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Friday 23rd of February 2024
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One who doubts in Allah is an infidel

In the chapter of Doubt in Usul al-Kafi there is a tradition that Muhammad bin Muslim says, “I was sitting on the left side of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Zurarah on his right. In the meantime Abu Basir arrived.

Abu Basir asked, 'O Aba Abdillah! What do you say regarding a person who doubts about Allah?'

Imam said, 'He is an infidel.'

Muhammad bin Muslim says, “After that Imam turned towards Zurarah and said, 'If he openly denies then he certainly becomes an infidel.'”

In this tradition Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said that a person who is apparently a Muslim, but in his heart, he has doubt about Allah and the Prophet, and he dies in this same condition, he will be included among the infidels. And in the latter part of the tradition Imam says that, if that person openly refuses to believe in Allah and the Prophet, he would also be apparently considered an infidel.

But if one has doubt in his heart but he recites the formula of faith verbally, and does not show his doubt, then he will be counted as a Muslim. Though in fact he is an infidel. And one who declares his doubt about Allah and the Prophet, then apparently also he will be considered an infidel. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who doubts about Allah and His Prophet is an infidel.”[212]

 

Good deeds in the state of doubt are useless

 

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Surely the doubt and sin, both will be in the fire of Hell.” And people connected with doubt and sin would also be there.[213]

He also said, “One who was born on inherent nature (having belief in oneness of Allah i.e. monotheism) and his parents are also Muslims, even then if he has doubt about Allah, then he would never return to good.”[214]

In the same way in the chapter of Doubt in Usul al-Kafi, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that, “A person who has doubt or suspicion about religion, if he remains on either doubt or suspicion, then Allah will destroy his (good) action.”

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) has said, “Any action with doubt and refusal (of truth) has no benefit at all.”[215]

In the same chapter Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says, “The Prophet of Allah used to seek Allah's refuge from six things everyday; doubt, polytheism, arrogance, anger, cruelty and jealousy.”

There are numerous verses and traditions on the censure of doubt and on the destruction of those who doubt.

 

Destruction forever

 

It is an admitted fact that if a person dies in the condition of doubt or suspicion, if according to belief he is not with knowledge and confidence and dies in that condition, then he is doomed forever. There will be no deliverance from punishment for him. As against this, one whose belief is firm, and his faith is on the level of certainty, if he dies in such a situation he would be saved from permanent destruction. No one other than the faithless will remain in Hell forever.

 

A believer having bad manners and having unbecoming character if he also repents and asks for forgiveness and reforms himself then he too will be saved from Hell by the intercession of the noble personalities of religion. At the most he may be punished in the grave (Barzakh) and at other places before Hell and become pure. Now only Allah knows how long that punishment in the grave will be. In any case, finally such a person will get deliverance and without going to Hell, he will get a place in Paradise along with the believers.

This is not reasonable

 

If asked that: “Why should those dying faithless be deprived of the bliss of Heaven and its unlimited delicacies? Allah is most generous and merciful. There will be no loss (harm) to Allah even if all the people go to Paradise and there would no decrease in His Kingdom. It is also not beyond His Power. In the same way if He sends all to Hell, then too there will not be any increase in His Authority.

The reply is that a person benefits only as much as much as his measure of wisdom and understanding. If a donkey is dressed in a splendid dress and made to sit on a throne in a palace, given different types of adornments and all sorts of dishes, will this donkey be able to utilize all this in a proper way? Would such arrangement be reasonable? Definitely not!

Wisdom demands that everything and every person should be given a place appropriate to his or her status. People of pure, clean, chaste and exquisite souls should be provided with the blessings of Paradise. And if the souls are dirty and filthy their bodies should be of the same kind and their place should be Hell. A faithless person does not have the capability in the first place to enjoy and benefit from the blessings of Paradise, just like the donkey (as described above).

 

Way to Paradise

 

If one walks on the road to Paradise, one will reach Paradise. As against this if someone walks on the opposite direction, the road to Hell, then how he can reach Paradise? If someone sows the seeds of bitter gourd and hopes to reap grapes, would he get grapes? Has Allah deprived the people of Hell from Paradise or they have deprived themselves?

Man can get only what he desires for and that which he tries to obtain. Someone had no faith in Allah. He did not even make an effort to get nearer to Allah, so that by means of that he may get Paradise. When man has not made a firm determination to reach Paradise, and did make the effort, how he can reach Paradise just by doing nothing at all?

And whoever desires the hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted.[216]

 

Therefore, merely wishing to go to Paradise without making an appropriate effort to do so is not enough to take one to Paradise.

 

Punishment of the Hereafter is not revenge

In the Hereafter the criminals (sinners) will get punishment according to their evil deeds but that punishment is not revenge. Rather it is the effect of causes. Sins committed in the world will be the cause of that punishment. In the same way good actions performed in the world would result in the person getting rewarded in the form of light (splendor) and blessings of Allah in the Hereafter.

Another Misunderstanding

 

Another misunderstanding is that: To punish the disbelievers in accordance to their sins is not reasonable because they did not recognize Allah. If they had recognized Him they would not have disobeyed. If a King moves among the common people in plain clothes, and if someone opposes him because he does not know who he is, in that case punishing him would be injustice. That person may say, “Sir! I did not recognize you.”

 

Allah is not hidden from any sensible being

 

The reply is that the excuse of one who does not know Allah and is unaware of Him, is not acceptable. Comparison to a King dressed in plain clothes is incorrect. Allah is not hidden from any sensible person. If a wise man does not recognize Allah, it is because he did wish to recognize Him. If he were deprived of the blessing of wisdom we would have understood the handicap. However, a wise man does not have any excuse.

Any one sensible proof is enough to know Allah. We look around and find that in the stars, skies (heavens), drops of rain, leaves of tree, animals, insects, worms, ants, seas, deserts; in short, whatever is present in the universe are all proofs of His Absolute Knowledge, Wisdom, Power and Command. Hence there is a Being, infinitely knowledgeable and Wise, Omniscient, Mighty, Omnipotent, and Powerful.

 

Is there doubt about Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth?[217]

A poet says:

Each and every plant, which grows from the earth, says, “He is one without a partner”.

 

And the following couplet is also excellent:

In the eyes of an intelligent person every leaf from the green leaves of the trees is a notebook on the subject of the knowledge of God.

Allah the Great is so evident for the wise that they can have doubt for some other thing but can never doubt in Allah.

 

Then who are these people?

 

Still we see that majority of the people doubt about Allah. Those who have belief and certainty are very few. In the same way there is no chance for doubt on the Day of Judgment and the Quran also.

 

And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it; and because Allah shall raise up those who are in the graves.[218]

 

We see that in the world too, most people have doubts about Allah. Those who have certainty and belief seem to be very few. In the same manner there is no room for doubt in the Day of Judgment and Quran also, but none except Muslims believe in Quran and people other than Muslims have doubt on the Day of Judgment.

 

The blind cannot see the sun

 

The reply is that although Allah, Day of Judgment and Quran are all definite truths and realities, those having a sound mind and a prudent nature, do not think it proper to doubt in these things. One having eyes will not tolerate doubts about the sun. But those who doubt these three facts (as mentioned above) in fact suffer from a spiritual disease.

 

They have mutilated their basic natural instinct. They are so deeply involved in the blind following of lusts, greed, ambitions and false and futile things, that they have become blind in their inner eyes. That is why they do not see the reality. The blind cannot see the sun. One, who is a prisoner in the dark cell of a prison, does not know whether the Sun has risen or not.

 

Thus such people put themselves in a state of doubt, uncertainty, wavering, restlessness and lack of confidence and truth cannot be blamed for not being prominent.

 

They do not want to recognize the truth

 

People, who doubt, are in fact those who do not want to recognize the truth itself. If they were really seekers of truth, they would have had looked at the creatures of the world and sought a lesson from it. If they had looked at the marvel of the wisdom and amazing power of the Creator of the Universe with proper attention, they would never have doubted.

 

A very nice book is there in the hands of those who doubt. Whatever is written therein is also interesting. It is of a very high standard. A very good writer has written it. The printing is also very fine. The paper is of excellent quality. But those who doubt, instead of reading the interesting and useful writings, only relish its calligraphy, printing and exquisite form and they think that looking at these niceties is enough for them and there is no need to learn the details of what is written in it or to understand it.

 

The book of nature should be read with attention

 

Faithful are those who upon seeing the book, start reading it at once, and while reading the book, they start pondering over the greatness and knowledge of the writer. They also accept all the descriptions and narrations.

 

Knowledge of the Universe

 

Modern man tries to get the knowledge of the constituents of the world of creation. He takes great trouble for this purpose and spends his wealth and life for all this but he is not doing anything to know about the Creator of the world. To the extent, that he does not even think about this matter. He suffers such huge expenses to reach the moon. He makes efforts to learn about the climate and atmosphere there and get some benefit out of it; and he sacrifices much more but he is not ready to spend a little portion of his life to know about the Creator of that moon and how under His perfect and fantastic supervision it moves in the sky.

 

This is the reason, why today's scientific faculty and its knowledge is not the cause of auspiciousness. They cannot obtain real comfort and tranquility. Presently for the knowledge of man, these creations are the limit. Man does not proceed beyond this and he is not reaching upto the Creator.

 

Therefore turn aside from him who turns his back upon Our reminder and does not desire anything but this world's life. That is their goal of knowledge[219]

 

Advancement of science

 

Man has made great strides in the fields of medicine, surgery, and diagnosis of different diseases but he does not know anything about the Creator and Maker of those marvelous body systems of man. The knowledge of the man of today is limited to lowly things only (not thinking about Allah). But he is quiet with regard to the existence of God and knowledge of God. There is nothing except ignorance, doubt and stupidity. The scientist of today is unaware of the Creator of the universe, His names, His attributes, His army i.e. Angels, Prophets, heavenly books, life after death and man's permanent abode.

 

Nay, their knowledge respecting the hereafter is slight and hasty; nay, they are in doubt, nay they are quite blind to it.[220]

 

Why don’t we care about Recognition of God?

 

Why is it so, that people's knowledge has nothing to say about Allah? Is it impossible for them to obtain knowledge about Allah? Or they don't strive to have knowledge about the Creator of the Universe? If they can strive, why don't they do it?

