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Today's Reminder

June 25, 2021 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 15, 1442

Living The Quran

Vision of God
Al-Araf (The Heights) Sura 7: Verse 143

"And when Moses came to Our appointed meeting and his Lord spoke unto him, he said, 'My Lord, show me, that I might look upon Thee.' He said, 'Thou shalt not see Me; but look upon the mountain: if it remains firm in its place, then thou wilt see Me.' And when his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, He made it crumble to dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he recovered, he said, 'Glory be to Thee! I turn unto Thee in repentance, and I am the first of the believers.'"

Every one of man's faculties has its appropriate function which it delights to fulfill. This holds good of them all, from the lowest bodily appetite to the highest form of intellectual apprehension. But, even a comparatively low form of mental exertion affords greater pleasure than the satisfaction of bodily appetites. Thus, if a man happens to be absorbed in a game of chess, he will not come to his meal, though repeatedly summoned. And the higher the subject-matter of our knowledge, the greater is our delight in it; for instance, we would take more pleasure in knowing the secrets of a king than the secrets of a vizier. Seeing, then, that God is the highest possible object of knowledge, the knowledge of Him must afford more delight than any other.

But, the delight of knowledge still falls short of the delight of vision, just as our pleasure in thinking of those we love is much less than the pleasure afforded by the actual sight of them. Our imprisonment in bodies of clay and water, and entanglement in the things of sense constitute a veil which hides the Vision of God from us, although it does not prevent our attaining to some knowledge of Him. For this reason God said to Moses on Mount Sinai, "Thou shalt not see Me."

The truth of the matter is this that, just as the seed of man becomes a man, and a buried date stone becomes a palm tree, so the knowledge of God acquired on Earth will in the Next World change into the Vision of God, and he who has never learnt the knowledge will never have the Vision. This Vision will not be shared alike by all who know, but their discernment of it will vary exactly as their knowledge. God is one, but He will be seen in many different ways, just as one object is reflected in different ways by different mirrors, some showing it straight, and some distorted, some clearly and some dimly. A mirror may be so crooked as to make even a beautiful form appear misshapen, and a man may carry into the next world a heart so dark and distorted that the sight which will be a source of peace and joy to others will be to him a source of misery. He, in whose heart the love of God has prevailed over all else, will derive more joy from this vision than he in whose heart it has not so prevailed; just as in the case of two men with equally powerful eyesight, gazing on a beautiful face, he who already loves the possessor of that face will rejoice in beholding it more than he who does not.

Compiled From:
"Alchemy of Happiness" - Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali

From Issue: 959 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Lustful Gaze

Many of us who are used to watching Sinbad or Temptation Island, or are addicted to Hollywood/Bollywood movies, or enjoy the company of people of opposite gender, may wonder whats wrong with lustfully staring at the attractive features of the opposite gender?Perhaps one saying of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sums it all:

"The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Shaytan, on him be God's curse. Whoever forsakes it for the fear of Allah, will receive from Him (Great and Gracious is He) a faith, the sweetness of which he will find within his heart." (al-Haakim.)

Therefore, a secret lustful look at a person of opposite gender has been compared by the Prophet (pbuh) to an arrow from Shaytan that:

  1. poisons our hearts
  2. ruins our intentions
  3. gives rise to false hopes and desires
  4. distorts our perception of 'reality'
  5. deprives us from enjoying and concentrating in Prayers
  6. gives rise to constant feeling of guilt and depression
  7. sometimes leads to sleepless nights
  8. renders our heart weak for continuous Shaytanic attacks
  9. promotes hypocrisy
  10. weakens our memory
  11. eventually leads to Zina (adultery)
  12. above all, diminishes our love for and fear of Allah

Compiled From:
"Watch Out for The Arrow" - Young Muslims Publications [Download and Distribute]

From Issue: 535 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Self-Criticism

According to the Quran and the prophetic tradition, the default feeling of a believer should not be self-righteousness. This is what the Prophet taught his Companions. Hudhaifa, one of the Prophet's Companions, had knowledge about the names of the ten hypocrites of Medina who were unknown to the other Companions. Umar b. al-Khattab used to ask Hudhaifa if his name was among the ten hypocrites! Why did Umar ask Hudhaifa this question? Clearly, he did this because he did not feel self-righteous at all. In fact, it shows a high level of self-criticism that is rare to find.

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq used to say: "I would not feel safe from God's deep devising even if one of my feet was in Paradise." Why did Abu Bakr say this? Because he thought that he does not deserve Paradise as a guaranteed reward from God. This is Abu Bakr, about whom Umar said: "If the faith of Abu Bakr is put on one side of the scale and the faith of the nation of believers is put on the other side, the side of Abu Bakr will outweigh the other side."

A feeling of self-righteousness is the origin of all sins. If one feels self-righteous and thinks that he has secured an exclusive or special status, surely he will start to feel that he cannot make mistakes. But if you fear God and think that you are the least of the believers, you will avoid committing evil deeds. The sense of self-righteousness is the origin of every forbidden lust of arrogance, miserliness, greed, extravagance, and so forth. If we avoid this feeling, we will keep away from falling into these lusts. This was the practice of the prophets, messengers, and righteous people.

However, the virtue of self-criticism should not turn into self-destruction. Self-destruction happens when a person blames himself so harshly that he begins to feel desperate. For example, if a person continues to tell himself that he is no good, he has never done a sincere good deed, and so forth, he will eventually feel hopeless and abandon everything. This course of action is unacceptable. Moderation and balance are virtues that lie between two vices; blaming oneself until one feels desperate and not blaming oneself at all until one becomes conceited. With moderation, our inner self will improve and we will advance in the course of our spiritual journey to God.

Compiled From:
"A Journey to God: Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah" - Jasser Auda

From Issue: 969 [Read original issue]