Search for Immortality, Conscious Awareness, Rowboat

Issue 1046 » April 12, 2019 - Shaban 7, 1440

Living The Quran

Search for Immortality
Al-Araf (The Heights) Sura 7: Verse 20 (partial)

"And he (satan) said, 'Your Lord has but prohibited you from this tree lest you become angels, or lest you become immortals."

In the above verse, satan tries to point out to the first couple of human beings that the nature of angels in their spirituality and immortality is superior to the human nature. If they had kept in mind that God's command to the angels to prostrate themselves to Adam simply proves the opposite, satan's temptations would have failed to bring about any effect. However, the human being has been created with such an eager search for superiority and immortality, however illusory and deceptive it may be, and such an attitude was exploited by satan.

The above verse also underlines that the human being is not created to be an angel. The attitude of developing the human spirituality while ignoring the legitimate physical and intellectual development, or of keeping oneself permanently isolated from other human beings, is against the human nature as well as the Islamic balanced model. Such an attitude would crush the human being and would never create an angel.

Compiled From:
"Concepts of the Quran" - Fathi Osman, p. 136

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Conscious Awareness

It is related that the Prophet, on him be peace, once omitted a verse from the part of the Quran he recited in the course of a ritual Prayer. As he was turning to leave, he said: 'What did I recite?' Nobody spoke, so he repeated the question to Ubayy ibn Kab, may God be pleased with him, who said: 'You recited such-and-such a Sura, omitting a particular verse. We are wondering whether it has been abrogated or taken out.' The Prophet, on him be peace, said: 'Good for you, Ubayy!' Then he turned to the others and said: 'What are we to make of people who come for their Prayers, line up in their rows behind their Prophet, but do not know what he is reciting to them from the Book of their Lord? That is just how the Children of Israel behaved, so God, Great and Glorious is He, spoke to their Prophet through inspiration, saying: "Tell your people: 'You present your bodies before Me and you offer Me your tongues, but you keep your hearts from Me. What you are doing is futile.'"' [Nas-Sahih]

This tradition helps to prove that the fundamental elements in ritual Prayer are humility and conscious awareness, and that merely going through the motions, in a state of heedlessness, has little value for the life hereafter. God knows best. We pray for His gracious help and guidance.

Compiled From:
"Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship" - Imam al-Ghazali



A new impetus must be generated that applies the Islamic spiritual paradigms as forces of social movements. The consequences of this are a new world order that incorporates the meaningfulness of the lives of everyday citizens, be they Muslim or not. This impetus has few exemplaries visible among those who are projected as Muslim leaders most dedicated to Islam. This reflects that elitist-mass-level dichotomy. The elites are preoccupied with establishing ever more authoritative control over the masses — while neglecting the mass-level input. The masses act with a totally unviable sense of reality, including those who presume the spiritual worth of Islam is only in the mosque or halqah as they continue to act with a world in such bleak disarray. If the world itself is going to hell in a rowboat, the best we can do is focus on saving our own souls for a glorious afterlife. I find this arrangement untenable. If Islam is not generated as a human-level concern and a mode of daily operations for the overall improvement of the quality of all aspects of life on the planet, then we will all go to hell in the same rowboat with the rest of the world. It's as simple as that.

As an obedient servant of Allah (abd), the goal of the traditional ascetic mystic, one can attain the level of active participant and full agent (khalifah) only in coordinating worldly affairs. The formulation of a thought system meant to enhance the overall quality of everyday life for all of God's creatures must become the immediate articulation for a long-term goal. It cannot and will not be done by taking refuge in the mosques as a spiritual buffer against a beleaguered world. I cannot adhere to or even believe that Islam was intended for such a dichotomy.

Compiled From:
"Inside The Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam" - Amina Wadud, pp. 260, 261