 

The obvious reply to these questions is that man cannot be said to be helpless in recognizing the Creator of the Universe. The Creator has bestowed upon him the light of wisdom (sense/intellect) for this very purpose, so that he can reach to the Real knowledge, the Truth, and understanding and that he can recognize Allah and achieve His proximity. Quran says in clear words that Allah has created everything for man and man was created for His recognition and worship.[221]

 

Courage is low and limited to material pleasures

 

The fact is that the spirit of man, today, is low and limited to material pleasures. He is satisfied only with physical comforts and animal pleasures. He is not aware of spiritual pleasures, knowledge of Allah and taste of worship. Because of his low spirit and limited thinking, he does not even make effort to achieve all this and he remains in his ignorance.

 

Nay! Man desires to give the lie to what is before him.[222]

 

That is he wishes to continue sinning in the world.

 

An historic example of an elevated spirit

 

Twelve Muslim soldiers were taken as prisoners by Romans. They were taken to the capital and produced before the Christian King. The King saw their appearance, looks, features and character. Then he began to think what kind of people they are that though having very little strength and less in number they still manage to achieve victories everywhere? He told them, “If you can train my soldiers to become like you, I will reward you much.”

 

The Muslim soldiers replied, “Our religion does not permit that we help you in this.” And they recited the verse:

 

He said: My Lord! Because Thou hast bestowed a favor on me, I shall never be a backer of the guilty.[223]

 

The King ordered that they should be taken to the church, and beautiful girls be produced in front of them. “If they are attracted by them, those girls will stay with them on the condition that they accept our proposal.”

 

They were taken to the church. When they saw the girls, they turned their eyes down and said, “This is a place of seduction and not a place of worship!”

 

The King got the information that they were not lured by girls, so he called them and said, “If you do not accept my proposal, I will kill you.”

 

They all replied cheerfully, “We wish to be killed in the way of Allah, because our Prophet has said that if you die on the bed it is possible you may go to Paradise or not but if you are killed in the way of Allah you will definitely become the people of Paradise.”

 

Wealth, Position and Lust

 

Those who are firm on the Oneness of Allah and the path of His worship do not stagger in greed of wealth and position; nor do they stumble before lust and pleasures. Wealth, position, authority and lust; each of these is such a weapon that subdues all those with weak intentions and low courage. They leave the way of worship, and accept an evil way of life.

 

Just like greed; threat, especially threat to life is also such a weapon. But those who are firm on their belief and actions do not get affected by greed nor are they terrified with any kind of threat. They are ready to die, but not prepared to submit themselves to the defalcation of Islam or breach of trust of Muslims. Because breach of trust with Islam and Muslims is in fact, breach of trust with Allah.

 

Due to this, very few in the world are ready to compromise on truth, godliness, piety and faithfulness.

 

Spiritual Pleasures are many times tastier

 

Though, to get the pleasure of Allah's recognition, Godliness, piety and worship you have to do away with physical and animal pleasures or comforts of life to a certain extent and with some restrictions, even then spiritual pleasures are many times tastier than worldly pleasures. If someone is fortunate to really have spiritual pleasure he will forgo the greatest of worldly pleasure but not leave spiritual pleasure.

 

If you were aware of the pleasure of leaving the pleasure, you would not have called your carnal desires as pleasures.[224]

 

Continued praying though hit with arrows

 

In an expedition the Prophet accompanied the Muslim army. One night he gave the responsibility of guarding and protecting the army to Ammar Ibne Yasir and Ibad Ibne Bashir. They decided between themselves that, for half the night Ibad will remain awake and keep a watch and from that time to the morning Ammar will be woken up to keep watch.

 

Ibad Ibne Bashir was praying during his watch, while a Jew sneaked into the camp with the intention of taking advantage of the darkness to kill the Prophet. From a distance he saw among all Muslims only one person standing while the rest slept. He shot an arrow towards Ibad and it pierced his body, but he continued to pray. The Jew shot a second arrow, which also pierced Ibad but he still did not stop praying. In the same way a third arrow also hit its target. Now Ibad shortened his prayer and awoke Ammar. On seeing his condition Ammar asked, “Why did you not wake me up on being hit with the first arrow?”

 

Ibad Ibne Bashir said, “O Ammar! I was reciting Surah Kahf in my prayer and I did not wish to discontinue. Were I not afraid that the enemy would kill me and reach to the Prophet, I would not have shortened the prayer, but completed Surah Kahf, though my life would have gone.” After that, both Ibad and Ammar together chased away the intruder from the Muslim camp.[225]

 

The brave ones of Karbala’

 

Now imagine the pleasure of worship that overcomes arrow injuries; rather the pain of death.

If you want to know more about the greatness of the pleasure of worship just look at the condition of the companions of Imam Husain (a.s.). It is really astonishing how they left everything i.e. wealth, position, family and children in the way of Allah. Doing away with physical pleasures, they embraced all kinds of troubles and hardships and sacrificed their likes with great love and devotion.

 

On the night of Ashura (10th of Mohurrum) Burair was saying, “Tonight I am happier than I ever was in my whole life, because I know that tomorrow my place would be in Paradise.”

On the day of Ashura the condition of Aabis was such, that he removed his coat of mail and helmet and in that same condition, jumped into the sea of soldiers and confronted the waves of the enemies. Imam Husain (a.s.) had announced several times loudly and given permission that anyone of them could go away if they so wished but none took benefit of this permission. The black slave, Jaun was begging Imam Husain (a.s.) to permit him getting killed in the battlefield. Companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) were saying to the effect:

 

O master of religion! Even if I carry my throne of excellence upto the empyrean (high seat), then too, I remain a slave of yours, O honorable gentleman I remain needy of this house of yours. If I draw away my heart from you and give up your love, then where would I throw such love and where would I carry such a heart?[226]

 

Science supports belief of Monotheism

 

Man should not fall short in gaining the recognition of God and His worship. We must definitely acquire the knowledge of modern sciences, but should also try to have the knowledge of God. There is no contradiction or inconsistency between the two. The two do not negate each other; rather scientific knowledge supports belief in Oneness of God. In fact it increases knowledge and belief in God, helps in recognizing One God and cures doubt. The purpose for the creation of heavens and earth is that man may acquire the knowledge of God.

 

The purpose of all creation is recognition of God

 

The Holy Quran points to this:

 

Allah is He who creates seven heavens and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge.[227]

 

Everything takes place as destined by Allah and according to His arrangement. It may be life or death, riches or poverty, hardship or comfort, sickness or health. In short, everything takes place according to command from Allah.

 

As there are seven heavens, in the same way there are seven earths too. In the book Al Haiato Wal-Islam, Shahristani says:

“Seven earths denote the seven planets of the solar system, Earth, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; and seven heavens denote the skies enclosing these seven planets. This verse is talking about our solar system. Now, since the interpretation of number cannot become the proof even if there are millions of earths and heavens and there are thousands of other systems like our solar system, then too this verse cannot be refuted.

 

This can be further explained by the example of a person who says, “I have two horses.” Now it could also be that he is having more than two horses. Even if he has a hundred horses his statement cannot be proved false because he did not say, “I do not have more than two horses.” For more information refer to the above-mentioned book.

 

Worship and Knowledge of Allah

 

And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve me.[228]

 

It means that they reach up to the level of servitude and recognize the Kingdom of Allah to its appropriate worth. They gain access to the great stage of Allah's nearness. But this requires knowledge and action. These two are just like two wings to fly upto the heights of spiritual status. Those great positions are such that no physical eye has seen them, neither any ear has heard about them. Rather it has not even occurred to a materialistic man.

 

Therefore it is necessary that man should know and understand the diseases of doubt and ignorance, and he should go in quest of knowledge and certainty; that is recognition of God to cure them.

 

The remedy of doubt and the position of certainty

 

Belief in Allah, that is to recognize the truth, and to create belief on that is not a thing in which there is absolutely no need of the means of, say for example, eyes and ears from the five senses. Rather belief gets into the heart through these means only.

 

With the help of these apparent means it enters into the heart and mind. At the time of creation only its command was connected to his nature. By nature man, is created in such a way that he has the capacity to get belief into his self. Now it is upto man to utilize this capability and bring it into the forefront. He gains belief, obeys Islamic laws and respects and follows the commands of Allah. In this manner he may reach to the great position of faith and belief. Rather he is very much anxious to reach those elevated positions.

 

Power of electricity

 

The natural capability of attaining the recognition of Allah is hidden in man like electricity. It is exactly like electricity remains hidden in metals but scientific instruments are required to use it. Without that electricity cannot be utilized. In the same way the light of knowledge and belief is hidden in the nature and temperament of man but he has to make efforts to benefit from it. The light can increase, and can become evident also. If man makes an effort he can get to the extreme position of the splendor of truth, but if he becomes careless, the inherent light becomes faint to the extent that it is ultimately extinguished.

 

Purification of filth

 

To enhance natural effulgence and to make it evident, two basic things are required, vacating and purification. Vacating means to clear the heart from all kinds of pollutions like greed, lust and animal desires or devilish actions. Such evils conceal the natural light further. Dust gathers on the mirror of mind and man becomes oblivious of the truth.

 

Belief is a natural thing

 

God says in Quran:

 

Then set your face upright for religion in the right state-the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know.[229]

 

Here religion only means the religion of Oneness of Allah, and that is Islam.

 

Keep your face towards religion. [230]

 

It means that you must continuously attend to the true religion, be steadfast on it and obey its commands. The meaning of “nature made by Allah” is to recognize Allah, accept His Oneness and to follow His commands with devotion. This in itself is the power, which Allah has reposed in the nature of man. Devotion to God and following His commands are from the necessities of faith and the way to this is the religion of Islam. There can be no change in this nature. The meaning of this can also be that man should not let this natural effulgence dim and he should protect it from destruction. He should remain firm on the way of One God (i.e. monotheism) and on the religion of Islam.

 

One kind of Creation cannot be changed into another kind

 

Inorganic matters, (minerals), vegetables, animals (living beings) etc; from all these, every creation reaches up to its peak of development (final stages of its existence with excellence). They attain development but they cannot leave their own species and get themselves changed into some other form of creation. Almighty Allah has given this capability to the grain of wheat that when it is sown in proper soil and in proper conditions i.e. when it is given water in proper proportions the grain can split the ground and come up in the form of a sapling.

