SHAFAQNA- I have been working on a rather large and elaborate study about the problems facing Islam today and the viruses that seem to be affecting it in many different areas, such a study is certainly not feasible to present as an article, for it touches a great number of detailed points and scientific terms which can be at times a rather long and boring read for those who prefer getting information in an easy and more interesting format. However, I did manage to take out from that project, a chapter that I felt is of great importance and that would fill the specifications of an article, may ALLAH the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious strengthen my weak heart and guide me, and eliminate my inadequate understanding of this task. I have added an introduction and made a few needed changes for this article and I chose to call this article by the same name as the title of the chapter of the above mentioned study; â€œOur Behaviourâ€, for I felt it best describes its content. Please note this is not an article whose aim is to teach etiquette, ethics and moral manners, it is a study of the terrible behaviour problems that inflicts our Ummah today, and an analysis of its origins and possible cure Inshaâ€™ALLAH. As in all my actions, reflections, research and works, I beg forgiveness from ALLAH (swt) and HIS last messenger; Prophet Muhammed (saww), and to all my readers for my many slips of the pen, my errors and my lack of knowledge, my insignificance and my wretchedness.
In todayâ€™s world and in our adverse struggle against the most harshest and vicious enemies of Islam and our constant feeling of spending our time tearing down the barriers put on our path by the ruling materialist governments and the enemies of ALLAH (swt), we may feel that we cannot help but fall into the trap and become blinded to our own inner problems and illnesses. In all of the chaos and suffering, pain and sorrow, we more often forget to stop and evaluate ourselves, take account of our intentions and ponder over our sincerity and our behaviour.
Imam Amir-al-Muâ€™mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: â€œIt is very necessary for a person to allocate a free time for himself to scrutinize the account of his deeds and see what kind of good and useful or bad and harmful deeds have been performed by him during the past 24 hoursâ€.
â€œI remained vigilant guarding the hearts premises every night.
So that no alien thought (except the Belovedâ€™s) could make its entryâ€.
Imam Al-Sadiq (a-s) said: â€œThe greatest worship of Abu Dharr (r-a) was his pondering and thinkingâ€ (Al-Khisal, p.42, no.33)
Many may claim it to be normal that in the middle of such a world wide struggle and battle for our rights and our beliefs, that one may become forgetful of our own self. However, any sincere, logical and believing Muslim cannot accept such an excuse to forget his greatest of Jihads; the Jihad against the self, and in fact one cannot be successful in defending his position, if he ignores his position. In other words, how can one defend the greatest movement of the pious, righteous and faithful, if he himself gives the image of a heartless, brutal hypocrite, or of an uncaring and indifferent coward?
Today, although I am very unqualified to address such a subject, I would like to cite one of the many viruses that is presently sucking the life out of the Islamic Ummah and trying to dim the great light of Islam. That sickness is our tendency of forgetting and ignoring our responsibilities of conducting ourselves in a proper manner, with a pious and righteous behaviour, as commanded to us by our Lord and Creator; ALLAH (swt), his Holy messengers, prophets, and purified guides (a-s).
â€œGood manners are what made the heavens bright
And angels sinless and purer than the light;
Irreverence caused eclipses of the sun
And Shaiton, through his pride, to be undoneâ€.
Rumi; the Masnavi
Today, the importance that all of us re-evaluate ourselves, our conduct, our manners and our behaviour, is vital for our final victory and to be among those who will be amongst the winners on the Day of Judgement, when we will arrive in front of our Lord, Creator and Judge; ALLAH (swt), as individuals and as a nation as well, we have a dual responsibility in this life as individual Muslims and as a nation, and we must not forget that we will be judged as a nation, and this judgement will reflect on all of us, since we are all part of this nation. As active parts of this nation, we must reflect and take action on our responsibilities and we must improve our behaviour as a nation, as well as individuals, for we will be accountable for all our actions and behaviour as a nation.** (this subject is addressed in the chapter called: â€œIslamic society and other societiesâ€)
â€œEvery nation (Ummah) shall be summoned to its recordâ€. (The Holy Qurâ€™an 45-28)
Therefore, in what little time we may have left in this life, we must immediately address this vital urgency, before we fall too far into the trap of ShaÃ¯ton, never to find our way out and to be sadly among the individuals and nations of blacken faced losers getting thrown into the indescribable horrors, pain and torture of the Hell Fire, because of our own ignorance.
â€œSurely ALLAH does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselvesâ€. (The Glorious Qurâ€™an10:44)
The greatest nation that ever was:
In reality, behaviour itself is a subject of great study in itself and surely we can write volumes and volumes on this subject, however, for this chapter of this study I hope Inshaâ€™ALLAH Taâ€™ala to mostly concentrate briefly on our current day behavioural problems, both as individual Muslims, but also as a society, our great society and nation who are blessed with the revelation of ALLAH (swt) and by HIS (swt) most perfect and Infallible creature; Prophet Muhammed (saww). In order to clearly understand the great role that we must have in the development of humankind in this life, we must return to a time when our nation was not infected with the many problematic diseases that have infected the large majority of us today.
We probably cannot even imagine, in our greatest of dreams, the amazing metamorphosis that the Arabic peninsula went under, at the time of the great birth and revelation of Islam to our most beloved Prophet Muhammed (saww), and in particular after the great Hijrat (migration) to Madina. Before Islam, the Arabs were a polytheistic desert people whose social standing was based on creed and tribal domination, they were almost an uncivilised people who had no particular moral conduct and who based all social advancement on victories on the battlefield in constant and never ending battles, fights, feuds and wars with each other. Surely this was a time and place where the human beingâ€™s value was less than zero and where spirituality was on the most part in the form of man made gods, that had no power or guidance what so ever, at that time what could anyone have expected from a people who received their ethics and morality from lifeless rocks, pieces of wood, clay statues, or ignorant tribal leaders?
Perhaps knowing this fact alone is enough to illuminate anyoneâ€™s heart to the glowing Glory of the Most High; ALLAH (swt), and to want to tread on the same path of those who would by the power of ALLAH Azz wa Jall and the Revelation to HIS (swt) last Messenger and Prophet (saww) become the greatest and purist example of a monotheistic society on earth ever recorded in the history of mankind. However, the real question that develops in oneâ€™s heart and mind is by what means were used by Prophet Muhammed (saww) in order to change such a people? ALLAH (swt) answers our question when HE (swt) tells the world:
â€œIt is by some mercy of ALLAH that you are gentle to them; had you been harsh and hard hearted, surely they would have scattered from around you. So pardon them, plead for forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairsâ€¦â€ (Qurâ€™an 3-159)
Understandably only the highest of outstanding moral conduct and steadfast justice could transform the ignorant and harsh Arabs of that time, and this is proven in the fact that the Arabs of that time were completely surrounded by the great empires of the Romans and Persians. So why would these great superpowers of that era not easily take control of that particular territory? There are different reasons for this, but one of the biggest, was the feeling of the impossibility of reforming such a people, who lived in their ignorant and ruthless culture for centuries, yet there would be a man amongst them who was beaming with the light of revelation and would flood the stone harden hearts of these people with the pure love of ALLAH (swt) and the brilliant light of monotheism.
