Knowing, First Entry, Ibadullah
Issue 772 » January 10, 2014 - Rabi al-Awwal 9, 1435
Fatir (The Creator) Chapter 35: Verse 28 (partial)
The more a person is ignorant of God's attributes, the more fearless he will be of Him. By contrast, the more a person understands attributes such as those of God's power, knowledge, wisdom, and dominance over all, the more one will fear to disobey Him.
The expression "those who know" is not used to denote savants in conventional fields of knowledge such as science, philosophy, history and mathematics. A person may be literate or illiterate, but what really matters is whether or not he holds God in awe. It should also be borne in mind that the above expression "those who know" does not necessarily refer to those whom we call ulama al-din (religious scholars), because they have knowledge of the Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, and Kalam. This expression only applies to them if they are characterized by God-consciousness. Accordingly, Abdullah Ibn Masud observed: "Knowledge does not consist of an abundance of verbal expression, but of an abundance of God-fearing." The same observation was made by Hasan al-Basri in the following words: "A scholar is he who fears God, who is inclined to what pleases God, and who keeps away from whatever leads to God's wrath." (Ibn Kathir)
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 9, p. 226
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was about to enter Khaybar as a victor, he stopped and said:
'O God, Lord of heavens and what they overshadow, Lord of the lands and what they are made to grow, Lord of the devils, and what into error they throw, Lord of the winds and what they winnow, we ask You for the good of this town, and the good of its people, and the good of what is in it, and we take refuge in You from its evil and the evil of its people, and the evil that is in it. Forward, in the name of God.' [Ibn Ishaq]
The Prophet used to regularly repeat these words, whenever he entered a town for the first time.
"War and Peace in the Life of the Prophet Muhammad" - Zakaria Bashier, pp. 213, 214
In the Quran Allah has honoured the believers with four esteemed stations that they should strive for. Sadly, very few know and reflect on those stations. The lack of understanding of those stations causes us to not truly understand our responsibilities and fulfill them. Those four stations are:
- Ansarullah, and
Believers need to strive to attain all of these stations since one cannot be separated from the other. It is interesting to note that the Arabic words used to describe those stations are in plural so as to indicate that they are stations where many believers will reach.
The word ‘ibad’ is derived from the Arabic root word ‘abd’ (Ayn-ba-dal). The meaning of ‘abd’ is to serve, worship, adore, venerate, obey with submissiveness or humility, devote, etc. ‘Ibad’ are then those who serve, worship, adore, and devote themselves to a ‘Mabud’, another derivative of ‘abd’. ‘Mabud’ is the one who is to be served, worshipped, adored, venerated, and obeyed with submissiveness or humility. ‘Mabud’ is the one who gives orders, commands, and who is served. Those who become the ‘ibad’ of Allah are able to reach the station of Ibadullah.
Allah honours and raises the status of only those who serve, worship, adore and obey Him sincerely. The more sincere one is in obedience and servitude of Allah the more one is loved by Allah. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most beloved to Allah due to his sincere obedience and servitude to Allah’s commands. In every prayer we read at the end of Tashahud ‘Abduhu wa Rasuluhu’. The Prophet has taught us the Tashahud where he introduces himself as the servant of Allah first and foremost before he introduces himself as the Messenger of Allah. Allah has also informed us in the Quran that humans and jinns were created to worship and serve Allah only. (Quran 51: 56) This verse is very clear in informing us that our sole purpose in life is to be among the Ibadullah and the only way to gain that station is to worship, adore, serve, and obey Him and fulfil his commands.
Just as Allah has ordained for us prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, and charity He has also ordained for us the responsibility to uproot stealing, robbery, adultery, bribery, gambling, alcoholism, hypocrisy, oppression and other diseases from our societies through education and penal codes as necessary. Just as He has given us laws for marriage, divorce, inheritance He has also ordered us to remove and fight against all forms of injustices done to His creation. He has also made it clear that it is only Him who has the right to declare something lawful or unlawful, no one else.
It becomes clear that the way to reach the station of Ibadullah is not only through the prayers, fasting, remembrance, and recitations but also through complete obedience and servitude to all of the commands of Allah. If we can appreciate this then we realize that to be among Allah’s ‘Ibad’ is the real status believers should strive for.
[to be continued]
“Four Stations of Believers” - Ghulam Azam