 

In that case half remains in the ground as roots and half comes up in form of branches. Grains of wheat multiply greatly but it is not possible for wheat plant to produce barley or lentils. All this is manifested clearly by Allah and it cannot be changed. In the same way a monkey cannot change into a man. An offspring of a human being cannot be a monkey, neither can a monkey produce human offspring. (As Darwin's theory states).

 

Firmness on Monotheism is an excellence

 

Progress of man and his excellence lies in that there should be physical and worldly life also along with the provision of everlasting life of the next world. He should strive to get access to these spiritual positions, but one cannot gain this excellence till one is not firm in belief, which is the right path of monotheism and till the time one is not prepared to follow the commands of the religion of God.

 

A person can attain that excellence only when, he with a firm intention and inclination moves towards this path. He should cultivate the capabilities given to him by God and that which is hidden in his self. He should move towards excellence, so that, he becomes one having true belief and real recognition of God. So that he may become one upholding the attribute of man. It is evident that, the way of monotheism and servitude to God is opposite to the way of beastly acts and carnal desires. To proceed on this way some force has to be applied and great courage is required for this.

 

It is obvious that something can be done only when means are provided. A person can reach his destination of excellence only when he arranges the means for it; and the most important mean is man's intention itself. Till the time he does not keep his intentions in his control, he will remain like an animal. He will remain in the lowest levels of beasts. He cannot think of the destination of humans. Man's intentions are tested in the world. If they are correct it will cause him to be taken to the position of excellence.

 

It is in the nature of man that he believes in Allah. But he purposely does not improve his intentions, because of his going against his natural instincts. He allows his carnal desires to exceed the bounds. In the same way he himself becomes an obstruction in the way of development of his nature. Thus he fails the test of his intentions.

 

If man seriously tries he can definitely gain Allah’s recognition

 

If a person seriously wants to become God-knowing (Pious) and he remains firm on his intentions keeping all sorts of obstructions away by pressurizing his self then definitely he reaches upto the destination of Allah's recognition. Many people remain prey to self-praise and ego. They come under the deceit of Satan and wrong notions.

 

They make baseless arguments and just deny the existence of God. They remain pleased with their wrong notions and think that without any Creator, such a big universe has come into existence on its own. They think that it is without any patron. They spurn the high position of humanism, by saying that man was also an animal with dense hair, four legs and a tail, which became a human through evolution and now he is walking on two legs. They say monkeys evolved into humans. What an ignorant concept! As if the foundation of humanism is based on beastliness, waywardness, rapacity, lust and obscenity. Today also, majority of people consider their origin to be materialism and beastliness.

 

Awakening of conscience

 

However those who had initially laid the foundation of such wrong notions, themselves left this frenzy of thoughtlessness and came to their senses. Their conscience woke up and professed the truth. They themselves started negating their own wrong notions. By way of examples we present here some of their utterances.

 

 

1. Darwin

 

Charles Robert Darwin is famous for his evolution theory. It was he who said that one creation gets transformed into another. This theory was named Darwinism. He became the cause of those who were materialistic in the last few centuries to become atheist and secular. Famous American author, John Clower writes, “At last his conscience roused him. The hidden natural instinct (intellect) made him oppose his own theory and he became the confessor of an Eternal Power.” German intellectual Benhaz has confessed in his book Aslul Anwaa that, “It is impossible for a matured intellectual, after seeing the astonishing arrangement of the Universe and its harmony, to deny that there is a creator of such a wonderful world, who is Powerful and a fountainhead of wisdom.”

 

2. Raeng

 

Famous German philosopher Raeng was a great follower of Darwin. He was very much against those who believed in God, but under the hallowed pressure of conscience, that is under the hidden natural instincts, he rectified his perception and wrote a book, World is a creation. He confessed with total confidence that there is a creator of the universe and He is One God.

 

3. Rumien

 

Rumien was a British philosopher and a strict materialist, but his conscience ultimately forced him to say, “All those scientific and philosophical concepts according to which the creator of the world is supposed to be matter are incorrect. The existence of this world is just impossible without a Super Power, full of Wisdom; an Omnipotent God, the Creator. My inner feelings witness this fact and confirm the wisdom of the Creator; and such a creator of the world is inevitable.

 

4. Faraday

 

Michael Faraday was a scientist, and a philosopher. He was a research scholar of Physics and Chemistry in Britain. His theory was that the world has come into existence by chance, all of a sudden due to some chemical reactions. Different chemicals came together and took the shape of the world. He was not the follower of a Wise and Omnipotent God. He devoted his whole life to the study of Physics and Chemistry. One day in the year 1867 he was sick, lying on the bed in deep thought.

 

A friend asked him, “Faraday, now what topic of research are you thinking?” He replied, “I thank God, that I am not thinking on a wrong theory. I am bowing down my head in the court of God with utmost humility. I kneel down in confession. I am thinking just about Him. My natural instincts, feelings, consciousness, my inner-self and everything of science bear testimony to His existence. I have recognized my God. Now I am confident that He will disregard my faults and my absurd theories and forgive me due to my humility in asking for His forgiveness.” .[231]

 

Islam is a natural religion

 

In Usul al-Kafi, in the chapter of 'Faith and Disbelief' five traditions are narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.). These traditions commenting on the verse of “nature made by Allah” have explained that it denotes monotheism and Islam. In Tawheed of Shaykh Saduq Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that the Holy Prophet (S) said, “Every child is born on the nature, which is the nature of Allah's recognition.”

 

When there is none to hear the plea

 

In the commentary of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) it is stated that a person asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) about the way to recognize God. Imam said, “O slave of Allah! Have you ever traveled in the sea?”

 

“Yes, he replied. Then Imam asked, “Has it ever occurred that your ship was wrecked during the voyage and there was no other boat in the vicinity? And it was no use swimming also?”

“Yes sir,” he replied, “It has happened.” Imam said, “In such situation, was your heart urging that there is someone who can save you from this?”

 

“Yes,” he confessed. Imam said, “The Entity to which your heart was attentive to, that only he can save you from this holocaust, is Allah. When there is no one to save you, and when no one is there to listen to your plea for help, in such circumstances only Allah is there to save you and only He is there to listen to your plea.”

 

Divine help to seek knowledge

 

Ibne Abi Jamhure Ehsai has related in Al Mujalle that Prophet Isa (a.s.) said, “O Children of Israel! Do not say that knowledge is in the heavens and one who goes up will get it. In fact knowledge is put into your heart by way of nature. Imbibe good manners of the learned and adopt virtues of the truthful; knowledge itself will be disclosed to your hearts.”

 

In the 17th volume of Biharul Anwar, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said, “The knowledge of recognition of Allah and belief in His attributes is not acquired, rather it is a light reflected in the heart of such a person, whom Allah wants to guide.”

 

Do not deliberate on Allah’s Being

 

It is evident from the discussion so far that belief in Allah and His recognition is a natural affair. Recognition of Allah means that He Alone is the Creator. He is Unique, Omnipotent and Omniscient. We see that Islam stresses on the knowledge of the attributes of Allah. It is so because understanding the being of Allah is impossible. It is beyond the capacity of man or any other creation. Acquaintance of the being of Allah implies that the mind has confined His Entity. However it is not possible for creation to confine the Entity of the Creator. It is only the Entity of Allah-the Creator, which is surrounding the whole creation.

 

You all know that, surely He encompasses all things.[232]

 

That is why the holy Shariah has prohibited deliberating and thinking upon the being of God Almighty and it is made obligatory that man should deliberate on the attributes of Allah, His acts and His graces, so that he may get divine knowledge.

In Usul al-Kafi Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says, “Talk about the creation of Allah. Do not talk about the Entity of Allah. By talking about the Entity of Allah the curiosity will go on increasing.”

 

Also in the same book Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) states, “Whoever starts thinking this about Allah, that how and what kind He is, will be destroyed.”

 

Such a person will fall into destruction and would be misled. To recognize the Entity of Allah is just impossible. We can only limit ourselves to His actions and His Attributes. Nothing except bewilderment can be gained by deliberating on the Entity of Allah. And as a result of the bewilderment man starts having doubts, and then he refuses to accept the existence of Allah itself.

 

The flight of thought is limited

 

One who cannot recognize the being of Allah; it does not mean that, he should outright deny His existence. Lack of recognition is not proof that the thing does not exist. Till today man could not know about many creations of the world but he never disproved their existence. Till now man could not know about the reality of light. What is the reality of the waves of light? Still he does not know, how man is capable of seeing but he does not deny that there are waves of light either. In the same way man confesses to the power of thinking and intelligence though he is unaware of scientific facts, but he does not say that since I have not recognized the power of reason I do not believe in its existence.

 

How we believe in the unseen God?

 

The essence is that, man is unaware of many existing things, but when he sees the signs, marks or symbols he accepts their existence. Now, how it is possible that though he sees the things present in the world he denies the existence of their creator? How it is possible for him to say that, since he does not know the reality of the Creator he denies His existence?

 

None is more lacking in intelligence than those who say, “How it is possible to believe in an unseen God?” Such people should be asked, “Have you seen your intelligence or memory, or other capacities present in your self?” Other than these, there are many things in the world, which are not seen by naked eyes. For example air. Can you deny the existence of all such things? Don't you see the signs and marks?

 

Eyes only see material things

 

They should be made to understand that the vision of human eyes is limited to the things that have forms. That also with the condition that it should not be colorless or thin like air. Otherwise eyes cannot perceive such material things also. Now how such eyes can see the Lord, when He is absolutely Unique? He does not consist of matter. He is the Creator of both the dense and the rare matter. Rather He is the Creator of such things, which do not even have form and matter, like intelligence and thoughts.

 

That Lord is present everywhere (He is Omnipresent) and He encompasses everything. The whole universe exists because of His existence. It is necessary for man that first he should take stock of the orbit of operation of his eyes. So that he may not refuse to believe or accept the dignities and things that are out of their orbit of operation. Rather he should recognize them by their signs.

 

Three questions-a single reply

 

It is said that one day Abu Hanifah told his companions, “Ja'far bin Muhammad as-Sadiq has stated things that really surprise me. He says that Allah will not be seen in this world as well as the next. How is it possible that a thing exists but cannot be seen?

