Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Guidebook - Lessons from Quran-1 - Part 1

Surah Al-Furqan: 61-74

Highlights the characteristics of a true servant of Allah swt who are ordained for success in the hereafter.

In the Name of Allah Most Beneficent, Most Merciful

(61) And He is the One who made the day and the night following each other, for the one who wishes to be mindful or wishes to show gratitude. 

(62) The servants of the Rahman (the All-Merciful, Allah) are those who walk on the earth humbly, and when the ignorant people speak to them, they reply peacefully, 

(63) And those who pass the night prostrating themselves and standing before their Lord, 

(64) And those who say, “Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Jahannam (the Hell); indeed, its punishment is a persisting affliction.” 

(65) Indeed, it is evil as an abode and a place to dwell in 

(66) And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly, and it (i.e. their spending) is moderate in between (the two extremes,) 

(67) And those who do not invoke any other god along with Allah, and do not kill a person whom Allah has given sanctity, except rightfully, nor do they fornicate; and whoever does it, shall face the recompense of his sin, 

(68) The punishment will be doubled for him, and he will remain there disdained, for ever

Summary of the Servant's characteristics:-
  1. They are humble with others, even to people who hurt them. They reply slanders & insults politely and in good manners - they don't let emotions of anger and hurt get the better of them and return the insults with more insults. They guard their tongue from expressing negative speech and harmful words i.e profanity and harsh rebukes. They further guard themselves from back-biting and spreading the misbehavior of the people who hurt them to others with the intention to disgrace them and smear their reputation, even if the things being said are the truth. Instead, the servants will reproach an insult by words of advice and if these are ignored, they will leave the conversation, leaning to Allah for consolation.
  2. They regularly performs Tahajjud & late night prayers. These are done consistently (not as and when liked or only at certain times i.e in difficulties and when facing problems) and against the struggle that comes with getting up from a sound sleep at those moments when it is the hardest to do. This persistence is the sign of commitment to get the acceptance from their Creator and desperation to be forgiven by Him, as well as the sincere demonstration of love, hope and confidence in their Lord's grace.
  3. They pray to Allah swt to be averted & protected from the punishment of Hell as they realize and are conscious of the impending constant suffering in it; they know that it is a very real and inevitable fate (not a fictional or metaphorical place and not something that will not happen to them) if they are doomed to be thrown in it. They constantly remind themselves and even try to visualize the condition of Hell as described in the Quran & Hadiths. They then become so affected physically & emotionally  by this visualization, that they become so fearful that Allah might make them one of it's dwellers due to the possible imperfections in their servitude to their Lord and the fear that maybe a single mistake may lead them to the misery of this punishment. 
  4. In spending, they are not excessive (blinded by desire to own things they do not need, with the wrong intention i.e to show off and in arrogance). They are also not stingy and are instead generous in spending in the ways ordained by Allah swt & encouraged by Rasul s.a.w.. Stingy behavior is observed in people who hold on steadfastly to their wealth and possession because they fear that their wealth will be reduced to loss even in spending for necessity, including for their own needs or for those in their care i.e wife and children, not to mention for others i.e charity. Both extravagance & stinginess are behaviors that are led by injustice, arrogance & the perception that one made & owns everything he/she has, forgetting that all that are owned including the self are from Allah & will return to Him; and that every person will be questioned on how he/she had managed the wealth that the Maker had assigned to him/her.
  5. They do not  associate partners with Allah in their hopes and desires for their needs to be fulfilled. They do not rely on creations i.e people or entities for help in fulfilling their daily necessities and realizing their long-term goals i.e relying on a doctor to get well from an illness, on an officer for a business tender to be approved, on a soothsayer or witchdoctor to tell whether their plans will work, or the self's abilities and talents to become successful in their ambitions. This false reliance will indirectly lead towards the mind-set that other entities besides the Creator affect & have an influence to one's success and failure - the association of partners to Allah swt who is in actuality the only Provider to all the creation at all times, in all situations. Instead, the servants place full dependence, trust and faith that only Allah fulfill their needs, provides safety in dangers, and is the source of all success and difficulties. They therefore only ask Allah for whatever sustenance, help and wishes they want to be fulfilled and they realize the ways in which these reach them are only the means and not the source. They also accept that if their needs are not fulfilled, it is for their best interest as they know that Allah who created them knows what is best for them. 
  6. They do not take the life of others who are innocent to remove themselves from a perceived difficulty i.e by taking over others' possessions through force by killing them, or by aborting a pregnancy in healthful conditions. Any injury that has to be done is only executed after following appropriate circumstances ordained within the ruling and decrees allowed by Allah swt i.e when one or his/her family member is equally harmed by others with malicious intentions.
  7. They do not engage in promiscuous behavior and protect themselves from such thoughts, behaviors and ways that will lead to impure/adulterous relationships. These are done through certain practices such as by wearing modest clothing and avoiding casual, flirtatious communication even if they seem harmless, to guard all their senses i.e sight, sounds, touch from attractions of the carnal desires. The servants will instead distract themselves from impure thoughts and desires by engaging in healthy and beneficial activities such as being involved in knowledge discourses, being among the learned and pious, fulfilling routine obligations at workplace and home with dedication and sincerity, observing proper diet and health habits, and in constant remembrance and consciousness that Allah is observing them - listens to their thoughts and words and watches what they do at all times and all places.

These characteristics are guidelines that defines a true servant. They are achievable, only if we are constantly conscious of our intentions and deeds, Insya Allah. The alternatives to these are truly disastrous -  as warned by Allah in verse 69, and therefore not an option at all. May Allah protect us from such ending.

Second part follows - describing circumstances in the case of which these guidelines are not followed, as well as the additional characteristics of the true servant.

Wastaghfirullahil Adzim, Walhamdulillahi Rabbil Aalameen.