Saturday, November 4, 2017

'Taqwa': Path to a Spiritual Life

 The Perfect Book- Part II

ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ۝
الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ۝
والَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ۝

This is the Book; there is no doubt in it, a guidance for those who fear Allah. Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them. And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of what is yet to come. (Al-Baqara 2: 3-5).

By the grace of Allah, Allah (swt) has given me the Tawfeeq to continue the second part of the sermon which I started last week there (Last Friday) in which I mentioned the absolute necessity for the Mumineen (believers) to undertake journeys/ voyages of the Holy Quran every day. Quran says that for this voyage, there should be all kinds of provisions.

The provision which has been mentioned is Taqwa, i.e. the fear of Allah. And that's the same provision which is needed to acquire (the in-depth meanings of) the Quran also. Taqwa and Quran do not concern the daily (mundane) voyages (of someone). There are not gained through only one such voyage which you may do only once a year.

You need the Quran everyday and every day with the support of Taqwa as a provision you would be able to obtain something from the Quran. This is indeed very important, fundamental. And for that, it is not necessary to organize programs. Certainly, programs create the interest for it (i.e. the Quran) all year long, but it is the interest of parents which is necessary (which needs to be awakened). Firstly, parents - mother and father should take interest in it for their own beings. At whatever age they (be them the parents themselves, or their children) have reached, they must determine that we start the journey to Allah. And this journey/ voyage is not possible without the Quran. And to enable the journey of the Quran, we should have provisions, just like when people travel, they take stocks/ provisions with them. And here the provision which is fundamental for that voyage is the Taqwa.

Allah (swt) states that this is indeed a perfect book in which there is no doubt. But there is no doubt also that this Book is guidance for the truly pious (God-fearing) only. Those who have Taqwa shall certainly receive guidance from the Quran. So, Taqwa has been linked together with the Quran. 

A 'Life' without Taqwah

Sometimes people read the Quran for years, but they read it like parrots without understanding what they are reading, and it is then that you are surprised, and say ʻHow can such a person - who reads the Quran - can behave like this (i.e. in an unislamic way)?’ - When he/ she: refuses to answer your Salaam (greetings of peace), breaks family ties, boycott you, creates hatred in the hearts of people, refuses and turns his back to the signs of Allah, makes gratuitous accusations against Allah’s servant, makes conspiracies to harm others, make Ribat (backbiting), eat the flesh of his brother/s with appetite, insults those who are younger or lower (in status) than him, and shows himself as if more superior or higher in status to others with arrogance, invites jealousy to infiltrate in his blood, walks upon the earth in such a way (a boastful way) as if to crack it, pushes his stomach forward with boastfulness, criticizes the others, spies on people (on what they are doing), tortures workers (treat them in a miserable way or not paying them their dues), begins to fight or dispute (with others) for vain things - such fights which end up with a major dispute whereby hands are raised on those elder to him or younger than him, puts on non-Islamic clothing that is not Pardah, steals the wealth of others, makes non-Islamic transactions to gain dirty money, starts to gamble (hazardous games/ lotteries/ horse racing etc.), taps her feet (with feet jewelries) to attract the eyes of others towards her, has no manners and respect when talking to others etc. - I can go on and on and mention all that the Quran has condemned. And these (what I have just mentioned) are verily voyages devoid of Taqwa. It is a voyage, yes, but a disappointing one, a deceptive one.

'Taqwa' leads to the Divine Path

In fact, in connection with the Quran, the Taqwa reminds us that, in the Quran there are instructions for you about how to save ourselves from these wrong/ evil deeds, and there is therein the mention about what path should we adopt (to remain on the right path). And the basic meaning of Taqwa is that you must watch out, take care how to protect you, how to tread on the path ahead (i.e. by choosing the right path and not the wrong one). As a result of Taqwa, when someone deeply ponders over the Quran (about all its contents), it is then that Allah helps him/ her to understand these meanings. This is the same subject which has been mentioned in another place [i.e. in another verse of the Quran]. Allah says that people send their hand forward to reach/ obtain the Quran. But it is only those who have got Allah (with them) - acquired Allah - who can reach/ obtain the Quran too.

