Issue 137 » September 28, 2001 -
The Prophets (21) - Ayahs 16, 17
"Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that lies between the two. If it had been Our Will to find a pastime, We would have found one near at hand, if We were inclined to do so!"
The argument in these verses is put forth by God to those who either find it difficult to believe in the existence of God or those who think life is just play and entertainment, devoid of any purpose.
They believe that man has been left free to live and do as he likes, and that none will be called to account for their actions. They do not believe there is any possibility of a Next Life where people will be rewarded or punished for their actions. Without this concept of a sense of responsibility and accountability in the Next life, it certainly makes one think: How just or fair would this life be for those who have been wronged or oppressed in this life? Only the arrogant people could think of denying the Accountability (hisaab) in the Hereafter (akhirah).
This lack of a sense of personal responsibility and accountabiliy lead people to say that the entire universe was created without serious purpose, that it was no more than sport and play for the unbelievers. However, as believers we know Allah gives us a definite purpose and vision of life: "I have not created the Jinn and human being (for any reason) except to serve Me." We also know, in the Quran, Allah has called a human being and a believer His Khalifah (Vicegerant or Representative) on Earth, which by itself is a serious responsibility, and not a joke. Allah has also asked the believers to be 'Witnesses unto Mankind' (shuhada 'alan naas) and 'Witnesses of Truth'. How could God have assigned such an immense role to us had He created this life for enjoyment?
In verse 16 Allah explains: Had God intended creation to be merely for sport, surely, He Himself would have engaged in it. In which case, He would certainly not have brought into being a creature endowed with feelings, consciousness, and a sense of responsibility. Nor would God place him in a state whereby he is engaged in a constant tug-of-war between right and wrong. God could have done much better if the purpose was merely to entertain Himself! God did not create this world to serve as a coliseum, to offer thrilling spectacles of bloody sports where the spectators clap deliriously at the sight of humans being torn to pieces by ferocious beasts.
It is also interesting to note that this misconception regarding the purpose of life is not found among athiests only. For example, according to the Hindu doctrine of Lila, all things were created for sport.
[compiled from "Towards Understanding the Quran" by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, pp. 257-8]
GLIMPSES OF THE PROPHET'S SEERAH
The son of 'Abdullah
The Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not like people using names and titles for him that they used for princes and kings. People, out of respect, many times would do this, but he did not approve of it. Once someone came to visit him and addressed him in the following words: "O my Lord, O the son of my Lord, O the best among us, O the son of the best among us!"
The Prophet (peace be upon him) heard this and realised the person was making an effort to please him. He told him and all his companions, "O people, acquire piety. May the Shaytan make you fall from your pretence. I am Muhammad, son of 'Abdullah, Allah's servant and messenger. Whatever status Allah has assigned to me, I do not appreciate your increasing it even by a small degree!" [Musnad ibn Hanbal, Vol. III]
EXCERPTS FROM ISLAMIC LITERATURE
:!: My Faith has reached rock bottom :!:
The phenomenon of weak faith has become very widespread among Muslims, and many people complain about the hardness of their hearts. So often we hear the words, “I feel hardness in my heart,” “I do not find any joy in worship,” “I feel that my faith has hit rock bottom,” “Reading Quran does not move me,” “I fall into sin so easily.” The effects of this affliction can be seen in many people, and is the cause of every disaster and adversity.
The issue of people’s hearts is an important and sensitive issue. The heart is called al-qalb in Arabic because it changes so quickly and frequently (taqallub – alteration, variation, ups and downs). The Prophet (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind." [Reported by Ahmad 4/408].
Man’s heart changes constantly, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) described: “The heart of the son of Adam changes more quickly than a pan of rapidly boiling water.” [Kitab al-Sunnah, no. 226]. Allah is the One Who turns hearts around and controls them. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “The hearts of the children of Adam are as one between the fingers of the Most Merciful, and He turns them in whatever way He wills.” Then he said: “O Allah, Controller of the hearts, direct our hearts to obey You.” [Reported by Muslim, no. 2654].
Allah tells us:“Allah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e., He prevents an evil person from deciding anything)” [al-Anfaal 8:24.] No one will be saved on the Day of Resurrection “except him who brings to Allah a clean heart [free from shirk and hypocrisy].” [al-Shu’ara’ 26:89] So the believer must check his or her heart, find out the nature and cause of the problem, and start treating it right away, before it overwhelms him or her and destroys him or her. The matter is of the utmost seriousness, for Allah has warned us against the heart that is hardened, closed, sick, blind and sealed.In the following weeks' issues we will discuss the various symptoms of weak faith, what causes it and how it may be treated. Allah alone is the One Whom we ask to soften our hearts and guide us. He is our Protector, He is sufficient for us and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.
...to be continued...
[from "Weakness of Faith: Causes and Cures" by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid]
Literally, means to strive against something or to exert oneself to the utmost
In Islamic parlance, it signifies all forms of moral, spiritual, and physical struggle .e.g an individual striving against the the weaknesses and temptations of one's own soul to better one's character, or a Muslim striving against the difficulties of living in an un-Islamic environment, or a Muslim community collectively striving to build a mosque!
Jihad is normally carried out through five avenues:
1) Inviting to Allah - communicating His Message with wisdom and beauty (da'wah il-Allah),
2) Witnessing unto humankind - being examples of truth, justice, and mercy to others following the exalted example of the Prophet (shuhada 'alan naas),
3) Enjoining all that is good and beneficial in all matters ('amr bil ma'ruf),
4) Forbidding all that is evil and harmful in all matters (nahiya 'anil munkar), and
5) Armed struggle in the defence of Islam, Muslim lands, Muslims, or oppression and injustice wherever in the world it may be.
[from "Towards Understanding the Quran" by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, Glossary of Terms]