 

He also says that Satan will be burnt in the fire of Hell. Now since Satan is made of fire himself how can fire burn fire?

 

And he also says that people are free in their actions. Though Quran says that all actions take place according to the will of Allah.”

 

This narration shows that Abu Hanifah was convinced that Allah would be seen in the Hereafter, the fire of Hell will not burn Satan and whatever man does, he is helpless in it and Allah is compelling him to perform all actions.

 

Bohlool was present in the gathering. After listening to all this he picked up a lump of mud and hit Abu Hanifah on the head with it. Abu Hanifah started bleeding from his head and Bohlool ran away from the scene.

 

Abu Hanifah filed a complaint in the court of law and Bohlool was produced. The judge asked him the reason of such behavior. Bohlool said, “Abu Hanifah has objected to three things, which Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) had said. By hitting him on his head I have replied to all the three objections. One is that, he says that it is not possible for something to exist and not be seen. Now since he claims that I caused the pain in his head, let him show us that pain. However since the pain cannot be seen, it seems that he is lying, as pain does not exist.

 

Another thing is that he says since Satan is made of fire, the fire of Hell will not affect him. The lump was of clay and Abu Hanifah is also made of clay, hence how clay has affected clay?

And this gentleman says that man is not having free will and Allah compels him in all actions. Hence hitting him in this manner, according to him is not my own action. Rather it is an act of Allah. Then why is he complaining about me?

In the end Bohlool was released.

 

Some scientists

 

Hence it shows that if a thing is not seen it is not the proof that it does not exist. In Arabic it is said that: It is absolutely self-evident and reasonable to the extent of manifestation.

 

Even then some scientists have been deceived by their wrong notions. In the past centuries they had by analysis and scientific experiments performed amazing and exciting feats. They discovered amazingly exciting things, invented and manufactured scores of gadgets, really worthy of honor. But they gave such a verdict against wisdom and said that, “The universe comprises of only material things and this is what we have understood.” They denied all things other than material things. They did not give credence to the existence of soul, angels, and Jinns etc. They thought that the world is not consistent with an Omnipotent and Omniscient God and they refused to believe in such a God Who is Alone and pure, and free from matter. Because of their claim, they disgraced themselves among the wise people of the world.

 

A drop of sea

 

Thank God that majority of today's (twentieth century) scientists are not engaged in such wrong notions. The verdict of their nature and their perception is that such a view is wrong. They bow down their head with respect in the face of Allah Almighty's endless Greatness, Power and Wisdom. They also confess that the soul remains after death. They also confess and admit that there is a world of reward and punishment. They say that our knowledge is just like a drop, whereas what we don't know is like a vast shoreless ocean.”

 

The Ant and the telephone pole

 

In Tafsir of Tantavi, vol. 2 on page no. 48, the names of twenty great scientists are given who have accepted the existence of God, soul, and the Hereafter. Some of these scientists, for example, the greatest philosopher of this century and the teacher of Aureili Doshan, “Spencer” has written books on this subject and also written a thesis on this. However relating all those quotations here will cause unnecessary lengthening of our discussion.

 

In this commentary on page 161 a British scientist, Lord Olivier Large is quoted that:

 

“Man's knowledge about non-material things (for example, soul) is only as much as an ant might be having knowledge about the life of man.”

 

For example when an ant crawls on the telephone pole. It looks at the pole within the circle of its vision but it does not know that this pole carries a telephone network and that it is the medium of communication between people of different cities.

Similarly we do not have information about the unseen worlds.

 

Vol. I of Dairatul Marif, the Encyclopedia compiled by Wajidi and other books mention about many scientists who accept the existence of God.

 

Recognition of God and Science are related to each other

 

 

Hershel says that as science progresses there is increase in the proof of the existence of an Eternal and Omnipotent Creator, which is God. Geographers, Mathematicians, psychologists and scientists have cooperated with each other to strengthen the throne of knowledge; and this throne is the throne of the greatness of One God.

 

An Eternal and Everlasting power

 

The famous thinker Herbert Spencer says, “The more we investigate these mysteries, the more they deepen. Though we have indeed realized the fact that there is someone more powerful and higher than man, and everything has come into existence due to him.”

 

The Universe and its Creator

 

The French physiologist and natural scientist, Lena says, “The great Eternal God is aware of everything and He can do anything. He has instilled such awareness in myself through His creatures that I have become enchanted and perplexed. Because from the most minor creature to His greatest phenomenon there is same kind of novelty, wisdom and power that one is compelled to feel bewildered.”

 

After this the same great thinker says, “Whatever benefits we receive through the universe are the best proofs for the greatness of that God, Who has bestowed us all these things. Everything in the universe is so beautiful and balanced that it shows the great wisdom of the Almighty. God protects everything from destruction and misbalance. Constant change and transformation in the Universe also proves the Almighty's greatness.”

 

Brief statements of other thinkers

 

The accomplished intellectual Fomtetel writes in his encyclopedia that the importance of science is not because it reduces the fervor of intellects. Rather the greatest advantage of these sciences is that they invite our attention to the Creator of the Universe and they instill in us an awe of the Creator. The well-known philosopher Pascal says, “The Creator is an unlimited sphere whose pivot is everywhere and whose dominions are without limits of space.” The same philosopher also says, “Except for faith in God nothing gives us internal peace and quenches the thirst of the soul.”

 

La Mena says, “The word in the denial of the Creator burns the lips of the one who utters it.”

 

He also says that search for something other than God and absolutely unconnected with His Being is nothing but an effort towards annihilation.

 

Lo Cordon says, “God is that Unique Sun whose living and everlasting rays impart help and life to the existing things.”

Feu says, “God is aware of everything. He has control over everything and He is controlling all the systems of the universe.”

 

Gordon says, “God is that eternal and everlasting power by Whose favor the whole Universe has come into existence and continues to develop.”

 

In the 19th century Encyclopedia there is a statement of Prodon that, “God is a reality beyond our understanding and describing Whose qualities is beyond our capacity. But despite this His existence is certain and undeniable. Before our intellects could investigate the existence of God our conscience had already witnessed it.”

 

On page 354 of Dictionary of Stories of Quran, La Martin, a great French poet and litterateur says, “A heart devoid of God is a court of law without a Judge.”

 

These were some few examples of the statements of western thinkers. May our young people pay attention to this and derive benefits from those great thinkers and confess to the greatness of those thinkers who believe in and have faith in Allah.

 

Removal of Dirt

 

“Aloofness” (Takhliya) is to keep oneself away from things that are obstacles in recognizing Allah. In other words it means that we must purify our heart of all pollutions of the heart. The greatest pollutant of the soul is selfishness. That is to consider oneself most important and not in need of Allah and this mistaken notion is the result of blind faith. Some people feel happy at this mistaken notion. They acquire a little bit of knowledge and consider themselves intellectuals although this knowledge is limited while their ignorance is unlimited.

 

How can a person consider himself an intellectual though he is unaware of the most obvious truth and the recognition of God? This is nothing but pride and a compounded ignorance.

 

Compounded ignorance is that a person is unaware of his ignorance. He also does not know what he is unaware of. He shall remain in the compounded ignorance forever. Some details regarding compounded ignorance are mentioned in the beginning of this book in the chapter of “The Cure of Disbelief.” Let us revise these points again.

 

Cure of Self-worship

 

One must think upon his helplessness time and again and must ponder on his temporal nature from the aspect of his self, qualities and actions. He must understand that whatever there is, it is by the favor and mercy of Allah. He is in need of Allah every moment of his life. Another beneficial thing for the cure of egotism is that one must contemplate upon ones creation and composition.

 

That initially he was dispersed in form of particles of elements, then he came into the loins of his father, then in the womb of the mother and finally he arrived into the external world. Thus from the cradle to his present condition, each stage is worth contemplation. One should imagine his future conditions and even his death. Then he must think what his condition would be in the frame where his body will once again disperse into particles and he would again return to the previous condition.

 

From it We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time.[233]

 

Then one should consider in detail ones present condition and think upon ones life and death.

 

He must take note of his health and sickness, strength and weakness, old age or youth, honor or dishonor; thus he must study all his conditions over whom he has no control and whom he cannot mould according to his wish and will. So much so that he does not even exercise control over his thoughts and memory. He desires to understand and memorize many things but he cannot do so always. His desire just remains a desire.

 

In brief we can say that one should consider ones helplessness and lack of control, weakness and lowliness from every angle. The more he is aware of this the more he will be able to achieve the recognition of himself and his creator and the creator of others. He would be able to understand the limitless wisdom and power of Allah and he would similarly be able to confess his ignorance and weakness.

 

Self Recognition

 

A famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) says, “One who recognized his self, recognized his Lord.”

 

Some scholar has explained this tradition as follows: One who understands his phenomena - That he was nothing and then he came into existence. He understands his annihilation and decaying, indeed understands that his Lord is eternal and everlasting. He is from eternity and would remain forever. Anyone who realizes his helplessness, infirmity and ignorance, would certainly realize Allah's unlimited power, wisdom and control. Anyone who realizes that he is a creature, getting sustenance from the Sustainer God, would certainly achieve the recognition of his Creator and Sustainer. In the same way as many qualities of himself a man realizes as much recognition of God he achieves.

 

By contemplation any sane person can know that the creation of the soul in his body, his physical make-up and everything in every sphere of his life is not by itself. Certainly, somebody has created all this; someone sustains and manages it all. He is also the creator and the originator of all the parts of the existing world.

 

One who wants to deepen his recognition of God should pay more attention to this. He should read the versified supplication (Munajat) of Imam Ali (a.s.) quoted in the rituals of Kufa Mosque in Mafatihul Jinan. Also for this purpose it is essential to ponder upon its meanings. Some lines of this supplication are as follows:

 

O my Master, O my Master! You are the Living and I am a dead and who will show mercy on a dead except the Living?

O my Master, O my Master! You are Eternal and I am perishable, who can be merciful on the perishable except the Eternal?

 

O my Master, O my Master! You are Everlasting and I am declining. Who can be merciful on the declining except the Everlasting?

 

O my Master, O my Master! You are the Sustainer and I am a sustained one. And who can be merciful on a sustained one except the Sustainer?