Study the Qur'an with Translation

So, everyone in the Jamaat must pay special attention when reciting the Quran, and you must do so with translation. Only in exceptional cases, nobody should shun the daily recitation of the Quran with translation. And this habit of Quran reading with translation should be created in all kids. Now reflect upon how when children go to school, how much effort you put in this endeavour. Mothers run behind their kids to give them their Nashta (breakfast), bathe them and prepare them for school. They make all these efforts for the children to go to school (i.e. to acquire academic/ mundane education) and not to miss school, and yet it is most unfortunate that they do nothing to enable the voyage of these children towards the Quran. Their efforts are only concentrated in making their kids acquire worldly education.

Beyond Building Mosques

To build a Masjid, is a very good initiative, but it is necessary that you create Namazi (worshippers) for that purpose. If you build Masjids without creating Namazi, of what use would be those Masjids? Only to say, “We have so many Masjids,” despite the fact that those Masjids are empty of worshippers, and despite the fact that those Masjids remain close all the time except at night, only to illumine them a little? A Masjid should contain the spiritual light, where  it is spiritually gay at every prayer time. But if a Masjid does not have any Namazi, and only holds (occasional) big events/ programmes and is not used on a daily basis, especially in the case where the worshippers live at a long distance away from the Masjid.

So, before building a Masjid, attention must be given if there are any worshippers living nearby and if Azaan (the call for prayer) is given there, and also if prayer in congregation is conducted on a daily basis - it is then that such a mosque becomes really useful even if it is made from word, or sheet metal/ iron sheets.

'Ibaadat' and 'Taqwa'

The Masjids must be filled with Namazi and it is then that much works can be done, wherein there shall be much barakat (blessings) too and this is the work of Allah. Now, if all the men go to work, and there is no man at the time of prayer, then the women should go to the mosque/s to keep it/ them Abaad (prosperous, at peace). It is not forbidden for the women/ ladies to go to the mosque. It is not obligatory upon them, yes, for they have a lot of works to do. But there is place for them also in the mosque. How can it be that they can go for the Hajj, mixed with men, and nothing is restricted to them as to their attending Dargas and/ or entertainment points (such as watching TV, cinemas etc.) but they are deprived from attending the mosque? Indeed many times, in the days of war, when there came the time of Jihad when men were not able to do a work, then it was to the women that the call was done.

So, no matter how, we must keep the mosques Abaad. If (as per the given situation) by obligation the women should go to perform prayer, because there is no man, then they should do so to keep the mosque Abaad (prosperous, at peace). But therein is a condition of Pardah. There should be Pardah in the mosque; there should be a separation between men and women, and there should be a separate door through which the ladies come to perform their prayer. By the grace of Allah in our Masjid, there is separation for women. If ever a stranger (ghayr) comes, then the ladies find themselves always in Pardah.

So, pay attention to that instruction of the Quran. And to understand the Quran, Taqwa is necessary. Without Taqwa you cannot reach the goal/ objective of the Quran and Taqwa has great connection with the Masjid. So deep is that connection that without the Masjid someone cannot attain to Taqwa and on the other side, without Muttaquun (the Muttaqi - the pious, God-fearing people), the Masjids do not have any beauty. The Quran has explained this very clearly, when it has said that when you go to the mosque, go there with your beauty, that is to say, the Taqwa. If you go without the Taqwa, if you smoke (cigarettes etc.) on the way to the mosque, if you are saying foul words to others, backbiting people, spying on other's business/ life, participating in gambling such as horse-racing etc., then the mosque shall remain empty (i.e. even though there are people in it, but it is spiritually empty). If you go to the mosque and you think about your business/ commerce/ trade etc., about how to earn more money, and even in prayer your concentration is not on Allah, but on mundane affairs, then before the sight of Allah, the Masjid is empty.

So, do as per the commandments of the Quran, when you go to the mosque, attend it with your beauty, i.e. your Taqwa and do a lot of Zikrullah. Insha-Allah, it is with beauty of Taqwa that you can gain the perfume of paradise on earth itself. Insha-Allah.

Due to lack of time, I stop here for today and Insha-Allah I shall continue on the same subject next week.

---Friday Sermon of 03 November 2017(13 Safar 1439 AH) delivered by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.