One of the most important reforms adopted in the social behaviour of this new nation, was the great migration to Madina and the establishing of the brethren of Islam, which would become the true Ummah of monotheism. The philosophical, sociological, historical and ethical benefits of the great migration to Madina are too many to begin writing about each one of them in this chapter, so we will only focus on the important one for the subject of behaviour.
As the science of history has proven time and time again, all of the great nations in the history of humanity came about through migration. But what was even more remarkable and unprecedented before and since the migration of the Muslims to Madina, was the powerful and beautiful taking of oath of brotherhood between the new immigrants (Muhajirs) and those who lived in Madina at that time, who were affectionately called the helpers (Ansar), the bond that was established by our most beloved Prophet Muhammed (saww) was the turning point in the social behaviour of the Islamic Ummah, in fact we can surely say that it was the starting point of the greatest society ever recorded in human history, today many of us question what made that particular group of people so distinct in the annals of history? In other words, what made these people stand together despite their many differences, in such an exemplary society? How did this group gather together, stay together and be such outstanding representatives of true Islam to all surrounding nations, when they faced so many problems, adversities, hardships, conflicts and even conniving hypocrites from within?
The answer is simple; they truly tried to emulate the behaviour of their Prophet (saww), they adopted the system of Islam and none other, they conducted themselves with the moral traits of true believers, they knew exactly what their ideal was, and their ideal was their deity and their deity was ALLAH (swt). If no nation has been able to even come close to the outstanding virtues of the Islamic Ummah of that time, it is probably largely in part that the Ummah has been pulling away from their ideal ever since. And we ask ourselves deep inside our aching hearts; how can we return to being the greatest example on earth of a perfect human nation, or at least one that strives only for that purpose.Â
â€œIt is for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their possessions, seeking bounty from ALLAH and good pleasure, and helping ALLAH and HIS Messenger those â€“ they are the truthful ones. And those who made their dwelling in the abode, and in belief, before them, love whosoever has emigrated to them, not finding in their breasts any need for what they have been given and preferring others above themselves, even though poverty be their portion. And whoso is guarded against the avarice of his own soul, those â€“ they are the prosperousâ€. (Holy Qurâ€™an 59-8-9)
Surely when we study all the aspects of that exceptional, original Islamic Ummah, it becomes clear to us that Islamâ€™s social system is not comparable with any other known to man or witnessed ever since. How strange, indeed I find those who try to convince us that todayâ€™s so-called democratic capitalism has any resemblance to the great Islamic Ummah of that time, whenever I hear such idiotic comments and suggestions I realise how our ignorance is getting the better of us. Even stranger are those who adopt and believe that a capitalism system, which is based only on materialism and selfish individualism has anything to offer to a people who claim to be lovers of the Absolute Being; ALLAH (swt), HIS last Messenger; Prophet Muhammed (saww) and the infallible Imams (a-s). How can a society of people (we the Islamic Ummah) who are striving to try to create a new culture of perfection would ever want to be so intent on being part of the many unworthy and insignificant cultures in the world today, and this is a principle of Islam and a very important part of the advent of Imam Mahdi (atfs) (a-s), surely this is a test that can tear apart Islam and create nothing but misery for all true believing Muslims, we must decide where we want to stand today. However, here is not the place to examine this subject; my dear readers can turn to the chapter called â€œIslamic society and other societiesâ€ of this same study for a more elaborate study on this issue.Â
I ask my readers to forgive my many slips of the pen and my drifting away from the subject at hand, perhaps a large part of our current behaviour problems and our turning away from Islam and towards such hollow and empty ideologies as so-called democratic capitalism and others is that we donâ€™t really know or understand the behaviour of those who we claim to follow; the Holy Prophet (saww) and his Infallible Ahlul-Bayt (a-s), and what an Islamic society is supposed to be.
Who are those we should follow?
When I began to reflect on the above question (the title of this part), 3 things came immediately to my mind, which made me realise my terrible neglect and my blindness about this matter. I will Inshaâ€™ALLAH share those 3 things with you, and ask that ALLAH (swt), HIS Prophet Muhammed (saww) and our infallible guides; the Imams (a-s) to forgive my wretchedness and ignorance.
1- Any human beingâ€™s behaviour is a reflection of his principles and his conviction, for example: if we take a man who is a policeman; his behaviour will often reflect his position in life (occupation), in this case he would probably be someone lawful, trustworthy, authoritative, disciplined, etcâ€¦ However, a criminal would be someone dishonest, disloyal, treacherous, unruly, disobedient, etcâ€¦
Since we understand that a police officer follows certain training and instructions, follows certain guidelines, then by the practice of his occupation he becomes transformed into the behavioural model (pattern) that a police officer should be. In other words he was not necessarily born with all of the perfect behaviour of a police officer; it was the training, instructions, guidelines, and practice that provided him with the aspects of his behaviour and by adopting these aspects it would mould his behaviour into actual characteristics of his personality, therefore he is no longer in the role of a police officer, but has actually become a police officer. In other words being a police officer is now part of his nature. The same can be said about the criminal, his behaviour was moulded into his criminal characteristics by harsh lifestyle, negative surroundings, evil influences and a poisonous outlook about life.
From the above mentioned examples, we now turn to ourselves and ask how can we define what a believerâ€™s behaviour should be? Where can we get guidance, training, knowledge, and practice? And once we obtain them, how can we assimilate them into our behaviour patterns and then mould that behaviour to become our natural characteristics? In order to understand this point clearly, we must understand that in doing so, what are the goals we hope to achieve. In other words, our Goal is the Source and the Provider of the training, knowledge and practice. For our goal is the ultimate Cause that has no cause before it, therefore our goal in this great journey is to the Absolute Being and the Absolute Being is the Creator, the Originator, the Provider and the Cause to absolutely all existence and creation. Therefore to know ALLAH (swt) and to journey on HIS (swt) Straight Path towards HIM (swt) is the only purpose of our creation, and the only way to mould our behaviour into our true human nature.Â
ALLAH (swt) tells us very clearly what we must do and how we can form the mould so that we may begin that metamorphosis to perfection, in order to become purified and to achieve nearness and closeness to HIM (swt). ALLAH (swt) does this by teaching us our behaviour in the Noble Qurâ€™an and by sending to us purified Prophets (a-s) and Infallibles (a-s) as guides. In the Qurâ€™an ALLAH (swt) teaches us about such behavioural attributes of true believers as:
â€œThey fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wideâ€ (Qurâ€™an 76-7)
â€œAnd among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of ALLAH; and ALLAH is Affectionate to the servantsâ€ (Qurâ€™an 2-207)
â€œSurely they who from fear of their Lord are cautiousâ€ (Qurâ€™an 23-57)
â€œAnd they who, when reminded of the communications of their Lord, do not fall down thereat deaf and blindâ€ (Qurâ€™an 25-73)
â€œAnd those who are faithful to their trusts and their covenantâ€. (Qurâ€™an 70-32)
â€œThose who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in adversity, and those who restrain their anger and pardon men; ALLAH loves the doers of goodâ€. (Qurâ€™an 3-134)
â€œAnd as for the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the alms, and obey ALLAH and His Apostle; these, ALLAH will show mercy to them; surely ALLAH is the all Mighty, the all Wiseâ€. (Qurâ€™an 9-71)
â€œThey believe in ALLAH and the last day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and they strive with one another in hastening to good deeds, and those are among the goodâ€. (Qurâ€™an 3-114)
â€œAnd keep aloof from what is vainâ€. (Qurâ€™an 23-3)
There are so many other Ayats from the Noble Qurâ€™an, describing the behaviour of the believers and their duties; however, in this chapter, that is enough for our purpose. Before turning to point #2, some very powerful words from ALLAH (swt) that where narrated among certain Ahadith Al-Qudsi come to my mind, relating to behaviour, I will end this point with part of one of them.
