Pleasing God, Greed, Helpers of Allah
Issue 774 » January 24, 2014 - Rabi al-Awwal 23, 1435
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Chapter 2: Verse 120 (partial)
This verse is quoted at will in times of trouble or simply when people want to justify mistrusting some Jews and Christians. The verse is heard from mosque pulpits, in conferences, and at seminars, with the implication that it explains the attitude of Jews and Christians toward Muslims: their rejection of Islam, their double dealing, not to say deceitfulness, and colonization, proselytism, wars, Bosnia, Palestine, and so on. But that is not what the verse says: the phrase "will not be pleased with you" [lan tarda anka] translates here the idea of full absolute satisfaction, expressed with the heart as well as the mind. For Jews and Christians convinced, like a Muslim, of the truth of their own message, complete satisfaction with the other is attained when the experience of faith and truth is shared. One has the feeling of living and sharing this essential element that gives meaning and light to one's life. This does not imply that in the absence of this full satisfaction one can live in and express only rejection, mistrust, and conflict. One can feel and manifest deep and sincere respect toward a human being with whom one does not share this full spiritual communion. It is a matter of being sincere and of recognizing the states of our souls and hearts. It is within our communities of faith that we live most deeply the fullness of the meaning of (rida) with the other who shares our truth, even if it is possible (though it is the exception rather than the rule) that we might experience a unique spiritual relationship with a woman or a man from another tradition. The Quran here is speaking only of the intimate and very natural inclination of people of faith toward one another. At a deeper level, believers must be conscious that ultimately what they must seek before all else is to please God [rida Allah], not other people.
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 207
Greed is a sickness as is miserliness, and jealousy is worse than miserliness as occurs in the hadith reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him), "Jealousy eats away at good deeds, just as fire eats away at firewood, and giving charity extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire." [Ibn Majah]
This is because the miser only stops himself from having good but the envier dislikes the favours of Allah bestowed upon His servants. It is possible that a person give to those lesser than him who would help him achieve his objectives and yet display jealousy to those of the same level as him just as it is possible for him to be miserly without displaying envy to others. Greed is the basis for this. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Beware of greed for it destroyed those that came before you: it commanded them to be miserly and they were, it commanded them to be oppressive and they were and it commanded them to break the ties of kinship and they did." [Abu Dawud]
"Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures" - Ibn Taymiyyah, pp. 76, 77
[... continued from previous issue]
The meaning of the word ‘ansar’ is helpers, supporters. When Isa (peace be upon him) called out to his nation asking, “who are my helpers for Allah?” some of them responded by saying, “We are helpers of Allah.” [As-Saff 61:14] They showed their servitude to Allah by offering themselves as “helpers of Allah” (Ansarullah). In another place in the Quran Allah says, “O you who believe, if you help Allah, He will help you and make your feet firm.” [Muhammad 47:7] Why would Allah, the owner of the universe, who does not need anything from His creations, ask for help from the believers?
Allah has decreed laws that govern all of His creations. The sun, the moon, stars, galaxies, plants, trees, rivers, oceans, fire, water, air, birds, insects and animals all of them are governed by the laws prescribed by Allah. These laws that needed no Messenger govern every aspect of those creations. Allah has not given those creations the free will to accept or defy the laws that govern them. Indeed, Allah has subjected all of His creations to the divine laws, except for humans.
Allah has not forced the acceptance and obedience of divine laws on humans. He does not even reach out to every single human being with the divine message, instead he sent down Messengers with His divine guidance and has given humans the choice to accept or defy His guidance. This is why the help of humans are needed to establish a system in accordance with the guidance from Allah. Allah has done so not because He is incapable but to reward humans who offer themselves to be His helpers. Those who offer themselves as helpers of Allah to establish the Divine guidance among humans are given the station of Ansarullah.
One who serves Allah only in personal life and does not work towards establishing Divine laws sent by Allah through His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cannot reach the station of Ansarullah. Even if a person is known to be ‘pious’ and a ‘scholar’, he or she cannot reach the station of Ansarullah without working towards establishing a system based on divine guidance.
Allah has reminded the Prophet (peace be upon him) of this important task in several places of the Quran (At-Tawba 33, Al-Fath 28, As-Saff 9) saying, “It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the true way of life, to prevail over all other ways of life.”
The Quran, the life of the Prophet and his companions, show that the responsibility to establish a divine way of life is not solely the responsibility of Prophets. Those who believe in the last Prophet also bear the same responsibility. That is why those who did not aid the Prophet in his attempt to establish the divine way of life were labelled as hypocrites despite their prayers and fasting.
[to be continued]
“Four Stations of Believers” - Ghulam Azam