Worship and Faith, Making Beautiful, Inspiration
Issue 850 » July 10, 2015 - Ramadan 23, 1436
Worship and Faith
Al-Qadr (Power) - Chapter 97: Verse 2
When we look today in retrospect, after the lapse of numerous generations, at that glorious and happy night, imagine the fascinating celebration the world then witnessed, and ponder over the essence of revelation and its far-reaching effects on human life and values, we appreciate how great this event was. We can then understand, to some extent, why the Quranic reference to that night is made in such an equivocal way: "Would that you knew what the Night of Power is!"
Humanity, out of ignorance and to its misfortune, may overlook the value and importance of the Night of Power. When humanity does so ignore it, it loses the happiest and most beautiful sign of grace that God bestowed on it. It also suffers the loss of the real happiness and peace gifted to it by Islam, namely, the peace of conscience, family and society. What it has otherwise gained of material civilization is inadequate compensation for its loss. Humanity is miserable in spite of higher production levels and better means of existence. The splendid light that once illuminated its soul has been put out; the happiness that carried it high up to the Supreme society has been destroyed; the peace that overflowed in people’s hearts and minds has disappeared. Nothing can compensate for the happiness of the human soul, the heavenly light and elevation to the loftiest ranks.
We, the believers in Islam, are commanded not to forget or neglect this event. The Prophet has taught us an easy and enjoyable way to commemorate it, so that our souls may always be in close communion with it and with the universal event that it witnessed. He has urged us to spend this night of each year in devotion. He said: “Seek the Night of Power in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” [Bukhari and Muslim.] He also said: “Whoever spends the Night of Power in worship, with a pure motive of faith and devotion, will have all his past sins forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim.]
Islam is not mere formalities. Hence, the Prophet specifies that the consecration of that night must be motivated by faith and devotion. This would make its consecration by any individual an indication of his or her full awareness of the far-reaching effects of what took place on that night.
The Islamic method of education and character building links worship with faith and establishes truth in our hearts and consciences. By this method, worship is considered a means for maintaining full awareness of this truth, its clarification and firm establishment in our minds, hearts and souls. This method has been proved to be the best for the revival of this truth so that it has an unfailing influence on people’s behaviour. The theoretical understanding of this truth cannot, on its own and without worship, establish it or give it the necessary impetus for its operation in the life of the individual or society. This link between the anniversary of the Night of Power and its consecration in faith and devotion is a part of the successful and straightforward method of Islam.
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 18, pp. 280-281
The Sunnah is emphatic on cleanliness in terms both of personal hygiene and the living environment. The Prophet has thus been quoted to have said that "cleanliness is one half of the faith." [Muslim]
As an integral aspect of beauty (jamal) within and outside the rituals of the faith, the Prophet has also said that "God is beautiful and He loves beauty." [Muslim] Commentators have viewed that the reference here is to one's body, living quarters, and surrounding environment.
The appreciation of beauty is not merely a question of subjective aesthetics; it is also an objective aspect of the function of the intellect. Beauty thus takes one to the heart of ethics. The Arabic ihsan, which is also a recurrent Quranic word, is often translated as "virtue" or "excellence," also means "making beautiful" and means to beautify. Virtue and ihsan can thus be understood as that which makes the soul beautiful. In this light, the relationship among the intellect, ethics, and aesthetics is captured in one of the sayings of Imam Ali: "The excellence of the intellect is in the beauty of things outward and inward." Beauty is comprehensive when the outward beauty of form and action is complemented by inward beauty, that is, beauty of the soul, or virtue.
"The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur'anic Principle of Wasatiyyah" - Hashim Kamali
An inspired idea that comes seemingly out of nowhere is really a form of intuition and deep insight drawn from the subtle understandings we have within ourselves. Inspiration is something we think to be right. It is truth without proof for it.
Being in a foreign country can inspire us. Being a foreigner is a kind of deprivation, and those who are deprived see things differently and they derive meaning from a very personal vantage point.
Love is a source of inspiration. Spiritual and emotional attraction provides radiance and motivation. It makes people more receptive to being inspired. A woman who has a vital heart and a live emotional sense is receptive to inspiration and has greater intuition than a man. She is better able to discern what is unknown and uncover what is hidden. A mother's heart is inspired about the child that started its life in her womb, and this will remain the case even if that child reaches the age of seventy. The wife's heart is her proof that rarely ever errs when it responds to concerns and fears and when it gives hope for the future.
Women are inspired more because they love more.
Having a pure heart makes one more easily inspired. Those whose hearts are pure speak truly. Those who are pious and pure-hearted are blessed with wisdom. A pure heart is like a polished mirror that reflects things as they really are.
Supplication and nearness to Allah in a moment of acute awareness are sources of inspiration. Allah is the one who gives inspiration, supplication is the path to attain it, and faith is what compels it.
Peace of mind makes us more conducive to being inspired. It is the characteristic of the angels, and the angels are in an inspired state of being. Sometimes, seclusion gives us the ability to think clearly and makes us more receptive to Allah's grace. No wonder that waiting in the mosque from the time of one prayer to the next removes our sins and elevates our spiritual status. It is also not surprising that observing a retreat in the mosque is a practice of Allah’s Messengers, and that Prophet Muhammad first received revelation after he had spent many nights seclude in meditation in the Cave of Hira.
New encounters, whether with a person, a book, a country, a vacation, or an experience, makes inspiration more likely and more substantial when it comes.
Pressure impedes inspiration. Haste is a characteristic of the devil. You should be cautious about adopting a solution in a state of desperation or despair. This is also the devil's device.
There is no substitute for contemplation, study, and employing your mental faculties, but this is not enough. A hundreds of the world's wealthy and successful people stressed that they relied on rigorous studies, but not alone. They also relied on something else which could be described as intuition or inspiration.
Inspiration cannot make sins lawful nor lawful things sinful. Rather, it is a flash of illumination that casts light upon something inside of us allowing us to express some point of wisdom and beauty that we know to accept, though we cannot explain the reason for it.
"Inspiration" - Salman al-Oadah