ALLAH (swt) says:
â€œYour hearts are not going to be straightened except by MY advice from MY Bookâ€.
â€œOh, son of Adam! Why arenâ€™t you protecting yourself from evil deeds?â€
â€œWhy arenâ€™t you protecting yourself from sins? Do you not fear Hell?â€
â€œWhy arenâ€™t you protecting yourself from the wrath of ALLAH?â€
2- Like most of our brethren do at certain times in the day, I recite Duâ€™a (supplications), and as many of you, I very often recite the following famous Duâ€™a from Imam Sadiq (a-s):
Ø§ÙŽÙ„Ù„Ù‘ÙŽÙ‡ÙÙ…Ù‘ÙŽ Ø¹ÙŽØ±Ù‘ÙÙÙ’Ù†ÙŠ Ù†ÙŽÙÙ’Ø³ÙŽÙƒÙŽ ÙÙŽØ§ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽÙƒÙŽ Ø§ÙÙ†Ù’ Ù„ÙŽÙ…Ù’ ØªÙØ¹ÙŽØ±Ù‘ÙÙÙ’Ù†ÙŠ Ù†ÙŽÙÙ’Ø³ÙŽÙƒÙŽ Ù„ÙŽÙ…Ù’ Ø§ÙŽØ¹Ù’Ø±ÙÙÙ’ Ù†ÙŽØ¨ÙÙŠÙ‘ÙŽÙƒÙŽ. Ø§ÙŽÙ„Ù„Ù‘ÙŽÙ‡ÙÙ…Ù‘ÙŽ Ø¹ÙŽØ±Ù‘ÙÙÙ’Ù†ÙŠ Ø±ÙŽØ³ÙÙˆÙ„ÙŽÙƒÙŽ ÙÙŽØ§ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽÙƒÙŽ Ø§ÙÙ†Ù’ Ù„ÙŽÙ…Ù’ ØªÙØ¹ÙŽØ±Ù‘ÙÙÙ’Ù†ÙŠ Ø±ÙŽØ³ÙÙˆÙ„ÙŽÙƒÙŽ Ù„ÙŽÙ…Ù’ Ø§ÙŽØ¹Ù’Ø±ÙÙÙ’ ØÙØ¬Ù‘ÙŽØªÙŽÙƒÙŽ. Ø§ÙŽÙ„Ù„Ù‘ÙŽÙ‡ÙÙ…Ù‘ÙŽ Ø¹ÙŽØ±Ù‘ÙÙÙ’Ù†ÙŠ ØÙØ¬Ù‘ÙŽØªÙŽÙƒÙŽ ÙÙŽØ§ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽÙƒÙŽ Ø§ÙÙ†Ù’ Ù„ÙŽÙ…Ù’ ØªÙØ¹ÙŽØ±Ù‘ÙÙÙ’Ù†ÙŠ ØÙØ¬Ù‘ÙŽØªÙŽÙƒÙŽ Ø¶ÙŽÙ„ÙŽÙ„Ù’ØªÙ Ø¹ÙŽÙ†Ù’ Ø¯ÙŠÙ†ÙŠ.
â€œO ALLAH give me recognition of Thyself if you do not give me recognition of thyself, I will never be able to recognise your prophet. O ALLAH give me recognition of your messenger for if you do not give me recognition of your messenger, I will never be able to recognise your proof. O ALLAH give me the recognition of your proof, for if you donâ€™t give me recognition of your proof, I will be deviated in my religionâ€
What is so astonishing of this short supplication, is its most important and essential message, perhaps we can say that these 3 lines of supplication are a vital lesson in theology and philosophy, and hidden in its lines are the secrets of true belief in Tawheed (monotheism) and an opening of a door to know those (a-s) whose behaviour is perfect in all ways possible.
The outer understanding of it is easy, however, the deep meaning and essence is far too great to fill this small section, we would need volumes of pages, so we will, very briefly, take only the meaning that concerns this chapterâ€™s subject. I will keep this brief in order to move on to our next point Inshaâ€™ALLAH:
Since we all recognize this Duâ€™a as being, not only from the source of one of our infallible Imams (a-s); Imam Sadiq (a-s), we also recognize in it a plea to ALLAH to guide us not to deviate from our religion, it states within it: â€œO ALLAH give me recognition of Thyself if you do not give me recognition of thyself, I will never be able to recognise your prophetâ€, meaning that if I do not recognise and know who my Lord and Creator is, I cannot know who HIS (swt) Prophet is, the same Prophet (saww) that was sent to all mankind as a mercy and who is our source to the revelation from ALLAH (swt), in order that we live, conduct ourselves and behave in the proper manner, in order to purify ourselves so that we can receive mercy and salvation on the Day of Judgement.
Then it states: â€œO ALLAH give me recognition of your messenger for if you do not give me recognition of your messenger, I will never be able to recognise your proofâ€, so if I donâ€™t recognise Your messenger; Prophet Muhammed (saww) and all of his (saww) excellent traits, attributes, personality and his exceptional behaviour, I will not be amid those believers who strive among the great Islamic Ummah on the Straight Path, behind Your chosen Proof (a-s) for all mankind, because I will not know anything of the great characteristics of Your Proof (a-s). Oh ALLAH! Surely it is impossible to know YOUR (swt) Proof (a-s) without knowing YOUR (swt) most beloved creature, our perfect Prophet Muhammed (saww), and how can we know any of them, if we are so ignorant and blind as not to know YOU (swt) our Most Beloved!!!
Then it states: â€œO ALLAH give me the recognition of your proof, for if you donâ€™t give me recognition of your proof, I will be deviated in my religionâ€, meaning that if I donâ€™t recognise Your Proof (a-s) because of all my ignorance about YOU (swt), Your Holy Prophet (saww) and Your Infallible Imams (a-s) including your last of them; the last Proof (atfs), then surely I have deviated from this great blessing and mercy; Islam. And surely I will be in the worst of states and will receive the harshest of punishments on the Day of Judgement, because my behaviour was not as YOU (swt) commanded it to be since I was ignorant of those who were guides (a-s), through examples on earth, because of my lust of worldly pleasures and love of my wretched self!
â€œWoe to me!
How can I blame the enemy since I set fire to my own house? I have no enemy but this wretched self. Woe to me and my enemy self!
Woe to me!â€
Shaykh Abu Saeed Abil-Khayr.
