Saturday, May 5, 2012

Islamic Way: Secret of a Long Life

"Any one who wants to have his provision expanded,
 his term of life prolonged and for people to speak well of him
 should maintain ties of kinship" 
                                                                                        - Prophet Muhammad (sa)

In his Friday Sermon of May 04, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius spoke about the practical ordinances of Islam to be kept in mind in our everyday lives. Islam detests idleness and forbids practices such as usury that breeds and perpetuates a culture of idleness and irresponsibility. On the contrary, it envisions the believers as a community of people devoted to constant personal improvement in their spiritual states and collective progress in material conditions. The very lifestyles and priorities on every single day of their lives will reflect this enduring commitment to individual enterprise and collective growth. 

The believers are to strive for excellence in their chosen fields of occupation or profession so that the world may benefit from their work. Their charity, generosity and service will embrace not just family and kin, but will extend to neighbours and strangers as well. Thus, the Muslim becomes a source from which flow virtue, goodness and peace which everyone around him shall benefit.  ‘That which benefits the people endures in the earth’, says the Holy Qur’an. Adhering to the Islamic way has beneficial consequences, including possibly, a long and productive life, asserts the Messenger of Allah.   

Read the Extracts from the Sermon:

The Muslim, if he wants that Allah grants him a long life, must comply with the scheme of everyday life as prescribed by Islam. This requires, inter alia, that the Muslim wakes up early and goes to bed early. The Muslim begins his day at dawn at least, before daybreak. And he welcomes his morning by being pure, before the afternoon catches up with him, full of weaknesses, shortcomings and even sins. This is why our beloved Saviour, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) showed us that we must come what may, and in any situation seek God’s forgiveness for the soul is prone to evil, except that which Allah protects against the ravages of Satan. Therefore, Muslims greet their day early, and this is the virtue praised by the Holy Prophet (sa) when he wished them prosperity and abundance in these times, “Allah bless the precocity of mine (that is, my people).”

Among the harms or evils that have affected Muslims, we can report the change of their daily schedule. They stay up late at night and go to sleep so late that they miss the Morning Prayer. In this regard, one of the first Muslims had said: “I find it odd that we can win the day when we did the Morning Prayer at sunrise.”

In a Hadith narrated by Abu Huraira (ra), Hazrat Muhammad (sa) said: “During your sleep, Satan knots three knots at the back of the head of each of you, and he breathes the following words at each knot, ‘The night is, long, so keep on sleeping,’ If that person wakes up and celebrates the praises of Allah, then one knot is undone, and when he performs ablution the second knot is undone, and when he prays, all the knots are undone, and he gets up in the morning lively and gay, otherwise he gets up in a dull and lazy mood.”

Oh, what a difference there is between a Muslim for whom the knots of the Satan are all undone, who welcomes his day as from dawn with invocations (to Allah), meditation and prayer, who engages himself very early in the morning to fight against the vicissitudes of life, feeling good about himself and being so radiant, and one whose satanic knots still hang around the neck, one who contracts the habit of sleeping late into the afternoon, and who now has heavy steps (by being lazy, not wanting to do anything), an ugly complexion and having a heavy body and lazy soul!

The Muslim begins his day by submitting himself to Allah, performing his sacred duties, the principal ones and the supererogatory ones; reciting some known Hadiths of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) which, for example: “We are now, with all what we possess, the property of Allah.O Allah, I ask You for the goodness of this day, its victory, its help, its light, its blessings, and its guidance. I seek refuge in You from the evil that is in it and from the evil that follows it.” O my Lord, well-being wherever I am, I owe You, and You alone, praise be to You.”

He (the Muslim) then recites what he wants from the Holy Quran in meditation, and seeking to understand its meanings, as the Almighty says: “This is a blessed Book which We have revealed unto thee, that they ponder over its verses and that men of intelligence reflect!” Then he has breakfast without indulging to excess, goes to his workplace to earn his daily life.

He makes necessary efforts to do all kinds of honest and licit works, regardless of his fortune and even if it is only to supervise and control, because uncontrolled goods lead to theft. Hence Islam has forbidden usury, because it is a system where, necessarily, money begets money without work or participation, or initiative. The individual of this calibre is then always tucked into his chair, being sure to guarantee that hundred notes will bring him a thousand one and that a thousand note shall increase to one hundred thousand notes, without assuming any responsibility and this is contrary to the position of Islam towards man. The latter was created to work and populate the earth, according to the word of Allah: “From the earth He created you, and He made you human beings dispersing (throughout the earth).”

The individual must take much of life as giving. As he consumes (from its products) he must therefore also produce for it. He must avoid being idle, and eating without working even if it was under the pretext to devote himself to the worship of Allah, because there is no monasticism in Islam.

The worst thing in the world is idleness. When the man is unemployed, he looks for a diversion which occupies him interiorly to apparently strengthen his faith. In that case he becomes empty in appearance but not at heart, for there Satan will make a nest, lay eggs and proliferate; his reproduction will be faster than that of any animal ..., the one who has not served others by any work shall unduly count on their services. He shall interfere with their lives and shall be to no use to them except to disturb the equilibrium and raise prices. That is why when Hazrat Umar (ra) looked at someone, he used to ask: “Does he have a job?” If the answer was negative, then the man had no value in his eyes.

The Muslim considers his job on earth as worship and as a “Jihad” only if it is performed with faith and sincerity, if he does not turn away from the invocation of God and if the Muslim devotes himself to it honestly and seriously. The application in the work is indeed a sacred duty for Muslims, as is rendered clear by the saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa): “Allah has written good of all things.” And in another Hadith: “Allah the Almighty wants that when one of you is dedicated to work, he performs it with application (dedication).” Among the daily duties that the Muslim is forbidden to forget or neglect, there is the duty towards society, which is to help people meet their needs, to facilitate for them urgent cases (in emergency cases), thereby to perform an act of charity.

In a Hadith narrated by Abu Musa, Hazrat Muhammad (sa) said: “Giving charity is obligatory upon each Muslim. It was asked: What do you say of him who does not find (the means) to do so? He said: Let him do manual work, thus doing benefit to himself and give charity. It was asked: What about one who does not have (the means) to do so? He said: Then let him assist the needy, the aggrieved. It was asked: What do you say of one who cannot even do this? He said: Then he should enjoin what is reputable or what is good. He asked: What if he cannot do that? He (the Holy Prophet) said: He should then abstain from evil, for verily that is charity on his behalf.”

This charity or social ransom is imposed every day on the Muslim. There is even an authentic Hadith which says that charity is a duty to perform at each time of the day as from sunrise. Thus the Muslim becomes a source from which flow virtue, goodness and peace which everyone around him shall benefit. It is not forbidden for a Muslim to entertain himself by some lawful recreation and this within the moral boundaries, be it, both day and night, provided of course that he does not infringe on the rights of Allah to worship, nor the rights of Muslims to (have good) sleep, his own body to rest, the rights of his family for protection, the rights of his work to application and any rights of other people. We must pray that Allah guides us always on the right path and strengthened our Iman (faith). Insha-Allah, Ameen.