 

Don’t consider yourself free

 

If God wills, more details about egotism and self-worship will be discussed in the second part of this book. Here we have to know in brief that as long as a man considers himself needless and without a guardian, he continues to consider himself as the greatest. Such a person cannot gain any divine recognition. But if he realizes with his sense and intellect that he is not firm and independent, a great veil is removed from the effulgence of his nature. He begins to recognize his Lord in the brightness of this recognition and becomes His ardent devotee.

 

O Hafiz! You yourself have become your veil. Move out from between yourself and the Lord.

 

Till the time you remain in pride of your knowledge and superiority you will remain without divine recognition. Let me point out a fact. Do not look at yourself because you are dust.[234]

 

 

Beastly pleasures and desires

 

 

All greedy and sensual behavior, following devilish desires, excess in animal pleasures like overeating, sleeping more than necessary, are those veils that conceal the effulgence of humanity or make one neglectful of the remembrance of Allah and cause spiritual illness. In such things, if excess is harmful to the body and this loss is considerable then it is unlawful. And if it is not considerable then also it is detestable. Now that excess may be in anything.

 

For instance an excess that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has pointed out, “Lustful glance is a poisonous arrow from the arrows of Satan. Lustful glance is a poisonous arrow that strikes the heart and soul of the one who glances in this manner. How sick would be the heart of the person who commits sins, day in and day out? How would the effulgence of nature glow after such destruction and filth so that he can remember God? How can he see truth and reality and recognize Allah?

 

Sinful glance is far from the beloved's face. Now glance at this pure face through a clean mirror.[235]

 

Yes, if divine grace is in ones favor the sinner would regret his actions and the fire of regret would burn the filth of his heart and then the water of repentance would wash the heart.

 

I have plunged into tears and performed the ritual bath. Like the mystics you also say so. Because the mystics say that first purify yourself only, then cast a glance at that pure entity.[236]

Every sin, however minor, covers the effulgence of man's nature and makes the heart rusty, creating proportionate distance and a veil between Allah and him.

 

This is proved by many verses and traditions. For instance:

 

Nay! Rather, what they used to do has become like rust upon their hearts.

Nay! Most surely they shall on that day be debarred from their Lord.[237]

 

In the same way Allah says in Surah Rum:

 

Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them.[238]

 

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) is quoted in Usul al-Kafi that he said, “Every believer has a white spot in his heart. When he sins, a blackness to that extent appears on it. If he repents, the blackness goes away. But if he remains in the impurity of sins for a long time the blackness goes on increasing. So much so that it completely covers the white spot. When the blackness hides the whiteness, a person with such a heart can never return to good. This is the meaning of Allah's words:

 

Nay! Rather, what they used to do has become like rust upon their hearts.[239]

 

Also, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “My father (Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.)) used to say that the most harmful thing for the heart is sin. Indeed the heart involved in sins is continuously inclined to sins till they gain control over the heart; then the heart is turned upside down.

 

Truth does not remain in it and neither can it return to it and stay put there. Such a person does not accept any advice and does not obey any true guidance.

 

The most dangerous pain of the heart

 

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “No pain is more dangerous to the hearts than sins. No fear is as intense as that of death. Past sins are enough to cause worry and death is enough a lesson.[240]

 

 

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) also said, “I am only worried about two things regarding you. One is following the desires and the other, lengthening of hopes. Following the desires takes one away from truth, while lengthening of hopes makes one forget the Hereafter. (Yes! Long hopes and desires make one forget death. And if man does not remembers death, he also forgets the Hereafter. A true believer is not commanded to fear death but he is to remember death.

 

As mentioned in the first tradition, “No fear is as intense as that of death,” Now this fear is perceived when one commits a sin and does not repent for it. To save oneself from the fear of death he should not sin again and repenting for the past sins he should repose hope in Allah's mercy.

 

Allah is Manifest, but veils of desires intervene

 

In the supplication of Abu Hamzah Thumali, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) prays to Allah, “And truly traveling to You is short in duration, and You do not veil Yourself from Your creatures unless their own misdeeds would block them from You.” In one version instead of A'maal (misdeeds) there is Amaal (hopes). Meaning thereby that hopes and desires become a veil and cause hindrance.

 

However close I may be to myself, the beloved is nearer. And more strange is that I am far from the beloved.[241]

 

Preoccupation makes one forget Allah

 

A man becomes so busy in the remembrance of himself, in fulfilling his desires and lustfulness and having long hopes that he begins to commit one sin after another even by his body and becomes sinful even by the heart. He draws the veils of these things between Allah and himself and this preoccupation of his makes him forget Allah.

 

We have lost the way

 

We become happy on getting materialistic pleasures of the world. If some material loss occurs we become sad and aggrieved. But we have no worry about the loss of the Hereafter. We do not even think of humanity and spirituality. That is why we do not worry about the well being of life in the Hereafter. Though there is no greater peril than the peril of sins and no harm greater than the harm of the Hereafter. The real asset of man is his faith. Thieves like sensuality and Satan continue to steal from it while he sleeps in carelessness. He doesn't worry that due to his sins his faith is decreasing or getting destroyed. It shouldn't be that at the time of death he becomes faithless.

 

It is surprising that in spite of this they lament their material conditions. In addition to physical sickness they also remain spiritually ill very badly. Hospitals are full with these patients in every era and no place is vacant; and the diseases are increasing day by day but people do not take lesson that they are giving more importance to physical ailments. They do not repent. They do not leave the satanic path. The remedy for all pains is remembrance of Allah. But they do not remember Him even for a moment. Their soul remains in restlessness and affliction but they do not find any remedy of it.

 

Now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.[242]

 

A Miserable time

 

Indeed the condition of a man is miserable. Imam Ali (a.s.) says in Nahjul Balagha:

You are in a period when steps of virtue are moving backwards, steps of evil are moving forward and Satan is increasing his eagerness to ruin people. This is the time that his equipment is strong, his traps have been spread and his prey has become easy (to catch).

 

Cast your glance over people wherever you like, you will see either a poor man suffering from poverty, or a rich man ignoring Allah despite His bounty over him, or a miser increasing his wealth by trampling on Allah's obligations, or an unruly person closing his ears to all counsel.

 

Indeed surveying the society of today we realize that there are generally four kinds of people in it. Some are poor who remain very sad and lamenting, some are very rich but thankless to Allah. Third and fourth are the miserly and greedy; or inspite of not being rich or poor, miserly or greedy they have forsaken the obedience of Allah.

 

Social life must also not be forsaken

 

Shall we leave such a society and recede to the forest? No, Islam has prohibited the way of Sufis and ascetics. We have to live in this society. We have to remove the obstacles on the way of recognition of Allah and the Hereafter. We must not waste the capital of certainty and belief, and remaining in legitimate limits we have to enjoy the pleasures and comforts of the society.

 

The Self of man, and Satan

 

The self of man, and Satan are the greatest obstacles on the ways of recognition of God, humanity, intellect and Islamic law. The self of man tries to mislead him and Satan makes the beastliness of the self more disobedient. These two enemies try to mislead man whether he is in a society or in wilderness. Therefore man should oppose them while living in the society. These enemies also trick man by making bad deeds seem good to him.

If man want to flee, he should flee from following the self and Satan, and not from the society.

 

Congregational prayer and Hajj

 

The greatest religious duty incumbent on people is the daily Five-times Prayer. Congregational prayer is also emphasized. Almighty Allah clearly commands:

 

And bow down with those who bow down.[243]

 

After Prayer, Hajj is a great Islamic duty. It is performed at a particular time in the company of others. Benefits achieved from society are not present in a life of solitude in the wilderness.

 

If someone preaches a life of solitude in wilderness, he is himself deviated. He is talking against Islamic law. How can one who is himself deviated, guide others? If a blind leads a blind, the blindness is doubled.

 

Then, what to do?

 

Allah is Wise and Knowing. He best knows the pain of His creatures and it remedy. That is why He has sent doctors like the Prophet and his successors. He has given a prescription of guidance for this. He has provided guidance for everything. What to do and what not to do, everything is explained in detail. Laws exist for uttering a single word and swallowing a single morsel. Where to sit and where not to sit. Whom to meet and upon whom not even to cast a glance. Rules governing all the big and small matters are present in Islam. Every act falls in any of the five categories: Obligatory, unlawful, detestable, recommended and permissible.

 

No act of man is such that one of the above five do not apply to it. Details of such laws are present in books of Islamic Practical Law.

 

Islamic laws and acting on them

 

On the basis of this every person is obliged to value the bounty of religion and act upon its rules. Its benefit would accrue to the man himself. The first step in this direction is learning the Islamic Law. Though it is obligatory first to learn those laws with which he is mostly involved. Of these, he must at least pay attention to the obligatory and the prohibited acts and exercise precaution in this regard. One should ensure not to miss a single obligatory duty and also that even a single unlawful act is not committed by him. The next step is that he should also perform recommended deeds depending upon his capacity and divine opportunity (Tawfeeq).

 

Indeed one who is acquainted with religious laws also acts upon them. In spite of living in this dirty society he remains clean and pure. Purification of soul, that is to keep oneself clean of evils and to mix with it the essence of Shariah would be definitely beneficial. Shariah is an alchemy that demonstrates how the self is heated in the kiln of trials and how impurities are separated from the pure. Since more discussion in this matter will prolong the book we content ourselves by presenting some examples of this alchemy.

 

Five times purification every twenty-four hours

 

For instance a religious command is to pray five times daily. Morning (Fajr), Noon (Zuhr), Afternoon (Asr), Evening (Maghrib), and Night (Isha). One who performs these five times prayers in proper way especially with a congregation, is cleaning himself of impurities five times?

 

The famous saying of the Holy Prophet (S) is, “One who regularly performs the five times' prayer, is like one who immerses in water five times to clean his body.”

Would any dirt remain on the body of such a person? The same is the condition of the heart of one who performs the daily prayers.

 

Every act has a particular effect

 

Like Prayer, each of the Islamic acts, like Fasting, Zakat (poor-rate) Hajj and other obligatory deeds have a special effect. Every obligatory act has a particular effect for purifying the heart, that is not present in others. If one performs all obligatory acts but forsakes one, he would be deprived of the benefit of this act. He would be involved in the disease of heart according to the act he has omitted and this cannot be compensated by performance of another obligatory act.