Surely we cannot turn away from the reality and truth found in this powerful Duâ€™a even if it is only 3 lines. These 3 lines fill our harden hearts with a most lovely feeling of submission to the greatness of our Creator, the Lord, the Necessary Being, the Ultimate Primary Cause, the Absolute Being and our only reason for being; ALLAH (swt). In reality the depth of the above Duâ€™a is far beyond my infantile intellectual capacities, for in it we can journey to the deepest realms of Tawheed and to the highest station nearest to ALLAH Azz wa Jall, for our existence depends on that vital link to ALLAH (swt). How can we behave in such ways as if we donâ€™t care, as if our rusty dirty harden hearts have any worth without the Light and Love of our Creator and Lord; ALLAH (swt).
â€œNo Indeed! Rather their hearts have been rustedâ€¦â€ (Qurâ€™an 83-14)
â€œAnd if the Rose should vanish from its sight, the nightingale will keep its beak shut tight â€“ The loved oneâ€™s all, the loverâ€™s just a screen, a dead thing, while the loved one lives unseen. When shunned by love youâ€™re left with emptiness, a bird without wings knows such distress: â€˜How can my mind stay calm this lonely night when I canâ€™t find here my Belovedâ€™s light?â€™ Love wants its tale revealed to everyone, but your heartâ€™s mirror wonâ€™t reflect this sun. Donâ€™t you know why we canâ€™t perceive it here? Your mirrorâ€™s face is rusty â€“ scrape it clear!â€ Rumi: Taken from: The Masnavi.
Not to drift too far away and in keeping with the subject of behaviour, we find in this Duâ€™a the importance of knowing our Lord and Creator; ALLAH Azz wa Jall and those chosen (a-s) to guide us, and again it stresses within its beautiful lines, to stay on their Path. On this point it is very essential and vital for us to know those who are our purest examples of perfect behaviour, ALLAH (swt) says in the Glorious Qurâ€™an:
â€œIn the Apostle of ALLAH there is certainly for you a beautiful pattern (of behaviour), for those who look forward to ALLAH and the Last Day, and remember ALLAH greatlyâ€. (The Glorious Qurâ€™an 33-21)
3- Today we are finding that a great amount of our time and energy is and has been (in the past 1400 years) spent trying to defend our position and to validate our beliefs and faith, which is indeed a noble act and effort, however, with all of the time and energy spent on trying to do this, most of us (except a very small number) have forgotten or disregard the crucial issue of who are those that we defend so wholeheartedly. We fail to deeply study about them, about their great lights of guidance, their outstanding piety, their unmatched love for and faith in ALLAH (swt), their powerful character, their steadfast patience, their compassionate love, their infallible knowledge and amazing understanding, etc, etc… So much of this special essence, knowledge and love is missing from our hearts today, that we donâ€™t have the natural reflex of conducting ourselves in all of our simple tasks of daily life, as they would have.
I was flabbergasted at the response and answers I received when I decided to go and ask our very own brethren: â€œWho is the Prophet Muhammed (saww)?â€ we, who take so much pride in being the followers of Prophet Muhammed (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s). Surely our behavioural problems stem from our lack of knowing them (a-s) as is hinted to us in the above mentioned Duâ€™a. How can any of us expect to behave in a truly proper and correct manner, or should I say to be more precise in an Islamic manner, when we hardly know our Prophet (saww) and his exceptional and unique personality, which means we do not know ALLAH (swt) and HIS (swt) Message and Guidance to us. Now our sickness and infectious virus begin to be clearer, and we can see its roots and where it originates.
I certainly am not qualified to write a detailed text about the true greatness of Prophet Muhammed (saww) and our Infallible Imams (a-s), nor is this the right place for such an elaborate study, so I will share with you briefly some of what I have found in my research, Inshaâ€™ALLAH we can use it as a spark to re-light the flame of good moral behaviour in our hearts, and push us to a deeper study of this important issue.
Who is the Prophet Muhammed (saww)?
The daily hardships and adversities of modern life are very great in number to say the least, however, we are truly failing in being patient towards any of them, and when something goes against our luxurious material comforts, we just about throw out all of our beliefs out the window, in order to protect our precious material and wealth. Steadfastness for most of us today is easy, as long as everything around us suits our own selfish desires and doesnâ€™t conflict with our precious daily routine. When something happens to change in our lives, in a direction we donâ€™t understand or the opposite direction of our selfishness, we all of a sudden forget patience, piety, virtue, kindness, justice, morality, and all those other beautiful attributes that we claim to live by. And our excuses are even poorer than our disgraceful and rotten behaviour. One of the worst illnesses that most of us suffer of today is that we are: â€œThe perfect Muslims by theoryâ€, â€œsecond-rate by practiceâ€ and â€œTerrible by faithâ€.Â
We are very quick to condemn those who took flight during the battles of the time of the Holy Prophet (saww), or our anger fumes at the thought of how many of the soldiers of Amir-ul-Muâ€™mineen Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) became so weak hearted in facing the army of Muâ€™awiya, we feel a sense of betrayal by many of the supporters ofÂ Imam Hassan (a-s) during the preparations for battle against Muâ€™awiya, and our tears of anguish and pain flow out because our rage and resentment about the treachery, hypocrisy and viciousness of Kufians when they turned away from their pledge to Imam Hussayn (a-s), yet we shake at the knees, become discomfit by cold sweat and are ready to sell out our beliefs so cheaply, as soon as something doesnâ€™t go our way in our materially luxurious lives. When dealing with each other, we often conduct ourselves in a manner that is not even acceptable by the standards of the desert Bedouins, in the time of ignorance before Islam. We are slack and careless about our Islamic duties, convictions, beliefs and faith, and hard and intolerant with our loved ones, we are, at times, mean spirited, arrogant and most of all ignorant, yet we all have the same potential of being perfect human beings.
Today, we must make this our first day of change, today, we must re-embrace Islam as we never did before, today our struggle to victory must begin, it is now our turn to become steadfast about our faith, beliefs and principles and to be patient when adversities take something away from the comfort of our lives, today we must re-fuel our dim hearts with the light of Islam and take example of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (saww), today we must turn away from our material desires and open our souls to the never ending beauty of true faith and the never ending rewards of a pious and proper behaviour as many of the great companions of Prophet Muhammed (saww) did in their time, they were exactly like us today, they had the same Prophet, same Qurâ€™an, same beliefs, same God, the difference they actually took example of our Prophet Muhammed (saww) and filled their hearts with the love of ALLAH (swt), so Inshaâ€™ALLAH, let us take 3 examples of the kind of behaviour that the Prophet Muhammed (saww) wanted to teach us. And yet today they are 3 of the many examples of his (saww) behaviour that we unfortunately no longer follow or try to emulate.
