Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SHAWWAL 1424 H
December 2003
Volume 16-12 No : 204
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GUIDELINES


Keep Your Intentions Pure
Thankfulness: A Sign of Faith

Keep Your Intentions Pure

By Mohammed A.R. Galadari

Allah is never pleased with those who abide by religious teachings, but at the same time provoke wickedness among people by carrying tales from here to there

I reiterate that while Islam made it clear and forbade committing suicide, adultery and drinking liquor, as many other divine religions and doctrines have done, what is unique about Islam is that it itemised many affairs concerning humanity and detailed many matters affecting man's daily life. Islam also discourages many evil qualities such as envy (jealousy), betrayal, among such others. Those who believe that Islam is merely prayers, fasting, and not doing things not allowed by religion are mistaken as Islam emphasises certain qualities. Jealousy (envy) is defined to be the desire to own what others have. It is also the wish to see others deprived of what they have been bestowed with. Here, man's desire is in direct conflict with God's wish. In Islam, God forgives a person who kills, but does not forgive an envious person.

If we look deeply into the matter, any gift bestowed by God upon any person is either a gift or a blessing, or a test from God. It can be also a reward for one's acts. Thus, jealousy is in direct contradiction with God's will.

Therefore, how can those who pray, fast and perform Haj be pious if they object to God's will? This goes beyond any norms and the matter is worse if this evil sentiment breaks out among the next of kin; brothers, cousins and nephews or friends.

Instead, if a man is satisfied and content with whatever God has given him and delight fills his heart when he sees others having plenty and be thankful to Him and without envy wish others more blessings from God, happiness shall, no doubt, prevail and those who have in abundance will give to those around them. Eventually, all will live happily and contentedly. Examples are many.

Speaking of betrayal, it is sufficient to point out that God is never pleased with those who abide by religious teachings, but at the same time provoke wickedness among people. They carry tales from here to there, telling others what they had heard from another source adding more colour to what they heard, thus spoiling the affable environment that prevails among friends and relatives. One must remember here that even wars have been sparked because of such tales being carried.

Therefore, a person will not become devout or pious even if he performs all rituals - prayers, fasting, going for Haj pilgrimage - and refrain from all the forbidden acts - gambling, adultery, eating peoples' money - if his heart is filled with envy or has a desire to instigate hostility among people.

For example a person will sit with a man or woman and the conversation there might be about their cousins, brothers, sisters, uncles, friends or even boss. The person who hears this and even takes part in this conversation, immediately goes to the man or woman who was being talked about and tells him or her what he heard. Sometimes he/she may even add something of his own, thus creating enmity among people. Such people are like effigies, with just an image but no soul.

The first and foremost principle laid and emphasised by Islam was 'intention'. It is an established principle in Islam that 'One and all acts shall be weighed only on the grounds of the intention behind them'.

(Courtesy: Khaleej Times)

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Thankfulness: A Sign of Faith

By Mohammad Nasir

In the Islamic social etiquette, a believer is commanded to first give thanks to Allah for the favours bestowed on him by the All-Merciful Lord. At the same time, he must also thank his fellow human beings for any act of kindness which they may do to him.

To thank someone who does a favour to you has always been considered a trait of commendable social behaviour. In the civilized society, to give thanks to the person who does a good turn to another is a sign of cultivated manners and is regarded as a characteristic of good breeding. So in our social parlance, phrases like 'Thank You' have become the most commonly used expressions, so much so that these expressions carry no real significance. While being grateful to someone for a favour, which is considered an ordinary or routine act of kindness is commendable, the people hold in high esteem, those exceptional people who selflessly serve humanity and do a good deed for altruistic reasons. These noble souls, while helping someone or doing a favour to someone have no ulterior motives. In the Islamic social etiquette, a believer is commanded to first give thanks to Allah for the favours bestowed on him by the All-Merciful Lord, never showing the slightest ingratitude to Him. At the same time, he must also thank his fellow human beings for any act of kindness which they may do to him. A Hadith of the Prophet (Pbuh) beautifully illustrates this point, it means that a person does not thank Allah in the real sense if he does not thank fellow humans for an act of kindness that might have done to him. Ultimately, all thanks belongs to Allah since whatever good we do to others, it is He who enables and gives us strength to do that. Therefore the pinnacle of moral excellence is one's sense of gratitude to Allah. There is a verse in the Quran that says: " What can Allah gain by punishing you, if you are grateful and you believe, nay it is Allah that recognizes all good and knows all things." (Quran-4:147). Shukr is the key word for both the Lord and servant. While the believer has been commanded to pay thanks to his Creator and Sustainer, Allah tells us that He recognizes and appreciates all good work done by human beings. Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi explains the concept of Shukr in his commentary of the Glorious Quran, Towards Understanding the Quran, while explaining the above verse: Shukr denotes an acknowledgement of munificence and a feeling of gratitude. This verse states that if a person does not behave ungratefully towards Allah, then there is no reason why Allah should punish him. The attitude of gratefulness to Allah consists of acknowledging His blessings in one's heart and confessing it in one's speech and by manisfesting it in one's deeds. It is the sum total of these which is termed Shukr. Allah has bestowed on man countless favours and blessings from which he benefits every moment of his worldy existence. Narrated Aby Hurairah," Once during a day or night, Allah's messenger (Pbuh) and found Abu Bakr and Umar and he told them,' What has brought you out of your homes at this hour?' They replied, ' Hunger O Allah's Messenger.' He said, " By Him, in whose hands is my soul, I too have come out for the same reason for which you have come out." Then the Prophet said to them, " Come along." And he went along with them to a man from the Ansar, but they did not find him in his house. Seeing Allah's Messenger, the wife of that man said, " You are welcome." Allah's Messenger asked her, " Where is so and so?" She replied, he has gone to fetch some water for us." In the meanwhile, the Ansari man came and saw Allah's Messenger and his two companions and said, All praise and thanks be to Allah, today there is no one superior to me as regards having guests in his house. Then he went and brought a part of a bunch of date fruit bearing dates, some of them still green, some ripe and some fully ripe and requested them to eat from it.. He then took his knife to slaughter a sheep for them. Allah's Messenger said to him, 'Beware, do not slaughter a milch sheep.' So he slaughtered a sheep and prepared a meal from its meat. They ate from that sheep and that bunch of dates and drank water. After they had finished eating and drinking to their fill, Allah's Messenger (Pbuh) said to Abu Bakr and Umar, ' By Him , in whose hands is my soul, you will be asked about this treat on the Day of Resurrection. Allah brought you out of your homes hungry and you are now returning till you have been blessed with this treat. Gratefulness or gratitude is the crowning virtue denoting one's obedience to Allah. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) would spend the whole night in prayers and supplications to Allah so much so that his feet would develop swelling. A person asked Allah's Messenger, " O, Messenger of Allah, why do you undertake so much trouble when all your previous and prospective sins have been forgiven by Him? So the Prophet replied, "Shouldn't I be a grateful servant of Allah." This illustrates the depth of gratitude the Messenger of Allah harboured towards Allah and His blessings. Agianst this attitude of the absolute submission and devotion to Allah of such an exceptionally high degree, we see lack of gratitude so prevalent in our times. Let us take a solemn pledge to be a grateful servant of Allah and pray to Him to enable us to inculcate the quality of gratitude in the following manner: " O, my lord, grant me that I may be grateful for your favour which you have bestowed on me and upon both my parents and that I may work righteousness such as you may approve. And be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to you and truly I bow to you in Islam." (Quran, 46:15).

(Quran, 46:15).

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