 

The same applies to avoiding prohibited acts. If one avoids all prohibited acts except one, his heart would remain impure from that aspect, and this impurity cannot be removed except by abstaining from this particular deed.

 

Remembering death purifies the heart

 

The same applies to the recommended deeds also. In connection with the purification of the self, the effects present in a particular recommended act are such that they cannot be obtained through any other way. Remembering death is among those recommended deeds that remove the obstacles from divine recognition and the purification of self. There are very few sermons of Imam Ali (a.s.) in Nahjul Balagha where he has not spoken about the remembrance of death. For instance he says:

“I advise you to remember death more and be less negligent about it. How can you be negligent about something (death) which is not negligent about you?”

 

Imam Ali (a.s.) states in a letter to the governor of Egypt:

“Whenever your self fights with you with regard to the sensual desires you must increase your remembrance of death. Death is sufficient as a sermonizer. The Messenger of Allah (S) used to regularly advise his companions in connection with remembering death and used to say, 'Remember death more and more because it breaks the pleasure of the self and is an obstruction between you and lust.'”

 

In a tradition in Usul al-Kafi Imam Baqir (a.s.) says that the Holy Prophet (S) was asked who is the wisest and the most intelligent believer? The Prophet replied, “One who remembers death most and one who is most prepared for it.”

 

Everything should be within limits

 

Abstinence from detestable acts is similarly having particular effects. If one does not abstain from a particular detestable act, a particular ill of the heart would not be cured. However as much harm is not there in leaving a detestable act as there is in avoiding a prohibited deed. In the same way as much harm there is in leaving an obligatory deed is not there in leaving a recommended act.

 

For example one of the detestable acts is to overeat. In the same way eating on a full stomach is also detestable. If one eats so much that it can become a cause of disease then it is not only detestable, it is unlawful too. In the same way to sleep too much, to talk too much is detestable to the point of being forbidden. However even if a sentence is uttered, that is prohibited, then it would not remain detestable but become unlawful.

It is mentioned in Surah Araaf:

 

And eat and drink and be not extravagant, surely He (Allah) does not love the extravagant.[244]

 

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Surely Allah does not like one who sleeps and eats in excess.”

The Holy Prophet (S) is recorded to have said, “It is your duty to remain silent. Because silence is a weapon to chase away Satan and it is helpful to you in your religion.”[245]

 

There are many traditions of the Prophet greatly flaying excess of sleeping, eating, speaking and praising people. For the purification of the self, cleaning of the heart and fostering the effulgence of nature it is necessary to adopt moderation in sleeping, eating and speaking. Apart from traditions, practical experience and personal observations also prove our stand.

 

Pleasure of Supplication

 

You can experience it yourself. One night eat and sleep less. Get up at dawn. Recite a few units of Prayer. Converse with Allah in private. Then do not be content with one or two nights. Make it a habit. Then you would relish the taste of nearness of God. Then you will taste the sweetness of His remembrance. And then you will be able to understand the grades of spirituality to some extent.

 

Eat and sleep a little less. Take this gift for meeting Him.

Be among those who sleep less at night and be among those who seek forgiveness at dawn.[246]

 

The second couplet points to what is mentioned in the 17th and 18th verse of Surah Zariyat.

 

They used to sleep but little in the night. And in the morning they asked forgiveness.[247]

 

Worship slashes the veil

 

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said, “There is no veil between a person and Allah, darker and more terrible than uncontrolled desires and self. And to slay these two no weapon or instrument is there except considering oneself in need of God, having fear of God, remaining hungry and thirsty during the day and keeping awake at night.[248]

 

Abstain from following the self. Because there is nothing deadlier like this beast that subdues people in the way of God.[249]

 

It is a difficult but important task

 

Purification of self or cleaning oneself from spiritual impurities according to religious law though very difficult for the self, is the sure way of good fortune, deliverance, success and happiness. The Holy Quran says in Surah Shams:

 

He will indeed be successful who purifies it.[250]

 

Almighty Allah also says:

 

We will most certainly make him live a happy life.[251]

 

No treasure is obtained without toil. Oh brother! Only he gets paid who has worked hard.[252]

 

Although difficulties borne in this world are indeed compensated in the Hereafter.

Allah says in Surah Haqqah:

 

Eat and drink pleasantly for what you did beforehand in the days gone by.[253]

 

Assimilation

 

After purification of self the thing needed is assimilation. Assimilation means the embellishment of self and the embellishment of self is contemplation and remembrance of God. It is obtained by contemplating about God after observing the universe and by always having His remembrance.

Almighty Allah says:

 

Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee, save us then from the chastisement of the fire.”[254]

 

Contemplation

 

Allah Almighty says in Surah Rum:

 

Do they not reflect within themselves: Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them two but with truth and (for) an appointed term? And most surely most of the people are deniers of the meeting of their Lord.[255]

 

That is they even deny that there is a life after death.

 

Material Progress

 

Now consider this verse:

 

They know the outward of this world's life, but of the hereafter they are absolutely heedless.[256]

 

Today most of the people are like this. Their thinking is limited to this world. That is why they are content with knowledge that would be useful in this life only. They create a private world. That is why today man has taken such strides in material spheres.

 

Man has attained perfection in agriculture and other scientific and technological fields. He has made astonishing progress in medicine. Heart surgery has become possible and heart transplant has become a reality.

 

But it is regrettable that no attention is paid to the spiritual diseases of the heart. New inventions and all the facilities of life are available today but no arrangement is made for the satisfaction of the heart. Leaving the limits of the earth, man has reached space. He has traveled three million twenty two thousand kilometers from the earth to land on the moon but what a pity that he has no control over his heart.

 

He reached places that none had even imagined, but as far as spirituality is concerned he has regressed. He has become worse than animals. Though he has learnt that the Solar System is in its old age then also he does not worry about the end of the world. He sees people dying everyday. He knows that no one is immortal, but it has no effect on him. He is not able to realize that there is life after death.

 

Another World

 

People do not realize that when there is a hidden wisdom in everything in the world, there should be a purpose behind the existence of the world also. This world was not created without any purpose; just to be destroyed one day. Thus there is another life after death and there is another world after this. Such a world, that he can reach it after being released from this terrible life and remain in everlasting comfort and happiness. Happiness, which is not accompanied by sorrow.

 

This world is for divine recognition (Ma’arifat)

 

Allah has bestowed wisdom and ability to man to contemplate on this world and through it obtain knowledge and recognition. That he can see that the tiniest of the creatures has a cache of wisdoms. So that he gains certainty on God Who has bestowed this wisdom. He should realize that there is some reason behind his creation. To find this he must refer to the Quran and the traditions of Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad. He can make his task easier this way.

 

In this way, he would know that he is created to recognize Allah and worship Him. He is created to achieve great perfections in qualities and manners. He is created to achieve a purified life of the world and the Hereafter. He is created to see such blessings, as he cannot even imagine.

Almighty Allah says:

 

So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes, a reward for what they did.[257]

 

In other words, Allah Almighty has created human beings and also created a perishable world as well as an everlasting one. The divine aim in this is as follows:

 

First of all, we must see the beautiful qualities of God. That is, we must ponder on God's Power, Wisdom, Generosity and Mercy. Then in this background we should think upon the secondary divine qualities. That is, the Justice of God and His Wrath on the unjust and disbelieving people. There are many verses regarding this, but we content ourselves by those we have already quoted.

 

Contemplation is the best worship act

 

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) used to say, “Admonish yourself by contemplation.” Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “The greatest worship act is to contemplate upon Allah and His Power.”[258]

Imam Ali Ridha (a.s.) says, “Worship does not mean only praying and fasting in excess. True worship is contemplating upon the acts of Allah.”

 

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “The worship of Abu Zar (Mercy of Allah be on him) consisted mostly of contemplation and gaining lesson.” Another tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is recorded that he said, “An hour of contemplation is better than a year's worship and only those who have sense, accept good counsel.”[259]

 

The level of worship depends on recognition of God. As a result of contemplation if the level of recognition increases, its rewards would also magnify. Perhaps it may not be obtained by year's worship with less recognition and could be obtained by an hour's worship with increased recognition. But it does not mean that one should give up prayer and only contemplate.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “If people had contemplated on the great power and huge bounty of Allah, they would have returned to the right path and would have continued to fear the punishment of Hell.”[260]

 

Contemplation results in good deeds

 

Imam Ali (a.s.) says, “Contemplation calls us towards good deeds and invites us to act on its result.”

Allamah Majlisi explains this tradition thus: This tradition includes all kinds of contemplation.

 

Contemplation on the greatness of Allah prepares us for fear of God and His obedience. It creates the realization about the temporal nature of the world and its bounties; so that if need arises we can forsake them by Allah's command. Man derives a lesson from the consequences of others. The unjust and cruel people get punishment in the world from Allah or the people, so he tries to protect himself from injustice, bad deeds and manners.

 

By contemplating on the secrets of worship he learns their aims and thus he performs them with more attention and in the best way. Contemplating on the high stages of the Hereafter he strives to achieve them. Contemplation on the laws of religion and legal problems makes a man act upon them properly and keep himself from sins. In this way the benefit of contemplating on good qualities and high morals is that man obtains them for himself and begins to decorate himself with them.

 

How to contemplate?

 

Hasan Saiqal says that he asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “People relate (a tradition of the Prophet) that contemplation of an hour is better than standing in prayers the whole night. So in what manner should one contemplate? Imam said, “He should visit the ruins or deserted places and ask, 'Where those who inhabited you? Where are those who built you? What has happened to you? Why don't you speak? (There is none inside you who can speak, all have passed away).

 

Contemplation is the way of recognition

 

Big and small creations spread in the universe are signs of Allah. By contemplation one realizes that there is a creator for every creation. There is indeed someone who creates motion in everything that moves. In this way when a man contemplates he sees an aim and wisdom behind each creation. Hence he understands that the creator of these things is very Wise. His wisdom and power is unlimited. He is managing the whole system of the universe in the best way. Whether animals or humans, He has created the system of their lives with much wisdom.

 

Man also knows how to control the system to a certain extent. He has also got intelligence and understanding. This ability to control the system, this intelligence and understanding are themselves creations in the universe. And man himself is a creation. He did not exist before, but was created later. Can the creator of an intelligent being like man, be Himself unintelligent?