Patience: Throughout the entire time of Prophet Muhammedâ€™s (saww) mission, he was continuously confronted by enemies of all sorts; the Quraysh, the polytheist of Mecca and around that area, the Jews, the hypocrites, etc. As well, he was endlessly under the eyes and questions of his followers, those who wanted to know about his Prophethood, those who wanted to learn Islam, etcâ€¦ Amongst all of this, many tried to trick him, trap him, hurt him, disrespect him, abuse him, confront him, etc, etcâ€¦
Yet despite all of that, Prophet Muhammed (saww) was the perfect image of true patience, his patience was so pure and true that it beamed with the light of compassion, mercy, virtue and forgiveness. The Holy Prophet (saww) when exiled out of Mecca along with the Bani Hashim, would loose his beloved wife and support Sayeeda Khadijah (a-s) and his protector Abu Talib (a-s), and he would be left out in the harden terrain of the desert wasteland with very little support and help, yet he continued to struggle for Islam on the Path of ALLAH (swt) teaching us hundreds of vital lessons and behaviours including patience.
Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œPatience is the cause of contentmentâ€. (Nahj Al-Fasahah # 1531)
He taught those around him the great virtue of patience, and many of his dearest and closest companions proved to be examples of patience. Abu Dharr (r-a) showed great steadfastness, when exiled to die alone in the desert, after confronting Uthman and Muâ€™awiya with the truth and trying to bring back the golden principles of Prophet Muhammed (saww), few stood by Abu Dharr (r-a) who would prove to be a tower of patience, when sent off to the burning hot desert, there Abu Dharr (r-a) would die with patience, conviction and steadfastness, he (r-a) was a most beautiful example of the outstanding behaviour of a true believer.
ALLAH (swt) says: â€œALLAH will recompense the deeds of those who have exercised patients, without keeping an accountâ€. (Qurâ€™an 39-10)
Imam Ali (a-s) would also, throughout his great life, show many examples of this wonderful and amazing patience, in fact we can say that Imam Aliâ€™s (a-s) life was a text book about patience, and towards the end of his pious and virtuous life, would be a never ending downpour of patience and steadfastness, we only need to look at his time as Khalif and the great adversities of the treason of such men as Talha and Zubayr, the sad conflict with Ayishah, the battles and confrontations with Muâ€™awiya, and of course the endless harassments and threats of the Khawarij. Of course we must also turn to Imam Hussayn (a-s) whose life story was built on the strong foundation of patience, however, not just any kind of patience, but of the exact same patience that our beloved Holy Prophet (saww) taught us in words and in examples.
ALLAH (swt) says: â€œALLAH loves those who have patientsâ€ (Qurâ€™an 3-146)
Amir al-Muâ€™mineen Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: â€œThe rank of patience for faith is as the rank of the head for the body. Hence the impatient are faithlessâ€. (Tuhaf Al-Uquul Imam Ali (a-s) Maxims # 14)
If the above stories and a few others are unprecedented in the history of humankind, itâ€™s only because the people involved in them, truly adopted the purest form of Islamic behaviour, and thatâ€™s why their names shine in our hearts as no others do. Today we must also put to practice the great virtue of patience, for today we tend to find any reason not to follow such pious and patient examples, unfortunately in our daily lives, we too often show impatience and intolerance about the smallest of adversities, how can we claim to be the followers of Prophet Muhammed (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s) when we act as their enemies did.Â
Perhaps Saâ€™di describes us best as impatient, complaining and discontented creatures: â€œâ€˜No one could be in greater distress than I!â€™ wailed a man in the desert, who had been left behind by the caravan. â€˜What misfortune!â€™ he cried. â€˜This is the endâ€™. â€˜Be quite!â€™ said a donkey, passing with its owner on its back. â€˜If you have no beast to ride, at least you can be grateful that youâ€™re not a beast thatâ€™s ridden upon!â€™â€ Saâ€™di; From the Gulistan.
Justice: Prophet Muhammedâ€™s (saww) justice was unmatched among anyone on earth, his (saww) justice is what attracted thousands of people towards his message. His (saww) just and fair treatment was something for which the Arabs and all other societies of that time had never seen before, nor has such outstanding justice, behaviour and fair treatment been seen ever since. And his (saww) justice also repulsed his enemies, his truthfulness and unadulterated brand of justice filled the hearts of the hypocrites and the selfish with fear, hate and horror. Itâ€™s no wonder that he (saww) gave himself so much trouble to introduce Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) as the most just and righteous of judges and leader next to him, in fact he (saww) would delegate Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) in passing judgements about the affairs of the Ummah, when he (saww) was away or busy with other matters.
â€œAnd every nation had an apostle; so when their apostle came, the matter was decided between them with justice and they shall not be dealt with unjustlyâ€ (Qurâ€™an 10-47)
In fact mankindâ€™s great weakness, lust of material riches and love for preferred treatment is what would slowly dim the great light of justice that Prophet Muhammed (saww) founded, and for which Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) and the line of Holy Imams (a-s) from his progeny fought so hard to try and revive. The Ummah, in general had fallen victim of their love of comfort and quickly lost sight of what is true justice and in fact for the cheap price of some temporal comforts, they would sale out their faith and beliefs in justice. This of course would lead to great problems both in the scope of Islamic behaviour and in the Islamic society.Â
The Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œThe party of my Ummah is the community of the right, regardless of their little numberâ€. (Tuhaf al-Uquul; The Prophet Muhammed (saww) #105)
Our beloved Prophet (saww) taught us, with his outstanding sense of justice, such important things as: Just treatment between all men and women, trading and selling with fairness and without cheating and interests, respect and courtesy, respect of contracts, respect of neighbours, respect of others well being and property, respect of the environment, nature and animals, etc, etcâ€¦
â€œSurely ALLAH enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good to others and giving to the kindred, and HE forbids indecency, evil and rebellion; HE admonishes you that you mat be mindfulâ€. (Qurâ€™an 16-90)
After signing the Hudaybiyyah peace treaty with the Meccans, he would at all times respect that contract, even when it meant returning believers to the Meccans, who would run away from Mecca, even though this was very painful for his (saww) merciful, compassionate and loving heart, however, he never went against the treaty. Prophet Muhammed (saww) was always firm about Islamic legal affairs and agreements; in such cases he always used justice.Â
The Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œThe Proper fulfillment of pledges is a part of faithâ€ (Tuhaf al-Uquul, Prophet Muhammed (saww) #100)
â€œO you who believe! Be upright for ALLAH, bearers of justice, and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably, that is nearer to piety and be careful of ALLAH; surely ALLAH is aware of what you doâ€. (Qurâ€™an 5-8)
In his entire lifetime Prophet Muhammed (saww) never moved even a millimetre away from enjoining the good and forbidding evil, and this reflected in absolutely everything he did and would later reflect in the ways of his holy progeny (a-s). Just as he fought both diplomatically and on the battlefield, against the enemies of ALLAH (swt), he (saww) championed as a just, fair and righteous defender of Islam, much as his (saww) beloved companion, cousin and brother; Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) would until his (a-s) martyrdom. However,Â the Holy Prophet Muhammedâ€™s (saww) and the Infallible Imams (a-s) kind of â€˜al-amr bil maâ€™ruf wa al-nahy â€˜an al-munkarâ€™ (enjoining the good and forbidding evil) was an astonishing vital part of these perfect and purified beings (a-s), in that it would be reflected, in even their most simple of actions and words, so much so that there is not a single moment of their (a-s) recorded history that is not glowing with that radiant essence. Surely we must return to studying these great infallibles in order to understand the true meaning of justice.
