Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Enjoy life while seeking the true path

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Establish worship
and pay the poor-due
and obey the messenger,
that haply ye may find mercy. (Nur 24:56)

I consider myself very lucky because each time I am in the Holy Land, I have had the opportunity to buy quality English books on Islam; in 2002 one of the books that gave great impact on me was ‘Way To The Qur’an’ by Khurram Murad, in 2005 it was ‘Don’t Be Sad’ by Dr Aaidh ibn al-Qarni’, and during a recent visit (June 2010), it was ‘Enjoy Your Life’ by Dr Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-‘Arifi.

‘Enjoy Your Life’ is on the art of interacting with people, as deduced from a study of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life. This book which was published by Darussalam with its tagline ‘Global leader in Islamic books’ which has its head office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Some time after my second haj (2005), I found out Dr Aaidh book ‘Don’t Be Sad’ was translated into Malay but till today I haven’t come across a Malay version of ‘Enjoy Your Life’. Perhaps publishers, authors and translators could sit down to translate it from the English version or better still from the original Arab version.

Life has its up and down. But for the majority of us, me included, it is very hard to maintain our composure and feelings when we were down the drain. To wipe off this situation, Dr Muhammad has the answer. He wrote: “Enjoy your life, for it is brief and there is no time in it for anguish!” Yes, we have no time to be sad on thrifty matters but wake up and be alive to reap His giving and rewards in this world and the Hereafter.

But to enjoy His giving and rewards, we have to be in the straight path. Isn’t that are what we ask from Allah the Almighty in each ‘rakaat’ in our prayers when we read an ‘ayat’ in the Surah Al-Fatihah (the Opening): “Guide us on the Straight Path.”

Regarding this Dr Muhammad in his introduction of the book notes a very touching story. “As a seventeen year old, I came across a book called, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie, which I found out to be quite excellent and which I subsequently read several times. The author suggested that one should read the book once a month, which is exactly what I did. I began to apply its principles when dealing with others and witnessed amazing results.

“Carnegie would often mentioned a principle and then cite various examples of this by way of incidents related to prominent figures such as Roosevelt, Lincoln, Joseph, and so on. I contemplated and realised that the author’s only goal was to attain worldly happiness. What if he were to have known Islam and the etiquettes it teaches? He would surely have achieved eternal as well as ephemeral happiness!

“How about if he were to have turned his wonderful interpersonal skills into worship, with which he would drawn closer to Allah? When I later discovered that Carnegie had committed suicide, I knew for certain that his book, despite its merits, had not benefitted him.

“I then began to search our own history and discovered that the life of Allah’s Messenger (bpuh), his Companions, and anecdotes of some of his prominent men of this ummah are more than enough for us to learn lessons from. From then on, I began to author this book concerning the art of dealing with others. Hence, this book is not a product of a month or a year’s toil. Rather, it is the result of twenty years of serious study.”

Dear readers, Muslims and non-Muslims let us be in His straight path. For the Muslims, I quote this from ‘Way to the Qur’an’ by Khurram Murad (The Islamic Foundation, London): “Our lives will remain meaningless and ruined unless they were guided by the Qur’an, the word of God.”

Yes, how panicked I was when I read the book for the first time eight years ago. After reading the book, I realized that many things we do in life are not in accordance with the word of Allah. For example, where is the Islamic law, are we good only in reading the Qur’an but hesitate to implement His order? Who are we to belittle His order in His own book; but the irony is that we keep on reading His book!

For non-Muslims perhaps this guide given by PAS Vice President, Salahuddin Ayub who I met a few days ago might help. He said relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Pakatan Rakyat has reached a high level where young non Muslims leaders including from DAP could quote from the Qur’an in their speeches.

“This is interesting,” he said, “perhaps you (writers and editors) could arrange special interviews with these young leaders such as Nga Kor Ming, Tony Puah or Anthony Loke and have frank talks on their motives quoting phrases from the Quran. Perhaps they are learning or what...? This is interesting...”

If they are learning, then it is timely to talk about Islam. First of all what is Islam all about? In the book ‘Essence of Islam’ (Islamic Outreach-ABIM), it is stated that Islam means complete submission or surrender to the will of Allah, The Most High.

Islam also means peace and the way to achieve peace. Islam teaches that there is only one God, who is called Allah in Arabic. Since the time of the emergence of the first man on earth, God in His mercy raised among men numerous prophets or messengers, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and Jesus. The last of all the messengers was Muhammad (bpuh).

Islam is not a new religion. It consists of the same basic message which God has given in all true religions, and all prophets brought this same message for our guidance. Muhammad (pbuh), the final Prophet and Messenger of God, taught us the full and complete meaning of Islam (surrender and commitment to the will of God) through his words, his actions and the revealed Book – the Holy Qur’an.

Quoting from the Qur’an means those concerned had read the Holy Book. That is a good sign; get the facts right from reliable sources. The Qur’an is in Arabic; perhaps an English translation might help; why not pick up the works of Mohammed Marmaduke Pickhall?

If it is still hard to understand, pick up Islamic books, readers might find a few gems in it. I found some in the book ‘Enjoy Your Life’.

I quote this paragraph from its Publisher’s Foreword: “Solutions to all the problems of the Muslim nation are present in the life of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh). His life is certainly an example for us to follow and a model for us to refer to at all times. No matter what problem arises in our lives, if we look to the Prophet’s Seerah for a solution, we will surely find it.”

If all problems could be solved, then we could enjoy our life in this world and insya-Allah (God willing) in the Hereafter since we live in accordance to what Allah and His prophet had revealed and ordered us in His Holy Book, the Qur’an.

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