 

Hands of the clock

 

The famous French philosopher and writer, 'Walter' (1694-1778) is considered among the most intelligent people of the world. He writes in his Dictionary of Philosophy:

The material but the best way to acquire divine recognition is that we should not stop at just carefully observing the system of the creations. We should also be attentive to the aims and intentions behind the creation of those created things.

 

Then he says, “When I see a clock that its dong indicates different hours, I immediately conclude that this clock is certainly made by some sense and intelligence. That is why it shows time in a proper and organized way. In the same way when I see the parts of my body, I conclude that some intelligent being has certainly made these physical organs to exist in an orderly manner…[261]

 

The hands of the clock are also like this. A special machine is constructed and the hour, minute and second hands are fixed in a particular way. If one hand fails, the whole clock will not work correctly. An intelligent man has constructed it very carefully. When this is the condition of this small clock then surely such a vast universe and its well-arranged system is also made by the Wise and Knowing God.

 

The Human Body

 

The human body is a very astonishing thing. It has systems of chewing, swallowing and digesting etc. Besides, it also includes the reproductive system. It has a perfect circulatory system to purify blood and make new blood. It has different kinds of organs like the heart, the liver, the kidney, the eyes and the ears etc. and most of all an amazing thing, called intelligence. It also has the five senses. Contemplating on each and every thing amazes us. Indeed the Powerful God has created all these things.

The Holy Quran says:

 

And Allah has created you and what you make.”[262]

 

Allah has given man every kind of ability. He has given intelligence and understanding and of course the power to utilize his ability correctly or wrongly and man would himself see the result of his actions.

 

Habit or Warning

 

If man continues looking at things just casually, as his habit is, he would never get insight or divine recognition. He should observe things with deep insight, intelligence and in a proper way. In this way he would be able to take lesson from it and be able to ponder upon Allah's unlimited wisdom and power.

 

Seeing a new thing man says, “What a wonderful thing is it! Now, more wonderful is the creation of this thing anew. That is its coming into existence from non-existence.

Almighty Allah says in Quran:

 

And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth which they pass by, yet they turn aside from it.[263]

 

For one whose soul is on the level of enlightenment and refulgence the whole universe is the book of the Almighty.[264]

 

Study the Quran

 

To practice contemplation and gain recognition of Allah we must study the verses of Quran. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has explained in four sittings, the points about oneness of Allah to his follower Mufaddal. We must study this. Besides the Holy Quran, we must also read other books that mention details about the earth, the sky and other creatures, and the study of which would increase our recognition of God.

Here we present some incidents for increasing divine recognition.

 

The Infidel king and the Pious vizier

 

In times gone by, there was a materialistic infidel king while his vizier was very pious. One day the vizier thought of edifying the king though it was not an easy task. The vizier built a magnificent palace in wilderness without informing the king and planted different kinds of fruits and flowers around it. One day, while hunting, the king and his vizier passed by that palace. The king was surprised and asked who has built that palace, adding, “I have passed by this way several times but I have never seen it before.” The vizier said, “It is possible that it was built by itself.” “How is that possible?” asked the king.

 

The vizier said that there were frequent storms in the sea in that area and hence it was possible that stones might have broken from the mountains and gathered there floating in the storm. Then by chance they piled on one another. In the same way the trees and plants grew up there because of storms. The king said that no one would agree with this and this splendid palace could not be made without the help of a skilled architect. “You must inquire who built it here?”

 

The vizier said, “You say that this palace cannot be constructed automatically. Then surely someone has built it intentionally. Now, is the human body not more complex than this structure? Besides human beings, are not all types of beasts and vegetables more astonishing than this? Can any wise man, seeing the system of whole universe say that all of it were made without any source?” This changed the thinking of the king and he also became a believer.

 

Discussion of Ali Bin Mitham

 

Ali Bin Mitham was a great Shia Scholar in the time of Mamun Rashid. Shaykh Mufeed has mentioned that:

One day Ali Bin Mitham went to Hasan Bin Sahl the vizier of Mamun Rashid besides whom sat a denier of God and an irreligious person. People were giving him great respect and were listening intently to his unbecoming talks. Ali Bin Mitham was very saddened by this.

 

He said, “I have seen a very strange thing today.” People asked, “What have you seen?” He replied, “I saw a boat without a sailor ferrying people across the Tigris River.” The apostate said, “O vizier! Do not listen to this person. He has no sense and he has become mad. A boat is made of wood and inorganic matter and it has no wisdom, sense and determination that it can ferry people across the river without the intervention of a sailor.”

 

Ali Bin Mitham asked the denier, “What is this? Why do You call me mad because of the absence of a sailor. Just see in what a perfect way the sun, moon, earth, planets and all things present in them are moving. How perfect is their motion and their arrangement, and you say that the boat of this vast universe is sailing without a sailor! In spite of this, you consider yourself intelligent?

The denier was ashamed and he realized that the fictitious story of the boat was narrated by way of guidance. [265]

White and Yolk of an egg

 

Abu Shakir Desani was also an apostate and a denier of God. One day he came to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and said “O Ja'far Ibne Muhammad! Take me to my Lord.” The Imam said, “Take a seat.” He sat. At that time a child was playing with a hen's egg. The Imam told the child, “Son! Give me this egg.” The child handed him the egg. Then Imam said to Desani, “See this egg is like a strong fort. A strong thick peel is surrounding it. There is a delicate membrane under this skin and a type of liquid silver is floating inside it. Within it is a gold-like yolk, which is also floating.

 

Neither the yolk mixes with albumen nor the albumen mixes with the yolk. Nothing is seen coming out of it automatically, that whether it will produce a male or a female. After a few days, the peel is broken from inside and a beautiful chick comes out. O, Desani! The cause of its creation is Allah, the Wise and Powerful or is it your imagination? How has it come into existence automatically? Abu Shakir Desani bowed down his head for some time and then raised it and said, “I bear witness that there is no god but one God and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger. I repent for my former belief.”[266]

 

Words of Allah

 

Signs of existence of God are incomputable and there are many witnesses of His Oneness.

 

Say, if the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely be consumed before the words of my Lord are exhausted, though We were to bring the like of that (sea) to add thereto.[267]

 

Every creation is a word of Allah. It has testified to His wisdom, power, oneness and uniqueness. It speaks of Allah and His unlimited attributes.

For the wise, every green leaf is a book of Allah's recognition.[268]

 

A Great Power

 

Think deeply on the condition of yourself and others. Man makes a determination to do a lot of things but in a short time his intention ends. He proceeds further with many tasks and has faith in getting results but there is no result. On the contrary, sometimes results are beyond his expectations. Breaking of intentions and overturning of hopes proves that there is a greater power that has kept his condition under its control. We have already mentioned the details of this in the chapter of polytheism.

For more insight we mention here some famous incidents in brief.

 

Shaddad could not see his self-made Paradise

 

A city was constructed by the command of king Shaddad. Its surrounding walls were a hundred and twenty miles long each. The buildings therein were made of gold and silver bricks. The trees were also made of white silver and red gold. Instead of fruits, diamonds and precious stones were fixed in those trees. Coral and pearls were strewn on the ground in such a way that soil could not be seen.

 

When Shaddad was informed about the completion of his paradise, he went there to enjoy it but could not even put a step inside it as his end approached and he died immediately.

 

Pharaoh was disappointed

 

Pharaoh was in pursuit of Prophet Musa (a.s.) and Bani Israel along with six hundred thousand men so that he could apprehend and punish them. When they reached the Nile, by the miracle of Prophet Musa (a.s.), twelve paths appeared in the sea and Bani Israel crossed the sea. The Pharaoh also followed them with his soldiers; but when his complete army reached the middle, the paths in the sea disappeared by the command of Allah and the whole army along with Pharaoh was drowned.

 

Nimrod, Abraha and Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.)

 

Nimrod threw Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) in the blazing fire to kill him but the fire did not burn him and Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) came out from the fire safe and sound. At last a powerful king like Nimrod died because a puny insect, a gnat that entered his nose.

Abraha moved towards the Ka'ba with his large army and elephants to demolish it. But he was disappointed when he reached there because Allah sent a flock of birds, each holding three pebbles of mud in their beak and claws. They dropped these pebbles on them and they all were destroyed.

One day Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.) said, “I want to rest today. No one should come to me.” Then he went to the roof and stood there supported by his staff (walking stick). The angel of death took away his soul in this same condition.

Remembrance of Allah

 

Remembrance of God is of two types: Obligatory and recommended. Obligatory remembrance is in three situations.

The first type of obligatory remembrance is that when man sees a creature he should remember its Creator. Seeing the created things he should recognize the unlimited power and wisdom of God. He should consider Allah as the fountainhead of all bounties and should accommodate His love in his heart. In order to recognize Allah in the first stage, this type of remembrance is obligatory.

 

When man has recognized Allah to the obligatory extent and begins to love Him and becomes His devotee, then continuous remembrance of Allah becomes recommended upon him. That is, it would be recommended that whenever he sees a creature he should remember its Creator. Whenever he sees a bounty he should consider it to be a gift of Allah. And in this way he should never forget Allah. Such remembrance is the best worship act. There are many verses in the Holy Quran emphasizing such remembrance:

Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth. Remember therefore Allah's benefits and do not act corruptly in the land, making mischief.[269]

Remembrance does not stand for mere verbal remembrance, rather it denotes remembering Allah all the time. In the same way Quran says:

Remember therefore Allah's benefits and do not act corruptly in the land, making mischief.[270]

This verse implies that if there is remembrance of Allah, there would be no mischief, and when there is no remembrance of Allah there would definitely be mischief. Destruction is certain, and forsaking the remembrance of Allah is destruction itself. In the same way it is mentioned in Quran:

So when you have performed your devotions, then laud Allah as you lauded your fathers, rather a greater lauding.[271]

 

Pride on ancestry

 

Before the advent of Islam, after performing the rituals of Hajj, the Arab polytheists used to stay in Mina for a few days. There they lauded their ancestors in poetry readings among the different tribes. Allah revealed this verse to end this custom. Nothing but pride is gained by lauding ones ancestry and it could not even benefit the descendants in the Hereafter.

