Wednesday, July 22, 2015

'Free things' we take for granted...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, 'Selawat' (blessings) and 'salam' (peace be upon) Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me." (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51: 56-57)

SADLY, Ramadan the month of bounty, mercy and the road away from hell fire, is about to end. While readers are reading this piece, many of us are busily preparing for the coming of Syawal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar when Muslim celebrated Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

To the Muslims Malay and Malaysian in general, Syawal is synonym with open houses where all including strangers are welcome and 'the spread of food laid on the table are free for all'. 

A scholar once said the best things in life are free. Talking about 'free things', I remembered a 'Tabligh preacher' once read a hadith after 'asar' prayers in a 'masjid' in which I attended which mentioned that to uphold to the words of ‘syahada’  La ilaha ill Allah  (declaration of faith, there is no God except Allah) and to submit to all His orders, is the hardest yet heaviest in weight in sight of Allah SWT for it is the highest of ‘iman’ (faith). We do not need any capital to say La ilaha ill Allah yet we found it hard to do so.

La ilaha ill Allah as the ‘kalimat’ (speaking and writing of human being) that men were born and to invite human beings to submit to it many prophets and Islamic warriors fought for it and many died in the process. Consider this hadith on the value that Allah the Exalted placed on La ilaha ill Allah:

Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him, pbuh) said: “Moses (Alayhi salam, a.s.) said: O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. Allah said:“Say ‘La ilaha ill Allah’, O Musa.” He (Musa) said: All of your servants say this. He (Allah) said: “If the seven Heavens and those who dwell in them other than Me and the seven Earths are put into one pan (of the scale) and ‘La ilaha ill Allah’ is put into the other; ‘La ilaha ill Allah’ would be heavier.” [Ibn Hibbaan and Haakim]

The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said (narrated by Jabir bin `Abdullah): “The best Dhikr (remembering Allah) is La ilaha ill Allah and the best supplication is Al-Hamdu Lillah.” [At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah]
Everybody is free to recite La ilaha ill Allah. We do not have to pay anything to do it. It is so simple, yet not all hearts were opened to see the importance of reciting and living with La ilaha ill Allah. Our hearts were blackened with our sins and wrongdoings which unable us to see the truth.
From now, let’s ensure that we never forget to make the letters La ilaha ill Allah a constant part of our living moments and to live by what those letters stand for. Remember, our success in this life and the Hereafter is all tied to La ilaha ill Allah.
During my regular weekly ‘tazkirah’ (Islamic lesson) at a 'masjid' near my house not long ago, the ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) stressed that Islam is a beautiful religion revealed by God that covers all aspects of life; even there are even laws on simple matters such as regarding the usage of toilets. And to practice Islam, one does not have to have much capital or investment. 

Take for example the five pillars of Islam (Rukun Islam); to recite La ilaha ill Allah, you do not have to pull out a cent. The same could be said about performing our prayers (solat) and 'puasa' (siyam or fasting). For 'zakat' and performing hajj (which involves money), you are only required to perform them only when you fulfill the terms stipulated.

“Could you name me a religion that covers every detail of human beings' activities?” asked the ustaz.  So Islam covers everything; submit to God to everything we do, then we are safe in the world and Hereafter; it is simple as that but only a faction of people could adhere to the rules of Islam, said the ustaz. 

Truly, Allah has made Islam a perfect religion, as guidance for human being to live in a perfect happy life in this world and Hereafter, so the scripture of Islam is not to burden people but is easy to practice. The Qur’an says: “Allah desireth you ease; He desireth not hardship for you.” (2:185) 

According to the Qur’an and Hadith, it clearly shows that each commands and restrictions from Allah is for protecting and taking care of our benefits. Each of Allah’s commands is good and easy to put into practice. Each restriction is not good and we should not do it. Allah is All-Wise, All-Knowing; Allah knows His creations have the ability to practice His order. The Qur’an says: “Allah has not laid upon you in religion any hardship.” (22: 78) – Islam is Simple (Jakim) 

It is simple as that, but how many Muslims can adhere to it? Muslim are guarded by the law of fiqh or religious laws. The two main sets of laws are halal’ (permissible) and ‘haram’ (fordidden). So it is simple, if it is ‘halal’, you just go ahead ‘in doing it, and if it is ‘haram’ just leave it alone. Islam is a complete way of life. It covers everything.
As Muslim all our actions should be guided by ‘hukum Islam’ or ‘shara’ (the law of fiqih or religious laws); that is ‘wajib’ (obligatory), ‘sunnah’ (optional), ‘harus’ or ‘mubah’ 

We are told to submit to Allah's law; but many of us are ignorant. We do not want to follow Allah's law, yet in our lives we depend 100 percent on His favors and blessing. A lot of things that we are comforting ourselves in are free. The air that we inhale is free, the space we are moving is free, the drinking water is free, the earth that we are walking on is free. Because they are free, we seldom think about The Provider; we only think about our rights to have them.

In Surah Rahman, Allah SWT mentions this phrase many times - So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?

Allah's gifts to us are free. If you feel bored, you could go to the seaside and park and of course you pay nothing for it. There you could inhale the fresh air free of charge. Then if you wanted peace of mind, you could go to the 'masjid' and 'solat' (pray) and feel the tranquility of the place. It is also free of charge.

The piped water to cleanse oneself. 'wuduk' (ablution) at the 'masjid' is free, so is using the air conditioner or fan. After praying you could go to the veranda or the edge of the praying room to rest or have a nap. 'Insya-Allah' (God Willing), nobody will bother you, and your resting place is free of charge.

Then, often during intervals between the 'maghrib' (evening) and 'isyak' (night) prayers, there are lessons given by the 'ustaz' (religious teacher), and you could follow it free of charge. After 'isyak' prayers, it is often followed by a 'makan-makan' (dinner) and of course you pay nothing for it. 

Other than the natural things and environment, almost everything from manners to relationship, friendship to love and respect are also free of charge. None of these, if you are truly honest, cost money and if the do, are they worth having then?

When times are good, everyone smiles. But it is important to note that life is just like a mirror. Notice that when you smile at the mirror, the image in the mirror will smile at you. When you put on a sour face, the image will portray a sour face and when you spit the mirror, the image will spit back at you.

If you try to stab the mirror, the image in the mirror will stab at you. There is a Malay proverb regarding this - 'apa disemai, itulah yang dituai' (what you reap is what you sow). 

So in life, if you want someone to smile to you, smile to him first. If you want want someone to respect you, you have to respect him/her first. If you hurt a person, of course he/she will seek ways to hurt you too. If you wanted your love ones to show off their love, you have to do it first.

And of course all these good things cost nothing, they are free of charge. You do not have to pay a cent to put up a smile and say 'Assalamualaikum...' (be peace be upon you) when you meet a person early in the morning or when you enter the office to begin your work.

You may notice that life is so simple and sweet and you don;t have to start cracking your heads to fulfill your worldly desires. In fact if you traced back what you had learned during your schooling years; the basic needs for human beings are only three - food, clothing and shelter.

As Muslims we must do our best to strive for our needs but we do it only to please Allah SWT and nothing else. In everything we do, we have to associate it with Allah SWT and in doing so, we will able to make the most from our deeds, for our own good in this world and in the Hereafter. Remember Allah the Almighty needs nothing from His creation, not even his/her praises to Him. 

He gives us everything, yet most of us are ignorant and proud...So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny? Happy Eid, Maaf Zahir Batin.

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