All praise belongs to Allah, Who has lavished His favours on His servants, filling their hearts with the light of the religion and its duties and Who has sent down His rahmah (mercy) to all of mankind. One mark of His blessings is that He urges people to bring Him their requests and pleas, saying: "Will anyone call that I may answer him? Will anyone seek My forgiveness, that l may forgive him?" Another of His compassion is that He has conferred the favour of Islam on those He has chosen saying:
."... Count not your Islam as a favour Upon me: Nay Allah. has conferred a favour upon you that He has guided you to the faith if you be true and sincere " (Q49:17).
Being a Muslim is the highest of favours: its rewards are huge and cannot be matched by any other favour. Sampler: The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"When a servant of Allah accepts Islam and his Islam proves good, Allah writes down for him all the good he has done in the past; and blots out for him all the evils he has done in the past; and thereafter the reward of every good (done by him) is (reckoned as) ten like it to seven hundred, and every evil (punished) only with its like, unless Allah passes over it" (Bukhari). Then,
"praise be to Allah who has guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance had it not been for the guidance of Allah..." (Q7:43).
This favour is so marvellous that the recipient (i.e. the Muslims) should proclaim it in their ways and deeds and the symbols and signs of Allah should be evident in their person, in their places, in their rituals and forms of life. "He relished the flavour of iman (faith) ";
the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"he who is pleased with Allah as Lord, with al-Islam as code of life and with Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah" (Muslim).
Sincere attachment to Allah, Islam and the blessed Prophet (pBUH) is the sum and substance of faith. lman is love which is felt in the heart and not thrusted from without This attitude of the mind, which is formed by willing adherence to Allah, His Rasul (PBUH) and the code of life which He has given to mankind, must then have outward expression in the symbols of the individual's life. To be pleased with Allah as Lord means that the entire soul with all its power and inclination IS gathered up unto Him and man looks upon His pleasure as the sole achievement of his life.
To be pleased with Muhammad (PBUH) as a Messenger of Allah is the full acceptance that it is through the Prophet (PBUH) that Allah's will has been made known to us. He is the bearer of revelation, therefore the best fitted and divinely authorised to tell mankind how Allah is to be loved and obeyed, how His pleasure is to be sought and how His laws can be applied in practical life. Thus without showing Be obedience to Muhammad (PBUH) and following him sincerely, we cannot obey Allah. To be pleased with al-Islam as the code of life is to accept that whatever Islam has laid down for a believer must be willingly and cheerfully put into practice.
IMAN IN THE HEART
If the iman is in the heart, then it should manifest in the symbols and signs of Allah that manifests through our daily lives. Take salaat, the pillar by which there IS the daily demonstration of faith; the mainstay of conviction, the chief of good deeds and the best act of obedience. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
'There are five prayers which Allah has prescribed for the servants. For those who perform them properly, without disrespectful omission, there is a guarantee that Allah will admit to Paradise ...” (Abu Daud).
In answer to the question: "Which action is the most meritorious?”; the Rasul (pBUH) said:
"Prayer at the appointed times" (Muslim).
So important it is that he further explained that "
If a man meets Allah when he has been negligent of the salaat, Allah will pay no attention to his other virtues ... (Tabarani).
The symbol or the external form of this important pillar of Islam in any environment where the Muslims live is the haunting sound of the call to prayer (the adhan): 'Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!! ... ' resounding five times each day, or the stunning spectacle of row upon row of Muslims, bowing and prostrating themselves in perfect unison during daily salaat or at the Jumaah (Friday congregation): in very simple or quite splendid mosque. Similarly, the restaurants and food 'joints of the Muslims' environment will be almost deserted during the daylight hours of Ramadan; just as the breweries scale down massively on production. Then the Pilgrimage (Hajj); with the spiritual aura of Makkah and Madina, casts the greatest spell on the minds of all people; particularly the over three million pilgrims from all over the globe.
The personal life of the Muslim must also exhibit the symbols of Islam as well: in the dressing and appearance; in the rites that attend the societal functions of birth; wedding; death etc., in the personal conduct that the Muslim must exhibit. These symbols although they represent the external forms only, are necessary because they should spring from iman (faith), the required internal attribute that is reflected in the symbols. It is with this: inner attribute of faith and the external symbols of Islam that Allah has described the believers
"Successful indeed are the Believers - those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active ill giving zakaat; who guard their modesty ... those who faithfully observe their trust and their convenants and who (strictly) guard their prayers - these will be the heir who will inherit Paradise ... " (Q23:1-11).
AT THE BANQUET
Sadly, many Muslims today are very active in stamping out these symbols of Islam. Each day, the masjids (mosques) still beckons on the Muslims with the bellow (mosques) still beckons on the Muslims with the bellow the calls; preferring to pray in little corners of their homes and offices. Are they unaware that frequenting the masjid is a sign of iman as Allah says:
"The mosque of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and pay zakah and fear none (at all) except Allah … "(Q9:18)?
Or have they not heard the saying of the Rasul (PBUH) that
"If you see a man frequenting a mosque, you may testify to his faith" (Ibn Majah)
and that "The merit of congregational prayer surpasses that of individual prayer by twenty seven degrees. " (Muslim)?
The next time someone says that you do not look like a Muslim; stop to think! Stand before the mirror and see how many of the symbols of a Muslim you truly exhibit. For instance, are there salaat spots on your face and feet? Why are you unable to grow the beard as you have been ordered? How come you are still naked even as some dresses are on your body? Where is that hijab that should cover your shame and bestow honour on you? Why are you so much hand-in-glove with haraam income, unlawful foods, friends that will never remind you of Allah., company where vain talks reign supreme e.t.c? Is Islam still your code of life?
"0 you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Shaytan for he is to you an avowed enemy. If you backslide after the clear signs have come to you, then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise" (Q2:208-209).
Have you not heard the story of the man who built a house and then offered therein a banquet and sent a messenger to invite the people? So those who accepted the invitation entered the house and ate of the food available at the banquet. They did not bring any food of their own but ate what was provided for them. Those who did not accept the invitation did not enter the house, nor did they eat of the banquet. Let's decode this puzzle:
"The house stands for Paradise and the call maker (the Messenger) is Muhammad; and whoever obeys Muhammad obeys Allah; and whoever disobeys Muhammad disobeys Allah" (Bukhari).
Needless to stress that the food served is al-Islam: eat it as it is served; do not add anything to it nor take anything away from it. Nourish yourself to your fill with this food and you will have no need to eat any other food. It is wholesome and satisfying, it will show on your body as signs of good living; as symbols of submission and piety, May Allah make it easy for us to become symbols of the good and godly: a symbol of Islam (Amin).
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited