), his (SAW) wife Khadijah (RAA)took the Prophet (SAW) to Waraqah. Waraqah confirmed that the man who appeared to the Prophet(SAW) was the same angel who had descended upon Musa (AS) and Isa (AS). He further informed the Prophet (SAW) that he wished to live to see the day when the people of Makkah would force him (SAW)out of the city so that he can help him (SAW). However, he died soon thereafter. In summation, thesiddiqeen are characterized by sound intellect and pristine pure nature; people whose iman is the result ofboth iman-e-a`qli and iman-e-sam`ee. The Qur’an mentions them in another place:
“And when they listen to the revelation received by the prophet you will see their eyes overflowing with tears for they recognize the truth: they pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe! Write us down among the witnesses.’”[al-Qur’an 5:83]
The especial regard for the siddiqeen by Allah (SWT) is evident from the fact that their supplication (ayahs 192-194) mentioned above is promptly responded to by their Lord (SWT):
“And their Lord has accepted of them and answered them (their prayers): ‘Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you be he male or female: You are members one of another (equal to one another).”[al-Qur’an 3:195]

Spiritual Equality of Men and Women

Ayah quoted above states the view of Islam in relation to the equality of men and women. TheAyah refers to the fact that men and women enjoy an equal status in the domains of spirituality, morality and seeking of  religious stature. The apparent differences in disposition and bodily makeup of the two genders is only for sociological reasons. Whereas, in reality, when it comes to virtuous deeds, charitable works, and working for the cause of Islam, there is absolutely no difference in the status of two genders.The field is wide open for both genders to outdo each other in these arenas. No efforts of anyone shall be lost, whether male or female. This is evident from the fact that due to their spirituality, morality and purity,many great and exalted women – for example, Maryam (RAA), Khadijah (RAA), `Aisha (RAA) and Fatimah(RAA) – will outdo, surpass and be elevated much higher  above the ranks of a great number of men inthe Hereafter.

A Glimpse of Siddiqeen’s Character

The remaining Ayahs of the passage portray the personality traits of the siddiqeen:
“…those who have left their homes or been driven out or suffered harm in My cause and killed and were killed. Surely I will blot out from them their iniquities and admit them into gardens with rivers flowing beneath; a reward from the presence of Allah and with Him is the best of rewards.” [al-Qur’an 3:195]

The above Ayah mentions hijrah which is usually understood in a limited sense of migration. However, it may be taken here in its widest sense. The literal meaning of hijrah is: “to part”, “to leave”, and “toabandon”. This abandoning admits of various stages and levels during the course of a person’s life. The Prophet (SAW) was questioned: “Which hijrah is the greatest?” To this he (SAW) replied, “That you abandon all that is disliked by your Lord”. This defines the first stage of hijrah:,that of abandoning all haram (unlawful) practices. The final stage is the one mentioned in the passage under discussion: to leave one’shomeland where it becomes impossible to adhere to one’s religion and migrate elsewhere for the sake of Islam. Hence, siddiqeen are people who give up all actions disliked by their Lord (SWT); they even part from their families if they insist on disobeying Allah (SWT) and, in the final analysis, if it is so required, they leave their homelands and migrate to another place to uphold their faith and to act on Islamic injunctions in their totality.

The next portion of the Ayah refers to those who were “driven out.” One may object to thi sassertion and instead say that the Makkans did not ask the Muslims to leave Makkah. In fact they wanted to keep them there. However, the fact of matter was that the persecution meted out to the Muslims had become so severe that it became impossible for them to stay in Makkah. Hence, the Muslims were forcedto leave their houses in Makkah and migrate elsewhere to freely practice their faith in peace and security. The severity and extent of the persecution dished out to Muslims is mentioned in the next portion as“suffered harm in My cause”. The physical torture of Bilal (RAA) and Khabbaab (RAA) and the murders of Sumiyyah (RAA) and Yasir (RAA) are only few examples of oppression and tyranny suffered by the Muslims at the hands of the pagan Makkans. One may ask: what was the crime of these individuals? It was nothing more than that they renounced the pagan ideology and practices of their godless society and proclaimed their belief in the Unity of God (SWT) and divine messenger-ship of Muhammad (SAW).

Thus far the conditions mentioned were those of Makkan life. Now the Ayah mentions the struggle experienced in the life of Madinah as: “killed and were killed.” In Makkah, the Muslims were commandedto refrain from retaliation, however, this restriction was lifted in Madinah and they took to the battle field. Inthis endeavor they fought, killed, and were killed themselves. The martyrdom on the battle field for thesake of Truth, justice and peace is the highest good, the epitome of virtuous conduct in Islam. Hence, the siddiqeen are not just the people of spiritual pursuits alone; rather, they fully partake of the struggles and hardships of life, without seeking escape to jungles and mountains. They are so dynamic and full of religious conviction that they do not hesitate to move forward in the battlefield and lay down their lives forthe cause of their faith. For this service and loyalty, they are promised by their Lord (SWT): 

“Surely I will blot out from them their iniquities”; that is, all mistakes and sins (major and minor) committed by them will be washed away in return for their struggle for Islam and hardships suffered in this cause. More than this,they will be admitted “into gardens with rivers flowing beneath; a special reward from Allah”. 

The mentionof “special reward from Allah” is of particular importance. These rewards shall be bestowed upon themfrom special treasures of Allah (SWT) possessed only by Him. The final words of the passage, “with Him isthe best of rewards”, should be heeded. Our whole life is defined by struggles and hardships. We struggle,toil and labor for the sake of our children, our careers, for other worldly benefits, but none of these objectsof fancy provide us any certainty of due payback. Often all such worldly efforts fail and in the end we areleft with nothing but sorrow and loss. However, every deed, every investment and every moment spent forthe sake of Allah (SWT), for His cause, for His deen is saved and earns blissful eternal life for the rewardsof such endeavors are everlasting.  Consequently, only Allah (SWT) has the Power and the Authority tofully recompense all our deeds in due proportion.