 

Whereas Allah has granted man all the bounties in addition to ancestors. Allah rears men through ones parents. Thus all the bounties are from Allah only and He is more deserving of praise than the ancestors. In addition to material bounties Allah also bestows spiritual ones. The Quran says:

And remember Him as He has guided you, though before that you were certainly of the erring ones.[272]

 

Also the Quran says:

 

But when the prayer is ended, then disperse abroad in the land and seek of Allah's grace and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.[273]

 

Remembrance and thanks all the time

 

To remember Allah after getting His bounties increases recognition, love and faith. Till the time one achieves recognition, love and faith, it is obligatory to keep remembering Allah. After that it becomes desirable and it enhances faith. Remembrance of Allah after seeing the bounties is actually thankfulness. However to remember Allah on every bounty and all the time is very difficult, rather impossible. There are uncountable bounties of Allah upon every person and unintentional negligences of people are also incalculable. The Quran says:

And if you count Allah's favors, you will not be able to number them.[274]

 

One Breath

 

Man breathes more than twenty thousand times in twenty- four hours. He remains unmindful in sleeping hours but after awaking also he does not pay attention to a favor like respiration. If breathing stops for a few minutes, man would die at once. Sadi Shirazi has stated in an excellent way:

When the breath goes inside it gives life and when it comes out, it refreshes.[275]

Therefore there are two blessing in every breath and we should be grateful for each breath. In what manner can we thank Allah? All the creatures, including the angels, together cannot thank Allah sufficiently.

 

Man forgets himself

 

One who remembers Allah more and more will get, in addition to divine recognition and God's love, the benefits and happiness of both the worlds, while forsaking Allah's remembrance makes one a victim of misfortune and deprivation. One also forsakes Allah's remembrance forgets his own self. He does not fulfill his own right. He does not achieve happiness in the way of faith and actions.

Almighty Allah says in Quran:

And be not like those who forsook Allah, so He made them forsake their own souls: these it is that are the transgressors.[276]

Such people forget to obtain for themselves the provision of the Hereafter.

Man is not only a physical body

Intellectual and textual proofs (Quran and traditions) show that the reality of man is his soul; and his body is just its vehicle and the medium of its actions. All the movements of the body are due to the soul. When the soul exits the body it cannot make any movement but even after death, man's soul remains.

 

The soul is immortal and would remain forever. If in the world it causes good deeds to be performed through the body, after its expulsion it gets their benefits and lives in peace. But if in the world the soul causes man to do bad deeds through his body, it also suffers a lot of grief and sorrow afterwards.

The common man considers his material life to be everything. He thinks he would be annihilated after death. He thinks his body is everything. That is why he does everything for his body, but does not even think about his soul. For the well being of the body, he refrains from every comfort and delicacy but does nothing for the health of his soul.

 

He goes for major operations on his body and spends all his wealth in it but cultivates the greatest of spiritual diseases. He does not care that he would be punished for thousands of years in the Purgatory (Barzakh). Man forgets his soul, that is his self, and this is the result of forgetting God.

We do not say that you must not treat the body if it is sick. It is necessary to have it cured so that it can accomplish good deeds according to the commands of God. What we say is that along with the treatment of the body, we should also pay attention to the remedy of the soul. The cure of the soul is a thousand times more important than that of the body. The life of the Hereafter is much greater in comparison to the short life of the world. The hardships there, are many times greater than worldly problems. We must arrange for avoiding those hardships. Spiritual diseases also cause pain and hardships in the world, and physical aches are nothing compared to them. Observe this yourself; material comforts do not remove spiritual pains.

Concern for obligatory and unlawful acts

The second instance when remembrance of Allah is obligatory is while performing an obligatory or an unlawful act. One should not be lazy in fulfilling an obligatory act and abstain from unlawful acts in all circumstances. For instance one should not leave a fast without any valid reason in the month of Ramadan and perform Hajj when it is obligatory upon us. When it is time to pay the Zakat or Khums at the end of the year, we must pay it immediately. One should remember Allah in difficulties and must never despair of His Mercy. Once a person begins to remember Allah in unlawful and obligatory acts then if there is occasion to perform recommended deeds, it is better if he is capable and has divine opportunity to also perform these recommended deeds. It is recommended that when meeting Muslims one should be first in saluting.

 

If anyone salutes, it becomes obligatory to reply. He should be kind to the relatives and behave with his blood relatives and those related to him by birth in such a way that they are pleased with him. For example if a relative is sick, one should visit him. If he is in some difficulty, he should try to solve the problem. For instance if the relatives become unhappy for not visiting them in their sickness or solving their difficulty then it would become obligatory. Even if they do not become unhappy it is recommended to treat them with kindness. (Although if there is a clash between the pleasure of relatives and divine law, the latter would get precedence).

The same applies when facing prohibited acts. At this time also it is obligatory to remember Allah. If there is risk of a prohibited glance we must lower the gaze or move it away. If there is risk of hearing an unlawful sound, we should stop it or retreat from there. If we fear that unlawful words may slip out from the tongue, we should at once think of Allah. If we want to prevent ourselves from the unlawful, we should abstain from detestable acts. Anyhow, we must not forget Allah at any time and we must remember Him more and more.

The best and the most difficult work

According to a tradition of Usul al-Kafi in the 'Book of Faith and Infidelity', in the Chapter of Justice, it is narrated from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that, “The best deeds are three'. In another tradition the words used for these acts are 'the most difficult acts'. The opening words of yet another tradition are: Till the time a believer is tested with these three things they would seem very difficult to him:

·    Desire justice for others just as you would like to have it for yourself. So much so that do not prefer something for yourself till you are not satisfied with others also having the same thing.

·    Render monetary assistance to your brother-in- faith. (Help him if he is in need)

·    Remember Allah in every condition. Remembrance of Allah does not mean only uttering, 'Glory be to Allah, Praise be to Allah, There is no God except Allah and Allah is Great.' (Though they are also important). Rather, remembrance of Allah means that when you come across something Allah has commanded, you must perform it, and when you some across something that Allah, the High and the Mighty has forbidden, you refrain from it.

There are four traditions in Usul al-Kafi on this subject.

Importance of Remembering Allah

This educates us about the importance of Allah's remembrance. If one is not careful about the prohibited and the lawful in every moment of ones life, then mere verbal remembrance of Allah is either useless or of very little use. This has already been discussed in the beginning portion of our book, Greater Sins.Here it is sufficient to mention only one verse of the Quran, where Allah says:

Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).[277]

 

This is watchfulness

 

In fact, remembrance of Allah is that man considers Him present and witnessing in every condition. He must not forsake the commands of God under any circumstances. This is watchfulness. Such a kind of watchfulness is the means of guarding us against all types of destructions. Living in inhabited places the center of our attention must be the Almighty Allah. Such a kind of watchfulness takes man to the stages of perfection.

Allah is always the Guard and Protector of His slaves. The Arabic word for Guard is 'Raqib' Allah has appointed on His behalf, angels to watch the words and deeds of men. By the command of Allah they note down all good and bad deeds of every person at all times. It is necessary that people must also realize that Allah is watching them and they must not commit any sin in His presence.

For introducing variety in our discussion we mention here few interesting incidents on the subject of “watchfulness”.

 

[212]       Biharul Anwar, Vol. 15, Chapter of Infidelity

[213]       Usul al-Kafi, Chapter of Doubt

[214]  Usul al-Kafi, Chapter of Doubt.

[215]  Usul al-Kafi, Chapter of Doubt.

[216]       Surah Bani Israel 17:19.

[217]       Surah Ibrahim 14:10.

[218]       Surah Hajj 22:7.

[219]       Surah Najm 53:29-30

[220]  Surah Naml 27:66.

[221]  For example refer to Surah Luqman 31:20-21.

[222]       Surah Qiyamat 75:5.

[223]       Surah Qasas 28:17.

[224]  Persian Couplet.

[225]       Safinatul Bihar, Vol. 2 Pg. 144.

[226]  Persian Couplet

[227]       Surah Talaq 65:12.

[228]       Surah Zariyat 5:56.

[229]       Surah Rum 30:30

[230]  Surah ar-Room, 30:30.

[231] Quoted on page 306 of Jaheliyat wa Islam compiled by Mr. Yahya Noon.

[232]       Surah Ha Mim Sajdah 41:54.

[233]       Surah Taha 20:55.

[234]  Persian Couplets.

[235]  Persian Couplets.

[236]  Persian Couplets.

[237]       Surah Mutafaffefeen 83:14-15.

[238]       Surah Rum 30:10.

[239]  Surah Mutafaffefeen 83:14.

[240]  Usul al-Kafi.

[241]   Persian Couplet.

[242]       Surah Ra’d 13:28.

[243]       Surah Baqarah 2:41

[244]       Surah Araaf 7:31

[245]       Safinatul Bihar Vol. 2 Pg. 50

[246]  Persian Couplet.

[247]       Surah Zariyat 51:17-18

[248]       Safinatul Bihar Vol. 2, Pg. 603

 

[249]  Persian Couplet.

[250]       Surah Shams 91:9

[251]  Surah Nahl 16:97.

[252]  Persian Couplet.

[253]       Surah Haqqah 69:24.

[254]       Surah Ali Imran 3:189-190.

[255]       Surah Rum 30:8.

[256]       Surah Rum 30:7.

[257]       Surah Sajdah 32:17.

[258]       Usul al-Kafi, Chapter of Contemplation.

[259]       Biharul Anwar Vol. 15 Pg. 195

[260]       Nahjul Balagha.

[261]       Farhange Quran, Pg. 356.

[262]       Surah Saffat 37:96.

[263]       Surah Yusuf 12:105

[264]  Persian Couplet.

[265] This incident is recorded on Page 237 of Shaykh Abbas Qummi's Tohfatul Ahbab.

[266]       Biharul Anwar Vol. 2 Pg. 7

[267]       Surah Kahf 18:109

[268]  Persian Couplet.

[269]       Surah Ali Imran 3:190

[270]       Surah Araaf 7:74

[271]       Surah Baqarah 2:200

[272]       Surah Baqarah 2:198

[273]       Surah Jumah 62:10

[274]       Surah Ibrahim 14:34

[275]  Persian Couplet.

[276]  Surah Hashr 59:19.

[277]  Surah Maidah 5:27

 

 


source : Qalbe-Saleem, Immaculate Conscience by Ayatullah Sayyid Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
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