Thursday, April 28, 2016

Life is a journey...enjoy it

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

'Life is a journey...enjoy it' was the tagline of a Turkish tour operator...well I used the service of this operator when I was in Turkey a few months ago. The question was how are we going to enjoy life, I used to ask myself.

Some time ago a friend asked me this 'wake up' question: "When do you feel tranquil...while performing 'solat' (prayers) or after solat?" to which I quickly answered; "after solat." 

He claimed that most people had a feeling of relief after they had performed their 'solat'. For example after performing their 'zuhr' (after midday prayers) some workers would said: "I can now have my lunch in peace; 'Alhamdulillah' (All praise is due to God alone) as I had already performed my prayers."

Also notice this situation - when we are about to embark for a journey; say to catch a bus at 1.30 pm at the bus station, we hurriedly perform our 'zuhr' prayers at 1.15 pm before rushing for the bus; we were in the nick of time...perhaps in the bus we were pleased about ourselves because we had performed our obligation.

'Subhanallah' (Glory be to God), many people feel good after performing 'solat' and not during 'solat'. The friend asked me to do some 'muhasabah' (reflections about oneself); he said we should work hard to have tranquility during 'solat'. How are we going to have that feeling?

He said those who felt good after performing 'solat' looked as though that obligation was a burden to them, thus after doing it they could feel the burden had been taken away from them...only then they were in a relief and relax condition.

The friend recommended me to change my attitude towards 'solat'. Please try to make 'solat' as an enjoyable activity, when you do something that you love then you are in a relax position, he said, "thus you could perform it a tranquil situation."

Take for example your hobbies such as gardening or fishing. When you are too engross in your hobbies thus there are occasions you forget about time. The same could be said about reading your favourite novels; you forget about time but the question is why when you are about to read the Qur'an, you feel sleepy...that's an indicator you must change your attitude to enjoy reading the Qur'an, advised the friend. 

Not only regarding 'solat' and reading the Qur'an, the friend said we must enjoy whatever we do; but the first thing we should determine is whether it is in line with the teaching of Islam. We must know whether our activities are 'halal' (permissible) or 'haram' (forbidden). Doing 'halal' activities give us the feeling of tranquility but engaging in the 'haram' ones make our life miserable.

A Saudi scholar, Dr Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-‘Arifi, in his book 'Enjoy Your Life' noted that life has its up and down. But for the majority of us, 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’ (units) in our prayers when we read an ‘ayat’ in the Surah Al-Fatihah (the Opening): “Guide us on the Straight Path.”

‘Enjoy Your Life’ is on the art of interacting with people, as deduced from a study of Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) life. Solutions to all problems are present in the life of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) His life is 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. But we must work hard for it because 'everything has its price'.

For example in this world, if we wanted to use a public toilet or a tolled road, we must first make payment (have money); then whats more to enter 'jannah' (heaven)...we must have 'something' that would enable us to enter it.

Of course we could only enter 'jannah' on the mercy of Allah SWT but while living on earth we must perform good deeds as much we could and refrain from 'haram' things only to please Him. That good deeds would be transformed into 'pahala' (rewards from God); hopefully He would please to grant us His 'jannah'.

In the Qur'an, Allah told us to be successful in the world and Hereafter. Muslims recited this du'a over and over again: 'Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil 'akhirati hasanatan waqina 'adhaban-nar' (Our Lord! grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire." (2:201)

Well, what's the meaning of being successful in life? A local scholar, Dr Rozey Baba in his 'tazkirah' at a 'masjid' near my house not long time ago, illustrated what's the meaning of ‘kejayaan dalam hidup’. He said that we would make a very big mistake or blunder if we take 'successful' to only what we had achieved in this world.

He warned that our status, position, power, wealth and all worldly achievements would of no use when we were dead. Only our ‘iman’ (faith) and ‘amal’ (good deeds) would be able to help us. 

Dr Rozey said that the key to success is to take religion and practice all its teaching. “Those who upheld religion should have no worries but enjoy life because the world would be at his or her feet but those who are after the world, they would lose the world and worst of all, doomed in the Hereafter.

He gave 10 tips (keys) to have a successful life. They were:  

1. Be a good listener and if you don’t know, don’t hesitate to ask experts on the subjects such as an ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) or a scholar. 

2. You have to practice ‘sabar’ (patience) and the ‘tonic’ to have this trait is to do ‘zikrullah’ (remember Allah SWT by reciting words in praise of Him). 