Imam Amir-ul-Muâ€™mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: â€œThe firmness of the religion is due to enjoining what is good and forbidding what is wrong, and observing the limits of ALLAH (swt)â€. (Qurar-ul-Hikam, p. 236)
â€œYe are the best of people evolved for mankind, enjoining the right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in ALLAHâ€ (Qurâ€™an 3-110)
The Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œHe who enjoins good and prohibits evil is the vicegerent of both ALLAH (swt) and HIS Messenger on the earthâ€. (Mustadrak-ul-Wasaâ€™il, vol.12, p. 179)
Kindness and cheerfulness: Prophet Muhammed (saww) had the very best of human nature and the perfect character; he (saww) was truly a beaming example of exceptional kindness and pure hearted cheerfulness. We so often forget this most important part of his nature, and in fact it is by this virtue that he (saww) affected many of the hardest of hearts during his (saww) lifetime. He (saww) was the purest example of the highest station of kindness and cheerfulness; for his kindness was full of mercy, compassion, sympathy, helpfulness, understanding, gentleness and consideration and his (saww) cheerfulness was full of patience, honesty, optimism, caring and love, this fact is well described in the Qurâ€™anic Ayah; â€œIn the Apostle of ALLAH there is certainly for you a beautiful patternâ€¦â€ (The Glorious Qurâ€™an 33-21)
The importance of the attributes of kindness and cheerfulness are truly one of the very prominent keys towards true faith. The many examples that we can take from the pure Infallibles (a-s) somehow seem endless, which makes it even more strange, bizarre and alarming that we see very little examples of that quality characteristic among the Ummah today. Let us reflect here on our present reality:
We have been blessed in this life with the opportunity to perfect ourselves and purify our hearts.
We, unlike a great majority of people on the planet, have been blessed with the knowledge of this fact since that we are Muslims.
We have been blessed with the greatest miracle ever to come to earth; the Glorious Qurâ€™an as a plain guidance on how to achieve that perfection.
We have been blessed, with not only, the last and the seal of all the prophets (a-s); Prophet Muhammed (saww), but also with the last Divine Message for all mankind.
We have been blessed with a line of pure and infallible leaders (a-s) from the progeny of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (saww) until the end of time.
We are blessed with the promise of being the inheriting nation of the world and to have the glorious blessing of living in harmony and peace, under the security of our last Imam (atfs) and the final Proof from ALLAH (swt) until the Day of Doom.
Bestowed upon us is the great blessing, that if we truly are in Islam in our hearts and souls, if we conduct ourselves by its divine rules and standards, if we truly follow in the perfect behaviour of Prophet Muhammed (saww) and the Infallible Imams (a-s) and if we stay sincere towards our faith and beliefs as individuals and as a united Ummah, we are promised such a wonderful eternal life in the Paradise of the Hereafter, that its reality and truth escapes even our most beautiful dreams and greatest imaginations.
We have so many others blessings, more than we can ever count, however, these 7 points are enough, for us to ask ourselves in honesty and sincerity why are we acting so unhappy, bitter, ungrateful and unkind?
The Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œHe who is deprived of kindness is deprived of all goodnessâ€ (Tuhaf al-Uquul, Prophet Muhammed (saww) #112)
How can we attest that we are a blessed nation, while we act so hostile towards each other, today many of us have traded our loving Islamic brotherhood in for bitter selfish animosity. How can we keep such long faces and such poison in our hearts, when we reflect on all the blessings we receive constantly from ALLAH (swt)? Perhaps we need to take a very deep look at ourselves, do we now think that the worldly materialistsâ€™ bad attitudes, sad faces and grumpiness reflects the perfect manners of true believers, is this why we adopted this appalling behaviour in our daily routines, or is it in fact that we are fooling ourselves about our true beliefs?
The Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œThe believer is cheerful and joyful, while the hypocrites are rude and quick-temperedâ€. (Tuhaf al-Uquul, Prophet Muhammed (saww) #112)
O wondrous creatures, by what strange miracle do you so often not smile?
Our Ideal and love:
Since we understand that in a very short period of time after our beloved Prophet (saww) departed this life, the majority of Muslims had drifted away from Islam, then we must recognize our sad and wretched state today, over 1400 years after that period of time. Not only have the masses of Muslims in the east been oppressed, attacked, invaded and persecuted for trying to practice their faith and trying to live by Islamic values, which is pushing our brothers and sisters back into the abyss of ignorance, at the hands of tyrannical governments and murdering dictators. But what seems to be even worse than that are the horrible effects of westernization of Islam, which has paralysed and distorted the true beauty and perfection of Islam, very sadly it is slowly corroding our fragile minds, hearts and poisoning our behaviour. Today the average Muslim in the west is much more preoccupied with his temporary material comforts than moving ahead as part of a true Islamic nation towards his True Ideal; ALLAH (swt). Our behaviour is far from being a reflection of Prophet Muhammed (saww), his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s) and those pious and virtuous companions (r-a), in fact very unfortunately we resemble more the hypocrites and the ignorant. We must reflect and take action on this enormous problem, after all we all have a duty to establish the commands of ALLAH (swt) and be an example of those commands by our behaviour.
Imam Al-Baqir (a-s) said: â€œInform our followers that they will surely be among the saved on Resurrection Day if they establish what they are commanded toâ€. (Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 2, p.29)
We can now find, in many corners of the western world, a new unfeeling Islam customized to fit those who ignorantly push nationalistic ideals, and try to promote Islam and the Glorious Qurâ€™an, as if they are only a materialistic message without any true moral and divine value. They are trying to transform Islam into a new kind of Christianity to fit their material desires and needs. The new so-called westernized Islam promotes Islamâ€™s essence, ideology and spirit, as only being a series of routinely rituals of worship, void and empty of any accurate governing system and social value, so they try to prove and propagate their material ideology by wrongly using Qurâ€™anic Ayats out of context. However Islam in truth is the only possible perfectly functioning social system for mankind, filled with love and the only â€˜Absolute Idealâ€™ that is worth striving for.
Unfortunately the Westernization of Islam is based on the logo: â€œBe different by theory onlyâ€ but â€œBe sure to fit in with the status quoâ€, so that Muslims will be accepted and not be bothered by the current day ruling enemies of truth, justice love, morality and ALLAH (swt), since they will become the Muslims new allies, surely we must realise that we are losing if we adopt this policy, not only that but we will become the enemies of ALLAH (swt) (May ALLAH forbid).
Perhaps this is somewhat out of context on this particular subject, however I am greatly reminded of the following comment made by Maulana Grand Ayatullah-al-Uzma Shaykh Naser Makarem Shirazi (may ALLAH give him long life) about the Ayah 3-149 of the Glorious Qurâ€™an, that sheds light on what will happen if we turn away from our Lord and Creator; ALLAH (swt) and obey and follow those unbelievers who try to fool us with their false sentiments:
Ayah 3-149: â€œO, you who believe! If you obey the unbelievers, they will turn you back upon your heels, and you will become losersâ€.
Grand Ayatullah Shaykh Naser Makarem Shirazi (may ALLAH give him long life) commented: â€œAnd what loss can be greater and worst for the believer than giving up faith for blasphemy, prosperity for adversity, and truth for falsehood?â€
Anyhow, to return to the subject at hand, we must now decide and take responsibility, we now must choose if we are Muslims; loving, believing, worshiping, working, striving and behaving for ALLAH (swt), or we are lovers of this short transient life, where our behaviour depends only on our material gain, and Islam is but a theory, like a banner that we take out every so often to impress others in showing that we still have religion?
We cannot indeed change our society without changing ourselves simultaneously (in other words our inner Jihad (greater) and outer jihad (lesser) must be performed concurrently), and our obvious starting point is our own behaviour, for it is our behaviour that will either; clear the way to perfecting ourselves with knowledge and purifying our hearts with love and faith, which sequentially will able us to truly strive only for our â€˜Absolute Idealâ€™ or if we continue to ignore our behavioural problems they will push us towards corruption and tyranny, making us fall from the truth and sink us deep into the abyss of the darkness of Hell for all eternity, here once again, to remind us we quote the following Ayah: â€œSurely ALLAH does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselvesâ€. (The Glorious Qurâ€™an10:44).Â
Since we now confirm that we do have an illness (behaviour problems), we must now push ourselves in finding a permanent cure, we must purify ourselves and re-embrace Islam, this great step towards our essential prosperity is up to us, and the Noble Qurâ€™an tells us: â€œVerily ALLAH does not change the state of a people until they change the state of their own selvesâ€ (The Glorious Qurâ€™an 13-11). I am quoting this Ayah, to point out its meaning that speaks directly to nations and societies, to change within themselves their selfish, egoistic and egotistic polluted hearts, into hearts of purity, piety, virtue and righteousness, our main and most important of all prosperities is in the Hereafter, not only for ourselves, but for all of our Ummah, for as we said earlier it is an obligation to change ourselves while changing our society. Today we are ignoring or at least pretending to ignore the great injustice that our Ummah is suffering in our holy homelands of the east at the hands of the tyrannical despots and vicious hypocrites, whereas in the west, in order to hang on to our material comfort, we are ready to sell out our beliefs, faith and Islam. Our final point in this chapter is then surely what is our most important prosperity (goal and success) for this life and for the Hereafter, how can we once again be victorious (as the original Islamic Ummah were) over our â€˜tyrannical selfâ€™ and â€˜the new anti-Islamic influences both in east and westâ€™ who have no true consideration for Islam whatsoever, how can we achieve this great divine prosperity and how can our behaviour be a principal factor in this process?
In order to advance towards any goal, purpose or objective, one must know towards what he desires to approach. He must have one purpose and one objective in mind, all other things must be insignificant in comparison. Mankindâ€™s direction should be chosen on the basis of being the very best direction for all of humanity. This is what we call an â€˜idealâ€™ and the doctrine of the â€˜idealâ€™ is what is called â€˜ideologyâ€™. Qurâ€™anic sciences have taught us that an ideal in Qurâ€™anic language means deity, in other words all mankind has a deity of some kind, either the Absolute Being who is the Cause of all causes, or another human being, or an object, etcâ€¦ And sometimes one may claim one thing as his deity, when in fact it is actually something else, and sadly very often one can be unaware and blinded about that fact.
So we can say that if someone, even though he claims to be a practicing and believing Muslim, finds himself striving and pushing ahead only to gain a greater salary, better position at work, a more fancy house, more luxurious car, beautiful clothes, more popularity, happier family life etc, etcâ€¦ he has in fact chosen his material lust as his ideal, or as it is said in the Glorious Qurâ€™an; his lust is his deity: â€œHave you seen him who chooses for his deity his own lustâ€. (Qurâ€™an 24-43). Therefore we understand clearly that our goal (our final destination, where we want to be and our ultimate objective) is our ideal, and our ideal is our deity, and the deity is usually the purpose of all of manâ€™s efforts. If we lust over money and strive with all of our efforts for money, we are truly secular worldly lovers of materialism and any other title we try to give ourselves is a lie and an ugly farce. And if this is the case, it is quite understandable why we have such a poor behaviour towards each other, since in such a case our mannerisms, behaviour and conduct would be based merely on material belief.
The Almighty ALLAH (swt) says: â€œO sons of Dinars and Dirhams! (Money) I did not create Dinars or Dirham but for you to eat your food, wear your clothes, and give alms in MY way. You have taken my book and placed it under your feet, and you have taken this world and placed it over your head. You have raised your house, but you have lowered mine. You are attached to your houses and enjoy staying in them, but when you come to my houses you are restless and feel uneasy. Thus, you are neither independent nor good servants. Indeed your parable is like solid and decorated graves which appear beautiful, but inside they are uglyâ€. (Al-Hadith Al-Qudsi, chapter 7)
Imam As-Sadiq (a-s) said: â€œThe love of this world is the origin of all vicesâ€. (Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p.315)
â€œThis world and our life in it are worth nothing. We are nothing and so are our joys and sorrows. Is it smart to fuss over nothing?â€
Shaykh Abu-Saeed Abil-Khayr.
Imam Musa Ibn Jaâ€™afar Kadhim (a-s) said: â€œThe likeness of this world is as the water of the sea, however much a thirsty person drinks from it, his thirst increases so much that the water kills himâ€. (Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 78, p. 311)
However, Inshaâ€™ALLAH we are not, or at least donâ€™t want to be as is described above, we want to be true, pious, and righteous Muslims who want to free ourselves from the chains of hypocrisy and bad behaviour. We crave to be among the great followers of Prophet Muhammed (saww) who chose ALLAH (swt) as their only Deity, and Islam as their only ideology, we want to be among such great believers from the time of the Holy Revelation as: Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s), Fatimah Az-Zahra (s-a-s), Khadija (s-a), Salman Farsi (r-a), Abu Dharr (r-a), Ammar Ibn Yasir (r-a), Jaâ€™afar Ibn Abi Talib (r-a), Hamza (r-a), etcâ€¦
â€œSurely you, O men, are striving hard towards your Lord and so you are going to meet HIMâ€ (The Glorious Qurâ€™an 84-6)
Today is the perfect occasion to bring back the shining and brilliant behaviour of the righteous, pious, patient, kind, loving and virtuous of Islam. In todayâ€™s chaotic world, that is looking painfully for an alternative to all the suffering and pain at the hands of blood thirsty and greedy world leaders. Inshaâ€™ALLAH now is the perfect instance for us to win back the masses of people on earth and to bring them into the Glorious Light of ALLAH (swt) opening all of our doors to true freedom, as taught to us in the Noble Qurâ€™an and by the Holy Prophetâ€™s (saww) Infallible Ahlul-Bayt (a-s). Surely if the divinely chosen social system of Islam, that of Muhammed (saww), Ali (a-s), Hassan (a-s), Hussayn (a-s), was to be truthfully implemented on earth, all of mankind would push away forever from todayâ€™s weak and insignificant social systems such as Democratic Capitalism, Communism, socialism, nationalism, etcâ€¦ Inshaâ€™ALLAH perhaps the key to open the door for the Advent of our beloved Imam Mahdi (atfs) depends on our behaviour, but surely the nearness we can attain to ALLAH (swt) by doing so is beyond our greatest dreams.
