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Muslim seeking the pleasure and mercy of Allah, Most High... Sunnah style!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Open Book Exam

Bismillah, wa'salaatu wa'salaam 'ala Rasoolullah.

Indeed, Allah is praised whether we praise Him or not. Yet, humbly we praise Him and seek His aid. We are penitent to Him. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of ourselves, of our egos, our own arrogance and desires and from the evil consequences of our deeds. Whomever Allah Guides, NONE can misguide and whoever is left to their own path will always go astray.

Verily, the best of speech is the speech of Allah, The Qur'an.
And the best of guidance is the guidance of Rasoolullah (the Messenger of Allah), salallahu 'alayahi wasalaam.
And the most evil of affairs are innovations in the religion.
And every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.
May Allah Gaurd us from these newly invented matters in His deen and keep us firm on the sirataal mustaqueem (straight and pure path).

As-salaamu 'alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

It is revealed to us, by Allah (swt) Himself, that He has created us, mankind, with a physical composition, our body and all its intricate systems which still we haven't unraveled in whole. Anatomically, biologically, biochemically and psychologically we remain mysteries to even ourselves. Our bodies, like the television to the average man, is designed such that we could never replicate or produce one ourselves, yet it is made such that any idiot can use it. And barely so considering we trip over our own feet.

In addition to the body, Allah has instilled in us something of His Spirit -our soul. We can hardly imagine how much about the soul we've discovered, when we haven't even figured the body that is visibly apparent to us.

"They ask thee concerning the soul. Say: 'the soul cometh by the command of my Lord; of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, o men!" -Qur'an 17:85

The soul, like the body, has needs and a hunger that must be satisfied lest from negligence it is starved. It is but spiritual suicide should one go on ignoring its exigencies. The weakness and withering of one's soul is characterized by easy despair, lack of patience and optimism. Strong susceptibility to compromising habits and complete apathy. So what better to tell us, to instruct us how we should use, treat and apply our bodies and souls than the very Creator of these entities? What better source to learn about a product than from the manufacturer itself?

Not so in Islam is the idea that the body and soul are antagonistic. There is no conflict in satisfying the needs and desires of the body while fulfilling the soul. In fact, it is impossible to consummate one of these whilst neglecting, denying or even harming the other. Both are from Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, so that we'd exist. Therefore both should be managed and developed carefully. How we do so is explained in the instruction He has revealed to us, The Qur'an and the guidance He has demonstrated and exemplified based on it through His last Messenger, Muhammad, salallahu 'alayhi wasalaam.

Should this life be an examination deciding the most responsive to Allah's Signs and instruction; then this life, this exam... is indeed open book

"That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them -as to which of them is best in conduct." -Qur'an 8:7

Only by truly satisfying and pleasing ourselves in ways circumventing evil or damaging side effects and consequences, with the respective intent, do we satisfy and please our Lord. There is no greater justice one can do themselves. Questions concerning our Lord, our purpose, our salvation, our destiny and our very being are explained in detail in the one book, The Qur'an.

"This is the Book whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off evil." -Qur'an 2:2

For those of us who heed His Signs, desiring His pleasure, the path is made clear to us. Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, guides those who earnestly beseech His guidance. Alternatively, those who deny Him and His signs who wish not to be guided, are not. Those left to follow their own desires. Those who are helplessly bent on turning away from faith and who, out of arrogance, persistently reject faith, ignoring the yearns of their very soul in that they might endure true success on every level will remain misguided. Left to tread a meaningless and staggering path. The further one strays from the path of truth and righteousness, the more difficult and less probable it is they should return to it.

"As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing; and on their hearts is veil; great is the penalty they incur." -Qur'an 2:6-7

It is not so that Allah controls our lives in the sense that He has preordained our ultimate outcome. Rather, we have options and Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, will only prepare for us what we prepare for ourselves. Consider the example of the teacher who foresees the scholastic failure of the redundantly mischievious student who makes no effort to study and the success of other students based on their performance and upstanding reputation. And as hopeful and optimizing it is for a devout believer to ponder their rewards the truth we must bare in mind, brothers and sisters, is that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, wants Jannah (i.e. Paradise, Heaven) for us more than we can possibly want it for ourselves.

We were told from Allah's Messenger and final prophet, Muhammad, salallahu 'alayhi wasalaam, that "every child is born upon the pure fitrah." Meaning, we all our born with the awareness of one God as our natural disposition. Innately, we all are aware of Allah, our Lord and Creator who is pure and exalted from having any partners or offspring. The evidence would be the example Allah has revealed to us in the Qur'an about those who even later deny Him, in times of dire need or distress, invoking Him in secret. Further showing us His unfaltering Mercy over us. Not only is His test to us "open book", not only has He sent prophets and messengers to every people and every nation, but He has designed us such that our inclination towards Him is natural. Those whom deny are in actuality denying themselves. If only they but knew.

Peace be unto those who follow the righteous guidance and may Allah continue to guide those who do. May Allah make better perceptible the siraatal mustaqueem to the totality of mankind. And for those of us who once followed His Deen and have gone astray, may they return to the right path, O Allah. In'sha'Allah. Ya An-Nur. Ya Al Hadi. Alhamdulillah! Subhanallahu akbar!


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