3. Always be thankful (syukur) and the key to it is to expand charity (sadaqah). 

4. Fear of Allah SWT (takwa). 

5. Make du’a (offer prayers). 

6. Do not be proud or arrogant (takabbur). 

7. Do not skip your ‘solat’ (prayers). 

8. Uphold to the truth, do good deeds as much as you can. 

9. Uphold the oneness of God (Tauhid). 

10. Perform hajj.

On the same topic, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) listed 32 tips (ways and means) to be successful in this world and Hereafter. They are: 

1. Believe in Allah: The one and only Creator, Sustainer, Giver of Life, Owner, Inheritor and God of the universe. Allah has no peer, while the universe is a tiny speck in the grandeur of Allah. Also believing in all His prophets from Adam, the first man to the final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him, s.a.w.) The Qur’an which was revealed to Muhammad s.a.w. is 100 percent Allah’s words. Only one version, the Qur’an is being translated by many translators and memorized by millions. (Qur’an 23:1 and 24:31) 

2. Sincerity: Doing good deeds to please only Allah and none else. Deeds done for other than Allah or along with Allah is not acceptable to Allah. Allah The Most Beautiful loves beauty. (Qur’an 30:38) 

3. Worship Allah alone: None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, the One-And-Only. (Qur’an 22:77) 

 4. Guidance from Allah: From the unadulterated Al-Qur’an and authentic ways/sunnah of Muhammad s.a.w., the last prophet. We can never go astray when we follow the Qur’an and sunnah. (Qur’an 2:5 and 31:5) 

5. Remember Allah always. Almighty Allah deserves to be remembered all the time. Only by remembering Allah, will our hearts experience true and lasting tranquility. (Qur’an 8:45 and 62:10)

6. Grateful to Allah: Be thankful and optimistic about everything Allah has prepared for us in this world by worshiping Allah zealously. A grateful person lives a meaningful life. (Qur’an 7:69) 

7. Fear Allah (takwa): Venerate, love, have hope in while being anxious and concerned of Allah. The most honourable in the sight of Allah are those who fear Allah most. (Qur’an 3:130) 

8. Perform regular worship of Allah (five times prayers) and duties like declaration of faith, fasting, tithe and hajj. (Qur’an Qur’an 22:77) 

9. Listen and obey Allah’s law. Allah’s and His messenger’s words will lead to a perfect life. 

10. Rationale: The Qur’an agrees very well with the sunnah of Muhammad s.a.w. matches well with the wise mind and fits the fitrah (innate instinct of humankind) – Qur’an 2:189 and 5: 100 

11. Gives preference to Allah’s choices Allah Sees, Hears and Knows everything. (Qur’an 2: 189 and 5:100) 

12. Scatter over the earth and seeks Allah’s bounty. Aren’t we Allah’s vicegerents on earth? (Qur’an 62:10) 

13. Avoid evil deeds; like consuming intoxicants, gambling and ascribing partners to Allah. Satan promotes lawlessness among us but succumbs among us but succumbs to those who trust and fear Allah. (Qur’an 5:90) 

14. Accumulate the rewards of the Hereafter: like the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the pious. They enjoy this life by doing good deeds and Allah’s paradise awaits them May all of us be among them. (Qur’an 7:8) 

15. Jihad (strive); with speech, wealth and life to spread the truth and Islamic monotheism. (Qur’an 9:88) 

16. Be generous for Allah’s sake, especially when in need of Allah’s Help. 

17. Invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil. Good deeds invite Allah’s Blessings. (Qur’an 3:104) 

18. Always be on Allah’s side. Unwavering dedication to Allah’s cause, wherever and whenever. (Quran 58:220 

19. Patience and steadfastness: Firm in upholding the truth and Islamic monotheism till the end of our life. (Qur’an 3:200) 

20. Repent from all sins and do righteous deeds: Only Allah is perfect and free from mistakes. (Qur’an 28:67)

21. Always be mindful of the enemy. For this reason we continuously seek and need Allah’s Help. (Qur’an 3:200) 

22. Honour, assist and follow scholars (ulama) who truly practice Islam. (7:157) 

23. Be charitable to oneself. A strong believer is dearer and more beloved to Almighty Allah. (Qur’an 64:16) 

24. Avoid usury and illegal income. Usury and illegally gained income lead to hell. (Qur’an 3:130)

25. Seeking means and ways to approach Allah. May we meet Allah at the best moment! Ameen. (Qur’an 5:35) 

26. Purifying our souls. Allah has given everyone a soul. A good soul will benefit oneself and others. (Qur’an 87:14 and 91:9) 

27. Give kindred (especially parents), the poor and wayfarer their dues for Allah’s sake. (Qur’an 30:38)\

28. Lower our gaze, protect our private parts and wear appropriate Islamic attire. Self respect is important in Islam. Insincerity and ignorance cause man to live in disunity, disarray and void of guidance. (Qur’an 24:31) 

29. Love each other and have no jealousy, for Allah’s sake: Like the Ansar and Muhajirin. (Qur’an 59:9) 

30. Choose friends who believe in the Last Day. Close friend influence our life. (Qur’an 58:22) 

31. Say the truth from Allah and His Messenger even if it is unpopular. Truth will prevail. (Qur’an 5:100) 

32. Ask the right people: Scholars, parents, experts, specialist, sincere friends and the like. (Qur’an 2: 189) 

'Insya-Allah' if we live according to Allah SWT prescriptions (be in His straight path such as obeying to His orders and refraining from doing things He forbids (haram) then we would lead a tranquil life. 'Insya-Allah' we would be safe in this world in the Hereafter; that's the true meaning of enjoying life! 

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