â€œThe faithful are penitent, devout, celebrators of ALLAHâ€™s praise, wayfarers, who bow and prostrate in Salaat, bid what is right and forbid what is wrong, and keep ALLAHâ€™s bounds â€“ and give good news to the faithfulâ€. (The Qurâ€™an 9-112)
The question now is how can we re-embrace Islam with pure hearts, truthful intentions and beautiful and immaculate behaviour, what is the key element to fill our hearts, souls and existence with ALLAH (swt)? The key element is love.
Love is the link from ALLAH (swt) to all creation, and that pure love between the lover (the servant) and the Beloved (our Lord; ALLAH the High, the Great) becomes the essential link which brings about the true brotherly (and sisterly) love between all believers, and finally it is by this immense love from ALLAH (swt) that mankindâ€™s behaviour becomes immaculate, which drives us towards human perfection and purifies our hearts. Islam is based on pure love; which is the love of ALLAH (swt), all of our sciences prove this point and take no other direction but towards that vital love of our Creator and Lord; ALLAH (swt), which is innate in mankind and must be developed in order to prosper in this life and to grow towards the Infinite Light.
â€œBut those that believe love ALLAH more ardentlyâ€. (Qurâ€™an 2-165)Â
The Holy Prophet Muhammed (saww) said: â€œWe did not know YOU as YOU deserve to be known. We did not worship YOU as YOU deserve to be worshippedâ€. (Safinat al-Bihar)
If we understand the great process of this vital love for our Ideal; ALLAH (swt), we will notice that our behaviour will develop into a state of pure love, soon all will become a new and different wonderful realm for us and our hearts will be filled only with the need of our beloved; ALLAH (swt) and nothing else. In other words all of our love will be linked directly with our overwhelming love for our Lord and Creator. We then will behave only and truly to please ALLAH (swt), for we know that any good and happiness that we can bring to HIS (swt) creatures will please HIM (swt). Not because HE (swt) needs us or our love, but because we will be fulfilling our reason and objective of being created. Our love and respect for each other can only be true if we love and seek to be near ALLAH (swt) above all.Â
What am I to do with Paradise?
What games am I to play with the houris?
Give me an eye to make a Paradise of my every glance.
Khwaja Abdullah Ansari.
Imam Amir-ul-Muâ€™mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: â€œMy God, I have not worshipped YOU out of fear of YOUR Hell or out of greed for YOUR Paradise; but I found YOU worthy of worship, and so I worshiped YOUâ€. (Nahj al-Balagha, Khutbah no. 33)
Here maybe I must prove this in a simple example, an example that will Inshaâ€™ALLAH keep us on our subject of behaviour and that will light our hearts, souls and minds to how we should behave:
“When I was a young child I was often in the care of my grandmother, I had a deep love and respect for her and her straight and moral character had a great influence on me. At that young age my grandmother was without doubt the most important human being in my childhood. Anything she gave me I felt it to be better and more special than other things that I would receive, her gifts to me had a very special place in my heart and I had a great respect and love for all of her things. This was my natural connection with anything from her, because it came from her. In other words it was my great love and respect for her that made me love all that was hers. This is a natural behaviour of someone who truly loves”.Â
It now becomes very obvious, how can we as the Islamic Ummah who has chosen in our hearts and by our undying love; ALLAH (swt) as our â€˜Ultimate Idealâ€™, ever behave in a matter that lacks love and respect towards each other? This of course is not only illogical, but is impossible, because we all belong to ALLAH (swt) therefore if we do truly love HIM (swt) above all things then it is absolutely impossible for us to have bad behaviour towards each other.
Imam Al-Sadiq (a-s) said: â€œALLAH has never been worshipped with anything better than fulfilling the right of a believerâ€. (Al-Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 92)
Imam Al-Kadhim (a-s) said: â€œHe who makes a Muslim believer happy, then, he has initially pleased ALLAH (swt), secondly the Prophet (saww) and thirdly us (Ahlul-Bayt) (a-s)â€. (Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 74, p. 314)
Because our love for each other must absolutely be linked to our love and worship of HIM (swt), for if we claim to love ALLAH (swt) and we behave so wrongly, then we cannot be true Muslims or true believers. Is it possible to love the Creator and Lord; ALLAH (swt) but not love and respect his creation? No, this is an impossibility, because our brotherly love is a manifestation of our ultimate love for ALLAH (swt), and it is the root or foundation of what makes the Islamic Ummah the greatest of nations on earth, and this is what distinguishes Islam and makes it completely different than all other religions, beliefs, societies, movements, philosophies, ideologies, social systems, etc, etcâ€¦
Have we decided that we donâ€™t need ALLAH (swt) the Creator and Lord of all things, have we decided that we prefer the eternal Hell fire over eternal felicity in Paradise, have we traded in our great pious and intellectual position for idiocy and stupidity, do we truly believe that the behaviour found in the secular lovers of this life better than that of our Prophets (a-s) and Imams (a-s)?
The answer to all these questions is obviously no. So now we must return towards ALLAH (swt) on the Straight Path with hearts full of love for HIM (swt) and outstanding behaviour with each other, today we must become lovers of ALLAH (swt) and be truly devoted to our Ideal.
Imam Al-Sadiq (a-s) reported that: â€œAmir ul-Muâ€™mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: Love of ALLAH (swt) is a fire which does not pass by anything without burning it up; the light of ALLAH (swt) does not come over something without illuminating it. The skies of ALLAH (swt) do not cause a cloud to appear without it covering whatever is beneath it; the wind of ALLAH (swt) does not blow on something without it moving. ALLAH (swt)â€™s water gives life to everything, and from ALLAH (swt)â€™s earth everything grows. Whoever loves ALLAH (swt) is given every possession and authorityâ€. (Mesbah Al-Shariâ€™a)Â
Our picture and image is what we reflect on society and each other, and our picture and image is our behaviour, in fact it is our true reflection. Let us shine as bright as the original Ummah of Muhammed (saww) as did our heroes amongst them: Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s), Fatimah Az-Zahra (s-a-s), Khadija (s-a), Salman Farsi (r-a), Abu Dharr (r-a), Ammar Ibn Yasir (r-a), Jaâ€™afar Ibn Abi Talib (r-a), Hamza (r-a), etcâ€¦ Our Imams (a-s) showed us this way of behaviour and our Imam today; Muhammed Ibn Hassan Al-Mahdi (atfs) will also establish this kind of outstanding behaviour on the Ummah upon his re-appearance. If we are sincere followers and supporters of Imam Mahdi (atfs), then we better behave as he (atfs) will command on the days of his re-appearance.Â
â€œI hastened to You, my Lord, so that You may be pleasedâ€
(The Glorious Qurâ€™an 20-84).
â€¦He throws away his selfhood utterly
and ascends in the steps of the most pure.
Shaykh Mahmud al-Shabistari; Gulshan-e raz.
Let us now turn now to our next chapter Inshaâ€™ALLAH.